Absence makes the heart grow…annoyed?

To my 12 readers that are now likely 3 – thank you for coming back in for a quick peek despite my inability to post anything since “The Decision” which I believe was more than two months ago.

I’ve been in the process of starting my own business,which obviously takes up a lot of time, and have spent the very few free hours I have as far from a computer as possible.

So, in an effort to prove that despite being absent for months my sports and pop culture knowledge is up to par, I give you my “6 things that happened since that glorious one hour piece of television featuring Lebron James, Jim Gray and many traumatized children.”

1. Red Sox Injuries

Honestly it has been one of those seasons where the injuries pile up at such a ridiculous rate it becomes almost comical. Broken ribs, feet and a thumb. Strained backs, forearms and abdominal muscles. WTF? 

Now despite what Theo Epstein and the Sox brass may have attempted to have you believe – this was a bridge year just like 2006. The injuries just made it easier to compensate for losing. While D-Mac and Bill Hall have played admirably, you just simply can’t win a pennant race in the AL East if those guys are on your roster. Meh.

2. The Other Guys

I’m not going to lie – the thought of Will Ferrell movies make me pee a little. I think he is the funniest man in the world, hands down. I have probably seen Anchorman, Step Brothers and Talladega Nights combined more than the sum of all other comedies I have ever watched. I laugh at the same jokes hysterically and quote them via text weekly. Needless to say I was more than ready for this movie. Unfortunately I left kind of disappointed – building a movie up like that tends to always lead to a letdown. There were some hilarious moments and I’ll obviously see it again to catch some things I may have missed the first time around but it simply boiled down to too much Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch. Mark – I love you but you crushed this movie.  Was John C. Reilly unavailable?

3. Virginia Tech Football

I’m a die-hard Hokies fan and have been since childhood thanks to my dad. The fandom then took on another level when I visited Lane Stadium for the first time in 1995 and we started going to 1 or 2 games annually. Then my parents picked up season tickets before the 1998 season and it was on – we were making the 3 1/2 hour trip to Blacksburg for every home game. I literally used to watch the 2000 National Championship game over and over on VHS and turn it off after the 4th quarter with the Hokies leading 29-28 (that wasn’t the final score).

With all the preseason polls coming out and Virginia Tech picked by most to finish anywhere from 6th to 13th I’m giddy like a kid again. I’ll be on my way up to FedEx Field for the first game against the season against preseason Top 5 (in ALL polls) Boise State in less than three weeks – see you there.

4. DirecTV

Recently we switched from Time Warner Cable (i.e. The Evil Empire) to DirecTV. Simply put it was the greatest decision in the history of decisions made on the earth.  More channels, more HD, lower cost, exclusive programming and phenomenal customer service. It even gave me the ability to get the wife into The Wire which I’ve been trying to do for years. All thanks to The 101. I love you DirecTV. I love you.

6. LOST: The Complete Collection

I’ve already committed at least 7,000 minutes to the series and can’t wait to spend another 5,704 watching the series again.  That plus the fact that the set has 30 Hours of new features and a 12 minute epilogue show makes itttt touughhh to typpe. I already have mine preordered so it gets shipped the day before it comes out (8.24.10).  You may not see me for a while…

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I Hate You, ESPN

I love sports. I completely understand the need for a 24/7 sports news network.

I hate ESPN. I simply cannot understand the need for a 24/7 hype machine with more “faux” news than actual news.

Unfortunatley for me – if I want sports information to project from my television – ESPN is it. There is a recurring theme in my household that follows this pattern daily:

1. Get home from work

2. Retreive multiple remotes from some hidden drawer where they have been banished by the wife for reasons of “ugliness.”

3. Sit on sofa whilst turing on multiple electonic devices.

4. Flip through 50+ channels dedicated to sports programming saying over and over in my head “please let there be something on other than SportsCenter.”

5. Dissapointedly realize there is no alternative and turn to ESPN.

6. Yell in disgust at one or more of the following anchors/analysts/so-called experts for saying something that either

     – Has 0-8% of factual truth to it — offenders include (but are not limited to): Doug Gottlieb, Chris Mortenson,  Chris Broussard, J.A. Adande, et al.

     -Has been repeated ad naseum for 3-10 years — offenders include (but are not limited to): Stuart Scott, Chris Berman, John Buccigross, Scott Van Pelt, et al.

     -Is only said by an idiot — offenders include (but are not limited to): Jay Bilas, Mark May, Skip Bayless, Mark Schlereth, Jay Mariotti, Eric Wynalda, et al.

This disgust has grown over the last 5+ years as ESPN has become so gigantic that they are literally everywhere. I can’t even hide by turning to ABC anymore now that ESPN handles all programming of sports on Disney owned properties. Other stations can’t compete because the self proclaimed “Worldwide Leader” outbids them for anything from bowling and women’s billiards to the NBA and World Cup.

This disgust hit an all time high over the last few weeks as the ESPN teamed up with Lebron James to create the biggest clusterf#*k of all time.  We literally just spent an entire month where AT LEAST half of every ESPN show was about Lebron James and what he “might” do.

What he MIGHT do.

It all came to a head with last night’s absurd abomination of a show that ESPN and the self proclaimed “King” named “The Decision.”  Literally an entire hour dedicated to one NBA player choosing a team in Free Agency. I can just see Michael, Magic and Larry sitting in their living rooms shaking their heads in shame/disgust.

Is it really too much to ask for a sports news network that just gives us the news? Is this unreasonable? Am I a bad person because I don’t want Jay Bilas to tell me someone is great because of their “length” or “wingspan” even though they’ve never done anything in college? Is it strange I would rather hear the opinion and real news from someone who has some intelligence and insider information like Buster Olney, Michael Smith or Micheal Wilbon instead of someone spraying vomit nonsense like Skip Bayless or Mark May?

I hate you, ESPN.

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USA Vuvuzela Fever

It’s overcome us since the goal heard round the US and A yesterday.

I personally have had it ever since the release of 2002 Fifa World Cup for Playstation 2 where I scored over 163 goals with Landon Donovan through 5 years of college. Then in 2006 I had my first HD TV and almost vomited in excitement as though I was on the pitch during each match.

The fever has spread so quickly that I’d venture to guess thousands of people took off work yesterday to watch the game.  I know a few myself that not only were able to see it but were photographed by the second largest paper in North Carolina (in terms of circulation).  The potential results of such a situation were well chronicled in the Seinfeld episode “The Letter.”

In 1992 the internet was not such a big part of our lives – now it is. Skip work, get photographed, get got. Kudos to each individual in these photos for not only skipping work but for going through the entire gamete of emotions displayed without having a brain aneurysm.

Next up: Ghana – Saturday, June 26 2:30 PM*

*No need to be concerned about photographic or video evidence due to the match falling on a weekend.  Just watch, scream and bring a Vuvuzela or at least the Vuvuzela iPhone App.

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Not LOST anymore: A map of The Island

This could be one of the 5 greatest images/maps/pictures in the history of the world.  Jonah Adkins, a cartographer who has been makes maps for a living (and for the government), is a huge LOST fan and just made each one of us pee a little bit.

Ever want to know were the Heart of the Island was in relation to Tarawet?

Henry Gale’s balloon in relation to the Barracks?

I literally wanted to know everything that is included in this map and am still geeking out.

If I can help spread the word to more LOST fans then this is my good deed of the month.  Kudos, Jonah.

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Big Baby Felt Like a Beast

Obviously last night’s game was huge if you’re a Celtics fan. Tying the series at 2-2 was a must if Boston had any chance of winning their 18th title and their 10th against the Lakers.

Year Winner Series
1959 Boston Celtics 4–0
1962 Boston Celtics 4–3
1963 Boston Celtics 4–2
1965 Boston Celtics 4–1
1966 Boston Celtics 4–3
1968 Boston Celtics 4–2
1969 Boston Celtics 4–3
1984 Boston Celtics 4–3
1985 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2
1987 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2
2008 Boston Celtics 4–2
2010 Series tied 2-2

Paul Pierce came to play as I expected and made a few huge buckets to get the team going in the 1st when both teams’ offensive execution was brutal.  He also closed the game for the C’s when they needed someone to lean on in the final minutes.  But he wasn’t the story – Big Baby was.

Glen “Don’t call me Big Baby anymore since I cried on the bench in 2008 and missed the beginning of 2010 after punching my friend while he was driving and breaking my hand” Davis played the game of his life, outhustling the entire starting five of LA and feeding of the crowds energy. Together with Lil’ Nate Robinson the C’s bench (+ Ray Allen) completely changed the momentum of the game and helped the Green go for 36 in the 4th after scoring only 60 in the first three.

As great as the game was – nothing could compare to the press conference afterwards when Baby really broke down Game 4 with some high-level analysis.

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Celtics Fans Unite

A little video inspiration for fans of the green after yesterday’s lackluster performance.

1. For those worried about KG – who has more than 1,200 NBA games on his weary knees and was abused by Pau Gasol – anything is possible.

2. For those worried about Paul Pierce and his inability to consistently get by Ron “Melee at The Palace” Artest.  The career Celtic has a long history of coming up with transcendent performances in the playoffs when fans were worried.

Nets at Celtics, 2002 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 3

Cavaliers at Celtics, 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 7

Celtics at Heat, 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 3

3. For those worried Ray Allen can’t keep up with Kobe – he just needs to be on the floor for more than 27 foul plagued minutes.  The playoff pedigree runs deep.

4. For those worried about the bench.  You can at least count on Big Baby – maybe.

Beat LA.

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Everyone is LOST – They just need Faith

Attempting to collect all my thoughts and put them into a series of coherent words that may or may not create sentences has been quite a task.  I do know now what 121  episodes of LOST has done that no blatantly religious show ever could have – make me seriously think about faith and how it affects our lives.

When Oceanic Flight 815 landed on the Island 6 years ago I was pretty psyched. Awesome scenery (Island/Women). Great Special Effects. Solid Cast. Sci-Fi Undertones.  I never thought that when the curtain call came I would view the entire series as an allegory for faith and relationships and how important both are to our fulfillment/enrichment/redemption.

The best way for me to explain how I came to this conclusion after spending hundreds of hours watching and re-watching episodes looking for clues to god knows what is to give you some short thoughts on what I always considered the main characters and what ultimately brought them to their enlightened state.

Jack Shepard

I honestly can say that I related with Jack the most in regards to his struggle with the inability to accept there were certain things he couldn’t fix. He couldn’t fix Boone, save everyone on the island or even figure out the give and take or relationships (Christian, Sarah, Kate).

It took Jack 4 full seasons to even begin his transformation from a man of science to a man of faith and he still didn’t fully accept it until he saw the lighthouse.  Despite his anger at realizing that his life was being watched from above – he began his ascension to protector of the Island.

The fundamental realization he came to was that faith in something greater and belief in some type of destiny is what is really important in life. This life on earth is just a piece of the proverbial puzzle and the relationships we have while we are on it is what makes us who we are.

John Locke

Locke has always been my favorite character even before he became the ultimate bad ass in season 6 (a performance that either gets an Emmy or the Emmy’s are forcibly disbanded).  A man whose life was so pathetic and so awful but still blindly had faith in something – the island.  When he woke up after the crash and could feel his toes he knew something bigger was at work. It didn’t matter that he was following a false entity or the Anti-Christ or whatever you believe the Man in Black was – but that he had faith in something bigger than life.  You have to admire someone like that.

When Locke left the island however and lost his faith and ultimately was killed – I wondered if he would ever get his redemption.  I believe he did end up enlightened because despite blind faith he fulfilled his destiny and without his sacrifice all the dominoes wouldn’t have fallen into place.

Plus – he did explain the entire plot of LOST to us in the Pilot.

Kate Austen

I think her storyline boiled down to her inability to understand the importance of love and relationships.  She was a loner that always felt she could do everything on her own and anytime she tried to do something for someone else she always managed to get hurt.  She obviously helped sabotage each relationship she was in based on her commitment issues from the beginning until the end from her mother to her ex-husband to Sawyer and Jack.   It wasn’t until she became a de-facto mother that she began to realize the importance of having someone else to care about and care for you.

She was always meant to be with Jack and I fully believed that. Sawyer was something easy for her. Something she knew she didn’t have to be fully committed to. Jack loved her for who she was – he just needed to understand himself first.

Hugo “Hurley” Reyes

Hurley’s interactions throughout the show with Sawyer, and later in the show and to an even funnier extent, Miles, were the comic relief desperately needed in such a heavy show.

In retrospect, Hurley was always special because his tie to the island was so deep as the next protector after Jack.  The island had to make sure he got to where he needed to be.  I think Hurley’s enlightenment, although watchable and interesting, was forced. The only thing he needed was to be told what to do. I understand this wasn’t the way of the show, but when the time came for Jack to give him the torch he was ready. Hurley cares about people and mirrored Jacob the most in that way.  I have a feeling he kept very good care of the island for quite a long time cracking jokes along the way.

James “Sawyer” Ford

Mr. “Every Man for himself” kept his distance from others and focused his entire life on revenge because of the man (Anthony Cooper or John Locke Sr.) whose long con led to his father killing his mother and then pulling the trigger on himself.

Sawyer became what he swore to defeat – a con man who ruined people’s lives.  He used insults to keep people away and never found enlightenment until he fell in love with Juliet. The Dharma doctor gave him a sense of purpose and was the first “real” relationship he ever had.  His love for her turned him into a leader and gave him faith that there was good in people. Their relationship, although short in regards to on-camera time, was the most poignant of the series.

Sayid Jarrah

The Iraqi Republican Guard always let other people define him despite how much faith he had in Islam and love for others making him one of the most tragic characters in my eyes.  His vice was almost caring so much about what other people say and think that he would do exactly what they asked no matter the consequences.

I fully believe Sayid was killed and lost his soul when he was taken to the Temple. I also believe that whatever the pool did it offered him a chance at a human life again – albeit with a more tortured soul. Any soul can be redeemed however and Sayid’s decision to sacrifice himself for his friends was the most noble thing he could have done.

Sun & Jin Kwon

I always loved LOST for its diversity and think that Sun/Jin not only represented the bond of marriage but how foreign marriage can be for us all. Their battered relationship that grew to be so great and was then ripped apart across multiple timelines was fantastic to watch. I honestly believe they reached their enlightenment in Season 4 when Jin forgave his wife for her infidelity and found out the baby was his.  The struggle after that for them to find each other was merely for entertainment purposes. Their death scene was the hardest to watch in the series though after…

Charlie Pace

Former Heroin addict that just needed to find someone who cared enough about him that he felt his life had purpose. He found that in Claire and Aaron and their island “family.” His death remains the most tragic and heroic we ever saw on LOST and set the show into its crash course to the finish.  You all everybody, Charlie. You all everybody.

Desmond Hume

If you have made it this far into the post than you, like me, are a nerd. Desmond was the real Sci-Fi element on the show from the first time he was introduced and always had me watching his breakout episodes over and over for clues (The Constant is a Top 5’er in my book).

His relationship with Penny produced some of the most dramatic sequences in the show and it was because of his special ability to see his entire life from various timelines/angles that he could enlighten everyone in their purgatory state (that and the whole not-able-to-be-hurt-by-electromagnetism thing).

Ben Linus

He wasn’t ready yet and I think it was because he had yet to give up on being the island’s No.1 and his actual death had yet to come. As Christian Shepard said, “Many of them died before you and many long after.”  I think Ben was still unable to accept the all-time No.2 role and until he does he will never go to a place much better than earth or the island.

Any Questions?

Where there any major questions that weren’t answered for you? I know American’s as a whole love to have simple plots wrapped up in nice neat packages (Just look at the Top 10 grossing movies of the last 5 years) so I’m sure there are some even if you really did love the show and finale.  Here are mine.

1. What was the real significance of the Dharma Initiative?

I understand they knew about the islands special properties, but how? Who initially brought them there. Could it have been a disgruntled Charles Widmore or an Eloise Hawking that knew they needed to be there for the greater good?

2. What is was up with Walt and Vincent?

I realized Malcolm David Kelly became an ogre between the ages of 12 and 15 and didn’t match up with the timeline but come on. I have to know the significance of him – and Vincent.

3.  When did the others begin leaving the island and how could they do so and get back?

Just feel like I need to know this as a Sci-Fi nerd. Come on Darlton – help me out on the Complete Series of LOST DVD.

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