Monday, September 29, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Novel Giveaway: Precious Meddle by Chris DeBrie

Announcing a giveaway of Chris DeBrie's novella, "Precious Meddle." The first interested commenter to this post will win a signed copy.

Angel Lyman is a U.S. Marine with superhuman abilities and a troubled heart. Priya Blue is now boss over her late father's record label, adding to her already-stacked list of responsibilities and worries. Wolfe is an about-to-be-famous rap prodigy with no history in the industry and very little street credibility.... There is a collision on the horizon.

The winner will also receive "Selective Focus", the story that precedes "Precious Meddle".... Thanks and enjoy!
Ebook readers can download all DeBrie books at Smashwords. It's free....

Monday, May 12, 2014

Stamp Collection: Santa Claus and Elves

These stamps are from an envelope someone sent from Latvia to the U.S., around 1999. There are more stamps on the collection page.
For an illustrated look at Santa, go here.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

NBA Playoffs 2014: Miami Heat Can't Handle Duke Blue Devils

The Miami Heat keep getting facialized by former Duke University players late in the 2013-14 season. Did "King" James insult the Dookies publicly? Maybe Coach K, who knows the pros pretty well after his time with them during the Olympics, gave his old players some tips...
Josh McRoberts makes a poster out of Chris 'Birdman' Andersen.

Mason Plumlee stuffs LeBron James potential game-winner.

Monday, April 7, 2014

NCAA Tournament 2014: Kentucky v. Connecticut

No matter who won the national championship, it is great that coach John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats once again stood at the top of men's college basketball with transient young talent.

It is excellent that the delusional "college hoops is better than pro because it is pure" advocate was left foaming at the mouth, as experienced teams were beaten by kids who are barely old enough to vote.
"Put my money on UK-NBA feeder program to win," wrote one web commenter, "but, my heart and soul is with UCONN for student-athlete respect and integrity."
Obviously, that sports fan did not read, or ignored, the fact that the University of Connecticut just came off probation! Even if we argue that those violations had little to do with this year's players... it does show that the perception of the "integrity" of college athletics is an illusion that needs to be shattered. But people continue to cling.
The real issue here is that the NBA is simply better basketball than college ball. That infuriates the college fan who clings to the false idea of amateur athletics at our higher learning institutions.

If you really believe college sports are pure, then the approaching unionization should splash a little cold water in your face.
The argument of keeping players in school longer has almost nothing to do with giving young men the mythical "university experience." That is a fat softball of a lie which should be smacked out of the park. But people who know better don't stand up and say so in public, maybe for fear of looking like they don't support education.
Stopping one-and-dones also has little connection to the quality of the college game. If that were true, then the talented freshmen who only stay one year in school would not keep beating the three- and four-year players! This is not difficult to figure out. Elite talent wins. The fiction of lesser players who are a tight-knit group beating the top shelf talent needs to be exposed, as it doesn't happen very often. Hoosiers was a Hollywood concoction; in real life, if you are simply better than me, at some point it won't matter how savvy I am... you will dominate nine times out of ten. Yea, life isn't fair.
The real reason that the NBA and NCAA will collaborate to keep basketball players in school, or to figure some other way to delay their professional paydays, is because the college game is weak. Most "experts" (which these days is defined as someone, knowledgable or not, who has access to large audiences and talks a whole lot), agree that the NCAA is watered down.
The goal is to augment the college game by forcing top talent into universities, which will do at least two things: (1) Pump up the NCAA's visibility with better players, as every casual fan knows to ignore these intramural-style games until late February, and (2) Stick a finger in the eye of the NBA, a league that has a combination of money and glamour that college just can't match.
There is one other issue that, so far, no one wants to touch in major media: That all these black young "thugs" enter the pro draft and get paid millions simply galls a lot of people. As we have mentioned before, there is no outcry when any other sport's athletes go pro as young adults (with the obvious exception of football).
"The college experience is so beneficial." Not necessarily. The high school grad who can't afford, or doesn't have the academic performance to attend college, will interact with a world's variety of people by working the cash register at a Popeye's Chicken. That's a chance to mix with different people and learn a lot about diverse personalities, too. It's a forced argument when we all know that the talented ball player is usually not there for classes, at least not primarily. Making education a priority begins from the ground up... not when a person is already 18 and has devoted hours per week to developing his crossover dribble.
"Well, these guys don't know the fundamentals." Then why wait until college to teach them? Why not when they are small boys, before the AAU stardom march begins? If the fundamentals are lacking, AAU and high school is too late. This is why the "basics of the game" argument is simply another lie.
Until the one-and-dones are outlawed, hopefully 17- and 18-year-old phenoms will contend for the college title every season.