Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

I love these guys. “Do I look like a cold cheeser to you?”

You guys know about my issues with language. I’ve written about the subject in several blogs, most famously “Updating My “Things I Hate” List, a classic if there ever was one. Well, to me anyway. With that in mind, let us talk about words and redundancies. Forgive me, for I shall be repeating myself once or twice. Let’s do this . . .

“You’re exactly right.”

Listen kids, if you’re right you’re right. Otherwise you’re wrong. Exactly right implies you’re righter than the person who also got it right. I’m getting a headache.

“I’m working on my inner core.”

No, just your core will do, thank you. We know the core is inner, because you know, there’s no such thing as an outer core. By the way, people who blather on about working out are nauseating.

“He’s reverting back to his previous behavior.”

See, if you’re reverting you’re automatically going back. After all, you can’t revert forward. That seems risky and even dangerous. Seems like if you tried you’d probably pull a hammy or a groin or something.

“We’re sending the snitch to a safe haven.”

Again, a haven is by nature safe. There are no dangerous havens, although “Dangerous Haven” definitely sounds like a movie you’d see on the Lifetime Movies network.

“The perp has a prior history of criminal behavior.”

Is my blog about redundancy getting redundant or is it just me? Because history is already prior. There is no prior future. Redundant, man.

“Your sum total for the donuts is $193.63.”

Again, the sum is the total and the total is the sum. That sounded like something that could be sung in a children’s education program. “The sum is the total and the total is the sum, Say it right you stinkin’ bum! No? Alright.  In addition, somebody is eating a lot of donuts.

“That kid is throwing a temper tantrum.”

I’m pretty sure all tantrums involve tempers, hence the redundancy. You can’t have a gleeful or joyful tantrum, you know. What the hell, let’s all use “fit of rage” from now on anyway. That’s way cooler.

By the way, if you look to the left of the page and scroll w-a-a-a-y down you’ll get to a “categories” bar. Then scroll even farther down until you see “words” and you can find several things I’ve written about words. You’re welcome.

That’s all I got. Just had to get it off my chest. Thanks for listening. I feel better now.

 

Like many people I’ve seen a lot in my life, been through some things I wish I hadn’t, and have seen friends come and go. Some friends went of their own volition, others I sort of extricated myself from, and way too many died before they should have. My late uncle, a man I had great respect for, once told me that if on the day you die you can count the number of your true friends on one hand you’ll be a lucky man. At the time I was sort of incredulous and didn’t understand it. Five friends or less? Please. After all, I had a plenty of friends at the time.

Or so I thought. Over time though, I’ve come to realize he was right.

You see, as a kid you think you have all these friends that will be there forever. Buddies for life and all that. But as time goes by your circle begins to get smaller. Things happen – people get married, move away, or maybe you just drift apart. Other times events happen in your life that sort of force people to take a side, to stand up for you, and quite often they don’t. That’s the point where you realize they weren’t quite the friend you believed them to be.

For an example, I had a guy that coached for me, a man I’d hired and helped along the way, a man I’d considered a friend. I unexpectedly lost that job awhile back, and I haven’t heard a word from him since the day he’d heard I was being non-renewed. He’d coached for me for 5-years. Guess you never know what’s going on inside someone’s head.

When you go through those experiences, the experiences where people have to put themselves out there for you, the times that taking a stand is required, those are the times you find out who your true friends are. Because for some, friendship is conditional.

And it’s at those points in your life when your circle of friends grow smaller. The good news is that although the circle is smaller, it is also stronger.

You know why? Because real friendship, like real love, is unconditional. A true friend will be there no matter what, right there beside you, even when you’re wrong. A true friend won’t try to lead you or follow you, but simply be beside you.

Here’s what Jim Morrison of The Doors had to say:

A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he or she really is.”

Jim knew what was up.

Will a true friend tell you when you’ve made a mistake? Point out what an idiot you’ve been? Hell yes they will, and I’d expect nothing less. But when the time comes to pick a side there’ll be no question where they’ll stand.

Years ago I was with an old friend and I’d been going through a tough time. I was in the middle of a breakup and I was explaining the circumstances to him. I’d just gotten started when he put his hand on my arm and said this:

“You don’t have to explain. I’m on your side automatically.”

I’m not sure even he understood what those words meant to me at that moment.

So true friendship is unconditional and can survive anything. A true friend accepts you for who you are, flaws and all. They have your back through anything that may arise, and they love you enough to be honest with you, even if the truth hurts. They want what’s best for you and they won’t abandon you when times get tough or you’re of no use to them anymore. A true friend will also keep you humble. Believe me, my best friends have no trouble in that department.

Given all that criteria, I suppose it’s no surprise that during your lifetime few will qualify. As for those that do, cherish them and do your best not to lose them.

Because as my uncle said, if on the day you die you can count ’em on one hand you should consider yourself lucky.

I wrote about this two years ago, but sadly my opinion apparently fell on deaf ears because it rears its ugly head on a daily basis still. What I’m talking about is the phrase “moving forward“. Here’s what I wrote:

Over the past couple years this inane phrase has has grown in popularity, and that phrase is “moving forward.”

Good Lord. So annoying. To wit:

“I have high hopes for my team moving forward.”

“Moving forward, we want to improve our test scores.”

“Moving forward, I’d like to see more intelligent conversations regarding the philosophies of Kant and Nietzsche.”

You know, stuff like that.

But I don’t really get it. Aren’t we all moving forward all the time? We can’t move backwards, though God knows there have been times I would have liked to. It seems to me that, in most cases, you could simply leave that phrase out. It’s not needed because it’s nearly always implied.

Those three examples I used up there? Let’s say them without the “moving forward” nonsense:

“I have high hopes for my team moving forward.”

Moving forward, we want to improve our test scores.”

Moving forward I’d like to see more intelligent conversations regarding the philosophies of Kant and Nietzsche.”

See? All three statements totally work without the dumb words “moving forward” inserted. In fact they’re better, more streamlined and economical.

Bottom line? Stop it.

Thank you and goodnight.

Brad Stevens is the head coach of the Boston Celtics. This year his team was expected to be really good but underperformed all year, culminating with a 4-1 series loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the NBA playoffs. All in all a very disappointing season as the Celtics didn’t come close to meeting expectations.

This happens in sports, and coaches respond in different ways. Some blame the players, some blame the officials, and if they’re a first year coach they sometimes blame the team’s previous coach. Not Brad Stevens. Listen up . . .

“I did a bad job. At the end of the day, if your team doesn’t find its best fit, that’s on you. And so I’ll do a lot of deep dives on how I can bet better.”

Take note, young coaches. Don’t point fingers, don’t make excuses. This is how you do it.

I believe it is.

In the 11-seasons since the NBA changed its eligibility requirement so that a player couldn’t be drafted until he was at least 1-year removed from the graduation of his high school class, only two teams have won national titles using a one-and-done approach – Kentucky in 2011-12 and Duke in 2014-15.

In this year’s Final 4 just 7% of the team’s scoring came from freshmen.

7%.

And do you know how many one-and-dones (technically college freshmen expected to be 2019 N.B.A. draft picks) played critical roles for Final Four teams this season?

Zero.

And it is not just this year. Freshman stars have not dominated any recent Final Fours, either. There was just one drafted one-and-done player in the 2018 Final Four, Omari Spellman of Villanova, and he was picked 30th over all. There were two in 2017 and one in 2016, with only Zach Collins of Gonzaga being drafted in the top 20.

Why do you suppose this is? Well, there are several reasons.

Clearly a team full of players with three or four years experience can have an edge over a team of 18-year old kids in their first year of college competition. It takes way more than a few months to mesh and develop the type of chemistry to get you to that final NCAA game and to win it. Experience matters, no matter how many 5-Star recruits you have.

It could also be argued that it’s easier for 3-Star recruits to buy in and be more dedicated and less entitled, knowing they’re in it for the long haul, rather than knowing they’re staying for a few months and hightailing it for the NBA like the one-and-dones.

Finally, perhaps 3-Star players are hungrier, knowing they were passed up by the Dukes and Kentuckys of the world.

Note: The reality is that one-and-dones are basically limited to a few schools. Think about it – Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Kansas. Sure, Michigan State will snag one occasionally and even Ohio State had a couple a few years ago with Michael Conley and Greg Oden. Still, cases like that are outliers.

Let’s take a look at Duke.

For many years, Coach K’s Duke program prided itself on team play, family, toughness and “playing the right way” – the Duke way.  For nearly four decades he’s built the most best program in America, and he did this largely by finding players who, regardless of their talent level, fit into the Duke culture.

Not anymore.

Now Coach K goes for the top rated players in America (and beyond) that he knows will only be on campus for 10-months, if that. Sure, they’ve had good records and some good tournament runs, but the truth is that after decades of Duke basketball standing for chemistry and toughness, Coach K’s recent one-and-done teams have been inconsistent and erratic.

99.9% of college coaches don’t even go after the one-and-done players because they simply know they can’t get them. Sure, there are exceptions, but as a rule this holds true. Therefore they recruit players by position as they attempt to mold a team that fits and melds together, one that fits their system and philosophy. Coach K, Coach Calipari and coaches from the few other schools I mentioned just fight each other for the best players and worry about putting the puzzle together later.

More often than not, the pieces don’t fit. Not well enough anyway.

Think about this. Duke won the 2009-10 title with Brian Zoubek as his starting center, zero NBA lottery picks, and only one first-rounder (Nolan Smith) in his starting lineup. The following year they recruited their first one-and-done, Kyrie Irving, and have chosen to go that route since.

Since that 2010-11 season the Blue Devils have won zero regular-season ACC titles and made it to the Elite Eight just twice—with the aforementioned 2014-15 group and with a 2012-13 team that started three seniors and, wait for it, is the only Duke team since 2011 to not have a one-and-done on the roster.

It seems like the one-and-done trend reached its high point in 2015, when six future freshman first-rounders turned up for the Final Four. Kentucky was there with Devin Booker, Trey Lyles and Karl-Anthony Towns, and Duke won it all with Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones.

Incidentally, Duke and Kentucky are basically the same program now. They both practice the same one-and-done model.

But honestly, can you really blame Coach K, Coach Cal, Coach Self or Coach Williams? At this point they have their pick of nearly every 5-Star recruit in the country, especially K and Cal. What are they supposed to do, turn them down? No way out of the rabbit hole at this point. In the meantime teams like Virginia, Michigan State and others like them with experienced junior and senior lineups, guys who have been playing together for years and not months, will more often than not beat them when it counts.

I got a kick out of Coach K’s quote after his Elite 8 loss to Michigan State this past season – “I thought they played older than we did. But that’s happened to us. We are young.

Yes, coach, you are. And as long as you recruit freshmen that will only be in your program for a few months your teams will remain that way.

But as I said, barring rule changes there’s no going back now.

Gather around young hoopsters, and let me tell you a story from a bygone basketball era, a time when a travel was a travel, teammates executed something called a “box-out”, and players who actually attempted to block a dunk attempt were applauded and not ridiculed.

Kids, what you’d also see is the now lost art of something called a mid-range jump shot! For those unaware, a mid-range jumper was one that was taken outside the key, yet inside the 3-point line. Yes, this happened regularly!

In addition, back in olden times players like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain rarely flopped! In fact, there wasn’t even a word for it because it didn’t exist in basketball until the European basketball players took it from their soccer brethren and brought it to the American hardwood.

And oh, by the way, there once existed rules such as only being allowed 2-steps without dribbling the basketball and keeping your hand on top of the ball whilst bouncing it. Such rules have vanished in the mists of time. You may now shot fake, do the bunny hop 3 or 4-times backwards or sideways without dribbling before taking a shot. You may also charge to the rim unhindered, unhampered and unchecked, all the while cradling the ball under your arm like a newborn babe.

And although you may find the following hard to fathom, in days of yore after a player committed a foul he would not always run whining to the referee! Often, said player would respectfully raise his hand in the air for all to see, thus admitting his infraction. All this is true my children!

In conclusion, and you may find this bit of information implausible, improbable, and dare I say inconceivable, during these ancient times those in attendance could sometimes observe a player help an opponent up after he fell down (you have my permission to sit down if you’re not doing so already). It was called an act of sportsmanship. For those unfamiliar with this alien term, I’ll let Webster’s explain:

sports·man·ship

/ˈspôrtsmənˌSHip/

noun

1- fair and generous behavior or treatment of others, especially in a sports contest.

You’re welcome. Feel free to print and cut and clip to your locker/fridge/dashboard/forehead.

But let’s move on to more shocking news. Back in the prehistoric days of basketball (pre-2000 ish) players were permitted to be much more physical! And horror of horrors, on defense you could actually touch your opponent! I kid you not! Yes, young ballers, defenders were actually encouraged to impede his opponent’s progress to the rim! Insanity!

And finally, there once was a time where team was valued over individual! Very few players tried to draw attention to themselves by preening, dancing, shimmying, or doing The Worm at mid-court. Stunningly, celebrations were saved for, you know, actually winning the game!

You may now take some time to let that marinate, soak it in if you will. I know, I know, it’s all a little upsetting to think about.

And thus concludes my basketball history lesson. I’m sure many of you younger folk will find this too hard to believe, that it’s simply a flight of fancy from an old man longing for a simpler, and better, game.

And you know what? You’d be right.

PS- Listen, I realize most fans prefer the wide-open, free wheeling style of play rather than teams playing tough D and running an offense. To me though, that’s the purist and most beautiful style of basketball.

PPS- The NCAA Championship game featured two fundamentally sound teams. They screened, ripped the ball through to the triple threat position after a catch, shot faked, cut hard, took good shots, played hard, played intense defense, and nobody did The Robot or Flatulent Llama after scoring a basket. There’s hope!

Oh, how I’d love to see Draymond Green try and guard Wilt.

So actor Jeff Goldblum is apparently a model now in his spare time, and his latest shoot with fashion giant Prada is borderline terrifying. Apparently, just like in basketball short shorts are back and Jeff is leading the way in all his glory. The photo itself doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation, but I do advise a deep breath before viewing because, you know, you can’t unsee it. Take a gander:

Yep. Those would be short alright. Apparently all of the guys will be sporting those this summer, which is scary. Want to know something scarier? They sell for $838.00.

Then again, Goldblum has always been a bit of a fashion daredevil. Check out this shirt he wore recently:

That’s your basic Hawaiian style shirt with dead shrew shoulder pads. Stellar look. Anywho, Jeff Goldblum? Cutting edge fashionista.

Note: Now that I think about it, Prada is getting attention so perhaps the joke’s on us. Sigh.

Well, at least according to me. Thoughts?

[click on a photo and scroll]

So Coach Bill Bilicheat Belichick once again went through the incredibly obnoxious tradition of renaming his boat a couple days ago, updating the name from VII Rings to VIII Rings after his sixth Super Bowl win (he won two as a defensive coordinator). Deservedly Bill is catching hell for his pretentiousness, but in my opinion the lead is being buried here, and that lead is DAMN THAT’S A TINY BOAT. Holy shit Bill, I have friends that fish in bigger boats on Paint Creek, let alone Boston Damn Harbor. What is that, a 2-seater? Your net worth is $35-million, dude. You’re embarrassing yourself.

PS- Wanna see a real boat? Check out what Tiger Woods tools around in:

PPS- Tiger after seeing Bill’s dinghy:

You know what there is way too much of these days on both sides of the political spectrum? Folks who categorize different groups of people. As a liberal who has friends and a few family members who are conservatives I realize all is not black and white. There are many shades of gray in between. I understand that all Republicans aren’t right-wingers who support every single thing Donald Trump does. I also realize they don’t all fit the stereotype that many want to fit them into – as uptight, humorless, devoid of compassion, racist, homophobic people who hate protecting the environment. I also know that not all conservatives are tax cutting, gun collecting war lovers. To lump all conservatives into that group would be ridiculous, right? Of course it would.

Same with liberals.

With all that said, I thought I’d list a few things that I believe to me myths about the dreaded libtards liberals that Trumpanzees Trump supporters are always railing about.

Note 1: That last paragraph was me being facetious. Chillax and stop being so thin-skinned.

Note 2: Note 1 was also me being facetious.

But on to the myths. Let us begin . . .

  • I’m a liberal and I’m very patriotic. I love this country and I don’t have a problem with the constitution. Yes, I see the First Amendment being threatened sometimes by conservatives, as some have talked about banning peaceful protest and marches. I believe in the constitutional right to worship any way you want or don’t want to worship. The Constitution doesn’t support a national religion, as some, and I say some, conservatives would like. I also happen to believe in the Second Amendment and I support gun reform to reduce death caused by certain guns. I do not support the confiscation of all guns, and neither did Obama. I also support an individual’s right to sit or kneel during the National Anthem, and it has nothing to do with my support of our armed forces, who incidentally fight for the very right to be able to do what I’m talking about.
  • I’m a liberal and I don’t want to kill unborn children. I simply believe in pro-abortion rights, which means supporting a woman’s right to make a choice to have an abortion based on health or extremely extenuating reasons, such as rape. Again, all cases are not black and white. To me it’s a personal choice to be made by a woman.
  • I’m a liberal and I’m not thin-skinned nor easily offended. I’m a liberal yet I hate the “Wussification of America” (if you don’t believe me type those words into the search box up there). I think people have gone way overboard with getting their feelings hurt, to the point of absurdity. I believe people should suck it up and not let mere words bother them so much.
  • I’m a liberal and I don’t want to dole out welfare checks to able-bodied men or women who will not work. I’m also in favor of prosecuting welfare fraud. That said, as a liberal I believe in helping and assisting people with education, training and finding jobs that will help them maintain their dignity. The majority of food stamp recipients aren’t the lazy stereotype but are children, the elderly, the disabled and the working poor. Simple as that. Despite what you might think people on welfare aren’t lying back in a hammock enjoying a wine spritzer. I believe that most people are good and need the assistance and that those who are abusing the system should be prosecuted. And oh, by the way, anyone who hates government, taxes and socialism but receives free, taxpayer-subsidized Medicare or Medicaid is just begging to be called a hypocrite. Especially those that complain the free healthcare isn’t good enough.
  • I’m a liberal, and although I don’t attend church regularly I do believe strongly in following in the examples set forth in the Bible- by helping people if it’s in my power and not turning away anyone in need if I can possibly help it. Yes, liberals can be religious. I also believe there are examples set forth in religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and others that we can all follow.

Not all conservatives are the enemy and it’s the same with liberals. And again, the political spectrum is a wide and diverse one.

So let’s stop with all the generalizing, labelling and stereotyping. I’ll try if you will. After all, ultimately we’re all on the same side here, right?

PS- And for the love of God everyone should fact-check before going on a rant about something, myself included. There’s way too much misinformation being put out from both sides. Yes, both sides. You know who broke the story regarding Hillary’s emails, right? The New York Times.

After his Clemson Tigers coldcocked Alabama to win the national title last night, head coach Dabo Sweeney shouted this to the masses:

“There ain’t never been a 15-0 team in college football history!

Easy, El Dabbo. As the great Dwight Schrute would say:

You see, several college football teams have gone 15-0 at the lower-level Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA. But there have also been two teams at the very top level of college football who went at least 15-0. There was Yale, who went 16-0 in 1894, and the last team to go 15-0 in big-time college football was the 1897 University of Pennsylvania Fighting Quakers.*

*Nothing more terrifying than a Fighting Quaker, amirite?

Anyway, check this out:

  • Between 1894 and 1898, the Quakers lost just two games, to Lafayette and Harvard.
  • In 1895 the Quakers outscored opponents 480-24, including a 35-4 demolition of Penn State.
  • That 15-0 1987 Penn squad outscored opponents 463-20. Total domination, Dabster.

I know, I know, it was a different game back then. Hell, touchdowns were worth four points and field goals worth five. so there’s that. Still, I’d like to see the 2018 Clemson Tigers play without helmets.

But the final argument for Penn’s greatness is their team photo. Take a look:

Badass. I swear to God that guy in the front row middle could rip your heart out and show it to you before you die.

Still, something about that photo tells me they might have been lacking in the footspeed department, but what the hell do I know?

Seriously, Clemson is great but let’s tap the brakes j-u-s-t a tad. Let us not forget the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers, the 1972 USC Trojans, the 1968 Ohio State Buckeyes, the 2005 Texas Longhorns, the 2008 Florida Gators, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes, the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes and the 2004 USC Trojans. Google them kids. All were spectacular.

Bottom line? Don’t get caught up in the moment.

 

He’s right, you know.

As Marvins go our own Marvin Lewis has to be one of the worst, amirite? The bland, unimaginative, uninspiring, average former coach of the Cincinnati Bengals was employed for 16-seasons and compiled a record of 131-129-3, including a putrid 0-7 record in the playoff games, four of which were at home. That’s hard to do, man. In addition, in the Marvin Lewis Era the Bengals ranked 30th in winning percentage during primetime games. That’s just awful, and should come as no surprise to long-suffering Bengals fans. Anywho, I’m sure glad that buffoon is gone and I’ll at least give the next buffoon that the Brown family hires a chance, even if it is Hue Freakin’ Jackson. God I hope it’s not Hue Jackson.

The Look.

But on to the Top 10 Marvins Better Than Marvin Lewis. Why? Because I can.

Note: After much rigorous, vigorous and dare I say strenuous research by my crack staff here at Shoe: Untied we came up with Marvin Lewis’s actual Marvin all-time world ranking. It is #7,393,499,866,474. 

#1 – Marvin Gaye

Der. Best Marvin ever, hands down. Come on, man. “Let’s Get It On”? “Sexual Healing”? “What’s Going On”? “Mercy Mercy Me”? National Anthem at the NBA All-Star game in 1983? Legend, man. Marvin Gaye was one of the greatest R & B singers of all-time.

#2 – Marvin the Martian

Hell yes Marvin the Martian. Dude was badass and could zap the hell out of you in a heartbeat. Loved this little alien bro.

#3 – Marvin Hagler

Kids, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler was a mean fighting machine. He reigned as the undisputed middleweight champion from 1980 to 1987, making 12-defenses of that title, and currently holds the highest knockout percentage of all undisputed middleweight champions, at 78%. Did you read that? He knocked out nearly 8 of 10 opponents he faced. Sweet Jesus. Check him out:

As you can see, there was none of that Floyd Mayweather slap fighting crap with Marvelous Marvin. He came to fight.

#4 – Marvin Barnes

Kids, Marvin Barnes was another Marvin with a fabulous nickname. His was Marvin “Bad News” Barnes. Why “Bad News” you ask? Well, because although Marvin was one hell of a basketball player, he also used to get in a lot of trouble. In high school Marvin was part of a gang that attempted to rob a bus. He was quickly identified as he was wearing his state championship jacket with his name embroidered on it. While playing center for Providence College, he attacked a teammate with a tire iron. Yowza. While in the NBA he was arrested for carrying an unloaded gun in his bag at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and served 152-days in Rhode Island state prison. Then, when he got out he was arrested for burglary, drug possession, and trespassing. It’s the age-old story of a potentially great career cut short by stupidity. Still, he’s leaps and bounds ahead of Marvin Lewis.

#5 – Marv Levy

Marv Levy coached in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs (1978–1982) and the Buffalo Bills (1986–1997), coaching the Bills to four consecutive American Football Conference championships. The problem is he lost all four Super Bowl appearances. But hey, he got there, right? Still, Marv was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. Good dude from what I’ve read.

#6 – Marvin Miller

You may not know Marvin Miller, but he was one of the most influential people in sports history. You see, Marvin was Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to 1982. Under his direction the players’ union was transformed into one of the strongest unions in the United States. Quite simply Marvin Miller, along with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, is one of the two or three most important men in baseball history.

#7 – Marvin Webster

Marvin Barnes had what was perhaps the greatest nickname in sports history – “The Human Eraser.” This was because he was a shot blockin’ demon of the highest order. Marvin played in the ABA and NBA with the Denver Nuggets, Seattle SuperSonics, New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks.

#8 – Marvin Hamlisch

Marvin Hamlisch was an American composer and conductor. Hamlisch was one of only fifteen people to win Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. He recorded the song “The Entertainer” which only old people will know about. It’s an instrumental that was featured in the movie “The Sting.” By the way, “The Entertainer” was written by Scott Joplin in 1902. Boom.

Fun Fact: Marvin Hamlisch was married to Terre Blair, a native of Columbus, Ohio. She used to do the weather and sometimes anchor the news on Channel 6 in Columbus. They were married from 1989 until he died in 2012.

#9 – Marvin Harrison

Marvin Harrison is a former NFL wide receiver in the NFL. He played college football for Syracuse University, and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft. He spent all 13 of his NFL seasons with the Colts, most of them with quarterback Peyton Manning, and is widely considered as one of the greatest and most productive wide receivers in NFL history. He was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2016. Also noteworthy – Marvin Harrison was allegedly involved in a gunfight in Philadelphia, and later the man who was involved was found murdered a couple blocks from Harrison’s nightclub. Marvin was never convicted of anything, but you know, yikes.

#10 – Marvin Bagley III

Marvin Bagley III is a 19-year old player for the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. He played college basketball for the hated Duke Blue Devils and was a 2018 All-American. He was selected with the second overall pick by the Kings in the 2018 NBA draft. Helluva player who just barely breaks the Top 10.

So there you have it, kids, the Top 10 Marvins of All-Time, more proof that the content contained within Shoe: Untied is the most unique in all of webdom. You’re welcome.

 

 

I actually attempted two websites before this one and neither really caught on. The first was called Rock Hard Times and was all about music. The second was called The Inside Handshake and stuck exclusively to sports. Then one day it hit me – why limit myself to one subject? Hell, I have opinions and observations on other stuff as well. Why not open it up to everything? Music, sports, politics, science, entertainment, nature, the list was endless. Thus was born Shoe: Untied, a play on my name along with the idea of sort of letting loose (actually a friend of mine came up with the title and I liked it). Anyway, as you know the site turned out to be a pretty eclectic one, and that’s the way my crack staff and I like it.

One thing I discovered early is that you can never, ever predict what people will like. Sometimes I write something I think is great and get very little response. Other times I write something that I feel is sort of trivial and it just blows up (see drunk pig blog below). Like the title says, it defies explanation.

With that said, here is our annual year-end report and Top 25 Most Popular Blogs for 2018. We’ll start with #1 and work our way down. Just click on the title if you want to take a gander.

Australian Pig Steals 18-Beers From Campers, Gets Drunk, Fights Cow

Yes ladies and gentlemen, a short little article I posted along with my observations back in 2014 got over 500,000 views this past year. For you non-mathematicians, that’s over half a million people. Seriously man, it was about a drunk pig. See, a radio station out in Seattle happened upon my site, liked the post, and put a link to that story on its website. Then the Aussies got hold of it and the rest is history.

UPDATE: Drunk Australian Pig That Started Fight With Cow Killed In Car Accident

Aaaand of course the throngs of people who loved the drunken swine story were interested in the tragic update. On a related note, Australians and I have the same exact sense of humor.

My Side of the Story

Nearly 400,000 people from all over the world heard my side of the story, and I’m glad they did.

Sis

I thought losing a basketball job was a tragic experience. I soon learned that, on life’s grand scale, it wasn’t.

My Dad and I

My memories of my father, who we lost just 53-days after my sister.

“Things Most White People Say” List Is Hilarious, Also 100% Correct

Basically just a repost of some funny tweets I’d run across. Good stuff and people liked it.

Incredible Photo of the Day: Gator Catch!

This was another post that the Australians inexplicably enjoyed. A large percentage of its views came from the Land Down Under.

So How Many People Did The Rifleman Actually Kill?

I love the old TV show The Rifleman, so one day I decided to research just how many people Lucas McCain actually killed. The answer? 120. Ol’ Luke murdered 120 people. But hey, they all deserved it so it’s cool.

Scioto Valley Conference Boys Basketball Preview & Predictions

A preview I wrote regarding our local basketball conference. I must say it’s turning out the way I predicted. So far.

The 2017 Ugly Dog Contest Was An Absolute Joke

My critique of the Ugly Dog Contest and its beautiful winner, Martha.

Cool Beans! Words and Phrases That Need To Make A Comeback

Another story I published a couple years that seems to never go away. Just a simple blog about words.

An American Hero: Ruby Bridges

My story about Ruby Bridges, the little 6-year old African-American who integrated an all-white elementary school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960.

Map of the Day: World Rat Distribution

The most fascinating aspect of this map is that Alberta, Canada is rat free, and it’s not by accident.

Regarding Beach Midgets

Just an offbeat, original little story that people seemed to find hilarious.

15 Reasons I Hate LeBron James (Or Used To)

I wrote this after LeBron left Cleveland with his ridiculous television show, “The Decision”. I really did hate the guy for a few years, but he won me back with his letter admitting he’d made a mistake with the way he left, then returning to Cleveland and ultimately bringing them a championship.

Celebrity Mugshots: My Top 10

Another old post that saw a resurgence of sorts in 2018. I’ve no idea why.

Meet Australian Cow Knickers, the Biggest Damn Cow You’ll Ever See

Again, Australians, man.

If You Haven’t heard of August Landmesser It’s a Damn Shame

I’m truly glad people liked this one, and I’m glad I got to spread the word about August Landmesser.

Paint Valley Basketball Records

This is a page I maintain that’s linked to Shoe: Untied. It gets a lot of hits.

Brad Kerns and Parenting the Way It Should Be

A telling story about one of my basketball parents and also one of the best friends I ever had.

The Many Worlds Theory is Wildly Fascinating

A pretty good example of what an eclectic website Shoe: Untied really is.

Map of the Day: USA IQ Test Scores by State

I had a lot I wanted to say here politically bit I couldn’t pull the trigger.

Man Killed Trying to Bring Christianity to Remote Island Tribe

A recent story that was quite controversial. Seems not everyone agreed with my views.

Another Drunk Animal Causes Havoc, and This Time It’s a Sozzled Squirrel.

Who knew drunk animal stories would be so wildly popular? Not I.

Don’t Think Animals Are Scary Smart? Read On.

There’s a certain segment of people who visit my site that can’t get enough of the animal stuff. They just eat it up. Animals, man.

So there ya go. All in all it was the biggest year ever for Shoe: Untied, and I thank the people who visit because you’re obviously as nuts as I am.

Happy New Year everyone.

 

MANSFIELD, Ohio —

An Ohio man found a rare and beautiful sight in his yard – a white deer.

Craig Atkins uploaded video to Facebook of the find. “There’s a bunch of deer in my yard, one’s an albino,” he said in the video.

The deer would be easy to miss in the snow with its white fur for camoflauge.

Atkins said it may be his only time spotting the unique animal, and that he will definitely not forget it.

Man, that’s a pretty deer. I admire the fact that he just appreciated the beauty of it and didn’t decide to grab his gun and put its head on his basement wall. I mean, just because I don’t hunt doesn’t mean I’m bothered by people who do. Could I shoot an animal? Yes, if it was trying to kill me or another human. And hey, if that rare albino deer was trying to hurt Sparky I’d strangle it with my bare hands. But could I do it for sport? Nah. Just wouldn’t enjoy it. Hell, if I hit a possum with my car I feel badly. Still, I get hunting, why it’s done and why some guys like it. That said, who could shoot a rare albino deer? I mean really? Wait. Never mind.

Listen, I love the movie “Elf.” I truly do. I believe I had Buddy at #2 on Shoe: Untied’s Top 5 Favorite Christmas Movie Characters. That’s quite an honor, man. However, I do have a problem with the movie, something that’s nagged at me for years. My problem is this – Buddy had lived in the North Pole for 30-years ( I know this because I looked it up. On Christmas Eve 1973, a baby boy crawled into Santa Claus’s sack at an orphanage and was unwittingly transported back to the North Pole). Anyway, what do elves do, like year-round? They build stuff. In all that time did they ever build anything for Buddy? They did not. Not once did Santa tell the elves to help ol’ Buddy out. Hell, they make toys for millions of kids in a year, man. They could have thrown together some Buddy-sized stuff in an afternoon, yet for over 20-years of his life he slept in a tiny bed, sat in tiny chairs, showered in a tiny shower and had to suffer the indignity of using a tiny toilet. Outrageous.

Bottom line, Santa and his elves were selfish assholes and I can’t get past it.

Sigh . . .

Local radio stations across the country have officially started to air their Christmas playlists as the holiday quickly approaches. But when it comes to Cleveland’s Star 102’s festive lineup, one classic won’t be heard.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” may have been a fan favorite in the past. However, after one listener called in to flag the song’s lyrics, the station’s emcees realized that there may not be a place for the “manipulative” connotations of the song in 2018.

Written in 1944, the song’s lyrics detail an interaction between a man and woman, when the woman expresses her desire to leave his house, and he lures her to stay:

“My mother will start to worry (Beautiful what’s your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor (Listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I’d better scurry (Beautiful, please don’t hurry)
Well maybe just a half a drink more (Put some records on while I pour).”

“We used to play the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” but the executives told us it’s no longer appropriate,” employee Glenn Anderson wrote on the station’s site.

Aaaand so it begins. First “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, and next they’ll come after “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” because it’s about adultery (yes, I know Santa was actually the father but you get the point). Seriously, I understand the Me Too Movement and its importance. I realize certain attitudes need changing, but isn’t this going a little too far? We’re talking about a Christmas song from another time. It was written in 1944 after all, and music reflects the time in which it was written. And have any of these people listened to rap lyrics? Hell, John Lennon sang about killing his girlfriend if she left him in 1964. Don’t believe me? Check it:

Well, I’d rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or you won’t know where I am
You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand, little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end, little girl.

But hey, Lennon never killed anyone as far as we know. But this is not a new story where music is concerned. Remember back in the 80s when some kid committed suicide and his parents blamed an Ozzy Osborne song? You know, because it had nothing to do with the fact they were inattentive, lousy parents. Yeesh.

Anyway, lighten up people. It’s a song.

PS- Anyone under 25 won’t be listening to this song or give a damn anyway.

 

New Delhi: American John Chau was intent on bringing Christianity to the Sentinelese, a remote tribe living on an island off the coast of India. His initial contacts with the tribe, hunter-gatherers who reject contact with the outside world, had not gone well. One teenager shot an arrow at him, piercing his waterproof bible. Yet Chau decided to return to the island and try again, galvanized by the feeling he was God’s instrument.

“Lord, is this island Satan’s last stronghold where none have had the chance to hear your name?” he wrote in his diary.

Chau knew his mission was illegal. He wrote of his intention and plan to local avoid authorities. “God himself is watching and hiding us from the Coast Guard and many patrols” he wrote. Critics say his brazen violation of Indian law was selfish and put the fragile tribe at risk, exposing them to modern diseases for which they have no immunity.

The morning after Chau’s final trip to the island’s shores, fisherman who had taken him there saw his body being dragged and buried in the sand. He was likely killed by the Sentinelese usual method of weaponry – bows and arrows.

Listen, I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for folks who put themselves in situations like this – the guy who was arrested in North Korea, the couple who were hiking in Pakistan and wandered into Iran and were arrested – I mean, if you’re crazy enough to go into Third World Countries for your own selfish reasons you get what’s coming to you. However, this John Chau takes the cake. I mean, spreading the gospel is great and all, but doing it whilst breaking the law and at the risk of exposing a whole island of people to diseases from which they have no immunity doesn’t sound real Christiany, know what I’m sayin’?

PS- I’m not 100% certain how God felt about this guy after all. I mean, was “God’s Instrument” John Chau or the Sentinelese arrows?

PPS- Seems like an arrow through your waterproof bible might have been a warning signal, but maybe that’s just me. 

Although I’m not coaching this year I still have a pretty intense interest in Southern Ohio basketball, the Scioto Valley Conference in particular. With that in mind I thought I’d write my inaugural SVC Preview and Predictions blog. I have a fairly extensive knowledge of the teams, coaches and players so I think I can provide some unique insight you won’t find anywhere else. Hey, I coached in the league for 13-years and have been watching games for as long as I can remember.

With that in mind, I talked to all eight of the SVC’s coaches who gave me their opinion of their team along with predictions of how the SVC will finish in 2018-2019, top to bottom. Those individual opinions will remain anonymous of course. And yes, I coached at one of these schools but I believe I can give an unbiased look at what to expect. Keep in mind that, although all coaches communicated with me to an extent, some shared more than others. Such is the nature of the beast.

I believe the SVC will be as close from top to bottom as it’s been in years. The gap has closed from first to last, without a doubt.

Here’s how I’ll do it. I’ll give an alphabetical rundown of each team with some coach’s comments included, along with my Player of the Year candidates sprinkled in. Finally I’ll give you my predictions and tell you how the SVC coach’s predictions tallied up.

Let us begin . . .

Adena Warriors 

Zach Fout

Coach Kyle Bradley’s Warriors return a ton of talent that includes seven players who played big minutes last season, and although they went 6-16 last year they were in nearly every game. Coach Bradley will run a lot of different sets with plenty of cutting and screens, and they’ll be difficult to match up with in a man-to-man defense. Adena has the horses to get it out and go offensively, and I believe they will.

The Warriors return all but two players from last year’s squad, including Senior Zach Fout, who averaged 15.5 ppg last season. He also drained 41 three-pointers and was 7th in the SVC in steals. Clearly this young man has the potential to be a Top 3 player in the conference. At 6′-4″ he’s explosive, athletic, and will be a tough matchup for any team in the league. Adena also returns Senior Caleb Foglesong, who came on strong toward the end of last season and had a good summer. Coach Bradley also expects Junior Dylan Gallagher to contribute big and says Dylan has put in the work required to get him to the next level. Other returning players for Adena are Sophomores Jacob Shipley, Jarrett Garrison, Logan Bennett, Nate Throckmorton and Preston Sykes.

From Coach Bradley:

“With the amount of varsity minutes we return it’s time for us to take the next step. Competing every night out at a high level and extending weeks, and not days, together is the focus. Moving into year three we finally feel as though the team has a really good grasp of our philosophies. We went out and challenged ourselves all summer and we are looking forward to getting started at Lucasville Valley on December 1st.”

Adena has the experience and talent to compete in every game in which they play, and the sooner the Warrior players realize this the better. It’s Coach Bradley’s third year in Frankfort and the Warriors are poised to make a run. Believe me, with Fout leading the way Adena can win the SVC.

Huntington Huntsmen

Elijah McCloskey

Coach Eric Snyder’s Huntsmen will feature one of the best 1-2 punches in the league, but due to the suspension of one of them we’ll have to wait until game 5 to see them play together. One part of that dynamic duo is Elijah McCloskey, a 4-year starter and quite possibly the league’s best player. McCloskey averaged nearly 15 ppg last season to go along with 34 three-pointers. He was also 5th in the league in steals. The other half of the combo, and missing the first 4-games, is Seth Beeler. Beeler is a super quick, athletic slasher who knocked down 27 threes in 2017-2018. He’ll take a lot of pressure off McCloskey in the Huntsmen offense. Other returnees are seniors Nate Snyder, DJ Kinzer and Canaan Knowles. Snyder is a good 3-point shooter who plays hard, and although he’s more of a catch-and-shoot player he’ll have to help out with ballhandling until Beeler returns. At 6′-3″ Kinzer will provide some length the Huntsmen so desperately need, and he can also give the team some added scoring punch. According to Coach Snyder, Knowles is the team’s “Junkyard Dog” who plays hard and with a high motor. Senior Andrew Cox is another player expected to contribute, the kind of kid who gives everything he’s got while understanding his role. Believe me, that’s often a rare combination. A new face for Coach Snyder this year is senior Jonathon Fisher. While only 6′-1″, Fisher can give the team a toughness in the paint that will be valuable come the dog days of January. Other players to watch include 6′-0″ senior Joe Phillips, 6′-3″ sophomore Nick Haines and 5′-7″ freshman Dalton Haubeil.

From Coach Snyder:

“Our motto this year is ‘Overcoming Perception’. It’s been 7-seasons since Huntington has had a winning season. These kids just need to know what it feels like to win. They have the potential to win, we just have to believe and take that next step.”

The Huntsmen will be a reflection of their coach – tough and persistent. They’ll will play a hard-nosed style of basketball and have the potential to be in every game. They’ll go as McCloskey goes, and he and Beeler will form a lethal combination. If this team can get through the first few games without losing confidence and if a couple players step up to form that third and fourth option, the Huntsmen will surprise some people, mark it down. The Mighty Huntsmen simply have to believe.

Paint Valley Bearcats

Cruz McFadden

New Coach Bobby Williams inherits a 17-win team that returns 4-starters, but due to having a late start because of the football team’s playoff success, having to learn a new system, and learning to play without Ross County’s all-time leader scorer Dylan Swingle the folks in the Valley might have to be patient with this team early. That said, when this team jells they’ll be as good as anybody. The Bearcats return all-district Bryce Newland, a 6′-4″ player who can not only score (15.0 ppg) and shoot the 3 (46 last season), but can also hit the boards (10.7 per game last season, good for 4th in the SVC). If Newland has developed his inside offensive game enough to balance his prowess from the perimeter he’ll be a Top 4 player in the league – at least. The Cats also return Cruz McFadden, like Newland beginning his third year as a starter. The Cruzer finished 4th in the league in assists last year as well as finishing 6th in steals, and when he attacks the basket he causes a myriad of problems for opposing defenses. Another returning starter is senior Caden Grubb, a never-say-die, clutch leader who is one of the better defensive players in the SVC. Grubby also averaged 4.6 assists per game last season, good for third in the league. The last starter returning for the Bearcats is 6′-4″ senior Hunter Hamlin, the team’s defensive stopper last year who also hit some big shots in tournament play. Other players who might make a splash are PJ McAllister (last year’s 6th man), Judson Bevan (an athletic 6′-3″ junior with a ton of potential), freshman Cordell Grubb (a scoring machine in JH), junior Colton Skaggs, and senior Justin Draise.

The Bearcats are expected to go deeper on their bench this year as well as playing a more full court style on both offense and defense. If players 5 through 8 can step up and contribute it will help their cause tremendously. They’ll also need McFadden, Grubb and others to knock down perimeter shots as I fully expect Newland to be face-guarded nightly.

From Coach Williams, via the Chillicothe Gazette:

“I think the potential is great,” Williams said. “I don’t expect to have a honeymoon period here coming off their success from last year. I’m expecting to come in and win immediately with this group.”

Paint Valley has been to the districts four of the last five years, and there’s no reason to think they can’t do it again. If everything comes together as it should, come mid-January “The Jigger” will once again be rockin’.

Piketon Redstreaks

Blake Reader

If there’s one thing you can count on down in Piketon, it’s that the Red Streaks will play a full-court trapping game, they’ll get the ball out and run, and they will play hard.

Always scrappy, this year’s Piketon team will have a nice mix of experience and youth while being bigger than in years past. Although SVC scoring champ Tanner Purdue will be hard to replace, they’ll return 3-starters from last year’s District Runner-Up – Alex Blanton, Scottie Lightle and Blake Reader. Blanton was 4th in the SVC in steals, and Reader is a tough kid who took an incredible 20 charges.

From Coach Evan Legg:

“We have a great group of young players coming through the program, and they are learning and improving every single day. As always our goal is to compete for an SVC Championship, get back to The Convo and compete for a District Title.”

The Streaks like to play a lot of kids, and as Coach Legg’s younger players gain experience they’ll only get better. Although last season’s 19-wins will be tough to improve upon, Piketon has been a fixture at The Convo for what seems like forever. They feel like they belong there, and that’s half the battle. Expect the Streaks to have more players involved in their offense, perhaps having as many as 3 or 4 players averaging in double figures. Traveling to “The Oven” and battling the Streaks is always a tall order for any SVC team, and this season should be no different.

Southeastern Panthers

Lane Ruby

Coach Rick Strausbaugh’s Panthers return several player’s from last year’s team, including point guard Lane Ruby, a 5′-9″, lightning quick whirling dervish who is nearly impossible to contain without defensive help. A possible 2018-2019 SVC Player of the Year candidate, Ruby averaged 10.5 points per game last season, was 6th in the league in assists, 4th in free throw percentage and 8th in steals. Like McCloskey at Huntington, Ruby is the straw that stirs the Panther’s drink. Southeastern also returns 6′-4″ junior postman Reece Wheeler, 6′-0″ junior Aaron Gillum, 6′-4″ sophomore Aarick Hill and 6′-2″ senior Noah Dresbach. Wheeler snagged 6.7 rebounds a game last season, good for 8th in the SVC. He was also 5th in the league in blocked shots and averaged 8.7 points per game. Gillum pitched in with 7.5 points.

New players with a chance to contribute are 6′-0″ freshman Aiden Estep, 6′-0″ freshman Luke Corcoran, 6′-1″ freshmen Derek Wheeler, 6′-1″ freshman Aaron Evans, 5′-7″ freshman Parker George and 5′-11″ junior Jared Sulpher.

I expect Ruby and Wheeler’s point averages to increase considerably, and at least one other player, possibly Dresbach, needs to approach double figure scoring for the Panthers to compete. Like I said, Ruby is the key. As long as he’s on the court Southeastern will be a dangerous team. The folks in Richmond Dale and Londonderry always have high expectations for this tradition-rich program, and that will not change this year. That said, it’ll be a big challenge for the Panthers to crack the Top 3 in the SVC.

Unioto Shermans

Unioto lost an amazing group of seniors last year, including Co-SVC Player of the Year Logan Swackhammer, sharpshooter Brandon Kennedy, ridiculous athlete Gabe Fisher, and bruiser Peyton Hill. Friends, those four never lost a league game. Because of these losses a lot of fans are expecting a below average year for the Shermans, but let me tell you a secret – they’ll be good again. Sure, they may finally lose a game or two, maybe even three, in the league. But they’ll still be fighting for the SVC title come February, believe me. One reason is that the Unioto kids expect to win. They believe they will, they know how to, and they more often than not do. Of course, as they say you can’t have a circus without the elephants, but I believe they have enough of those too. The Shermans will go 10-deep, and as always they’ll have shooters. You’re going to see more balance from Unioto this year as they have several different players capable of leading them in scoring on any given night.

Their top returners are 5′-11′ experienced senior Chance Smith (19-threes last year), 6′-2″ junior Cade McKee and 6′-2″ senior Gabe McBee, but they also have several players who have shown promise over the summer and in the preseason. Coach Matt Hoops speaks highly of senior guard Justin Manson and his development, and sophomores Isaac Little (he’s a player to watch) and both Carson and Cameron DeBord are expected to contribute as well. All three saw some time with the varsity last year. Hoops says 6′-3″ sophomore Aiden Loeffler is a great athlete who also had a good off-season, and newcomers Josh and Jeremy Lambert will only add to Unioto’s depth. Another kid mentioned by Hoops as having an outstanding summer is sophomore Gunnar Greenwalt.

So yeah, depth. I believe I mentioned at least 11-players in that last paragraph. Bottom line? If you thought this was the year you were going to see Unioto kicked around, you may want to think again. The Tanks aren’t going anywhere.

From Coach Hoops:

“We’re going to be very deep. A lot of different guys are going to play, and a lot of different guys are going to score. You’re going to see a different Unioto. And if and when the streak does fall people are going to celebrate that, but this team is not the team that’s won 4 gold balls. This team hasn’t won a game yet.”

Note: A little bird told me we can expect some new wrinkles regarding Unioto’s defensive schemes in 2018-2019. Stay tuned.

Westfall Mustangs

You’re going to see a different team than last year’s 4-win Mustangs, according to Head Coach Josh Rodich. Last season the ‘Tangs were pretty young. This year, the roster features 9-seniors, two of which were not on the squad last year. 6′-5″ Nate Reed moved to Westfall from Florida and 6′-6″ Jared Kaiser has been medically cleared to compete this year.

In addition, the Mustangs return four starters including senior Kaleb Farmer, junior Jay Wyman, junior Jayden Hammond and junior Trent Hampton.

Coach Rodich says Farmer is a coach on the floor, that Hampton has really worked to improve his perimeter shooting, and that he expects Hammond to carry a bigger scoring load this season. In addition, Hammond will make the rare move from center to guard this season.

From Coach Rodich:

“The Mustang community should expect to see a much-improved team this year with lots of depth, experience and added height.”

I have no idea how good the two new kids are, but if they can contribute at all it could completely change the complexion of this team. That said, the Mustangs will need improved guard play to compete with the top teams in the SVC.

Zane Trace Pioneers

Cam Evans

Bottom line, the Zane Trace Pioneers are loaded. Led by Player of the Year candidate Cam Evans, the Gary Kellough coached Pioneers are widely considered to be the favorite to win the Scioto Valley Conference (you’ll see the coaches predictions in a bit). Evans, a 1st Team All-SVC team member last year, averaged 15.0 points per game and 3.1 assists while shooting nearly 70% from the line. Point Guard Colby Swain and Chad Ison will contribute at both ends of the floor, and 6′-6″ post man Nick Nesser returns to patrol the paint. Coach Kellough likes the defense Triton Davidson brings to the table, so expect him to see extensive action as well. Davidson shot an incredible 73% from the floor last season. We’ll also see Luke Johnson spending a lot of time on the floor.

Coach Kellough says that Cam Evans has taken his game to another level. If this is true he’s really going to be fun to watch, not to mention the absolute handful he’ll be for SVC opponents.

Zane Trace ratcheted up the competition their team faced over the summer as well as in preseason scrimmages in an effort to prepare them for what lies ahead, not only in the always tough SVC but the D2 tournament in February. Coach K’s teams are known for their tenacious defense and disciplined, minimal turnover offense. Expect this year to be no different.

So there’s the rundown. Of course injuries, internal dissent and other factors can influence a season in any sport, especially basketball, the ultimate team sport. Chemistry is key.

My Predictions

  1. Zane Trace – With Cam Evans playing at a high level and Coach K on the bench I believe the Pioneers have to be the favorites.
  2. Unioto – The Shermans aren’t going anywhere, folks. Trust me. They’ll be deep, confident and well-coached.
  3. Adena – I might have the Warriors low here. They have the athletes to win it all, and Fout will be a beast.
  4. Paint Valley – The Bearcats can finish higher, but they’ll have some catching up to do first. They’ll be rolling by mid-January.
  5. Southeastern – With Ruby leading the charge the Panthers will be dangerous every night. He’ll need help though.
  6. Piketon – A lot of players will have to step up to fill the void left by Tanner Purdue, and the Streaks will need to find a go-to player. That said, Piketon knows how to win.
  7. Huntington – McCloskey is a given, Beeler has potential, but a lot of others will need rise to the occasion.
  8. Westfall – If the two new post players can play this can totally change, believe me.

SVC Coach’s Predictions:

Teams were ranked 1-7 with a coach not being allowed to vote for his own team. A team received 1-point for a first place vote, 2-points for a second place vote, and so on. Hence, the lower the score the better. Here are the teams, their rankings by the other coaches, and their point totals:

1. Zane Trace: 1-2-1-1-1-1-1 = 8

2. Adena: 4-3-2-2-6-1-2 =20

Unioto: 2-1-4-2-2-5-4 =20

4. Paint Valley: 3-4-3-3-3-2-5 = 23

5. Southeastern: 5-6-4-4-4-3-3 = 29

6. Piketon: 6-5-6-5-6-5-4 = 37

7. Huntington: 7-5-6-5-7-6-6 = 42

8. Westfall: 7-7-7-7-3-7-7 = 45

SVC Player of the Year Candidates, ranked 1-5

1. Cam Evans -Zane Trace

2. Zach Fout – Adena

3. Elijah McCloskey – Huntington

4. Bryce Newland – Paint Valley

5. Lane Ruby – Southeastern

Food for thought: Unioto last lost a Scioto Valley Conference game on December 6th, 2013, nearly 5-years ago. During that span, under Head Coach Matt Hoops, the Shermans have won 69 SVC games in a row. The team that beat Unioto that night? Zane Trace. Who do the Shermans open up with in league play on December 7th this season? Zane Trace. Better get their early, folks.

Enjoy the season, folks. Cheer for your team, don’t be too hard on the officials, and enjoy the greatest game in the world – basketball.

Our beloved Buckeyes have looked horrendous as of late, playing with no fire and all the emotion and energy of a sea slug. That said, if they can somehow miraculously wake up from their comatose state, there is a scenario in which they can make the College Football Playoffs.

The Buckeyes currently sit at the No. 10 spot, a far ways from where they want to be, which is obviously in the Top 4. However, they can get there if they win out and get a little help from some other teams. Again, keep in mind this is all predicated on the fact OSU has to start playing some defense and with some damn fire.

Here’s how they can do it . . .

First, here are the rankings as of today, November 7th, showing Ohio State and everyone ahead of them:

  1. Alabama 9-0
  2. Clemson 9-0
  3. Notre Dame 9-0
  4. Michigan 8-1
  5. Georgia 8-1
  6. Oklahoma 8-1
  7. LSU 7-2
  8. Washington State 8-1
  9. West Virginia 7-1
  10. Ohio State 8-1

Like I said, they must win out. Everyone with a brain knows this. They play Michigan State on Saturday, who is at #18. That could be the beginning of the climb. A win over Maryland will help as they stand at 5-4 as we speak. And barring a Harbaugh choke-job, Michigan will be in the Top 4 entering THE GAME, which is in Ohio Stadium this year.

Winning all three would really boost Ohio State’s resume as they headed into the Big Ten Championship Game. However, they’re going to need help.

The Buck need to pass 6-teams. That’s a huge task but not impossible. Beating Michigan presumably cuts it automatically to five. If Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame win out that means Georgia would have a second loss, cutting the number to four. Oklahoma and West Virginia will more than likely play twice and OSU needs those two to split.

So, that leaves Washington State and LSU. I’m guessing Mike Leach’s Cougars win the Pac-12. However, there’s a chance they may also be without a win over a Top 25 opponent at season’s end. LSU, at best, will be a two-loss non-conference champion.

I think the committee could very well jump the Bucks over both of those teams in the end. They love the way Ohio State’s fans travel, and that’s a huge bonus in our favor.

I know, I know, the wins over Penn State and TCU look worse by the week, and the 29-point loss to Purdue could spell doom in the end. But there is a real chance.

Sure, right now not many Ohio State fans would want to face Alabama or Clemson, although I think most would take our chances against Notre Dame.

So, I’m telling you there’s a way Ohio State can make it. The question is, do we want to?

Tucson: It was a sad showing for a 6-year-old boy’s birthday party in Arizona.

Teddy’s mom says they invited 32 of his classmates to a pizza party for his birthday in Tucson Sunday afternoon.

But no one showed up at Peter Piper Pizza restaurant.

Social media was flooded with messages of support and Teddy’s story caught the attention of some big names in the sports world.

The Phoenix Suns invited Teddy to come watch Wednesday night’s game against the Lakers.

Listen, I’m glad little Teddy got to go to the Suns game, I really am. But something smells fishy here. Anytime 32 kids turn down an invite for free pizza something is amiss, folks. My first guess is that Teddy is a little asshole and nobody likes him. Hey, I taught for 30-years, I know stuff. Secondly, what kind of a parent asks their kid to pose for a photo at an empty table and then post it on social media? A parent that wants attention, that’s what kind. Trust me, there’s more to this story, man.

PS- My parents would have never thrown a birthday party for me like that, but it they did and nobody showed they’d have blamed me and asked why the hell I didn’t have any friends.

PPS- Teddy went to the Suns game. Not sure if he found a friend to go with him, but I know the Suns lost. Teddy is a bad seed.

“Da hell?”

Everyone is familiar with the social media folks who are always pulling the old humblebrag schtick, amirite? I wrote about this in the blog Facebook, Twitter and the Art of the Humblebrag  and yes, it was a classic. Here’s an excerpt from that gem:

Here’s a humblebrag I read the other day:

“Took some homemade cookies over to the Snortlik’s this morning. I know they’re grieving and food always helps.”

This one is fairly common. Somebody is going through a terrible tragedy and you get humblebraggers trying to inject themselves into the situation to get attention. And guess what? It works. You usually see responses from unwitting enablers saying things like, “Oh, you’re so sweet for doing that!” which is exactly the response the humblebragger was looking for. And oh, by the way, if you were a really good person you wouldn’t announce what you did on social media. Another common humblebrag is when people post things like, “I feel so ugly today!” or “I hate it when people stare at me. So rude!” Uh, it’s pretty clear what sort of responses they’re looking for, right?

I recently noticed another phenomenon has reared its ugly head, and that is the “blessed” social media user. Everywhere we look we see it:

“Check out my new Hyundai Accent!” #blessed

“Blessed to announce I’ve decided to accept a scholarship to Southeastern Texas University of South Dakota South Central after narrowing it down from 27 schools!”

[posts photo from beach in the Dominican Republic] #blessed!

I got a 4.0 this semester! #blessed!

[posts photo of rock hard abs] “Hard work pays off!” #blessed!

“Today I gave a homeless man a sandwich, volunteered at a leper hospital, and rescued a homeless baby kitten from a drainpipe.” #blessed!

But have you been “blessed” or are you “bragging”?

If you say you are blessed, I’m assuming you believe your situation has been all a part of God’s plan, right? That God has blessed you? That you’re being rewarded for being a good person?

But aren’t people sometimes just lucky?

“Hey! I hit the lottery!” #blessed

Really?

I guess what these people are saying is that the all-powerful, all-knowing absolute deity of the universe has focused on their well-being more than others because they are just that terrific?

I also wonder about the person who worked just as hard as you did and didn’t get that big reward—if you’re so blessed, is he or she cursed? Because in order for you to be so special there must be people who are not so special. That means that you must consider your life to be better than others in some way, right?

No?

And if being able to get into those old jeans again make you “blessed” doesn’t that minimize more meaningful blessings like the birth of a healthy baby or recovering from a disease? Hell, I once saw a Twitter pic someone posted of her ass with no comment, just “#blessed”. Really? I guess God doesn’t bless a woman with a small booty?

And really, if you truly care about others and wish to add value to their well-being, why is there a need to proclaim that you’re blessed? Is anyone following me here? Bueller? Bueller?

Bueller?

Finally, are we even using the word “blessed” correctly? Do we really even know what we’re saying? Let’s take a look at what the word actually means:

 

Oops. That sort of changes everything, doesn’t it? So you were made holy by that new condo in the Ozarks? You were consecrated by your new rock hard glutes? No, I didn’t think so.

So let’s pump the brakes on all this “blessed” talk, everybody. Maybe throw in a “grateful” or a “thankful” instead. Sweet mercy.

#yourewelcome

So Major League Baseball had its big Home Run Derby the other night. You know, the one where they use “different” baseballs for “entertainment purposes”. Anyway, the derby was won by Bryce Harper of the hometown Nationals (insert MLB conspiracy theory here) and he was fawned over for his performance in a meaningless contest even though he’s hitting .215 and can’t lead his team to any success in the playoffs. He was also called a patriot, a nationalist, and dare I say an American hero for sporting Old Glory on his headband, arm sleeve, bat, and presumably his underwear.

HOWEVER . . . I hate to be a party pooping killjoy here, but Bryce Harper is showing blatant disregard for the official United States Flag Code. Weird, man. It seems like the biggest flag wavers are also the most blatant violators of the Flag Code. Let me pluck one of the rules for public presentation of the flag:

No part of the flag should ever be used on a costume or athletic uniform, the exception being a flag patch affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.”

Uh-oh.

PS- I don’t really care if athletes wear images of the flag on their uniforms or helmets or anything. People get really self-righteous about the flag so I thought this was sort of funny in a hypocritical sort of way.

PPS- The Party Pooping Killjoys would be a great band name.

Oh. Also this:

So this hypothetical question has been rambling along the worldwide interweb the last couple of days, and I must say it begs for insight from my crack staff here at Shoe: Untied. Remember, my people were asked to replace any movie cast with The Muppets and keep one human character. I sent the question around our world headquarters via our group email, and what you’ll find below are some of the results. Oh boy. Let’s just say it took an ugly turn. Enjoy. Or perhaps not. My comments follow the choices.

Ancel Pinsky (Account and Finance) 

Titanic. Keep the Titanic.

Wait. What? Did Ancel understand the question? The Titanic isn’t a character. Good God. On the other hand, Kermit reciting the “I’m the king of the world!” line would be stellar.

Hank Moffit (Quality Control)

Jurassic Park. Keep Jeff Goldblum.

Not bad, Hank. Not bad at all. Dinosaurs eating Muppets has a certain fascination to it. I think. I mean, Camilla the Chicken might be tasty. And there’s Miss Piggy. I’ll stop now. Wait. Do you like frog legs?

Hoss Merkel (Security)

Avengers: Infinity War. Keep Scarlett Johanssen.

Damn it Hoss. Everyone knows about your fixation with Scarlet Johanssen. Hell, you don’t even try and hide it anymore.

Luigia Voltolini (Human Resource Management)

Halloween. Keep the dude who plays Michael Myers. 

Well, that took a dark turn. First velociraptors eating Muppets and now Michael Myers slicing and dicing them? Yikes. Prediction: The Swedish Chef would be the first to go, but not after a vicious knife fight.

Sim Hao Xiang (Legal)

Any Bruce Lee movie. Keep Bruce Lee.

What’s with all the violence regarding the damn Muppets, man?

Mia Lefluer (Graphic Editor)

Star Wars. Keep Darth Vader.

I like it. I think Beaker would make a great Hans Solo.

Molly Simpkins (Copy Editor)

The Shape of Water. Keep the Fish Man.

I don’t even know what’s happening with my staff anymore. The world is a complex, confusing place.

Bobby Limpett (Marketing)

Fight Club. Keep Edward Norton.

Again with the Muppet beatings. Sigh. On the other hand, Animal would be a tough out.

Ariella Levinsky (Fashion Editorial Assistant)

Predator. Keep The Predator.

WHAT THE HOLY HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Wait. Sam Eagle might just give The Predator a run for his money.

Fawn Collingwood (Personal Assistant to the CEO)

Forrest Gump. Keep Tom Hanks.

Violent? No. Weird as all hell? Yes. Yes it is. Thanks Fawn?

Parvez Abassi (Tech Services)

Taken. Keep Liam Neeson.

Aaaand we’re back to the murder and mayhem. I really need to reevaluate my hiring practices.

Arnold Poindexter (Runner)

Toy Story. Keep Slinky Dog.

What? Everyone’s a Muppet except Slinky Dog? Why Slinky Dog, Arnold? Why? I’m getting a headache.

Bernie Hogg (Content Strategist)

Any Rocky movie. Keep Sylvester Stallone.

Didn’t take long to get back to the ass whippings did it? Note: Word on the street is that Fozzie Bear can take a punch.

Merle Bodean Herbert (Interaction Designer)

Debbie Does Dallas. Keep Debbie.

Oh for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus. Tell me I didn’t just read that.

Bradley Davenport (Intern)

Deliverance. Keep Ned Beatty.

WHAT THE . . . listen, if you haven’t seen Deliverance don’t watch it after reading this. If you have, please accept my deepest apologies.

I’m out of here.

PS- I’m so sorry.

PPS- I had a Miss Piggy joke to work in on that last one but I just couldn’t pull the trigger.