Friday, June 29, 2007

Nate's Friday Sports Extravaganza

We'll see how long this lasts. I've decided to do a weekly sports column that will, naturally focus on the Cavaliers, the Indians and the Browns. I'm not sure if it will actually qualify as an "extravaganza," but I like the sound of it.


So, let's kick this off with the obvious: the NBA draft that took place last night. Predictably the Cavs did nothing. I hope that nothing does not constitute the entirety of their off-season plans, but draft day came and went without so much as a murmur from the Cavaliers. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because they sure as heck weren't getting their hands on any of the players who will help them immediately. This is a team trying to get over the hump in the NBA finals, not building for the future. That said, it's always a little deflating to be left out of the fun, especially for Jiri Welsch, and it's always good to have young talent on hand.

The Blazers got Greg Oden. Blah. He'd look much nicer in a Cavs uniform.

Speaking of the Blazers, how the hell do they get four picks every year? Do they have any players over 22?

Boston just made themselves a playoff team by adding Ray Allen, who chose to stay with the shitty Sonics two years ago instead of signing with the Cavs. That cost both him and the Cavs an NBA title this year.

After much reflecting, I think the Cavs had better sign Anderson Varejao, but Sasha Pavlovic may very well not be wearing the Wine and Gold for long. As much as I love the guy, as much as I'd like to see him stay, I don't see the Cavs breaking the bank if he gets a big offer. Varejao is the greater asset.


How lovely, how beautiful a sight it is to see: Cleveland Indians: 46-32, New York Yankees: 36-39. Everything is sunshine and flowers.

I guess if the Indians make the playoffs, people will start going to games. I'm off the hook, because I live in France. GO TO THE JAKE, PEOPLE.

I have a good feeling about this Indians team. The most encouraging thing is seeing their record, good enough for a wild-card spot in the playoffs, and knowing that Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner haven't swung the bat so well yet. If Pronk has a really hot second half, it will be a very interesting race in the AL central.

The bullpen is a big worry though. I do believe that I called it right when I said their off-season aquisitions were crap at best. Borowski has been good. Fultz is mediocre. Hernandez was a bust. Foulke never played. If only baseball's biggest nerd, Matt Miller, could stay healthy! I've always had a thing for baseball players who wear glasses. See: Ron Kittle, Alex Cole, Eric Plunk and now Miller.

I love Josh Barfield. He's made some Alomar-esque plays at second, and he's starting to hit too.

I do not, do not like Franklin Gutierrez' swing.

I'm guessing that we won't see Andy Marte till September. That's good. I'm guessing the same about Shin-Soo Choo. That's bad. (Never mind. I just found out Choo is on the DL, dammit).

I really like Casey Blake, but only Casey Blake could have such a cold 26-game hitting streak. There were a lot of 1-4 nights in there. I think his average only went up about 10 points the whole time.

Cheers to the Indians for installing solar panels at Jacobs field. McBone endorses the use of renewable resources.

Jeers to the Indians for continuing to use Chief Wahoo.


The Browns have made some really nice moves this offseason. I liked the draft, especially Joe Thomas to bolster the OL. I liked their signings, too. My prediction for this season? An optimistic 6-10. Since it is impossible to have 3 good teams at one time in Cleveland, the Browns will maintain their stranglehold on the title, Most Depressing Team in Sports.

Let's hope Brady Quinn is not the starting QB this year, or you can go ahead and chuck him on the pile with Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, (doesn't it seem that everyone's given up on him a bit too soon?) Jeff Garcia, and others who have been put in front of the firing squad and told to dodge the bullets.

Nate's unreasonable prediction of the week:

The Cavs will trade Ira Newble for Tony Parker and cash.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Worst Day of My Life

I'd like to share with all of you an experience that I consider the worst ordeal I have ever lived through. That is a distinction I do not make lightly, and believe me when I say that it is not easy for me to discuss. I've undergone years of therapy, paid tens of thousands in psychologist's fees. I've tried Yoga. Meditation. Prayer. I'm not proud of it, but there were even moments when I considered going to church. I was that desperate.

Now, normally my family spends Thanksgiving at home. My mom puts together a formidable feast every year, and every year it's a triumph. It's hard to pin down the year, but it was probably around 1993 or '94 that we decided to buck tradition and spend the holiday in Newton, Massachusetts with Aunt Gail and Uncle Don.

In principle, in principle this seemed a reasonably sound idea. My aunt Gail is a tremendous cook. The dinner itself would no doubt be of surpassing excellence. All were looking forward to a long weekend in New England.

Common sense tells me we ate the usual that Thanksgiving: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc. Everyone tells me that is the case, and by all accounts it was a smash hit. I honestly don't remember. In fact much of that weekend is a black void in my memory, all but one unforeseen event that will forever haunt my life and, I fear, afterlife.

The next morning Uncle Don announced that he had Boston Celtics tickets. While I have no love for the Celtics, I do love basketball and I thought it would be an excellent chance to see one of the great teams playing in a legendary arena--the since-demolished Boston Garden. But his tickets numbered only two, one for him and one for my Uncle Jeff.

The rest of us, aunt Gail announced merrily, had tickets to something quite different. That evening we would be attending, to my dismay, to my infinite horror, a local theater troupe's production of...The Sound of Music.

I know what you're thinking, because my reaction was pretty much the same: This must be some kind of joke, and not a very funny one, either. Well, I am here to tell you that it was decidedly not a joke, though I did not, I could not accept the reality of this situation until we were settled into our seats, some ten rows back. Even then I had my doubts. It's all a bad dream, I assured myself. Soon I'll wake up. Then the curtain rose.

This was no dream. It was a nightmare.  

The hills are alive...

Thus intoned the lead actress,

...with the sound of muuu-sic.

I endured almost seven minutes of this torture before blacking out, but this desperate defense was quickly thwarted as my cousin, Abby, revived me with a splash of water and a brisk slap to the cheek. For the next 15 hours, for it could not have been less, I was helpless. All proceeded as though in molasses, every horrifying, gleeful note of those cursed nuns, those satanic Von Trapp children. How they taunted me!

How do you solve a problem...

How they delighted in my torment! Maria.

Curses! Curses! Even now I can see them, prancing about. I can hear them and their caterwauling renditions of those awful songs. Had I a knife, a blunt object, I would have swiftly inflicted a mortal wound to myself. I would have done anything to end this fate worse than hell, but at last came a ray of hope. House lights on. Intermission. Intermission??? There's another half of this crap?

Ah, intermission. I can taste the delicacies proffered by local ovens: Raisin squares, rice krispy treats and those circular disks of sawdust passing as oatmeal cookies. No, I would not like a cup of kool-aid.

All too quickly my reprieve was ended. I made a break for it, a dash to the exit, but was quickly tackled by the crone who had been taking tickets. Her granddaughter, it seems, was a Von Trapp, that infernal Liesl, and no one walks out on her Liesl. Try, struggle as I might, she easily subdued me.

Defeated, broken, utterly deflated, I was tossed like a soggy rag back into my seat.  Whimpering and senseless, I watched the second half. My stomach meanwhile was coping with the low-fat brownie I had taken as a last-ditch attempt at my own life. Alas, my suicide pill failed.

Two seats down, my aunt cackled unreservedly. I know not at what.

More than a decade later, I've managed to pick up the pieces and lead a relatively normal life, at least as normal as I could ever hope for. I am married. I work. Can you blame me if I take an occasional nip from the bottle? I suppose I will always have the tic in the left side of my face. I'm not sure I ever passed the brownie, but I manage to sleep a solid 3-4 hours most nights, and in my waking hours the songs have mostly faded.

Still, in quiet times, when I'm all alone, I find that night steals back into my mind,

Do, a deer...

and I curl into a ball,

...a female deer

and softly weep.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Matthew Shepard Act

Recently the House of Representatives passed a measure that would expand the Hate Crimes Act to include crimes committed against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons.

Soon the Matthew Shepard Act will be voted on in the Senate. Check this out:

Guess who is threatening to veto the bill if it passes? Never mind. Sorry. No guessing required. And what is the rationale that our reverend leader offers for his stated intentions regarding this bill? That such a bill would restrict first amendment rights of people opposed to the above mentioned lifestyles.

And who is it that likes to rail against gays? Why, it's the religious right, of course. And who do you think donated more money to Bush's '04 campaign? Far-right Christian organizations or GLBT advocacy groups?

So basically all those Christian leaders who are constantly bashing gays are afraid they won't be allowed to bash gays anymore. There are a lot of ways I could react to this, but I will try stay on task by saying that this is simply not the case. Though gay bashing is tantamount to bashing anyone who is born black or with blue eyes or with curly hair, our first amendment rights shall not be trampled upon. Fear not, James Dobson! Don't worry, Pat Robertson! Put your mind at rest, Fred Phelps! Gay bashers will have free license to keep bashin' away.

The aim here is not to shut people up, but to eliminate crimes that are committed based on one's sexual orientation. We're trying to make sure that no more 21 year old boys are tortured and left to die on a fence in the middle of nowhere, as happened to Matthew Shepard in 1998, all because he was gay.

So, McBone urges all of you to please, please click here to sign the Human Right Campaign's letter to the senate. It only takes a minute and could help make a law out of this common-sense bill.


PS. As scripted, Bush vetoed a bill this week that would have expanded research on embryonic stem cells.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Trouble in Paradise

Today all of France is united in celebration of the annual Festival de Musique, during which music is performed by the citizenry outdoors and for everyone, and our pretty little haven of peace and solitude called La Roche-sur-Yon is slightly more active than it normally would be on a rainy Thursday evening.

The street just below our apartment is no exception.

Alex was the first to notice the commotion, and she stood by the window watching the events unfold for a few minutes before informing me that a fight seemed about to break out. There was a small band of Arab boys (is that P.C.? If not, sorry) gathered in front of the garage of a facing house, quite obviously drunk, and looking to start something with any other group of passers-by that happened to be similar in age and gender. Though this fight didn't really materialize into more than a few traded insults, a good hour of entertainment was to follow.

Two of these young gallants were more out of control than the others (totalling between 6 and 12 at any given time), and when not trying to pick a fight, they occupied themselves with pissing against the house, kicking the cars parked in the street and giving each other long and, dare I say it, pretty homoerotic embraces. The closest we saw to a real fight was when four French boys happened by. Taunts ensued, and when one of them was dumb enough to take the bait, he was rewarded with two punches to the head. The young Frenchmen nearly retaliated before thinking better of engaging attackers who were backed by a much larger--well--posse.

Perhaps most interesting was who the lads didn't bother about: families, children and old people were routinely ignored. Dozens of families (including one carrying a giant, pink, dolphin-shaped balloon) came and went, easy prey for these charming sophisticates, and were allowed to continue unmolested.

Young women, on the other hand, were fair game.

Now, it's easy to see why this type of crap provides fodder to the likes of Sarkozy, or the even less tolerant Le Pen, but as our own experience with drunken louts proves (see earlier posts), it isn't just the Arab population that causes this kind of problem. Our asshole neighbors were 100% French, and they were 100% just as obnoxious as this rowdy pack of dipshits.

Here's where it gets complicated (sort of). I don't want to make excuses for these guys. Clearly they are idiots. And yet, then again, I can't help it. Isn't this the kind of behavior that arises from growing up in poverty and being marginalized? Yep, of course it is. So, my reaction is twofold. On the one hand, I wanted to see these two imbeciles (yes, I feel a little bad calling them that) pick on the wrong people and get the thrashing of their lives, and then naturally I have to sympathize with people who never had any advantage in life, and probably never will.


PS. The next morning I checked out one of the cars they were beating on, and they really pounded the shit out of it. Broken window and dents everywhere. Now I feel bad we didn't call the police. How strange that nobody else did, either.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just Mind Your Own Damned Business, Will You?

To all the great moralists out there who think that LeBron James should marry the woman with whom he has two children: kindly piss off.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

McBone Recipe of the Month: the Martini!

The martini has long played and important role in the Bowler family. Our apéritif of choice was perfected decades ago by our grandfather, William Bowler, who passed his recipe on to his sons, who, in turn, entrusted it to the next generation of Bowlers.

Before we begin, let's get something established that doubtlessly will send shockwaves through the cocktail-drinking world. We at McBone are willing to dive into the controversy that will doubtlessly ensue with this, our firm and fixed assertion that a martini is made from GIN, not vodka, and no cocktail made with vodka can rightfully call itself a martini. Furthermore, McBone will not engage in any discussion involving so-called martinis preceded by the words chocolate, cajun, mint, tequila, apple, lime, cinnamon or any others that might be found on a menu of some two-bit, soon-to-be-out-of-business "martini bar."

Now, our recipe.

A martini starts, as we've stated, with gin. Make sure you have a quality label on hand, otherwise abort mission. McBone recommends Bombay, Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray, to name a few. There also exist any number of designer gins that will certainly do, if you're willing to cough up a few extra bucks. In a pinch, Seagrams will suffice, but avoid bottom-shelf, bathtub brands, which should be reserved for the removal of paint. McBone recommends Beefeater gin above all others, and is proud to call Beefeater the Official Gin of McBone.

For the perfect martini:

Fill a rocks glass with cubed ice. Make sure the ice is fresh and not the kind that smells like the leftover fish that has been in the freezer for 14 years. Good god, you don't want your ice to interfere with the lovely juniper flavor of the precious gin.

Next, fill your glass with gin. Don't be shy now--all the way up, leaving just a little room to top off. Take a moment to marvel at the superior, crystal-clear quality that, unlike vodka, does not hint at the insipid nature of the liquor. Hear the ice crackle and pop with pleasure as it bathes in sweet ecstacy. Your gin is getting colder, and you are finding it difficult to resist putting the glass to your lips right now. You could, of course, and have yourself a satisfactory cocktail, but why not wait a moment and complete a few final steps?

Add a splash, and we mean a splash, of dry vermouth. We suggest Martini and Rossi Extra Dry. Don't overdo it. If you fear that you've poured too much, dump contents into the sink, fetch a clean glass and start anew.

Now, get yourself a nice, fresh lemon and cut yourself a sizeable twist. Squeeze the rind over your drink and rub along the rim of the glass. Plop your twist directly into the drink, and smile. You're getting closer.

And for a finishing touch: spear two or three large olives, preferably with a metallic pick, and plunge into your martini (A twist and multiple olives is a patented Bill Bowler innovation). Stir vigorously for 10-20 seconds. If your glass is not completely full, add another cube of ice.

Your martini is ready to be enjoyed. Find a comfortable chair to sit in. Appreciation of a martini begins with the eyes. Notice again the sublime clearness of your cocktail. Hear the ice clinking melodically. Feel the glass sweat in the summer heat. Inhale generously and take your first sip. Achieve nirvana.

Remember to gulp the first one, sip the second.

Best enjoyed with family and friends.

For a change of pace, try cocktail onions in place of olives for a Gibson!

While McBone officially endorses a martini on the rocks, we do not condemn them served "up" in a traditional martini glass.

McBone Inc.

Friday, June 15, 2007

One Out of Fifty Ain't Bad

Today McBone is proud of the state of Massachusetts, whose legislature overwhelmingly voted down a measure that would seek to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. I was ashamed in 2004 when such a measure not only appeared on my ballot (conspicuously positioned above the presidential nominees) but was ratified in a landslide by Ohio voters.

Massachusetts is the only state in our union in which gays have been granted full marriage rights. Civil unions exist in five others. That makes 44 states with a backward, bigoted policy toward a minority group.

The Defense of Marriage Act is an abomination in every possible way and a perversion of what the United States is supposed to stand for: tolerance, freedom and the unimpeded pursuit of happiness. Furthermore, all of these statewide attempts to marginalize gays have done nothing but send civil rights back fifty years. Or maybe we never really got out of the fifties, since it seems there are certain demographics that got left behind.

Massachusetts' wisdom, coupled with the recent death of Jerry Falwell, is at least a ray of hope amid all this backwardness.

McBone demands equal rights for all people regardless of race, gender, religion, creed, education, eye color, height, weight, IQ, hairstyle, athletic ability, personal hygiene, and, yes, even sexual orientation.

Gays are not monsters. Bigots are.


Oh, and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel supports gay marraige.

Countries with full gay marriage rights: Canada, Holland, Spain, Belgium, South Africa.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Throw Up (not for the faint of heart!)

Though I'm not sure why, I have always, throughout my life, had a strange fascination with throwing up. According to my parents--and I have no memory of this--I was in the habit as a small child of toting around some kind of vessel in case of an onset of nausea, all the while asking whomsoever would indulge me whether or not I was going to throw up. I suppose this was an early form of paranoia, but at least I was conscientious enough to not want to ruin my mother's carpet.

Oh, how times have changed.

Today one of my students threw up. It happened as I emerged from the cafeteria, having just finished my lunch. The moment was perfect. The stars were aligned. There, bent double, was this wretched child, an impressive and continuous stream of brownish liquid pouring faucet-like from his mouth. My first instinct, truthfully, was not to call over one of the lunch assistants or another teacher, but to stand by and watch, to capture this precious memory, this shared experience stronger than any blood oath between two people, in this case master and pupil. Lest I miss anything, I remained by his side, my hand on his back, consoling verbally but in secret encouraging: yes, yes, let it out, young one, down to the bilious bottom reaches of your belly. And what a spectacle it became as he continued to heave, his gastrointestinal content in seemingly limitless supply.

The puddle swelled beneath him, and finally I felt that inevitable nagging twinge of guilt. I procured for my poor charge the proper aid, and, as he was escorted to the bathroom, I took the time to examine what had been regurgitated. Therein I found, swimming in the tide, several blobs of masticated tuna and a single hunk of tomato, curiously unchewed.

Was I myself sickened by this? Not at all. On the contrary I regarded it as a singular stroke of good fortune to have witnessed so prodigious a display. So much vomit from such a small person--it was a little rainbow in the most ordinary of days.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Kill Me Now

God, this sucks.
How painful was the Cavaliers' game three loss? Like swallowing hot coals. How do I feel this morning? Like my dog died. No, worse. Like my best friend was put into a meat grinder, and I was made to turn the crank.
The Cavs kicked the Spurs' butts in every way last night, except outside shooting. Quite naturally, that was the difference in a 75-72 loss. Couldn't they have made just a couple more of those three pointers they took? Did they have to shoot 3 of 19? That's 15 percent! Two more makes would have elevated them to a still-horrific 26 percent.
I'm from Akron. I'm supposed to love this, right? Misery. Suffering. Heartache. It defines me as a Cleveland sports fan, right? The Cavs should just be happy to be playing in the finals, and I should be happy to watch them, right?
Nope. Sorry. Wrong. This is torture.
The Cavs are making their critics look better and better. If indeed they are swept, and I really don't see why they won't be at this point, it will burn some of the most painful sports memories into my psyche forever.
All that's left to do now is blow a 25 point fourth quarter lead.
Do I wish they had never gotten to this point? Of course not. That's not the issue. The problem is that Cleveland teams never, and I mean NEVER win. Not ever. The last time it happen, Johnson was president (Lyndon, not Andrew, though it seems like Andrew). Usually the teams are just bad, but when they're good, they're never quite good enough. Getting to the finals is not going to cut it anymore. Second place won't make things better. We need a winner. A real winner. Moral victories don't cut it, so I don't want to hear about how the Cavs really played the Spurs tough in Cleveland. Everyone saw the Cavs decimate the Pistons. They could have done so much more in the finals. They didn't. It hurts.

Monday, June 11, 2007


This was the injustice that started it all for us here at McBone, and we are overjoyed to report to you all that Genarlow Wilson's ten year sentence for child molestation has been voided by judge Thomas H. Wilson.
Though his release from prison is pending an appeal by the state, it would appear that Genarlow's 27-month nightmare will be coming to an end soon.
We at McBone thank any and all of you who took the time to sign Genarlow's online petition or to write a letter to Georgia congressmen about this tragic miscarraige of justice. I believe that an active and outraged citizenry played a major role in securing this ruling, and today we can be thankful for the sliver of justice that penetrated an unfair and racist sentence.
The state of Georgia owes something it can never repay to this former honor-role student, this homecoming king who had once been a highly recruited football player. The state of Georgia owes Genarlow the 27 precious months of life it stole from one of its most promising youths.
So, Georgia, what are you going to do about it? Oh, yeah. You're appealing the ruling. Here's hoping the prosecutors are devoured by wild dogs before they can put any more young, gifted, upstanding and innocent black men in prison.
You can read about how they screwed Genarlow in more detail right here.

It's Not Over. I'm Telling You It's Not Over!

Screw this. I still say it's not over. I say that Tony Parker cannot and will not replicate his game one and game two performances in Cleveland. Nothing can make me believe that he is as good as Michael Jordan, and nothing can make me believe that he will have the same luck he had in S.A., when he would chuck the ball at the basket and watch it bounce seven times before falling in, every single time. Parkers box scores show a combined 25-43 shooting. I find it hard to believe he has missed that many shots.

He is very good. HE IS NOT THAT GOOD.

LeBron James and the Cavs have too much pride to be swept, and, frankly, LeBron is that good that he could turn this series on its ear at any moment.

Some other things I know:

Robert Horry will not get every rebound in game 3. He will not block every shot.

Not every Spurs desperation shot will go in at the Q.

The Cavs will not miss all those free throws at home. Think, just think of how close it would have been in that fourth quarter if they could have been better at the stripe. That late 8 point deficit may have been more like 3 or 4, and things could have gotten very interesting.

Larry Hughes, unless Mike Brown is insane, will not play more than 10 minutes, if at all, which he shouldn't.

Manu Ginobili will not continue to make EVERY three pointer he takes.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas, ten year vet, will not completely be humiliated.

Someone, anyone, will knock Parker down, and knock him down hard. Someone will pick up a flagrant for it, I hope. A really hard message is long overdue.

Duncan will be amazing.

LeBron will be amazinger.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

In the Wake of the G-8

Can anyone please explain to me how this can be considered progress? Seems to me like Bush is sticking to his stance that global warming is something that needs to be addressed, just not by him. I mean the real kicker to me is this happy passage:

[German Chancellor Angela] Merkel, the host of the Group of 8 meeting, proclaimed it a major victory. She had placed climate change at the top of the agenda for the gathering, and put heavy pressure on Mr. Bush in recent days to relax his opposition to mandatory cuts in emissions, though he ultimately did not.

Major victory? McBone's arch-enemy loves pollutin'. Always has, always will. The next president will have no choice but to address climate change. Why is Merkel wasting her time on this guy?


Wanna help reduce greenhouse emissions on a personal level? Here are some handy tips from

Game 2. Can the Cavs Rebound?

Sorry to keep you waiting McBoners, but here comes N8's analysis of game 1 and what the Cavaliers will have to do to win game 2.

Nerve factor. In a way, game 1 was predictable. The Cavs looked tight and tentative for much of the game, except for a stretch in the first half (when they very briefly took the lead) and in most of the fourth quarter. At one point LeBron missed a three that would have brought them back to within 5 points. So look for LeBron to be loose and watch the Cavs follow his lead.

Larry's heel. Larry Hughes did a hell of a job defending in the first half of the playoffs. When his foot broke down on him in the Pistons series, he provided an emotional lift by sucking it up and getting out there. He also gave them some early three point shooting. Right now Larry is not helping. One thing is for sure: he won't be guarding Tony Parker any more. Parker is lightning and is a devastating finisher in the paint. He just gobbled Larry up. Look for LeBron and Boobie to guard the Frenchman and try to force him into jump shots. This is essential. If Larry has to play, why not let him guard Bowen, who is slightly less explosive than Parker?

Boobie. Daniel Gibson was the absolute coolest customer out there for the Cavs in game 1. The rook continued his mind-boggling growth by popping in 16 points off the bench--a team high. He, like Parker, finishes in the paint. Unlike Parker, he's a great outside shooter. He need to play 40 minutes, and that's that. His defense is too good to sit him, and there's too much at stake.

Distribution. Mike Brown isn't about to get all Lenny Wilkens on offense anytime soon, but a touch of creativity is in order. The Cavs have to pass the rock better. The 9 assists in game 1 were paltry, and if they have any hope of winning, they are going to have to swing the ball and make a few extra dishes. This starts with someone else handling the ball besides LeBron. That will automatically puts the Spurs defense off balance. The Spurs did a great job of clogging all of LeBrons options because they have invested everything in the belief that he will control the ball 95% of the time. Let LeBron run off screens and set up in the post, where he can do a lot of damage to the triple team. Also, Boobie and Sasha are competent with the ball. Let them create a little. Sasha makes some mistakes, but he is also a tricky passer.

Z. Z needs to hit his jumper, bottom line. He looked a little bit lost at sea in game 1, to say the least.

Boards. The Cavs got murdered, MURDERED on the glass in game one. It was so frustrating! Their backs were broken by offensive rebounds that resulted in three pointers for the Spurs. That was the ballgame right there. Gooden, Z, LeBron and Anderson simply have to get tougher. There's not much to be done about Duncan, but Oberto? Elson? Push these guys out of the way and get the ball! The Cavs talk about rebounding the ball and pushing it up before the Spurs can get set up. Well to do that they first have to rebound the ball! Argh!!!

Penetration. Keep going to the hole! Good things happened when Sasha and Boobie penetrated, because the Spurs basically let them. Go for it. The result was 29 combined points on 13-21 shooting. Driving to the rim is the best way to get Duncan into foul trouble, too. He will block his shots, but get your bodies into him.

Guarding the perimeter. The Spurs nail the three. If you're gonna double team, you've got to rotate better than the Cavs did in game 1.

Speaking of Duncan. The guy is a master. Watch him play, because you won't see any like him ever again. He is the best player of the post-Jordan/pre-LeBron era. He is also refreshingly humble. As far as defending him? Your guess is as good as mine. He has no holes.

Ginobili. This guy is amazing. He comes in and wreaks havoc the way a great sixth man ought to. He's one of the sneakiest players I've ever seen. What to do with him then? I guess, like with Parker, you have to try and make him shoot a jumper, but he's all over the place, running around. He's like a fly I want to swat.

Lineup. LeBron, Boobie, Sasha, Anderson and Gooden. That's the unit that has to be out there. Figure it out Mike Brown. It's your best offensive and defensive option.

LeBron. The best player in the NBA is going to have to be just that. No more feeling things out for three quarters. The time to attack is now. To steal a win in S.A. would be huge, and LeBron has to be at his sharpest to get it done. I have a feeling that he is going to bring it all tonight.

I predict that this one's going to be a lot tighter, folks, like 80-78. I'm not saying the Cavs have to win this game, but it sure would be nice. A win tonight gives them a hell of a lot of momentum heading back home for three in a row.


Saturday, June 9, 2007

I Left My Heart in Wallhaven

Having lived in France the past two years, people often ask me what I miss most from back in the old US of A. Is it your family? they inquire. Oh no, not even close! Could it be your friends? Please, don't make me laugh! How about the Cleveland Cavaliers? You're getting warmer, but there really is only one thing that makes me ache for the motherland, one thing I regret every waking hour, one thing that has such a hold on my heart that I just can't let go:

Two cheeseburgers with everything, a side of rings and a medium mocha shake.

That's right, McBoners, it's Swensons, the greatest burger joint in the entire world. Now, I know what you're thinking: he's living in the food capital of the universe and all he can think about is a hamburger! How American can you get? Oh, but those sweet, buttery cheeseburgers with everything, just as I like 'em. That's everything, mind you: mustard, onion and pickle. And don't forget those crispy, thick onion rings. And, oh dear lord, the 17 available flavors of milkshake! Which one do I choose? Why, mocha, of course. Chocolate and coffee in perfect harmony.

I don't know anyone from Akron who hasn't had the same revelation that I once had, at, oh, around the age of seven. Come on, Akronites. You know what I mean. It's that moment when you realize there is absolutely no reason to go to McDonalds ever again, because Swensons has just made you realize one of life's great truths: McDonalds is nasty.

For all of you McBoners out there who have never been to northeast Ohio, or who have been and somehow have never pulled into the hallowed parking lot of a Swensons drive-in, I have nothing but pity. I mean that. And it's not just the food. It's the carhops too, who always make you feel like you're the most important customer of the day. Pull into a Swensons in your 1974 Pinto and you'll be treated just like the guy sitting in the Lexus one spot over.

Getting hungry? I know I am! Check out the online menu.

Since 1934 Swensons has been feeding the greater Akron area its world-class burgers. That special recipe has survived the Great Depression, McCarthyism and even the Nixon Administration. That's 73 years of juicy burger perfection, and that's why we are proud to call Swensons the Official Hamburger of McBone.

See you soon at one of their seven locations! Well, maybe not, since I'm over here in France. Alas!


I do have one Swensons horror story I feel compelled to share with you. It happened when I was in seventh grade, a still innocent boy of 13. We decided to pick up Swensons one winter evening--some Friday night take out. Mom was jotting down our orders, and I requested the usual: two cheeseburgers with everything, rings and a milkshake (I can't recall the flavor, though I favored cherry in those days).

It was shaping up to be a great meal, but when I took my first bite, I was greeted with a, shall we say, unpleasant surprise. There was more than just mustard, pickle and onion on my burger with everything. There was tomato and lettuce, too. What was that doing there? And ketchup? There's no ketchup on a burger with everything! Then I tasted it: something slimy in my mouth, something terrible. Yes, friends. My burger was coated, nay, drowning in the white menace itself. Mayonnaise! Just like that, my dream had become a nightmare. How could this have happened? My mother had ordered my cheeseburgers, it turns out, not with everything, as I specifically asked for, but with the works. I immediately spit out the bite, threw up, and spent the rest of the weekend in convulsions. Thanks, Mom, for (deliberately?) poisoning your first-born son.

McBone tip: Beware of the Galley Boy (2 special sauces)!

McBone tip 2: Please, in the name of all that is holy, don't confuse with the Swensen's ice cream chain.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Here We Go Again...

How many times am I going to have to do this? Believe me when I say that there is no Schadenfreude when I criticize Bush. I would like to like our president. Cripes, I would like to love our president. I'm pretty sure I'd love to love him, but I really, really hate hating him. Whatever. Stupid jokes aside, I have two things to bitch about today, but I don't have the energy to discuss the Cavs' loss to the Spurs last night. So, the winner is...

Stem cells. Specifically, embryonic stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells are, of course, way too complicated for my feeble mind to explain, but I do know why they are such a contentious issue. Wait. No, I don't. The truth is I don't have the foggiest notion why they are so controversial. I mean, I do know why (it's one of those Christian vs. godless heathen things, right?) but it just doesn't seem to me like they should be. Basically, I know they exist in human embryos, and they are coveted by scientists who believe they can be used to develop cures for many debilitating diseases. Now, apparently they got all sorts of spare embryos in fertility clinics, and when they don't get used, they get thrown away.

Doesn't sound too ceremonious, does it? Doesn't sound like a really dignified end to these one-time potential people, does it, just tossing 'em out back? It certainly doesn't sound like a nobler end than, say, joining (involuntarily, perhaps, but noble still) the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

But Mr. Culture of Life says he will veto a bill that passed today in congress that would expand stem-cell research. So these embryos, so precious to our president, will continue to be chucked (I presume they are treated as medical waste and are thus spared being cast off alongside all the pizza boxes and half-eaten bologna sandwiches. We must respect life, after all). There is no logic to this. Or, if there is, I sure don't see it. Is there anyone out there who can please explain? How are these human embryos more valuable than the millions of actual living, breathing humans out there who are suffering right now from diseases that stem-cell researchers hope to cure?

Apparently so.

McBone is proud of McBone father-in-law José Cardier, who, when not busy eating empanadas and swilling chicha, is opening the first stem cell lab in Venezuela.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Nate Bowler's NBA Finals Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. San Antonio Spurs

First off, I need to address something that is really starting to get on my nerves. The national media has all but awarded the championship to the Spurs, and from what I've been reading, you'd think Cleveland was sending the local high school squad to play in the finals. Many pundits are calling them the worst finals team in NBA history. Well, hear this people: the Cavs are NOT getting swept in this series. Hell, they may not even lose this series. If I'm wrong I'll gladly eat these words (with a generous coating of mayonnaise), but I repeat: the Cavs are NOT GOING TO BE SWEPT. The Cavaliers may not have the best offense in the league, but right now they are playing absolutely the best defense, and defense wins playoff games. Just ask the Pheonix Suns.

The funny thing is, if the Pistons were playing in the finals, all these so-called experts would certainly give them a fighting chance. Well, did they see the Pistons get DESTROYED by the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals? I'm guessing they did, so what gives? Oh well, what did I expect? When was the last time Cleveland got any respect for anything?

Anyway, here it goes. I have to admit I never anticipated writing this when the playoffs started, but I'm not going to complain. My Cavs are in the NBA finals for the first time ever, and I'm going to relish every moment of it. They've certainly earned it, and I don't want to hear a word about their "easy road" to the finals, and just keep your "Leastern Conference" comments to yourself. The east has won 2 of the last three titles.

OK, so the Spurs are going to be tough to handle. Clearly. We're talking about a legitimate NBA dynasty featurning one of the great forwards of all-time. The odds do seem heavily tilted in the Spurs favor, but are they really? Let's take a closer look at things, eh? Dating back to the '05-'06 season, the Cavs have won 3 out of 4 games. While regular season games signify little when it comes to the postseason, it is noteworthy, I think, that the Cavs won for the first time in 17 years at San Antonio this season. But the Spurs are no slouches defensively, either, and they have a very well-balanced offensive attack that will be the Cavs biggest defensive challenge of the postseason.

How important is the home court advantage in this series? Huge, but if the Cavs manage to steal game two (assuming they will be overwhelmed by it all in game one), I think they could legitimately close out the series in five. That's right, people. FIVE GAMES. I think it's going to be an extremely competitive series, but realistically, I'm going to have to be, well, realistic. My official prediction is Spurs in seven. While I hate to beat a dead horse, I believe their experience gives them a slight, and I said slight, edge over the young Cavs.

As I see it, the Cavs have three huge factors going for them in this series: the best player in the NBA, the best defense in the NBA, and a big advantage on the glass. The Spurs have but one player who averaged over five rebounds in the regular season compared to four for the Cavs.

A glance at individual matchups:

PG: Larry Hughes vs. Tony Parker. This is going to be a tough one. Tony Parker has been really tough to guard lately, and Larry Hughes is injured. The Cavs have to hope that Hughes can give them the little bursts of early offense he provided against Detroit, and then hope the bench can contain Parker and his quickness. Advantage: Parker.

SG: Sasha Pavlovic vs. Michael Finley. This is a young athlete against a wily veteran. Finley was once an explosive talent, but mostly he just pops three pointers now. Nearly identical stats are misleading, since Sasha never got legit minutes until the end of the season. Sasha needs to not let him have any room, because he can get very, very hot. Overall though, this will be a break for Sasha after chasing Richard Hamilton and Vince Carter for the last two series. Advantage: Pavlovic.

SF: LeBron James vs. Bruce Bowen. This matchup is a joke. The great defender Bowen's only hope is to injure LeBron, which he will certainly try to do, because he's a dirty bastard. This of course will only make LeBron mad. Expect Bowen's manhood to end up wherever LeBron is keeping Tayshaun Prince's. Same story: double teams, triple teams, quarduple teams. Keep 'em coming. Advantage: LeBron.

PF: Drew Gooden vs. Tim Duncan. Fortunately, the Spurs' biggest star doesn't have quite the lopsided advantage that ours does. But, then again, Tim Duncan is Tim Duncan. Watch his flawless play torment the Cavs. I hate him right now for being an enemy Spur, but Duncan's game is magnificent. Anyone who thinks he's boring has a low IQ. Drew must use his energy and youth to the best of his ability. The rest of the team must help and rotate when he makes a picture perfect pass out of the double team. No snoozing. Advantage: Duncan.

C: Zydrunas Ilgauskas vs. Fabricio Oberto. Oberto never seems to miss, a sure sign that he is paid no attention to. That makes him this series' Mikki Moore. Annoying, in other words. Z is going to have to keep doing what he does: hit open jumpers and tip in missed shots. Advantage: Z.

Bench: No pressure, rook, but Daniel Gibson absolutely has to keep stroking that jumpshot to free up LeBron. Otherwise, the Cavs have the NBA's best sixth man, Anderson Varejao, and two other guys, Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall, who can get hot at any time and likely will at some point. Too bad they're never hot at the same time. Look for Varejao and Marshall to really push that rebounding advantage, and for Varejao to give the Spurs fits. The Spurs have a lot of guys who can really nail the three in Brent Barry, who is lights out, and Matt Bonner, who has red hair. There is also, of course, Robert Horry, who is looking to demoralize yet another NBA finals opponent en route to like his 29th ring. Francisco Elson? Not too scared of his 3 and 3 average, but who knows? Let's be serious though. The Spurs have Manu Ginobili coming off the bench. That's ridiculous and it means points. Advantage: Spurs.

Coaching: Mike Brown vs. Gregg Popovich. While the national media can't get enough of Popovich, they don't have a nice word to say to Mike Brown. Is it a coincidence that this is a matchup of student and disciple? No. Their systems work, and it's time to give Mike Brown some credit for installing a back-breaking, soul-crushing defense in Cleveland. His team hustles, it rebounds, it nullifies good offenses. Talk to Detroit; they know. If I had the choice between Mike Brown and Mike D'Antoni, for example, I take Brown 10 out of 10 times. Yes, Mike Brown's offense has major holes. Blah, blah. He is coaching in the NBA finals in his second year. He is 19-10 all time in the playoffs. Cavs fans should be kissing his feet. I sure know I'd like to. That said, Popovich is one hell of a coach who is doing this for the fourth time and has never lost in the finals. Advantage: Popovich.

N8's Random thoughts:

Don't be surprised if this is the series in which LeBron really makes his critics eat crow. It is no accident that the Cavs are here. They've grown up and they've earned it.

Is it just me, or is EVERYONE jumping on the "Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward ever" bandwagon? Too bad he's a center. OK, so say he is a forward. Obviously he's one of the best. He has been for years. The best? The field is pretty loaded: Karl Malone, Jerry Lucas, Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson, Dennis Rodman, Kevin McHale, Dave DeBusschere, Charles Barkley, Bob Pettit, Kevin Garnett, Dolph Schayes, Spencer Haywood. These are not bums. Know who isn't on my list? Chris Webber.

These games are going to be close and low-scoring. I predict most of them will be in the low eighties, high seventies.

Yes, LeBron should have signed that letter on Darfur. I'm still waiting for the next Muhammed Ali to come along. Etan Thomas and Ira Newble somehow can't quite fill the shoes.



Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Clear Skies Initiative; the Early Days of George Bush's Love Affair with the Environment.

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) once called global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

On the subject of hoaxes, maybe he should take a closer look at George Bush's 2002 proposal for limiting power plant emissions, a replacement of the Clean Air Act strategically titled the "Clear Skies Initiative."

Oh, wait. Inhofe sponsored this bill in the senate. Never mind, Jim. You already know what a scam it is.

Anyways, Bush has been making a lot of noise about global warming in recent weeks, an obvious attempt to appease European leaders in the days leading up to the G-8 Summit in Germany. Specifically, he has targeted China as a country where curbing carbon emissions is imperative. Indeed, China's rapid economic and concomitant industrial expansion will soon make it the world's largest producer of greenhouse gasses. This could potentially be catastrophic.

But for Bush's part, what has he done as the president of the world's current largest producer of airborn carbon? I've already mentioned in an earlier post his swift refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Another dubious landmark was his refusal to sign the EPA's 2001 Clear Skies Act, which would have drastically reduced power plant emissions by the year 2012.

Instead the administration proposed an alternative plan, its own version of the Clear Skies Act, which a cursory examination reveals to be a complete and utter boondoggle.

Not only were the administration's proposed standards far looser than the EPA's, the Clear Skies Initiative, if enacted, would allow more toxic emissions than are allowed under the proper enforcement of existing laws. Seems pretty bizarre to me, too. I mean, how is it possible that the data presented by the administration showed significant reductions in the production of toxic air pollution? Were they lying? Of course they were! Their data was calculated under the assumption that the EPA does nothing to enforce existing laws. This is false.

In fact, the Clear Skies Initiative, which is fortunately stalled in congress, constitutes a drastic rollback of the Clean Air Act. If signed into law, it would send emissions standards back to pre-Nixon levels. That's a backward jump of more than forty years that our choking skies (and citizens) would not be able to withstand. Not convinced? Check out the National Resource Defence Council's David G. Hawkins' testimony to the senate. Hawkins dissects the Bush plan in far more detail than I possibly could. For lighter NRDC reading, click here. You can also see what the Sierra Club has to say. Hell, he even managed to piss off the Atlantic Salmon Federation! The more you dig into this thing, the more you realize that Bush's version of the Clear Skies Act is really just a blank cheque for the nation's worst polluters.

There is little question as to why Bush, who is beholden to the energy industry, would endorse such a plan. The question is: why should we believe that this man, who has done everything in his power to scuttle environmental reforms, has had a sudden change of heart? European leaders at the G-8 should be skeptical of this new green streak, and they would be right in asking Bush what he's looking for in return.

And when George Bush tells China it needs to enforce mandatory caps on toxic emissions, wouldn't China be justified in pointing at Bush's record and saying, up yours, pal? Sadly, at this critical time in human history, the Bush administration has little leverage as a leader in evironmentalism. Here's hoping the next administration takes a more honest and immediate stand.


PS: Read James Inhofe's touching farewell to bigot Jerry Falwell right here!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tait the Great!

Perhaps McBone has been heavily tilted this past month towards the Cleveland Cavaliers' magical playoff run. Hell yes it has! Do I apologize for that? Hell no! Cleveland needs a title and there is no one I can think of who deserves it more than the great Joe Tait, this week's McBone Hero of the Week. While he may have the worst collection of sweaters in the western hemisphere, he just happens to be the greatest play-by-play man of all time. Yes sir, that's him you're hearing right now. That sweet sound is vintage Tait, and you can listen to more of his classic calls right here.

Joe Tait has been the Cavs' radio voice since the team's inception in 1970. Never once in 37 years has he had the opportunity to announce an NBA championship series. That changes Thursday night at 9 PM EST. So turn down the volume on your television, crank up the radio (AM 1100), and take the chance to listen to the man who brought you Wham with the right hand! 
Joe turned 70 this year, and what a birthday present it would be if the Cavaliers could deliver an NBA championship to Cleveland.
Here's to 37 more years, Joe, which of course would make you 107 when you retire. We love you!


Monday, June 4, 2007

Somehow, They're Still Winning

This is really depressing. I don't have much more to say about Cindy Sheehan stepping down as the leader of the anti-war movement other than we've failed her as fellow citizens. The American public has been put into a long, deep sleep, and I don't know if we'll ever wake up from it. There is no reason we should be at war right now, but, then again, I can't think of one good reason why George W. Bush should be our president.

Maybe if she looked more like Paris Hilton we would have paid attention.

I'm so sick of politicians. I hate them for continuing to fund this war. I can't believe I have to vote for a democrat in '08. Maybe this is the election I finally get some guts and vote green, unless by some miracle Mike Gravel becomes the candidate.

Anyway, click here to read her farewell letter.

McBone sends a hearty thank you to Cindy Sheehan for being the one who demanded to know why her son died for nothing and why our troops are still dying for nothing. You've suffered more than anyone should have to in a lifetime.


Not content with having corporations run our country? Then vote for the National Initiative for Democracy.

Gravel in '08!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

OH MY GOD! The Cavs are Going to the Finals!

It's difficult to put into words what this means to me. I have crystal-clear memories of seeing the Cavs at Richfield Coliseum when I was maybe nine years old. They were playing Dr. J's 76ers in what turned into a really amazing night. The Harlem Globetrotters were the halftime show and World B. Free scored his 15,000th point. I remember Dad telling me that the Cavs were just OK, that Dr. J was his favorite player, and that he was surprised when the Cavs won.

That was a pretty good time to become Cavaliers fan, it turns out. My first favorite, World B. Free, would last just one more season, but the Cavs were on the cusp of prosperous times. Enter the days of Price, Nance, Daugherty, Harper, Hot-Rod and Ehlo. That was a team destined for greatness, if only the organization hadn't committed suicide by dealing our best and most exciting player, Ron Harper, for, geez!, Danny Ferry. I don't think anything could have stopped Michael Jordan from building a dynasty in Chicago, but I am sure that deal cost the Cavs a championship. Sure they made a nice run to the Eastern Conference Finals, but they were never a serious threat after that dark day when Wayne Embry and Gordon Gund betrayed us all.

More than twenty years lay between that first visit to the long-demolished Coliseum and early Sunday morning, when I sat at my computer here in France, listening to the great Joe Tait announce that the Cavs were going to the NBA finals. The sun was rising and I was feeling exactly what I felt in 1995, when the Indians whipped the Seattle Mariners to advance to the World Series for the first time since 1954.

So, here are some thoughts on being a Cavs fan and seeing my team play on the biggest stage for the first time in the franchise's 37-year history.

Joe Tait has been announcing games for this team since that inaugural season. This man has broadcast more bad basketball than anyone should ever be expected to. He turned 70 this year and I can't imagine how thrilled he must be to finally, FINALLY have the opportunity to see his team play for all the marbles.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas. I can't put it any better than my buddy, Than, did: "How can you not appreciate what Z stands for? This is a guy that had 4 major surgeries on his feet to be able to play. He could have banked 70 million dollars and done NOTHING to actually earn it. Instead he chose the path of pain and comes back to play for a horrible Cavs team setting attendance records for fewest people in the seats. All because he loves to play basketball. "

Seeing LeBron look for and hug Z before anyone else after game 6 was over was automatically one of my all-time favorite sports memories.

Austin Carr probably loves the Cavs more than anyone on the planet. He was the best player on the Cavs team that had the franchise's best chance of winning a title in 1976. Of course, that season ended in typical Cleveland form when Jim Chones broke his ankle in practice right before the Eastern Conference Finals. I really, really hope Austin gets to see his team win a title.
Remember when the organization's hopes were riding on Darius Miles and Dasagana Diop?
Remember when they rested on Shawn Kemp, who in three seasons deteriorated into 6' 10" cocaine-addled sloth whose dunks were routinely blocked by point guards?
Hey Gordon Gund and Wayne Embry, I think I'm about ready to let go of the Ron Harper for Danny Ferry demons. I'll let you know after the finals.
My all-time Cavs starting five is: PG: Mark Price, SG: Austin Carr, SF: LeBron James, PF: Larry Nance, C: Brad Daugherty. That is a team that would cruise to a title.
It would be interesting to see Mark Price playing on a Mike Brown-coached team. I think each of their strengths would have cancelled out the other's shortcomings. Mike Brown could make a side of beef play good defense, and Mark Price could make any offensive system flow.
LeBron James has been the best defensive player in the entire eastern conference in the playoffs. Tayshaun Prince may never recover.
The only player I even remotely care for on the Pistons is Antonio McDyess, regardless of his nasty play on Anderson Varejao. He plays with all heart and no knees.
Beating the Pistons to go to the finals is about perfect. Seeing Rasheed Wallaces escorted off the floor with seven minutes to play was the cherry on top. What a despicable team.
The Cavs would destroy the Pheonix Suns in the finals. Anyone still clinging to the notion that the Suns can win a title with that system is delusional. Furthermore, the west's dominance over the east is a complete mirage, as these finals will show. The Cavs are NOT getting swept.
Daniel Gibson is a freak. His spot-up jumper is the purest I've seen in a long time (read: since Mark Price). He ripped out the hearts of the Pistons and then feasted on their warm carcasses.
I never, ever imagined Joe Tait saying: "Boobie for three...GOT IT!!!"
My brother has been going to every game at the Q. I went to a Cavs playoff game once, back in 1995. It was when the Price-Daugherty era was in its death-throes. The Cavs lost the game and were killed in the first round by that shitty Patrick Ewing Knicks team 3-1 in the series. The Gund was filled with all the excitement of a day at the library.
A big reason for the Cavs' turnaround has been not only LeBron James (admittedly huge), but also the uniform change made that same year. Those teal things were awful, awful, awful. Teal!
Call me a purist. Call me old-fashioned. Call me Mr. Scrooge, but I hate dance teams. I hate smoke and fire and explosions and lasers. I hate obnoxious PA announcers. I hate arenas named after corporations. I hate little orange balls rolling everywhere. I hate mascots jumping off trampolines and dunking. Is that somehow more impressive than seeing a player dunk without having to use a trampoline? Have our attention spans gotten so short that we need to be entertained during the NBA playoffs? Just play the damned game.
I love this team. I love how young they are. I love that no one respects them. I love that they are from the States, Brazil, Montenegro, Lithuania. I love that our best player is from Akron. What are the chances that our worst player is from Canton? I love that the best player and the worst player are the heart of the team. I love having the best player in the NBA.
Finals preview coming soon!
GO CAVS!!!!!
This post is dedicated to my father, who taught me to love losing teams. All that suffering has made this so, so much sweeter. Thanks Pops!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Ten Things to Hate About the Detroit Pistons

The Pistons. Why are they always annoying? From the "Bad Boys" days of Laimbeer, Mahorn, Rodman and Isiah to now, I have had nothing but a pure, unadulterated, unpasteurized hate for them. Here are 10 great reasons why you should hate them too!
10) They always bitch at the officials, no matter how obvious the foul.
9) Tayshaun Prince's pale, skeletal form. This guy is somehow a professional athlete without having been born with a muscular system. Looks like he should be rushed to the emergency room, not playing NBA basketball.
8) "Dee-troit Basketball."
7) Chauncey Billups getting a call whenever anyone so much as looks at him. His drive to the lane at the end of regulation in game 5 was the biggest bail-out in the playoffs so far.
6) Pistons' sense of entitlement. Somehow they seem to think it's insulting that they should have to play three rounds of playoff basketball before making the finals.
5) Richard Hamilton's stupid nickname, "Rip."
4) Dick Hamilton's stupid facemask.
3) Chris Webber dogging it for the Sixers so he could get released and signed by a good team. He is not and has never been good enough to get one of his teams to the finals.
2) They always, always throw cheap shots to the head. Remember when Rick Mahorn gave Mark Price a concussion? Well, they are still the dirtiest team in the league. Remember Rasheed Wallace giving Zydrunas Ilgauskas an elbow to the head, requiring stitches? Not much has changed, and in this playoffs it was Antonio McDyess clotheslining Anderson Varejao. Anyone who doesn't think it was a dirty play is obviously a Pistons fan. And not many people seemed to notice Richard Hamilton's elbow to LeBron's head in overtime.
1) Rasheed Wallace. He whines. He throws elbows. He's arrogant. He's dirty. He is the embodiment of Pistons basketball since the early eighties.

Friday, June 1, 2007

One for the Ages

Enjoy this, Cavaliers fans. There will never, EVER be another game like this one. Hell, enjoy it even if you're not a Cavs fan (I don't give a damn what you think, Pistons fans) Mind you there is plenty of greatness still to come from LeBron James, but this was one of the truly unique performances in basketball history.

Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson--none of them ever did anything like what LeBron did to the Pistons last night at the Palace of Auburn Hills:

He absolutely refused to lose this game, and by scoring his team's final 25 points, by scoring 29 of the last 30, he made sure that didn't happen. Good thing too. A Cavs loss would have made a footnote of this unforgettable game.

It's not even so much that he did it, but how he did it, with a flurry of off-balance jumpers, three pointers, drives, scoops, layups, free throws and an array of demoralizing dunks. He was going to score, and there was nothing they could do to stop him, not Tayshaun Prince, not Chauncey Billups, Not Richard Hamilton. Not all of the Pistons together could keep him from putting the ball in the hole. He was checked, hacked and whacked en route to the rim on the final, game deciding drive. They needn't have bothered:

This is the same LeBron who can't finish games. The LeBron who can't hit clutch free throws. The overhyped, passive, unfocused LeBron who is supposedly more interested in making his next Nike commercial than he is winning NBA games.

I'll admit there were times when I was frustrated by his game during the regular season. I thought he should have snatched a couple of wins from lesser opponents. Now I look at what he did in the long run: 27-7-6 every night. For the playoffs it's 26-8-8. I'm an idiot. I will never doubt him again.

When the final buzzer of the second overtime sounded, the sun was up here in France. I had spent four hours watching a blurry transmission on my computer and listening to Joe Tait's broadcast. There was no point in going to bed, and I couldn't have slept anyway. My insides were buzzing, and I wasn't entirely convinced that what I saw really happened. Couldn't have. Must have been a dream, but the evidence wouldn't go away: Cavs 109, Pistons 107.

The Cavs are one win away from the NBA finals.

The hell with sleep.


PS. Cleveland has been blessed with two athletes that belong in the pantheon of all-time greats. They are Jim Brown and LeBron James. I never saw Jim Brown play. Now I know what it was like.