Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Is the U.S. National Team capable of Olympic Gold?

USA men's basketball has announced its roster for the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Here's the roster, listed by their usual NBA position:
1 (point guard) - Jason Kidd, Deron Williams, Chris Paul
2 (shooting guard) Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Michael Redd
3 (small forward) LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Tayshaun Prince
4 (power forward) Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer
5 (center) Dwight Howard

Not bad, eh? One thing: look at the breakdown by position. Is it just me, or does the team seem to be a little thin in the post? Only three big men? Granted, 'Melo is projected as the starting power forward, and LeBron may even see time at the 4 spot, allowing Boozer to get playing time at center, but don't we need more than 3 true post players?'s Chris Sheridan pointed out the same thing here and here. What if one of the bigs gets injured? What about foul trouble? Will this doom the American side?

On the other hand, there probably isn't a team in the tournament that does not have a major issue confronting them. The following nine teams have already booked their tickets for Beijing: Angola, Argentina, Australia, China, Iran, Lithuania, Russia, Spain and USA.

The latter four teams and Argentina could be in contention for medals. However, the Argentines may not even have their usual complement of stars at the Games; Manu Ginobili's presence is questionable because of an ongoing ankle problem. Pepe Sanchez, the team's starting point guard in several tournaments, and Walter Herrmann, a valuable reserve on the gold-medal winning 2004 Olympic squad, are reportedly retiring from the national team.

Spain, the 2006 World Champion, might have injury concerns as well. Starting power forward Jorge Garbajosa may be unable to play because of a leg injury. Lithuanian center Zydrunas Ilgauskas was denied permission by his NBA team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, to play in the Olympics. The Cavs cited injury risk and insurance policy issues as reasons for the denial.

Three more teams will emerge from a qualifying tourney held in Greece, rounding out the Olympic field of 12 teams. The tournament features the following pairings for group play:

Group A: Brazil, Greece and Lebanon
Group B: Cape Verde, Germany and New Zealand
Group C: Canada, Korea and Slovenia
Group D: Cameroon, Croatia and Puerto Rico

Assuming they qualify for the Olympics, Greece could be another contender for a medal. They hauled in the silver medal from the 2006 World Championships.

Monday, June 23, 2008

So you want a post on Kurt Rambis? You've got a post on Kurt Rambis!

At this blog, we try to give the people what they want (and by "people," I usually mean me). And the people (not me, in this case) asked for a post on ex-NBA player and current Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis. Now, I recognize the request was mostly made in jest, but apparently your request is my command. You know the saying: be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it!

When I was in seventh grade, I was co-creator of something called "The Rambis Files™." It was a collection of drawings and writings dedicated to the one and only Kurt Rambis. We waxed eloquent about how many teams he played for, how every NBA superstar copied Kurt's style to achieve success, and even created a name for Kurt's (imaginary) sports drink, Rambis-ade™.

Kurt could have used some Rambis-Ade here.

Lakers, Suns and Hornets. Where's the Kings photo?

Apparently, there are many out there who share our sense of fondness for the man we nicknamed Kurt "The Flirt."

There are T-shirts...

...and Web sites devoted to the NBA champion (I almost wish I had created this Web site).

Although Rambis didn't lead the league in scoring 10 times like Michael Jordan, he still left his mark on the Association. In fact, Kurt's superstar teammate, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, stated in his autobiography, "Magic's Touch," that Kurt's role on the Lakers was just as important as Johnson's role.
If anything defined Kurt on the basketball court - aside from the long hair and black glasses - it was toughness. In fact, The Flirt was so tough, the refs only gave him a two-shot foul when he was closelined by Celtics star Kevin McHale on this play:

Kurt was so tough, the character "Rambo" must have been named after Rambis. Kurt was so tough that the refs kind of let that clothesline go unpunished. In today's NBA, that play would have been a flagrant foul (two shots and the ball) and possibly a flagrant 2 (two shots, possession of the ball and an automatic player ejection). But times have changed, and so has Rambis.Gone are the long hair and black glasses, in favor of more conservative locks and spectacles, but the memory of Rambis the player lives on in the hearts of true basketball fans worldwide.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Word of the Day: Bloggist


definition: one who blogs - emphasis on the word one.

example of usage: Sam is the world's first bloggist; the rest are all bloggers.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Things that make you go Hmmm?

I've seen and heard a few things recently that made me go Hmmm or do a double take. One was when I found out the New Kids on the Block were making a comeback. I am not kidding.
Although they have updated their wardrobe slightly.
Really I think these guys have humiliated themselves enough earned enough money to ride off into the sunset and never be seen again.

No. 2 headscratcher: Last week I was at a city celebration/carnival with Patricia and we saw a dog with clothes on. That picture is not the dog we saw, but that was the closest looking picture I could find to what we saw: a little dog with some type of jacket on - in warm weather - while being pulled around by a boy in his early teens (I don't think I would have been caught dead with something like that, especially when I was that boy's age).

The other thing that struck me as odd was a sign I saw on a department store on my way to work. It mentioned a "half-yearly" sale. Half-yearly sale? Since when do department store shoppers have insufficient vocabulary to understand the term "semi-annual?"

Maybe since this happened:

That could be it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers' Day!

Happy Fathers' Day to everyone, and especially to those of you who are fathers!

What is Humility?

Sometime in the past few weeks, I caught myself thinking about what it means to be humble. I wondered if asking someone who is really good at something - say, painting - if they are good at it, would they be "un-humble" if they answered yes. It would seem that acknowledging his skill may be a prideful thing to do. Also, most people would say if someone calls himself humble, he is clearly not humble. I, on the other hand, can't agree completely with that line of thinking. While we can all agree that humility is found in not lifting yourselves above others or having an arrogant attitude, it is also not based on saying you are a lowly, filthy worm. I remember reading a quote from Hakeem Olajuwon, saying "humility demands the truth." If that's true, the excellent painter would "admit" he/she is good at what they do.

Now, let's take it a step further. If you asked Jesus if he were humble, what would his answer be? (take a moment to think about that one...)
I think He would find a really wise way to answer affirmatively. Instead of saying, "yes," maybe he would say "I gave my life for you," or "I descended below all." Maybe he would pause and let your question sink in until you knew the answer without Him telling you.

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oooh, that Charlie is a mean guy!

This video actually has more than 31 million hits on YouTube and has spawned a lot of copycat videos--including this one, which has over 4 million views.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Stick it to The Man (and by "The Man," I mean telemarketers, automated phone calls and junk mailers)

I got this in an e-mail, but I figured it was worthy of its own blog post.

Tips for Handling Telemarketers

(1) Three Little Words That Work!! The three little words are: 'Hold On, Please...' Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging up immediately) would make each telemarketing call so much more time consuming that boiler room sales would grind to a halt. Then when you eventually hear the phone company's 'beep-beep-beep' tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task.These three little words will help eliminate telephone soliciting.

(Sam's Note: I do wear a headset, answer calls, and type at a 'puter, but I am not a telemarketer or salesman. I only take inbound calls which make me a "troubleshooter" and a "gift giver.")

(2) Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end? This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone. These techniques are used to determine the best time of day for a 'real' sales person to call back and get someone at home. What you can do after answering, if you notice there is no one there, is to immediately start hitting your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 times, as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialed the call and it kicks your number out of their system. Gosh, what a shame not to have your name in their system any longer!!!

(3) Junk Mail Help: When you get 'ads' enclosed with your phone or utility bill, return these 'ads' with your payment. Let the sending companies throw their own junk mail away. When you get those 'pre-approved' letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope. Most of these come with postage-paid return envelopes, right? It costs them more than the regular 42 cents postage 'IF' and when they receive them back. It costs them nothing if you throw them away! The postage charge is according to the letter's weight. In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage-paid return envelopes. One of Andy Rooney's (60 minutes) ideas. Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express. Send a pizza coupon to Citibank. If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their blank application back! If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them. You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just keep them guessing! It still costs them 42 cents. The banks and credit card companies are currently getting a lot of their own junk back in the mail, but folks, we need to OVERWHELM them. Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all, they're paying for it...Twice! Let's help keep our postal service busy since they are saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits , and that's why they need to increase postage costs again. You get the idea! If enough people follow these tips, it will work -- I (Andy Rooney, I suppose) have been doing this for years, and I get very little junk mail anymore.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Could blogging be a "Superman Job?"

I wouldn't be surprised if Superman (or Chuck Norris) had a blog.

So, yesterday I was at my Clark Kent job (another, more detailed explanation of the Clark Kent job is found here), and I found out my mom had called my work to get one of these for a special someone: That's right. It's an Accu-Chek Aviva blood glucose monitor. I was taking a call from a customer, and a co-worker who was sitting not too far from me asked if I have relatives in Washington. I said I did, and it turned out they were sending out some product for my dad. My mom called for him after I advised her they could call for a free meter. So that was cool that I was right there when she called. Too bad I didn't get to answer that phone call!