The Passion of the Knicks (Part 1)

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“Cause sometimes, we need to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves.”
-Jimmy Fallon in Fever Pitch

I’ve been lucky enough to see most of my favorite sports teams win a championship. I’ve also seen most of them loose.

The ’86 Mets were very special. I was only ten years old at the time, and even then, I knew the Mets were really cool. They got into fights, they did drugs, they smoked in the clubhouse before the game (Keith Hernandez), they had a pitcher called ‘Doc’. They ruled. I’ll never forget Game Six of the 1986 World Series, the infamous Bill Buckner play, with Mookie Wilsons’ routine ground ball going between his legs and under his glove.

In 1997, after years of loosing in the playoffs because they couldn’t get home field advantage, the Green Bay Packers finally won the Super Bowl. (Yeah, I’m a New Yorker that’s a Packers fan. Deal with it.) Watching Desmond Howard return two kickoffs for touchdowns was something special. Brett Farve was in all his glory. Antonion Freeman was doing the Lambeau Leap, Dorsey Levens was running the ball well, and the Rev. Reggie White was holding it down on defense.

Even teams that I casually follow, like the Devils and Rangers have won championships. However, there is one team that continues to break my heart, year after year. That team is the New York Knicks.
If you’re a Knicks fan over the age of 20, I don’t have to remind you about what I guess are the glory days of the early and mid-90’s. Don’t think I’m going to laud over those days too much. We had our share of heartache then as well. Most of that heartache can be directed towards one man: Michael Jordan.

I’m getting angry just typing his name, Michael Jordan. That bastard wearing number 23 in a Bulls uniform. If there is a franchise I hate more than any other, it is the Chicago Bulls. Sure, he is the greatest to every play the game. I cannot deny that, but I still hate the S.O.B. That rat bastard cost the Knicks so many shots at a championship. DAMN IT!!! Patrick Ewing should have a ring. Why the hell doesn’t Patrick have a ring?!? For that matter, why the hell doesn’t Charles Barkley, Sir Charles, the Round Mound of Rebound have a ring?!? I’ll tell you why… because of that punk Jordan and the damn misfits in those ugly ass red and white uniforms. Scottie Pippen with his “I wanna’ be Michael” ass. B.J. Armstrong… yeah… I’ll give you two guesses as to what B.J. stands for, who was later replaced by the Croatian Sensation Tony Kukoc, another rat bastard. Screw Luc Longley, the hell with Dennis Rodman, and straight up motherf*ck Phil Jackson. Greatest coach of all time, kiss my ASS! Give me those teams that he won championship with and I’ll get you some gold. Yeah… I’m sure it was tough to draw up a play. “Michael, draw the double team and then pitch it out to Scottie or B.J. (later Tony). The rest of you, run around and look useful.” Bastard f*ck!

So maybe it wasn’t just Jordan …but I digress.

No team has broken my heart more or caused me more pain than the New York Knicks. The worst part is, unlike Boston Red Sox fans (though they have no reason to be upset recently), I cannot blame many of the losses on mystical unseen forces. No… that would give me some solace. No. Many of the Knicks epic meltdowns are self-inflicted. Oh yes. Let’s recap, shall we?

The Bulls vs. the Knicks. That was the real championship. The Bulls would take all their home games. The Knicks would take all their home games. The Bulls always had a better record, thus home court advantage, and winning in seven games. Painful, truly painful.

It finally happened! We won Game 2 in Chicago. We took one in their house. We’ve got it. We’re going to take it this year. It’s ours. What happens? We sh(t the bed. Of course, it’s not enough to loose, the Knicks must do it in epic fashion. Game 6. (I should love the sound of the words “Game 6” as a Met fan, but when it comes up in basketball, I’m ready to kill.) Final seconds, Charles Smith is under the basket and with four shots, can’t get a layup, dunk, or draw a foul, and the Bulls win. His ass was run out of New York so fast it wasn’t even funny.

Jordan’s gone! We beat the Bulls! We’re in the finals!! Yes?!? NO!!!! Game six, Knicks with a 3-2 lead and a chance to close it out. Do we?!? No!!! John Starks has to brick shot after shot, but he still keeps getting the ball. Knicks lose. Game seven. Wait a minute?!? Am I watching Game six again?!? It sure looks like it. There’s John Starks. There’s John Starks shooting. There’s the ball bouncing off the rim, ricocheting off the backboard, missing the basket entirely… WHAT THE F*CK!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Jordan returns. His first game back, against the Pacers, we got to see something special. He’s missing shots, he’s bouncing them off the rim. He’s a mess. He’s turning the ball over. Michael’s lost something, and he’s going to play the Knicks next. Oh yes… this is going to be beautiful. What happens? He drops 55 on us. FIFTY FIVE!!! DAMN IT!!!!!

I can’t go on… it’s hurting me… more later…

Thankful, but wishing I was somewhere else.

Personal 1 Comment »

This Thanksgiving, in spite of my better judgement, I will be spending the holiday with my family.  Numerous touching comedies have been made about the subject, where varying levels of disfunction are portrayed on the big screen. By the end of the film, everyone is laughing and smiling, and though wearied, they have somehow grown closer than ever before. Perhaps a secret is let out to the family at large. Perhaps someone is afflicted with a terminal illness, and a long-standing fued is finally called to truce. Perhaps some is pregnant, and the hope of a joyous new life in the world makes everyone forget their petty squabbles.

That’s the nice thing about movies. They portray the way you want life to be, but not necessarily the way that it is. Here’s is how each of those scenarios play out in the real world.

Long held secret revealed: Entire family admonishes person for keeping a secret for so long. One of two scenes will play out. 1. Sniping and griping about keeping the secret will go on throughout dinner giving the former secret-holder and ulcer. 2. Former secret-holder will be ostracized from dinner table and forced to sit at the kiddie table or leave the house.

Terminal illness: Usually at least one family member will say, “I told you so.” Some of the following statements might be uttered. “You knew smoking was bad for you, and if you had quit years ago when I tried to tell you, you might not be in this position now.” -or- “See… I told you that cell phones cause brain cancer, but you just want to talk all day long.” -or- “This is why we should have ham at the holidays. It just causes clogged arteries all around, and it’s filled with bad cholesterol. This is why Uncle Frank will be dead by Christmas.”

Pregnancy revealed: “You’re a whore.”

I probably sound jaded. That’s because I am. I’m extraordinarily jaded. I’m jaded to the point of sharpening diamonds. Why? Becuase I’ve had to spend too many Thanksgivings watching my relatives argue, bitch, moan, whine, complain, fight, fuss, cuss, yell, shout, scream, curse, and gossip. Sadly, that’s what they usually do all the time, so Thanksgiving isn’t singled out. They are the same at any gathering including holidays, weddings, and funerals.

Don’t get me wrong. They’re not bad people. It’s just what they do.

Ironically, when it’s all said and done, no one carries a grudge for too long. I, on the other hand, am left with an ulcer.

So… in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that this damned holiday only comes once a year.

Are Pixels Necessary?

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It’s doubtful that you could find many educators that believe that most children read enough. When I used to work in education, many professor were moving away from the traditional “open your books to page x” method. They were utilizing computers and projectors in the classrooms, videos, transparencies, etc… It appeared that the emphasis was to move from text to some other visual format. In other words, from words to pictures.

Does someone really learn better with pictures instead of words? The Pro argument would probably say that since the most recent generations have been raised on television, they are more likely to respond to images instead of creating mental images through text. The Con argument would point to something like Keitai Shosetsu.

Keitai Shosetsu is a novel in a format for a cell phone. Apparently, these are hugely popular in Japan, specifically among school age children. The sentences are shorter and chapters are easier to digest, given the small screen format.

But isn’t it just a novel all over again? Sure is. So… the question might be, “Are children more attracted to the medium than to the content?” Are high school student more likely to pay attention to a page on the Internet instead of a printed page? Is the same image less impressive when printed than displayed on a monitor? Are we truly more impressed by the number of pixels or the “new” tag on the bottom right hand corner?

To-Try List

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Places to try out based on reviews from some of my favorite food sites:

Chandni Restaurant
11 West 29th Street (between Fifth Avenue and Broadway)
Reviewed by NYCnosh

Margon Restaurant
136 West 46th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)
Reviewed by NYCnosh

Foo Shing Hand Fresh Noodle Soup Shop
2 East Broadway
Chinatown New York
212-925 5425
Reviewed by Plate of the Day

Bailey’s Smokehouse
136 Erie St
E, Blauvelt, NY
(845) 398-1454
Reviewed by Off the Broiler

Liebman’s Kosher Delicatessen
552 W 235th St, Bronx, NY
(718) 548-4534
Reviewed by Off the Broiler

Havana Sandwich Queen
888 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY
(718) 292-0017
Reveiwed by Off the Broiler

Kati Roll
49 w. 39th St. (btw. 5+6th)
Reviewed by Midtown Lunch

Cut Me Someplace Exotic

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“At least you have your health.”

In the 2008 Presidential election, health care is likely to be a hot-button issue. When evaluating a job, the quality of the health-benefits package is factored into pros and cons. The biggest obstacle to some, myself included, when deciding to become self-employed is the issue of health insurance.

Forbes had a little story about going on a plastic surgery vacation. However, more people are going abroad for surgery that is not cosmetic. This trend likely does not only extend to the uninsured. I’m sure that most people can think of at least one account where a friend or a friend of a friend had a problem with an insurance company because a certain procedure, treatment, technique, hospital, or drug is not covered.

Think people are crazy to go abroad for surgery? Why? Consider how many American born doctors are earning medical degrees outside of the Unites States. Consider that the cost you may have to pay out of pocket for surgery may well exceed getting surgery done abroad twice.

Medicine may be a specialty, but is America on track to outsource health care to the rest of the world?

There are teams of doctors starting practices where insurance is not accepted. Patients must simply pay for their treatments up front. Apparently, these specialists’ skills are at such a caliber where they do not have to worry about turning away the uninsured.

Malpractice may work differently in other parts of the world. Will we begin to see doctors turn to expatriates to avoid dealing with legal hassles. Most cases are settled out of court to avoid hassles and legal fees.

Is socialized medicine the answer?

Will specialized medicine become a uniquely foreign affair?

Should you decide to go abroad for surgery, check Planet Hospital. It provides some nice details about the surgeries available, where, and how much.