Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Amores Perros

So, Michael Vick is basically the antichrist. First it was the weed on the airplane, then he started giving fans the finger, and now he's being targeted as the shadowy baller behind an international dog-fighting coalition of gangsters. Or something like that.

According to the SPCA though, Vick isn't the only NFL player who gets his kicks from doggie bloodpsort:

"We've been saying for a while there seems to be a subculture of dogfighting in the NFL, and this Vick thing seems to reinforce that," Goodwin said. "And the nonchalant attitude that Clinton Portis had in describing something that is a felony crime really drove the point home. The guy's attitude was unbelievable."

Which got me wondering...which Philly athlete would you be most likely to see at a dog fight? We all know that wherever there's a social event (i.e. a 40th Dimension cocktail party or the opening of a new Church's Chicken) that former Wisconsin Badger Cecil Martin would certainly be there, so he's a strong choice. Charlie Manuel's got the good 'ol boy pedigree, but somehow I picture him more into alligator wrestling or prison rodeo's. And what about new Eagles QB Kevin Kolb? Anyone who enjoys hunting pigs with razor sharp knives, and would almost certainly not bat an eye at the prospect of seeing a bunch of pit bulls rip each other's throats out over a barbecue pork chop.

There's plenty more candidates, so we'll leave it up to the DR readership to decide -let us know what you think.

You know who would almost definately be there though? This guy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fun With Photoshop

Tonight, the eyes of Sixerdom, and indeed the nation, will be riveted upon an elderly Jewish man playing bingo. It's possibly the most important day in the entire NBA calender, if not the entire history of civilization as we know it.

As my colleague tutkwon pointed out earlier, the odds aren't so good.

Thanks to their late-season surge and the tanking of certain teams that will forever go unnamed in the forum, the Sixers stand a 93.54 percent chance of picking 12th. Put it another way: under the current system, no team with the 12th pick has ever won the lottery. Or ever even moved up.

Which is fine, because history shows that there are plenty of impact NBA players available with the 12th pick. Players like 2005 12th pick Yaroslav Korolev, who averaged a whopping 1.1 points per game last year for the lottery-bound Clippers.

Or what about 2002 12th man Melvin Ely, who was so good on the Charlotte Bobcats that they traded him to the Spurs, for whom he has played a total of zero minutes during the playoffs.

And who could forget 1995 12th pick Cherokee Parks, who averaged nearly 4.5 points per game during a distinguished NBA career.

The rest of the list is hardly inspiring:

2006 - Hilton Armstrong
2005 - Yaroslav Korolev
2004 - Robert Swift
2003 - Nick Collison
2002 - Melvin Ely
2001 - Vladimir Radmonovic
2000 - Etan Thomas
1999 - Alek Redojevic
1998 - Michael Doleac
1997 - Austin Croshere
1996 - Vitaly Potapenko
1995 - Cherokee parks
1994 - Khalid Reeves

Shit. I hope Sammy has been putting in extra work with the voodoo incantations, doll puncturings, and sacrificial blood offerings.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Odds Smodds

I have some good news and some bad news. First the bad news:

1. Memphis 22-60 25.0%
2. Boston 24-58 19.9%
3. Milwaukee 28-54 15.6%
4. Atlanta1 30-52 11.9%
5. Seattle 31-51 8.8%
6. Portland 32-50 5.3%
7. Minnesota 32-50 5.3%
8. Charlotte 33-49 1.9%
9. New York2 33-49 1.9%
10. Sacramento 33-49 1.8%
11. Indiana3 35-47 0.8%
12. Philadelphia 35-47 0.7%
13. New Orleans 39-43 0.6%
14. L.A. Clippers 40-42 0.5%
1Pick may be conveyed to Phoenix
2Pick may be conveyed to Chicago
3Pick may be conveyed to Atlanta
Full Draft Order

As you can see, courtesy of, the odds of the Sixers winning the lottery are actually less than 1%. I consider this bad news because, while understanding the odds weren't great, I gave them at least a 3% chance before seeing this damned chart. It's also bad news because I look at the other teams ahead of us and see two things. First, the majority of the teams with worse records and better odds tanked the season and should be banned from the lottery. Second, if you look closely to the footnotes you will see that both Phoenix and Chicago hold potential Top 5 picks, meaning both those teams will get richer when teams like the Sixers have to bleed and claw to end up with talent they need 100% more desperately. Mostly it's bad news because it almost guarantees the Sixers will NOT win a damn thing. However.....

The good news is that almost everyday you can open the paper and read about how Todd and Mary-Ellen from Wildwood spent their last five bucks on a lottery ticket and won against all odds and immediately quit working at The Sands and are moving to Cape May to live happily ever after. The odds always suck when you play the lottery. You're not supposed to win, you're supposed to lose, over and over, and over and over, until either you wise up and stop playing or keep losing or, like Todd and Mary-Ellen, buck the odds. So, with a 0.7% chance I gotta figure it's Philly's turn to live happily ever after. Tune in this Sunday to the NBA playoffs to see the lottery results.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fwd: Best Picture of a Tiger Underwater Ever

Every so often we get emails from this guy Steven Wells, who is the entertainment editor at Philly Weekly. Usually he wants us to write a blurb for the A-List section. Usually we ignore him, because we find writing for the A-List to be beneath the lofty journalistic standards to which the DR aspires. Also because the A-List is about cool events in Philadelphia, and until until getting C to the G and listening to Toto at high volume becomes cool, we have very little to contribute.

Still, when we recieved an email with the above subject line, our curiosity was piqued.

Sorry about this. (Writes Wells) I mean I hate people who send round pics of animals myself. But LOOK! A TIGER UNDER WATER

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Erection Day! least, thats what Sammy would call today if we were from Japan. Now, we all know that Sammy is not from Japan. But he's more Japanese than one would think. For example, like many Japanese people, he is not registered to vote in Philadelphia, which has tragically prevented him from not only endorsing a mayoral candidate, but from running for City Hall himself.

Still, if he were a Philly voter...and in the unlikely event that he wasn't running for mayor himself...who would Sammy endorse?

Tom Knox?

"Tom Knox is a buster," says Sam, from his secret compound/pillow fort at an undisclosed location. "Though I respect the fact that, like myself, he is the owner of many millions that he has done little to earn, I would never trust as mayor a man who could allow his campaign headquarters to be knocked off in such a brazen manner. A good mayor should have machete-toting thugs guarding his stash like I do.

Chaka Fattah?

"Though his name rolls off the tongue in a mellifluous fashion" Sam states, "it is very difficult to pronounce in my native French tongue. I admire Chaka for that time he got shot in the leg, and, like myself, Chaka enjoys peanut butter. Then there is his wife Renee, and her amazing Wikipedia entry:

On April 7, 2001, Renee married Chaka Fattah, a local TV personality who once played Bozo the Clown on Philadelphia's version of the Bozo the Clown TV show. Chenault is one of several minority females to have anchored newscasts in Philadelphia. She has two daughters.

"Still," Sam continues, "there is the continuing issue the guy with the megaphone screaming "Boom shockalockalocka Chaka Fattah!" outside City Hall, who has been a continual pain in the ass to anyone who works in the vicinity of Broad and Market. There will be no Dalembert endorsement for anyone who condones that sort of noise pollution."

Dwight Evans? "Who the hell is Dwight Evans?" is Sam's confused reply? "If it was Dwight Grant, then maybe. But Dwight Evans? Never heard of the dude."

Bob Brady?

"Alright Shady, maybe he's right Grady. But think about the baby before you vote Bob Brady."

Mike Nutter?

"Mike Nutter is a great man," says Sam. "He should be mayor because his campaign has promised to give Playstation 2's to all at-risk youth. Also, I enjoy his bald head, which reminds me of a clown, and stands in pointed contrast to the Nino Brown look of the Street years. Though I firmly believe in the power of armed rebellion, I am prepared to offer the Dalembert Report seal of approval to my man Nutter, based especially on his last name, which I believe heralds wonderful things for the city of Philadelphia."

And with that, Sam disappeared back into his pillow fort and wasn't heard from again.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Why I Don't Miss Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson is my favorite basketball player of all-time. I'm glad he's not on the 76ers anymore. How can these two truths still hold? Let me explain:

I just finished watching the Denver Nuggets lose to the San Antonio Spurs. The Nuggets, led by Iverson, were humbly ushered into the off-season by the superior Spurs, but what resonated was how little remorse or envy watching Iverson inspired. When the Sixers initially traded him, my god, I figured I'd spend the next 5 years(at least) of my basketball watching life huddled by the set, bucket of alcohol nearby, tears slowly rolling down each cheek as BubbaChuck scored impossible basket after impossible basket. It would be bad enough that Philadelphia would lose the most exciting, bewitching guard ever, but his talent, heart, and pure swagger would be transported to a new, undeserving city, a town famous for it's high altitude and shitty beer. I'm sure AI was excited to be a mile high, but would the fans there even appreciate the contact buzz he would provide?

Almost 5 months later and the scenario has changed. The Sixers responded to Iverson's departure by playing better basketball than they have in years. What had been a tormenting mantra of If's and Maybe's became a unremarkable but satisfying set of answers. Andre Iguodala CAN score when called upon; Korver IS a real NBA player; Sammy D WILL still foul the shit out of you if you give him a pump fake. Slowly this team played better and more consistently, as a team, then maybe they should have. They sacrificed a better draft pick but in the process learned more about what they have and don't have, arguably the more important achievement.*

This could not have happened had Iverson stayed here. It WOULD not have happened. Watching the Nuggets play brought me back to many hundreds of games I've watched Allen Iverson play over the past 11 years, and my gut feeling was one of relief. Relief to be moving in a new direction and away from the treadmill team-building we Philly fans have been watching since 2000. Surround AI with mediocre, overpaid players and hope they all have career years. Didn't work? Repeat with new, equally mediocre and overpaid players and try again. The real problem, which I see now but was not allowed to see then, is that as brilliant as Iverson was/is, he stands alone as THE most difficult superstar to build around, of all-time, in any sport. In my opinion. Which is right.**

For an Allen Iverson team to win a championship you need the perfect blend of defenders and role players, guys have no ego and are happy setting picks and boxing out, mixed with just enough offensive help to mop up the table scraps left in his wake, and coached by nothing less than genius. This actually existed for one season, in 2000-2001, and the more I look back the more I shake my head in disbelief at what occurred. It all fell into place. It was magic. It was the perfect Iverson team, the only type of Iverson team that could possibly win a title, led by Larry Brown, who turned in one of the greatest coaching jobs since Gene Hackman told Jimmy Chitwood to fuck off. And it wasn't enough. The magic couldn't hold up and we went down in 5 to L.A.

Once the magical season ended and the long hangover began, the team faced a big question: stay competitive, viable, and legitimate(streetwise at least) with Iverson on the team, or trade him and stare into the abyss. The question began to answer itself when the abyss was suddenly staring into us while Iverson was still here, and so Billy King pulled the trigger. What had long been speculation was now able to play out. Without AI handling the ball 85% of the time and taking 65% of the shots, the other players, mostly young dudes, had room to grow. Room to breathe. The chance to mess up and get the ball back the very next time. The aforementioned Iguodala, Korver, and Dalembert each progressed more in the past 4 months then all of last year. I'm not kidding or exaggerating. Maybe exaggerating a little, but definitely not kidding. The team was no longer Iverson and a bunch of stiffs, it was now a bunch of stiffs who had the chance to show whether or not they were actually stiffs, on their clock, not AI's. This is important.

Even Mo cheeks, a coach I had lost respect for, was rejuvenated by the AI trade. He started to coach instead of cower at the sight of Iverson's posse. No longer distracted with having to scold Allen for eating Taco Bell in the huddle, he had time to diagram plays and devise strategies. And the players listened!! Practice?! We talking bout practice?!?! Yes!! We talking bout practice!! It's important!!

Meanwhile, Denver seems lost. They don't have the magical group necessary for a title run anytime soon. And we won't even mention the coaching disparity. Denver fans have reason to be excited no doubt; Iverson and Carmelo will score a ton of points, alley-opp many hundreds of times, and might even win a few playoff series. Throw in the dozens of amazing sound-bites("fatigues is army clothes") and news conferences Iverson will provide and those people are much better off than they were at this time last year. And I still love the guy, I still root for him and I'll always watch him with something of a teenage awe. But I'm glad he's gone. Glad it's up to another team to pull off the most difficult building project since Mutumbo in Africa. And ready to watch my brand new team of stiffs.

* I don't actually believe this
** Proven by science too complex for you to understand