Friday, July 07, 2006

The Good and Bad of an Ugly weekend.

My presence around these parts has been admittedly lacking over the past week or so. While some of you may have thought that I decided to take my own life after the Magic selected JJ Redick, I’m sorry to report that none of you are that lucky. While I did briefly contemplate running my head through a plate glass window I figured that I ought to be grateful that the Magic didn’t trade the rights to the #11 pick for the Nets’ rights to Christian Drejer. You know, just so Fran would have somebody else to keep him company over there in Spain.

In actuality, the reason for my lack of posts as of late is far less depressing than using a lottery pick on a one-dimensional, unathletic shooter with a questionable back. Far, far less depressing. You see, I was on vacation. I didn’t go anywhere on vacation but I did have five consecutive days off of work. I don’t know about you, but where I come from that’s close enough to count. There’s not a whole heck of a lot to tell about those five days (or any of the other unaccounted for days between now and then) so I’m going to give all my random thoughts in the terrifically non-specific Good/Bad format.

Good: Five consecutive days off during the summer. Five days that were (for the most part) absolutely gorgeous.

Bad: My insistence on drinking heavily for pretty much the entire five days off (or the nights anyway).

Good: Fourth of July (daytime). Some friends and I attended a party near the river that featured (among other things) free beer, free liquor, and an ungodly number of girls in their early twenties of questionable morals. A truly entertaining and enjoyable day.

Bad: Fourth of July (evening). After a solid five hours of drinking I met up with my girlfriend who immediately proceeded to pick one of the most fantastic fights I’ve ever seen with me. That’s just great. Fighting is exactly what I want to do when my wits and intellect have been severely diminished. Go America.

Good: The location of said party. It was across a major road from the “mouth of the ghetto”, as I was referring to it. The location was in a great spot with tons of parking and a heck of a view of the river. Even better, the location’s proximity to the ghetto led to a number of stragglers attending the party who clearly didn’t fit in with the rest of the crowd. Not only were many of these attendees more than eager to help themselves to free food and booze but many of them were also quite willing to make a scene of themselves as the day wore on.

Bad: See above.

Good: My read during a game of poker on July 3rd. With three people left at the table, I was dealt Ace-2. I stayed in because I hadn’t gotten shit all night. Literally. This was the second best hand I’d been dealt in almost an hour. When two more 2s came out on the flop I checked. Both of my opponents jumped in with large bets. As the call came back to me, I calmly called "all in". They both matched me. When we showed our cards, one had a pair of Kings and the other was sitting on two pair, completely unaware of a straight draw he’d picked up.

Bad: The River. Johnny Two Pair picked up a six on the river to give him the straight and beat my Ace-high, Three of a Kind. Even worse, his brother (the other opponent) had to clue him into his luck. I not only lost the pot, but lost the game in one fell swoop. The moral: Poker sucks.

Good: Playing a ridiculous amount of beer pong at my friend’s house warming party on Sunday. Good God, I haven’t played that many games since undergrad.

Bad: Partnering with my girlfriend, who (apparently) hadn’t played beer pong since high school.

Good: The Brazil-France match. For my money, this was the best game of the Cup thus far. Italy-Germany might have had more drama and a more exhilarating finish, but this game’s level of play was something you just don’t see very often. Any soccer fan knew that this game was going to be a good one based soley on the individual talent level that each side boasted. It will be a long, long time before you see that many legendary, world class players (Ronaldo, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Henry, R. Carlos, L. Thuram, Cafu, Viera, etc., etc.) on the field together at one time. However, it wasn’t simply the players on the pitch that made this game so fantastic. Rather, it was the overall pace of play and intensity of the teams, combined with the tremendous artistry and stakes of the game that made this match stand out above the rest.

Bad: Missing out on the Italy-Germany match. From what I heard and the highlights I saw this was every bit as entertaining as the Brazil-France match, if not played at as high a level.

Good: France advancing to the Finals. I’ve said it in this space before, as much as I hate the French I cannot root against Zidane. He’s absolutely perfect as a player, in my opinion. In the spirit of full disclosure here I’ve even begun to think of ways to convince any future wife on the merits of Zidane as a first name for a boy. For the record: Yes, I know its pathetic and yes, I know it’s his last name. I don’t care and I happen to think Zinedine is just a little too ridiculous. If that makes any sense.

Dude, you should totally name your next kid after me!

Bad: Italy advancing to the Finals. As if it’s not bad enough that they stole a game from the US and that they flop more than Derek Fisher and Manu Ginobilli combined, my girlfriend’s family happens to be Italian. Full on, off the boat Italian. If Italy wins on Sunday I’ll never hear the end of it. All my I-talian jokes will be worthless for months, possibly longer. I can’t emphasize this enough. I'm not talking about a family of greasy guidos out of New Jersey here. I need to be able to make fun of “a county full of espresso swilling pansies”. Just for the record, I’m much more bitter at her and her brother’s support for Italy than either of her parents.

Here’s why: Her parents were born and raised in Italy. Moving here when they were in their early 20s and now running a fine dining Italian joint. Her brother (born in America by the way) goes so far as to refer to Italy as “we” during World Cup matches (even against the US). This is a guy who drinks Bud light, smokes Marlboros and drives a Chevy pickup…you’re as American as it gets. I’m not even very patriotic and he pisses me off.

Good: It’s Friday and I’m out of here in a half hour.

Bad: My effort on this column.


Greg said...

ZZ's headbutt was awesome. I don't care what people say, that was a great moment.

Jerry said...

My sources tell my that there are whole lot of new obnoxious Italian soccer fans in the NY/NJ area with gelled out hair, gold chains, wife beaters, and Camaros.

The kind of guys who wouldn't know a through ball from a .....uh.... through door.

Mark said...

"Yo, My grandpa's from Italy and I played soccer when I was 6, so I'm totally a fuckin' Italy fan bro." Sure, asshole...sure.

I also thought ZZ's headbutt was brilliant. I've never seen anything like that before. Is that how the French headbutt? If so, they just went up a notch in my book. His actions are just further affirmation that my mission to name a bastard child after him is one worth fighting for.

By the way, I almost jumped through the roof on his header during the first OT. That play was sick, on both ends.

Mark said...


What's wrong w/ your comments ection? I haven't been able to open it all day. Have I finally been banned? I guess I should have seen that coming.

Greg said...

my brother's neighborhood is very "italian", there were fireworks going off yesterday and cars honking their horns and all these italian flags.

I guess it could be worse.

Mark said...

Did anybody know that you can watch NBA Summer League games on the Orlando Magic's website? Their allegedly live broadcasts. I wish I didn't have so much work to do.

Greg said...

I'm watching the Bulls and the Bobcats right now. I'm pretty sure the Bobcats are the team with the shaggy-haired white guy. It's hard to tell who's who--the picture is pretty small.

Greg said...

The Bobcats came from behind to beat the Bulls. From what I saw, (the second half) "Jerry's" boy, "Thabo" played pretty well. Adam Morrison was okay. I read that he had 29 points and a monster first half.

Mark said...

I read where Thabo is averaging around 16/game. Not bad, all things considered. I din't quite get the Morrison write-ups. Everyone raved about his amazing first half, but what about following it up with a mere four points in the second. That's a problem, no?

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