Sunday, April 22, 2007


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

All in the game.

So, The Wire is back.

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about this show. In fact, I’ve written about it on this very blog before. It’s far and away the best damn thing on television. There isn’t even a close second. Whenever I’m at a party or making conversation at a wedding and someone starts going on and on about Lost or 24 I just chuckle quietly and wait for them to finish. Then, I launch into my twenty minute dissertation.

I know that most people don’t expect that much from television. The average viewer just wants a brief diversion between the time they get home from work and the time they have to go to bed. People just want to turn on the television and turn off their brains. But The Wire is proof that television can be much more than a diversion. Television can be art. Is Desperate Housewives telling stories as detailed and nuanced as The Godfather? The Wire does. Is Nip/Tuck laying bare the factors that cause the decaying of an American city? The Wire does. Does Weeds employ award winning novelists on its writing staff? The Wire does.

And still American ignores it. And so does the Emmy’s. And the Golden Globes. What a damn shame. We’ve just past the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina; the natural disaster that brought so many issues of poverty and race to the forefront of our consciousness. You’d think that people in this country would be more receptive to a television show that addresses many of the same racial and socio-economic issues that were exposed last year. To the contrary. Despite rave reviews in newspapers and major magazines, The Wire still labors in relative obscurity. People who have never missed one single episode of The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Six Feet Under, Carnival, Deadwood and Rome say things like, “I tried to watch it, but I couldn’t get into it.” That’s because it’s not an easy show to watch. It’s not easy. It doesn’t pander. Things don’t wrap up at the end of an episode like most network dramas. They don’t explain the meaning of the police jargon or the street slang. It unfolds slowly and deliberately like a great novel. And much like a great novel, you can’t truly appreciate the story until it’s done.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s the best fucking show on television. For my money, it’s the best television show ever.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's been one of those days.

I need this right now:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This almost makes me want to sex Mutombo.

Mutombo gives $15 million for hospital in Congo

NEW YORK -- Dikembe Mutombo will fulfill a lifelong dream soon, opening a hospital in the Congo named for his late mother.

The Houston Rockets center, who donated $15 million to the project, will open the doors to the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center on Sept. 2. The 300-bed hospital will provide health care to people in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Mutombo was born.

"We were very close," Mutombo said Monday in a telephone interview. "To do something of this caliber in the name of your beloved mom, it will mean a lot not just to me but to the people of Congo."

He created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation in 1997, the year his 64-year-old mother died. She was unable to get to the hospital because streets were closed due to civil unrest. His father, Samuel, was turned back from the hospital, just 10 minutes away.

"My mom played a big role, giving us all the tools to make us great human beings," Mutombo said of his nine siblings. "She did what moms are supposed to do -- raise a child with a good understanding of life."

The $29 million hospital and research center will include a pediatric wing, surgery suites and a women's center.

The health care crisis continues in the Congo, where one of five children dies before age 5. Malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, measles and cholera have reached epidemic proportions and continue to infect millions of adults and children. The average life expectancy is 42 years for men and 47 for women.

"Malaria is taking more lives than any other disease, especially children under age 5," he said.

Mutombo had a life-threatening bout of malaria after returning from the Congo in 1999. He had a "huge headache" and passed out after an early season game. His temperature rose to 104 degrees while at a suburban Boston hospital, but after 12 hours the doctors couldn't determine what was wrong until a Kenyan intern entered his room.

"Brother, are you from Africa?" she asked. "Which spot?"

When she heard Congo, she asked if he'd been home lately. He'd been back the previous month.

"She saved my life," Mutombo said. "We got the malaria results 40 minutes later. We waited two hours for the malaria medicine from the CDC . I wish I knew her name to thank her."

Mutombo came to the U.S. in 1987 on an academic scholarship to attend Georgetown. As a premed major, he expected to return to the Congo as a doctor.

In his second year, Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson invited the 7-foot-2 Mutombo to try out for the team. He grew up loving soccer, but eventually came around to basketball under Thompson's guidance.

"He took me by his wing," Mutombo said. "He made me who I became today, he's like a father figure to me. I don't call him 'Coach,' I call him 'Pop.' He gave me all the tools to succeed -- maturity and education."

Georgetown was ranked No. 1 and reached the final eight twice in his three years of play. He was Big East defensive player of the year, averaging 15.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and 4.71 blocks his senior year.

College basketball altered his plans to become a doctor, and he graduated instead with degrees in linguistics and diplomacy. He speaks English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and five African dialects.

Mutombo has averaged 10.6 points and 10.8 rebounds in his 15-year career.

Now he's satisfied to assist on the medical front. His goal is to get 100,000 people to contribute $10 a month on his Web site to support the hospital and research.

"I'm still a doctor, serving the people," Mutombo said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I can't decide which one is worse.

Ya'll Must've Forgot
Roy Jones

Roy Jones gets points for:

-Being the baddest man in the fight game and making a rap video about it. That shit is just inherently cool.
-The “Every Breath You Take” inspired swinging heavy bags.
-That gamecock move he popped James Toney with.
-The Run DMC homage.
- Vinny Pazienza shout out!

Roy Jones loses points for:

-The skin tight, short-sleeved mock neck he’s wearing.
-Rhyming already with already.
-The shorts set. (Is he a 12-year-old? Are we at Kings Dominion?)
-Bragging about beating Reggie Johnson. Who?
-Nappy chest hair. No no homo.

Must Be the Money
Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders gets points for:

-Being a two sport superstar and making a rap video about it.
-Mocking his old hairstyle.
-Was that Darryl Strawberry getting his grind on?
-“My library card is gone change into credit cards.” Rich people don’t need to borrow books.

Deion Sanders loses points for:

-I’ll just go ahead and address his buttons. What the fuck?
-S Curl.
-Suit with no shirt on.
-Finger wave sighting!
-Vest with no shirt underneath.

When you get down to it, Roy Jones is a bad rapper who made a pretty run of the mill music video. Deion committed a crime against nature.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Now this is a shrewd deal.

From the Los Angeles Times

The TV Deal the NBA Wishes It Had Not Made
The Silnas of the ABA's St. Louis Spirits still cash in on the contract that began with the merger in 1976.
By Jonathan Abrams
Times Staff Writer

July 31, 2006

Roughly once a month, the NBA cuts 31 checks to NBA teams as revenue from its multibillion-dollar national television contract.

There are only 30 NBA franchises, so who gets the extra check?

The money goes to brothers Ozzie and Dan Silna, co-owners of the long-forgotten ABA team, the Spirits of St. Louis.

Thirty years ago, Ozzie Silna, with attorney Donald Schupak, negotiated a deal that cleared the way for the ABA to merge with the NBA. It ranks as one of the best sports deals in modern times, one that has paid the Silnas about $168 million and continues to pay off.

"I would have loved to have an NBA team," said Ozzie Silna, 73, a Malibu resident and environmental activist. "But if I look at it retrospectively over what I would have gotten, versus what I've received now, then I'm a happy camper."

Part of the Silnas' deal called for them to receive one-seventh of the annual TV revenue from each of the four ABA teams entering the NBA. The deal turned out to be so lucrative that several NBA teams have tried to break it, without success.

"We honor the deal," said Donnie Walsh, the Indiana Pacers' chief executive. "I can't say we haven't met and tried to settle it. But it's the greatest deal known to man. What more can you say?"

The key line in the Silnas' TV contract that makes NBA executives cringe reads: "The right to receive such revenues shall continue for as long as the NBA or its successors continues in its existence."

In other words, the deal lasts as long as the NBA does.

Another key component is that Silna, anticipating the NBA expanding, capped the brothers' portion of shared television revenue at a maximum of 28 teams. The other NBA teams share their revenue among all 30 teams.

The Silnas' contract stands ironclad, despite occasional court challenges. Harry Weltman, former general manager of the Spirits, argued to the Supreme Court in 1991 that he was entitled to a share of the revenue to no avail.

Still, the four ABA teams now in the NBA — the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New Jersey Nets (formerly the New York Nets) and San Antonio Spurs — have spent plenty in legal fees searching for wiggle room out of the Silnas' contract.

"I think nearly every single attorney and sports executive from those four franchises has taken a look at the deal to see if they can break it," said Gary Hunter, a former Nuggets executive. "I've yet to talk to anybody who can say it can be broken. Every year, when it came down to take a look at the budgeting process we would all just shake our heads."

Three decades ago when the Silnas struck their deal, the renegade ABA, known for its red-white-and-blue ball, three-point shots and star Julius Erving, was struggling financially.

In 1976 the ABA reached a merger deal with the NBA. The NBA agreed to take four of the six teams from the dismantling ABA. The Spirits and the Kentucky Colonels were not invited to join the league. However, the ABA owners needed to reach unanimous approval for the merger to take place.

John Y. Brown, owner of the Kentucky Colonels, quickly accepted a $3.3-million buyout as compensation. That deal was also offered to the Silnas.

But Ozzie Silna kept haggling for more, and he finally reached a deal in a swank Massachusetts hotel room. The Silnas would get $3 million, plus a share of the TV revenue from the four teams entering the NBA.

"When we accepted the arrangement, the big thing was that the NBA had television" and the ABA didn't, said Silna. "But still, the TV revenue was minuscule compared with baseball and the NFL."

Initially, the contract netted the Silnas about $300,000 a year as the NBA struggled with spotty attendance and weak TV ratings until the '80s, when Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan catapulted the league to a higher profile.

As the NBA's popularity rose, so did the league's TV contract and the Silnas' cut. For the NBA's last contract, they averaged $15 million a year.

"The process never even entered our minds of how high it would get," Ozzie Silna said. "We just wanted a piece of the action."

They are due an even larger jackpot from the NBA's current contract, which began in 2002. That six-year, $4.6-billion deal with ABC/ESPN and TNT could earn them upward of $24 million annually, according to Silna.

Without having to dole out salaries or money on stadium leases, the Silnas earn more each season than most NBA teams.

Silna is quick to point out that today's NBA teams are worth hundreds of millions. Indeed, the Lakers are worth $529 million, and the lowly New Orleans Hornets are valued at $225 million, according to Forbes.

The irony is that Ozzie Silna said he never thought the Spirits would be one of the ABA teams that folded.

The Silnas, who originally earned their money as textile manufacturers, purchased the North Carolina franchise and moved it to St. Louis in 1974. The colorful team featured future NBA players Marvin Barnes, Maurice Lucas and Moses Malone and young radio announcer Bob Costas.

Attendance stagnated in the team's second year, and it soon became apparent the Spirits would not survive the impending merger. In all, the Silnas spent about $5 million on the Spirits.

In 1982, after several years of cashing TV checks, the Silnas came close to accepting a new buyout. The NBA offered them $5 million over eight years, but the Silnas countered with a demand of $8 million over five.

The league balked at that number, so the Silnas have kept cashing in.
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