Monday, June 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Do, or do not. There is no 'try'."

-Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Quick Snap

Why I would not want to be Steve Kerr. Check it out @ SunsInsider. I also dropped the post on Bright Side of the Sun with a poll as well. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Our Soundtrack

Music has always been an outlet that I have thoroughly enjoyed. While I wouldn’t describe myself as a flat-out music junkie, I do enjoy music not only for the rhythm, the beat, or the words, but for the fact that sometimes music can actually take you back to a certain time or place in your life that you vividly remember. I purposely have been avoiding two particular artists in my iTunes catalog for the past 6 months and with good reason. If scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, then music is has taken on a whole new smell for me. The birthplace of the Blues is Memphis, TN and that fact in itself is ironic enough for me. During my time there I was fortunate enough to meet a legendary Beale Street musician by the name of Preston Shannon. It was merely my line of work that coincidentally lead me to cross paths with Preston, and after we handled our business, he gave me a copy of his most popular album along with a magazine in which he graced the cover.

My lady and I instantly became huge fans and almost wore out the disc playing it every night. Soft music is much more soothing after a long day at the office than any of the reality television garbage that dominates the prime-time lineups. Michael Buble’s album “It’s Time” also became a favorite of mine, more so because it was KB’s favorite, though I was happy to oblige my ears and listen. At this point, I was more than happy to branch out from my usual play-list of Yo Gotti, SOJA & Kottonmouth Kings to enjoy musicians I hadn’t previously even heard of.

Fast forward to the present and the recent death of the King of Pop. Countless numbers of fans have all stated that MJ provided the soundtrack to their life. That was when it hit me. Here I have been neglecting the music that not only was introduced to me by KB, but was without a doubt the soundtrack to the happiest period of time in my life. My approach: out of sight, out of mind. If I didn’t ever hear those tracks again I’d be ok, or so I thought. However every scroll through my play-list was a clear reminder of what I was missing. The emotions and memories all came rushing back to me as though I was right back in the thick of things. It made me realize how grateful I am to have this music that is so reminiscent of KB. As is often the case, “the best days in life will be the ones most missed!”

“A year ago today honey, @ Firebirds and then your house is where it all started! I Love You even more now and pray you continue to watch over me! The more time that passes, the more I miss you. I’m preparing myself for the next 6 months, as surely they will be the toughest. I’m struggling to regain the passion and the smile that you brought out in me so easily, but at least now I can enjoy the memories of our soundtrack. "You & I" by Michael Buble! You already know this but I still refuse to see Benjamin Button. You & I will see that together one day up in Heaven.”

All My Love,

Your Baby

Quote of the Day

“I am afraid I’m going to end up like him. The way he did”

-Michael Jackson (to ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley in reference to her father)

Friday, June 26, 2009

R.I.P. King of Pop

I first received the tweet from Harvey Levin around 2:45 Thursday that Michael Jackson had died. I had received a couple previous tweets regarding MJ being rushed to the hospital, reportedly for cardiac arrest and really thought nothing of it. When it comes to celebrities, most people consider them untouchable or invincible, until reality hits. That's when I received the text from TMZ to which I was absolutely shocked. It was amazing to see how quickly every channel switched to the breaking news. All stations were reporting from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, with a throng of people flocking to the place MJ had been taken. Not one station was reporting yet that MJ had passed away, but only that he was in full cardiac arrest and apparently in a coma. Not until right around 3:30 did the news finally break on local television in Los Angeles, even though MJ was pronounced dead at 2:26. According to Levin, who appeared on Good Day L.A. this morning, paramedics knew that MJ was gone when they showed up at his home in Holmby Hills, but MJ's personal doctor, who also lived in the home, insisted they try to recessitate him and rushed him to UCLA which was only 2 miles away. The L.A. police department is investigating the death and is questioning the doctor this afternoon. The autopsy on MJ was expected to be completed by lunchtime this morning, but toxicology results will take roughly 3 weeks. Only with the tragic passing of Princess Diana when I was in fifth grade do I ever remember a passing of this international magnitude. I sense from the feeling I'd gotten from residents of Memphis recently, the death of Elvis was surely reminiscent of this day.
The outpouring of support has been unbelievable to watch with retail stores reporting that his music has flown off their shelves in record numbers. I personally wasn't a huge MJ fan by any means. I do enjoy some of his music don't get me wrong, but some of the other things about the man, myth & legend are too crazy even for me. I don't want to diminish though, for now is not the time. After all he was the King of Pop and I believe the 750+ million albums sold will forever defend that title.

Quote of the Day

“Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate.”

— Jon Bon Jovi –

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Suns trade Shaq to Cavs

Updated news on the Suns trading Shaquille O'Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers @ SunsInsider

Pic of the Day

Don't try and pretend that doesn't make you laugh!

Quote of the Day

““I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for, perfection is God’s business.” ”

— - Michael J. Fox – Actor

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Follow up: “Manny Mania hits Inland Empire 66ers”

Here is some follow up to the Manny sighting in the 505

Technorati: Discussion about “Manny Mania hits Inland Empire 66ers”

Posted using ShareThis

TweetDeck for BlackBerry

I'm curious if anybody out there has any knowledge of when a possible TweetDeck app will become available for the BlackBerry. I couldn't handle the lagging imposed by TwitterBerry so I upgraded to UberTwitter, which I do enjoy, however I would love to implement Facebook & Twitter together. The buzz of social networking is getting to the point where you can update many different locations simply from the click of your wireless device. I've been waiting for months to justify my reasoning behind choosing the BlackBerry Storm over the iPhone 3G. As long as they continually make an effort to keep up in the applications department as well consistent software upgrades, then I will continue to take advantage of everything they offer. However, the intriguing proposition of linking my iPod to my iPhone and my iBook does still exist. Even with the rumors of Steve Jobs confirmed kidney transplant in Memphis this past weekend, Apple doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. For BlackBerry's sake, I hope they keep the apps coming.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

The second installment of Transformers opened at midnight last night, and as much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, the movie sucked. I personally just saw the first installment roughly over a month ago and I felt as though I was watching the exact same movie. Same exact characters, running from the same evil robotic machines, as Optimus Prime and the good guys try and save the day again. This is not the first sequel that Michael Bay has made that hasn’t lived up to expectations with Bad Boys II being shunned by critics. The bright spot of the film is once again Megan Fox, and believe me she’s worth your time. Unfortunately, she can’t hold up the film by herself, as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen gets a SKIP from B-Loc. Plus if you really want to see Ms. Fox, just Google her for crying out loud. During these tough economic times, I’d advise you to wait for this one to make it to DVD. And even then don’t bother buying it, unless you have kids.

Manny sighting in the 505

Amid the hype of a Manny Ramirez sighting in Albuquerque, NM for his 4 game stint with the Isotopes, I still couldn’t help but chuckle when reading that over 25,000 tickets had been sold for the 4 game series. I never even realized that 20k baseball fans existed in the Land of Enchantment, but with no professional sports whatsoever, AAA baseball is where it's at. First off, let's be real about one thing. An athlete of Manny's caliber would never be in the state of New Mexico under any circumstance, unless for something like a work mandated rehab of course. Many of the fans don’t seem to care one bit that the Dodgers superstar left fielder took performance-enhancing drugs, as is evidence with the turnout in Duke City. I happen to side with Danny Masterson, an avid Yankee fan, who feels that the cheaters should be erased with Roger Maris being re-instated as the true Home Run King. Think of the impact that Manny had on last season alone. Not only did he completely alter the course of the National League playoffs and put the D-Backs on a freight train for oblivion, he drastically altered many people's lives . You see the astronomical figures on player salaries these days and you forget that in the past pro athletes actually had to carry 2nd jobs in the off-season. How tense do you think the atmosphere was in Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's office the day the news of the impending suspension broke. Manny Ramirez virtually pitted the Dodgers against themselves all off-season, with no other clubs realistically in the mix to garner his services. All of the dramatic hoopla, the press conference upon his arrival, the media frenzy, only to find out that he was indeed dirty, and Manny knew all along. Granted he will have lost roughly $8 million of his $25 million salary for this season but that is besides the point. From what we've heard in the past from former teammates and journalists alike, Manny isn't worried that much about money anyways.

However credit shall be given where it is rightfully due. Joe Torre has managed to keep the Dodgers in cruise control during Manny’s 50 game suspension, with the Dodgers 8 ½ games ahead of 2nd place San Francisco with the best record in the majors at 47-24.

Note: Manny was 0-2 in his first start of a rehab stint with the Isotopes. He left the game in the 5th inning, and left the ballpark shortly thereafter.

Quote of the Day

This quote has added meaning for me because it was placed on my desk by a very special person last fall, and it definitely related to the situation at the time. It's pretty funny, bud sadly very true.

“The reason so many people never get anywhere in life is because when opportunity knocks they are out in the backyard looking for four-leaf clovers.”

-Walter Percy Chrysler -- Founder, Chrysler Corp.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quote of the Day

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.

Soldiers of Jah Army

I’ve got the Get Wiser album by SOJA playing on iTunes right now. If you don’t have this album, and you enjoy reggae music, either log on to iTunes and download it, or hit up Best Buy and cop it asap. The soulful reggae jams harkin to the days of Robert Nesta & the Wailers. Shoots brada, rasta courage.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Quote of the Day

While I was working in Memphis during 2008 I started a daily routine within Community Service called the "Quote of the Day." I used a Franklin Covey day planner and the guts of the planner had many different motivational tools and techniques for the everyday businessman/woman. It also provided our sales team with a little extra motivation each day, and a positive outlook during a bleak economic time. With an entire nation struggling, sales has been hard hit in all aspects, especially death-care. Not only did my fellow colleagues enjoy it, but I've missed the uplifting feeling of the positive vibes generated from the quote du jour. So in bringing this back, I will start with my favorite quote from my favorite athlete ever. Even "his Airness" had to struggle before he could achieve greatness!

I've missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot . . . and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
-Michael Jordan

Violence in Tehran, Iran

The current crisis in Iran seems to be dominating the news lately, and I couldn't help but notice how much of a role the current technology has played in these events. As of yesterday, the Iranian government was shutting down the country's internet connections to Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Twitter, etc., though just this morning I witnessed a video on MSNBC of a peaceful civilian protestor being murdered in the streets by members of Iran's military. And even though all foreign journalists were banned from the streets, thousands of people still managed to stream live broadcasts of the horrific events that taking place on the streets of Tehran. Not only do we need to pray for the safety and well being of our nation, but for the nations of the world as well. With the state of affairs in the Middle East, as well as the conflict with North Korea, the last thing we need is WWIII. I know there are many who would agree; that's the end all-be all.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Let's Be Real pt. 1

First and foremost I’d like to say Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there, the ones who take care of their families, as well as the single parents out there, mothers and fathers alike. I was debating whether or not to post today because of the emotional attachment that I have developed beginning with this day just one year ago. My hesitance to address this aspect of my life is due to a number of reasons, but first and foremost I just don’t know if I’m ready. Once I begin to delve into this area, words may just begin to pour out of me and I might sit here and type for days, or I may not be able to even make it through the first half page. But here is my best effort.

Although this is not the actual beginning of the relationship timeline, June 15th 2008 was the day that I decided to embark on an amazing but very brief journey that would deeply impact me for the rest of my life.

Everybody can relate to that feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach, the butterflies or slight hint of nervousness when you are in the presence of someone that you have a special feeling for. Not necessarily the law of attraction, more so just the anxious excitement, similarly to a little kid doing any of a host of different activities. Some relationships weren’t always meant to be, they just happen. Some relationships don’t physically last forever, but the emotional and spiritual bond that you develop will always be safely tucked away in the deepest realms of your heart. I was very fortunate to experience this unique, one of a kind relationship for just over 12 months of my life from December 2007-2008.

A cordial invitation to dinner, followed by a welcome hug, and a kiss on the cheek was all it took for me to fall head over heels. I had been professing my love for a certain special lady to my best friend for over 6 months before there was ever even the slightest hint of a possible friendship outside of the confines of work. I made him a guarantee that by the end of 2008 I would at least let this special someone know my true feelings, if for nothing else than to get it off my chest. My friend took it a step further and calling out a trip to Jared’s for engagement rings. Matter of fact, I used to sing the Jared’s Galleria of Jewelry theme song many a day around her at work, just to illicit a response from Singz. After all, she had no idea to what I was referring, at least not yet.

The first couple of weeks was merely pure friendship, a couple of dates, and great conversation that would last for hours on end. It was around during the second and third dates that we both realized how strong our individual feelings were for each other. We were both hesitant in pursuing this further, for the obvious fact that we share a place of employment, and not only that, she was technically my supervisor and we also shared an office. Basically we were all up in each other’s business every day whether we really wanted to be or not, so we knew that if we moved forward with our personal life together, then we couldn’t mix business with pleasure. We both feared for our careers if any co-workers became knowledgeable of our situation.

Many people lean heavily against inter-office relationships for a variety of reasons, not necessarily right or wrong, just difference of viewpoint and opinion. At the time, I didn’t have a care in the matter because this simply hadn’t affected me before. As much as I can say that I wanted this to happen, and believe me I surely did, I never imagined it would actually become a reality. I vividly remembering praying often last summer just asking God to show us if this was his will for us. We’re we doing the right thing in proceeding with this relationship. The happiness and joy that we brought out in each other was unmatchable. It was around the first week of August that we decided there was no turning back. It was all or nothing for the two of us, and that was when I moved in with her.

We didn’t bother with the thoughts or cares of others, choosing to pursue our happiness together, regardless of outside perception. I can’t remember a time in my life when I was ever so thrilled with life, anxious for each day and night, wondering what might be in store for us next. You know you have developed something special with a woman when you can just look at each other from across the room, and know exactly what the other person is thinking and feeling without saying a word. I understand why so many married couples are often best friends as well. Not only do you experience the pleasure and enjoyment of each other’s company, but the higher levels of communication that you seem to develop as well. At that point in time I knew that I wanted to spend every day of my life with this person. Our plans however, don’t always coincide with the will of God. And this was a lesson for me that was yet to be revealed.

To be continued.............

Friday, June 19, 2009

Heartbreak Hotel

It’s one thing to make an occasional family vacation based around a visit to the Heartbreak Hotel, but if you’re a fan of any college or professional sports team in the state of Arizona, then you’re probably sick of staying at HH as though it was a Motel 6 priced extended stay offering free continental breakfast for the first 2 weeks.

After reading about just how well the Sun Devils had been playing in this year’s CWS, I decided tonight would be just as good as any to take in the action. The fact that I didn’t tune in until the 6th inning is neither here nor there, because unfortunately I saw enough of Pat Murphy’s club for a while. The battle with the #1 ranked Texas Longhorns was knotted at 2 until the top of the 9th. The Devils were able to punch one run across, taking the lead 3-2, heading to the last half. Good time to point something out.

-I was wearing a black t-shirt, and a black Transactions hat, showing no allegiance toward any team whatsoever. You will understand why when you adhere to my gut feeling-

UT comes to bat in the bottom of the ninth and proceeds to hit two solo home runs off of Mitchell Lambson, to rip of the heart of the Devils, and every fan across the state of Arizona who was undoubtedly rooting for the maroon & gold. Alright maybe not every fan in AZ, but at least every fan from “House Big” on north up the I-10. The victory propelled Texas to the final round matchup against LSU.

Even the 7 other people sitting at this particular sports bar couldn’t believe how the game ended. All pledged their sympathy toward Arizona State’s fans as well as players for the pain they must have felt. All the while I’m sitting there thinking, and this is the God’s honest truth. During the commercial break before the bottom of the ninth, I thought to myself: Arizona State is going to lose this game in the bottom of the ninth in a gut-wrenching, back breaking, dramatic sort of way that will almost make you want to cry. You know, sort of like the Super Bowl. Yes, I did it, I brought it up again. The loss to the Steelers ranked up there with: both Suns losses in the Finals to 1stJohn & 2ndJohn, Joe Germaine-David Boston simple out, and every postseason in the Steve Nash era. It was then I realized how happy I was that I didn’t wear my ASU hat or shirt, thus saving myself any negative outpouring of emotion from the regulars at the bar.

Another deflating loss ultimately led me to another noble idea. From now on I’m going to start sending out a tweet when I get that strange hunch that something dramatic is about to take place that will greatly affect not only the outcome of that particular sporting event, but the mental state of ¾ of the population of that particular territory. I worry for the residents of the ‘Zona, including myself whose technically a transplant from P-Town, though I live out of state. I don’t know how many more all expense paid nightmare vacations we can take for Elvis’ sake.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Guest P.O.V.-Brad Wharton

I’m watching my 8 month old son sit contently at the back patio’s sliding glass door, staring off into the yard watching the birds pick at my grass. Occasionally he opens his mouth wide open and up to the window in an attempt to eat the glass, just like he eats everything in sight. Life is simple for my little man.

After watching the innocence of my son, I reflect on my own youth and the adventures as a kid and journeys that transformed me into the Man I am today. Do you ever take a minute and think about your past? Dive deep into your memory bank and remember those early memories. Why do you remember them? What did you learn from that moment?

My earliest memory of a life lesson came when I was in kindergarten. I was the student of the month and it was customary to bring in a snack and beverage for all the students. Unfortunately we were one Capri Sun short for the class. My mom taught me that day to make sure everyone had a snack before I fed myself. It was my first memory of putting others before me.

I’ve often wondered if that lesson may have in some ways kept me from excelling in certain aspects of life. I can recall high school football practices where I would let my teammates jump in and get the extra reps. As a result missing those extra reps didn’t make me any better of a football player. On another hand, I know that unselfish acts have gained respect among my junior Marines, for instance when they see me pass out MRE’s (meal ready to eat) during chow to make sure they get fed first.

If I had to choose the values my parent’s have instilled in me, I’m glad they taught me that lesson. I believe it has made me a better man.

I think I just might intentionally come up one snack short for my sons some day just so they may learn a valuable life lesson.

My name is Brad. I am a Husband to a gorgeous wife, a Father to a beautiful boy, and a patriot to this great nation.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dog days of summer

The worst part of the year for sports fans everywhere is always the end of June thru July as we await the opening of NFL training camps across the country. Having just concluded the NBA Finals & Stanley Cup Finals within days of one another, broadcasters and sportscasters alike often complain of the lack of newsworthy material on a daily basis. Yes we are in the middle of baseball season, but as my old high school coach used to say “ol’ stand-ball ain’t too exciting in June.” They play an absurd 162 regular season games, often stretching into two different basketball seasons. Shoot, the D-Backs just played two games in one last week, and all they did was TIE a franchise record for longest game played. Note: check out some interesting, yet useless info from ESPN baseball writer Jayson Stark regarding that game against the Padres. If I didn’t watch a single baseball game all summer, but picked it up again around my birthday, I’d see all I needed and then some, almost assuredly with AZ further from the playoff race than we currently are. After a fairly exciting NBA playoffs (all things considered-Suns) there is that void to fill every night without basketball. The Cardinals open training camp on July 31. If the Redbirds can get Karlos Dansby re-signed, and resolve the Anquan Boldin saqa before training camp, then our chances of winning the NFC West again should be fairly high. Until then though we must resort to all stand-ball, all the time. Wake me up when it’s time for Bradley’s fantasy draft, and not a moment sooner. Unless of course Steve Kerr is fired or Robert Sarver is made an offer he can't refuse between now and then.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Hangover review

The very first time that I saw a preview for The Hangover, I figured I would never see it. Probably be nothing more than an overhyped cliché’ of sin city. But after it’s great opening weekend, and consecutive weeks atop box office charts, I figured I would check it out. Any movie that is deemed to be that hilarious or laugh out loud funny is definitely worth my 2 hours of time. I then enter the movie with a pre-conceived expectation of how funny it should be. For the most part, I’m usually disappointed. i.e. I Love You Man. As MTV's Kurt Loder stated though “it’s boisterous fun has strong libidinous overtones, it never takes the plunge into full, frothing raunch.” You can see why this movie would be a hit with the 40+ crowd. Other than your occasionally swear word or 5, and the brief bouts with nudity, it was pretty tame for an R-rated picture based in Vegas after all. I enjoyed the direction that Todd Phillips went with this movie. Instead of a 2-hour non-stop frat party, you see the aftermath of their actions, and what they must do to correct it. This does leave you anxiously hanging on until the very end, only to have the truth exposed while the credits rolled. Props again to Phillips on this 2 out change-up.

Mike Tyson’s cameo appearance was strange given the audience is supposed to believe that someone would be crazy enough to actually steal his tiger, from his home in a stolen cop car nonetheless. “What happens in Vegas” bachelor party tales aren’t made for Hollywood cameras, that’s rule nombre uno. However from my point of view, the gamble paid off. The proof is in the box office pudding. photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ignorance is bliss

We have crowned a new NBA champion as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic 99-86 to claim their 15th title in franchise history. Who else but Kobe Bryant lead the way averaging 32.4 points and 7.4 assists while garnering Finals MVP honors for the first time in his career. However, if you turn on the television or radio here in Los Angeles this morning, all you are hearing about is how ridiculous the fans are with their over the top celebrating, looting, and rioting. ABC and ESPN made such a big deal about this being the Lakers 15th championship in franchise history, but judging by the reaction of the fans, you’d think this was the first championship of any sort for Tinseltown. The saddest aspect about the whole affair is the biased news coverage, in an attempt to defend the postgame celebrations. ABC 7 and their repeated claims that these actions and events aren’t indicative of true Lakers fans, or that the people committing these acts are just the “dregs of society” according to Colin Cowherd. Right, so all those people that we see wearing Kobe jerseys, waving Lakers flags, jumping on cars, setting trees on fire, and looting stores right across from Stapes Center aren’t Lakers fans. Are these the same “fans” who want Manny Ramirez to start in the All-Star game in July? After all, this is a city where Raja Bell received death threats by simply walking down the street in L.A. after his choke slam of Kobe in the ’06 playoffs. Citizens were scared to get in their vehicles and even make an attempt to leave downtown Los Angeles on Sunday night for fear of what may happen to themselves or their vehicle. This city may have been better off had Orlando actually won, but don’t take my word for it. The local news media would rather play you for an ignorant fool. AP photo by Jae C. Hong

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Worthy references

Here are a few blog sites that are worth a reference on the daily. Not only does Bill Simmons write a fabulous blog for ESPN page 2, but the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, has his own website where he maintains his blog, as well as former Red Sox & Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling. Renowned celeb-blogger Perez Hilton as well as TMZ have blog sites that are not only popular with fans, but un-popular with the celebs themselves. Websites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter & Flickr have all become personal social networking databases for millions across the globe. Couple that with the website Technorati not only maintains but rates all blog sites on the internet through their online database, and there something out there for everyone. If you are struggling in this recession, it might just take a simple click here or there to find an opportunity online that you didn't even know existed.

Game 5 preview

Are we going to be Cristal poppin in the victorious Laker locker room post Game 5 or is the series headed back to Hollywood for Game 6? Your #1 source for NBA Finals and Lakers coverage!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hockey Night?

Tonight should be an exciting night of sports with Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Detroit between the Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. Believe it or not I’ve actually been watching a few hockey games during these playoffs and it’s actually been somewhat enjoyable. The Phoenix Coyotes completely turned me off to hockey whatsoever with their S.O.C. like inability to win, along with their permanent residence taken up in the Western Conference basement. Other than the die-hard hockey fanatics, who all live in Scottsdale by the way, the Coyotes have no fan base in Arizona. Top that with being bankrupt and with all due respect to Buddy Ryan, “you’ve got a winner in town!” Plus, you figure that before Steve Kerr was named the G.M. of the Suns, we routinely made the playoffs and advanced to at least the semifinals before San Antonio would come along and Cheap Shot Rob would kindly deflate the sails. (Ironic that Kerr used to play for them, hmmm….) Basically, hockey is the least of anyone’s thoughts much less worries in the Valley of the Sun, but with no Suns to watch set these playoffs, I figured why not go the polar opposite and check out what’s happening in the Igloo. The aggression and physical play in these NHL playoffs is so much higher than that in the Association, because the officials would rather let the guys in skates determine the outcome, as opposed to David Stern handpicking the winner from downtown Manhattan while Bernie Fryer is on the intercom. Whoever said home-ice/court/field didn’t mean anything was obviously drinking way too much of the Kool-Aid and probably considering buying those Billy Owens rookie cards from Bill Simmons. Neither team has lost at home in the Stanley Cup Finals, while Detroit is trying to raise Lord Stanley’s silver mug for the second year in a row. Having ousted the Penguins last year to win the Cup as well, this matchup is turning into an exceptional playoff rivalry. I'm going with the unconventional pick. I think the Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are going to steal Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lakers push Magic to the brink

The Los Angeles Lakers got a big boost from an unlikely source as Derek Fisher hit the two biggest shots of the season to give the Lakers a 3-1 series lead with a 99-91 victory in Game 4 Thursday night. The cagey, veteran Fisher trails only Robert Horry & Michael Jordan in 3 pointers made in Finals history. In his postgame press conference, Phil Jackson agreed with my tweet I sent out in the 4th quarter that the rebound Kobe wrestled away from Dwight Howard and subsequent foul on DH would prove to be the turning point in the game. Mamba finished with 32 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds, while Trevor Ariza had another strong post-season performance with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Ariza is a free agent to be this summer whom I feel the Suns should pursue to fill the Marion void but that’s for a later article. The Lakers now have an opportunity to clinch their 15th championship in franchise history if they can close out the Magic on Sunday @ Amway Arena. I have a feeling they may wait to pop the Cristal until Game 6 though, back @ Staples, with the city, the fans, and Jack! AP photo courtesy of David J. Phillip

Quick Snap

I’m going with the Lakers tonight in Game 4. Kobe’s response when asked if his body had finally hit the wall, was classic. “What does it matter?,” stated Mamba, “you know I’m going to run through it anyway.” Now the only question remaining for Kobe is will your teammates show up and follow?

FYI: Gina Marie Incandela will be singing the national anthem again tonight, as Orlando is 6-0 in the playoffs when she does.

Nash on Letterman

I’ve been debating whether or not to post this since it aired yesterday. As I stated Monday, Steve Nash made his appearance as a guest correspondent at the NBA Finals for Letterman last night. I personally loved almost the entire segment, until Steve ruined it by public declaring what most of us Suns fans with any realistic aspect of reality already have known for months. I’ve had the feeling for quite sometime that Nasty would bolt for Broadway to finish his career since the second I heard D’Antoni was leaving to coach the Knicks. But due to the fact that Steve Nash is still a Sun….cough..cough……for now, I will go ahead and post it. You can clearly see that he is a natural at the whole television gig. Let’s just hope he can actually play in one of those Finals before he decides to leave the desert!

Steve Nash Killed It on Letterman Last Night

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quick Snap

If there was ever a piece of literature that I would recommend to any and all, whether you be an avid reader or despise the thought, would be to get your hands on a copy of William P. Young’s “The Shack.” By far and away the most incredible read of my lifetime, and I truly mean that. This amazing book will cause you to examine your own beliefs and values as you witness the eternity thru tragedy that Mackenzie Phillips experiences. In fact, this book touched me so deeply that I had to sit down the next day and read it over again, cover to cover. “The Shack," will undoubtedly end up on your list or re-reads for years to come.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Don't call it a comeback

The makings of yet another Brett Favre comeback are beginning to take shape, this time apparently in Green Bay. It has been widely reported that Vikings coach Brad Childress has given Favre until the end of the week to make his decision on whether or not he will be come out of retirement again and return for a 19th season. It is also no secret of Favre’s desire to stick it to GM Ted Thompson and the rest of the Packers front office. Now it is being reported by ESPN that family members of Favre have already reserved 30 hotel rooms at Midway Motor Lodge in Green Bay for the weekend of Nov. 1st. That just happens to be the same weekend the Vikings make their annual trip to Lambeau Field. Coincidence? I think not.

Zack Morris is alive!!!

I first saw this posted by Perez Hilton this morning. Mark Paul Gosselaar made an appearance as his famous 90's Saved by the Bell character Zack Morris on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night. Check out the video, and notice that the phone he is talking on appears to still be working, after all these years. Hilarious skit, especially if you grew up on SBTB as I surely did.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Two-Time on Late Show

Suns guard Steve Nash will be a guest commentator for The Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday night at Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Orlando. The bit with Nash is scheduled to air on Wednesday's episode.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Blown Opportunity

The Los Angeles Lakers were lucky to survive regulation Sunday night when Courtney Lee missed the game winning layup off of a beautifully diagrammed inbounds play from Stan Van Gundy. The Lakers went on to put away the resilient Magic 101-96 and take a 2-0 lead as the series shifts to Orlando for Game 3 on Tuesday. Despite a rather subpar 29 points and 8 assists from Kobe Bryant, L.A. got a big boost from both Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. With L.O. getting more publicity lately for his apparent candy obsession, than for anything he actually did on the court, he came through with 19 big points. Former head coach and current ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy stated that “If Lamar Odom plays well, the Lakers have no chance of being beaten.” Mike Tirico even went as far as declaring it “The Lamar Odom Show,” which may have been a stretch. The bearded Spaniard Gasol definitely played his part with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

The first 3 quarters however proved extremely futile as a 65-63 score at the start of the 4th clearly indicates. If not for an 18 point 2nd quarter from Rashard Lewis, Orlando would have only had 15 points at halftime. The broadcast crew continually reaped praise upon the defense but the fact of the matter is the shooting was just awful. There were numerous wide-open shots missed by Gasol, Howard, Redick, etc. Orlando shot 33% from behind the arc, ultimately keeping them around though still not on par with their Conference Finals run. The Lakers by no means played well, but ultimately deserved the W by making the plays down the stretch. Lamar Odom, a 59% free throw shooter these playoffs, calmly stepped to the free throw line and sank two clutch foul shots with 22.1 seconds left to put the game out of reach.

Orlando fans are left to ponder what may have been. They did have opportunities to tie this series before overtime, but now they’re headed home. A home where the players hope the tempo of this series will be elevated drastically, preferably in their advantage. Despite the 0-2 deficit the entire Orlando area will surely be in a ruckus over their team’s 2nd Finals appearance in their 20-year history

For a Suns fan, we have only 1976 and 1993 to fall back on, the latter of which I was alive to witness. I’ve started to get a appreciate living in Lakers territory, amongst the masses of tradition rich die-hards. After every playoff game this postseason, the second you see the clock hit 0.00, cheers and applause can be heard right out my windows from all the neighbors. These people want another championship. Actually, they expect and demand it, and rightfully so. 14 titles does that to people.

Roar of the Eldrick

It’s safe to say that Tiger Woods is ready for Bethpage Black where in two weeks he will be defending his U.S. Open title. Woods roared back to shoot 7-under 65 in the final round on Sunday to defeat good buddy Jim Furyk by one stroke at Muirfield Village. Most impressively was that for the first time in more than 5 years, Tiger didn’t miss a fairway in an entire round. Amazingly, he only missed 5 fairways the whole tournament. I even noticed the precision in every tee shot. Even the joe casual of golf would have noticed that something special was happening during Tiger’s final round this afternoon. I’ve been a fan of Tiger since the ’97 Masters so it’s nothing new to feel a sense of confidence in the fact that when the red Nike polo comes out on Sunday, it’s EA Sports time. As in call Kyra Sedgwick or Trevor Hoffman, because it’s time for the closer. His final round was eerily similar to that of a video game. Perfect on the fairways, outstanding iron play, chip-ins from the rough, and closing it out with birdies on 17 & 18 to win. There is no prevent, play not to lose mentality with Tiger. Similar to Kobe Bryant, Woods goes for your throat. The performance that I witnessed on Sunday was reminiscent of many a Sunday I spent in college playing his video game. Only with all the attributes at 99, or “juice monkey status” as my friends eloquently coined it.

Game 2 Preview

The all important Game 2 for the Orlando Magic as they try to avoid going down 0-2 to the Lakers, before the series shifts to Amway Arena for games 3, 4 & 5 (if necessary). Dwight Howard also will try to avoid being held dunk-less two games straight for the first time in over a year and a half. Fouling him and forcing him to beat you at the free throw line reminds me of another previous young Magic center with a knack for foul shot ineptitude. It seems that free throw shooting still remains kryptonite to these self-proclaimed “Men of Steel.”

Friday, June 5, 2009

Quick Snap

I enjoyed Scott Raab's interview with Seinfeld creator Larry David in this month's Esquire. He touches on LD's new movie Whatever Works, the alleged Seinfeld curse, as well as Curb Your Enthusiasm. image by Andy Friedmen

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lakers roll in Game 1

Kobe Bryant was unstoppable with 40 points as the Los Angeles Lakers crushed the Orlando Magic 100-75 in Game 1 Thursday night. Orlando was plagued by inconsistent 3 point shooting as well as foul trouble allowing the Lakers to extend their lead to 10 at the half. The pressure picked up in the 3rd quarter and the Lakers and never looked back. The 40 points was a NBA Finals career high for Kobe, while just missing a triple double with 8 rebounds and 8 assists. It was the 10th 40-point game of Bryant’s 13-year career, as he looks to win his 4th ring in 6 opportunities. Game 2 is Sunday afternoon, 5 pm PT at Staples Center.

Hoop Scoop

The mood around southern California seems to be that of confidence, yet all Lakers fans will tell you, the season will have been a failure with no championship. Kobe Bryant, the ultimate competitor, has stated as much. After last year’s let down in the Finals against Boston, these Lakers seem eager to erase past failures. Phil Jackson is still looking to win his 10th ring as a coach, which would move him ahead of Red Auerbach. He hasn’t seemed to enjoy this season as much, often looking un-interested with the game, and his status after this season is still unclear. His past two trips to the Finals have both been experiences I’m sure he’d just as soon forget. In ’04, with the supposed “greatest starting lineup ever” the Lakers steam rolled thru the West only to get KO’d in the Finals by Detroit Basketball. That drama filled season ultimately lead to Kobe deciding in July to remain with the Lakers, Shaq being dealt to Miami, the Rudy Tomjanovich carousel, a few subpar seasons, and then of course the grand theft of Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. I am still so bitter about that trade. Not even because this Lakers team was GIVEN a 27 year old former All-Star and Rookie of the Year, in his prime for, Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton and Aaron McKie, who was retired at the time!

Reminds me a lot of the Phoenix Suns 3 worst trades in franchise history.

  • 1983 - Dennis Johnson sent to Boston for Rick Robey. Who is Rick Robey you ask? Read about his "Life after the DJ Trade."
  • 1995 - Dan Majerle sent to Cleveland for John “Hot Rod” Williams, when they could have had Scottie Pippen the year before. Remember at the '95 All-Star game in Phoenix, they interviewed Pip in the locker room and he mentioned how good he looked in purple.
  • 2001 - Jason Kidd sent to New Jersey for Stephon Marbury. J Kidd famously found out about being traded from a Taco Bell employee at the drive thru in Paradise Valley. He then responded by leading the Nets to the Finals two consecutive seasons.

I remember reading The Commercial Appeal article the day after the Gasol trade, and it referenced Pau literally sprinting out of FedEx Forum the moment he learned he’d been dealt to L.A. Then I realized what this meant for the Suns, and I quickly sprinted to the trash can to vomit.

After Mitch Kupchak’s looting of Gasol straight off Beale Street, panic set in across the West. Foes now had to combat not only Andrew Bynum but Pau Gasol as well. Speculation and trade talk immediately picked up, but leave it to the Suns brain trust to ruin it for their loyal fan base. With the team in first place in the Western Conference at 34-14, Robert Sarver and Steve Kerr decided to abandon Mike D’Antoni’s fast break philosophy, and go in the complete opposite direction. Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks were dealt to Miami, and Shaquille O’Neal, and his $20 million per year contract, headed for the Valley. I distinctly recall a cell phone call I made from Memphis to my buddy Hoz in Phoenix the day the trade was announced. We both tried to rationalize for the better, while realizing that this was indeed the end. 7 seconds or less was more gonzo than Luis himself! After all, Marion had pleaded to be dealt for a while, but with his hindsight 20/20, I’m sure that he would have rescinded that request. Never one to be outdone, Mark Cuban shockingly dealt 25 year old point guard Devin Harris to New Jersey setting the stage for an aging Jason Kidd to make his return to Dallas. Neither organization has been the same since, and both are contemplating which direction to head in the future.

Although the Lakers have made consecutive Finals appearances, there is very much a sense of urgency to take care of business. The cover story in the L.A. Times this morning has a very interesting piece regarding the mileage on Kobe, with references to how many games he has already amassed at his age. Fans and critics alike have been debating all season of how much longer Kobe can compete at this peak level. He turns 31 this summer, which turns out to be when he will enjoy his first break from basketball in years. Don’t forget that Kobe first entered the NBA when he was 17, straight out of Lower Merion High School. Aside from Mamba, you have free agents to be Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza. Combine that with the improving depth in the West and you have a tough road for years to come.

On the opposite side of the coin you have a team that very much deserves to be here, yet many pundits still don’t know what to make of them. Many, myself included picked the LeBron’s to dispatch of Orlando in 5 games, maybe 6 tops. Having already knocked out the defending champs, and unseating The King, can Orlando bring a championship back to central Florida? An unexpected plot twist may pay dividends. Jameer Nelson reportedly has been practicing with the team all week, though his status remains unclear for Game 1. His mere presence on the bench and in the locker room should undoubtedly provide a lift for Orlando. Factor in Orlando’s unbelievable 3-point shooting these playoffs and we could be in for something special. This sports year has already seen some unbelievable moments. However much like Super Bowl XLIII, where the Cardinals came with in seconds of a miracle upset, the vaunted opponent with all the prestige and aura came and ripped the Cards hearts out. I see much of the same taking place this series. Only instead of Big Ben, Kobe will gladly be the one to pull some heartstrings.

Adrian Wilson inks extension

Two-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson has signed a 5 year extension with the Cardinals. The Arizona Republic has reported that the Cardinals will hold a 3:30 p.m. press conference at the team's Tempe headquarters.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Just a Snap

Game 1 of the Finals is tomorrow night! I'm anxious to see how this series plays out. My initial prognostication had the Lakers winning in 5, and I'm going to stick with that. Orlando is a giant slayer, so anything could happen. Look for my Finals column coming tomorrow. Note: Shaq's tweet this morning,"that's right i am saying it today and today only,i want kobe bryant to get number 4, spread da word." Someone was obviously humbled by missing the playoffs for the first time in their long, illustrious career.

Kingspade-LIVE @ Key Club

Saturday, June 6th 2009, Kingspade will be performing live @ Key Club in Hollywood. Tickets are $18, get them online @ Ticketmaster, or @ Key Club box office.

2009 NBA Finals

Check out Bill Simmons preview of the upcoming NBA Finals. Fantastic insight, while always supplying an adequate amount of comic relief.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

D-Backs Update

In-Game Update: Justin Upton just hit his first career Grand Slam in the 2nd inning as the D-Backs have a 5-1 lead over the Dodgers. Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully said right before Randy Wolf’s delivery, “he doesn’t have any slams in his career, but he’ll surely hit some before he is thru.” Seconds later Upton sent Wolf’s 0-1 pitch sailing over the left field fence. Dan Haren, who makes his off-season home in nearby West Covina, has looked good thru the first three innings while helping his own cause with a 2 base-hits.

D-Backs at Dodger Stadium

The Arizona Diamondbacks (25-29) look to make it two in a row over the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (35-18) this evening at Chavez Ravine. The D-Backs, behind an impressive performance from Billy Buckner, held off L.A 3-2 last night. On the mound tonight will be Dan Haren (4-4, 2.54 ERA) for Arizona, and Randy Wolf (3-1, 2.84 ERA) for Los Angeles.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Not so Happy Medium

I understand that I really have no basis for my complaint, considering I didn’t start watching this series until tonight’s season finale, but I had heard some good reviews about “Medium,” including that of Meredith O'Brien, whose blog I'm a big fan of. If your able to last five seasons on the air especially in these days of reality television, then you're doing something right. Couple that with the fact that the fictional series is based in Phoenix and it’s shocking that it took me this long to catch an episode. I’ve always loved movies that are set in Arizona just for the chance to compare the on-screen authenticity of that city to my actual hometown. Two thumbs up by the way, as the Phoenix police car in the beginning of the show was a spot-on match. I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this first episode of Medium. And then, as if a scene of deja vu, I felt transported straight back to Monday, March 18th. My absolute favorite show on television since The Sopranos, (24) decided to end their best season since Nina Myers was killed, with Jack Bauer in somewhat of a terminal coma. Cliffhanger endings with unresolved issues that leave us die-hard fans anxiously awaiting next January and season 8. Ironically, NBC decided to take a page from FOX that had me literally laughing out loud. Unbelievably “Medium” ended it’s 5th season with Patricia Arquette laid up in a hospital bed, comatose, minus Elisha Cuthbert, as the dreadful credits started rolling.


Season 6 of Medium will air next fall on CBS.

First Impressions

Don’t forget to tune into NBC tonight to catch Conan O’Brien’s debut as host of “The Tonight Show.” "Land of the Lost" star Will Ferrell is scheduled to be O’Brien’s first guest. The premier episode will also feature a performance by the legendary Seattle grunge band, Pearl Jam. Turns out, Ferrell was also Conan’s final guest on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” in February.