Saturday, May 31, 2008

News Flash: Your program is underachieving

We have two college basketball teams (ACC teams, in fact):
Over the past six years Team A has gone 122-72 (.629), had three 20-win seasons, and made the NCAA tournament three times, winning four games.
During the same six seasons, team B went 122-68 (.642), and also had three 20-win seasons and three trips to the NCAA tournament, winning four games.
Logic says these two programs are probably about the same caliber, and probably found themselves in the same state at the beginning of this 6 year period.

Let's expand the descriptions:
Team A:
2002-2003: 20-10, 6 seed in NCAA tourney, lost in third round
2003-2004: 20-12, 4 seed in NCAA tourney, lost in second round.
2004-2005: 19-13, lost in NIT semifinal
2005-2006: 19-13, got invited to the NIT, apparently forgot to inform the players, because they lost on their home floor to a team that only avid college basketball fans have even heard of.
2006-2007: 25-9, 4 seed in NCAA tournament, lost in second round
2007-2008: 19-15, lost in second round of NIT

Team B:
2002-2003: 25-6, lost in second round of NCAA tournament
2003-2004: 21-10, lost in third round of NCAA tournament
2004-2005: 27-6, lost in second round of NCAA tournament (in one of the greatest games in NCAA tourney history)
2005-2006: 17-17, lost in first round of NIT
2006-2007: 15-16, no postseason
2007-2008: 17-13, no postseason

So while the two teams have taken wildly different paths, the bottom line stats are still the same.

The teams? Team A, Maryland Terrapins, Team B, Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
My point here isn't to pump up the Deacs. In fact, these track records are somewhat uninspiring. It's to illustrate how disappointing the Terps have been.
In case you forgot, Maryland won the National Championship in 2002 after making the Final Four in 2001. They were the first team since the inception of McDonald's All-Americans to win a National Championship without one. Since then, they have been able to recruit some of the best players in the country.
Wake Forest, on the other hand, lost in the second round of the '02 tourney and has only played ONE postseason game in the past three years.

How is it that Maryland, since winning a National Championship has been riding alongside a school that, historically speaking, has been pretty unspectacular? And not only are they underachieving on the court, they're screwing up off it too. For several straight years, they've had the worst Academic Progress Rating in the ACC. The lowlight of this run was the class of 2006, which featured six players, none of which graduated, and played a combined zero games in the NBA. Also included in this run is the borderline embarrassing antics of the students, lowlighted by their "F*** you JJ" on national television a few years ago.

So the million dollar question is: how could a program that got so high be so average?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lacrosse players and their sticks

I've grown up right in the middle of the lacrosse mecca of the world, and I've always followed it with curiosity. It's sort of interesting to watch. Right now, Duke and Hopkins are about to face off in the national semifinal, and I'm kind of looking forward to it. But at the end of the day, let's face it, it's the same as any other goal sport. Soccer, ice hockey, field hockey, and lacrosse are all pretty similar and are interesting if done well.

But that's not what I'm talking about today. I want to talk about lacrosse players. There's only one thing that lacrosse players love more than themselves: their sticks.

If you tuned in early to this wonderful contest, you saw kids prowling the area around the stadium carrying their sticks. The logical assumption here is that they brought their sticks for the same reason people bring footballs to tailgates: it's something to do while waiting for the game to start.


I happened to be in the vicinity of M&T Bank Stadium last year as the semifinals of the NCAA tournament ended. Kids were pouring out of the stadium carrying their sticks. That's right, they actually carried their sticks into the stadium for the game. There are only four conceivable explanations for bringing equipment into a game that you're spectating:

1. You're going to a baseball game, and the thought of catching a searing foul ball with your bare hand doesn't appeal to you.
2. You plan on having someone famous put their signature on said equipment.
3. There is a realistic chance that you will participate in the game that's about to be held.
4. You're a tool.

These kids have totally defied these rules, as they are clearly not headed to a baseball game, there is no such thing as a famous lacrosse player, and none of these kids look old enough to be NCAA eligible. Therefore, they are all tools.

Don't believe me?

Ask any lacrosse player why you should stop playing a good sport like baseball, basketball, or football and pick up lacrosse. Their answer probably won't make any sense. Kind of like this video. But instead of letting that person fill your head with meaningless white upperclass meathead drivel, pay attention to they way they talk. They sound like conspiracy theorists, lashing out at you every time you question them.

Back to their reasoning. They tell you it's the greatest sport on two feet. What? This means aside from polo and crab soccer, it's the greatest game ever. This is clearly not true. Anyway, I guess they were going off the theme of claiming your sport as the greatest game on ______ (i.e. the greatest game on ice = ice hockey, the greatest game on dirt = baseball). However, the greatest game on two feet kind of confusing, so I propose a couple of alternatives:
Greatest game with a bunch of cocky white guys.
Greatest game on grass with sticks with nets on the end.
Greatest game in Suburbia.

I could go on and on about these people, but I'll leave the rest to you.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Let Eastern Motors...

I stumbled upon this Eastern Motors commercial today on the tube. I forgot how bad the athletes that lip sync to the song are. I know they're not told to actually care about accuracy or believability, but Carmelo Anthony...really?? Are you that bad?

Kevin Jones.
OK, so I don't know you, but you did a completely average job. Work on those facial expressions, and also not looking like a Harvard MBA with a basketball jersey.

Brendan Haywood.
He infected me with his awkwardness.

Clinton Portis.
Simply amazing. Not only do you get an academy award nomination but you were definitely the most animated. Maybe a daytime soap opera is in your future?

Laveranues Coles.
He copied Portis' moves...

LaVar Arrington.
I love how he really gets into the whole thing (i.e. furrowed brow, glare, thumbs up, etc.). He also knows how to work the beat. Great all around. I'm sure after he retires he'll replace the Rock as the best football player turned actor, who is also huge.

Carmelo Anthony.
Coming off a rousing portrayal of a tortured soul who only got a bronze medal in the World Championships in his acting debut Stop Snitching, it seems Carmelo has lost his stride.

Edit: If you liked the Stop Snitching clip, then you'll probably like the Keep Talkin' response from the Baltimore Police Department. There's a reason The Wire and Homocide were filmed in Baltimore.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Some say Obama is not qualified for the top job in the world. They say he has too little experience, too much eloquence, not enough knowledge about foreign policy affairs. YADA, yada, yada. This attack comes from both parties, but more so from the Republicans now since HRC is all but kapoot. I would disagree and I did a little sleuthing so I can prove my point:

In the past 100 years, going all the way back to McKinley, and excluding the Roosevelts (#3 and #5), the most popular president in the Wall Street Journal 2005 poll rankings was Ronald Reagan, a Republican. Regardless of what I think about how he did as president, most people would say that two terms as California governor and an acting career do not qualify you to be president. Yet, in the public eyes he is the sixth best president ever.

Now arguably, the worst presidential candidates in the past 100 years were Jimmy Carter and Warren G. Harding. Harding served as a state senator, lieutenant governor, and senator for Ohio. Carter was a two state senator and also governor of Georgia. But these guys were awful and didn't live up to potential, right?

Now, I'm not saying that experience isn't necessary, however. For example, George Bush only served a governship of Texas before becoming president, and so far he has arguably done the worst job of any president in history.

I think it's fair to say that what brings about success in the presidency is the ability to bring about change and to be bipartisan. Take a look at the top 5 presidents of all time and those common themes emerge.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stealing Mom's Car

I don't think I ever took my car for a joyride or anything else prolific like that when I was 12, but in the past two weeks, I've seen three kids in the news doing exactly that.

The one that started it:

13 year olds buy hookers and xbox with dad's credit card

Hopefully somebody getting hurt will put a stop to this horrific trend

Thursday, May 8, 2008

4 Reasons the NBA is Back

1. The Spurs are aging and the Lakers are coming back. If you take a look at the Nielson ratings for the NBA for the past 30 years, you'll notice two things. One, the Spurs being in the Finals does for ratings what Dane Cook does for the box office. Two, the Lakers (and also the Bulls back in the 90s) are like ratings crack. The Lakers even pull 2-3x the amount of fans as the Spurs.

2. One word: Ballers. Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Boston's Three Amigos. The NBA thrives on rivalries and ballers: Magic-Bird, Bulls-Knicks, Jordan-everybody else. The talent this year has been nothing short of what you should expect.

3. New Orleans Hornets. The team is fast, young, and talented. Basically, they make the Spurs look like an old man talking about the good ol' days when they actually won trophies.

4. Jerseys. OK, don't fault me for this one. But the NBA is sporting some pretty fly apparel. I'm a big fan of the new New Orleans jerseys, Cleveland, and the Hawks. Although, you have to wonder what is going through the Clippers', Spurs', and Blazers' minds when you look at the travesties that they call their logos.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Owned with ball

So last night while procrastinating, I stumbled on something wonderful...people getting owned by those huge exercise balls. I currently have one in my room...hmm....

the all-time classic:

and my personal favorite

Most Awesome: Ball Ownage - Watch more free videos


Thursday, May 1, 2008

There are a lot of cheaters on YouTube

Well, now that I'm also in exam week, I'll contribute to this discussion about succeeding on an exam. While studying is a great strategy, apparently some people prefer other methods.
This post was inspired by the following video:

Very clever. And as we all know, YouTube has a knack for putting "related" videos on the side. Sometimes they're good, sometimes not. While that guy is just a clever bloke in a TV commercial, there are real life people who not only like to cheat, but they also like to help others cheat.
For the record, I HATE cheaters. In any environment it sucks, but it sucks even more in classes where your raw score doesn't really matter because you're graded on a curve. This post has more to do with my fascination with the "Anything goes on YouTube" theory than anything else.

Anyway, here goes:

This isn't what I expected. This guy recommends peeling the label off a Coke bottle, scanning it, Photoshopping it so that your notes are on the label, and then printing out a new label and putting it on. Clever. Only problem is, in the time it would take you to do this, you probably could just sit down and actually LEARN the material.

This guy suggests making a text file with notes and importing to an iPod. I guess this is a good idea if the proctor falls asleep, in which case you should save yourself the trouble and just pull out the textbook. Otherwise, you staring at your iPod might raise some eyebrows. (I don't know where you would be allowed to listen to an iPod during an exam anyway. Oh well.)

This video is impressive in its length and idiocy. The beginning schpeel makes you wanna punch the kid in the face. He claims Abe Lincoln, JFK, George Washington, and George W Bush all cheated, a claim that succeeds only in being vague. He then goes onto another speech about how cheating is bad and he won't take responsibility if you get caught. Whatever.
He opens with three "principles":
1. Become friends with the professor. This is just a good idea in general, but I guess theoretically it does give you a leg up, since I can totally see a professor thinking "You know, I really think Jimmy's up to something since he keeps staring at his iPod and a Coke bottle over there, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt because he's a cool guy."
2. Become friends with the class. He says if you don't know how to do a homework, make stuff up, email to some people, and be like "This is what I got, what did you get?" If someone did that to me, I'd email them back and be like, "You got everything wrong, do you need help?" and not "O RLY? Here's my answers. Don't copy them plz! ROFL" But if the people in your class are like this kid, I guess this might work.
3. Stay humble - don't brag. I feel like if you're enough of a jerk to cheat, then you'll be enough of a jerk to brag about it.
He then moves into five specific ways you can cheat, all somewhat idiotic in their simplicity.

Then there's this guy:

Maybe if you didn't call yourself a "vlogger" I would take you seriously. Oh wait, even then I wouldn't take you seriously, because your middle school trick is stupid.

So in addition to reinforcing my multitude of theories about YouTube (which sounds like a good topic for a later post), it reinforced another belief of mine: idiots will do ANYTHING to get ahead.

So if you like to be a jerk and rip off your classmates, there are plenty more videos about cheating on YouTube which you may watch to your unethical little heart's content.
Otherwise, you should turn to my favorite strategy: KEEP STUDYING.