Thursday, October 30, 2008

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If only it were horseshoes and hand grenades. . .

I graduated from college earlier this year and my graduation gift was or is lower level season tickets to the Warriors. If you're a fan, you know that the 08-09 season holds little if no playoff hope. In the off season, the Warriors signed Monta Ellis, one of the most explosive and talented players in the NBA, to a five year contract extension worth upwards of $66 million dollars. To celebrate, Ellis went home to Mississippi to participate in activities deemed illegal according to the verbiage in his contract. He's out for at least three months and even if he weren't, the Warriors suspended him for thirty games. Because the Warriors play in the West, a conference that's never been so dominant in the entire history of professional basketball, only the best of the best of the best make it to the playoffs. The Warriors won 49 games last year and did not make the playoffs. To put that in perspective, the eighth seed in the east had a win loss record of five games below .500! The icing on the cake? The Warriors open the season by playing the third best team in the NBA, the New Orleans Hornets.

It should have been a rout. It should have been over before tip off. The 19,128 people that were in attendance were there to welcome the beginning of the season, to see some new faces, and to watch Chris Paul, the best young point guard in the league, dismantle the W's. And all signs pointed to just that when the Hornets got off to a quick 8-2 lead. But then something happened. The Warriors locked up the interior of the court and force the Hornets to take off balanced shots from outside the key. They still made them but at no where near the pace they would have had they been able to drive to the hoop. And the Warriors didn't go away. Every time I thought the Hornets were about to pull away and put away the Warriors, Steven Jackson or Corey Maggette hit a clutch three that put the Warriors back in the game. They even had a ten point lead with seven minutes to go in the second quarter.

The Oracle crowd brought it, as we always do, and when the Hornets called time with four minutes to go in the game and the Warriors down by just two points, a look of disbelief flashed across the Western Conference semifinalists of last season. Could this Monta-less team really be keeping pace with the league's elite? Even the home crowd didn't believe what they were seeing. You see, Northern California possess a rarity in sports towns, knowledgeable fans. And as much as we wanted to see a win, nobody really expected it. For 47 minutes and 46 seconds, the Warriors held fast. Never completely loosing control and always staying in the Hornets' rear view mirror.

But there they were, 14 seconds remaining, down by one with control of the ball under their own basket. Fourteen seconds, a lifetime in the NBA. More than enough time to inbound the ball, move it around the floor, and take it to the hoop. And seeing as how the Warriors were in the bonus, the Hornets would be hard pressed to foul with anything less than five seconds left on the clock. Then it happened. The hopes of 20,000 strong were dashed when the inbounds pass was tossed, out of bounds.

The Warriors fouled, the Hornets made both of their free throws, and with 3 seconds left, Al Harrington (who wants out of GS) threw up a three to tie that was on line but rattled in and out of the cylinder. The final score was 103-108, David West, Tyson Chandler, Peja Stojakavic, and oh yeah Chris Paul were just one clutch shot better than the Warriors. But if that's how the W's are going to play against one of the league's best, this season may not be as depressing as we thought. Loosing Ellis for the first 30 games is a death sentence on the 08-09 season. But if the end is inevitable, I'd much rather watch a team fight and claw its way to the finish than lay down and wait for the doors to close. The Warriors could have given up at a number of points last night but they didn't. What last night did for me was get me wondering.

What if they keep in the race for the first thirty games? I'm not saying that they have to be leading the West but what if they stay about two or three games back of the eighth seed for the first thirty? What if Monta comes back and is healthy? What if Al Harrington gets traded somewhere and the Warriors get a serviceable point guard in return? What if Marco Belinelli and Brandon Wright have the kind of break out seasons that Ellis and Biedrins had back in 06-07? It'll take a minor miracle for those stars to align but here's the thing, the Warriors have the talent to do just that. They're deep on the bench and if the rooks play up to their potential, we may be in for an interesting season. I don't like quoting people but, Alexander Pope said that "hope springs eternal." I may be wrong but hasn't that been the motto of Warriors fans since that magical spring of 07?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Are you a car enthusiast? If you are, hell, even if you're not, check out this site and check out this TV show. It's called Top Gear and it airs on BBC America on Mondays. If you've got Comcast it's on channel 162, DVR it, you will not regret it. Here's the difference between Top Gear and the castrated "Road and Track" shows that we see in the states. They actually "drive" the cars. Ever go on a test drive and have the guy in the car with you tell you to keep it under four thousand revs or go easy on it? How are you supposed to know what your car can do if you can't push it to the limits?

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Well, the guys at Top Gear do more than rev their cars. They show you what they were built for and what they can and can't handle. And it's not like they're just test driving Aston Martins and Ferraris, they test drive almost anything, including the Mazda RX8. A car that we can afford! Better yet, a car that was built from the ground up to perform. Ever dream of reving your car to nine thousand rpms before even thinking about shifting? Hop into the RX-8, turn off the radio, and enjoy the symphony that is a 2.6 liter rotary powered engine.

And there's more!!! Not only does Top Gear educate its viewers, it entertains them. What better way to show a car's superior handling ability then have it try and out maneuver an AH-64 Apache Gunship? If that's not a reason to buy a Lotus, I don't know what is.

Bottom line, Top Gear is one of the most original shows out there. Mind you, there's a show called Fifth Gear (that's nearly the same thing) but it doesn't air in the US and Top Gear is better anyway. It's hosts aren't just talking heads that introduce video clips. They're trained drivers that know how to send a car round a track and make you laugh at the same time. Check out the links I posted and DVR Top Gear, you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ever wanted to go back in time? Well, if you're an American that's buying gas to fuel your car, you've been transported three years into the past. The national average of a gallon of gas is down to $2.629. According to this CNN article, gas hasn't been this low since October 24th, 2005! For years, gas has been like a movie ticket, something that only goes up in price. But thanks to the recession that's setting up camp in our great country, even gas companies are feeling the hit.

The reasoning behind the plummeting gas prices is explained by simple high school economics. Supply and demand's direct relation to one another. Americans aren't traveling, in fact, they haven't been doing so for quite some time, hence the 41 day decline in gas prices. This summer, tourism was down as much as twenty five percent in Hawaii, a state that depends on the dollars of tourists to survive, seeing as they've uprooted nearly all of their pineapple plantations to construct hotels and condominiums. Did you know that Californians pay some 33% of Hawaii's sales tax?

At least there's one bi-product of the Bush administration's destruction of our economy that we can enjoy. Right now, the Chevron around the corner is selling regular gas for $3.05 a gallon. That same Chevron was selling regular for $4.29 in mid July. Who knows, by the time you read this post, gas in the East Bay may fall below $3.00 for the first time in years. To put that in perspective, if that were to happen, that would mean that the national average of a gallon of gas would be flirting with the $1.99 mark.

So gas is at a three year low. Just think about what we were thinking three years ago. Back in 2005, we were still reeling over the resurrection of the Batman franchise, we still had a Republican Congress (ugh), the Yankees were good, my house in the East Bay was worth something, Pierce Brosnan was still James Bond, and who the fuck was Sarah Palin?

Oh, by the way, Chevron's at $2.99!


Saturday, October 11, 2008

I can't believe this blog is still active. I started it over two years ago and just recently came back to it. It seems fitting that I'm starting this blog up just a month before the next Bond film is released. I remember when I posted the link to the Casino Royale trailer. Now, two years later Quantum of Solace is just a month away! So, here's another link, this time to Bond 22's second theatrical trailer! I'm back on blogger just in time!