Friday, February 29, 2008

Back in Action

An extra-long February has come and gone while I've stepped back to try and avoid the Super Bowl and the Kiffin fiasco. My plan to avoid the Super Bowl was well-laid, as I was flying home after having experienced the second-best day of my life one day earlier in Detroit. Then Frontier Airlines tempted me with free DirecTV in every seat. I made it well into the second half before I was hooked; my hatred for the Patriots took over, and Kristy and I cheered every jarring hit to Brady. Then, with about eight minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Giants punted and our DirecTV feed switched to some ridiculous cartoon about David Beckham, Posh Spice, and a talking "football."

At that moment one of the great Super Bowls of all time broke out. I suppose I got what I asked for - I was able to avoid watching it and those despicable Patriots lost.

I haven't gotten much that I've asked for when it comes to the Raiders in recent years. As James Lofton was hired for what appears to be Interim Head Coach in Waiting, and Kiffin only makes news for going dancing - or not, this offseason got difficult in a hurry. Then something happened today. The Raiders signed Gibril Wilson. He may never go to a Pro Bowl, but I'm convinced he's an upgrade that will allow the Raiders to do a lot more with their defense next year. Of note, Wilson was widely regarded as the best player available at arguably the Raiders' greatest position of need.

So there's hope.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Sllaacs NBA Take

So how do you win 50 games and still not make the playoffs? Compete in the NBA's Western Conference in 2008, that's how. No NBA team has ever won 50 and not made the playoffs - I think Houston missed the post season with 45 wins or something like that a little while ago in the 2000's. Some of the Western Conference teams who were on a 50-win pace have already started to slow down, like the former Jail-Blazers, now the Brandon Roys; and the Hornets - the CP3's - may not be far from skidding back toward the 35-win plateau where they belong. Hell, my own GSW's may hit the shnide also; they are really just a Boom Dizzle injury away from dropping off the playoff map.
One Western conference team that will not slow down is the Los Angeles Lakers. They did the improbable with that bullsh*t trade they made to get Pau Gasol. I mean, how the hell does Kwame Brown bring any type of decent player in return, let alone a baller like Gasol? Meanwhile, the Warriors signed Chris Webber and were excited about that addition (with not a single player subtraction, I might add) and not really chagrined by the Gasol deal due the simple fact that Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Chris Mullin got rid of his Salary Albatross (the lovable Adonal Foyle) before the season and had no giant one-year deal to trade away to Memphis, like L.A. did. Good for Kobe and Jerry Buss and Phil Jackson, and Jerry Buss's daughter (whom Phil is banging) - they deserve a little success right? After so much suffering? Puh-leez.
Who else does the success of the Lakers piss off? Only me? Okay then, I am alone. The Lakers do have the best record in the West as of today, and they actually look like the best team out there - especially after running the Suns and Shaq off the floor recently.
The Warriors did not trade Mickael Pietrus for a bag of peanuts and popcorn because they were like; "F*ck that, we ain't giving away nobody for some sh*t-weasel in return." So he still plays in Oakland - and will be available to guard Kobe when the Warriors and Lakers play back-to-back in late March. Hooh-Ray. And how do the Warriors match up now with the Lakers? Horribly, as always. Mainly because there is and never was anyody to guard Kobe - Stack Jack does a relatively strong job, but c'mon, this is Kobe I'm talking about - and when Gas-Hole was on the Grizz, he would torch the Warriors like there was nobody on him trying to play defense. Even before they got Pau, the Lakers had won nine in a row against GS in a streak that ended in December. The Lakers are now much better equipped to compete with San Antonio and maybe are even the favorites to take the West this year.
The Warriors? Well, they had better not draw the Jazz in the early rounds of the playoffs - I actually think the Warriors match up better with the Lakers than Utah - and they would be better served to avoid San Antonio at all costs - or they will just get Duncan'd and Ginobili'd and Parker'd and Bowen'd. And that sucks.
The NBA in the West is exciting, sure - sort of the antithesis of the Eastern Conference with their all-new, all-rebuilt Cleveland Cavaliers and the Super Celtics not withstanding - but more than anything, the best players and teams reside there, so expect the eventual NBA champions to come from the Western Conference... Again.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

The Raiders seem to have quieted down on the drama front, hiring James Lofton to coach up the receivers and getting a new strength and conditioning coach, supposedly both interviewed and hired by Lane Kiffin, which I'm choosing to take as good news. And they re-signed Fargas, which is great news.

I was thinking about writing about the NBA, which I may yet. When the Raiders moved to Los Angeles in 1982, I kind of stopped caring about football. I still watched it, but I didn't have a favorite team. Basketball became my first love. The Los Angeles Lakers and Magic Johnson in particular (yes, you can point out the hypocrisy of being mad at the Raiders for moving to Los Angeles but then loving a basketball team from Los Angeles, if it will make you feel better).

So the Pau Gasol trade is good, good news. I've been talking to some of my friends (mainly Sllaacs and Ken and my lawyer Nappy McBigtoe) about rediscovering basketball.

Which brings me to Valentine's Day. I always liked it as a kid, because it was fun giving and getting the little Peanuts and Ziggy and Spider-Man Valentine's Day cards in elementary school. And I liked the candy. One time, I even got Michael Jordan Valentines. I still might have a couple of those, actually.

Anyway, once I got old enough to have an actual girlfriend on Valentine's Day, it went all bad, and I longed for the nostalgic days when everyone got cards, even the ugly people with snot on their shirts.

Junior year, the first time I had a real girlfriend, she came over to my house for dinner. My parents got into a fight that eventually involved my mother throwing some small appliances (clock radios, a small black and white TV) at the wall behind my Dad's head. My parents didn't fight like this very often, but when they did they always made sure they had an audience. It inflated the apparent level of domestic strife in the Sousa house, but at least they had some style about it. That kind of behavior in the privacy of your own home without anyone to witness it is a cliche.

Senior year the shittiness of Valentine's Day had nothing to do with the girl I was dating. That part actually went okay. I think I got her a Prince tape (Diamonds and Pearls). But I had a game that night at Pittsburg (I was an Antioch Panther) and I forgot my goddamn uniform at home. That was fucking embarrassing waiting for my mom to drive home and get it while I explained to the coaches why I wasn't getting dressed. Thank god it was a Pitt, and not at say, Berkeley or El Cerrito.

Freshman year of College, I had a girlfriend who was one of those "I don't want to be known as John's Girfriend, I'm my own person" types. Anyway, so she said "I don't want to celebrate Valentine's Day." Since I was a fucking idiot, I believed her and didn't get her anything. So she was pissed at me.

I managed to avoid the next 6 or 7 Valentine's Days because I was single. When I finally got another real girlfriend, I think I was 25, she broke up with me on Valentine's Day. Actually put the breakup letter in a Valentine's Day card. That was cold blooded.

But again, I was a fucking idiot, because I'd seen that one coming, and I should have stayed home to watch the Lakers game on TV instead of going over to her house to get that stupid letter. I should have made her use a stamp.

Okay, you're asking as you're reading this, where does the Professor fit into all of this? I bet she just loves reading about all of your ex-girlfriends. Well, when we were first courting, I got a CD from her for Valentine's Day. And it almost made cry. And we've since had 6 great Valentine's Days. And now that we have Baby Lily, I get to vicariously re-live the glory days when everybody gets a Valentine in their cubby hole.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hating My Way to a Great Prediction

So yeah, Sllaacs here; I picked the Giants to win by 4 - they won by three - and I have proof. I also picked the G-men to win during the regular season and they lost that one. So I am a football picking genius right? No - just a full-fledged Hater. I hate that the Niners suck and Patsy's do not. I hate the G-men once again - why do they get to have a good team and a good Quarterback and Niners don't? Why? Why can't the Niners have a Manning? Whatever.

I guess I should consider that the Niners now have Mike Martz, the offensive-minded genius who got cheated by Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl back in the day, and the ramifications that such a signing may bring forth - both good and bad. Consider it considered. Shay-Heezy in the house? That's what I get to look forward to. So I Hate. And that is sports fandom, I suppose. I mean, it's kind of like having an ugly girlfriend and ignoring that ugliness - or better yet, accepting it and expecting it to change drastically in a realistic amount of time - while being pissed off at all your homies for having hot chicks, who you know won't be hot forever, but they sure look good for the predictable future. A guy could upgrade his girlfriend, but true fans can't upgrade to a better team - that's sacreligious - they can only bitch and moan until their team get's it together and competes again, (or in the case of the New Orleans Saints: For the First Time).

So that's where I think Bay Area fans are now, in terms of the NFL; Watching And Anxiously Waiting, Anticipating And Always Hating; (WAAWAAH). So I will waawaah and sit tight, the Patriots loss making me feel all right.

Now, Hatred aside: we must acknowledge the Patriots season as an utter and complete failure.

How's that? Regular season undefeated; AFC Champions - means something right? Not for New England. They have been there, done that, as far as the key pieces of the team goes, so yeah - they fucking failed to cap off the season, and now who will care about regular season perfection and record setting performances when you lose the Super Bowl? They look even worse off the field when you consider Tom Brady's laughing off the pre-game prediction by Plaxico Burress and NE coach Bill Belichick beligerently bulling his way off the field with 1 nanosecond left on the game clock. Then you got Brady and Randi Moss skipping the Pro Bowl. Would they have skipped the Pro Bowl if they had won? Brady; probably, but Moss would be there in Honolulu beaming his million dollar smile and keeping it real, all the while saying: "I told you so, Raider Fan."

So with these images, and more importantly the image of Eli Manning breaking from the grasp of the defense to fire a pass downfield that was caught by a hand and a helmet, we can now know - or at least pretend to know - what Mercury Morris meant when he said the Patroits would not be welcome in his neighborhood unless they won it all. For the NFL, this will go down as one of the greatest Super Bowl upsets of all time. I say that it at least trumps the Patriots win over St. Louis because there is no evidence that the Giants digitally recorded the Patriots final walkthrough a day before the Super Bowl. This also shows what people know about predicting outcomes between Championship teams - nothing. That is, after all why they play the games. So goodbye, NFL - See you again come August.

I will hardly miss ye.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Leave to Jerry McDonald to break down the game, and continue to show why he's my favorite writer covering the Raiders with his blog post, "Enjoy:"

With the Patriots perhaps being the Raiders’ most hated opponent ever since Brady made his reputation in the playoffs in the snow, you can forget about 19-61 over the last five years for a few hours and realize that occasionally justice is served.

Manning bailed out a Giants defense which finally tired in the fourth quarter after harassing Brady all night.

With the help of a guy named “Tuck.”

It is indeed poetic, if a little bit pathetic justice for us Raiders fans. But I will admit that I really enjoyed rooting for the Giants, not because I care about them, but because I was a straight up hater today. I felt Sllaacs in a room full of fat women Raiders fans.

Oh, and Bill Simmons is a Mother Fucking Jinx. I won't be surprised if his Boston pass gets revoked after this shit.

The Patriots lost.

To Eli Manning, who was indeed unstoppable.


Nebular's Super Bowl Party

I'm at my friend Nebular's house watching the game.

I have a new friend named Malik, a Raiders fan. We're hating on the Patriots. I went to him for a high-five when Rodney Harrison and Randall Gay got hurt.

I've never hated a player more than I hate Rodney Harrison. Unfortunately, he came back.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sllaacs is Brief with his Super Bowl Picks; John's Picks

I've been following the Lane Kiffin/Al Davis Drama all week. Just click on the link to Jerry Mac's blog, or the link to Jason Jones' blog, and you can get caught up. I highly recommend both.


I must say, that even though the Patsy's beat the shit out of the Giants during their regular season matchup (during the 4th quarter, at least) I would love for Randi Moss to take this loss and ruin the run for a perfect record. I am no Fish lover and Mercury Morris is an asshole, but who cares? Let them be the only underfeated team in NFL history. 28-24 - G-Men.

I was thinking that the Giants had a chance. This is the first time this season that a good team has faced the Patriots a 2nd time. They have the talent to make any adjustments based on the first meeting.

Then two things happened. First, Plaxico guaranteed a victory, even calling the score 23-17. Then, I was watching NFL Total Access, only instead of Rich Eisen it was the blonde. She's been through the Jeanne Zelasco School of Voice Modulation. Anyway, she kept referring to "Easy E's" upcoming interview with Madame Schefter.

Easy E? Since when is that Eli Manning's nickname? And can he be happy about this? What does that imply? That he'll get into a beef with his most talented teammate (Plaxico) the way that the original Eazy-E got into a beef with N.W.A.'s most talented member (Ice Cube)? That he'll end up being a coach of the Cleveland Browns (like Eazy coached Bone Thugs-n-Harmony) before dying of AIDS?


Anyway, I've never wanted a non-Raiders team to win as badly as I want the New York Football Giants to beat the cheating-ass Mother Tuckers from New England. But they probably won't. The Pats will win, probably big. Like 38-14.

Great Season. Both of our readers will be happy to note that we're planning some big changes around here, including but maybe not limited to Sllaacs getting his own by-line (Is that what you call it on a blog?).