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Month: May 2016

About Last Night: Who Can Stop The Rain?

About Last Night: Who Can Stop The Rain?

Michael H. takes a quick look at Warriors – Thunder game 7

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Once again: The Golden State Warriors scored 25 points in the fourth quarter versus the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 last night; Steph Curry scored 18 of those points, including the last 11. His final statline: 13-24 from the field, 7-12 from three, 3-3 from the line, 8 assists, 36 points with a +18.

Featuring unlimited range:

 

Featuring the dunk I used to do in high school:

 

Featuring dribbling around and then murdering an already murdered corpse:

 

 

Folks were actually audacious enough to say the Warriors were dead after the Thunder went up 3-1; like we all forgot who we were talking about, who we were dealing with. Normal teams and normal players may have been all but defeated at 3-1 versus Westbrook and Durant. Risking stating the obvious, this team and Steph Curry are as far from normal as flying pigs. How could we question this other-universe talent? How could we say they didn’t deserve their 73 wins? How could we have been so stupid?

 

It was always going to end this way. The Thunder hit Steph and Co. hard, with everything they had. They had the Warriors on the ropes. It didn’t matter. It couldn’t have mattered less. This team was not going to go out like that after the season they had; not with the two best shooters in the league; not with the first unanimous MVP in league history; not with a player that can hit a shot at any given time from literally anywhere on the court. How silly we were to question the outcome of this series.

 

Pray for the Cavs.
Warriors in 6.

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INSTANT REACTION: Game of Thrones S6 E6

INSTANT REACTION: Game of Thrones S6 E6

 



“Blood Of My Blood”
by Michael H
1 – Coldhands Comin’

Remember this guy? My prediction of Benjen Stark showing up to help Bran and Meera was spot on if I do say so myself (as if everyone didn’t predict it). Meera drags Bran as far as she can, but they were never going to get very far. While being dragged, Bran what appears to receive visions of just about all of Westerosi history. What particularly stood out were the glimpses of the Mad King (Dany’s dad) shouting “Burn them all!” a few times before we see Jamie hack the loon down. Bran is officially the Three-Eyed Raven 2.0, putting him right alongside Daenerys and Jon in the most-important-character rankings.

And but so, after a few zombie kills of the week and giving Bran a cup of what appeared to be straight rabbit blood to drink, Benjen reveals himself and explains how he became Coldhands (that’s his name in the books). The Children of the Forest counteracted a stab to the gut from an ice sword by inserting a shard of dragonglass straight into Benjen’s heart – that’s gotta sting a bit. But he’s (half)alive, and he let’s Bran know they are heading back to Castle Black, where Bran will have to face-off with the Night’s King and holy shit I cannot wait for that.

2 – Sam’s not so warm homecoming

Yo, Lord Randyll Tarly, you’s a dick. He’s like if all of your old relative’s worst facebook posts became a human. It really appeared like Tarly Manor was going to be the perfect place for Gilly and Sam Jr. to hang while Sam earned his Maester’s Chain. That is, until everyone sat down to dinner with Lord Prick. Gilly stood up for her man, detailing how Sam was not a coward and killed a goddamned White Walker thank you very much. Randyll ended up agreeing to Gilly and the baby staying, but he barred Sam from ever returning. Sam was all like “nah,” grabbed Gilly and baby, and tore out of there. But not before stopping to grab Heartsbane, the family Valyrian Sword (which can kill White Walkers if you forgot).

3 – On the wings of fire and destruction

Holy shit, Drogon got his weight up; he is fucking huge. Dany appears to have passed her dragon driving exam with flying colors (pun intended). Her pregame speech was so rousing that the water-phobic Dothraki didn’t bat any eyes when she called on them to sail across the salt sea. She is gathering quite an army for herself, and it will only get bigger as she will surely stop by Meereen and the other slave cities to clean house. My guess: The penultimate episode of this season will include battles at Riverrun and Winterfell; the end of episode 10 will show Daenerys sailing across the narrow sea, with Theon and Yara in tow.

(I’m really hoping for a How To Train Your Dragon type scene where Drogon has to try to get Rhaegal and Viserion to behave, resulting in much dragon-based hilarity.)

Quick Hits:

We return to King’s Landing, where some major shit is going down. The greatest incestous love story of all time continues to be rekindled. More importantly (unless you are really into romantic incest), The Tyrell forces, with assistance from Jamie, show up to stop Margaery’s walk of atonement. Just before we get to see some of the faith militant receive very deserving beatdowns, the High Sparrow brings out Tommen – who has been converted to the Sparrow’s side by Margaery. The Faith and the Crown have been united and Jamie is off the Kingsguard; sent to Riverrun to deal with rumblings of revolution.

Nasty-ass Walder Frey makes his return to the show: His doltish, homicidal lemmings have lost Riverrun to The Blackfish (we even hear a reference to the Brotherhood Without Banners causing trouble). Old Fart Frey then drags out Edmure Tully, Catelyn and Brynden’s brother, who is technically married to one of Frey’s daughters, with the intention of sending Edmure to retake Riverrun.

BREAKING NEWS: Arya didn’t get her ass whipped this week. She did, however, refuse to go through with her assigned assassination after having a friendly chat with her intended victim. The stupid Waif of course sees this and immediately tells Jaqen, who grants the Waif’s wish to kill Arya. We are left with a scene of Arya digging out Needle; hopefully the first place she sticks it is the Waif’s eye socket.

We covered a lot of ground, and received a lot of forward-moving info, in “Blood of My Blood,” but left out Jon, Sansa, and the rest of the current residents of Castle Black. I’m interested to see what kind of headway they have made with the Houses of the North; I’m even more interested in seeing Brienne and The Blackfish meet.

Until Sunday.

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THRONESDAY : HODOR TRIBUTE (EP 6)

THRONESDAY : HODOR TRIBUTE (EP 6)

Writers note :

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We’re still sad – so we’re taking a moment of silence and giving a fitting a tribute for Hodor from our friend Michael H. Full preview next week and mid season bonus material to come this week.

 

THRONES

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Hodor Forever

Game of Thrones will most certainly not be the same without the exceedingly lovable and gentle giant. Hodor was the only purely “good” person on the show. He never wished anyone harm. He never caused anyone grief. He never put whatever agenda or motives he could have possibly had above the welfare of others. He simply helped. Hodor was the main mode of transportation for another character for crying out loud. Bran could not have survived, let alone get to where he needed to go, without his personal human Uber service.

When Game of Thrones is over, we will look back on the series with wonder at all the amazing scenes and emotions it portrayed. Wyllis-turned-Hodor will be seen as a seminal figure. Not for the foes he defeated, or how well he played the Game, but as a lighthouse-beacon of goodness. Hodor will forever stand out in this cast of characters for the stark contrast he provided to the deluge of nastiness and malevolence that flowed everywhere. Anytime any of us hear someone say “hold the door” IRL it will bring about feelings of heroic sacrifice, loyalty, and effervescent kindness.

Hodor was too full of heart – too full of the things that allow a peaceful and empathetic society to exist – to last forever in this evil and absurdist nightmare. We were able experience complete sorrow and regret when he died because he was the only character really worthy of being unharmed; the only one worthy of escaping death. Swift and exacting justice is what is deserved by most characters in this show. But not Hodor. He didn’t deserve to die, yet he chose to so that his friend might escape. Bran must earn this, at least to the extent that that is possible. Surely Hodor’s sacrifice will not be in vain.

Goodbye, Hodor. You will never be forgotten.

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Beautiful Disasters — Historic Regular Season Teams who fail in the Postseason

Beautiful Disasters — Historic Regular Season Teams who fail in the Postseason

I’m not going to write about the 2007 New England Patriots that finished 18-1. Not going to do it. No way, no how. I’m also not going to write about the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors that finished the regular season 73-9 either, because as of this writing, they’re not out of it yet. But people are talking. Warriors have their back against the wall. They have to win 2 more in a row against Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (and Steven freaking Adams) in order to make it to the NBA Finals, where everyone was sure they were a shoe-in. There is something fascinating about these types of teams – I’ll call them the “Beautiful Disasters” (shout out to 311). They waltz through the regular season, lighting record books on fire, only to hit a randomly-placed brick wall in the postseason.

And then they sink into oblivion, forgotten by a majority of sports fans for eternity…

Do you remember the 2001 Seattle Mariners? No? Exactly. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

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(Author’s Note: I have nothing new to talk about, like, ever. So I just write about old things because I have no new ideas. Don’t tell Mikey. I don’t want the boss to know that my brain is dry.)

 

116 wins in a Major League Baseball season. Baffling. I could not imagine the Red Sox winning 116 games this season and they are currently lighting the world on fire with their offense. It’s amazing. But 116 games is untouchable. Unless you are the 2001 Seattle Mariners. And no one realizes it, because they didn’t win a damn thing (ya know, except 116 regular season games).

Let’s go back to 1999. Ken Griffey Jr. – the best baseball player you and I have ever witnessed – decides he wants out of Seattle. This was the city that made him a superstar, but he wanted to be closer to his family. His resume was the gold standard in baseball in the decade he spent there – 398 home runs, a 1997 MVP award, and on and on. But the team did not perform all too well, only turning in 5 winning seasons between 1989-1999. Once Griffey decided he wanted out, he was traded to Cincinnati for some players and a bag of baseballs (one of those guys was Mike Cameron. We’ll talk about him later). It truly was the end of an era in Mariners history.

Let’s jump forward one year – to 2000. Alongside Griffey, some handsome young chap from Miami, Florida came into his own in the league, making 4 All-Star games while in a Seattle uniform. That handsome young man goes by the name Alex Rodriguez. But we all know that Alex Rodriguez loves money, so as a free agent in 2000, he decided to ship off to Texas to sign the most lucrative contract in sports history at the time – making a whopping $252 million. The 2000 Mariners lost in the ALCS to the New York Yankees. There was still promise, but A-Rod was out of there.

So let’s wind it back and sum it up – two of the greatest baseball players of all-time spent a total of six years on the same team, and they turned in nothing to show for it. Quite literally nothing. And then they both decide to leave within two years of each other, and what remained in that Seattle Mariners locker room was the human form of one giant shoulder shrug.

Another author’s note: first off, don’t complain that I’m pausing again. You chose to read this. Secondly, I said those two guys were two of the best players of all-time. Well, the top five position players of my generation, 90s-00s, goes in order: (1) Griffey; (2) Bonds; (3) Rodriguez; (4) Pujols; (5a) J.D. Drew; (5b) David Eckstein. Fight me, I dare you.

(Editor’s note: I am in the midst of flying 3,000 miles to fight you for that. Like, actually fight. JD FUCKING DREW?!?! )

How the HELL are the Mariners going to fill the gaps that Griffey and Rodriguez left in the line up? Well they went and got Scott Podsednik, Bret Boone, and some guy from Japan that no one had ever heard of on the free agent market. Sweet, guys – have fun in the basement of the AL West forever.

Well, we were all wrong.

mariners

I can’t even tell you how they put it together. I didn’t even mention the fact that Randy Johnson also left Seattle in 1998. They were entirely depleted. And that Japanese free agent – his name was Ichiro Suzuki, by the way – wasn’t performing well in spring training. Jay Buhner injured his foot. It was an unmitigated disaster.

But then somehow, it all clicked, and baseball fans were in for an unbelievable ride. That same Ichiro that barely hit in spring training ended up batting .350 on the year, on his way to the AL MVP award in his first season in the United States. Bret Boone, that free agent pick up the Mariners signed to try and fill some of the hole that was left in the line-up, finished with one of the greatest hitting performances ever by a second basemen: .331, 37 HR, 141 RBI (1,000,000 steroids).

Those were just two of many bright stars. The Mariners ironically hosted the All-Star Game that year as well, in which they boasted 8 players. The AL won 4-1, with Mariners pitchers Freddy Garcia and Kaz Sasaki earning the win and save, respectively.

It is difficult to put the level of Mariners dominance in 2001 into perspective. At the all-star break, for example, they were 63-24. That is an insane record.

Now let’s frame that differently: they had a 19-game lead in their division. NINETEEN GAMES. Their performance was a level of dominance that cannot exactly be quantified – it was simply dominance that was sustained from April to September.

No team-wide records set. A few individual feats here and there – the aforementioned Ichiro MVP… and Rookie of the Year… and AL Batting Champion… and Stolen Base Leader. Freddy Garcia also had the lowest ERA in the AL, so it wasn’t just an offensive onslaught (yes it was. His ERA was 3.05 – a perfect product of the Steroid Era. A 3.05 ain’t going to cut it these days). Crazy-ass Lou Piniella also added a Coach of the Year award to his resume, but that is easy when your team wins 116 games. Hell, even the O.G. DH, Edgar Martinez, who was the man before David Ortiz, if you can remember that time and place, hit .306 with 116 RBIs as a 38-year old. Everyone produced. Remember Mike Cameron, that throw-in in the Griffey trade? Well he threw in a nice 25 HR, 110 RBI performance as well.

But nothing to show for it.

The Mariners ran to Game Five with the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, before knocking them off, only to run into the damn New York Yankees. Two years in a row it would be these two teams battling it out for a spot in the World Series. Man, after writing this I hate the 90s-00s New York Yankees even more. Not only did they ruin my Red Sox-worshipping life but look what they did to the lowly Seattle Mariners. Jesus, man. The Yankees took the series 4-1, with Andy Pettitte earning 2 wins.

The Yankees then lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks to halt a back-to-back-to-back effort. And no team has come close to 116 wins yet. The Cardinals won 105 in 2004. GUESS WHO THEY LOST TO IN THE WORLD SERIES?

Also, if you have made it this far into the piece, congratulations. 1250 words on a team I don’t follow very closely. Here is a nugget for you – isn’t it just sweet, poetic justice that the team that could ruin Golden State’s Mariners-type run through the regular season would be the basketball team that actually left Seattle? Man, when it rains, it pours in Seattle. Sorry, guys.

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LETS MEASURE YOUR ABILITY TO CARE ABOUT THE MENS LACROSSE FINAL FOUR

LETS MEASURE YOUR ABILITY TO CARE ABOUT THE MENS LACROSSE FINAL FOUR

PREVIEW :

*wipes stale tears off face and throws dart at cardboard quint kessnich*

Seriously still bummed about the most fun team in lax getting beat @cuse, seriously still want to fight quint in the parking lot for his bullshit analysis on said game, and seriously seriously bummed about the lack of Molloy today. All things considered it should be a good one – did a few Philly final 4’s as a kid and it was a blast so i can only imagine during more legal years and all that jazz. UNC storyline is great and ya gotta feel good for Breschi, not much on Loyola save Toomey’s consistency and that Spencer kid coming the fuck out of nowhere, would be cool to see brown get through but you gotta count em out without the big horse, Maryland’s been the iota of consistency all season and say what you will about the awfulness of women’s lax the possibility of joint UNC-Maryland championship games on both sides is really fucking cool.

In all seriousness there are few better days on the calendar to get out an enjoy the sun, live it up people.

All aside – let’s see if you give a fuck.

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Split to be read by answer :

NO :

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IDK :

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 10.37.43 AM

 

YES :

14x1km

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A Bunch of Big Ol’ Soccer Games This Weekend

A Bunch of Big Ol’ Soccer Games This Weekend

 

Michael. H looks into an action packed footie weekend

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Here is this weekend’s slate of soccer games with TV information (all times ET):

 

  • Championship Playoff Final: Hull City v Sheffield Wednesday; Wimbley Stadium, London (beIN Sports, Saturday, 11am)

 

  • UEFA Champions League Final: Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid; Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan (FOX, Saturday, 1:45pm)

 

  • International Friendly: USA v Bolivia; Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City (Fox Sports 1, Saturday, 7pm)

 

  • Liga MX Clausura Final: Monterrey v Pachuca; Estadio BBVA Bancomer, Guadalupe (Univision, Sunday, 8:30pm)

 

UEFA Champions League Final

This year’s iteration of the biggest soccer game in the world as long as it’s not a World Cup year will be played by two teams from the same Spanish city. The Madrid Derby is always a raucous affair and, even though the final is being played in Italy, this should be even more drama-filled as the two teams compete for the highest prize in club soccer (plus the whole big brother, little brother thing). Adding to the drama are the rumblings that Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid’s current manager and club legend as a player, may get the boot if his side loses to Atleti. This makes absolutely no sense, but nothing much does in the insane world of European soccer.

Check out this interesting piece by Elliott Turner on Fernando Torres, one of Atletico Madrid’s most worshiped stars, who returned from spells in England and Italy to help lead his boyhood club to the mountain top. Added fuel for the fire: These two met in the 2014 Champions League Final with Real winning 4-1 in extra time. Atleti have been runners-up twice; Real have won the thing ten times (most ever).

 

Championship Playoff Final

Dubbed the “richest game in football,” the winner of the playoff receives promotion to the English Premier League, which is akin to hitting a large-sized Mega Millions jackpot. Various factors go into determining how much a club will receive upon promotion, but Hull City and Sheff Wednesday stand to be awarded, according to Sky Sports (I converted pounds to dollars because I am a genius), between $161 million to $250 million.

Hull City have been a Premier League team with regularity since 2008. They spent this past season in the Championship, seeking to climb back up to the top-flight with a win tomorrow. Sheffield Wednesday (best club name in England) was in the Premiership from 1999-2000, but have not been back since. It’s safe to say that both sets of supporters will be losing their tea-and-strumpet loving minds.

 

Liga MX Clausura Final

The domestic Mexican soccer league is a good league. Level of play and average talent have been higher than MLS for the last 15 years, but I think that has changed recently. Anyway, in Liga MX, the final is decided by a two-game series that uses aggregate scoring (whoever has the most total goals from both games wins). Pachuca won the first leg 1-0, leaving Monterrey with a lot of work to do on Sunday.

Why should you care about this game? Each team has a USMNT defender within its ranks. Edgar Castillo, who was just called in to the US Copa America squad due to an injury to Timmy Chandler, gets regular playing time for Monterrey – although he didn’t play in the first leg. One of Pachuca’s starting center back is Omar Gonzalez, who was probably the worst snub handed out by Jurgen Klinsmann when the 23 for Copa America were revealed. Just to clarify: a large, experienced center back, with a lot of USMNT minutes under his belt, and who is a key player for a team trying to win a league title, was passed over for Michael Orozco, who hasn’t done anything of note for a soccer team ever, probably (3 games for Tijuana this year).

 

USA v Bolivia (Bonus Preferred Lineup)

Bolivia have an OK soccer team, but they are still a South American soccer team (meaning it won’t be a walk in the park). The USMNT are looking to ride the victory wave into Kansas City. A bright second half against a good Ecuador team on Thursday – featuring a lot of young talent – have USA fans feeling hopeful. But there is always the change that Klinsmann will don a blindfold and throw darts at the wall to pick his starting lineup, leaving us with Beckerman starting somehow.

With only two days between games, look for a lot of changes. I really want to see Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, and Bobby Wood to start together. And I REALLY want Michael Bradley in the role he occupied in the second half against Ecuador: deep-lying playmaker. All us fans can really do is hope and wish. Jurgen is about to catch these hands.

 

Preferred Lineup:

 

 

More likely due to resting players:

 

 

Enjoy all the soccer.

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Bernie debates the carrot : why you never fall in love

Bernie debates the carrot : why you never fall in love

Writers note: I swore off political musings until August but I also once swore off natty ice in college and that didn’t eggggzactly go as planned. 

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I will start with this : I like Bernie Sanders, a lot. A whole, fucking, lot. I think he’s cool, I think he’s smart, and I think there’s something indefensibly American about crowdfunding a grassy crunch campaign in the face of Hilary’s donor backed, extortion friendly brand of Americana for white geriatric feminists (sorry mom, luh you).

That said? Under no circumstance have I ever, fucking ever, felt the bern. Anti cult as a generalist, yes, I still find modes of the extensively unappealing about preaching largely unfounded principles of FUCKING SPECULATION BACKED college funding in the face of fantastical wall building. This is to say that nothing is inherently wrong with what Sanders has been doing and, if anything, I’d call it a welcome interjection to the generally full of stale jizz couch cushion of professional politicians who exude the same care for personal freedoms as one might about the rating of an Uber driver who catches traffic en route to a first date.

The point is that Trump-ism of the Republican circus cart has, for good reason, outdone the general ridiculousness of the Democratic race. That is, until now, and if you’d been listening to me you would’ve been able to ignore the yam all along.

Bernie – smart guy he is, “for the people, people” person that he is, is sort of an asshole in his…presentation. Did you forget that he was a politician? Did your pretty little vision of non-student loan Cheesecake Factory dinners cloud the reality that he was running for president of one of the most systemically backwards countries on the entire planet? Did you forget he was fighting Hillary Clinton? Did you forget he was running opposite Donald Trump?

Normal people, no matter how Larry David caricatured they become – do not agree to do these things. You can’t, you can’t, you cannot fall in love wth a political candidate. This is exactly why.

Bernie has recently agreed to debate trump ahead of the California primary. Trump has already clinched the Republican nomination. Bernie? He’s got a 5% chance of winning the state electorate against the Hill.

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Donald will never debate Bernie. Why would he? What’s the point? This is all a joke, correct?

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Bernie, in recent weeks, has continually billed his campaign as the one defeat Trump, and, “defeat him badly” – whatever the fuck that means (although, granted he is polling MUCH better against him than HRC). How do you badly defeat a billionaire who’s, regardless of general election outcome, (spoiler alert, he’s our next president) going to return to his pretty little fake life.

Basically, the dems, with help from Donald and human jizz rag Ted Cruz, managed to slide under the radar of ridiculousness amidst the worst election the *decent American public has ever been subjected to for some six months.

Bernie Sanders is a politician who seems to be a generally good man. When you agree to debate Donald Trump in a desperate clasp for relevancy in a fight for the party of neoliberal Clinton? No, no Bernie – people make mistakes, but that makes you sort of an asshole in circumstance by stooping to the reality.

The fight is not against Trump, nor is it Bernies fight to fight. These are the same “forgotten principles” birthed at the height of southern secession and loved still in quiet murmurs of ones own home. This does not make the Donald’s rhetoric correct, because I’d rather lick the floor of a Golden Corral than vote for the tan one – but all things considered around his campaign – our celebrity powered culture deserves nothing less than an electoral run of this absurdity.

I could all be wrong about this, and that would be kind of cool – but can you really see the pride of Burlington making the blabbering, still indefatigable carrot squirm? I can’t.

If it happens (it won’t), I’ll watch them debate, and hope it fucking burns like the rest of D.C.

WE.ARE.FUCKED.

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