Thursday, December 15, 2011

Quick Takes - Medium-to-Long Takes

Get on with it!

There have been some complaints from my faithful readers (the two of you), that my Quick Takes are no longer "quick," but have morphed, instead, into something more akin to Medium-to-Long Takes. I apologize profusely for wasting your time with extra words. We are all busy folks with much to see and do on the Internet (especially if you're my friend Steve, who has gone to corners of the Internet the Japanese couldn't even imagine), and my meandering stream-of-consciousness rants are devouring your daily consumables. It will stop today. I promise. I'm not just going to ramble on about the daily sports news anymore, wandering through my brain like, well, like Steve wanders through the Internet (if you haven't guessed, I'm referring to weird pornography). You want hard facts, you want the ADD version of the sports world, because that's what you've grown accustomed to. ESPN delivers the news in bite-sized versions: A streaming ticker with one-sentence stories running 24-hours a day, sound bites, 30-second timers on talk shows before being forced to move on to the next subject by some obnoxious buzzer. We want our news like we want our needles, quick and bloodless.

But I like blood, dammit. Whenever I get a shot (I make it sound like it happens a lot ... it really doesn't), I always watch the doctor put the needle in, I watch them push the tubes up into the suction release and I marvel at how quickly they fill up. It's cool that we can just drain our own blood and it has almost no impact on our bodies. Blood? Pshh! That's what our bodies think, and that's what I think too. Which is why I profoundly rescind my apology and will venture forth writing Quick Takes however I please! "Quick" is an arbitrary term anyway, so either you need to re-define your definition or just learn to read faster. There are a lot of books available on speed reading (although that could be a frustrating medium to choose to learn that subject). I'm sure it's a useful skill. Not in the post-apocalypse or anything, but maybe if you're trying to ... read faster.

I weigh all skills against their usefulness in the post-apocalypse, and, surprisingly, speed reading isn't high on my list.

  • I want to further refine my argument yesterday about steroids, without getting too much into detail (I have a beast of a pro-steroids article cooking and don't want to waste it on a medium-to-long take). When I say I don't care about steroids, what I'm really saying is that the arbitrary decision to exclude steroids from professional sports is hypocritical and pointless in the grand scheme. Ignoring the fact that sports stars from the dawn of sport have used enhancers to supplement their above-average talents, the way leagues and Congress (who shouldn't be involved in the first place) have decided to put steroids in the cross hairs, while all sorts of other performance enhancers are allowed and legal, is just idiotic. Tiger Woods recently said he'd used PRP (blood spinning) to overcome knee and tendon injuries in the past, where doctors remove a small amount of the patient's blood, concentrate the platelets and growth factors, and then inject them at the site of an injury to promote healing. That's legal, but steroids aren't. That's legal, but blood doping isn't, where a patient essentially incubates his blood in a higher-oxygen environment and then has them reinjected into the body just before an event to sustain longer endurance and activity. We're just throwing darts here, people, and steroids have become the easy scapegoat to try to show fans that the leagues promote physical fairness. But steroids are an external enhancement, just like the insane supplements athletes take, the energizers, the muscle-builders, etc., they're all external enhancements. I could write about this for days, so I'll just end it with this: If an adult athlete wants to take steroids to perform better at his job, and he's willing to risk his own long-term health for the short-term benefits of increased performance (and increased $$$), then I say go for it. It's already happening, and players are already taking them (and not taking them, don't forget), so just stop the ridiculous parade; stop pretending like you care about athletes' health and the messages you're sending to kids and let these already-talented, already-above-average physical specimens do what they feel is necessary to compete at the highest level. Most will choose their health, but for those who don't, let them make that choice. You're already letting them make the choice to get concussions, to damage their brains, to become obese to play certain positions in the NFL, you're already letting them make the choice to take powerful enhancements and nutritional supplements, and you're already shooting them up with cortisone, vitamins, etc. and giving them pure oxygen and chemical solutions to give them energy and sharpen their senses so they can play at their best during a game, even if they're so injured they shouldn't be able to stand. Steroids are meaningless.
  • I think I just blew my pro-steroids article on a medium-to-long take. Oh well.
  • The New Orleans Sterns have finally traded away Chris Paul. After vetoing a deal to send him to the Lakers, then vetoing another deal to send him to the Clippers, the league agreed to send him to ... the Clippers! The Sterns will receive three players and a first round pick and will give up Paul and two worse picks. So it seems like everyone makes out okay. Everyone except Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who incurred a net loss on players he can creep out.
  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd was arrested at a steakhouse in Chicago last night on federal drug charges. Hurd told a CI (confidential informant ... I know what that means because of "Dexter") that he wanted to buy "five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week for distribution in the Chicago area," according to a report by ESPN's Michael Wright, and now faces serious criminal charges. Hurd first came on the police's radar after a man was stopped with $88,000 in cash, intent on purchasing cocaine, while driving a car belonging to Hurd. The man told police that the car and money belonged to Hurd. Authorities confiscated the money, and Hurd contacted them to get the money back. He called the police to get his drug money back! Awesome! You didn't see that on "The Wire," did you?
  • There are very few rivalries in sports as fun as Blackhawks-Canucks. And things have picked up a lot of steam lately with both teams using the media to trash one another. After Chicago center Dave Boland talked shit about the creepy Sedin twins, Vancouver head coach Alain Vigenault responded: "When you have comments like Bolland's, he's obviously an individual whose IQ is probably the size of a bird seed, and he has a face that only a mother can look at." It's a great attempt at trash talk, and he does well with the Monty Python-esque kicker at the end, but, dammit, he really lost it when he compared a measurable statistic to a physical object. I know what he was trying to say, but go with, "His brain is the size of a bird seed," or, "His IQ is quite low for his age," but don't say his IQ (measurable mental statistic) is the size (physical trait) of a bird seed (physical object). Let's just chalk this one up to him being French-Canadian.
  • This, right here, is what's wrong with the NBA, from an ESPN Truehoop article on young Clippers (now Hornets) guard Eric Gordon: "[Clippers head coach] Mike Dunleavy repeatedly begged Gordon, who loves to absorb contact off the dribble, to be more expressive with referees so he could earn more trips to the line." I hope David Stern falls in a chocolate river and can't be saved for what he's done to the NBA.

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