Thursday, April 30, 2009

Le Futur

You probably saw the title and thought "Yay, jeremy's gonna talk about his future and his job prospects."  But you're wrong.  I'm on a basketball kick, so I'm going to share a quote that I really like.  Writes Buck Harvey:
[T]his [year's Spurs] was a 54-win team, and it limped to the finish. And it could heal.
So.  You know.  Go Spurs Go.  If my Rangers fandom has taught me anything, it's that there's always next year.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Go Spurs Go

As I'm sure you know by now, the Spurs have been eliminated from the NBA Playoffs in the first round for the first time since 2000.  I'm disappointed, but I'm not defeated.  The NBA is the kind of league where being a four-time former champion puts you in the elite.  Only the Lakers, Celtics, and Michael Jordan Bulls have more.

At any rate, I'm proud of my Spurs.  We played way too many games without Manu, and we still held on to the three seed going into the playoffs.  We really missed him these last five games.  But the rest of our guys deserve a shout out for their hard work, their gumption, and their class:
  • Tim Duncan - St. Timothy played with more fire than anybody on the court.  His knees just got in the way.
  • Tony Parker - What hasn't been said about Antoine?  Face the facts, NBA: Tony Parker is an elite scorer.
  • Roger Mason Jr. - We will always remember your last-second shot against the Lakers. Welcome to San Antonio, Big Shot Rog.  I hope you stay a while.
  • George Hill - The Pride of IUPUI may be the future of San Antonio.  Pop benched him for too long, but he was ready when the call came in Games 3, 4, and 5.
  • Kurt Thomas - Do I need to say anything other than this about Sir Kurt?
And, of course, I would be remiss not to remember Matt Bonner, Bruce Bowen, Michael Finley, Ime Udoka, Jacque Vaughn, Drew Gooden, and the Fabulous Fabricio Oberto.  Others contributed, of course, but these were the main fellas.  Today, I wear my $10-Wal*Mart Tim Duncan T-shirt in honor of you all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why Baylor Law Is Awesome

Intangibles.  It's what sports people cite to explain why the chamionship team is better than the runner-up.  And it's what I cite when I say Baylor Law is the best.  Here's a tangible intangible:
He made everyone t-shirts. They had caricatures of him that previous students had doodled on final exams, along with a few quotes that he’s said over 150 times this quarter
You may be curious about who this "he" is.  The man that my class knows and loves as Prof. LAPP taught Civil Procedure this quarter so that the usual Prof. Civ Pro could try some cases.  We may or may not know those 150-times quotes, but we know the man.  And he is awesome.

UPDATE:  Here are pictures.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hoop Dreams

A few days ago, I told you---in complete serious---my picks for the NBA playoffs.  Today, I share with you my "Hoop Dreams"---the teams that would win in the world of my dreams.

But first, let me say that an awesome NBA Finals would be Lebron stuffing Kobe and giving him a swirly.  I think a sweep would be cooler than a 7-game back-n-forth.  But I just can't stomach the Lakers walking through the West.  

So here we go.

Eastern Conference, First Round
  • Cleveland over Detroit
  • Chicago over Boston
  • Philly over Orlando
  • Atlanta over Miami
Western Conference, First Round
  • Utah over L.A.
  • N'awlins over Denver
  • Santonio over Fort Worth
  • Houston over Portland
Eastern Conference Semifinals
  • Toughie.  I like Cleveland over Atlanta, but I wish they could play in the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • Chicago over Philly, but I don't really care.  Chicago just because they'd be a funner matchup for Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals
Western Conference Semifinals
  • Utah over Houston (the I-10 Rivalry is still alive)
  • Santonio over N'awlins (could this be another I-10 Rivalry?)
Conference Finals
  • East: Cleveland over Chicago
  • West: Santonio muting the Jazz
NBA Finals: Gosh.  I'm torn.  This is why you can't always get what you want.  I want the Spurs to take another championship, but I also sympathize with Lebron's Quest.  Well, I said I'm torn, but I'm not.

Go Spurs Go!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

NBA Playoffs Picks

Eastern Conference First Round

(1) Cleveland beating (8) Detroit in 5

When I placed my vote on for the Cavs, I noticed that 49 states and the whole rest of the world think the Cavaliers will take it.  The only state unconvinced is Michigan.  And only 56 percent of Michiganders are deluded.  That makes it pretty clear who should pull away.

(2) Boston beating (7) Chicago in 7

I think Boston will take it, but they'll have to fight for it.  A younger, hungrier, healthier Chicago will put up a fight, but that Game 7 in Boston will be too rough for them.  BUT if I had to pick an Eastern Conference upset, this is it for me.

(3) Orlando beating (6) Philly in 6

Orlando is a powerhouse that's been struggling lately.  But not enough to really give Philly a chance.

(4) Atlanta beating (5) Miami in 7

I read recently that the Hawks are the Cavs of a few years ago.  Anybody remember when the Spurs beat the Cavs in the NBA finals two years ago?

Western Conference First Round

(1) Lakers beating (8) Utah in 7

Let's face it: Pau and the Lakers have to play thrice in Utah before they put the series away in Los Angeles.

(2) Denver nipped in the bud by (7) New Orleans in 6

This is my upset in the West.  CP3 is pretty good at point.  Chauncey Billups et al. can do their thing, but I don't know if it's enough.

(3) San Antonio spurring (6) Dallas in 2.

We'll beat'm so bad in the first two in San Antonio that David Stern invokes the mercy rule and calls the series.

(4) Portland nuked by the (5) Rockets in 6.

I don't consider this an upset, just facts.

Eastern Conference Semifinals

(1) Cleveland riding all over (4) Atlanta in 5, maybe burning it to the ground during King James's march to the sea.  Let's face it.  The Cavs are unstoppable this year.

(3) Boston tying (2) Orlando in 6, then both teams agreeing to take turns losing to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference finals.  Let's face it.  The Celtics and the Magic both limped into the postseason, both will limp past teams that wouldn't have made the top ten in the West, and both will limp into an embrace.

Western Conference Semifinals

Here we diverge.  Dreamworld: Rockets blow up the dam, draining the Lakers in 6.  Real world: Rockets fizzle in the Lakers in 6.

Dreamworld and Real World: (3) San Antonio swats (7) Hornets in 7.  By this point, the Spurs will be getting tired, but they'll stop CP3 et al.

Eastern Conference Finals

(1) Cavs sweep (2-3) Bostando Magic Celtics in 7.  Lebron takes on playing both shooting guard and small forward . . . at the same time.

Western Conference Finals

Dreamworld: I-10 Rivalry climaxes with a raucous game 7 in San Antonio, with the Spurs squeaking by in triple overtime on Tim Duncan's second career three-pointer.

Real World: Pau & Co. bloody up the Spurs in 6.

NBA Finals

I have to confess.  I hope this is the Cavs' year.  I'd really like the Spurs to win it all again, but I'm not selfish.  And if the Spurs make it to the Finals, that complicates everything.  I mean---How beautiful would it be if King James and the Black Mamba squared off in an a m a z i n g seven game series for the ages?  Maybe Kobe : Magic :: Lebron : Bird?  If last year's finals were a shout out to the past, maybe this year's finals are a shout out to the present.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Newer and Better Fantasies

"Are you listening to all that?"  Thorne said.  "I wouldn't take any of it too seriously.  It's just theories.  Human beings can't help making them, but the fact is that theories are just fantasies.  And they change.  When America was a new country, people believed in something called phlogiston.  You know what that is?  No?  Well, it doesn't matter, because it wasn't real anyway.  They also believed that four humors controlled behavior.  And they believed that the earth was only a few thousand years old.  Now we believe the earth is four billion years old, and we believe in photons and electrons, and we think human behavior is controlled by things like ego and self-esteem.  We think those beliefs are more scientific and better."

"Aren't they?"

Thorne shrugged.  "They're still just fantasies.  They're not real.  Have you ever seen a self-esteem?  Can you bring me one on a plate?  How about a photon?  Can you bring me one of those?"

Kelly shook her head.  "No, but . . ."

"And you never will, because those things don't exist.  No matter how seriously people take them," Thorne said.  "A hundred years from now, people will look back at us and laugh.  They'll say, 'You know what people used to believe?  They believed in photons and electrons.  Can you imagine anything so silly?'  They'll have a good laugh, because by then there will be newer and better fantasies."  Thorne shook his head.  "And meanwhile, you feel the way the boat moves?  That's the sea.  That's real.  You smell the salt in the air?  You feel the sunlight on your skin?  That's all real.  You see all of us together?  That's real.  Life is wonderful.  It's a gift to be alive, to see the sun and breathe the air.  And there isn't really anything else."*

So--are we getting closer, or are we running in circles?

*Michael Crichton, The Lost World.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Pythagoras Is Never Wrong

Pythagorean records are a cool new statistic that compares runs scored to runs allowed to show what your record "should" be.  The formula is:

(runs scored)^2
(runs scored)^2 + (runs allowed)^2

Then you multiply the resulting ratio by the number of games . . . et voilĂ : seventh grade math used in the real world.  (The same formula works in basketball, but you substitute the 14th power for the 2d.)

Yesterday, the Rangers pounded the Indians and last year's Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee, 9-1.  For those of you quick enough to pull out your calculators, you can guess my next sentence.

I hereby predict the Rangers will go 160-2 this year.  I have statistics to back it up.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Why Chromosome

Some day, when I have kids, I hope to instill in them the importance of asking why.  Two recent cases I've read for class have made me want to ask the writers that question.

First, a dissenting judge in a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals case once wrote:
I believe that if this Court were abolished, its chambers demolished, the ground plowed up, and the site paved over, one day a crack would appear in the concrete, and through that crack a black-robed arm would thrust an opinion that says, "We hold that the indictment in this case was not an indictment."

Pretty harsh words.  What are those judges, ostensibly neutral, intelligent, and skilled legal analysts, doing invalidating indictments?  It can't possibly be that there's some good reason to invalidate the indictment.

And second, Justice John Paul "the Second" Stevens dissented in the recent gun control case (D.C. v. Heller).  He contested Scalia et al.'s interpretation of the Second Amendment and concludes:
The evidence plainly refutes the claim that the [Second] Amendment was motivated by the Framers' fears that Congress might act to regulate any civilian uses of weapons.
(emphasis mine).  Why did five of the nation's most highly respected jurists, ostensibly neutral, intelligent, and skilled legal analysts themselves, ignore such plain evidence?  It couldn't possibly be that the evidence wasn't quite so plain.

Sometimes people do things that I think are stupid.  But I have to remember to pause and reflect.  People aren't really that stupid, so they must have (or think they have) some good reason for acting stupid.  Even those crazy judges (who must be on some payroll) who claim to be protecting individual rights but are really just helping keep criminals out on the streets.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Pantheon of Ironies

I love irony.  Two of my favorite examples come from one of my favorite authors, Tim O'Brien.  In The Nuclear Age, his nucleigallophobic protaganist becomes an instant millionaire when he discoveres a uranium mine under his mountain in Montana.  And in Tomcat in Love, our hero knows everything there is to know about how language works but absolutely nothing about how people work.  Last Wednesday, LOST decided to join my pantheon of ironies.

How?  Well, by refusing to help Young Ben, Jack thinks he is preventing everything bad that happens later/earlier that he blames on Old Ben.   Because he doesn't help, Juliet and Kate are forced to take Young Ben to Richard for help.  Richard later tells them that, if he helps Ben, Ben will never be the same.  That is, the quasi-innocent kid will turn into a serial killing mass murdering liar and thief . . . all because Jack thought he could change the past.

If only Jack had been paying attention when Miles was explaining time travel to Hurley . . . 

Friday, April 03, 2009

Our Fans Are Better than Yours

As a newcomer to basketball fandom, I fear that I annoy my Teachers and Mentors with too many questions, like "What, exactly, is a 'pick'n'roll'?" and "Are they playing zone or man?"

But I'm better than a Laker fan.  This comes straight from the horse's mouth, via Justin "the nick of time" Scott.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, their fans aren't paying attention that closely because they're busy either trying to get on the Jumbotron, averting their eyes from Dyan Cannon, or trying to figure out things like "How many points do you get if you shoot one from half court?" or "How come that clock on the backboard keeps counting down backward from 24?"

I don't ask those questions, but I will ask this one: Who is Dyan Cannon?