Friday, June 21, 2013

Six reasons why the NHL is FAR superior to the NBA

As I was driving home from work, listening to the first quarter of game 7 of the NBA Finals, I was thinking about whether or not I'd watch the game  when I got home. San Antonio was up 11-4 over Miami, and I thought to myself, "So what? It means absolutely nothing at this point in the game. I decided right then that I wouldn't bother watching the game until the 4th quarter. And by 4th quarter, I meant LATE in the 4th. Like 5 minutes left or less, unless it looked like a blowout, then I wouldn't watch it at all. Last night, I watched Game 4 of the NHL's Stanley Cup Final. Didn't get home in time to see the very beginning, but after that, I didn't miss a minute; not even to pee. Back to making my way home tonight, I changed the radio station to another all-sports channel. They were talking about... yep, basketball. ESPN will talk about it for hours on end, and then have a two or three minute segment on that night's NHL game. And then it's right back into basketball. Which leads me to this:

6 reasons why the NHL is far superior to the NBA

6. The player's names:
I LOVE hockey names. I'll take Nicklas Hjalmerson, brothers Olli and Jussi Jokinen (Try saying that once... Oh-lee and Juicy YO-kin-en... Nice!), Kevin Shattenkirk, and Dustin Byfuglien (pronounced Buff-Lin). You get LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Derrick Rose. I'll even throw in Joakim Noah, cuz he has a cool name... but still I WIN!!! Hockey names rule!

"It's spelled just like it sounds B-Y-F-U-G-L-I-E-N. Bufflin."

5. Hockey is much harder to understand: Yes, some people might consider this as a bad thing. It's not. Just about anyone understands basketball. You run, you jump, you put the ball in the net. Hitting the other team's players is bad. (We'll get into this one more in a minute) In Basketball, one guy can run down to the other end of the court, and his teammate can throw it to him all the way down. No problem. Hockey makes everyone wait until the puck is past the blue line, then they can go in and try to score. It can be especially frustrating if your guy goes in too early, or the other team flips the puck outside the blue line, then you have to line up and try to get it in again. There are infractions for hand-passes, playing the puck with a high stick, offsides, icing, and a myriad of penalties (including roughing, boarding, interference, and cross-checking) after which, the offender has to go sit in the box and "feel shame" for two minutes. Understand all this, and you can understand just about any sport, and can claim intellectual superiority to those mere mortals who say "I just don't get Hockey."


See the difference?

4. Whining: Brush against an NBA player and he falls down faster than a 9 month old baby. He cries more too; especially if the ref doesn't blow the whistle and call a foul. Then the coach will put on that pouty face that only NBA coaches can make. I swear, when they interview someone for an NBA coaching job, they ask them to make that face.
Like this:

Or this:

Of course the players do it too. I think it started with this guy...


...Danny Ainge, who was so good at whining as a player, they decided to put him in the front office to see if he could whine enough to make other general managers give him their good players for his has-beens and never-were's. The exception to this was Phil Jackson. I rarely saw that man pout. He had the scowl down to a science though. Sort of reminds me of my father.

Your Mother and I are really disappointed in you, Son
But this... this is what a hockey coach looks like:

And he's in a good mood

3.Hitting (non-fighting variety): The NHL keeps track of hits. In a good way. As in, "What a game by Cal Clutterbuck! He had 10 hits!" This is what an NHL hit looks like:

And this is the aforementioned brushing against a player in the NBA:

Damn! You almost touched me D-Wade!

And, more important is what comes after. After Dwayne, or d-wayne, or however the hell he spells his name brushed against CP3, the ref probably blew the whistle, walked over to the scorer's table, bounced the ball a few times, and everyone stood around while one of the players stood on the line and took free throw shots. In all, it takes about a minute to watch those multi-millionaires do something that is being done by a kid in every city and suburb in America. Standing still and shooting a ball into a hoop. Woo boy. There's excitement. And after Clutterbuck knocked one of the Blackhawks against the boards in the NHL game? They both got up, skated after the puck, and kept playing. The scorer's table placed a mark in the book under Hits, and the game went on. No foul, no whistle, no penalty, and thankfully, no free throws.

2.Toughness: A lot is made of the NHL fighting. Tell someone you love Hockey, and the odds are good you'll hear, "Oh, you must love the fights." Actually, no. I don't. They are part of the game, and sometimes it makes me laugh. But love... no. Not even close. If I was into just the fights, I'd watch boxing, MMA or WWE... no. Not the WWE. I'd rather watch the Disney Channel, and I ABHOR the Disney channel. What I love about the NHL is the toughness of the players. For instance: In the 2nd period of a playoff game, Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks got hit in the mouth with a puck, lost seven teeth , went off to the dressing room, was treated, and was back on the ice for the third period.

Nice smile Dunc. Real nice!

 Mike Milbury, now a commentator, but then, of the Boston Bruins, climbed into the stands in New York and beat a fan over the head with the fan's own shoe. Okay, that's fighting, and in this day and age, he'd probably get kicked out of the league for that, but still. He pulled off the dude's shoe and hit him over the head! Crazy! And just this year, in the playoffs, Bruins defenseman Gregory Campbell was hit in the leg by a slapshot that he dove in front of, (yes, he intentionally got in the way of a 100 mph frozen projectile) breaking his fibula in the process. They must have stopped the game for him so they could bring out an ambulance or something, right? Wrong.

He stayed on the ice, skating on one leg, trying to play defense until the whistle blew, or the puck was cleared down the ice far enough that he could get to the bench and get another player in because he didn't want to let the Penguins score. He was on the ice for another minute. Are basketball players this tough? I don't think so.

1. The games themselves: I could devote an entire post to this segment alone, but I'll try to keep it simple. I'll start with a question. When was the last time an NBA game was decided in the first quarter? Answer: Never. That's my biggest problem with the NBA. The only part of the game that really matters is the last few minutes unless someone gets injured or in foul trouble. As I said earlier, the San Antonio Spurs were up 11-4 early in the game. As I wrote this, the Heat went on to defeat the Spurs and win their 2nd straight championship. Almost none of the early play made a bit of difference. All that mattered is that Miami made more shots in the last few minutes. A big deal was made of the Heat "fans" who left early in the 4th quarter of game 6, missing the great comeback, highlighted by three pointers from LeBron and Ray Allen. Have these people ever watched NBA basketball? If anything, skip the first 3 quarters, not the 4th. In the first three quarters, you could make the greatest play in the history of the game, and what would it count for? 2 or 3 points out of 100 or so that the team scored. Whoop de hoo!! Last night, the Hawks and Bruins, in an amazingly high scoring affair, scored 11 goals combined, nearly matching the 12 goals both teams had scored in the first 3 games put together. But let's stick with those 11 goals. The winning Hawks got 6. Patrick Kane's goal was worth almost 17 percent of their output for the night. Compare that with one of LeBron's 3 pointers which accounted for 3.15 percent of the Heat's total. Therefore, a goal in Hockey is worth over 5 times what a 3 in basketball is worth. And 5 times more exciting, I might add. The thing about Hockey is, even though it is low scoring, a goal can happen at any time. You could say that about hoops too, but you can't say a basket is rare. They happen over and over for 48 minutes, diminishing their value in my opinion. NHL games are like watching an intense movie, but not having any idea about when the climax is coming. It could come within 8 seconds, or 59.9 minutes, or in overtime. You just never know, therefore you have to watch the entire game. And if it goes to overtime, like 3 of the first 4 games of this series have, it's "Next goal wins!" Your team can literally be inches away from heartbreak, and turn around and win it within 30 seconds. If you love sports, that's pretty much the ultimate. Just remember to take your heart meds.

Let's move to time outs. NBA basketball is littered with time outs. Each team gets 7 or 8 a game, unless it goes to overtime, when they get three more. I can't remember the total because it's so many. The last few minutes of a game can take FOR-EV-ER. Hockey coaches also have the chance to take time out. ONCE PER GAME. And if it goes to overtime? No extra time outs. The refs stop the game once, after ten minutes of clock time to fix the ice a bit. No commercials, no stoppage. It's, "GAME ON WAYNE!"

I'm really glad the NBA season is done, for the simple fact that after a couple more days, they will stop talking about it on the radio and on Sportscenter. The NHL is down to its last 2 or 3 games and if the previous 4 were any indication, this series will go down to the last minute of Game 7 with no real clue as to who will take home the Stanley Cup. I can't wait. Game 5 is Saturday, Game 6 is Monday, and if it gets that far, Game 7 on Wednesday. I'll be watching, will you?

PS. Meanwhile, this is me, trying out for one of the many NBA coaching jobs that have recently opened up.

Wish me luck! Mr. Snarky

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Money Well Spent

Precisely 1 minute and 23 seconds. That's the time I just spent to download and install Temple Run 2 on my phone. That time frame also includes powering my phone up, inputting my security code - twice because I screwed up the first try - finding and opening Google play, searching for the game, then choosing to accept and download. 83 seconds in total.

Now, flash back 30 years to 1983. The year I graduated high school. Yes, I'm that old. Let's say you wanted a new game. The best video game console of the time was the Atari 5200, which cost just under 3 hundred dollars. In 2013, that's probably around 5 or 6 hundred dollars. The game cartridges ran anywhere from 40 to 60 dollars each, and they had mind-blowing graphics like this:

Dude, that's awesome! We should play this... like... 10 hours a day!

So, if you were over 16, had a job and a car, it only cost you around 350 dollars (not counting the gas it took to drive to Toys-R-Us) to have this amazing entertainment on your home television, which often was in use by other members of your family. No TVs in every room back then, and if you had a 2nd one, it was small and old and possibly didn't have the required hook ups for such a modern gaming system. In 1983, the federal minimum wage, which is what most teenagers worked for, was 3.35 an hour.  Leaving out taxes and social security payments for convenience (or in other words, laziness) it took 104.47 hours for a minimum wage earning teenager to earn enough to purchase this system and this game. Assuming also that he spent his money on nothing else, if he worked 20 hours per week, then he had to work 5 weeks, plus another 4 1/2 hours to have enough.

Flash forward to now. In the time that was spent then to drive to the store, get customer service to open up the case to get the game for you, stand in the checkout line to purchase, then drive back home, you can now:  download the game, play it enough to find out it's boring, delete it, try two or three other games, check some sports scores, read a blog post, update your status on Facebook, and check out movie listings to see if there's anything you want to go see tonight.

I HATE this song!  Where is my Pandora so I can give it a thumbs down?!

You might ask, "So what's your point?" Well, I'm not trying to say how bad we had it then, because it's not true. It wasn't the good old days like some people like to claim... it just was the way things were. I guess my point is that things change. When my 4 year old grandson can do something in 83 seconds that used to take me 100 plus hours, or 4300 times as long,  I marvel at technology and wonder what change the next 30 years will  bring. Hopefully I'll be around to see it. Oh, and another thing. Let's say that instead of wanting that amazing video game, I was interested in saving up to invest in this company I had heard was going to go public in 1986 called Microsoft. The initial public offering was 21 dollars a share. For my 350 dollars I would have gotten 16.67 shares in the transaction. Those shares, through the magic of stock splits, would now be equivalent to 4800 shares today, worth 27.55 per share at Friday's close. That's 132,240 dollars. A net profit of $131,890!  Not an immense fortune, but a lot more than most of us have in our bank accounts. Instead, I got to throw the Atari game in the trash a few years later. But I'll always have the memories.

From Snarky with love.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

His name is Geoffrey Holder...

...and because of him, Mr. Snarky feels kind of inadequate today. No, that's not quite the right word. An underachiever? Getting closer. Let me explain and you'll get the idea. Last night, when Mrs. Snarky went to the store, I asked her to get me some 7up. Not a regular request for me, in fact I don't think I've had one for a few years, but whatever. I was in the mood. When she came back, the old Uncola commercial popped into my head. Some of my readers will be old enough to remember this I think. 

"And they paid me to do this! HA HA HA HA!"

Mr. Snarky has an interesting skill... well, it's interesting to me anyway. I am very good at voice recognition. I shall tell a little story to illustrate. In my 20's, I was often invited to bachelor parties. Sometimes, believe it or not, those parties had strippers. At one such party, my friend and I were sitting in the living room at the apartment it was held in, while the stripper was talking to her escort out of sight in the kitchen. I heard her voice and said to my friend sitting next to me, "That's the same stripper from Jimmy's party two years ago." He told me I was full of it. It couldn't be. When she walked into the living room my friend's jaw dropped. Actually, so did mine because I was amazed at my previously undiscovered skill. Now you may not believe me, or perhaps have determined in your mind that the stripper must have had a distinct voice or speech impediment or something of that nature, but I assure you, it is true, and she had a normal voice with no accent other than the Chicago nasal twang that nearly everyone in the apartment had. I've proven my skill in this many times to Mrs. Snarky who, while slightly impressed by it, does not believe as I do, that one day, this talent will bring me untold riches. I just haven't figured out how it will happen but... IT WILL HAPPEN!!! 

As the Uncola guy's voice went ringing through my head, it quickly occurred to me that this was the same voice as the narrator in...

Long video I know, but skip to around 4:00 and listen to that voice

Obviously the same guy when you hear them one after the other, but remember, the two videos are 30 years apart or so. Being of the Google generation, I had to look it up and prove myself correct, which I was. I then went to his IMDB  page... I'm Geoffrey Holder and look at all the shit I've done. and his Wikipedia entry What have you done in YOUR life? If you don't want to click, here is the start of his Wikipedia page: Geoffrey Richard Holder (born 1 August 1930) is a Trinidadian actorchoreographerdirectordancerpainter,costume designersinger and voice-over artist They forgot to add author to that list. Some of you might be familiar with the man as a contestant on Celebrity apprentice last year, but Mr. Snarky doesn't watch that show. His eyes prefer not to look at Donald Trump, and watching that show would make his goal of never looking at "The Donald" again... impossible/unreachable. Mr. Snarky prefers reachable goals. But Mr. Holder (his middle name is Richard... do you think anyone ever called him Dick Holder? Just wondering) has made Mr. Snarky's simple goals seem... well... just that. Simple. He holds 2 Tony awards, ran his own dance troupe, studied art at the Guggenheim, was a renowned choreographer and has authored 2 books. And what does Mr. Snarky know of him? Yeah... he did a television commercial in the 70's and a voice over for a remake of a Roald Dahl kids book turned movie. Well, what have you done in your life Mr. Snarky, you might ask? Thanks. Yeah. I've written a kids book (not published) a novel (not published) and have been planning a silly little e-book for around a year. I write a blog now and then, I watch Dexter and Supernatural, a lot of sports and play Wii sports ping pong. 

I really hate that Lucia. Bitch beats me every time!

So thanks a lot "Dick Holder." You have made me feel a little worthless today. Also made me feel like I have a ton of work to do and that maybe I should stop screwing around all the time and get to work. Yeah. That's what I'll do. Right after I get done beating Lucia at a game of Ping Pong.

Happy New Year!! 
With Love,
Mr. Snarky