Friday, October 29, 2010

Toronto 101, Cleveland 81

Little bit of a different feel to this one.  First post-LeBron game, home opener against Boston? Cavs had a lot of effort and energy.  A simple late-October game in Toronto? The Cavs focus and energy were, um, lacking to say the least. The Cavs gave up too many easy baskets and they made things hard on themselves offensively by standing around and chucking threes. Night and day compared to Wednesday's win over Boston.

Not J.J. Hickson's finest hour.  After scoring 21 points against Boston, Hickson followed it up with a 6 point, 6 rebound performance.  Fouls limited Hickson's court time to just 15 minutes, but I wouldn't blame the refs.  J.J. commits dumb fouls and he has to find ways to limit that (like not needlessly swiping at the ball).  The Cavs aren't deep enough (especially without Andy) to be able to win many games with Hickson on the bench.

The defense was not good.  Cleveland's defensive rotations were a step slow and they gave up way too many open jumpers and easy shots inside.  The Raptors shot 47% from the floor and simply had better effort. Reggie Evans absolutely killed the Cavs on the boards (14 rebounds, 5 offensive) and always seemed to end up with the loose ball (Hickson needed to do more on the glass too).

The starters were, well, awful.  The five starters combined for 29 points on 11-37 shooting.  Ramon Session went 1-10, Jamario Moon was 1-5 and Anthony Parker went 4-11.  There was too much standing around and way too many contested jumpers.  Ryan Hollins, starting in place of Varejao, scored 7 points in the first half but finished the game with those same 7 points (however, I did like his effort).  Again, the Cavs were without both Mo and Andy, but a disappointed effort from the starting group.

The game didn't get out of hand until the third quarter.  Toronto held a 7-10 point lead for most of the second quarter and Cleveland trailed 46-38 heading into halftime.  The Toronto lead built to 13 early in the third but after some treys from Anthony Parker and Antawn Jamison, the Cavs cut it to 54-48 at the 8 minute mark.  Led by Linas Kleiza (13 points in the quarter), the Raptors finished the third on a 23-7 run and that was all she wrote (the Cavs "tried" to get back into it by lofting a ton of threes).

On the plus side, a whole quarter of garbage time! Cavs fans who stuck around through the fourth quarter got their first glimpses of Manny Harris and Samardo Samuels.  I thought both guys played well in their first NBA action.  Samuels scored 7 points on some nice post moves (as well as an alley oop from Boobie) but didn't grab a single board in his 7 minutes.  Harris scored 8 points (went 2-2 from downtown) and looked extremely fast with the basketball.  Harris looked so good that I wondered why he didn't spell Sessions earlier.

and finally...

First back-to-back of the year.  The Cavs can wash the taste of this game from their collective mouthes with a win over the Kings Saturday night in Cleveland.  I'm going to be interested to see how the Cavs respond and bounce back from this loss. With Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings aren't a team the Cavs can look past (not that this Cavs team should be looking past anyone).

It's a tad early

I'm not going to lie, I'm fascinated by this Miami team.  Am I still pissed at LeBron? Yes. of course. But am I still interested in how his game evolves and how his team does? Yes. I can't help it, I followed this guy's every game for seven years, it's hard to not be at least a little interested.

(Also, I bought some LeBron basketball shoes the other day. But don't judge, their price was slashed considerably).

Bill Simmons column about LeBron touches on many of the things I've been pondering:

This wasn't basketball, more of an arrangement. Something didn't feel right. Wade caught a breather and LeBron immediately snapped into 2008 Cleveland mode: pounding the ball upcourt with a hop in his step, attacking the rim with impunity, reminding everyone that he's the most talented player in the league (and maybe ever). He took three shots in a row. More importantly, he looked like LeBron again. A few minutes later, LeBron took a breather and Wade took over. Same thing. Everyone cleared out, Wade went on the attack, took the next two shots and looked like Wade again. Neither guy looked comfortable until the other one was taking a break.

Then again, was that really surprising? LeBron and Wade are creators in a decidedly modern way: scorers first, then passers if they can't score. I got this. That's how players think in the post-Jordan, AAU-dominated, microwavable fame era. That's how you earn the most money, generate the most attention, land shoe commercials and end up producing one-hour shows in which you pick your next team. You can't expect two superstars in their primes to suddenly shut off the "I got this" switch. It's not realistic. As Bill Parcells famously loved to say, you are who you are. And on this particular team, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are redundant unless one of them changes.


Granted, I love overthinking this stuff. That's what I do. But I attended Miami's first two games and my biggest takeaway was the team's collective joylessness. Even during the Heat's first victory in Philly -- an infinitely easier game because the Sixers stink and their crowd was mostly catatonic -- nobody seemed happy except for James Jones, who was making open 3s like it was a pop-a-shot game. There was a distance between everyone. I noticed it. My father noticed it. My friends on Wednesday night noticed it. The vibe was undeniably weird. I thought the Heat would be as close-knit as Oklahoma City; instead, they acted like like they had been introduced 45 minutes before the game. And LeBron and Wade weren't "Kanye West and Mike Myers raising money for Katrina" level uncomfortable, but you would have never guessed they were buddies or even acquaintances.

So ... why?

The easy explanation: They're adjusting to that "everyone hates us, now it's us against the world" mentality and it's going to take some time.
The overthinking-it-but-maybe-I'm-right explanation: Maybe everyone slowly realized during the preseason, "Good God, LeBron is MUCH better than Dwyane. What do we do? How do we handle this? Do we wait for Dwyane to admit it? Do we ... wait, what do we do???"

Maybe Wade can feel it. Maybe his competitive juices are kicking in. No, no, we're equals. He's not better than me. We're equally good. Look, I'll show you. Maybe it's just been the elephant in the room for six weeks. Maybe deep down, everyone knows the Heat can't take off until Wade has his "You can be chairman and CEO, I'll be president and COO" moment. It goes beyond who gets to take the last shot. It's about the dynamics of basketball. It's about someone emerging as the emotional leader, the spine of the team, the guy who says over and over again, "I got this." And you can't keep saying that if you're looking over your shoulder worrying that someone else is saying the same thing. It's like a fly ball in the outfield. Eventually, someone has to call it.
I agree 10000%. Either LeBron or Wade is going to have to change his game. Their games are too similar and they can't both have the ball in their hands. It was definitely noticable in the Boston game that LeBron was much more comfortable when he was surrounded by a bunch of scrubs (as well as Z).

However, this is still very very very very early in the season.  Also, Dwyane Wade missed a bunch of the preseason with his ongoing divorce proceedings and various bumps and bruises.  It's going to take a while for the Heat to figure out how to play together.

Simmons is right, either LeBron or Wade is going to have to alter his game. Maybe it will be LeBron.  After all, Slam just came out with our annual "LeBron is working on his post game". Hooray! Good for him. He needs it. Badly. But forgive me if I hold off on the low post praise until he does it in crunch time against a good team.

(You want to know what would've made me hate LeBron til the end of time? If he showed up to the Heat with a turnaround and a jump hook in his arsenal. If he had a polished post game on Day 1 in Miami, I may have gone on a murderous rampage).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cleveland 95, Boston 87

Feels good, doesn't it?  Can't get much better than seeing the Cavs beat Boston the night after Boston handled LeBron and Heat. It wasn't simply that the Cavs won, it's that they won with six guys scoring in double figures and playing good defense down the stretch (they outscored the Celtics 27-14 in the fourth).  I know this is already cliché, but the Cavs looked like a t-e-a-m; everyone who played, scored and everyone played a role.  Cavs fans really couldn't have asked to a better start the season. Thanks, basketball gods.

Something is different about the offense...  Movement! Holy god, they're moving! The Cavs moved the ball from side to side during half court sets and made a concentrated effort to push the ball on the break.  This led to mismatches and easy baskets.  Weird.  The Cavs definitely had some moments where they pounded the ball (note: don't give J.J. the ball 18 feet from the rim with less than 6 seconds on the shot clock) but the offense looked like... an offense.  There was cutting and ball movement and all kinds of stuff (and when the ball did stop, Coach Scott got pissed and set 'em straight).

Watching the game, I couldn't help but think about last year's playoffs.  J.J. Hickson led everyone with 21 points (14 in the first half) and finished with 6 boards (I'd like to see him closer to double digits) in 30 minutes.  It's almost as if Hickson (and his quickness) is a bad matchup for Boston.  Meanwhile, Antawn Jamison didn't score a basket until the 8 minute mark in the fourth quarter.  I know the Cavs were pumped up and I know Boston was coming off a back-to-back, but man, they won with Mo in street clothes and getting just 4 points from Jamison (and no LeBron, of course).  This team isn't terrible. Don't be surprised that the Cavs didn't fold in crunch time; a lot of these guys have played in big games over these last few years, they should be able to keep their nerves at the end of games.

Ramon Sessions is going to drive me nuts. He's fast as hell and it seems like he can get into the paint whenever he feels like it. This is good.  But often times, when he gets to the paint, he has no idea what he wants to do (a fade-away, turn-around jump hook? Really??).  This is bad.  I love his aggressiveness and I like the idea of him backing up Mo and running the second unit, but I also fear we're gonna get at least one terrible pun from Fred McLeod per game (Class is in Sessions! Hey-o!).

The defense wasn't great, but they made some big stops down the stretch.  The Cavs gave up some easy buckets (especially in the first half) but they cooled down as the game went on (Boston shot roughly 112% in the first quarter, 53% for the half and ended up at 47% for the game). While Cleveland won't be a lockdown defensive team, they're scrappy and they made Boston uncomfortable late in the game. Anderson Varejao looked healthy and his defense and rebounding played a big role in the fourth (he got a steal and led a fastbreak which ended with a Hickson layup, putting Cleveland up for good).  Varejao finished with 8 points, 10 boards, 4 assists, a steal and a block (don't think about the playoffs don't think about the playoffs).

Boobie didn't shoot well, but he's a big reason the Cavs won.  Cleveland trailed by 66-55 with 4 minutes to go in the third and no one would've been surprised had the LeBron-less Cavs folded against the big, bad Celtics but Gibson kept 'em in it. Boobie closed out the third period with 5 points and 3 assists to bring the Cavs within 73-68 at the end of three.  Gibson proceeded to start the fourth with trey (which turned into a 4-point play thanks to Ryan Hollins free throw) and suddenly the Cavs were back in business.  Gibson finished with 16 points (4-14 FG, 2-8 3pt, 6-6 FT), 8 assists and 4 boards.

Things I didn't like: Anthony Parker.  I don't want to harp on AP too much, because he had some nice moments (especially his trey with 2:30 to go that pushed the Cavs lead to 89-84).  But man, if I have to have to spend the whole year watching him shoot off the dribble, I'm gonna lose my mind.  If he's spotting up or moving without the ball, great. Totally acceptable. But I cannot stand watching him try to break his guy down and hoisting running bank shots.  Please, no more.

and finally...

So the Celtics beat the Heat and the Cavs beat the Celtics, meaning, by the transitive property of basketball, the Cavs are better than the Heat, no? I sincerely hope you or anyone you know isn't seriously making that argument. Don't get me wrong, this was a great win for these players, the franchise and the entire city of Cleveland.  There's really not a better way to start the year; you want the players buying into Coach Scott early wins against title contenders is a great way to do it.  They'll be better than the pundits think (note: if you want live a happier life, ignore literally everything ESPN says about the Cavs) but I don't think they'll be fighting for home court in the playoffs.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dodging a Bullet

Looks like pneumonia saved Joe Tait's life

Were it not for the chest pains he experienced while calling an Oct. 10 exhibition game in Houston and subsequent diagnosis of pneumonia, the Medina County resident might not have learned he needed a heart valve replaced until it was too late.

“That is so true,” a cheerful and upbeat Tait said Friday. “One of the cardiologists I talked to said this was a situation that could have led to death in three or four months.

“When I got the pneumonia, they initially thought I was having a heart attack when I got to Houston United Methodist Hospital. And by the way, if you’re ever having heart problems, that is the place to go. They did a great job. They immediately went to work on me like it was a heart attack. That’s when they discovered the heart valve was closing up. That was a heck of a break.”

Tait, 73, recently returned to his Lafayette Township home after being hospitalized in Houston for close to a week.

The 2010 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee underwent a series of tests this week at the Cleveland Clinic, where it was determined he is suffering from aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the heart valve that results in restricted blood flow.

Tait is scheduled to undergo a catheterization on Tuesday. He said doctors told him if anything abnormal shows up, he will immediately undergo surgery to replace his heart valve and have other heart-related concerns addressed. If the catheterization goes normally, his surgery will take place between Nov. 8 and 12 to allow him to recover from the pneumonia.
Thank god they found this.  If Joe Tait would've passed away during his final season (the very first season after LeBron left), that would've been the final straw.  No more Cleveland sports for me! I'd have been out. Done. Fin.

Jokes aside, you've got to be thrilled they caught this.  After 39 years of mostly bad basketball, Joe deserves a long and happy retirement.  As of right now, the time table for Tait's return is early 2011 but I think I speak for most Cavs fans when I say that Joe can take all of time he needs.  He doesn't need to be rushing back from heart surgery just to describe us J.J. Hickson's missed defensive rotations.

Ridiculously Awesome

Dante Bucci - Fanfare

The instrument he's playing here is called a hang (sometimes a hang drum).  According to Wikipedia, only two people in the world make hangs and they were only developed early this century:
The Hang was developed in 2000 in Berne, Switzerland by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer (PANArt Hangbau AG). It was introduced at the Musikmesse Frankfurt in 2001. Its name comes from the Bernese German word for hand. The two deep drawn steel hemispheres of the Hang are hardened by a process known as gas-nitriding. The side considered the 'bottom' has an opening (Gu) in the center which allows the generation of the bass note through Helmholtz resonance. When it is played in a dampened way it can change in pitch similar to a talking drum. On the 'top' are seven (in the bass version of the Hang) or eight (treble version which is no longer produced) notes arranged in a 'Tone Circle' in zig-zag fashion from low to high. All are tuned harmonically (with fundamental, octave and the fifth above the octave) around a low note (Ding) at the center of the Tone Circle. Each creation is numbered and signed.[2]
  If want to purchase one (and after watching that, who doesn't?), you should know that it's a bit of a process:
In 2006 the Hang Makers stopped shipping instruments directly and halted sales through retailers. With that change PANArt indicated that to obtain a Hang, prospective customers were to mail a letter by post requesting an instrument. In 2007, purchasers were invited to Bern with an appointment time to select an instrument from the different Sound Models offered. With the distribution of the single model Integral Hang beginning in 2008, purchasers could choose between requesting an appointment in Bern and having it shipped. In June 2008 a correspondence was sent by PANArt indicating that the production of Integral Hang instruments for the year had been spoken for, and that after the last Integral Hang was given to an owner (sometime in 2009) PANArt would take a "longer break" to decide how they would proceed in regards to the Hang. Requests received by mail and responded to would not be "thrown away" but the letter writers (at that time) would be placed on a list.[5]

A significant update in what it means to write a letter to PANArt requesting an Integral Hang was written by a visitor to PANArt in late 2009.[citation needed] It was indicated that a request letter should not be considered an order that is entered into a list based on date. PANArt decides whom they invite for a Hang purchase partly by the date of the letter but also based on other factors. A letter sent and the date it was written does not hold a place in line or guarantee that a Hang will be obtained.
Guess it's time to polish up my letter writing skills. And scrounge up about five grand.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Doubt this will be the last time

Byron Scott is a wee bit frustrated with the enigma that is J.J. Hickson:
Cavaliers coach Byron Scott called out third-year forward J.J. Hickson after an 83-77 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night for a lack of focus and the fact that he doesn't fully know the offense yet.

Asked whether he thought Hickson could get it all together before Wednesday's regular-season opener against Boston, Scott said, "I'm not very confident that he'll have it down pat, but it won't be because of a lack of effort on our end."

With the return of forward Antawn Jamison in the exhibition finale after he missed the two previous games with a sprained knee, Hickson's five-turnover night left the competition for the starting power forward spot up in the air.
"I'm still thinking," Scott said. "I'm telling you, I'm still thinking."


"It doesn't surprise me that much, because I've seen it at practice at times, too," Scott said. "To me it's a lack of focus. I think he wants to do it but sometimes he's 22 years old and he comes to practice and he's not focused. He has to get much better.

"This is a job, something you have to take seriously. There's nobody in the locker room that has an excuse because they have a video playbook and a playbook. And we're always available. So there's really no excuse.
"So he just has to get better. He has to take it a little bit more serious."

Scott said Hickson wasn't the only player who needed to get more comfortable in the offense, but he was the only one he named. And he's the one who can most affect the start of the Cavs' season. 
I like this.  I like this a lot.

I know Scott has had issues young players in the past (notably last year with Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison) so this shouldn't come as a surprise.  I'm a little concerned that J.J. could get himself in the dog house, but I feel the Cavs need Hickson so much that he'll get some minutes regardless (whether or not those come at the end of games, remains to be seen).

That being said, I feel like we're wasting time if Jamison is the starting power forward.  Hickson needs minutes. Period.  This line worries me:
Jamison also helped himself. He impressed Scott with his conditioning and defense, despite shooting just 3-of-12 from the field while scoring seven points in 28 minutes.
Awesome. He shot 25% and helped himself.  The last thing I want is to see this season is an Anthony Parker, Antawn Jamison and Joey Graham based offense, so get your head on straight, J.J.  The Cavs need to be playing the young guys (in my opinion, at least) but some tough love early on won't hurt.  I hope.

Get Well Soon, Joe

Hopefully Joe will be alright:
Cleveland Cavaliers radio broadcaster Joe Tait will undergo a procedure on his heart and is expected to be out at least until January.
Waiting for Next Year has more:
Undergoing a battery of tests at the Cleveland Clinic, it was determined that the difficulty breathing and discomfort – also common symptoms of aortic stenosis – had a little more to it. Alas, Tain will continue to undergo various procedures to replace a valve and address other heart-related concerns.

There is no timetable for Tait’s return from his current ailment, though he is expected to not return until the New Year at the earliest. The team reports that Joe is in good spirits and remains very appreciative of the support given from fans. In his absence, WTAM (1100 AM) will rely on (usual in-studio correspondent) Mike Snyder with play-by-play as well as Cavalier legend Jim Chones with the color commentary.

Tait, 73, is in his 39th season with the Cavaliers and has a lifetime agreement with the team to be their play-by-play man as long as he wishes. Though he has stated his intentions to retire after the 2010-11 season, here’s hoping that it’s by choice and is not expedited by any health-related issues. The sooner the irreplaceable Tait is back and enjoying a “hot, delicious DiGiorno Pizza,” the better.
It'll be a shame if Joe's last year gets cut short. While Mike Snyder is a pro (I think he does a great post game show), no one can replace Tait.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Superstar?

So teams are calling the Cavs about Andy:
Sources say numerous teams have inquired about Varejao, but the Cavs won't even entertain such talks unless they're getting a superstar in return; Anthony, for one, has made it clear he wouldn't sign an extension in Cleveland.
I'm all for playing hardball... but a superstar?? Again: "Cavs won't even entertain such talks unless they're getting a superstar in return."  Awesome.

I'm of the belief that the Cavs need tear down and rebuild in order to get back to the promise land (legit title contention).  They have an entire roster built around a player that is no longer here.

Cleveland needs young guys and draft picks and guys like Varejao could bring in a decent haul of both (though if they're waiting for a superstar, they'll be waiting awhile).  I like the fact that teams are asking about Cavalier players and I'm interested see what the Cavs philosophy is at the trading deadline.  

I find it funny that teams are calling about Varejao.  I was under the impression that Cavs had LeBron and no other talented players.  It was Bron-Bron and a bunch of bums, no? But now teams want Andy, Boston signed Delonte and Shaq and LeBron took Z with him to South Beach.  Playoff contenders want Cavaliers.  You'd think they'd want good players.

If I'm the Cavs, I offer Varejao to the Oklahoma City Thunder (but not for Kevin Durant, because dangling Andy for a superstar is dumb).  They're a team that could use a young, defensive big and they've been stockpiling young guys and picks for awhile now. 

Speaking of tradeable players and young guys, the Cavs recently made a few announcements regarding both (I consider 4/5th of the starting five "tradeable players").

First, the starting lineup is going to be Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, J.J. Hickson, Varejao and Jamario Moon (with Antawn Jamison coming off the bench).  I think Byron Scott has to start Hickson and that means the veteran Jamison comes off the bench.  Jamison can play the small forward position at times, but he can't defend opposing threes on a regular basis.  Once you decide to move Antawn to the bench, Moon is basically the default starting SF (but he does fit the up tempo offense).  I like this move; Moon is athletic and Jamison gives them some second unit scoring.

The other announcement was that Manny Harris beat out former second round pick Danny Green for the fifteenth and final roster spot. I don't have a huge opinion on Harris but I've liked what I've seen.  I don't even hold the fact that he went to Michigan against him.

Maybe I'm weird, but I don't usually hate on Michigan guys in the pros.  As weird as it sounds, I want Michigan to be good.  When OSU beats them, I want it to matter.  So once guys get into the pros, I want them to do well so reflects well on UM (and therefor the Big Ten and Ohio State).  So well done, Manny Harris.

(Also, Danny Green: wasted draft pick? Maybe).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ever read a newspaper's comment section?

You're not gonna believe this, but someone on the internet wrote something racist:
To illustrate that sometimes unpleasant interaction, James took the unusual step of retweeting some hateful Twitter messages to his 900,000 followers on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, the Miami Heat star said he did it to show people what he deals with on a daily basis.

James published three negative tweets on his feed including one that was racially charged.

"I just want you guys to see it also," James said after the Heat's practice Wednesday afternoon. "To see what type of words that are said toward me and towards us as professional athletes. Everybody thinks it is a bed of roses and it's not."

In one message a person wrote that James is "a big nosed big lipped bug eyed (racial slur). Ur greedy, u try to hide ur ghettoness."

Last month in an interview with CNN, James said that he felt some of the backlash aimed at him after his decision to sign with the Heat was racially based.

Personally, I don't really think this is that big a deal.  Someone tweeted LeBron something mean and nasty? What? Unpossible! The dude has over 900,000 followers on twitter, odds are not everyone is going to be nice.

That being said, I'm not really a fan of Twitter heckling. I mean, I get it, to a certain extent. With Twitter, you know if you put someones username in your tweet, they'll be able to see it.  And if you're really mad at someone, you now have a pretty easy way to let them know about it. But tweeting insults at famous people seems like a waste of time (heh, moreso than Twitter is normally) and Cleveland fans hate tweeting LeBron just seems pretty (especially the Delonte/Gloria shit. Classy guys). 

I understand the why James is sharing these tweets with us, considering how much flack he and Maverick Carter took for saying that some of the post-Decision criticism of LeBron was racist. These tweets prove that LeBron deals with racist stuff (which really isn't here nor there). No one denies that James will get some crazy racist tweets (it's the INTERNET, for Christ sakes), but I wouldn't say these are even close to indicitive of the overall criticism leveled at Bron-Bron.

Maybe LeBron will use these tweets to light a fire under his ass. I sure hope so (the basketball fan in me is really interested to see how he plays in Miami). If these are fuel for his fire, good.  If not, I agree with Robert Little of Black Sports Online:
Give me break if you are so soft that a couple of ignorant tweets get to you, then I am going to start to believe the people that say when things don’t go Lebron’s way he folds.

Because if you are going to fold to “E-Thuggin” how are you going to deal with the Celtics or Lakers?

Monday, October 18, 2010

You're Kidding

Turns out, some of those Facebook apps aren't so concerned about your privacy:
Many of the most popular applications, or "apps," on the social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people's names and, in some cases, their friends' names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.

The issue affects tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook's strictest privacy settings. The practice breaks Facebook's rules, and renews questions about its ability to keep identifiable information about its users' activities secure.

What? Farmville is one of the offending apps?
The apps, ranked by research company Inside Network Inc. (based on monthly users), include Zynga Game Network Inc.'s FarmVille, with 59 million users, and Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille. Three of the top 10 apps, including FarmVille, also have been transmitting personal information about a user's friends to outside companies.

Most apps aren't made by Facebook, but by independent software developers. Several apps became unavailable to Facebook users after the Journal informed Facebook that the apps were transmitting personal information; the specific reason for their unavailability remains unclear.

Privacy and Facebook is always weird.  Facebook hides their privacy settings fairly well and they have a tendancy to make sharing the default option.  Despite how much I use Facebook, I try to keep a lot of information about myself off the site (kinda funny, coming from someone who uses his real name as his blog URL).  For instance, I have a bunch of friends who show up in my feed as "liking" a whole host of products and shows (oreos, Lost, Jack Johnson, etc).  This is something I do not and will not do; you're basically giving your information away to marketing companies.  I'll pass.

But I love Facebook, I really do.  I use it as my email (I don't have nearly all of my friends email addresses, but I'm friends with them on Facebook), chat service (no more AIM) and for just general socializing purposes.  I've never use Facebook for games (mostly because I already waste enough time online) but distrust of the third party companies definitely plays a role (HINT: Farmville is evil).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's almost as if they have an agenda

Can you really be surprised that the company who relentlessly flogged the "LeBron's a free agent in 2010 OMG!!!" story for the past three years, aired LeBron's Decision, and created special Heat Index page to follow LeBron's new team would take a passing shot at the Cavaliers while promoting the upcoming season:

Does this happen to any other city? ESPN and Marvel team up to promote the 2010-11 season and they use one of their ads to disparage one of the NBA's 30 teams. I don't remember any baseball promos cracking on the Pirates or NFL spots ripping the Lions, but maybe I'm mistaken. 
It's a twist on Marvel's iconic moment from a Spider-Man issue published in 1967 when Peter Parker quits being a super hero and leaves his alter ego behind.
But Cavs season ticket-holder Brian Barney, a downtown ad executive who saw the images online, was upset at what he considered a cheap shot.
"It's belittling," he said. "It seems mean-spirited."
Especially after ESPN's burn this summer. The network staged James' prime-time revelation that the Akron native and two-time MVP was bolting for Miami, known as "The Decision."
The Cavs are the only team in the preview issue not illustrated by an image of a current player or owner.
Gary Belsky, ESPN the Magazine's editor in chief, said his staff was sympathetic to Cavs fans, but when ESPN writers and editors presented story lines for the season to Marvel artists, they decided this was the way to tell it.
"Honestly," he said, "we talked a lot about that and we didn't see it as kicking the city and Cavs fans while they're down." 
The thing that gets me is the fact that it's such a lazy move. This required no thought at all.  Instead of looking for positives in this Cavs team (plucky underdogs rejected by the MVP!) or simply an interesting angle (new coach!), they took the easy way out and went with "HARDY HAR, LeBron left!"

But this is really par for the course.  ESPN's most popular columnist, Bill Simmons, ranked the Cavs last of teams he'd like to see play and also went with the easy joke rather than anything substantive: 
30. Cleveland
You knew it was coming. Just remember, Cleveland: It could be worse. You could be Seattle.
Here's the thing with Simmons's (repeated) Seattle cracks. Cleveland lost the Browns. The Cleveland Fucking Browns left. Then the old Browns won the Super Bowl and we're stuck rooting the second worst team in the NFL (thanks, Detroit!). I'm pretty sure Cleveland was more upset losing the Browns than Seattle was losing the Sonics. And sure, it's not like Seattle has a basketball team, but we're stuck rooting for basically the Clippers of the NFL. We've been Seattle.

Anyways, as far as cracks on Cleveland go, "The Unamazing Cavaliers" is fairly tame. This is nothing. If you're surprised and/or upset by this, you obviously haven't been paying attention over the past five/ten/twenty years. "The Unamazing Cavaliers" is uninspired and lazy.

Which really about sums up most of ESPN, no?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Get Well Soon, Joe

No me gusta:
Longtime Cavaliers radio play-by-play announcer Joe Tait remains hospitalized in Houston with pneumonia.
The team said Tait, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year, experienced discomfort and chest pains during and after Cleveland's game at Houston on Sunday night. He was transported to The Methodist Hospital, where he was kept overnight for observation and testing.
The Cavs said Tait is stable, receiving treatment and resting "more comfortably." He is expected to remain in the hospital for at least one more day.

I'm definitely bummed that this will be Tait's final season but it's probably time.  Here's hoping he gets better, and soon.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

You're Welcome

You know always wanted to watch seven minute long Craig Ehlo highlight video.