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

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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

 

 

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? 😛

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

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.

On the topic of Bigfoots…

It’s not that I don’t believe there are mythical creatures. My overactive imagination will never allow me to believe Bigfoots, Elves, Dragons, talking animals, Hobbits and Faeries don’t walk among us, carefully keeping out of sight for fear that we might imprison them, shoot them, or worse. They have every reason to fear us, and I’m sure I won’t see a single one until mankind proves otherwise. Since there’s no possibility to prove that they exist, or vice versa, I don’t see why we ridicule people for studying Cryptozoology. Science has unearthed creatures previously considered extinct many times in just my lifetime.  

That being said, I have a hard time taking the show “Finding Bigfoot” seriously. 2 of them, Matt and Cliff, seem to be classic examples of obsessed Bigfoot researchers. Matt Moneymaker? Is that even a real name? Along with this fat idiot named Bobo, who’s very entertaining nonetheless, and this she-male, Ranae, who my fiancee swears is a man, they travel to different towns, and recently to foreign countries, in search of the elusive Sasquatch.

That’s the basic premise of the TV show. They profess to be experts on where Sasquatches live, how they breed, what they eat, what noises they make, what attracts them, etc. and so forth. What I wanna know is how do they know these things? During commercial breaks, questions about Bigfoots are asked to the viewer, with true or false options or multiple choice answers. HOW DO YOU KNOW? Have you ever seen a Sasquatch run 40 mph? I really doubt it.

The worst part is when they go in the woods. They all have night vision lighting attached to their bodies with a weird harness that points a video camera at their face. Green light diffuses the immediate surroundings, making it look like a show about ghost hunters. They split up into two teams, with two idiots in each group and usually some guest appearance by a guy dressed in camouflage or a fat, bearded man in suspenders with too much time on his hands, and make Bigfoot calls.

What’s a Bigfoot call? Since nobody has actually videotaped or studied a Bigfoot either in a laboratory, zoo or in the wild, they attempt to mimic random sounds taken from all over the country. Hoots, screaming, whistles, babies crying, rave lights, pigs in a makeshift pen, donuts hanging on a tree branch, a frying pan filled with bacon and bacon grease, these are all fair game for Bigfoot researchers. Somehow this is considered accurate, as opposed to someone who has no idea what they’re doing. LOL.

Back to my personal beliefs on the subject. There HAS to be something out there. There is no way thousands of people across the world are all lying and wearing gorilla suits. If even half of all the stories out there are actually hoaxes perpetuated for fame, money or anything else, that still leaves thousands of other sightings out there that have no real answer. Type in the word Bigfoot or Sasquatch into your Google search box, watch some of the videos and examine some of the photographs people have posted just over the past 2 or 3 decades.

Keep in mind that Adobe Photoshop didn’t even exist until the late 1990s, and wasn’t really popular until the past 10 or so years, if that. With the technology that exists today, it wouldn’t be difficult to fake a sighting. That wasn’t always the case. Before the computer age, it was nearly impossible to make a realistic Bigfoot suit allowing freedom of movement and bending in all the right places. If all of this photographic evidence was fabricated, then where and how did they get the gigantic budget and technology to create some of the videos created back in the 60s and 70s?

Smarter minds than myself are stumped by the riddle. I’m sure they’ll figure it out someday soon.

Joe Flacco: All-Around Humble Guy, and Super Bowl MVP

Image

(http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1254644.1359960203!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/flacco.jpg)

Just some quick thoughts on Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco‘s impending contract extension. From a die-hard, hardcore, purple blood dripping Ravens fan.

Let’s face it, he’s worth it. We’re definitely going to pay the man, and pay him top dollar. Even if he is a terrible human being, who doesn’t give money to charities, womanizes all the time, and was addicted to weed, heroin, crack, and alcohol, we’d still end up paying him in the weeks ahead. Big time.

Luckily he’s not any of those things. Surprisingly, in the search for the perfect poster boy for the new (and improved) NFL, one with strong family values and morals, Joe Flacco is exactly what the NFL and Baltimore needs at the moment. Here’s why.

1. He’s a family man who has never gotten in any type of womanizing scandal, loves his wife, his daughter, and the one that his wife is pregnant with. The happily married couple announced the coming of their second child only hours after a thrilling win in Super Bowl XLVII (WOOHOO!!!). The worst thing that’s said of him, for the most part, is that he can sometimes be extremely boring.

He has this certain caveman-esque aura that can have you imagining him driving his family to the grocery store in a vehicle made of rock, and powered by their quickly churning feet. Although this is bad for infamy or notoriety, this is good for garnering trust from football-watching families across America.

2. His stunningly good work on the football field. He may not throw for 50 touchdowns and 5000 yards a season, or anything even close, and there are times when Ravens faithful everywhere just scream for him to stop looking like a confused ogre behind a quickly deteriorating pocket. That’s not completely his fault. Actually it’s usually Michael Oher’s fault (Blind Side My Ass). But other statistics, not advanced statistics or true QBR or any other fancy stathead crap, say he’s better than anyone else in the game over the past 5 seasons. Such as regular season wins, regular season losses, and postseason wins. It’s really that simple.

Like many other people in America currently, I don’t really give a flying dog turd about all the hours of computing that go into making some of the more ridiculous statistics found in ESPN the Mag, or Sports Illustrated, NFL.com, etc. If I can’t add it up on my fingers and toes, or at the very worst with a bunch of pencil scribbles on my bar napkin, it doesn’t really make much sense to me. What I know is that Joe Cool 2.0 has 9 playoff wins in his first 5 seasons and averages over 10 regular season wins a year. He’s never NOT made the playoffs like some other “elite” QB’s out there.

The definition of an Elite quarterback is ambiguous at best. Falcon’s QB Matt Ryan has great statistics and plenty of wins, averaging 11 wins per season. His 11-win rookie campaign helped turn the page for a city still reeling from Michael Vick’s dog-fighting scandal. Now all he needs is some playoff wins, beyond the single miraculous comeback win against Seattle.

Flacco, on the other hand, has won at least one playoff game for every year he’s played. This year he won 4, including 3 on the road. He finished with 11 passing touchdowns to 0 interceptions during the playoffs. I’m pretty sure no other QB, including Joe Montana, Steve Young, John Elway, Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning. His career statistics, regular + postseason, are as follows: 20,308 passing yards, 130 total TD, 64 INT, 509 rushing yards, and 21 fumbles lost. 2-1 TD to INT ratio, check.   Super Bowl ring and Super Bowl MVP, check. 4000+ yards avg. per season, check.

Did I mention he’s never missed a start? 93 of 93 games.

He wasn’t a 1st-overall draft pick, or even a top-10 pick. He somehow someway got himself drafted 18th-overall, even though he wasn’t even a D-I starter! That’s a story for another day, but basically he couldn’t get the starting gig at Pittsburgh, so he decided after much consideration to go to D-I FCS Delaware, just up the road from Baltimore. He had to fight and scratch his way into the NFL, where his tall, solid build and laser-rocket arm, combined with Troy Smith’s sudden illness, made him a starter in week 1. In his rookie year. The rest is history.

3. He’s the best quarterback in Ravens history, by a long shot. Not including his Super Bowl victory, or his string of consecutive seasons with a playoff appearance/playoff win, Flacco just exudes the type of confidence and quiet leadership needed to pilot a AFC North team to victory. I want you to carefully think about Baltimore’s long turbulent history with quarterbacks.

1996 – Vinny Testaverde(16)

1997 – Vinny Testaverde(13)/Eric Zeier(3)

1998 – Jim Harbaugh (Yes, that Jim Harbaugh)(12)/Eric Zeier(4)

1999 – Tony Banks(10)/Stoney Case(4)/Scott Mitchell(2)

2000 – Tony Banks(8)/Trent Dilfer(8)

2001 – Elvis Grbac(14)/Randall Cunningham(2)

2002 – Jeff Blake(10)/Chris Redman(6)

2003 – Kyle Boller(9)/Anthony Wright(7)

2004 – Kyle Boller (16)

2005 – Kyle Boller(9)/Anthony Wright(7)

2006 – Steve McNair(RIP)(16)

2007 – Kyle Boller(8)/Steve McNair(6)/Troy Smith(2)

2008 to 2012 – Joe Flacco (16)

Summary: in the 12 years before drafting Joe Flacco, the Ravens started 15 different QBs. A single QB started the entire season only 3 times. Flacco has started and FINISHED 5 entire seasons by himself, including every postseason game. I don’t think 18-20 million per year is too much to ask, do you?

4. Humble and soft-spoken, Flacco does everything asked of him without a complaint. He’s the first one in, and the last one out (as expected). He takes less credit and more blame than he’s due, while usually saying all the right things when dealing with press conferences or public appearances. Can you manage the game without F-ing things up for the defense? Sure. Can you win the game on the strength of your arm? Absolutely.

5. Joe Flacco is the FUTURE of Baltimore professional football. There’s a 99% chance  Ray Lewis is retiring. That’s been the heart and soul of this team since the day he got drafted. Except for one almost forgotten season, the defensive captain has always been there, making sure everyone’s prepared and ready to play on game day. Now we prepare for life without Ray Lewis and probably numerous others.

Ozzie Newsome, the genius General Manager of the Ravens, has already publicly stated he won’t restructure many contracts, pinning all his hopes on another Super Bowl next season while basically sacrificing 2014.

That means we’re probably gonna lose our other defensive captain Ed Reed as a salary cap casualty. Keep in mind that’s another hall of fame-type player who will no longer be with the Ravens. Pro-Bowl fullback Vonta Leach could be next. WR Anquan Boldin, TE Dennis Pitta, DE Paul Kruger, all starting players who will be free agency decisions this offseason. Oh, C Matt Birk is retiring too, supposedly, but he’s said that before.

Hopefully we don’t lose ALL these players. I just don’t have much hope in a repeat if we can’t at least salvage a few of these cap casualties. Regardless of whether we do or don’t, it’s going to take top-5 QB money to keep Flacco around Charm City, and we’d be incredibly stupid not to pay him.

Let’s just say I hope there will be some great players available at the end of each round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Fighting for the Right to Bust Heads.

I’ve had enough with all the bologna about CTE, concussions, etc. and so forth. Quit trying to make me feel bad for wanting to watch football players crack into each other like 200 lb monster trucks. I don’t care about your studies, your clinical trials, the fact that your husband can’t sleep at night after playing pro ball for 15 years, or anything else you might throw in my face.

I just want to watch my professional football. Period.

Forgive me for being blunt, and probably not PC, but this really just feels and sounds like a lame excuse for people to point fingers at the most popular sport in America, or even the world. I wanna know who’s coming up with these bullshit figures. Someone please tell me how the game of football is solely responsible for head injures in the US. It’s not, and before anyone else jumps on that bandwagon, how about I list just a few of the other sports in which players are likely to get a head injury.

Ever watched NASCAR, Formula-One or any other form of professional race car driving? Why do we watch it? It’s inane and boring, stupidly repetitive and perhaps my least favorite professional ‘sport.’ For me, the single thrill of watching a bunch of overpaid rednecks zoom around a track for hours is the crashes. Not the fender benders, and not the jockeying for position, but the spectacular flaming wreckage that occurs when a car flips over repeatedly, car parts and oil scattering like coins across the rubber and asphalt. Do you know what else happens when those cars lose control at over 100 miles an hour? They cause head injuries, even with a helmet and safety gear.

What about MMA, Pankration, Boxing, and all other forms of hand to foot combat? Right after the announcer with the deep, harmonic voice announces the competitors, the various career statistics of each fighter come up on the television screen underneath their picture. These statistics include wins, losses, ties, wins by decision… and wins by KNOCKOUT. Need an example? Go re-watch last month’s fight between Juan Marquez and Manny Pacquiao. To put it plainly, the Pac-man got knocked the FUCK out. This occurs when an extreme amount of force applied by fist or foot to an opponent’s head/neck area causes the brain to go into shutdown mode, ie: Blacking Out. This is usually accompanied by a concussion, which occurs when the brain bounces violently against the sides of the skull causing a bruise. How come nobody is picketing Mandalay Bay or the MGM Grand in Las Vegas? Why don’t we change the rules of Boxing so that fighters can only hit each other with pillows taped around their fists.

While we’re at it, let’s take the Enforcer-role out of NHL Hockey, and permanently ban all fighting on the ice. Let’s remove the baseball from MLB baseball games, and exchange it for a wiffleball instead. This would prevent head injuries from occurring to either the hitter or pitcher, at the expense of changing the entire game of baseball. Bull-Riding, Skateboarding, Snowboarding, BMX, Drag-Racing, Rugby, the list of sports that do/can cause head injuries could go on forever. Even fake sports such as Professional Wrestling can cause real concussions and damaged grey matter. So again, what is it about Football in general that has parents, loved ones and even the President calling for reform?

When asked about the Ravens ability to outhit their opponent, and their reliance on playing physical football in the trenches, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh had this to say: “That’s what we’re all about. That’s what football is. Ultimately, if you don’t have that foundation, you’re not gonna last. It might look pretty, you might light up the scoreboard, but without that, there’s nothing. That’s what football is in the end. It’s not the off-tackle belly that Woody ran or the power that Bo (Schembechler) ran or Jim runs. Those are plays. It’s the format. It’s hard work and dedication and commitment.” Well said.

These are the defining ideals behind the game of Football, regardless of whether we’re talking about Pop-Warner, Prep, Collegiate, Arena or Professional Football. This is what Football is all about. Not to be callous, or uncaring, but most of the players suing the NFL currently on grounds of irreversible physical/mental damage are almost certainly looking out for number one. You knew the risks involved when you started playing, and if you didn’t want to continue playing after getting your bell rung, you should have quit right then and there.

I’ll give you an example. If you applied to work as a crash-test dummy, would you sue the company after being in an accident? What if they offered to pay you $100,000 dollars per accident? If you wasted that money on hookers and a fleet of expensive handmade convertibles, would it be fair to say that the only reason your attempting to sue the company is because you are broke as shit and are looking for a handout? This is how I feel about many if not all of the dozens of bullshit lawsuits out there. I guarantee if you gave me 30 million dollars over 5 years, I wouldn’t need to beg for charity after my career was over.

I don’t care if you have 6 children by 3 different women, a charity, 3 mortgage payments, there is absolutely NO good reason these players shouldn’t have some money left over from their playing days. Even back in the 50s and 60s, when Football was a side job rather than a career, there were perks and benefits for being a Professional Football player. Women, bonuses, game checks, coaching opportunities, free food, vacations, advertising jobs, and I’m not even talking about anything from the free-agency era. So the next time you hear about a lawsuit against the NFL, or how another ex-player’s suicide is a result of CTE, remember this:

Make them sign a waiver. Make sure they understand the permanent damage that can result from repeated collisions with other gigantic men. If your thinking of entering the NFL Draft, go buy a Fathead (A life-size wall sticker) of J.J. Watt first. Put it up in your room and close your eyes. Imagine yourself getting hit by a ton of bricks, many, many times over the course of a 3 hour game. If your completely OK with that, then DON’T FUCKING COMPLAIN ABOUT IT AT THE END OF YOUR CAREER.

 

Fried Chicken and Me.

Yangnyeom chicken, Korean style fried chicken

Mmm… Fried Chicken.

I LOVE Fried Chicken. I think most people know this about me. I’ve always loved fried chicken, along with fried fish, most likely from growing up around the beautiful city of Baltimore.

The thing that most people don’t realize is that fried chicken, in all its greasy glory, isn’t the same everywhere you go. It’s not even the same across your state. Southern fried chicken has a thicker crust, uses rendered pork fat/lard, and is sometimes served with gravy. Gravy goes with everything in my opinion. Southwestern chicken or South American chicken often has a hint of spices &  pepper. But my favorite chicken is probably ghetto fried chicken, accompanied by waffles, fried lake trout/whiting/catfish, and either hot sauce or mambo sauce.

So what’s the difference between good chicken and bad chicken. KFC is NOT good fried chicken. Actually it’s not even chicken. It’s some sort of genetic cross between a polar bear and a cloned embryo of a chicken. These mutant monster birds are specifically designed to appeal to the largest possible consumer base, and are therefore completely tasteless, unappetizing and disturbingly disproportionate.

Popeye‘s is better than KFC by far but is still made for the the average consumer. They use the same mutant chickens but at least the chicken is usually fresh and juicy. If you really need a fried chicken fix and there isn’t anything else around, I’m not gonna fault you for picking up a 8 or 12 piece box of Popeye’s.

Good chicken is very hard to come by. Whether it’s fried chicken or chicken wings, there are so many horrible variations out there that most people don’t even know the difference anymore. We’re all guilty of eating chicken wings out of a freezer bag or getting a box of greasy over-sauced wings with our pizza delivery. Fried chicken drummies from 7-11 shouldn’t even be considered a food. Unless you’ve spent the time to search through countless online reviews, delivery sites and restaurants, you’ll probably never stumble across the perfect piece of juicy, crispy, golden fried chicken.

Well not anymore! It’s time for you to taste the difference. For your consideration I’ve chosen a few choice locations, all located within 10 min of Columbia, Maryland. If you live somewhere else… too bad, I can’t help you. The best advice I have for you is to imagine the differences I’m about to list, taking the time to remember what things you like and dislike about each variety of delectable poultry. Then try to find something similar in your area. On to the list!

BonChon Chicken: If you haven’t caught on by now, Korean fried chicken is the new KFC. It’s awesome. I thought it was all a gimmick when I first heard about their chicken wings but was an instant devotee the second I bit into a fresh, juicy, crispy, aromatic, perfectly seasoned chicken leg.  Instead of flash frying the meat to death like most other bars/carry-out restaurants, they slowly and carefully cook their wings at a relatively low temperature in order to get the meat to separate from the skin. This process causes the skin to blend with the batter to create a puffy, crispy, slightly greasy crust that protects the meat inside from drying out. This is just in preparation for final cooking. The wings are then lightly dunked in very hot oil before serving, and quickly basted with a brush in either a sweet soy-garlic sauce or a combination chili oil. Amazing.

Either flavor is explosive, without being TOO greasy or making the skin soggy. The delicate puffy skin even manages to stay crispy after being tossed in the refrigerator a couple of times. That’s the biggest thing isn’t it? Don’t you hate when your leftovers become mushy and tasteless after going into the microwave? I do, and these don’t. BonChon is relatively new to our area, with the only location in a 50 mile radius being in a terrible location in Ellicott City. Stuffed in the corner of a lonely strip mall behind the Crab Shanty, next to Sarafino’s.

Try them and let me know what you think. I would easily rate these as the best chicken wings in the DMV.

Chick n’ Friends: If you’re looking for fine dining, this definitely ISN’T it. Located in the Long Reach Village Center area of Columbia, Maryland, this is by far the worst village center in the area. It looks like a vacant strip mall in the middle of Baltimore, with boarded up windows and closed businesses. Your probably still trying to wrap your mind around it so here’s a little help.

Wilde Lake Village Center has tennis courts, indoor swimming pools, the Melting Pot, an organic grocery store, the Bagel Bin, some ghetto Chinese restaurant (Emperor Tso’s Hunan Warrior???), and Omaha Steaks. King’s Contrivance Village Center has an absolutely delicious family-owned Italian restaurant, Rita’s Ice(!), Harris Teeter‘s and a very classy wine/liquor/cigar shop. Harper’s Choice has a family-owned Mexican restaurant (Zapata’s), Safeway, the Athletic Club gym, Papa John’s, a family-owned Afghan-restaurant (Maiwand Kabob), Bank of America and a locally-owned Korean dry cleaners.

Long Reach has nothing of the sort. The sole saving grace of the entire shopping center is Chick ‘n Friends, a place so ghetto the R in Friends stopped working months ago and they haven’t fixed it. So it’s now called Chick ‘n Fiends. Which I think is a reasonable assumption. Basically, the normal clientage of this restaurant include drug dealers, drug addicts, and South American/Asian immigrants.

But who cares what the outside looks like, that’s only thinking skin deep. The true beauty of this little fried chicken shop is the fact that the chicken is melt in your mouth tender, like Colonel Sanders used to make it. The heart and soul of the restaurant is it’s reasonable prices, hand-cut, fresh-as-hell chicken pieces, delicate, flaky fried fish and homemade sides. They make Belgian waffles too, and there are few things as good as a bite of sweet syrupy waffle, mixed with salty greasy broasted chicken.

Ah, the wonders of broasted chicken. Fresh chicken cooked at just the right constant temperature in a Henny Penny with a pressurized cap is the mountain top of fried chicke.n. The holy grail of Friolated Arts. This is known as broasted chicken. When done right, it will not even resemble those awful chain restaurant concoctions, it will crunch beneath your teeth as you bite through the paper-thin delectable skin. Juice will drip off your chin and mouth, and that’s perfectly ok. The aroma of gently seasoned chicken will flood your nostrils as your teeth melt through the steaming meat.

If it sounds like this is too good to be true, you haven’t even tried their sides. There is such a stark comparison between homemade sides and regular packaged crap that you won’t even know there was such a difference until you bite into a mouthful of porky, salty greens or crunchy coleslaw. They even make handmade sweet potato/pumpkin pies, served stark naked and quivering. They also make fresh southern-style sweet tea in a large Styrofoam cup, or by the gallon.

Trust me, there is nothing better in the area. So either park in the parking lot and order it directly from the counter, or now you can actually order this simple good thing and have it delivered by using Carryoutmenu.com. I don’t usually like using this service since they not only charge you 5 dollars a delivery, they also charge 20% to the restaurant in question. Per order. LivingSocial.com’s fees are even worse to the small business, but there are places like Grubhub.com or Delivery.com that give you more bang for your buck. AND a pick-a-card game every few orders that gives away discounts and FREE FOOD!

By now you’ve realized that I am completely insane for food. I have probably ordered every type of possible food in my life, from Ethiopian to Cambodian and everything in between. Nothing is more satisfying than stuff from my mom’s house(a professional chef), or great fried chicken. If you live in the area and you enjoy finding little gems that can rival fine dining, without the price tag, I’m your guy. You can reach me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/kyarnboy or on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/kyarnboy. Feel free to drop me a message anytime.

Onto my final recommendation of the article. Sometimes the places I mentioned will be closed. I’m pretty sure Chick n’ Fiends is closed by 10pm daily, while BonChon stays open til 12am (Until they get their bar license. It’s BYOB Btw.) So what can satisfy that craving for good fried chicken at, let’s say, 3 in the morning?

Royal Farms: Don’t look at me funny. I’m almost positive that if you live within 300 miles of Columbia, there’s gotta be a Royal Farms nearby. Yes, the same place you can buy gas at sometimes, or cigarettes or magazines. Even though there are hundreds of these convenience stores, and even though some convenience store clerk is going to serve you your fried chicken, there’s no denying it. Their chicken is DAMN GOOD.

The key is that they fry their chicken in peanut oil. They have automated Henny Penny-fryers, so even the convenience store clerk can’t fuck up your order.  Don’t even bother wondering if you can get a healthy-version, I promise you there is no such thing. It’s bad for you, but oh so good. For around 12 dollars you can grab an 8 piece chicken with 2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, and you guessed it, 2 breasts.

Did I mention the western fries? These bear no resemblance to those nasty little dry sticks you get from most drive-thrus. They are real potatoes cut into wedges, boiled and finally fried quickly. They use very little batter, so the outside is crispy and aromatic while the inside is hot, starchy and comforting. As long as your calling a Mulligan on your diet for the night, you might as well grab these with a side of gooey cheddar cheese sauce. Eat both the chicken and the western fries while they are still hot, they won’t taste nearly as good after hitting the fridge. Grab a milkshake/smoothie from the Royal Farms-automated milkshake machine and your set. (The ones with fruit flavors are a WHOLE lot healthier than the ones with cookies or smores or candy in them. Just FYI.)

You can’t really beat that in the middle of the night without taking a lot of time to drive to a diner. If you live in my area, you realize there’s only a few choices at that time of night anyways:

Simmies aka: Airiang Hill Cheese Steaks (In the Harper’s Choice area, next to the hospital),

Double-T Diner(15 minutes away in Baltimore County, off Route 40),

Denny’s (In Laurel, off Route 1, or In Arundel Mills, go left off route 1 instead of towards the mall),

or Honey Pig(24/7 Korean BBQ in the Centennial area, also off Route 40).

They all have their merits, especially Simmie’s Ehson’s Special, a 6-inch cheese steak or cheeseburger sub and 5 mambo wings w/ fries. I can’t even begin to tell you all the nights I got drunk as hell after going to the bar/club, and had to make an emergency stop at Simmies for an Ehson’s Special. The mambo sauce is a guarded secret, and good as hell. Simmie stacks paper to the ceiling off those wings. Honey Pig is the best Korean BBQ your going to get at 3am without cooking it yourself. Denny’s is, well, Denny’s, and Double-T has the hugest selection of random food you’ll ever find, and fresh baked goods. All of these are also open 24/7 except Simmies, which I believe closed at 2 or 3am.

For me, however, nothing beats fried chicken, and nothing tops the 3 choices I wrote about above. I’m so sure you will enjoy them that  I would be willing to bet them against fried chicken from any other region of the country. Yes, Bojangles and Church’s Chicken included. There’s only one way you’ll ever know though. Go grab a piece and send me a comment when you do.

~Wong_83@Hotmail.com

What were you thinking?!

It’s about time I explain my title.

I know it’s catchy and all but here’s the deal. I’m rationally insane. I have ADHD, meaning I live in a constant state of confusion and distractions. So I understand when people ask why my ideas, opinions and direction are all over the place.

My name is Michael, and I’m your average Chinese-American living on the Eastern Seaboard of the beautiful United States of America. I make jewelry for fun and for a living, whenever I’m not busy studying or running one of my family’s numerous restaurants/bars.

I’m an avid fan of professional sports, primarily Pro Football and Pro Basketball but also including Major League Baseball and even Soccer or Hockey on occasion. My favorite teams are as follows:

(NFL) 1. AFC Baltimore Ravens/ 2. NFC Philadelphia Eagles.

(NBA) 1. Miami Heat 2. Oklahoma City Thunder 3. Washington Wizards

(Soccer) 1. Barcelona(Vern Massey!) 2. MLS Baltimore Blast

(MLB) 1. Baltimore Orioles 2. Anything not from Pittsburgh(like the Steelers/Pirates/Penguins/Panthers, BLEHHK!)

(NHL) Washington Capitols

When I’m not writing about these topics, I often go on strange voyages/tangents into the unknown. I’m constantly reading and writing, drawing and using internet search engines to find obscure yet interesting data. I believe that curiosity and a sense of wonder lead to a life of fulfillment. Plus you never know when that tiny snippet of information will bring you fortune or save your life!

I also watch a lot of movies & television shows. I especially enjoy watching japanese animation or reading manga, such as Naruto Shippuden, Rouroni Kenshin(Samurai X) or Full-Metal Alchemist. There are tons of obscure, well-drawn, well-animated shows on the internet, just waiting to be dusted off and enjoyed.

One of the great inventions in the history of mankind is free, shared, downloadable torrents. At least in my opinion. As long as your not sharing it and/or charging people money for your movies/tv shows, you should be fine.

Other things I talk about from time to time include my family, stupid ignorant people that can’t mind their business, cocktails and jewelry fabrication & repair. Well that should do it. There’s a small look into what this blog is about, just in case your wondering. Maybe you’ll find what I write amusing and witty, and then again, maybe you won’t.

I encourage you to check it out for yourself. What I have to say may not be as linear or to the point as you might like, but it’s usually pretty thorough on whatever subject matter I’m currently thinking about.

Michael

PS: I also write a lot about food I really enjoy, cooking techniques, idiots, fast food nation, the fucked up things people are willing to put up with instead of cook it themselves, stuff like that.