who cares about sports when there is a massive black hole in the center of the milky way

January 3, 2009 at 5:36 am | Posted in brian, chess | 2 Comments

football is exciting

October 14, 2008 at 10:45 am | Posted in brian, football (american) | Leave a comment

i’ve been watching sunday night football for twenty minutes and have seen closes-ups of cheerleader’s breasts twice. like close-up close-ups. but football is hyper-sexual.

sunday night football is sexy

i’m not a scientist, but i’ve read books written by people who claim to be. so this is how i see it: football probably isn’t that different than mating rituals that like every other species that reproduces sexually. for humans, because we’re a group species, it’s a contest of smarts and strength that helps determine the status of the different members of the group except also the status of particular groups relative to one another.

but it’s more complicated than that. there’s the commercialization of the game which then plays into status markers unlike anything i see in the rest of the natural world. in many social circles, football knowledge, fandom and/or the purchase of football apparel (i just saw that commercial where they show some ideal steelers fan’s living room and it’s decorated with steelers everything – framed steelers jerseys, steelers throw pillows, steelers chair, steelers telephone) are important markers of male-dominance. (they just showed another close-up of a cheerleader’s breasts.) but i’m not sure how well football-watching status translates into an increase of mating opportunities.

i remember monday night football—all that butt-slapping really messed me up

but the sexuality of football is ambiguous. or maybe i mean androgynous.

a picture is a fact

October 4, 2008 at 7:53 am | Posted in brian, football (american) | 4 Comments

there was a saturday day last week.  during the late afternoon, i flipped through some college football games but all i could find were commercials.  4 games were on, but they were only showing commercials.  at that moment, i felt like i should give up on professional sports.  which would also mean giving up on this sports blog.

i mean, i could write blogs defending josh howard’s pot-smoking and his refusal to support the national anthem.  or on how ridiculous the criticism of vince young is given that all he does is win football games.  and maybe i should.  or should have.  both those stories are already a month old and forgotten about.  or remembered only in the negative.

the truth is, professional sports have started to depress the hell out of me.  so instead, i’m going to write about my near-death experience.

we picture facts to ourselves

clif has an extra ticket for the utah/oregon state game which he passes on to me.  the game starts at 7 and i dont get off work until 7; i arrive late and by myself.  i take the train up to the stadium.  due to malfunctions, the train ride takes 45 instead of 15 minutes.  while our train is stopped, someone starts talking about the football game most of us are on our way to.  he is roughly my age but twice my size.  maybe he use to play football for utah.  he looks like brian urlacher, or that guy in those 50s war movies that looks like brian urlacher.  and he has an intimidating voice.

-are we waiting to get off the train to raise the flag for utah?

i dont understand what he means.  what flag?  a symbolic one?

-do you bleed red?  do you believe in red?

this question he asks repeatedly to different people on the train.  i bury my head in my book hoping that he  avoids asking me that question.  i mean, do i believe in red?  would he and i even have the same definition of red?

we cannot give a sign the wrong sense

i finally make it to the stadium.  there are people in red everywhere.  do they all believe in red?  i make my way to the section that corresponds with the number on my ticket.  i’m nervous walk up the stairs to my seat by myself.  i grab a hot-dog instead.  i can’t believe how many people are here.  i’m anxious and eat my hot-dog faster than i should.  then i realize i cant breathe.  it’s just like in field of dreams.  i look around for some ghost — some dead former football player who gave up his career to be a pediatrician but misses football so badly he haunts the stadium — to materialize and give me the heimlich maneuver.  i mean,  abdominal thrusts.  wait.  first i need to make sure i’m choking enough to require abdominal thrusts.  what are the steps to dealing with choking?  encourage the victim (that’s a loaded word) to cough.  so cough.  i’m trying, i tell myself, but it’s not helping.  no.  don’t panic.  are you breathing at all?  i try breathing.  am i breathing?  maybe?  it’s too hard to tell.  focus.  try to take a breath.  are you breathing?  barely, but i doubt i’ll be breathing much longer.  i look around at all of the people in red.  should i ask one of them to give me abdominal thrusts?  is this how i die?  not in a car-crash, but near the concession stand at a university of utah football game with a piece of hot-dog stuck in my throat?  wait, can’t i do abdominal thrusts on myself?  just listen.  try coughing.  if that doesn’t work then we can move on to abdominal thrusts.  i never imagined this would be the way i died but i’m sure everyone who dies thinks the same thing. i turn to the garbage can i’m next to and give coughing one last try and just like in field of dreams i cough out the piece of hot-dog stuck in my throat.  there are people everywhere, but i dont think anyone noticed i almost died.

logic must look after itself

the football game was amazing.  utah, with their perfect record on the line, goes down by 8 with 2 minutes remaining.  their offense has looked out of sorts all second half.  four plays later they’re in the endzone. the two point conversion is good and the game is tied.  oregon state gets the ball back but goes three and out.  they punt and utah has less than 30 seconds to move 20 plus yards for a chance to win the game on a field goal.  i dont remember all the plays on that last drive.  i think they throw to the sideline for a 5 yard gain.  then johnson scrabbles out of the pocket and drops it off to one of the running backs for a first down.  the next play they throw down the middle for 15 or 20 yards.  they run the ball to the right hash-mark and call time-out with 1 second left.  louie sakoda nails the 30 something yard kick to win the game at the end of regulation.

on the drive home i’m greg reminds me that this one radio station here played louie, louie for two straight weeks.  that may be one of the best songs ever.

everything is bigger yet smaller

September 19, 2008 at 4:46 am | Posted in brian, technology, tennis | 1 Comment

i finally found out why, in televised tennis, they never show both the replay and hawk-eye (or spot shot or whatever corporately-sponsor name they come up with). i used to think it was because spot-shot was wildy inaccurate and probably rigged. now i know it’s because spot-shot is mildly inaccurate. but more importantly, spot-shot collects more data about the incident (by incident, i’m talking about the information relative to the spot the ball touches) to reach it’s conclusions than our eyes or our brains or even our video cameras.

hawk-eye takes information from a number of cameras, probabilitizes (which i’m using to mean assessing the probability of) things like trajectories, spins, velocities and then creates a simulation of the flight of the ball to locate where the ball hit.  this means spot-shot, because it interprets more data, can know things about the location of the landing we, even with our eyes or our brains or even our video cameras, cannot perceive.

take for instance the 2007 final at wimbledon between federer and nadal.  nadal smashes a shot to the baseline.  federer, believing it to be out, doesn’t make a play.  the chair umpire rules out.  the video replay rules out.  however, hawk-eye says in.

the reason: due to it’s superior information gathering and processing, hawk-eye knows that that ball hit with that power will,  on a grass surface, compress and skid for about 10 centimeters.  so while the all of us, even our video cameras, witnessed the ball as out, spot-shot knew, in its heart of hearts, the shot was in.

so the question is, should who should interpret our sport rules?  humans or god or given that god isnt around, the next best thing, super-sensitive computers?

what day is it

June 26, 2008 at 1:35 am | Posted in basketball, brian | 2 Comments

i got this text from dusty:

boozer to miami for the number two pick!?  do it do it do it

i responded with:

is that a serious rumor?  would the jazz draft mayo?

(i had a hard time sending this text because i thought rumor was spelled roomer and couldn’t figure out why my phone wouldn’t recognize it.  also, mayo’s nickname is either the tramp or the great dictator.  i mean, as long as he keeps his mustache.)

dusty’s response:

it’s a fan fantasy i think, but it’s real that miami is interested in boozer.  i think the jazz would only do it if they can get beasely

(i can’t believe i forgot about beasley.  beasley on the jazz?  are you kidding me?  that would be so great.)

my respones: b on the jazz would be so awesome

(i didn’t want to take the time to spell out beasley.  if there’s one thing i hate to do, it’s manually spell out words that the predictive text doesn’t automatically recognize.)

dusty’s response:

best trade ever.

i snooped around the internet looking for confirmations and details.  here’s how the trade would supposedly go down: the jazz trade boozer, collins and the 23rd pick for mark blount and the second pick.  with the second pick the jazz would (hopefully) draft beasley.  but, knowing miller’s aversion to players with perceived “character issues,” i wouldn’t be surprised if the jazz passed on beasley to draft someone terrible like lopez or love.  but maybe i’m being too hard on the jazz’s front office.  their drafting has gotten remarkably better in the past few years — da wilderness, brewer, cj and millie.  so who knows; maybe the jazz will have an even cooler team than last years.

but, realistically, this trade isn’t going to happen.  no trades ever happen.

those mountains sure look pretty

June 18, 2008 at 6:24 am | Posted in brian, softball | 4 Comments

it’s the hottest day of the year so far. and we’re playing softball. i’m most worried about heat-stroke. or dehydration. the field we play at has only a broken water-fountain. what are they spending our registration fees on? obviously not any kind of park maintenance. but i guess i’ll survive. i just have to bring some water to take to the game. they’re always trying to screw you.

paranoia: i wonder if the broken drinking-fountains have anything to do with the walmart that’s right across the street? that’s were most will end up buying their fluids since you cant even get some water at the park.

our game starts at eight. for the first couple innings, we’ll be looking right into the sun. not all the time, just when we’re batting. all we can do is swing and trust that god will let our contacts be good or great. my problem: i dont believe in god. or i dont believe that god could or would do anything in this circumstance.

this game led to strained relationships

it was a sunny which gave me a headache.
the field was green except for the infield.
the cops came; they’re always hassling everyone.

my sister attended the game. before the game she visited my grandmother who lives in a retirement community. my grandma tried to give my sister all the dirt about which senior citizen is having sex with which senior citizen. how this one lady trades sex for food. how this other guy is having sex with at least three different ladies. that kind of stuff. for some reason, my sister asked my grandma not to tell her about all the old folk’s home gossip. it looks like i’m going to have to visit my grandma if i want the details.

i am slated to bat first and i am nervous. the first game of the season a had a medium-sized panic attack. i’m not sure why. like, worst case scenario: i strike out and/or drop flyballs. big deal, right? i only know 5 people at the game and none of their opinions of me are going to significantly change based on how well i play softball. also, i’m barely competitive and could care less if we ever win a game. so why do i get unbelievably self-conscious playing softball?

so i’m batting lead-off. and we’re batting first. like i mentioned earlier, this makes me nervous. i try breathing techniques and meditation. actually i didnt try that. instead i ask my brothers, who are on the team, what they think about when they’re up to bat:

sam: “i think about hitting the ball and nothing else.”
aaron: “i wonder what the other team thinks of me and what they think i’m going to do during the at bat.”

sports, in general, are like 97% muscle-memory. i made that up, but it seems true. and if it’s true, then the key to sports is not letting your brain get in the way (which may also be the key to life). both my brothers responses seem to speak to this. sam’s “nothing else” is like a negation of thought, while aaron’s focus on the other team’s thought probably works as a distraction. with both of them, they are trying to not think about the mechanics of hitting letting their muscles worry about that stuff. i also use the distraction approach. to calm my nerves while at the plate, i try and think about evolution. so life appeared on this planet a billion years ago or whatever and then through mutation and adaptation i ended up here at this softball field trying to swing this bat at this approaching ball. and that is weird.

the first pitch: the pitcher takes this strange step to his right and throws a kind of side-armed pitch with the hopes of putting the path of the ball directly in front of the sun. i take the pitch. inside, ball one.

second pitch: it’s drifting to the outside of the plate, just where i like it. i swing and put the ball into shallow left center. on my first step to first-base, i slip and fall.

game highlights

if we were the other team, i could talk about all the hits to or over the fence. our team only hits singles. but when we string some singles together, watch out. like in the first inning. single, single, pop out, single, run, single, run, pop out, ground out. we scored two runs our first at bat. and, since we batted first, we were in the lead going into the bottom of the first. 2-0.

this seems more like a play by play than a highlight section.

so highlights:

clint made this pretty awesome catch. a deep fly ball to left center. clint and josh are both racing to the ball. it’s back, back, near the fence. it’s just out of josh’s reach but clint swoops in to make a basket catch. josh, later, almost makes a great over his shoulder catch. unfortunately, he smashes into the fence a half-second after securing the ball and loses control. earlier josh was playing first-base. there’s a hard grounder up the middle. aaron, at shortstop, races to his left and scoops up the grounder, plants and rockets a throw to first. the throw is a little short and to the right. josh stretches and makes the grab. out.

headline: lee makes spectacular catch

not necessarily a barehanded catch, but he did trap the ball between his hand and the outside of his mitt to end the inning.

i think we lost 22 to 5.

check back later in the week to see pictures and video of the game.

it’s all (fucking) entertainment

May 30, 2008 at 1:15 am | Posted in basketball, brian | 2 Comments

everybody knows, or everybody who has read this blog or talked to me about basketball, that allen iverson is my favorite player ever.  sometimes i feel like the only reason basketball has any meaning for me is (in)directly related to allen iverson.  but if there is one guy in the league whose coolness is up their with iverson’s, it’s rasheed wallace.

i found this quote attributed to rasheed wallace:

“all that bull(shit)-ass calls they had out there. with mike and kenny [i’m guessing those guys are refs] — you’ve all seen that (shit). you saw them calls. the cats are flopping all over the floor and they’re calling that (shit). that (shit) ain’t basketball out there. it’s all (fucking) entertainment. you all should know that (shit). it’s all (fucking) entertainment.”

the quote i found had bleeps in the parenthesis, but i took the liberty of decoding the bleeps.

i found the rasheed quote while reading about the latest nba news: starting next year, the league will impose fines for flopping.  or rather, according to the headline of some espn article, fines will be imposed for clear cases of flopping.

the league obviously feels like the flopping problem is the players fault.  but that’s bullshit.  the problem is wildly inconsistent refereeing.  nobody noes what’s a block and what’s a charge.  players are randomly being bailed out as long as they act like they’ve been hacked.  who knows what constitutes a travel?  the league is looking to deflect any criticism and place the blame squarely on the players.  i mean, jeff van gundy has been effectively black-listed from the league for openly criticizing refereeing.  and with no coherent or consistent rules, the phantom of fixed games is ever-present.  and fining players for flopping isn’t going to change any of that.  plus, i’m guessing this rule, like the technical foul rule, will only be selectively enforced.  because it’s all just fucking entertainment.

it’s a lifestyle, baby

May 23, 2008 at 4:53 am | Posted in basketball, brian | Leave a comment

the jazz are done. out of the playoffs. jazz fans are sad or mad. they want kobe dead or dismembered. they hate the lakers more than they already did (which doesn’t even seem possible). but before we all give into a summer of despair, before we focus all are energies on some kind of double-plane crash that kills everyone on the lakers and spurs, let’s take a second and remember the coolest team in jazz history.

i dont know how many people are going to agree with my, but this years jazz was easily my favorite team. i know, back in the nineties the jazz made it to the finals twice in a row, but that team was boring as fuck. john stockton was the only interesting player. malone flopped like ginobli. hornacek had a dumb haircut and wasted all his time sending secret messages to his family. byron russell was ok. ostertag, while cool as a person, wasn’t exactly exciting to watch. who else was on those teams? keefe? shannon anderson? howard eisley? while arguably functional, they were never awe-inspiring. that last sentence actually sums up those teams. outside of stockton taking over games whenever he needed to (like that game six or seven against houston), those jazz teams were totally boring. boring as fuck, as i already mentioned.

but that’s because i dont care at all about winning. i care about how the game looks. and this year’s jazz looked good. deron williams has become as exciting as anybody in the league to watch. he’ll kill you. ronnie brewer finishes every shot around the hoop, especially the off-balanced, double-clutched, reverse lay-ups. ronnie price has turned into such a punk (and i mean that as tremendous compliment). milsap, while mistaken as just a physical rebounder with limited offensive abilities, has these sweet spin moves and drop-steps that come out of nowhere. cj miles, at times, looks like the player i’ve always wished the jazz could have.

but the question is whether next years jazz will look anything like this years. i’m scared that the jazz, whatever moves they make, will ruin the coolness of the team. i mean, they’ll probably draft the lesser of the lopez brothers. talk about boring. hopefully they trade boozer for someone awesome.

i have a difficult time imagining that, john lennon

May 9, 2008 at 2:10 am | Posted in basketball, brian | Leave a comment

the jazz lost again. ok. whatever. i missed part of the game watching this john sayles written movie about werewolves. not as good as that other movie he wrote about an alligator in the sewer, but it did have a great ending (it was real; she turned into a werewolf and then they shot her). and they showed the part in the original wolfman movie where they read that poem about wolf-bane blooming. the point is i didnt see most of the game.

i’ve heard from numerous coworkers that the commentating on the game was unbearable. i imagine this reaction had something to do with this being the first post-kobe-winning-the-mvp game and the commentators and sports analyst needed to justify the consensus. i’m guessing it was all kobe is so great, he’s really matured, he’s the definition of an mvp, he makes his teammates better. that kind of bullshit. i’m not saying that kobe shouldn’t be the mvp — kobe is amazing; did you see that move where he split two defenders with a spin move and then made a pass behind the defender’s head for an easy dunk? — i’m saying that the mvp award is stupid. winning an mvp award is exactly like winning an oscar except there is less accepted criteria when voting for the mvp.

the part of the commentating that i heard that i would like to take issue with is doug collins talking about how efficient kobe bryant was. he kept saying things like 30 some odd points on fifteen shot attempts is super-efficient. but what he fails to mention is that the shots were kobe gets fouled dont count as shot attempts on the box score. so his efficiency rating, like the mvp award, is meaningless.

i bet the person who took this picture was like “shit man, this is going to win me a pulitzer!”

i forgot what day it is

April 26, 2008 at 3:47 am | Posted in basketball, brian | Leave a comment

did you see deshawn last night?

man, his mohawk is looking good. his beard isn’t bad either. i’ve been trying to figure out deshawn’s ritual after made baskets. as seen in the picture, he always waves his hand in front of his face. could be a signifier of his hot-handedness? like he’s saying, “shit man! this hand is on fire! i’m not gonna miss a single mothafuckin shot!” is it a burn on the defense? like, “you can try and put you’re hand in my face, but i’m still gonna score!” or is it about muscle memory? like, “holy shit! i can’t believe i just made that shot with this hand. it happened automatically.”

here’s my idea: instead of giving everybody zion’s-bank-utah-jazz-one-team-one-dream shirts, everybody at the jazz games should wear white shirts and ties and name badges. missionaries for the church of the utah jazz.  also, they should kick super-fan out of every game.  i mean, where’s his creativity?

matt and i spent half the game arguing about china.  matt thinks the chinese government is forcing chairman yao to fake an injury so he’ll be rested up for the olympics.  i think the usa is just about as fucked up as china.  and matt always calls yao mao.

i know a lot of people, outside of utah, want to see mcgrady win this playoff series since nba analyst and fans are so hard on mcgrady — he’s not a star player, he can’t win big games, he doesn’t have the determination of a champion or whatever.  but i am officially denouncing winning as validation for anything.  that bullshit is for talk radio.

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