Friday, August 29, 2008

Great Moments in Rap History, vol. XXIV

On the way in for work this morning, our local KISS FM station (note: fuck KISS FM) played an all-time classic hip hop track, truly one of the few worthy of the legacy of Rakim, Grandmaster Flash and MC Paul Barman - the inimitable "Shake Ya Tailfeather" by P.Diddy and Nelly, off the Bad Boys II (not 2) soundtrack.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT, under any circumstances, click on the link above - the video for this masterpiece is absolutely, jaw-droppingly retarded. Massive numbers of extra chromosomes. Holy shit.)

I'm sure you've heard the song - it's the classic early-2000's ripoff of basically every latent regional rap trend to that point . . . it has sirens everywhere like it's down-south crunk (even though the artists are from NYC and St. Louis), it has the bouncy, lame "fake-horn-synths" for the beat like it's B-more gutter shit (note: this same trick works beautifully in MIA's "XR2" - well, and in basically any Diplo song), it has black chicks hitting the floor, hard, throughout the video. All in all, it's the balls.

However, at the beginning (about 1:39 into the video linked above, if you're fucking stupid and clicked), one of the most perfect moments in rap music shines its light on us all. As Diddy regales us with stupid ass chatter about God knows what and the women begin (indeed) shaking their tailfeathers, Nelly lets loose with the following declaration, cleverly drawn directly to the front by the over-engineered production:
Note that there is no lead-up to this, nor any indication of why, exactly, Nelly lets loose with this particular phrase. Because of that, it's clear that Nelly is referencing the 1993 movie of the same title, a seminal HBO production describing the rise of AIDS in the gay community of San Francisco in the late '70s and early '80s (note that the IMDB plot keywords has "male nudity" as the very first one - uh, guys?).

Very clever of Nelly to interject a little bit of knowledge into a song that he knew would receive immense airplay from its ties to a cinematic marvel starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It's that kind of knowledge injection that led us to drop the moniker Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID) just five short years after the disease was discovered. For that, I wholeheartedly endorse Nelly's insane "AND THE BAND PLAYED ON" as . . . a great moment in Rap History.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Christmas in August -

It's that time again . . fantasy football season! While I haven't had even thirty seconds to really prepare, time waits for no man to be +EV against his friends and coworkers, and the first money draft took place tonight. It's a $20 12-team league, mostly guys having a good time - standard Yahoo scoring with bonuses (+4 for 300 yds/150 rushing/150 receiving), the only real "quirk" being that it's QB/RB/RB/WR/WR/WR instead of /Flex - I did not know this when I made my Round 4 selection, obviously. My team:


Round Pick Player Position
1. (7) Marion Barber RB
2. (18) Braylon Edwards WR
3. (31) Willis McGahee RB
4. (42) Earnest Graham RB
5. (55) Donovan McNabb QB
6. (66) Donald Driver WR
7. (79) Anthony Gonzalez WR
8. (90) Matt Forte RB
9. (103) Jonathan Stewart RB
10. (114) Reggie Williams WR
11. (127) Philip Rivers QB
12. (138) Tony Scheffler TE
13. (151) Drew Bennett WR
14. (162) Indianapolis DEF
15. (175) Josh Brown K

Picking #7 overall is a weird spot - Steven Jackson actually fell there, but Linehan sounds serious about his contract issues, and I couldn't really pull the trigger. I'm wondering whether this is a mistake, but even if it is, it's probably only a handful of points over the course of the season and probably reduces my variance quite a bit.

The Graham pick should likely be Calvin Johnson (who went with the next pick), since it's a 2 RB league (and he has the same bye week as my two starters) - I'll likely try to package him for a middle-tier receiver if at all possible. Past that, I think this is as good as I can reasonably expect to do in a 12-team league - if my starting receivers were Edwards/Johnson/Driver (or Gonzalez, depending on whether Marvin Harrison's knees are made of glass and/or he shot someone) I'd be ecstatic, but I can't complain too much as-is, especially since projecting WRs is basically divining-rod bullshit at this point.

I love Forte, Williams and Bennett as sleepers, especially since I was able to take them incredibly low. This opens up a TON of trading opportunities for me in the regular season, and I can try to find this season's Colston or Bowe without worry of having to drop a "real" player. It's pretty win/win from this angle.

On the whole, I think this is a great example of letting the draft come to you - especially since the Yahoo auto-pick (of which there were four in this draft) overvalues receivers in this scenario because of the imbalance, I was able to parlay some very good players at late positions. I felt like I'd just nailed the prom queen after the McGahee and McNabb picks, and even have a small (very small, like Asian small) amount of backup in case those two get injured (note: both will get injured). Essentially, I got somewhere between 2 and 3 second-round picks, and picked up receivers who may just break through with 10 TD seasons with the right breaks, even after making a terrible pick in the 4th. Life is good.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Empathy for Alicia Sacramone

Brown sucks.

On a serious note, modern sports media LOVES to focus on the "gritty" individual who elevates his or her game to a previously unexpected level under the brightest lights. We often forget that the opposite happens too - sometimes people "choke" when the stakes are the highest. Usually we empathize with poor Alicia because that is soooooooooo hard, while we shit our pants over those who excel in the "clutch" (the David Ortiz corollary) . . . however, honestly, these are top-tier athletes who have practiced and perfected their respective craft over hundreds of hours. There is no evidence that certain individuals "choke" - in fact, our sample size (often one or two events) means it's much more likely that dumb luck is the biggest factor.

However, "luck" is a shitty lead for NBC - instead, we get a crying 20 year old woman. We live in a weird world - I don't think we can characterize her performance as anything other than "choking" but I'm also not sure that characterization is really all that important. I have no idea why this seems so strange to me, or why I even sat and watched Olympic gymnastics tonight (actually, yeah I do - also I was drinking with friends, but w/e), but there it is.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Can't We All Just Get Along?

So I've had more time to explore this invention they call the interweb as I enjoy my whopping 3 week vacation from law school (and by "vacation," I mean working 60 hours a week as opposed to working 50 while taking classes). As a result, I've been "enjoying" Murray Chass' new blog on baseball. To the 5 people who read this blog, you remember my earlier postings regarding an email conversation with Mr. Murray Chass, the Hall of Fame sportswriter previously affiliated with the New York Times. Well, after been reading Mr. Chass' postings, I have noted one important thing: he hasn't missed any opportunity to take a dig at his old news paper.

For example:
and, earlier:

Now, a couple of criticisms of the Times wouldn't be such a big deal, except for the fact that it's taken up an amusingly large portion of his blog postings. Is this a case of bad blood between the newspaper giant and its former employee? Is he starting to understand the blogger's criticism of the mainstream meda? Probably more the former than the latter, but still interesting.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Manuelito: 7.5 years of being the balls

Blatantly stolen from SoSH: A pictorial, Manny-style. It was a great run, my man, you're still one of the most fun players to ever watch wear the whites.