Shaq – Biggest sports star of the modern era?

Today is a sad, sad day. My heart cries out a lonely song. I knew it was coming; hell, we all should have seen it coming: Shaq has retired. I would have Shaqrificed my left leg to give Shaquille O’Neal one last shot at recapturing his old form, but the time was right.

The Shaqtus, The Big Leprechaun, The Big Shamrock, The Big Aristotle, The Big Baryshnikov, Shaq Daddy, Shaq Fu, The Diesel, Superman (the original Superman, Dwight…other than the real Superman). If there is one thing that can not be debated, it’s that no celebrity figure in modern or ancient times (like the ’80s) has had such an uncanny knack for self proclaiming highly entertaining nicknames. (And as a quick aside, Shaq has asked fans for help creating his nickname in retirement. My choices: The Big Early Bird Special or The Big Arthritic)

But Shaq’s late-career knack for using nicknames to stay relevant while the Lego pieces he called body parts kept falling apart and eroding his play was only one small part of why I am convinced Shaq was the biggest sports star of the Millenium Era, which I’d describe as the era of athletes that dominated the sports landscape in the decade before and after the year 2000.

First, I am well aware Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretsky and Dale Earnhardt were competing in part of this era and were bigger stars than Shaq, but the fact is all of them belong to a different time. Jordan’s title-winning Bulls will always be tied to the very end of the NBA’s Golden Age of Magic, Bird, Barkley, Isiah, etc. Gretsky was still The Great One in the ’90s, but his star status was never the same after peaking that first year after leaving Edmonton for L.A. Earnhardt was the last great driver of NASCAR’s Budweiser-Swilling Go-Fuck-Yourself-Because-Mustaches-Are-Awesome Real Redneck era; not the $500 sunglasses, pussy fight, manicure-before-the-race era NASCAR is enjoying today.

Still, the Millenium Era has some impressive stars – Tiger in his prime, Roy Jones Jr., Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Allen Iverson and Shaq’s own personal nemesis Kobe, the Tommy Gunn to Shaq’s aging Rocky.

Roy Jones in his prime was incredible – as dominant and entertaining as Ali, but his terrible attempt at a rap career alone is enough to dim his star under Shaq’s. And for anyone who wants to hate on Shaq’s rap career, don’t forget The Diesel put out a platinum album in ’93, followed that up with a gold album in ’94 and, the ultimate testament, even Biggie gave Shaq props for his rap skills once upon a time. Sorry, Roy.

Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire – juice. Enough said. (Did you know Barry Bonds’ head grew like an inch in circumference from the start of his career to the end? Seriously! Look it up. But it was just the flax seed oil, right, Barry?)

Derek Jeter? Jeet is a mega-star no doubt; anyone who’s ruled the Big Apple for 15 years and banged the crazy out of Mariah Carey is, but the fact is the guy’s just never been that great of a baseball player. I’m sorry, dude is a savvy, smart, classy guy, but Yankees fans are convinced whoever is the face of their franchise gets to take ritual baths in the semen of Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle, therefore making them equal to all former Yankee greats.

Tiger? Tiger owned this title before his little penchant for nailing anything with a pulse and a vagina, pulse optional, went public. You simply cannot be the biggest sports star of an era if you are picking up waitresses at the IHOP and driving them back to their trailer after banging them. That’s not even Class A minor league baseball level. That’s your drunk redneck uncle in Reno shit right there. The man might have won majors at a never before seen pace right through the heart of the Millenium Era, but Tiger’s head and body are so broken down now that even the mystic healing powers of Shaq’s Icy/Hot can’t heal him.

Whereas Shaq’s star has faded steadily over the past four seasons due to age an injury, he’s remained a pretty desired commodity for quality teams with legit title hopes. Contrast that to Iverson, who fell so far from grace so fast that he hopped on a plane thinking he had been banished to the NBA wasteland of Memphis only to walk out of the terminal in Turkey, less than two years removed from scoring over 25 per game with ‘Melo on a solid Denver team. A.I. hasn’t commented on the rumors that he was checking out Osama bin Laden’s crib in Pakistan ahead of his tryout with the Islamabad Goatherders of the Pakistani Basketball Association.

Lastly, Kobe, who has the wonderful distinction of being the face of the NBA for those terrible couple of seasons when he surpassed Shaq as the Lakers top weapon and before everyone could run to Lebron as fast as they could just so they didn’t have to pay attention to Kobe whining anymore. So why is Shaq bigger than Kobe, who the NBA always worked harder to promote than The Diesel? A) Shaq was better than Kobe in each of their primes. Shaq was literally unstoppable and played a one-of-a-kind game that no one has or ever will play again. Kobe is great at rising to the occasion, but there are literally dozens of players in the past 20 years that can pretty much do what Kobe does. B) Shaq was a legitimate cultural phenomenon when he blew up in the mid-90s. Kobe, pretty much, was the pretty boy primadonna that girls thought was cute and Europeans liked because he was a fan of soccer, both of which just annoyed most American fans. C) Shaq never raped anyone (Oh, right, Kobe never did either…). D) Kobe’s one extra title will never erase Shaq dissing him over and over again in impromptu raps.

But enough of those other guys. This is a celebration of Shaq, and he makes his own case for greatest sports star of his era, and one of the tops of all time.

As a player, Shaq tallied: 6 NBA Finals appearances, 4 NBA titles, 3 Finals MVP awards, 1 NBA MVP award (a travesty perpetrated by Karl Malone loving voters), 15 All-Star appearances, 14 All-NBA team awards and 3 NBA All-Defensive Team awards. He ranks 5th all time in NBA scoring, 12th in rebounds and 7th in blocks

As a celebrity, Shaq cut four rap albums (one platinum) and scored a Billboard top 40 hit; starred in his own Super Nintendo video game (Shaq Fu); swam against Michael Phelps, boxed Oscar de la Hoya and took on Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists Misty May and Kerri Walsh in his reality TV show Shaq Vs; starred as Neon in all-time classic sports flick Blue Chips then set a new standard for acting athlete ridiculousness by starring as rapping genie Kazaam and a kid-friendly Robocop in Steel (hate on Kazaam if you will, but no terrible box office bust is cited with more regularity by nostalgic 20-something potheads than Kazaam); and proved he has the best dance moves of any plus-7-footer in history, first by throwing down with the Jabbawokeez in the greatest All-Star game entry in sports history then schooling Justin Bieber in a Shaq Vs dance off.

Seriously, who the hell can top that combined resume? If all this Shaq nostalgia doesn’t have you a little misty to see the big man go, something is just plain wrong with you. We’ll miss you, Big Shuffleboarder.


More pretentious: Microbrew or red wines

Let me just admit it: I love microbrews, and I love red wine.

I mean, I don’t know a note of lead pencil from bouquet of black cherry, and, no, I don’t taste the orange rhind finish in your bourbon barrel chocolate stout, but I love all that shit anyway. Why? It gets me lit the fuck up, and I look fancy drinking it. Drinking such esteemed beverages allows me to wear fine linen pants, say things like “Well, darling, I’m well enough into my cups that I am now three sheets into the wind. I believe I shall retire to my chambers,” and swirl my beverage around in a glass pretending it will make it taste better when really I just think it makes me look cool.

So, the point is, you can enjoy drinking microbrews and red wines until your heart’s content, but don’t lie to yourself — it’s still pretentious as fuck.

The debate here is which is MORE pretentious? Red wines, long crowned king of the bourgeoisie elite dating back to the glory days of old Europe, or microbrews, new upstart raising a rapidly ascending mismashed class of yuppies, hipsters and upper middle class up the social ladder on a surging frothy head scented with a tinge of shade grown Peruvian coffee beans.


Let’s just take Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo Marron as a microchosm for how pretentious microbrews have become.

A) Anytime the New York Times writes like a 2,000 word style feature on your beer, you know someone’s been ejaculating pretentia all over the walls.

B) When the story that NYT piece is about revolves around the journey of a small microbrew owner traveling to the wilds of Paraguay to lock up a source of an exotic wood known as Palo Santo, which means “holy tree,” so that said microbrew owner may construct a 10,000 gallon wooden barrel to brew an irreplicable libation that is dark as crude oil, strong as Dionysus’ urine and wild as Lindsey Lohan’s nightlife, you know that pretentia ejaculate is actually the foam left on your lip after every sip you take of this $10 12-ounce.

And, representative of a good many microbrews, just look at the glass the sad sap who took this picture was drinking Palo Santo Marron from. Anytime you are drinking brew from something that isn’t a bottle, a can, a standard pint, or something with a big fucking handle, you are pretentious. If you are drinking a ruddy chocolate-colored beer with a firm caramel head out of a glorified snifter, you are fucking absurdly pretentious. What? That perfectly cold 12-ounce bottle the beer was already in wasn’t letting the flavors ripen? Wow…

Might I also mention Dogfish, which I adore because I am secretely a pretentious beer fuck myself who just happens to have retained a taste for Natty Light in plus-48-ounce serving sizes, suggests you pair Palo Santo with chorizzo. And THAT my friends is the final nail in the coffin: If your beer even comes with a suggested pairing, you are covering yourself in ejaculated pretentia. Wanna know what you pair PBR with? …More PBR.

Red wine

For the first time in LND history, I am going to make the case for one side of a debate using solely photographic imagery to prove my point. I make my case:

Click here for a price check.

And finally…

I rest my case. Well, almost, one more thing. This “aroma wheel” actually exists…and wine drinkers actually use it to pretend they taste “wet dog” and “green bell pepper” in their vin du merdre.

So which is more pretentious? Too close to call in my book. What say you, earls of erudite inebriation?

Sh!t that makes you most f@cking angry

Shield your childrens’ eyes. Lead the elderly into the next room. Save the innocent now. LND is about to get profane. If you don’t like the potty mouth, then what the fuck are you doing reading Late Night Debates in the first place?

Why all the warnings? Because this LND staffer is having a baaaaaad fucking week. I just shat away $11,750 selling my old house (thanks for flooding the market with foreclosures, all you financial fucktards!), I got rear-ended by some New Jersey dickwagon and my dog ate a bunch of anti-inflamatories and had to get her stomach pumped full of charcoal to not die (for an additional cool $400) – and that was just Monday. And, to think, I’m going to Atlantic City this weekend. I’m sure that’s going to turn out well (To my friends: If I die at the hands of angry Eastern European strippers, avenge me.)

Before you offer me some cheese with all that whine, let me A) offer my pre-emptive “shut the fuck up” and B) concede that I understand there are plenty of folks who have it worse. I could be this guy. And you know what Mr. Tree Man is sitting there thinking? At least I’m not from Haiti.

What I’m trying to say is I’m not here to whine. I’m here to be angry. I’m fucking angrier than a constipated Lewis Black stuck in a rehab clinic with a strict no hookers policy. I’m angrier than Lou Ferrigno in Hulk makeup at ComicCon being asked by a 12-year-old if he’s ever met the real Hulk, Eric Bana. I’m angrier than…Oh, what? You get the point? Fuck you! I’m angrier than Dick Cheney after … well, I’m just angrier than Dick Cheney. That’s pretty goddamn angry, people.

And when I’m this pissed off, I just want to get more pissed off thinking about shit that pisses me off the most. So harness the rage, kick a puppy and soak in my flooding tub of darkness, bitches. Here is just a sampling of the things that really grind my gears:

That a crazy asshole killed Auburn’s 130-year-old live oaks on Toomer’s Corner


The greatest tradition I have ever experienced this side of Christmas is what takes place in Auburn, Ala., at a little intersection in the prettiest little village on the plains called Toomer’s Corner following every victory of the Auburn Tigers football team. The masses descend to unleash thousands of rolls of toilet paper in celebration. It’s a uniquely college experience, it’s euphoric, it’s as inhibitionless as showing your titties at Mardi Gras. It will also be no more.

Some crazy Bear Bryant-worshipping fucknad from the backsticks of Buttrape, Alabama, decided to act on a 20-year-old grudge by dumping enough herbicide on the famous 130-year-old trees to kill ’em dead. If I could punish this redneck dipshit, I’d just desecrate his Bear Bryant sex doll. But I hope the authorities of Alabama just set him free because Auburn has almost as many batshit crazy banjo-playing, mother fucking, sister fingering, Deliverence-looking fans as Alabama and I imagine they have something a little less penitentiary and a little more penetration in mind for the Tide Tree Poisoner.

That Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis is 6’9 and can’t dunk

Seriously, Big Baby? I am 6’3, white and sit at a desk all day, and I can throw down a volleyball on a regulation 10 foot rim. Your horrific attempt at a breakaway dunk is pathetic enough to just make me sad, but the fact that you are 6’9 makes that perhaps the most significant dunk fail in NBA history.

Big Baby is a fairly lovable guy. He cries when Kevin Garnett gets mad at him. He looks like Shrek. He seems like the kind of guy who would start giggling if you whispered the word “poop” in his ear. But this isn’t about Baby. This is about being a 6’9 professional basketball player with less ups than Stephen Hawking.

John Boehner’s crying rag

For fuck’s sake, man! You’re the fucking Speaker of the House of fucking Representatives! Man the fuck up and stop crying. You’re not winning hearts and votes with your fake ass routine. You just look like a walking advertisement for lithium. Every politician on the planet knows you save your big cry for the press conference after you get caught cheating on your wife, but this fucking douchebag is out there crying over votes to make Ronald Reagan’s birthday a national holiday. Man, I hate that fucking guy.

New Jersey

Fuck you for wasting 90 minutes of my life on the way from Philadelphia to New York, you peanut-in-a-piece-of-shit looking waste of space. The only thing worse than the industrial stink haze that hangs in your air like the smell of vagina in a hot room after sex is your people. To experience the giant hair, orange skin and grating voice of the average New Jerseyan is to understand why the state leads the nation in number of people committing suicide by throwing themselves in front of commuter trains.


Cell phones

Just because I own a cell phone does not mean I am obligated to talk to you when you call me. The only thing I hate more than cell phones – people that won’t stop playing with their phones when you’re around them. Oh, no, don’t mind me, iPhone guy. I’ll just sit here and rub soy sauce on my balls while you message 17 people who are also probably acting like assfaces and ignoring the real life people sitting next to them.


Unnecessary sequels

Just stop already. Fuck me!





When the store is sold out of delicious Totino’s frozen pizzas

Goddammit, I am actually getting angrier just thinking about this.








Want to vote on which of these things make you the most angry? Fuck you – I’m too mad to put up a poll. Put up your own fucking poll.

Best (or least lame) commercials of Super Bowl XLV

As someone who considers himself a serious sports fan, and who has been a faithful Green Bay Packers fan since Don Majkowski was tossing the pigskin to Sterling Sharpe, I must say I’m a little embarrassed to be writing a blog about the best commercials of the Super Bowl in the immediate aftermath of the Pack taking the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Title Town. But dammit, I committed to writing this blog before the game and I’m not going to let the torture of watching three hours worth of 30 second clips that try way too hard go to waste.

And if the Native American-looking guy in Black Eyed Peas is willing to wear a magic spaceman suit with light up panels so that Fergie doesn’t kick him out of the group, then I can suck this one up and bloviate about some failed efforts to try and make me buy shit. And by buy shit, I mean buy cars. I did the math — in the four and a half hour Super Bowl broadcast, 20% was actual football game, 5% was animals acting like people, 2% was promo for Johnny Depp movies, 15% was Fox Network jerking off to the military and the remaining 58% was car commercials. Jesus, automakers, you have a couple of good months and all of a sudden you’re dropping cash on Super Bowl commercials like you’re Charlie Sheen in Hookers and Blow Mart. And Chevy was the worst offender. Hey, Government Motors, we remember that bailout, dammit. Wasn’t it like 12 days ago? Don’t you still owe me a few billion dollars?

I’ll give Chevy a pass, though. Automakers have to advertise to compete, and GM dropping $3 million per Super Bowl spot was still a better display of decision-making than putting BEP on at halftime. We all knew that performance was going to be atrocious so let’s give the Black Eyed Peas a little credit where credit is due. If Fergie didn’t make it painfully obvious enough, at least they were actually singing (hence them just standing in the middle of the stage. You don’t want to hear Fergie trying to sing while winded after an overexuberant bump-and-grind on Slash). And, because his contribution to BEP can’t be overstated, at least Native American dude provided solid entertainment standing there as a human Simon game while the “talented” members got to use the microphones.

Without further adieu, and as my beer starts to get warm, I give you the best, or least lame, 2011 Super Bowl commercials.

5.  “Misunderstanding” – Chevy Cruze

Why? Because old people are funny. You don’t do high brow humor with only 30 seconds in your pocket. You pretty much aim for the lowest common denominator, and old people are simply the low hanging fruit of low brow. Whether it’s old people pooping themselves or falling and not being able to get back up, nothing says LOL like the deterioration of the aged.

4. “Tiny Dancer” – Budweiser

Why Budweiser elected to make this a 60 second spot for three seconds of payoff at the end, I don’t know. But I guess I’d rather have 57 seconds of bad commercial, including forced gratuitous appearance of Budweiser Clydesdales, followed by three seconds of funny than just 60 seconds of bad commercial. This got me to thinking, though. Apparently, nothing can seem bad when it involves a large group of people singing Tiny Dancer. It makes me wonder: Did Almost Famous just trick us into thinking it was a good movie because of the group Tiny Dancer scene? Isn’t it suspicious how blatantly talentless Kate Hudson has appeared in every movie since starring as the precocious Penny Lane. People, we have been hoodwinked!

3. “Hungry Pug” – Doritos

Yesterday’s Super Bowl commercial comic gold: knocking people down. Today’s Super Bowl commercial comic gold: Pugs in slow motion. The best entry from Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest has both paid tribute to its forebears and set the new gold standard in TV ad humor in one seamless effort.

2. “Poundin’ Beaver” – Bridgestone

You see, the guy saves the beaver by swerving to miss him, then some time later, the beaver saves the guy by gnawing down a tree to block the road and save him from driving into flooding river. Now that’s 30-second storytelling, folks. Of course, you don’t give a shit about the story, or the fact that the guy’s Bridgestone tires made it all possible, because who the hell even pays attention to what tires they’re buying? Ask any non-NASCAR fan what tires they want on their car, know the answer? “Uh, are those the cheapest ones?” Anyways, while you didn’t remember this commercial was about tires, you do remember it making you spit up 6 ounces of partially digested queso on your girlfriend’s cat when that crazy beaver gave the dude a chest pound.

1. “The Force” – Volkswagen

Heavy borrowing of iconic pop culture? Check. Funny animal faces? Check. Close up of creepy baby doll? Check, check and check. VW had the commercial comedy formula brewing on this one. In fact, I’d go so far as to say this was the only truly GOOD commercial of the entire Super Bowl. But watch the commercial again and pay particularly close attention to the Darth Vader kid’s body. You can not tell me that “kid” is not actually a midget! I am convinced, and that is why “The Force” is my pick as the best commercial of Super Bowl XLV.

America, the Ridiculous: Greatest absurdities of our great nation

America, the ridiculous, how I love you. For all the great things about you that don’t ever need to be repeated again (I’ve had about enough of your pompous lip, amber waves of grain), even the things in this country that are utterly deplorable are so entertaining that you have to just shake your head and say, “Oh, America! You…”

Let’s try it out:

You: Hey, America, a cabal of private companies conspired to skirt every one of your safety regulations en route to a preventable disaster that killed 11 people and dumped 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, utterly destroying the region’s fishing and tourism industry for at least a year. What are you going to do?

America: Well, sounds like we need to create some new jobs then. How bout we do that by opening up offshore deepwater drilling in the Gulf without making any improvements or changes to prevent the same thing from happening again? And gas prices are getting kind of high, so let’s talk about more drilling again!

You: Oh, America! You…

It just makes me want to sing about this magical land we share:

O beautiful for spacious guts,

For amber waves of peroxide hair,

For purple cartoon dinosaurs

With all your fruity flair!

America! America!

God damn, the absurdity

Are those Kardashians on my TV again?

From E! to M-TeeeVeeeee!

Well, now that I’ve got that patriotic flourish out of my system, let’s try to figure out the absolutely, most ridiculous things about our great nation.

1. Totino’s pizzas still only cost .99 cents

Depending on the cost of living in your neighborhood and the quality of your local Walmart, Totino’s deliciously life-shortening Crisp Crust Party Pizza’s are still readily available for under a buck. Let’s think about that. What are the inputs that go into delivering you a Totino’s combination pizza? Pig, cow, wheat, corn, cheese, plastic, paper. You’re telling me you can raise cows and pigs and process their nasty bits, chemically produce low grade cheese, grow wheat and corn and refine it down several steps into “crust”, put it all together in a factory, pump it full of more preservatives than Bob Barker, wrap it, ship it and power the freezers to store it, all for under a buck? There’s a lesson here you should probably fear about what goes on behind the closed doors of the American food manufacturing machine, but who are we at LND to question the down right magical, delicious and economic results provided by Don Totino?

2. Gun control? We’d rather be shot in the face!

Maybe we shouldn’t sell automatic assault weapons anymore? HELP, AMERICA, SOME COMMIE IS TRYING TO KILL THE SECOND AMENDMENT! No, no, sorry. My bad. How about we just do away with extended ammo clips, you know, because it typically doesn’t take 30 shots to shoot a deer or kill the guy trying to rob your house? HOW AM I GOING TO DEFEND MYSELF FROM THE TYRANNY OF GOVERNMENT, YOU SOCIALIST SOB! Oh, wow, didn’t know that was going to be a problem. Um, ok, I’ve got it. How about we just use readily available technology to identify who bought the bullet just in case, you know, that bullet is used in one of the 15,000 to 20,000 murders in the U.S. every year? I WON’T BE A VICTIM! AIN’T NO CRIME WOULD HAPPEN IF I HAD MY GUNS! Well, I guess I shouldn’t even bother bringing up having to conduct background checks at gun shows… DON’T TREAD ON ME! GO AMERICA!

Ah, yes, in a land where crazy people indiscriminately mow down whoever had the misfortune to be out trying to get that 2-for-1 special on chicken fingers more frequently than Sarah Palin passes on making a controversy about her, we are more worried about retaining our ability to overthrow the government by force than saving a few hundred completely savable lives. Soooo, gun crowd, you know it’s pretty easy to overthrow the American government, right? You just vote them out. Or, ask Tunisia, you just use Twitter. Ok, now that we’ve got that solved, I am starting a new nonprofit: I will set up a Twitter account for every Castle Law-loving, militia-joining redneck that turns in their home arsenal.

3. Justin Beiber pays $750 for his haircut

For reals, J-Biebs (a Canadian) reportedly pays American stylist Vanessa Price a cool $750 for EVERY TRIM of that massive mop-top. At one trim per two weeks, that’s only $19,500 per annum for upkeep of “The Bieber.” Now, I’m not going to hate on the kid because he made a hairdo that has existed for about 40 years into an international sensation, but this kid has got a long time to live and, for anyone who has followed the careers of Lindsey Lohan or Macauley Kulkin knows, that fame and fortune isn’t going to last forever. Someone needs to tell him how easy it is to blow millions on overpriced haircuts and the international army of 16-year-old dirty snatches trying to suck up all his coin like a cheap parlor trick at a rundown strip club. J-Biebs – hear me and hear me good: It’s called Flowbee. You can get the same do for the one time low, low price of  $83.

4. Public health care, definitely communist

Let’s get all John Locke, social contract on the peoples. Ok, let’s not. But how does it make sense that America finds universal agreement that the country should provide free public education to all and yet we should not provide free public access to stuff to keep you alive? Let’s ask loud yelling loves America guy again: FREE MARKET, BEST CARE IN THE WORLD, GOVERNMENT…NO INNOVATION, LONG WAITS, GO TO FRANCE COMMIE!

Ok, thanks for that eloquent explanation, loud yelling loves America guy. But has free public education stifled the thousands of high performing, insanely expensive private schools around the nation that give any attendee a massive leg up in life over their public school competition? Doesn’t seem so. So why can’t those wealthy enough continue to support private insurance plans and pay for the latest health care innovations, kind of like how rich kids at private school get a better education than poor kids at public school?

5. People still like Anne Hathaway

I was absolutely crushed this week at the news that Anne Hathaway had landed the role as the new Catwoman. How could Christopher Nolan, who to this point has directed one of the most amazing reboots of a series destroyed by Joel Schumaker, Jim Carrey and Arnold Schwarzenegger ever, make such a terrible casting decision?

Hathaway is the exact saccharin, silly, sugar sweet sort of thespian that destroyed Batman the first time when Schumaker took over from the appropriately dark Tim Burton. Seriously, just look at this woman’s filmography: The Princess Diaries (1 and 2)? Hoodwinked? Becoming Jane? Valentine’s Day? Rachel Getting Married? BRIDE WARS???? How does this woman keep getting work? Jesus, The Devil Wears Prada? Yeah, the devil made me watch that movie with my wife.

There is no greater testament to America’s endless capacity to forgive and love a girl-next-door face than the fact Anne Hathaway still has a career.

So, I ask you, America, it is your country. What is the most absurd thing about us?

Bigger abortion masquerading as a sporting surface: Eastern Washington’s red field or Oregon’s hardwood in the woods

Remember the days when sports were about, you know, sports? When you were supposed to be entertained by the athletes competing at the highest levels on their chosen fields of competition?

Well, wake the fuck up, Beaver Cleaver, this here is the Twenty-teens and sports is about nothing but image, aesthetics, advertising, and overage rock stars selling out to appear with the boy band du jour so they can finally retire after snorting a few million album sales worth of coke. Sports marketers took over this game a long time ago, and no offender has done more to embarass the ghosts of Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant, John Wooden and Joe Paterno than Nike, the perpetrators of this FUBU meets Project Runway first round loser atrocity.

But let’s leave Nike alone for a minute … Hold the phone, Joe Paterno is still alive? Really? How? I was watching Penn St. and Florida play in the Outback Bowl the other week and they clearly had his dead body displayed on the sideline for inspiration like they’ve done at every game the last decade.

Anyways, as I was saying, let’s leave Nike alone for a minute.  Boise St. is just as responsible for the latest trend in travesties to completely devalue the meaning of sport. In a sports landscape dominated by sports marketers who will do anything to convince themselves that their new fuzzy mascot can cover up a terrible product on the field, it was only a matter of time before these glorified used car salesmen felt compelled to one up Boise’s epilleptic seizure-inducing blue field.

They say the NFL is a copycat league. It’s true. But if that is the case, then sports marketing is a “If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you, too? OF FUCKING COURSE I WOULD” profession. So I don’t blame Boise for ruining the most pure and iconic image we have left in sports – the luscious green grass of a halloweed stadium or elegant natural tan of the hardwood. But I do blame them for planting the seed – a seed that now appears to be growing like mutant ninja kudzu across campuses throughout the great Northwest.

Let’s all just agree that all of Oregon and Eastern Washington’s administrators should be lined up and shot execution style for letting the sports marketers run the asylum…I mean, institution in designing their new sports surfaces so we can focus on the bigger debate: Which is more horrendous?

Oregon’s “Deep in the Woods” basketball court

Want to know when your sports marketing department has really fucked up? When the only thing people can talk about the day after the debut of your brand new $227 million basketball arena is how watching a game played on the new court made everyone feel an uncontrollable need to vomit.

Ok, so let’s be fair – conceptually, the idea for the court is really cool. The idea is that you’re looking from deep within the mighty Pacific Northwest forests that surround the University of Oregon. In theory, also known as some dude’s drawing, it would look like this. Hey, not bad! But for anyone who has been following the odyssey of would-be Broadway musical Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, we all know that theory doesn’t always match up with the realities of execution.

Remember this picture, the one where, depending on how you look at it, you either see a lamp in the center or two faces looking at each other:

Well, Oregon’s court is like that. If you look at it one way, you are a creature roaming deep in the forest looking heavanward. If you look the other way, it appears an enormous giant threw up all over the court and it took the janitorial staff too long to clean up so the stain set in. That, or it’s an extreme close up of a young Eastern European “actress’s” chin after completing a scene “acting” with Ron Jeremy.

Either way, it’s time to blame Nike more. What the hell was Oregon doing giving some Nike douche, Tinker Hatfield, VP of Creative Design, full creative control over the most important piece of their university’s new flagship athletic facility? Oh, yeah, I forgot – Nike chairman Phil Knight paid for the whole thing and named the arena after his dead son. Not to speak ill of the dead, but the arena’s name is an apt metaphor – Oregon’s soul has long since departed this earthly realm. It was sold to Satan, purveyor of high performance sports fabrics, long ago.

Finally, arborists everywhere must be infuriated by the fact that the trees painted on Oregon’s hardwood appear to be firs, a soft pine. Honoring a soft wood on the hardwood? OUTRAGEOUS! … I’m just sayin’. Big ups to forestry.

Eastern Washington’s “Bathing in Blood” football field

Who wouldn’t want to compete on a field that feels like you’re playing in the unwashed remains of a massive animal sacrifice? The new red turf at Eastern Washington’s football stadium, which debuted just a few months before Oregon’s atrocity, looks like it was colored by allowing a hundred menstruating cows to graze on the field the night before the season started.

And, seriously, what the fuck is going on in the Pacific Northwest? Boise’s Smurf Turf, Oregon’s forest court, Eastern Washington’s used tampon turf? You guys really need to get off the reefers. No, really, LND may be an East Coast-based operation, but we know yall grow bud out there like the south grows obese people. And it seems clear yall are smoking that shit up as fast as fat southern people are sucking down 10 piece buckets of the Colonel’s original recipe.

I’ve got to be honest – I’m getting mad just looking at that field. No, not because I’m upset at the dumb sports marketers again, and not because Eastern Washington has submitted to copycatting a school attended by a bunch of inbred potato growers. And, no, not even because someone thought that last season of Scrubs was a good idea. It’s all that red…it just makes me so Goddamn ANGRY!

Well, at least when EWU fans start subconsciously filling with rage due to the psychological effects of the period bowl, the field crew won’t have much work to do when someone finally snaps and starts bashing skulls in with a smuggled baseball bat.

The Verdict

It’s Oregon. Eastern Washington knew their field was going to look like a failed abortion, knew they were going to look like Boise’s annoying little brother begging for attention, and they still did it. Know why? Because they’re Eastern Washington and they didn’t care because they were begging for attention.

Oregon, on the other hand, has no excuse for failure. Money is literally no object for the Oregon Athletics Department, which is kind of like the Atlantic City mayor’s office in Boardwalk Empire (hint: Nike is the mob). That means if Oregon wants a forest for a court, they better get a court made out of mother fucking crysal clear LED 1080i high definition 3D television panels with a composite video of the mother fucking great Northwest forest swaying in the mother fucking breeze with looping narration performed by mother fucking Oprah.

Fuck, that court is ugly. Glad I got that off my chest.

Better Ohio billboard sports smack talk:Rosey TCU or ‘Bronless Cleveland

Considering the oppressive unemployment, crumbling cities affectionately called things like “The Mistake on the Lake,” terrible weather, and defeated people, what better state to waste time and money talking shit via billboards than Ohio?

None, I say, and billboard smacktalk in the Buckeye State has recently attracted a lot of pub to two of Ohio’s bigger sporting embarassments of the past year.

Cleveland: “Oooooh, we’ll get you, LeBron!”

First, the greatest basketball talent, and fourth most caveman-like basketball player (Greg Oden, Sheldon Williams and Joakim Noah, all more caveman-like), alive gathers a national audience to dump all over his home state while taking his talents to South Beach. How might Cleveland enact revenge on the man who single-handedly destroyed the only good thing their city had going for it (outside of the fish from Lake Erie becoming radioactive enough to be used as a uranium substitue in nuclear reactors)? Pee in his drink and smother his food in buttery asshole hairs the first time he dares dine in Cleveland, you say? Hire a French transvestite prostitute to give LeBron chlamydia? No, no, no. People with hopelessly crushed spirits and 50% high school drop out rates don’t get revenge, they get billboard space.

I give Cleveland credit for being smart enough to go after LeBron’s enormous ego. It had to hurt ‘Bron when his hoops holyness, Michael Jordan, more or less said “The King” was more like Dwayne Wade’s eunuch for going to Miami, and Cleveland was trying to drive that knife a little deeper.  The only problem with that strategy was the inevitable answer with the Cleveland Cavaliers sad “Bronless roster: How does it feel to be 8-28 (the worst record in the NBA), because 29-9 is feeling pretty nice?

TCU: Proving Gordon Gee right, the Big Ten are the little sisters of the poor, too

Football people are allowed to say stupid things. We pay them to play football, and coach football, not to read Socrates and Nietzsche. However, university presidents are supposed to be smart, and we expect them to contain themselves from verbal diarreah of the kind Ohio St. President E. Gordon Gee decided to unleash one fine November afternoon while trying to politik his school’s one-loss Buckeyes football team ahead of undefeated non-BCS outsiders Boise St. and TCU. Gee called out those schools bona fides by saying they achieve their lofty records by beating up on “the little sisters of the poor” — like Ohio, Marshall, Eastern Michigan, Indiana and Minnesota (Oh wait, that was Ohio St.’s schedule).

Despite giving Gee and the Ohio St. nation (a pompous group of ignorant douchebags that have been spouting Gee’s philosphy for years while getting pummeled in BCS title games) the ultimate up yours by setting themselves up to finish No. 2 in the final BCS poll, winning the Big Ten’s most hallowed game (The Rose Bowl), and beating the only team to beat Ohio St. all year (Wisconsin), Horned Frogs fans wanted more. And how else to complete the perfect revenge on Ohio St.’s own home turf? You got it this time: billboards. More than a dozen of them, all around Colombus.

Despite a nice Sugar Bowl win against the fourth best team in the SEC East (seriously, you want to tell me Arkansas is better than Auburn, Alabama or LSU?), there’s no doubt the only thing the Buckeyes wanted more than a shot at the BCS title was the Rose Bowl. Instead, some clever mystery TCU fan has provided an inescapable reminder that the Horned Frogs are now the team that took defending Rose Bowl champ Ohio St.’s Rose Bowl title from them, and they did it without ever yielding to the temptation to say, “Fuck you, Gee.” Nicely done.

So which is better?

Well, my billboard, of course.

But if I had to go with a real billboard, I’d have to go with TCU. It’s clean, understated (despite being blazoned across a 50-foot electric billboard), clever and, most importantly, effective because they actually finished on top. (Although, I probably would have gone with a horned frog shooting eye blood in Gee’s mouth)

Cleveland, on the other hand, had to try and get back at LeBron. He did after all, not only take his talents, but about $200 million per year of economic impact away from a recession ravaged city. However, the billboard just ads to the sore loser rap the city has already gotten. Miami is approaching greatness and the Cavaliers are approaching pathetic. LeBron made the right choice. Yeah, he grew up in Ohio, but he didn’t grow up a Cleveland Cavalier. When LeBron is an aging, overpaid superstar with a bad contract one day, he’s going to get cut like a bad hairdo. Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert would have done it too, because it’s a business to everyone involved but the fans. You’ve got to feel bad for Cleveland fans losing their hero, but I also feel bad that they couldn’t even come up with a photoshop of LeBron in some Robin tights to go on their Sidekick billboard.

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