Love & War in the Courtroom

broken justice

 

Jesus, I’m 30 now.

I’ve done a ton of bad things in my life. Mostly just for the sake of being rebellious, but according to society and the law bad things none the less. Seeing as how I’m going to be in court again soon enough, I’m not going to make anyone’s job easier by listing those things publicly in my own online journal.

Let’s just say that I wasn’t the best friend, best boyfriend, best son or best anything for that matter.

Throughout all the trials I’ve been through in this relatively short lifespan, there are only a few absolute truths that I can readily agree to if questioned. I have never intentionally hurt my friends and family members, whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally or any other kinda way. I have never sexually harassed anyone, man or woman.

Well I guess that depends on your definition of the term.

I have never raped anyone, or even thought it was funny or cool or something that might be feasible in the future. I have never condoned child molestation, statutory rape or child pornography, even if some of the people I have met in the past have pushed those boundaries to the limit. There are probably several other things I can’t think of at this very moment but I’ll skip the rest of the history lesson to get to the thing that I am probably most proud of:

I have never, ever ever, ever EVER in my life called the police on anyone I love or care about. In fact I haven’t even called the police or even tried to get in trouble anyone up to and including my worst enemies. Regardless of the situation. It just pains me to think of taking someone else’s dignity and freedom by dialing 9-1-1 at a moment’s notice, in the middle of a stressful situation when I lost my temper or something along those lines. Even given time, I have eventually come to the conclusion that very few people actually deserve to be sent to jail or sent to prison.

You do not deserve to do jail time for doing drugs.

I don’t care if you are smoking a joint with your buddies in the mall parking lot or sniffing some powdered cocaine at a house party, it’s a waste of taxpayer money, a waste of time, and ridiculous to put even the most idiotic junkie in the world in prison. There are tons of drugs floating around every single prison in the US, if not in the world, so if they want to get high badly enough they’re going to get high even while locked up. Why should the rest of the population pay for Crackhead Larry to get a GED, 3 square meals and a college education? Not to mention how the prison system turns relatively normal people into hardened criminals. If they didn’t already know how to get away with burglary and drug trafficking, I promise you they will after 2 years in the slammer.

People should not have to be in imminent danger from a guy holding a pistol to the back of their head before they are allowed to kill them or drive them off their property. If your fearful for your life because a stalker keeps harassing you or because they have just told you in person they are going to chop you up into meat buns and serve you at a restaurant, you should be able to defend yourself with deadly force if necessary.

Of course not everything has access to a gun, especially not in Paranoia, USA. It clearly states that every American citizen has the right to bear arms, I don’t think I can say it much better then that. Are there any exceptions to the rule? Absolutely, the mentally insane and those with ties to foreign terror groups should be kept away from owning dangerous tools, whether that’s a katana or a machine gun. Going back to the deadly force argument, how are you supposed to defend yourself against a guy whose twice your size, ready to hold you down against your will with one hand while putting his dick in your ass without some sort of equalizer?  Or if your a guy, how are you going to defend yourself against psychotic exes and the mugger from the public housing unit down the street with just your wits and luck?

I’m just saying.

I guess the reason I’m even thinking about this is because of my upcoming court date. I’ve talked about it several times in the past but again I can’t bore you with all the details until everything has been settled between me and my ex-fiancee. What I can tell you is that I am being accused of crimes and violations that I did not commit based on unreliable testimony without evidence from someone who can benefit from lying.

Nothing is worse then sending someone you love or care about to jail. Even if there was truth behind something as little as grabbing someone by the wrist or standing in front of their car, it still wouldn’t be right to have them arrested. It makes it that much worse when you lie to the police, who are just out there trying to be captain save-a-hoe and cannot see beyond the headline, “officer saves woman from vile attacker.”

Even if it’s complete bullshit.

I can quite literally think of dozens of other ways to get even with your ex, including blowing up their pets, getting them fired from their job, posting naked pictures of them on the internet, etc. you get the idea. I would in reality rather get stabbed or shot by her rather then have to end up facing her from opposite sides of the court room.

I wonder how many other people out there feel the same way.

When the justice system was first created way back when by our founding forefathers, or even by the British, I’m pretty sure they didn’t have in mind what we have in place today. The purpose of the law, the lawyers, judges, police and prisons that are used today, is to take revenge and damnation out of the hands of the uneducated and unreasonably violent, to back up accusations with evidence and by convincing a jury of your peeps beyond a shadow of a doubt that you and only you could have committed the crime.

You might have stumbled across this little post on Google or some other search engine and be slightly confused with what your reading (or maybe you clicked the link on my facebook/twitter page), but just imagine how many people would have it better if this current system didn’t exist.

That obscenely wealthy defendant on TV that you’ve seen or heard talked about at the office, he’s probably completely fine with things as they stand. He can afford to get off on charges of sexual assault, rape, assault, and kidnapping when he drugged and drove a woman home to his mansion. I’m sure he has little to worry about but his reputation, and certainly won’t do more than a few days behind bars while awaiting his bail to be set.

What about the woman who was raped and is now getting threatening phone calls from a prepaid cell phone about how someone is going to slash open her labia if she testifies in court? Wouldn’t it be easier for her, especially if she knows the name and face of her attacker, to just go out and buy a gun and handle it herself? The law says that’s wrong, and  would happily put her in prison for retaliating against her attacker.

How about the colored (as in Black, Asian, Latino, Eskimo, etc.) defendant from the projects who just happens to look like every other member of their race to the white officer making the arrest. If you think they are even trying to be fair 50% of the time, you are sadly mistaken. Even without evidence, if there is nothing to corroborate the officer’s testimony, if it’s just your word against theirs, your almost certainly going to be found guilty by the judge 9 times out of 10.

None of these people other than the extremely rich benefit much from the current justice system. Add in language barriers, red tape and trouble understanding the phrasing of legal terms and there is next to no chance you can defend yourself, something that happens to often without the resources to fund adequate legal representation.

Oh, there is at least one more group of people that are being currently martyred in the war against sexual assault and domestic violence against women. That would be the men who have been thrown out of their houses or arrested at work based completely on a legal system of protective/restraining/peace orders in which there is no basis of forensic evidence, no burden of proof necessary to incarcerate innocent (ok, maybe not innocent but not guilty in this case) men just trying and failing to keep their girlfriends/fiancees/wives happy.

If I knew how this would play out from the very beginning, if I knew I would end up having to sit on opposing sides of a court room from a woman I loved and cared about and had to listen to her perjure herself in an attempt to take away my life and freedom, I would probably never have gotten into a relationship with her.

She knew that I wasn’t perfect when I first met her (other than my looks and charming smile), and knew that i have skeletons in my closet so I can’t understand how she can suddenly hate me so much that she would do something so vulgar and completely incomprehensible, at least to my way of thinking.

I don’t often regret my actions, but rather than deal with this issue, if given the chance to do it over, I probably would look for another solution such as NOT dating her in the first place.Since that isn’t possible in the real world, I can’t begin to tell you how sick I feel that instead of seeing my friend support me from the bleacher seats in the back, now I’m going to have to look at her eyes filled with hatred sitting next to my enemy, the prosecutor.

Relationships will never be calm and tranquil, based on reason and logic. There will always be at least a part of it that calls for irrational emotions, passion and darker emotions like jealously, rage and hatred. It’s up to us to figure out how to deal with situations better, how to talk things out and at least attempt to understand each other without having to resort to slander and using the law for personal gain.

That’s what I think, at least for the moment.

 

Michael,

Wong_83@Hotmail.com

 

All you need to do is WIN WIN WIN no matter what! [NBA FINALS GAME 7 PREVIEW]

Champions Collide in Game 7
Champions Collide in Game 7

Champions Collide in Game 7

So we’ve come to the very end of the road for the 2013 NBA Finals. Down to one game to decide who’s the better team, the aging San Antonio Spurs led by 36 year old PF Tim Duncan and Coach Gregg Popovich or the Miami Heat led by defending MVP PF LeBron James and Coach Eric Spoelstra.

As much nail biting and anguish as I’ve gone through so far, now that I think of it, I can’t really ask for much more than this. There has been plenty of excitement, overtime games (like last night!), coming back from double digit deficits in the 4th quarter(Spurs, Heat, Warriors), Cinderella stories (Warriors, Nuggets, Chicago, Rockets), and tons of action and captivating moments from any number of NBA All-Stars. Now that everything is just about finished, we’ve got one more game left to preview.

Tomorrow night, Thursday June 20th, 2013 at around 8:30 pm EST, the Heat face the Spurs in a one game winner-take-all death match, at home in Miami, for all the marbles.

I don’t want to hear anything about who’s getting old, or who can’t make big time shots, who’s favored to win by how much, none of that matters anymore. Any team that takes another team to 7 games in the NBA Finals has played their hearts out and should be considered a great team in my book. That being said, only one team is going home with the crown.

Who’s it going to be?

-Keys to Miami Winning the Game:

1. Aggressive, intelligent, gambling, trapping, suffocating defense. This team is younger in age nearly across the board than the Spurs, who are also quite good defensively. The major difference is the athleticism and youth to be able to take shots at knocking balls loose, doubling players in the corners and still being able to get back to interior defense to force the ball back outside.

Too many times this series Miami has been forced into a react-only mode, allowing the extremely intelligent and veteran Spurs to have their pick of who to take the shot at any given moment. They will need to play stifling defense, making blocks here and there and getting offensive rebounds regardless of playing without a true center. Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen and CB3 will have to focus and bring their A game to fight for every rebound.

2. The King must show the Spurs what they get for attempting to defend him. LeBron James is not just another NBA Superstar. He is not an aging Tim Duncan or even a Tony Parker, meaning he is SUPPOSED to get 25-7-7 a game. That’s nothing out of the ordinary. With Wade being slowed by a knee injury and Bosh being well Bosh at times, the game will swing on his ability to get his teammates open looks, driving through traffic to make tough baskets with touch, and drawing fouls while doing so.

I couldn’t say it more clearly than this:

LeBron James is not Magic Johnson. His entire team plays better when he’s attacking the defense, drawing triple coverage on one side of the basket while making astute, non-lazy passes to the open shooter whether it’s Mike Miller, Ray Allen, or one of the other Big 3. If he starts off as slowly as he has over the past couple games, if he can’t be decisive and quick to allow open looks, he will have to rely on his supernatural ability to make his own shots and put the team on his back. It’s time.

Now all you have to do is win.

3. Cover those Amazing Bench Players! Not enough can be said about those Spurs shooters coming off the bench to give their aging “Big 3″ a rest and support. Danny Green and Gary Neal have been playing light’s out throughout this series. There have been times during this series when they were either open or barely covered, and they made Miami pay big time at the end of quarters, on buzzer-beating shots, on way downtown threes and desperation shots. Miami must force them to put the ball on the floor to at least give them something to think about. If they are open or even allowed to make lightly contested jump shots immediately after getting passes, this game will be much more difficult to win.

4. Play like every game might be your last. Tomorrow really will be the last game of the year for both teams win or lose, but this has been a troubling portent of disaster throughout this series, and even back into last series against the Indiana Pacers. Just because you won one game does not mean you can rest on your laurels and play the next one at a leisurely pace.

This kind of thinking led to Miami being defeated by the Dallas Mavericks in year one of the Big 3 Era. They were comforted and secure after leading the Mavericks 2 games to 1, let their foot off the gas pedal, and ended up losing 3 straight games to close out the season. The reason they managed to eliminate the Oklahoma City Thunder last year in 5 games comes down to their ability to shut out distractions, focus on what needs to be done on the court, and trust in their teammates and their own abilities without rest or break.

100% Focus.

No Twitter feeds, no Facebook messages, pokes, or likes, no charity golf tournament or youth basketball league. Not even phone calls or text messages from their girlfriends, wives and family (outside of emergency calls), were allowed, a self-imposed restriction for reasons of (DUH!), WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP!

There are no more second chances to be given, no mulligans or do-overs for whichever team loses in game 7. Miami is more than capable of taking the Spurs down big time tomorrow night, but it’s going to take everyone playing through pain and suffering for the Big 3 to successfully defend their crown.

~Michael

Wong_83@Hotmail.com

LBJ Dunks on Spurs

[PS: Ok, maybe their championship last year had a little to do with LeBron taking less 3 point shots, working on his inside game with Hakeem Olajuwon in the off season, learning to use his body to shield shots, posting up and playing fundamental “big” basketball. It just didn’t fit with where my flow of thoughts were going a little earlier, so meh, just deal with it. -Mikey]

Basketball, Drinks, Love & Hate – Mikey’s Life: June 18th, 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything since my life just hasn’t felt normal in quite a while. I’m still working at the Red Parrot, I’m still watching the Heat in the NBA Finals, I’m still taking care of Maximus Reed Wong, but other then that it seems like my life hasn’t quite moved much lately. 

Almost as if time isn’t passing as it quickly as it should be. 

Let me start off with those subjects I just talked about in further detail before we continue. 

Starting with the dog first, for those of you who are new to my blog, Maximus Reed, aka. Max, Stinky Max, The Rat, is my nearly 1 year old Rat Terrier. He’s the only dog I’ve ever seen that has a bunny tail that wags so hard that his butt wiggles back and forth when he’s excited about something. He’s happy for the most part but just like me seems to be saddened by something missing in his life. He’s gotten a lot bigger in the past several months, most likely because mom and dad have been feeding him rotisserie chicken and cheese (at just the right temperature and shredded to just the right size btw) all the time. We all try to run with him at least once a day, and i’m trying to get my mile time down to under 7. 

A man has dreams to you know? As long as I’m smoking cigarettes (yes I went back to smoking menthol cigarettes) I doubt I’m going to get it down to under 7 without really pushing myself. I really don’t want to put in to much strenuous cardio at the moment since it’s so hot and humid outside. Luckily Max doesn’t really have sweat glands so he doesn’t stink regardless of how long he runs around.

We both enjoy the time together alone.

It gives me time to think, time to remember pain, time to compose myself so that I can spend another day numbing myself and sealing my memories in a compartment. The rest of the time I choose to force myself to appear happy and unaffected, but it’s really hard when everyone around you spent every moment creating physical reminders for every single memory. Max has even had some bad dreams lately where he seems to be crying out or barking at something in his sleep. It’s fairly disturbing to see a dog running on his side while asleep, especially when his claws are up against your back. If only there was something I could do for him. I’ve tried telling him in the past that he wasn’t abandoned, that he was only a casualty of a war between his parents, an innocent bystander hit by shrapnel.

I’m not sure he understands.

As for Miami, they are currently losing to the San Antonio Spurs 3-2, and tonight is game 6, the first of two finals games at home in Miami. I’m not really worried about them tonight since they almost never lose two post season games in a row, That would set up game 7 with the championship on the line, and this is where my nerves start getting to me.

So what’s the problem Miami? 

It’s not like you don’t have the offensive firepower or the current and 4-time MVP on your team, Lebron James. There are good shooters all over the team that can hit 3-pointers (Ray Allen, Mike Miller, LBJ, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, etc.), as well as multiple big time players that can penetrate to the basket or make the mid-range jump shot as well (Chris Anderson, Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, Allen, LBJ, Wade, Bosh, etc.). So why do you look so confused when it comes times to make decisions in your half court offense, especially when your coming off a win? Did you somehow think San Antonio, with most of the star players having been a part of at least 3 of the past 4 championships, was going to just beat themselves with mistakes and give you a freebie? The saddest thing is that even with Wade’s knee injury, this team is supposed to be dominant enough to handle any championship-level team.

Instead they find themselves on the brink of elimination against a much less dangerous Spurs team, one without Tim Duncan playing at an MVP level, where Giniobli was averaging 7.5 points per game up until game 5, and Tony Parker their star point guard has been hampered by a hamstring injury. Imagine if this was the 2003 or 2005 Spurs team that swept Lebron’s Cavaliers or the younger team that massacred the Nets 4 games to 1.

If this Heat team can’t step up their game, focus and concentration for 2 games in a row, at home no less, what makes you think they could beat them when they were at their best? LeBron’s legacy is on the line tonight and on Thursday. Wade has 2 championships and a Finals MVP already next to his name. Bosh isn’t really expected to carry this team to victory. (not to mention he hasn’t had a 30 point game this entire postseason).If he wins, he’s 2 and 2 in championships and can finally exorcise the demons surrounding his postseason play versus San Antonio. If he loses he’s 1-3 all-time and his reputation will take a huge blow. This team was the favorite to the win the championship at the start of the playoffs, he will possibly never have a better chance to win another one than with this team built to win championships. 

All we can do is watch and pray.

So what else is new? 

Not much has happened at the restaurant other then building up our Arlington location, oh and we’ve started our regular/VIP customer program with GetPerka.com. I’ve come up with several new drinks over the past couple weeks, such as a Passion fruit Basil Mojito, a Sweet & Sour frozen Mango Margarita, and several Fruit-infused cold Sakes. Other then that I’ve just been putting in the hours, counting the time until I can get off and go home so I can drown myself in reading materials or watching countless animes/reading mangas. 

My grandmother is back in the hospital again, on my father’s side of the family. They live all the way across the country in Los Angeles, so for us to take an emergency trip would be super expensive at the last moment. We talked to dad’s siblings and other family members that live over there and thought maybe she would be better or at least up to waiting several more days before my entire immediate family takes a flight (and time off) across the US. It doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen now, she’s really weak and hasn’t been eating very much. As long as she continues down that path, she has only a very small possibility of ever fully recovering, so I think it’s time we made that trip. Wonderful, what else does God have in store for me?

I finally realize something that I had locked away for a long time prior to being in my past relationship. I know now why I had stopped caring, why I had treated my ex’s and girls in general like useless garbage, cheating on them and barely acknowledging their or my own feelings. It’s so much easier to stay out of the fray, to look down on people with a cool sense of superiority than to let them into your life. That way no one can hurt you. 

Nobody can tell you they love you, and that they are the only one meant for you and turn around and hurt you worse then anyone before. Nobody can look you right in the eyes and tell you they miss and care about you while secretly calling the police on you and hoping you would die or go to jail. If you can treat your dog this way, what else are you capable of? If your so worried about taking pictures of everything and loading them up on your social media sites, how can you turn off everything and not even wonder what has happened to them?

I’ve went out with several girls over the past month or so and tried to forget the past but it seems that everywhere I go there’s another picture frame hidden behind a desk, on the top of a banister or tucked in a box of forgotten memories. Whenever I focus on what I’m feeling  at the moment, I realize that I currently feel nothing but regret and pain. Wouldn’t it have been better if I had never come to this realization at all?

I think I would rather have been stabbed or shot like some of my other ex’s have done to me then for this particular outcome to happen.It’s as if all the colors of spring and summer have been bleached from my surroundings. White looks like Grey, Yellow looks like dull Orange, and black looks even darker. My hands waved in front of my face move in slow-motion and without any enthusiasm, almost as if I was walking in a nightmare but can’t wake myself up. I want to say something or do something that will restore me to full health, but I cannot even face my demons without the threat of police intervention. 

Have I ever told you how much I hate the police in my county? They are some of the most corrupt officials I’ve ever met. 

I haven’t even picked up a piece of jewelry or read a book about jewelry since I was forcefully removed from my own home. I’m not even going to go into the reasons why, suffice it to say that lies were spoken and trust was betrayed for this to occur.

I’m sure I will eventually move on and find some sort of minor happiness in my life, but I doubt I’ll ever be the same. It pains me to smile. I will never fully trust anyone ever again until I have dealt with these demons of my past, I might never even love anyone outside of my family. If this type of person could be corrupted by whatever reasons into actually hurting me intentionally, what hope is there for any normal women to be what they say they are.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of faults. I’ve lied (rarely), and been lazy, haven’t taken responsibility or been there when I was supposed too, taken care of everything a man should take care of, and yelled and made a big deal out of things when I should have been there to listen. I’ve hurt people and not been aware of their feelings before, especially those who I claimed to love. But there are certain principles and guidelines that can never be stepped across. Once you’ve done certain things, they cannot be taken back. Words are just words until the police get involved, or until someone snaps and gets physically damaged, and we’re not talking about restraining someone. We’re talking about killing someone with your bare hands, or accidentally shooting them with a gun or stabbing them with a knife. You claim that you’ve been hurt, but how much worse were your failed marriages? 

So which one is it, both cannot be true. Either she lied about her past, and made me spend much of the relationship attempting to repair things she overstated/overreacted to OR it’s true and yet somehow it’s conveniently forgotten all the times I spent planning out dates, buying cards/flowers, cooking her dinner, visiting and being humble and polite to her family, or just flat out spending my waking moments with her. 

What about love? You were barren prior to my touch. It’s just that simple. Nobody loved you or your insecurities, nobody kissed the cut on your lip or the scars on your womb. Nobody appreciated you trying to cook them burnt eggs and spam, or took you out on Valentine’s day. 

“I’ll never forget all the things you’ve done for me. I appreciate everything. I’ll show you I do.”

So where is your memory?

I never thought I’d be so gullible. Me? I was untouchable, infallible, I always had an ace up my sleeve (someone I slept with that I could use as ammo when the inevitable break-up occured). 

Maybe it’s better if I just live in fantasy land, reading and watching anime and living vicariously through the stories of others. Maybe with time I will fade away until I become nothing more than a ghost, feeding off the emotions and memories of others and gaining strength from negative emotions like jealously and hate. 

I’ve done it once, so why can’t it happen again.

 

~Mikey

Wong_83@Hotmail.com

Mikey’s State of the Union Address 5/23/2013

arms in handcuffsThe world as I know it is very different today than it has been in quite a while. Murders and mental illness are way up, the American economy is teetering on the precipice of the void known as “the Greatest Depression the world has ever seen.”

The Howard County police department continues to harass and hound my every move, like feral dogs looking for the scent of blood. Looking for the faintest whiff of my general direction and location, the tiniest scrap of raw meat or even one of my old socks fills them with ecstasy and purpose. I continue to fight the good fight against injustice and a justice system that is primarily interested in increasing state and/or federal revenue regardless of what evils might cross their path.

Never have I seen such an innocuous, seemingly lawful procedure as a peace order, otherwise known as an ex parte or restraining order, be twisted to such nefarious purposes. The original purpose and what supposedly is the main reason these documents are so readily created is to protect innocent female victims from dangerous, violent, abusive men. I cannot even begin to tell you how awful the process has become. Let me try to explain at least partially how this process is begun.

A peace order begins with the supposed victim going to the district commissioner’s office, usually located somewhere near either the local detention center or the district courthouse.

85% of all restraining orders are obtained by a female petitioner, usually against an alleged male attacker, stalker, etc. Less then 10% of all restraining orders are granted to a male victim, even in cases where there is clear evidence the woman has attacked the man, leaving claw marks, scratches, bruises, bleeding wounds and sometimes even gun shot or knife wounds.

It may seem like men are much bigger and stronger than their female counterparts, but this is an illusion. Women are calculating, devious, inventive, manipulative, and more than capable of wielding a 10 oz stainless steel blade. Regardless of all the talk about equality and how men and women are equally capable both mentally and physically, it’s time to face facts:

Nobody is going to take your side if your a man and you and a woman have been fighting, or even arguing.

My lawyer has given me strict orders not to bring up any details of the case, especially not on a public forum like my WordPress blog, Facebook or any other similar social media websites. SO I can’t really tell you everything that has happened.

Suffice it to say that I was unjustly accused of fighting with my significant other. Back to the peace order.

Evidently a man can be separated from his home of over a year, his belongings, clothes, electronics and other possessions based solely on the warped and unreasonable testimony of a hateful lover. I cannot stress to you enough how much that hurt me, way more then even I thought was possible.

When you’ve been in as many high stakes relationships as I have, complete with not so happily ever after-style breakups, you begin to guard your heart more carefully. On this particular occasion, I made a conscious decision to bare my heart, mind and soul to my significant other. I considered a number of avenues, ways to play the game so to speak, and decided that I wouldn’t play one.

I gambled against the odds that this relationship was different than all the other ones I had been in. Nothing in my long tumultuous past prepared me for the horror of having a  knife dipped in liquid nitrogen stab me through the chest, twisted, pulled out, and stabbed through yet again. I can actually feel the frost of the dagger creeping through my veins and arteries, threatening to take my humanity, morality, and soul.

A little melodramatic you might think, but by now you should have at least a semblance of how off-guard I was. No random hook-ups that I could use as ammunition in the war of words. No slutty blond trollops to comfort me in my time of great mental need. Again I had chosen to leave all of that behind, to focus on trying to be a respectable, decent, loving husband/father-type figure for her and her child.

The worst part is that deep down my conscience was telling me that one day it could all disappear, even after hearing time after time direct from her lips that she would never try to hurt me, that she loved and cared way too much to do anything so drastic.Hindsight is perfect, but I can’t honestly say that I saw it coming.

I never expected her to go from loving fiancee one week, to angry, volatile ex-girlfriend the next, to serving me a peace order several days later, to violating me repeatedly for something as trivial as that. She could have shot me in the arm or leg, stabbed me with a sword, spit in my face, put a hex on my family tree or even had a voodoo doll made for her personal perserve pleasure.

Instead she chose to send me to jail. Like some hilarious game in which she convinced an under-educated fat man in a wrinkled button up, thick black-rimmed glasses, and a piano key tie that she was in “imminent danger, and feared for her life.”

And again, no comment from the peanut gallery.

Remember that this is the same relationship where both parties, and one cute as a button little girl, previously lived under the same roof, enjoyed each other’s company and went out at least 3-4 times a week to either one of their parent’s house, the movies, dinner at a restaurant, or something else much more nefarious…

…like using a powerful telescope to see the new star he named after your cherished deceased canine family member.

That sure sounds like a fearful, destructive, oppressive, damaging, stressful, abusive relationship right? I really wish I could talk about the case right here and now, but I’m going to hold off until after all the “”criminal”” charges are taken care of.

So what could the male assailant have done to deserve the incarcerating wrath of one mildly-bitter 34-year old Chinese woman? According to her, he’s a habitual liar, he did drugs on occasion, he yelled and cussed from time to time, even at their daughter or her! He paid less then his share of bills, he spent more time chatting with female customers or friends than listening to her.

He even got really drunk once, at the very beginning of their relationship, and unknowingly blacked-out and evidently kissed one terrible, manipulative female friend. He took the female friend’s side when confronted, and on several occasions he took the side of some other friend who was out to destroy their relationship.

Obviously there are many mistakes that have been made. Far from perfect, we are talking about a guy who didn’t know the difference between romance and pornography up until a couple years ago. If given the chance to repeat his actions, usually he chooses not to change anything since all things can be considered a learning experience. He regrets not doing several things in this instance alone, but also cannot understand how the sum of his actions led to so much fury and hatred.

If he could only ask one question of her, it would be what has happened to the sweet, shy, clueless, loving and caring female he once met on a quiet winter morning, People can changer their personalities, their destiny, or their spirit but love and true care do not just disappear.

So how did things take such a turn for the worse, to create an individual who doesn’t care whether he lives or dies, wishes for him to go to hell, or at least to jail. This is the man who for over a year cooked dinner for you, took you to exciting places, held your hand in public. Who taught you to wear make up, how to dress yourself, how to cover up that tiny scar on your top lip so you would feel better about yourself. Who taught you to love yourself, and the ones around you, because that is all you have in this world.

The atrocities he must have committed for you to forget all the good he did for you. For her to refuse to see any reason, to deny him even communication with the daughter he helped raise for many months, it would take the influence of a powerful friend, or at least one with a glib and snake-like tongue. How evil someone can seem when someone trashes them and poisons your mind against them, which sadly was one of the reasons she said he had humiliated her. As in Shelby, or Jessica, or anyone else.

So on this hot, extremely humid day in May, Thursday morning I believe, many things have happened both good and bad. The Miami Heat came back with 2.2 seconds left on the clock in overtime to knock off the Pacers 103-102. The Baltimore Orioles knocked 3 dongs out of Camden Yards last night to smash the Yankees 6-3, thus winning the series against their 1st place opponents.

Most importantly of course, the Baltimore Ravens had their first OTAs today, Torrey Smith and especially Tandon Doss looked good today, catching several flashy passes and even a TD reception. So all in all, today was a good day for me.

By burying myself in work both at Arlington and at Hanover, and reading and writing every moment I get the chance, I have managed to stave off the darkness, the choking void in my heart, where I once had a small lock and key. I keep telling myself this is a nightmare, not even one of the amusing ones where you know you are still asleep, but one in which your whole world has been turned upside down, and the end isn’t even close to being in sight.

Nothing in the world has ever hurt me more then having a loved one or a close friend attempt to take away my rights and my freedom. Stark was always a good friend, one who I treasured since the first time we met, but that all changed when he chose to back up that mentally-handicapped monstrous female, Janay.

I honestly thought that would be the last time someone close to me would call the cops on me… evidently I was wrong. Now I get to see your brown eyes on the opposite side of the courtroom, glaring up at me with malevolence and hate rather than love and affection.

I cannot begin to fathom a time when I possibly could forget this pain.

~Mikey

Me, Myself and Why? Please Understand.

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Have you ever done something that made you feel so guilty your sick to your stomach? Because I have, and it’s not the kind of thing that you can make right by telling your parents. I’ve basically ruined a perfectly good relationship by forgetting what was important to me. 

I know I’ve done this dozens of times in the past, and it should be nothing new to me. I should be well aware of my shortcomings by now and realize that eventually I’m going to self destruct. Whether it’s by cheating, or getting trashed and not coming home, arguing, fighting, being selfish or forgetting important anniversaries,

I just seem to figure out a way to turn anyone and everyone who cares about me against me.

If I could turn back the clock and do things over again, I’m usually a big proponent of letting things run their due course. I really try not do anything I really would regret, because that would mean that I’m acknowledging failure. When this happens, something deep down inside gets dragged to the surface over and over again, stuff that I thought I had destroyed, aka: buried under millions of tons of trash in New York City landfill.

But this time is different. Try as I might to ignore everything I’m feeling, a drop has already hit the surface of the water and it’s too late to stop the ripples. Whatever carefully maintained illusion I was under, there is nothing in the world that hurts like a broken heart, not when you know that intrinsically, it’s nobody’s fault but your own.

I could list the mistakes I have made, just over the course of this one relationship, for the next 48 hours and I still could probably think of something to add. I refused to act as an equal partner in paying the bills and expected her to make sure everything turned out alright. I yelled and cussed, treated arguments like warfare, cared more about being right than making her happy and snarled like a wounded animal when treated ‘unfairly.’ I kissed another girl, at the very minimum, took my other friends sides, refused to quit talking to women who were just trying to destroy my happiness and my relationship.

I guess the thing I really wish I could rewind is snapping and cussing at our, her daughter. I know that really hit home, because she is always going to be first priority, regardless of how much she loves me. If I ask myself honestly what caused that pitiful fit, I can only shamefully say that I thought she needed a strong male role-model. 

Since I have never seen or been around one, all I can do is imitate what I think that looks like, even if it feels wrong and is wrong.

If only she could see how I really feel.

She’s not perfect, but she’s perfect in my eyes. She makes mistakes but so does everyone else.   They say hindsight is 20/20, and yes she may be sometimes overly emotional, jealous with self-esteem issues, but she has every right to be.

Every man who has ever been with her has given her reason to doubt herself, including myself.

There are so many things I miss about her that I don’t even know where to begin. Her smell? That smell of fresh laundry (since she always does the laundry) mixed with just a hint of her body, just enough to make my blood stir. Her smile? Her goofy, nerdy, big cat smile that every-so-often would come out just right in pictures. Her laugh would fall in somewhere with that, infectious and able to light up even the worst situations.

I don’t want to get wrapped up in cheese ball poetic feelings, mingled with guilt and a helping of regret. It’s just so hard not to explain when everything is jumbled together with little strings poking out. Just like on your sweater, if you pick at one of the strings you’ll eventually pull it out, but not before two more have surfaced.

Two more that you thought were not interconnected.

I still remember some of the conversations we had, some recently and others way back in the past, where we laughed about how eventually we would grow old. I asked if she’d still like me if I was ugly and fat and old and bald, and she looked at me confused, like what I said had made no sense.

Of course I would still like you. I would still love you.

I think I would still love her too, even if she had liver spots, and one droopy eye, her hair thinned with age and wrinkles hanging off her elbows. It’s amusing to even think about things like that, now that I know that she’s gone. There’s a sense of finality when you look at a closet full of empty hangers, hangers where once she had put all the pretty clothes you bought with her, stuff she had only worn because she wanted to make you happy.

She would have been happy with or without the clothes. She was perfectly content wearing her Kung Fu slippers, a baggy over-sized hoodie, no make up, and no jewelry. 

Maybe her life is better without you. That’s something that will take time to figure out. Maybe it would have been better if you were never involved, never able to hurt her, and never able to touch her heart. Sometimes I wrestle with the idea that the world would be a better place without me, since it seems everything I touch crumbles and turns to ash.

Just like the end of one of your cigarettes.

So what does she want you to do? Maybe work a few more hours, not hide away from the world when you get stressed. Maybe comfort her when she’s stressed, or when she remembers the mistakes you made that involve another girl. Even just not yelling at her when she brings it up, that would be an improvement on what happened in the past. It’s on you if you want to regain her trust, not her.

She can’t help seeing what could or might or did happen when you put it so blatantly in her face.

And above all else, maybe not placing your burdens on her, especially by saying things like this is your fault, or there’s nothing I can do when there’s certainly a million things you can do to make things right. If only she was worth it… which of course she is. Your just too stupid to see any rhyme or reason until things are already out of hand.

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Now if only she could see that you understand.

~M

Mikey’s Incoherent Guide to Understand the NFL Draft

The NFL Draft usually takes place every year sometime in April, and is held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Each year several hundred players identified to possibly have what it takes to benefit professional football teams. These players were identified through a combination of watching the game tape of their college career, and evaluating performances in the Senior Bowl [ located in Mobile, AL usually ], if they were one of the lucky players invited to play in the Senior Bowl.

The NFL Scouting Combine, which takes place currently in the Indianapolis Colts stadium, gives scouts, general managers, head coaches, basically entire front offices, owners and other people important in the drafting process to watch things in person that might otherwise go unnoticed.

SUPPOSEDLY, you get to see the immeasurables, things like a potential player’s charisma, football IQ, overall intelligence, the way his hips move, quickness in a small space, ability to take directions (AND ability to change directions), composure under pressure, composure when being grilled by people who know the game, blah blah you get the idea. I said supposedly because every year there’s a number of players who should never get drafted, or at least should get drafted much lower that end up going much higher based solely on how they performed at the Combine.

Let me get this straight, if a player has languished around doing absolutely nothing on the football field, eating potato chips and drinking beer, going to frat parties and being a detriment to his team, but then decides he really wants a multi-million dollar contract, he can just work out really hard for a few months with elite personal trainers, score really high at the Combine, or at his college’s Pro Day, or both, he deserves a pick in the first or second round rather than the 7th or going undrafted?

That’s a great way to find people who love football, understand it, and will provide reliable offensive or defensive output for years to come.

Despite some of the more brainless draft picks taken over the years, the NFL Draft is still the most important tool for teams to find continuity and success. There are other ways of getting decent players like buying them for exorbitant amounts of money during Free Agency, signing players from NFL Europe (I’m not sure if this is still around), signing college players who weren’t chosen through the draft, and of course there’s the NFL Supplemental Draft.

I’m not really sure how players enter the Supplemental talent pool, but I think it has something to do with players that are dismissed from their teams. Suspensions, criminal charges, taking money from crooked agents, missing a significant amount of time in college, in short, players who for whatever reason weren’t invited to take part in the traditional NFL Draft.

Even with all these other minor talent pools from which the 32 NFL teams get to choose from, the regular draft is where successful franchises are born. There are exceptions to this rule when a team gets really good in a short amount of time, but for continued success take a look around.

The Baltimore Ravens, guided by General Manager Ozzie Newsome, have arguably drafted  better than any other team in the past two decades. The New England Patriots have Bill Belichick and had GM Scott Pioli, the New York Football Giants have Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin, and the Indianapolis Colts had Bill Polian and Tony Dungy.

In the past 20 years, these 4 teams have combined for 8 Super Bowl wins and 11 appearances. Teams that don’t draft particularly well like the New York Jets under Rex Ryan, can have short-term success but eventually begin to fall apart. After two consecutive appearances in the AFC championship game, they haven’t been to the playoffs since.

Maybe it has something to do with their troubles involving Tim Tebow, Darrelle Revis’s contract dispute, continued offensive struggles, or signing Mark Sanchez to a contract extension (WTF?) but mainly it has to do with not having successful draft classes to replace losses in free agency, and retirement.

The 2013 NFL Draft is finally over, and I can finally relax now that I know that my team (the Ravens) will be able to field a defense this season. I can’t remember the last time our team (or any team) lost that many star players in a single season to free agency and retirement. I tried to tell myself that this happens all the time, but honestly I was starting to lose faith in Ozzie the Wizard.

I know, shame on me.

I felt a little better when we signed OLB Elvis Dumervil from Denver for 5 million less than former-Raven OLB Paul Kruger (HAH!). I don’t want to get into a long conversation about the free agents we signed prior to the draft (I brought this up in a previous article, see State of the Franchise: Baltimore Ravens 3/30), but I really have to say at least one thing about Rolando McClain.

WHAT THE HELL MAN! If for some reason Ozzie and John Harbaugh don’t toss you off the team prior to the regular season, count your lucky stars and don’t go back to Decatur, GA for any reason until you can get your sh*t straight! Stop getting arrested and use that passion for life to show our team, and the entire NFL, that you’re not completely worthless. You were a top-10 draft pick in Oakland, and it’s about damn time you act like it.

There I said it.

This year’s draft class was different from any other I have ever witnessed. Only one QB went in the 1st round, which is crazy since there are a LOT more than 1 teams who need a new starting QB. It wasn’t even one of the quarterbacks we thought were going to be drafted in the 1st round, it was EJ Manuel, QB from Florida State. Nothing wrong with that, except he’s probably going to be asked to step in immediately since he got picked in the 1st round.

I refuse to make fun of this pick, even though it seems a little out there, especially when there were so many other quarterbacks available at the time.

Another quarterback, Geno Smith from West Virginia, went as high as 6th overall in a number of mock drafts, but didn’t get drafted until the 2nd round, 39th overall by the New York Jets. Now this I do have a problem with since the Jets have MANY other needs. They also have 5 other quarterbacks on the roster currently (4 others now that they released Tim Tebow), Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy (former Alabama QB), David Garrard and Matt Simms (?).

Quarterback is the one position where you do NOT need that much depth.

Very quickly I’ll list some of the other things I took from watching this year’s draft.

Manti Te’o didn’t fall as far as some sports analysts feared he would, and didn’t get taken as high as I thought he would (38 overall by the Chargers). Even though Geno Smith threw a hissy fit for not getting drafted in the 1st round, at least he didn’t fall as far as USC QB Matt Barkley (4th round, 98 overall by the Eagles), or Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib (4th round, 110 overall by the Giants).

Tyrann Mathieu (aka: the Honey Badger), despite getting dismissed from LSU last year for smoking weed, managed to get drafted pretty high (3rd round, 68 overall by the Cardinals) thanks to a vote of confidence from Patrick Peterson.

DJ Hayden’s love for the game and burning determination got him drafted on the first day of the draft (1st round, 12 overall by the Raiders), even after sustaining a life-threatening tear of his IVC (inferior vena cava) 6 months ago. Most people (upwards of 95%) with this injury die before or during the surgical operation. Somehow the University of Houston corner back is back on the field, this time in the National Football League.

No running backs went in the 1st round, not Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (2nd round, 58 by the Broncos) or Alabama’s Eddie Lacy (2nd round, 61 by the Packers), South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore (4th round, 131 by the 49ers) or anyone else. Lacy and Lattimore both dropped due to injury concerns, but Montee Ball’s only fault, being used a lot in high school and college, was a double-edged sword; Some teams take that to mean he’s reliable and non injury-prone while others look at the mileage on his body due to taking an enormous amount of carries and/or hits.

Two offensive tackles got drafted 1st and 2nd overall for the first time in the draft since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Three offensive linemen were grabbed in the top 4 picks, and five in the top 10. That leaves two conclusions on the table.

Either the linemen are that much better than usual this season or the skill position players, especially QB and RB, were just that much worse than usual.

West Virginia’s Tavon Austin (1st round, 8 overall by the Rams) needs recognition as perhaps the biggest play making wide receiver in this year’s draft. No wonder Geno Smith threw for so many touchdowns. Austin is reminiscent of ex-Vikings receiver Percy Harvin, or perhaps Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson. Even though he’s only 5 ft 8 in and 180 lbs soaking wet, he should immediately step in as one of Sam Bradford’s top receiving options, as well as be able to contribute during punt/kick returns, or as a slot receiver.

At least that’s what’s expected of him.

Florida State’s EJ Manuel (1st round, 16 overall by the Bills), I mean what can I say about this pick that hasn’t already been said? Even though the Bills already swapped picks with the Rams (used to acquire Tavon Austin), many people think that he still got drafted too high.

I can’t think of a single mock draft that had him picked ahead of better known quarterbacks such as Barkley, Nassib, or Smith.

EJ obviously has talent, otherwise he wouldn’t have even been a subconscious thought during the first day of the draft. He has prototypical size and height (6 ft 5 in, 237 lbs), can make all the throws required of an NFL-ready quarterback, and solid mobility (think of Andrew Luck or Ben Roethlisberger). Not the type of mobility that makes him a threat to score with his feet every time he touches the ball like Michael Vick or Colin Kaepernick, but the ability to generate 1st downs by scrambling when necessary, or to buy time in the pocket for coverage to ease up.

His flaws are just as obvious, which is the reason he wasn’t even rated as a 1st-round prospect by most football analysts. He lacks sufficient accuracy to hit smaller windows of opportunity at the next level, he has trouble reading through a complete progression, lacks experience playing under center and/or running a pro-style offense. He forces throws into impossible blanket coverage on occasion. He is not so overwhelmingly good that he can create offense without significant help around him, very possible seeing as how he’s probably going to be starting in Buffalo’s defunct offensive system.

To put it in layman’s terms, he doesn’t have enough skill position options, or even sturdy offensive linemen to keep him from getting annihilated 3-6 times a game. I’m sure he would be much more likely to become a dependable starting quarterback if given time to adjust to the speed of pro football, even thought that’s highly unlikely now that Ryan Fitzpatrick is in Tennessee (Didn’t the Bills JUST give him a contract extension last year?).

I’ve read stories about quarterbacks taking years to develop back in the good ol’ days like Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw, Baltimore’s Johnny Unitas or Oakland’s Jim Plunkett. The shelf life of a quarterback, especially one drafted in the 1st round, has lessened to the point where sometimes a single losing season can lead to him being traded/waived/cut, along with the head coach, general manager and more depending on how desperate the owner/front office is.

Nobody is more guilty of having an itchy trigger finger than the Raiders, especially when under the ownership of the late Al Davis. He hired 8 different coaches since 1998, and only 1 coach has been able to last more than one full season since 2006.

FACT: 15 different quarterbacks have started at least 1 game in a Raiders uniform in the past decade (2003+).

Players all across the league are being given less time to situate themselves, and must spend more time learning complex playbooks than ever before. EJ Manuel and Geno Smith, along with pretty much every other draft pick in the 2013 class, are no different; They will most likely be given less than 2 full seasons to make a good impression on their coaches/bosses.

I’m only mentioning quarterbacks separately since no other position deals with as much criticism and publicity. They will always get more credit and more blame than the rest of their teammates, which puts them in an even more precarious spot.

It’s time to sink or swim, put up or shut up. Although I’m not a fan of this ideology, I understand the reasoning behind this mentality to a certain extent. Too many jobs are on the line and too much money involved for a franchise to give much more time than they are currently without something substantial to show for it.

As in wins and losses, butts in the bleachers, TV contracts and PSL season ticket sales.

Good luck to all those lucky players drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft. Here’s one piece of advice you can take to the bank:

**ADVICE**

Don’t get repeatedly arrested or get caught taking drugs or steroids. Put some money away with your financial adviser and exercise restraint when thinking about adding to your exotic car collection. They just aren’t a great investment, but in the back of your mind you already knew that.

Babymommas can get expensive rather quickly. Just think of each illegitimate kid as a few million dollars being stolen out of your bank account. Use simple math when adding up your expenses:

Contract + Bonuses + Endorsements

- Babymommas – Exotic Cars – Strip Club Expenses – Patron/Cristal/Ciroc/Dom Perignon/Moscato – Agent Fees – Rent on 4 Unnecessary Mansions – Charity Costs – TAXES

= Net Income

 

Next up will be my opinion on Baltimore’s 2013 Draft Class, including Matt Elam, Arthur Brown, Brandon Williams, etc.

 

Read my numerous other articles at: http://www.Kyarnboy.Wordpress.com

OR Email me at: Wong_83@Hotmail.Com

 

 

Return of the Honey Badger

 

Tyrann Mathieu Heisman

Better days, prior to dismissal from LSU

 

I couldn’t go anywhere last year without seeing replays of the Honey Badger plastered all over television sets.

Anytime I’m working at one of my restaurants, making drinks or talking to customers, there are TVs running nearly continuously behind my back. I am forever watching ESPN Sportscenter, the NFL channel, local sports programming, or whatever they feel like nationally televising.

And they always televised the games between LSU and Alabama.

I don’t remember all that much about the games between these two teams except they both are in the SEC conference, they both are NFL football factories, and they both play stifling, suffocating, punishing, physical defense (I distinctly remember one game where they combined to score 9 total points).

Oh and one more thing. Tyrann Mathieu, instantly recognizable from the stripe of bright blond dyed hair, aka: the Honey Badger, is a P-L-A-Y-M-A-K-E-R. With a capital P. If you love football, college or professional, then you should at least admire his awe-inspiring football instincts and ability to lay bigger, stronger, faster players out cold.

If you don’t believe me or need a refresher course, check out this highlight reel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KBPaoS6odk

Yes that really happened, and No he doesn’t have a stunt double.

If they paid college players based solely on the number of big plays they made, the Honey Badger would be a millionaire before he got to the NFL. He’s just that much better than the next player.

It’s not everyday that a consensus All-American, Heisman finalist as a defensive player and winner of the Chuck Bednarik award gets dismissed from his team. I don’t think that’s ever happened to someone as highly decorated as him.

Fast forward to August 10th, 2012, and that’s exactly what happened.

I was looking through articles on NFL.com and Bleacher Report when a little box on the right side of my screen said something about him getting dismissed from the LSU football program. I clicked on the link and for some reason my brain refused to acknowledge this as reality.

Could one of the best defensive players in the country, on a team that came this close to winning last season’s NCAA National Championship game, really be getting the boot from Les Miles team? I read every single word on that page. Still in denial. I went to the NCAA.com page, searched for Tyrann Mathieu on Google, Yahoo, random sports blogs. I desperately needed to find something that could refute this statement.

Evidently he has a problem with drugs. ‘Technically’ the Tigers team released him for unconfirmed violations of team rules but I’m assuming, along with pretty much everyone else, that he got tossed for testing positive for marijuana on his blood and urine tests.

Here’s where it gets personal. For people on the outside of this world, living in an innocence bubble, it’s just too easy to point fingers and shake your head at others for having substance abuse problems.

Even people who are in the substance abuse-rehabilitation programs are nearly as bad. Doctors, therapists, counselors, program managers, teachers, these are people who think all kids are cured the same.

Kind of like a one size fits all program, a step-by-step program to curing the want or need for whatever substance their clients are stuck on.

You take a kid who has been hanging out with the wrong people for  a very long time, listening to them, using them as role models and aspiring to become the same type of person. Sometimes there are problems at home, domestic verbal, mental, or physical abuse. Sometimes these problems are genetically linked to the parents, or grandparents, such as documented cases of familial alcoholism.

I can’t speak for him personally, but I know that I have dealt with substance abuse issues for a long time, and no program, no speeches, no campfire atmosphere filled with drug addicts and people with mental issues is going to permanently change your way of thinking in a matter of days or months.

What it really takes to change, in my opinion, is to create an outlet, somewhere you can run to and take solace whenever the stress and fear becomes overwhelming. Drugs and alcohol offer something that nothing else can compete with, a way to forget and erase bad memories and suffering.

Friends and family members can only support you by giving you a reason to continue to live, a better option.

Personally, everyone I knew and everyone I spent any time with made it seem like it was normal behavior to go out and smoke weed, drink alcohol, do drugs. It’s not even a debate about whether my actions were right or wrong, because I figured anyone outside of my circle of friends had no idea what we were going through… what I was going through personally.

Every time I wanted someone to talk to and listen to me I was given a stern lecture about how I should know better, how it could be harmful to my body and my life. Well that’s the pont isn’t it? I never thought I would live past adulthood so that point doesn’t even make a difference. When I woke up one day, having suddenly aged into my mid twenties, I was shocked and confused that my heart was still beating and my body was still in relatively good working order.

To be perfectly honest, I was actually pretty mad at myself. I couldn’t even do a good job of destroying myself. Once again I was a failure at whatever I was trying to do, even if what I was trying to do was to kill myself before I turned 21.

I’ve given casual thought to the merits of whether drowning myself in drugs and alcohol was the same as pointing a gun to my head through one ear, blowing my brains out through the other. If the end result of both is death, and the procedure or journey doesn’t matter, then there’s no difference between them.

I’m not a psychologist, and through the use of drugs/alcohol, I’ve numbed myself to the point that I don’t possess either the required intelligence or want to give myself a definitive answer.

As for the Honey Badger, I’m not as quick to criticize him for a handful of positive drug tests as many people out there are. I don’t think he was trying to derail his blossoming career in football, I just think he didn’t really know any better. Yeah I’m sure he said all the right things when the LSU football program told him that drugs were forbidden but he probably thought he could just do it in private while covering it up with detoxification drinks or masking agents.

Luckily, he and I both found a reason to continue to battle on.

It must have been quite a wake-up call when he found himself without a job, without an education, pretty much living at home, surrounded by a number of beautiful trophies that he would never have the chance to add to. If only someone who give him a chance. Someone who would take him under his wing, give him a positive male role model without asking for anything in return. There was only a slim possibility that he would ever be able to play football competitively ever again, I mean just look at what happened to Marcus Vick.

For anyone who doesn’t know who I’m talking about, Marcus Vick is the younger brother of Michael Vick, the currently on the hot seat Philadelphia Eagles starting QB. Marcus was supposedly as gifted, if not more gifted, then his brother. He played QB just like his brother, and even starred at the same school, Virginia Tech.

His career path careened off a cliff during the last game of his college career, when he stomped on an opposing player’s hand/arm with his cleats in the nationally televised Gator Bowl. Then he got into a lot of trouble, including possession and gun charges, driving on a suspended license and finally went to jail.

Sounds familiar for anyone who has dealt with substance abuse issues, doesn’t it?

Instead of getting drafted in the top 10 like most of the media thought he would, Marcus ended up as an undrafted free-agent to the Miami Dolphins. They didn’t even bring him in as a QB, despite his game tape or prodigious skill. He got signed to the team as a wide receiver, for almost no money. Not surprisingly, he didn’t make it through one season before his once promising football career was over.

In no way, shape or form is Tyrann Mathieu as bad as Marcus Vick was. He doesn’t have a string of criminal charges attached to his resume, forcing potential employers to weigh those against any potential benefit he might add to the team. He might have gone down that path too if not for several players taking time out of their busy schedules to talk to him, to act as a big brother to a troubled yet undeniably talented youth.

Arizona corner back Patrick Peterson, and famous former All-World cornerback Deion Sanders have both taken an interest in helping Tyrann find his way back to the light. For months, they have been tutoring him, talking to him, and most importantly, listening to his problems, relating to him in a way that doesn’t push him into a corner.

For all the problems he has caused, and all the people he negatively impacted by getting himself kicked off his former team, he remains one of the most exciting and interesting players I have ever seen in at least the past decade. Because he is so short (5’8″) and so small (185 lbs), and just so captivating as a character on the football field, it seems that I’m not the only one in his corner.

It’s exactly because he’s so normal in stature that I want to see him do well in the NFL.

As of yesterday or the day before, the Honey Badger was drafted in the 2nd round, 69th overall by, of all teams, the Arizona Cardinals. The same team that Patrick Peterson plays for.

The return of the Honey Badger to prime time television is good for the sport, good for us, the viewers at home, and good for him, his friends and his family. His personality and penchant for making big plays at the most opportune times will make any game he’s in more exciting.

The doors of opportunity opened slightly once again, all he has to do is not mess up and end up like Rolando McClain.

http://www.baltimoreravens.com/news/article-1/Newsome-Rolando-McClain-Still-Part-Of-Football-Team/646ecc31-8826-47fa-8331-29337b3695ab

Rolando McClain

Rolando McClain 3

Kyarnboy.Wordpress.Com

Wong_83@Hotmail.Com

 

Naruto 627 Manga – Review and Questions

It's Time to Go to WAR!

It’s Time To Go To War

After reading chapter 627, the latest chapter of the Naruto Shippuden Manga, this is all I have to say:

God damnit, why the hell do I have to wait a whole week for the continuation of this chapter?!

That’s 7 days from now at the bare minimum, and that’s if they don’t put in some ridiculous filler chapter or another long character developing back story.

I’m not kidding when I say I’m gonna spend several days typing different combinations of the words Naruto, Manga, and 628 into the Google search box in a pitiful attempt to find any website that can offer any details, or hopefully even the latest chapter.

It’s sad what trying to find this amazing manga/anime prior to 12:00 AM EST on Wednesday can do to an otherwise rational, fully grown man.

When we last left off, Orochimaru, Suigetsu, Jugo and Sasuke Uchiha were still listening to Hashirama Senju’s chapters-long character development story of Madara Uchiha and his own relationship.

After hearing everything that happened, all the sacrifices made to maintain Konoha’s continuity and relative peace, Sasuke is left speechless and confused.

When this conversation began, right after Orochimaru absorbed the Zetsu clones and used Edo Tensei to reanimate the four previous Hokage, it looked like it would once again be Clan Uchiha against the world.

Instead it turns out that Tobirama was just exercising caution, mediating and keeping an eye out for all dangerous, powerful clans that might cause the village harm, rather than just the Uchiha like I had previously thought.

Sasuke comes to the realization that everything the Hokages did, everything his brother and Shishui sacrificed, they did for the benefit all those who call the village a safe haven.

They sacrificed everything, including their lives, to save the future, aka: the children of Konoha village.

Rather then having his hand forced by the village elders, Itachi realized that everything the village stands for was placed in jeopardy when his clansmen began plotting to overthrow the democratically-elected leadership.

Most importantly, Sasuke finally reaches the mental decision that he has a responsibility to help the village endure, just like Itachi, Shishui, the 4 previous Hokages, and Kagami Uchiha all did.

**I have been saying this for a LOOOONG time, Sasuke needs to grow up and mature. His abilities including the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan he got by taking Itachi’s eyes makes him one of the most powerful shinobi in the Naruto universe, something that he has squandered and used only to settle personal vendettas so far. His family getting slaughtered is nothing out of the ordinary among the ninja villages.

Some names off the top of my head that had it just as bad as him are: Orochimaru (who never knew his parents), Kabuto (orphan), Naruto (has never seen his parents outside of alternate dimensions, genjutsu and sealed in a fuinjutsu), Kimimaro (watched his whole clan get slaughtered), Gaara (father/uncle attempted to assassinate him repeatedly, killed uncle unknowingly), pretty much every other jinchuriki, Kakashi (dad commited suicide), etc.**

Anyways, after much soul-searching involving everything he could remember about his relationship with his older brother, Sasuke finally comes to a decision.

He will not let his brother, and the Leaf, to be wasted over petty quarrels and such a small notion as revenge.

I could hardly believe that he came to this decision after one short conversation with the Hokages, where was the years of depression, rage, anger, and sadness?

Remember that only a few months ago, during and after the 5 Kage summit meeting, he had spoken to Gaara, and then Team 7, over where his destiny was headed.

He even tried to assassinate Sakura, perhaps the only person in the world that was still able to overlook his numerous crimes. Besides Naruto and his boy love of course.

Regardless of how it happened it still happened, and I’m assuming that Sasuke has given up on taking revenge against the entire Ninja world for forcing his brother to give up his career as a genius Konoha ninja, to live life as a hated missing-nin in the employment of Pain and Tobi’s brotherhood of exceptionally evil men, the Akatsuki.

Everyone currently at the Naka shrine is as shocked as I am at this turn of events, and in the case of the 4 Hokages, delighted.

Even Orochimaru, who previously led the Sand & Sound in a combined attack on Konoha, AND who actually caused the 3rd Hokage‘s death, appears to at least accept the need to go to war against Madara & Obito.

That’s pretty much it, if you don’t count a little grandstanding on the part of the Hokage’s using their Hiraishin (Flying Thunder God) technique to each stand on top of their respective stone faces.

Oh, somehow Karin escapes Konoha prison, miraculously, just in time to kick an escaping Suigetsu in the face.

How this happens is a complete mystery to me since she is technically a prisoner of war, under the care of numerous high ranking Leaf ninjas.

Not to mention the fact that the village was previously wiped out by the Ten Tail’s massive tailed beast ball, something that had taken out the allied shinobi forces headquarters, killed countless other ninjas but somehow left one not very strong female ninja alive.

I don’t know.

She immediately tackles Sasuke in a loving embrace, to his very obvious discomfort.

I would feel awkward and uncomfortable as well if I had previously shot the girl through the chest with a Chidori spike, just like Sasuke did.

Oh well.

Other then that seemingly meaningless comic relief moment, this is huge news for Naruto fans around the world.

Sasuke, Orochimaru, the 4 Hokages, and to a lesser extent, Suigetsu, Jugo and Karin are going to war!

As previously stated, I can’t wait for the next chapter to come out.

Hopefully Naruto doesn’t take a week off unexpectedly.

The 4 Hokages 02

~Kyarnboy

Wong_83@Hotmail.com

Britney Griner and the WNBA vs. the World

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Whether Britney Griner can play in the NBA successfully is NOT really the point.

In several interviews and statements since Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks (among other things), supposedly offered her a chance to play for his NBA team this upcoming season, the All-World Baylor basketball player has stated her willingness to bang inside against the boys.

Ahem. I should say men. Big, powerful men.

There are so many things wrong with this situation, I don’t even know where to begin.

Cuban doesn’t really WANT her to start for his team next season, and even if he were to use a 1st rounder on her (which he won’t), there is a 0 percent chance that she would get her way like she has her entire collegiate career so far. It’s not hard to see that Cuban is just looking for a PR boost, strutting his peacock feathers in front of the national spotlight.

I mean it’s not like it’s out of character, but it’s still pretty low, even for him.

Nor am I saying that Griner should straight-faced refuse the invitation to play in the best basketball arena in the world. I just don’t see this as the giant all-things-equal opportunity that opens the floodgates for women to play in the NBA.

She’s just not in a position to make a move that warrants a high draft pick, which is just another way of saying she’s going to be successful at her given position. I just don’t see her being able to post up any of the dominate bigs in the league, whether it’s Roy Hibbert, Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, or even Tyler Hansbrough.

On second thought maybe she could post up Hansbrough.

This job offer is like the ball of hard candy at your grandparents house, all sticky and covered in dust and lint from years of sitting in a fancy glass serving dish in the sun. Nobody is ever going to eat any, that’s a given. But when your grandma asks whether you’d like a sweet for being such an amazing grandchild, it’s only polite for you to grit your teeth, stifle a shudder, and pretend like you are touched to the bottom of your heart for the offer.

And quickly sneak out the backdoor as soon as humanly possible.

Ms. Griner is a great basketball player, perhaps even one of the all-time best women’s basketball players in NCAA history. With her height and athleticism, I’m sure she could at least compete for a starting job in the NBA. If not for Dallas, then one of the other struggling cubs like New Orleans or Charlotte.

It’s not like she can play worse than Anthony Davis (so far), or Greg Oden, or the guy who filled in for Kevin Love when he was out with a broken hand. Oh, and JaVale McGee prior to  the Denver trade.

Facts are facts. If someone is going to break the stigma of a female playing in the regular NBA, it’s not going to be the biggest, tallest or strongest woman to ever play college ball. The musculature, the weight difference, the physicality of the men’s game, these are things that are real challenges that the average female player is not going to be able to overcome through sheer strength or speed.

Luckily there are many other ways to succeed in the NBA.

Does anyone really think that Griner is going to challenge LeBron James for an entire game, keeping him out of the paint, pushing him around, blocking his step back jump shot.

How about Kevin Durant’s sweet stroke from 3-point land, is her length going to keep him from jumping 3 feet in the air and knocking down shots in her face?

These are just average situations that would challenge her on a daily basis, things she would have to be able to handle if she’s going to continue to play the Center/Power Forward position.

This is what I think.If women are ever going to really challenge for spots on an NBA roster, it’s going to take quickness, agility, speed, ballhandling skills and an extremely high basketball IQ. Women like Maya Moore, around 6 ft and 175 lbs, could arguably be more than a match for many of the smaller point guards that continue to thrive in modern men’s basketball.

(Just in case you’ve never heard of her, Moore is at LEAST as heralded and decorated as Griner hopes to be. She’s won a championship with nearly every team she’s ever played for, at UConn, in Euroleague, in China, with the WNBA Lynx, in high school, and of course in the Olympics last year.)

For example, Heat PG Mike Bibby is 6 ft 2 in and close to 190 lbs. That hasn’t stopped him from being efficient and effective against much larger and more imposing competition. Mugsy Bogues (did I mention he’s a Baltimore native? I just had to point that out.) was only 5 ft 3 in, 141 lbs and yet managed to become a star while playing 16 seasons in the NBA. Oh, and he blocked shots and stole balls routinely, contrary to what logic dictates.

Steve Nash (6’3″ 178 lbs), Chris Paul (6’0″ 175 lbs), the list of NBA players not 7 ft or 250 lbs goes on and on. As big and dominating as Griner is at the highest level of collegiate women’s basketball, she would be sidelined as only another “big” in a game filled with men of equal or larger stature.

My point is that size and strength isn’t the only way men, or women for that matter, can find a niche position in the NBA. Even a bench player such as Mike Miller or even Ray Allen at this point in his career can be of great benefit to his team, and still make an annual salary that far exceeds that of the average doctor, lawyer or successful stockbroker.

If you’ve ever stopped to watch D-I or professional women’s basketball, there are certain truths that can be gleaned by even the most casual of fans.

1. Highlight reel dunks are going to be a rarity rather than a given during the course of an entire game. (Unless your Britney Griner.)

2. Strategy actually plays an important part of every single regular season game, on offense and defense. Oftentimes an exceptional specimen such as the human dunk machine, Clippers F Blake Griffin, can take over an entire game by himself. There’s not much strategy or teamwork necessary to keep Lob City churning along. That’s not opinion, that’s just the plain, naked truth.

Women on the whole cannot use their overwhelming athleticism to completely bypass the opponents gameplan, and thus require a higher average basketball IQ to compete on a regular basis.

If their bodies could hold up over the course of a brutal 82 game regular season, I don’t see why they couldn’t be an asset at the guard position. We’re not talking about muscling out defenders in the paint or fighting for offensive rebounds here.

If women can accurately pass the ball to teammates while being able to cut around defenders to the basket with fine dribbling skills, who says it’s impossible for there to be a female NBA world champion? A female all-star point guard.

3. I know this isn’t exactly on topic but there’s something about the way women shoot from behind the arc that just looks a little awkward.

Don’t tell me you don’t notice when there’s an audible grunt and what looks like a ton of effort to make the ball travel an extra 5 to 10 feet to the basket. I mean is it really that much more difficult?

And it’s not just the effort that makes it look odd, it’s also the trajectory that seems to be much higher than in the men’s game. Hasn’t anyone told them that the higher the shooting angle, the more distance the ball has to travel before it gets to the basket?

In no way am I saying that women are less accurate than their male counterparts. I just think they make it look more difficult than it really is. I also realize that the game of basketball doesn’t come to how your shot looks but it’s not like they shoot like that from anywhere else on the court.

State of the Franchise: Baltimore Ravens 3/30/13

A few quick updates on our beloved Super Bowl XLVII Champion Baltimore Ravens.

Things are not NEARLY as bad as everyone thought only a few short weeks ago. The sky is not falling, the Ravens are rebuilding but not in bad shape at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the biggest fan of the Boldin to San Francisco trade (more on this later), nor the release of Bernard Pollard or Ed Reed. I just realize that there will always be turnover each year, just like the NFL analysts and the radio show hosts are saying. Get with the program, our team will still compete for the AFC North crown with Pittsburgh and *cough* Cincinnati. So relax.

1. Furthermore, I have to say I like many of the free-agent signings so far this offseason. Michael Huff, the versatile former 1st-round draft pick out of Texas, has a ton of potential and can be very good in Baltimore. He’s far from a lock Hall of Famer like Ed Reed is but at this point in their respective careers, I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’s going to play a lot better than he did in Oakland. He might even make the Pro Bowl if our defensive line can generate any pass rush this year.

2. Chris Canty is another big acquisition this offseason. I seem to remember him being a pretty big deal a few years back when he got traded from Dallas to New York. I think that was 2009 or 2010. Either way, he’s definitely a good defensive lineman, better in run-support than pass-rush, and I’m pretty sure he’s got at least a few more good years in the tank. If you don’t really understand what kind of player he was previously, only 3-4 years ago he was worth $42 million to the Giants. He JUST turned 30. Unlike wide receiver or cornerback or ESPECIALLY running back, the big uglies in the middle of the field don’t suddenly go bad, they often play into their mid or even late 30s.

3. F*#k Paul Kruger. He can go eat a bag of baby dicks in Cleveland. For all of you who thought he was such a huge loss this offseason, I promise you never even heard of him until really the beginning of this season. He was a huge bust for like 3 years of his rookie contract coming out of Utah. So either he was lazy as shit and just underwhelmed with his play for several years or was too stupid and just took that long to figure out our defense. Either way he’s the Browns problem now. Here, let me make it real simple for you:

Paul Kruger is 27 years old. In 4 seasons he has a total of 15.5 sacks regular season, 6.0 sacks postseason. Since 9.0 regular season and 4 postseason sacks all happened this season, he only had 6.5 and 2.0 through 3 whole seasons. Combine that with how bad he truly is in run-support and you can see why I’m not really all that stressed over losing him. He’s costing Cleveland $40 million dollars/5 years!

“One year of decent pass rush does not a star defensive end make.”

Elvis Dumervil is 29 years old. in 7 seasons he has 63.5 sacks regular season, 1.5 sacks postseason. 5 out of 7 seasons he’s had at LEAST 8.5 sacks, including 17 in just 2019!!! Look up the definition of reliable pass-rushing defensive end and there’s a picture of Dumervil next to it. Nobody in the league short of Jared Allen, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware or Terrell Suggs gets to the QB as often as he does. Guess how much we got him for? $26 million base or $35 million max, contributing only $2.5 million towards this years salary cap.

Who would you take, Kruger for 40 mill over 5 years or Dumervil for 35 mill over 5 years. Enough said.

4. Let’s talk about Anquan Boldin for a minute. This is the guy who dominated the Super Bowl this season, the guy who caught 6 TDs this postseason. Boldin is a large, powerful possession-type receiver who is hard to tackle and even harder to bring down. That kind of receiver can be quite effective in the NFL for a long time, especially when he’s comfortable in an offensive system with a good Quarterback. So WHY the F#$K did we give him to San Francisco for peanuts?!?! Answer me that!!

Ok, now that I’ve calmed down, slightly, let me explain. Keep in mind that I might not have access to all relevant information involving Boldin’s contract, cap numbers or terms of the trade. This is what I think:

Boldin would have costed Baltimore around $6 million dollars this season, which would mean 6 million towards our salary cap number. Because he would be an unrestricted free-agent if we refused to pay this number, Ozzie/Harbaugh/Whoever decided to offer him up to San Francisco in return for a) not having to pay him $6 million dollars and b) because we would receive a 6th round draft pick in return. Seriously think about that for a second.

There is nothing wrong with a 6th or even 7th rounder, plenty of decent NFL starters are drafted in the later rounds. At the time Baltimore had next to no salary cap room, and that’s why we gave him away for chump change. The thing is, we’re not talking about Bobbie Williams here or even David Reed, the receiver we did end up resigning, albeit for a lot less money ($2.5 million). This is arguably the best receiver on the team when you consider just how valuable he was during the playoffs if nothing else. Instead of getting all antsy and dumping him for whatever we could get for him at the time, I would have done things way differently.

Instead of accepting that trade offer, a better strategy involves paying him the 6 million we owed him this season, and then initiating trade talks with any number of teams. I’m sure there are plenty of teams who would be willing to give us more than a 6th rounder. Since any team that traded for him would essentially be picking up his tab, the $6 mill that we couldn’t afford to pay him wouldn’t have been a problem anyways. Or we could have just kept him, especially since we made so many other moves to free up cap space later anyways.

5. Quickly running through the projected starting lineup. This is how I see things in terms of positional value at this very moment. I’m sure things will fluctuate all the way up until opening day, so in no way is this issue settled:

Quarterbacks: A+ Starting QB Joe Flacco is coming off his best season ever, culminating with a world championship for the team and a Super Bowl MVP award for himself. You couldn’t ask for much more from your QB. Back-up QB Tyrod Taylor is, well, Tyrod Taylor. He’s not great at anything in particular, except for scrambling around during the preseason. It’s not like we ever use him anyways, knock on wood.

Running Backs: A+ Ray Rice is still one of the premier backs in the league, regardless of a minor case of fumblitis during the playoffs. He should still have a few good years left in the tank, especially since his back-up Bernard Pierce is looking like a capable starter himself. Hopefully both will stay healthy and be a steadying veteran influence on the many new players joining the team this offseason. There are several other young backs on the team, such as Bobby Rainey, trying to make the team but they are trying to make the final roster. There’s always hope that one of them can help the team, maybe. FB Vonta Leach is still on the team too. He is a gigantic part of our running game and continues to play at a Pro Bowl-level, despite the NFL’s numerous attempts to eradicate the position.

Wide Receivers: C+ Torrey Smith will be the primary option now that Boldin is playing for San Francisco. He has become an exceptional player over the past couple years, bringing elite speed and above average route running to the table. Jacoby Jones will help him stretch the field, using his speed and quickness for other things besides Dancing with the Stars. David Reed was re-signed during the off-season and will compete for playing time w/ Tandon Doss, LaQuan Williams, Tommy Streeter and several other players that have thus far failed to make an impact. Luckily we’ve got over a dozen draft picks AND we’re solid at the tight end position.

Tight Ends: B+ Both of our impact tight ends, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, are restricted free agents this season. We’ll get Dickson back since he already signed his tender but Pitta is still up in the air for the moment. Tight ends that can take advantage of mismatches are in high demand, especially those with a history of making big plays in the postseason like him. If we somehow escape free agency with both, the Ravens will be in pretty decent shape in terms of receiving options. If all else fails, we still have uh… Billy Bajema, Alex Silvestro, and Steve Watson? :P

Offensive Line: B For some reason, Michael Oher is still with the team. Ever since the Blind Side came out, he has been one of the most overrated players in the league. He will NEVER be the franchise left tackle the Ravens thought we would be when they drafted him out of Mississippi, contrary to what Hollywood says. Having said that, I am still overwhelmingly impressed with how the O-line blocked during the playoffs. They should staple Oher to the ground at right tackle. Bryant McKinnie, the incredible bulk, looked like a new man after being benched and embarrassed during the regular season. Marshal Yanda continues to play at a Pro Bowl-level, while Kelechi Osemele will be even better with a year (and a Super Bowl ring) under his belt. Gradkowski is in for some “Welcome to the NFL”-moments this year at Center, while everyone else will battle for playing time while continuing to provide depth. If you asked me this question before the playoffs, I would have given a very different answer. As it stands though, I’m actually ok with this group of relatively young men.

PS: KEEP MICHAEL OHER @ RIGHT TACKLE. Or cut him, whichever.

Defensive Line: B- Star Defensive Tackle Haloti Ngata should move back in the middle, surrounded by Chris Canty, Arthur Jones, Marcus Spears, Pernell McPhee, etc. That doesn’t sound TOO bad. I’m obviously not 100% sure about how good this group will be since games are won on the field, not on paper. Canty and Spears are new acquisitions and will need time to get comfortable. They might not be accustomed to playing Baltimore defense, which is more aggressive, and more physical than anywhere outside of the AFC North. Players need time to play instinctively, or as a team. The primary objective of this group will mostly be to take on blockers and stop the run so that our linebackers can flow to the ball.

Linebackers: A- Speaking of which, our star linebackers appear to be all set to make plays all over the field. Close your eyes and imagine a back to 100% Terrell Suggs on one side, elite pass rusher Elvis Dumervil on the other side, with Courtney Upshaw, Jameel McClain, and Albert McClellan rotating in the middle. Even before adding anyone else through free agency or the draft, our linebackers look pretty solid. There’s plenty of potential fireworks in this group, as long as they can figure out how to work together. We still have to find Ray Lewis’s heir apparent but with 12+ draft picks already, it won’t be as difficult as many people think. We don’t need a Hall of Fame-caliber middle linebacker, at least not at the moment, we just need someone who can get the job done for now.

Cornerbacks/Safeties: C+ Did anyone see Jimmy Smith during the Super Bowl? The former 1st round pick out of Colorado made two of the biggest plays of the game, solidifying the Ravens trust & faith in his abilities. If you don’t know which two plays I’m talking about, go watch the 4th quarter, you’ll figure it out. Jimmy-boy still has a long way before I will consider him a dependable starter on Baltimore’s defense but luckily he won’t have to do everything by himself. Cary Williams is long gone, having taken a job in Philly to the tune of $17 million over 3 years. Lardarius Webb (aka: Webbie) is on schedule to make it to training camp. When he’s healthy he’s a Pro Bowl-caliber player, which will take some of the pressure off losing Williams, Ed Reed AND Bernard Pollard. Corey Graham is coming back too, and he played well enough to warrant a starting gig last season. Hopefully between free agency and the upcoming draft, we’ll find some upgrades for the defensive backfield.

Special Teams: A+ This is the best Special Teams group in the entire country. Period. There might have been games where the Ravens gave up some big plays or missed a field goal, but that happens to every team. Both of our kickers, punter Sam Koch and kicker Justin Tucker, are as good and confident as they get. Koch already has a few Pro Bowls under his belt, while Tucker will get his share if he continues to play like he did last season (He got ROBBED by Phil Dawson BTW). Jacoby Jones was the best kick returner in the NFL last year, even over the usual suspects like Devin Hester or Josh Cribbs. Baltimore’s coverage unit continues to be led by Pro Bowl Special Teams-Ace Brendan Ayanbadejo.

To put that in perspective, Pro Bowl-caliber Punter, Pro Bowl-caliber Kicker (check his stats! honestly!), Pro Bowl-caliber kick returner, AND Pro Bowl-caliber coverage gunner. You can’t really beat that, but I dare you to try.

That’s pretty much all I got for today. Feel free to voice your agreements and complaints alike, it’s not like I honestly care what anyone thinks about my beloved Ravens anyways but I’d love to hear what everyone has to say. Opinions are like chocolate cake, they can go fudge themselves. I’m just kidding, I must be tired or something.

~Michael

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Contact me @ Wong_83@Hotmail.com OR message me @ Kyarnboy.Wordpress.com

Tricare’s Lies, Greed, Autism Awareness and You

Autistic ChildrenI’ve been told several times to not bring this subject up, as if speaking out against a major corporation is hazardous to my health. Maybe it is, but I’ve never been the type of person to back down from a fight. Not a fight in which I might be at fault, such as when I was a teenager, and certainly not when I know I’m right. I’m pretty sure I’m in the right this time around, but why don’t you be the judge after hearing what I have to say.

I’ve posted at least one personal, highly opinionated article on the subject of TRICARE (The Bloated Conglomerate Insurance Company responsible for nearly everyone working in, for, and with the US Military)  in the past, and received a tremendous amount of support in response from my blog followers, several writers and even a couple of reporters. This far exceeded my wildest expectations. More importantly, it seems like TRICARE itself noticed.

At least for a few weeks.

To refresh your memory, here is a general summary of what my problem with TRICARE was and still is about. My fiancée, who I hope to marry sometime this year, has worked as a developmental disabilities teacher for about a decade. She has battled against overwhelming odds to help children with Autism and other learning disorders become self-sufficient, capable individuals. TRICARE makes it out to seem like it’s doing everything it can to help those responsible for giving these kids a better life, but in reality is doing everything it POSSIBLY can to deny those hopes and dreams. Here’s why.

If you want the 1% of children age 3-17 in the United States, or somewhere between 1 and 1.5 million people, to live a complete and reasonably satisfying life, you definitely don’t sneak around behind the backs of the extremely specialized workforce involved in the ABA process (That’s short for Applied Behavior Analysis), cutting funding here and there, refusing to pay for treatment, and otherwise making earning a living near-impossible for them. That’s just plain fucked up and wrong, especially when you claim to do the opposite.

Many people don’t know this but many of these ABA therapists are being run out of the business in recent years. This when many high-ranking officials in the military and/or just in general are working hand in hand with numerous charities and benefits to raise money to increase “Autism Awareness.” I can only speak from personal experience but the friends and family members of everyone I’ve talked to who work in the field can all vouch for one thing:

TRICARE is refusing payment for ABA therapy, for whatever reason.

Currently, TRICARE owes my fiancée several months of payment. The case manager, some fat, lazy PoS bitch named LaTrice (spelling? I’m not sure) has repeatedly messed up some authorization letters (putting in the wrong authorization dates, delay in putting out the authorization letter, putting in the wrong CPT code) and since there is really nobody above her, she can basically tell our family to kick rocks. There is nobody making sure those intentional “mistakes” were not reoccuring and no one is making sure that Tricare pays us anything, and because of this we have went several weeks at a time without ANY paycheck at all. Oh, and then when a paycheck finally does come in the mail, it’s for some random piddling amount, as if $300 is going to make everything alright when just our rent and utilities come out to $2000!? Pretty frustrating for anyone, don’t you think?

So after calling different departments over at TRICARE repeatedly for many months, we finally get an answer. According to some corporate PR representative, “Changes have been made, effective a long f_ _ king time ago.” I say this with the utmost snarling sarcasm. BTW, this is without any statement in the mail, or phone call letting us know what changes or when. No emails, effective immediately. According to my fiancée, there has been a change in CPT codes accepted so all of her previous claims are denied. Months of claims have to be resubmitted with another CPT code. It’s just TriCare’s tactic to refuse and/or delay payments to the therapists. Also, BCaBAs (bachelor degree board certified therapists) aren’t even getting paid, PERIOD! However, BCBAs (Master’s level board certified therapists) have not been cut yet. Why would BCaBAs been cut from the program if they are board certified? We can understand that non board certified therapists are not covered. For those like her who have worked their tails off to do something they think will make the world even a little better, people who put all their eggs in the therapy basket, there is nothing we can do but hope and wait that maybe with a ton of prayer, the insurance company might gift her with a paycheck this week.

But enough about the past. Let’s talk about the future of Autism Awareness.

Does anyone feel like the men and women who fight for our country, both at home and abroad, deserve for their disabled children to have treatment denied just because TRICARE is dealing with a lawsuit worth several billion dollars and now just doesn’t feel like it? It’s not our fault that you didn’t take better care of personal information.  It may seem like not a big deal to you, but for us normal Americans with normal jobs, waiting for $10,000 in claims to get paid out can mean the difference between being able to take care of our child and struggling to not max out our credit cards in the meanwhile.

This is where I formally put in a request for help. Neither of us has the time or experience to settle things with TRICARE through filing a lawsuit. We’ve tried calling and emailing any number of officials and corporate employees and it doesn’t seem like anything is getting through. The thing that infuriates me the most, however, is their public stance on therapy:

http://tricare.mil/CoveredServices/BenefitUpdates/Archives/AutismDemo.aspx

Just by reading that, it would seem like everything is hunky dory over here, when in reality nothing could be farther from the truth. How can you claim your furthering the cause of Autism Awareness, or any other learning disability research when even the insurance company of our armed forces is directly and indirectly responsible for numerous “paraprofessionals” exiting the industry? I’ll give you an example so you can better understand the hypocrisy:

The NBA is responsible for paying professional basketball players. If all of a sudden they refused to pay their players, most of them would be forced to quit and do something else for a living instead. When players can no longer make a living by playing basketball, people who would otherwise be learning to play basketball as a child or a teenager with dreams of going pro will decide to go into some other field, perhaps playing football in the NFL or hockey in the NHL.

This is EXACTLY what TRICARE is doing to the highly specialized field of ABA therapy. Nobody is going to get into a field where their star players (board-certified therapists) are treated badly. Would you want to play in the NBA if you couldn’t even pay your rent or put food on the table? Definitely not. The same kids who could grow up to find the cure for Autism, Asperger Syndrome, or Dyslexia if given the right motivation will almost certainly find something else to do that will pay the bills. Hopefully you understand my long-winded example.

If only there was somebody who could understand the gravitas of my situation, like say, Joe Mantegna, aka. Agent Rossi.

I know there is a high probability that someone as important as Mr. Mantegna will never see this article. Even if he were to see this little rant, or if someone mentioned it to him, I have little hope that he would ever respond. Regardless, if he ever were to read this or give me the chance to explain my situation to him, this is what I would say:

“Dear Mr. Mantegna,

I’m a big fan of your character on Criminal Minds, relative and important to me since it might be the only show my mom and I watch at the same time. The other day while I was partially watching an episode while at the same time reading a magazine, I heard your voice and thought it sounded almost like the funny cartoon mob boss on the Simpsons. Anyways, I saw one of your commercials the other day. This one:

At the beginning of your commercial, you say something compelling and instantly relatable. “In order to reach their full potential, children with special needs such as Down’s Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and other developmental disabilities need love, attention, and an education.. just like everyone else.” This sentence stood out to me since I’m currently struggling to understand why my fiancée continues to help military children. I’ve personally seen the good that ABA can do, but don’t know how we can continue if we don’t figure out a way to deal with TRICARE. If the teachers, researchers, therapists, and other educators don’t get paid, pretty soon they will leave the field. Hopefully someone like yourself could raise awareness to the situation, before it becomes untenable. It would be a shame if she could no longer do what she loves to do, working with special needs children, purely for financial reasons. I know that you have a personal interest in the Autism Awareness campaign and hope that you met plenty of wonderful teachers who helped your daughter Mia.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to my self-righteous speech. I know it only affects me indirectly, but I’d like to think I’m the type of person who can use my writing skills to help others. Even if my perspective’s colored, I feel like something needs to be said and/or done to help all the BCBAs and BCABAs affected.”

I gladly await all responses, especially one in particular.

~Michael

reach me at Wong_83@Hotmail.com OR leave a comment at Kyarnboy.Wordpress.com 

Naruto Chapter 625 Update: Comments & Insights

 

final valley - uchiha senju

Madara: I can’t trust you unless you kill your brother or yourself. Why does your brother have white hair anyways? Isn’t he like 13?

Tobirama: FUCK YOU! 

Hashirama: Uhhh…what do you mean? We were at, like, at WAR?? DUH! Get over yourself. And his hair is white because of extreme levels of stress. Also, he’s so very wise. I dunno.

Madara: You have to kill me now or I’ll get you back. Eventually. You know I can do it too, what with my ETERNAL MANGEKYO SHARINGAN! (But somehow can’t manage to skip rocks at the age of 10+, something even non-ninja kids can do around 7-8 years old)

Hashirama: What happened to the peace we both talked about as kids? Don’t you still want that? Can’t you see that this would be best for both of our clans, and for the Ninja world as a whole? Can you please not act like a little bitch???

Madara: Whine, Whine, Whine!! *STOMPS IMPOTENTLY, KICKS DIRT* Like, WHATEVER! Even though we were at war when you killed my brother Izuna, I still can’t accept it, life has no meaning now. Even if the entire world is destroyed because of our petty squabbling.

Hashirama: If you had killed my brother instead, I would still want to make peace. Besides, didn’t you have a bunch of other brothers who were killed before Izuna got killed? Why didn’t you go crazy and act like this after they died?

Madara: I DON’T CARE! Just you wait, you better kill me or I’m going to figure out a way to become immortal, steal your DNA, and come back as an Edo Tensei Zombie with the powers of both Uchiha and Senju!!!

Hashirama: …FML.

Kishimoto has been writing a whole bunch of filler for the past month or so, ever since Sasuke restored Orochimaru to nearly full strength and somehow bypassed years upon years of storyline in a few brief chapters. Even so, the building up of these pivotal characters (Hashirama, Tobirama, Madara, Izuna and their families, Uchiha & Senju) continues to add depth and development, something that sets this anime apart from it’s contemporaries. The latest chapters have more than a little fan speculation (what if _____ happens?), satisfying many of my brethren by giving them the thing that they desperately wanted; a revival of the four great Hokage.

In my limited wisdom, I’m not sure if this would have happened naturally during the course of the writer’s storyline, or if it happened just to appease fans who were unhappy with the way things turned out. For me personally, it seems to have cleared up a few things, while at the same time leaving me with a bunch of new questions.

Here’s a short list for you guys to run through. Feel free to respond and let me know if you happen to have ideas, suggestions, or any reasonable (or ridiculous) answers.

Izuna Coffin

1. Why is Izuna’s death the moment where everything changes for Madara, his morals, view of the world, reasoning and partial insanity, etc. I know he supposedly loves his brother more than life itself, but doesn’t he have (or had) a number of other siblings? He mentions it briefly as a single sad comment during one of Hashirama/Madara’s first encounters, but doesn’t continue or give us any other reasons to believe that this should have caused everything they  had discussed to be tossed out the window. No peace treaty, no cease-fire, no deal. For a snarky explaination of my beliefs, refer to the dialogue in italics at the beginning of this article.

Orochimaru Resurrected

2. Why is Orochimaru suddenly even more powerful than during his fight against the 3rd Hokage? The vast majority of his power, aka: his “soul,” was absorbed during the mental/genjutsu battle w/ Sasuke. That part of his soul was not sealed by the Death Reaper’s Seal, like all the Hokage’s souls + his ninjutsu were. That portion was sealed by Itachi‘s Susanoo wielding the Sword of Totsuka. Even when it later showed a tiny white snake slithering away from the Sasuke/Itachi battle, Amateratsu then touches the snake, destroying it. He somehow absorbs the Senjutsu energy Kabuto Yakushi gets from training at the Ryuchi Cave with the White Snake Sage. From the events of the “Chikara” series, Kabuto/Orochi’s Edo Tensei gets significantly stronger. That being said, at minimum, his artifact, the Kusanagi Sword, should be sealed, along with his Giant Hydra technique, and most of his chakra reserves.

Another thing that’s been bothering me is when Orochi tells Sasuke he’s been watching things unfold from inside Anko Mitarashi’s curse seal. Somehow his consciousness, as well as potentially a completely new Orochimaru, is aware of everything that has happened recently, way too convenient in my opinion. First off, does this mean Anko’s curse seal was somehow special and/or different from all the others in the world of Naruto? Could the Sound Four, or any of the countless test subjects in Orochi’s secret laboratories use their curse marks to bring back a conscious and dangerous Orochimaru? When Sasuke added Karin, Jugo and Suigetsu Hozuki to Hebi, he had to fight through numerous nameless cronies, each with the ability to use a cursed seal. Even though many of you probably think I’m nitpicking on a rather unimportant detail, this doesn’t make sense to me. It should have taken a lot more than a chunk of Kabuto’s flesh, Anko’s curse seal, a quick trip to Konahagakure, and finding a simple mask at the Uzumaki mask shrine for him to become more powerful than ever before.

(Note: The most irritating thing about Orochi camping out in Anko’s curse seal is that she was only laying there since Kabuto had already drained the remaining power out of her curse seal. Kabuto told Obito (Tobi) that rather than killing her, he was going to take whatever he could from her seal to strengthen his own Orochi-based techniques, such as Edo Tensei. If he had already taken out whatever energy was in her, how is is that he could still be hiding in the curse seal, conscious and waiting for someone like Sasuke to release him? Strange right?}

edo tensei 01

3. Raise your hand if you think Edo Tensei is simply TOO powerful and unrealistic? Unlike the 3 Great Dojutsu (eye techniques), Edo Tensei isn’t a Kekkai Genkai (bloodline limit, or DNA-related ability), and doesn’t even have much of a development or history. First developed by the 2nd Hokage, Tobirama Senju, and further enhanced to greater heights by Orochimaru and later Kabuto, anyone who uses this technique instantly becomes one of the most powerful ninjas in the Naruto world. The ability to make immortal zombie ninjas would be awesome enough without adding the ability to fully control them and all of their abilities in life. I’ll give you an example:

Both Itachi and Nagato had their eyes removed sometime after death, so that their Dojutsu could be claimed by Sasuke and Obito respectively. So how come when they come back to life as an undead zombie, they suddenly have access to all of their ocular abilities again? As for Madara, the need for an ultimate villain trumps having the storyline make sense since there should be no way he should be able to switch between his own Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan AND the Rinnegan, without even adding Hashirama Senju’s DNA to make the ultimate ninja. How do you even add DNA or eyes to an undead corpse covered in ash to begin with?

Anyways, according to the storyline anyone with sufficient intelligence to decipher the past research of the 2nd Hokage, Orochimaru or Kabuto could theoretically figure out how to use Edo Tensei. Actually, anyone with access to a Sharingan could technically copy any non-Kekkai Genkai jutsu, including Edo Tensei. So why don’t more people use an ability that could instantly turn them into a match for even entire regiments of jonin-level ninja? I’m just sayin’.

Signed #1 Naruto Fan,

Mikey

Contact me @ Wong_83@Hotmail.com OR just message me at Kyarnboy.Wordpress.com

Out For the Season: That’s So Amar’e!

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Dear Knicks Fans,

Pardon me but why have you NOT sent this man packing already? Amar’e Stoudemire is in my opinion one of the most overrated and overpaid players in the NBA. He disappears from games when the Knicks need him the most, he’s immature and often throws tantrums when things don’t go his way, and most importantly HE’S INJURY PRONE!!! I’d put more exclamation marks after injury prone but I think everyone already gets my point.

Let me give you a few examples.

I’ve been watching Amar’e play in the league since way back when; I’m talking years ago when he and Steve Nash formed one of the most dangerous duos in the NBA under the offensive guidance of head coach Mike D’Antoni. He became known for his chronic knee problems, among other things that have kept him from playing a full season since.

That’s not completely fair. For the record, here is a list of seasons which resulted in an injury, games missed, and resulting surgery:

2003 – Sprained Left Ankle (27 games missed)

2004 – Inflamed Ankle (2 games missed)

2005 – BOTH Knees Injured (microfracture surgery on left, arthroscopic surgery on right. ALL but 3 games missed)

2007 – Sore Right Knee (3 games missed)

2008 – Partially Torn Iris, Detached Retina (eye surgery, protective goggles. 29 games missed)

2010 – Sprained Right Big Toe, Sprained Left Ankle (combined 4 games missed)

2011 – Bulging Disc, Self-Inflicted Cut (latter sustained during playoffs)

2012 – Left Knee Injury (first 30 games missed), Right Knee Debridement (possibly out 6-8 weeks)

This doesn’t mean this man isn’t a total warrior and competitor. I can’t begin to imagine playing through all the pain and injury this man has, especially while performing at such a high level. His career average of nearly 21 points per game, nearly 8 rebounds and 2 blocks looks even more impressive considering how often he’s been out. That doesn’t change the fact that you can’t help your team if you can’t stay on the court.

Bottom line, Stoudemire has only played start to finish in 3 out of 11 seasons in the NBA. 2 other seasons he only missed a couple of games but that only makes it 5 out of 11 seasons, or a 55% chance he there for a significant amount of time. Wonderful.

Now that he’s 30 years old, all those surgeries and all that cartilage and tissue removed from both his knees is going to start catching up with him. No longer is he dependable as a major cog in New York’s offense. Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and a number of other less important (and much, much less expensive) options are playing better basketball around him. All of this adds up to less playing time, and eventually a high probability of Stoudemire getting traded to some other team. So why does this mean so much to me that I’d even take time out of my busy schedule to write an article about him?

First of all, let’s make this abundantly clear. I am NOT a New York Knicks fan. I do not want them to do well, I do not want them to win a championship, and I don’t even want them competitive in the East.

I am first and foremost a Miami Heat fan, and have been since right around the time that Dwayne Wade got drafted out of Marquette. I liked them even more when they won a championship with Shaquille O’Neal, and when they somehow juggled numbers so that they could bring in Chris Bosh and Lebron James, well that was just icing on the cake. I have no emotional attachment to anything that happens north of the Maryland/Virginia area in terms of professional basketball, and therefore shouldn’t care less about Amar’e’s career.

And yet I do. When he’s on his game, he’s one of the best in the NBA. When he’s not hurt, his shooting percentage, scoring, rebounds and blocks per game all consistently rank in the top 10. He makes the game look so easy at times, ever since he started playing basketball at the ripe old age of 14. He won more awards and did more in 2 years of high school than kids who have played and studied the game their entire lives.

Perhaps that’s why he has appeared immature and sullen at times, at heart he’s still a child.  struggling to learn how to act and live without ever really having a strong male role model. I don’t know if I believe in all that “psycho-babble,” but yet it still rings true in at least this one case. It doesn’t excuse him for his irrational temper tantrums, such as when he busted up his hand against the fire extinguisher case after a playoff loss to Miami last season, but it does help fans such as myself to understand the reasoning.

Otherwise, he’s just another overpaid, selfish, conceited, self-absorbed professional ball player. I’m hoping that’s not the case for his team, the fans, and most importantly his sake. The road to an NBA Championship goes through Miami. They’re going to need him to accomplish that.

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Tom Brady vs. Joe Flacco and his Gigantic New Contract

Nobody is saying Tom Brady ISN’T a good QB. Far from it. What many members of the Media, as well as fans, are saying is that Joe Flacco isn’t a BAD QB.

If you’re considering playoff wins, total or just on the road, nobody has more over the past 5 seasons. If we’re talking about total statistics, anything but yardage, he’s not even in the top 10. But personally I’d take wins over touchdown/interception ratio.

Another thing that people conveniently forget is that the Ravens defense had its worst statistical performance this season in the past decade. So we can’t just say the defense carried this team to another Super Bowl victory. If anything, Joe Flacco stepped up to the plate BIG TIME this postseason. He didn’t throw a single interception and averaged 2.75 touchdowns per game over 4 playoff wins. Know who else has done that over the course of 50 or so years of NFL history?

NOBODY.

‘Nuff said. If your one of those Ravens fans, or worse a fan of some other team, saying Joe Flacco doesn’t deserve 120 mill over 6 years, please tell me this. What’s the going rate on the open market for a Super Bowl MVP quarterback in the prime of his career, who has over 60 wins in the past 5 years and just set a record for best playoff TD-INT ratio?

I’d say about 20 mill a year.

#JustSayin.