January 31, 2007

It Has Arrived, Dynasty 05

A tribute to the FITES of Benedictine University. Go pick this up immediately.

Mens and womens available. And now there is a link added on the right so you can access the Blowtorch Shop at all times.

More designs to come!

A Letter to Tank Johnson

Hey Tank,

I caught your press day interview yesterday. You looked good. Must be the Subway diet (you did mention that you finally get to eat Subway after being on house arrest for a month)! Hahaha!

Speaking of that interview, not that we want to deter your business or anything, but you don’t have to mention that you love Subway. I mean, who doesn’t love Subway a little, right? It’s kind of a given. And even though people say any publicity is good publicity, don’t worry about it. I mean, we’re already working with one incredibly large black man to promote our products, we wouldn’t want to frighten confuse our customers by introducing another.

Really. If you like Subway that much, we have a $3.99 daily value special where you can get a different sub every day, along with chips and a drink, but for you we’d be willing to send you a footlong every day, just don’t mention us, alright? It’s not that we’re worried about associating with a man named “Tank” who has been arrested on multiple weapons charges, it’s definitely not that. We just feel like we’ve taken care of our football marketing. Yeah. That’s definitely it, not the thing about the guns.

Thanks so much!

Jared Fogle

p.s get the Sweet Onion Teriyaki Chicken Breast next time. It’s out of this world!

January 30, 2007


Pretty interesting thing going on over at SLAM. They're recapping all the old Jordans up until the 22s come out. Too bad Jay is with Reebok, because "22 2s" is an amazing song.

January 29, 2007

The Dynasty

Bill Cartwright&
Cliff Levingston&
Stacey King&
Bobby Hansen&
Jo Jo English&
Rusty LaRue&
Pete Myers&
Randy Brown&
Jud Buechler&
Jack Haley&
Craig Hodges&
Dickie Simpkins&
Jason Caffey&
Joe Kleine&
Keith Booth&
Scott Burrell&
Robert Parish&
Bison Dele&
John Salley&
James Edwards&
Trent Tucker&
Scott Williams&
Dennis Hopson.

January 26, 2007

My Evening with Isiah

It has been very hard for me to comprehend the bizarre events of December 22, 2006. On that day, I was invited to Isiah Thomas’ childhood home in Chicago for an evening of board games and pizza. The following is a retelling of that night’s events.

The setup was innocent enough. I arrived at Isiah’s boyhood home at about 6:30 after my day at work. As I looked around at the pictures of Isiah’s high school days at St. Joe’s I started to wonder how this legendarily talented player would eventually turn in to one of the most maligned executives in basketball history.

Suddenly, Isiah appeared from a room at the back of the house with a slightly confused look on his face. I asked him what was wrong.

“Oh nothing,” he responded. “It’s just that if I don’t get tonight right, I’m going to be kicked out of this house.”

I was incredulous. “Why would they kick you out? You made this house famous. You being here got people talking about the neighborhood again.”

Dejected, Isiah said, “I think that’s the problem.”

Quickly he suggested that we order a pizza. Just as quickly, I agreed but to make him feel better I encouraged him to make the choice. “Hamburger and bacon it is then!” he said. I was shocked. How could he make such a perfect pizza choice just moments after meeting me. I told him this.

“You’re surprised? Everyone knows I make solid picks.”

With the pizza ordered, Isiah and I finally sat down for the real reason I was there – to play some board games. Returning the favor, Isiah allowed me to pick which game to play. Without hesitation I chose Monopoly. I figure, what better way to see how this guy handles his money? Isiah liked my choice, but insisted on being the banker. So it began…

-Fast forward to 9:00-

We’re now about 2 hours in to the game, and I’m perturbed. It seems like Isiah keeps getting money from out of nowhere and there is still no pizza. I ask, “Zeke. What’s the deal? Where is the pizza?”

“Well Trey,” he started, “this pizza place is known to take a little bit longer, but if they get here it’ll be awesome.”

If they get here?” I said.

“Yeah. If. This pizza guy isn’t usually on time, but when he shows up, you’ll see.”

Uh oh. I guess this sort of explains some things. I mean, if Isiah can mess up a transaction as easy as a pizza order I can see how his personnel choices could be a bit off. I’m feeling proud of myself that I got Park Place when Isiah already had Boardwalk as I roll the dice. Double 1’s, how ironic. Unfortunately for me, that means I land on his hotel on St. James Place. I decide to mess with him.

“Hey Isiah,” I say, “how about instead of me paying for landing on your hotel, I give you Mediterranean and the two utilities.” Then I laughed so he’d know I was joking.

“No way. I’ll give you a free pass anytime you land on one of my hotels, and Boardwalk. But you have to throw in Reading Railroad too, that way I’ll have three of four.” Clearly, he didn’t know I was joking.

“That’s fine with me,” I said with a snicker.

It’s now 10:30 and there is still no sign of pizza. Whatever. Isiah had some biscotti out anyways so I was doing okay. The bank, however, was not. Somehow, our Monopoly bank had gone bankrupt. I repeat, OUR MONOPOLY BANK WAS BANKRUPT.

“Isiah! How did this happen?!? The band SHOULD NOT go bankrupt IN MONOPOLY!”

“I’m sorry. I took out some loans, but then since I landed on your Boardwalk I couldn’t pay them back. I’m really sorry.”

Ding, dong

Saved by the bell! Finally the pizza had arrived and just when I was getting really frustrated with Isiah. Isiah insisted that it was his treat, so he went to the door.

“That’ll be 34.74, sir,” said the pizza guy. (I think, “That sure is an expensive pizza.)

Isiah reaches for his wallet and pulls out two crisp $100 bills, which he hands to the pizza guy.

“Keep the change.”

The look on the pizza guy’s face had to have been just as shocked as the one on mine. As Isiah walked towards back with the pizza (and a satisfied look on his face) I couldn’t help asking.

“Why did you tip six times as much as the pizza cost?”

“Well Trey, as I told you, this pizza could be totally delicious. And it did eventually get here.”

“You’re right. It could be delicious, but it still took four hours for them to deliver it.”

“Oh...you’re right, that’s too long.” Isiah said, ashamedly. “Should I order another?”

January 25, 2007

Thank You, League Pass

Thanks to the free preview of NBA League Pass, here is a quick list of players that I need to see more of:

(Note: Free previews are the best idea ever as I am now seriously considering purchasing League Pass for the rest of the season.)

Monta Ellis just like Leandro Barbosa, but without the jumper. He throws down fierce and has crazy reach. Game winner last night.

Andres Biedrins if he played for a coach that actually cared about defense (Avery Johnson, Scott Skiles, Gregg Popovich), he'd end up on the All-Defensive teams in about a season. Quick, long, and knows where to be. I like this fellow.

Deron Williams was he this good at Illinois? No matter how much weight he loses, I'll always see his as chubby, but dude is TOUGH. I don't remember him shooting or passing this well, and I saw him play a ton of games while he was at U of I.

Hakim Warrick after that championship season at Syracuse, he kind of fell off for a while, but I keep happening to catch the Grizz on League Pass and every time he's swatting shots out of the air, just like back in the day. Reminds me a lot of Tyrus Thomas, so if the Bulls have to give up Tyrus to get Warrick and Gasol that wouldn't be a bad move.

Pau Gasol I don't get how he is a dominant post scorer. He has to be the least physical, least athletic big man to average 20 and 10. I don't think he jumps more than 6 inches off the floor on his post shots. He (and his beard) is fascinating. Nonetheless, if the Bulls don't have to give up too much to get him, he'd be a perfect addition.

the Suns I cannot stop watching this team. Firing up the DVR for their games is a must.

January 24, 2007

Cookie Mountain Arizona

Try as you might, comparing rock music to basketball can be a fruitless endeavor. The fluidity and smoothness of an NBA game is not one that is typically captured in rock. However, it occurred to me last night that there is a definite parallel between the Phoenix Suns and indie fave TV On the Radio.

It would be simple to point out the aesthetic similarity in both Steve Nash and Dave Sitek being the white conductor of a group of hyper-talented black men, but the parallels between these two are far more internal than something as surface as skin color. Describing either the Suns or TVOTR is a futile attempt. Sure, you could say that the Suns are a marvelous passing team and that their fast break is unmatched. Just as easily, you could say that TVOTR are a strange brew of indie-punk-doowop-Motown-no wave-whatever (well, maybe not easily). However, these words are just that – trivial placeholders for something infinitely more beautiful.

Last night, the Suns once again destroyed an Eastern Conference leader, the Wizards. The Producer (as I will now call Steve Nash) was otherworldly (27 points on 11-13 shooting, 14 assists). This followed The Producer’s 21 assist game during the dismantling of the crumbling Cavaliers. And while it is impossible to quantify which game was more dominating, it is easy to see the beauty in what he is doing. While watching the game, I can only remember one time where he missed an open man that he could have got the ball to. But like I said, words cannot properly describe the game that the man plays. Nash orchestrates the Suns multifaceted offense in such an incredible manner that the only way that I can see them losing right now is a bad shooting night.

It is this direction of divergent parts that brings to mind the musical stylings of TV On the Radio. Just as the Suns are playing basketball in a way that has never been seen before, TVOTR make music that is equally as innovative and ground-breaking. Each listen to Return to Cookie Mountain rewards the audience with new layers in their soundscape, in the same manner repeatedly watching the Suns renews appreciation for what they are trying to accomplish. The Chicken meets Bottle Rocket play of Leandro Barbosa echoes the off-kilter drum beat of “I Was a Lover.” The sheer brutality of an Amare Stoudemire drive to the basket is reminiscent of the gale force guitars of “Playhouses.” The undervalued (or under loved) Shawn Marion’s game can be seen in the spindly, twisting harmonies provided by Kyp Malone, without whom TVOTR might never have progressed beyond the promise of the Young Liars EP. The comparisons are endless.

Unfortunately for Phoenix, those comparisons might not be what they have envisioned. TVOTR has progressed with each release. From OK Calculator, to Young Liars, to the Shortlist Prize winning Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, to their greatest achievement to date, Return to Cookie Mountain, TVOTR has become stronger and more cohesive as a unit. Nonetheless, for all their critical acclaim, the band has never been able to achieve the commercial success that they so deserve. It seems that this too could be the case for the Suns. Since the ‘04-‘05 season, the Suns have perfected their breath-taking offense, and this year are actually playing decent defense. But as good as they have been in the regular season many believe that they will continue to falter in the playoffs. Teams like Dallas, San Antonio, and (depending on their health) Houston are better equipped to play the slug it out, slow it down style that becomes so prevalent once the games start to really matter. And though what they do is spectacular and pioneering, it just might be that what the Suns and TVOTR are doing is a little too ahead of their time for their own good.

January 22, 2007

The Good and Bad of Sunday, January 21st

Here is a brief comparison of what happened in my life between 3am and 6pm Sunday:

Bad: sliding off the road at 4am.
Good: the Bernard Berrian TD catch.

Bad: the guy trying to pull me out of the ditch getting stuck as well.
Good: No Bad Rex.

Bad: realizing I had a flat tire while stuck in the ditch.
Good: Thomas Jones. Who? THOMAS JONES!

Bad: getting ripped off for $500 to the dude who towed me out of the ditch because it was 5:30am.
Good: Cedric Benson being large.

Bad: finally getting to bed at 6am.
Good: Bears in the Super Bowl

All in all, Sunday was a very good day.

January 18, 2007

My Swag Is Phenomenal

Peep the tiny Jordan 5 shinin'!

January 16, 2007

Of Candies and Nuggets

It seems like the Blake-Boykins trade is working out well for the Thuggets. However, it took me until Friday night to truly understand why this move was made. A few different scenarios went through my head. First, and most likely, is that this was a move to clear room in the backcourt. With Iverson around, Boykins became expendable. Another likely scenario is that this could have helped to clear a little bit of cap room. With Melo, AI, and J.R. as their nucleus the Nugs have a chance to put together a decent team to challenge in the West. With the East being frighteningly bad, whoever wins the West has a strong to quite-strong chance of getting the title. However, the true reason for the Bloykins trade is candy; this occurred to me Friday evening at Walgreens.

I’ve always been curious as to why the Reese’s Pieces bag is significantly smaller than M&Ms. The candies are roughly the same size, but you get a way smaller bag when you purchase Reese’s Pieces and this cannot be adequately explained. Furthermore, M&Ms dominate Reese’s Pieces in every conceivable way, except one – movie theater concessions. Seriously, Reese’s Pieces is one of those bizarre foods that taste infinitely better in a theatre than not1. I am convinced that the deliciousness of in-theatre Reese’s Pieces is the reason for their continued success in the candy world. This parallels the Nuggets trading of Earl Boykins.

Boykins is a quick, little guard whose one true asset is his perimeter scoring. However, when the Nuggets acquired Iverson, they got the best little guard in the history of basketball. Iverson is better than Boykins in every facet of basketball. He scores, passes, and defends better not to mention that he is a better leader. Boykins could possibly have a better outside shot, but that is irrelevant in light of Iverson’s predilection for driving. Furthermore, it would be impossible to play Boykins and Iverson at the same time. This would be a defensive disaster. When it comes down to it, Iverson is just a far better player than Boykins. Sure Boykins could have a better outside shot, but really, who is going to choose Reese’s Pieces instead of M&Ms?

1. Sour Patch Kids, Junior Mints, Sno-Caps

January 12, 2007

The Sexophonic Delight

Big ups to Shoals over at the NBA Fanhouse. You need to get reading this absolutely bizzarotron interview with Chocolate Thunder, aka Darryl Dawkins. It'll blow your mind like Carl Jung.

January 11, 2007

Mothers, Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Moustache’d

It has come to my realization that moustache growing is inversely proportional to basketball success. You see, when a fellow grows a moustache, it can be seen as his entry in to manhood1. And while this will typically ensure short-term success on the basketball court; sadly, once the moustachioed player in question moves to the next level he will be only a portion as successful. Perhaps some examples are in order:

8th Grade Kid

You know this kid. In 8th grade, he not only had a moustache but also the least awkward body on the team. Ergo, he could use his not terribly awkward body to feast on the plethora of 5’9”, 110 lb. centers that typically compose an 8th grade frontcourt. However, upon entry to high school, Little Mr. Moustache quickly hits the awkward body and/or smoking stage. No longer will this 5’8”, 200 lb. hairy, behemoth dominate the lane. Fortunately this example proves that karma exists. That’s what you get for picking on little kids.

Juan Dixon

Compare his college and NBA stats:

At Maryland

PPG: 16.1
APG: 2.6
RPG: 4.2
SPG: 2.4
MPG: 28.4 (71% of game)


PPG: 9.4
APG: 1.7
RPG: 2.0
SPG: 0.8
MPG: 20.2 (42% of game)

Juan Dixon was a pretty good college player (and surprisingly FreeDarko). He even won a National Championship. But when he got to the NBA, his moustache has been holding him back. The Brown Recluse, Esq. and I had this to say about Mr. Dixon:

Brown Recluse: dixon was FD in college, but not in the NBA
me: also, he was good in college, but not in the NBA
Brown Recluse: haha, true

Adam Morrison

Easily the most notable recent case. Morrison was another promising, though non-descript Gonzaga player2 coming in to his last year in college. But when he grew that lip warmer, he also began heating up the NCAAs. Take a look at his pre- and post-stache statistics:

Pre-stache (04-05):
PPG: 15.2
RPG: 4.9
APG: 2.1
MPG: 27.5 (69% of game)

Post-stache (05-06)
PPG: 28.8
RPG: 5.5
APG: 1.8
MPG: 36.5 (91% of game)

Mighty impressive. As we know, Morrison was the number 3 pick in what is now being called the worst draft of all time. After a highly over-rated first month, Morrison is now routinely included in discussions of the worst regular player in the NBA. In fact, Morrison has dropped out of the Bobcats starting line-up. They are 10-23, second worst in the NBA. Not good.

Of course the 70s and 80s bring to mind obvious exceptions3, but we can all agree that basketball (and facial hair) are far different now. In the past 20 years, something happened that caused moustaches to suck the basketball soul from players as they move from level to level. I'll leave it to the Recluse to explain:

me: players with moustaches get way worse when the come to the league
Brown Recluse: they peak too early

With this in mind, I can safely say that my son will not have a moustache.

Beards are fine though.

1. Bat mitzvahs have nothing to do with this discussion.
2. White and can shoot.
3. Larry Bird.