Yesterday…my troubles didn’t exactly go away

The day wasn’t very notable at all. I woke up at about 2:15 just in time to make it to my 2:50 class. The weather was absolutely putrid. Windy, cold, dark, and rainy. The kind of Seatlesque weather that makes magnifies peoples problems and drives them to plunge to their deaths. I’m sure somebody in Durham comitted suicide yesterday. It’s a statistical necessity that someone just got fed up living in the slums of North Carolina. Anyways, I wasted a good amount of time after class, putting up a new post, dropping by Matt and Marc’s room, taking a nap. I woke up at 8:15, picked up some Subway, and trekked over to the library to start up the research for my PS 142 paper. My topic is pretty straightforward. I’m doing a case study of the Power Transition between the U.S. and Britain in the interwar period. I’ll probably put a link to the paper on this blog when I’m done. The library trip itself was intoxicatingly boring. After scrambling around the library to find the necessary books and selecting which ones I was going to take back to the dorm, all in the musty air and ominous lighting that is the Perkins Stacks, I was ready to crash for the night. When I got back to the dorm, Chris was bumming around on his computer as usual. I, honestly, haven’t seen him do any work in the last two weeks, which doesn’t bode well for finals. I messed around with the blog settings a little until I got into bed at 2:00. Chris walked back into the room, high and talking to his mom, which is, sadly, not too surprising anymore. He was still in bed when I woke up today, meaning that he missed at least two classes. I don’t know what the kid is thinking or what his priorities are in life, but he’s got to get that shit together. The worst is to come.

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December 7, 2005 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

Salvaging the Offseason

The Cubs finally did something right this offseason. After letting the Dodgers leapfrog over them in the Rafael Furcal negotiations, the Cubs have traded for Juan Pierre from the Marlins. According to ESPN, here are the details:

The Florida Marlins have tentatively agreed on a four-player deal that would send Juan Pierre to the Chicago Cubs, for three young pitchers — Sergio Mitre and prospects Renyel Pinto and Ricky Nolasco

The acquisition of Pierre is a good for a few reasons. One, it gives the Cubs a legitimate leadoff threat. Pierre gets on base at a high clip and steals the bags with the best of them. He is also relatively young at 28, which means, barring injury, he has at least 4 more years of peak performance left in him. Two, it makes Corey Patterson expendable. With Pierre at the top of the lineup, we can afford to dangle Patterson and see who is willing to overpay for his “Five Tool Prospect” potential. I’ve grown tired of Patterson’s free-swinging ways in the last few years. He has never hit for a high average at the Major League level and has not demonstrated the plate patience required to be a leadoff hitter an any level. Quite frankly, I’ll be glad when he packs up all his “potential” and brings it elsewhere. Third, it was relatively cheap. Sergio Mitre is the only notable prospect in the deal, and like Patterson, he’s a case of potential and nothing more. Mitre has been generally unimpressive everytime he’s called up from Triple A. In his MLB career, he’s pitched 120 innings with a 6.12 ERA. Last season, it was 5.37, still too high to be considered a drastic improvement. Quite frankly, I was glad to see Mitre and his gay ass goatee leave town. He never amounted to anything here anyways. Acquiring Pierre definitely softens the blow of losing out on Furcal. Both have very similar numbers. At the plate, it’s tough to make an arguement of one’s superiority over the other. Furcal hit for a higher average, about 10 points, and has a slightly higher On Base Percentage, about 20 points, last season. But Pierre, throughout his career, has consistently stolen more bases and struck out less. Defensively, both are superior fielders. Based on their fielding alone, either could be up for Gold Glove consideration at any time during their career. The distinguishing factor on defense is that Furcal has a strong arm while Pierre does not. There’s also the question of need. The exit of Nomar made Shortstop the most pressing need at the moment. Taking that all into account, Furcal probably would’ve been the best pickup, but Juan Pierre is not too shabby either.

December 7, 2005 at 4:16 am Leave a comment

A Shot for the Ages?

A Duke student put up a clip of Dockery’s mirculous shot yesterday night. There’s a link at the bottom of this post if you want to download it. Anyways, watching the shot a few times gave me a greater awareness of the luck involved. It was not even a shot, but a “chuck” from nearly mid-court. Yet, people, all through today, are talking about it being a shot for the ages. I think, at this point, the jury is still out. The formula is usually Big play + big game = history. There is no doubt Dockery’s shot was a big play, but it’s unclear whether it was truly a big game. It was still early in the season. Virginia Tech is no pushover as a member of the ACC conference. I, honestly, don’t think we would’ve dropped that far in the polls. Michigan State already has two losses on the year, one to a strong Gonzaga team and the other, in lopsided fashion, to a mediocre Hawaii team. MSU is ranked 14th. A loss to VT may have put us at 10th – 13th, largely because it was on our home court. This drop is really trivial because, it is still early in the season and we have a number of games against tough opponenents to climb back up, like the matchup against #2 Texas next weekend. Last year, North Carolina lost early in the season to Santa Clara, a relative no-name in Division-I basketball. But with the strength of the ACC schedule, they were able to recover to reclaim #1 and win a national chamipionship. There was no reason that if Duke lost last night, it wouldn’t have been able to do the same. Given, the ACC is a weaker conference than it was last year because of the departure of veteran players on key teams, namely North Carolina, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, NC State. But all these teams with the exception of Georgia Tech are still ranked not to mention that BC, #6 currently, joined the ACC over the summer. The point is that the game against VT was a loseable game. Laettner’s shot was during the NCAA tournament. No games, at that point, were loseable. A loss would’ve meant elimination. That is not to say that Dockery made any less of an amazing shot because of the game’s low stakes. But it does make the shot more dispensable in terms of our memory and the history books. Plug Dockery’s shot into the formula and I’m not quite sure what you get. Big play + small game = ? Maybe a few Sportscenter reels and a clip on Ebaumsworld. I think the ultimate test is whether remember Dockery and his heroics are remembered after finals and winter break. And the answer is sad, but sure: Probably not. When we fly or drive back to Durham in the January chill there will be many things on our minds: new classes, telling friends about our break, buying textbooks, rushing and pledging. But Dockery and his 40 foot chuck will not be one of them. It will be a afterthought, mere scribbling on the wall of the cavern that is our minds.

Here’s the link if you were a bum and slept through the game like my roomate.

December 5, 2005 at 10:53 pm Leave a comment

I’d Rather Have 99 Problems

I’m about to go to sleep. It’s almost 7:00 AM. Suprisingly, the day was quite typical for a Sunday. Got up late, slept off the morning stupor, had a productive stretch (finished one of my essays), found a distraction (the basketball game), distraction became longer than I had expected (talked to others about the game, watched Scott play some Perfect Dark Zero), back to work, productive stretch (finished all my written work in my AIDS class) until some ridiculous hour of the morning. The only unexpected was a bitchy Chris, (hence the title.) He pretty much bitched me out about staying up late and doing work to the detriment of his sleep. This pissed me off for a few reasons. One, I was trying very hard not to make too much noise. His noise/light tolerance is just absurd. Two, his inability to sleep was more a product of him smoking up twice that day and taking long naps on both occasions. Three, he effectively sexiled me from the room last night until 5:00 in the morning. If you want to talk about lost sleep, let’s start there. Fourth, our friendship has been tenous as ever since I started out going out less and he started going out more. He gets fucked up on school nights causing him to miss virtually all his classes the next day. He also smokes up three times a week on average now, more than I’ve smoked in any given month. These all basically just highlight the fact that we’re growing apart. At the beginning of the year, we were tight. Now, I’m not so sure. Chris is a good kid at heart, but he’s also one too tempted by desires and whims. The sheer opportunity of getting drunk, getting high, or fucking a bitch is enough to make him drop everything he’s doing. Now, I won’t deny that I am also one to enjoy the “darker” pleasures in life, but the difference is they never control me. I can and have gone whole summers without poker, alcohol, or weed. I don’t need any of them to live a fufilling life. And none of them can compel me to stop either what I want to do or what I have to do. The past few weeks have affirmed that. I’ve had many opportunities to smoke and drink. Some of them have come right to my door, (Ian.) But I have steadfastly done what I wanted to do. I played a lot of MVP Baseball and finished a good amount of work instead. I can only hope Chris can do the same in the near future. Finals week is coming up. The kid said he would study like an animal for this Orgo test, but it doesn’t look like this is going to happen. He’s already behind schedule as a result of his weekend escapades. It sounds really gay, but as a friend, I hope the kid pulls his shit together. He’s definitely one of the smarter kids I’ve known in my life; it’d be a shame to waste it on weed and College humor.

December 5, 2005 at 12:20 pm Leave a comment

Don’t Forget the Asterisk

I’m beginning to love music blogs. I’m finding a lot of Indie music that wasn’t on Torrent Reactor. Furthermore, it combines the reading and downloading task of finding new music. This saves time, which I like a lot. Anyways, I downloaded Stellastarr*’s new album. It’s called Harmonies for the Haunted. I’m already quite taken by a song on the album called Sweet Troubled Soul. I’m going to add Harmonies to the queue for reviews. I realize this queue is getting long, but I’ll finish it one of these days.

December 5, 2005 at 5:50 am Leave a comment

P. Hardy Speaks

After the game, I had a pretty interesting discussion with Phil about the team. He rattled off these 5 givens/laws of Duke basetball. They serve as a pretty caustic commentary on certain players and the team in general. But I feel they are true. And as the name of this blog states: the truth hurts.

  1. If JJ comes out hot in the first, he’ll go cold in the 2nd
  2. If we get a big lead at the end of a game, we always play real conservative and blow the lead
  3. shelden will never be the primary option for an entire game. only a half
  4. JJ never has, nor never will be clutch. He’s good up to a point, but he’s not a clutch player
  5. anytime we play an “athletic” team (AKA black team) they will always give us a run for our money

If I have time after finals, I’ll go back and try to provide supporting evidence for each of these points.

December 5, 2005 at 5:34 am Leave a comment

It Must Be College Basketball

I’ll admit that the chuck by Sean Dockery from midcourt was nothing short of miraculous. It was one those heaves that all you hope for is that it will land somewhere near the hoop. There was a lot of screaming and everyone in Cameron charged onto the floor, but quite honestly, there wasn’t much cause for cheer. The game, aside from Dockery’s heroic antics, was marked by subpar play. A few observations:

1) Lax defensive effort

VT’s guards broke us down off the dribble all night. They got good penetration and made good passes for easy scores. It seemed we were simply helpless in defending the passing lanes or playing competent on-ball defense. Either we had a lapse in defenseive focus or…

2) We’re not athletic enough.

VT had a least five dunks in the first half to our zero. I know that’s not very meaningful stat, but I think it shows the disparity in athleticism between VT’s players and ours. VT’s players were continually breaking us down off the dribble, because they were bigger, faster, quicker, and stronger. We were simply overmatched guarding Collins and his counterpart Gordon. It seemed the absence of Demarcus Nelson really hurt us this game. I’m worried if we can’t match VT athlete for athlete, what are we going to do with Texas next week.

3) Shelden Williams should carry this team not JJ Reddick.

Williams was a consistent force all game. He put defensive pressure on VT’s interior scorers. He dominated the offensive paint pulling down offensive rebounds, making shots, and drawing fouls. He was excelent at the line until he missed a key free throw down the stretch. But, remember, that was only after JJ Reddick stringed together the three worst possessions I have ever seen. The truth, simply put,¬† was that Reddick tried to carry Duke, and he couldn’t. He was stripppd once while attempting a closely guarded three. In the second to final Duke possession, he was drove into the lane and tried to put a shot over three defenders while two other players were open on the wing. Reddick has never been a reliable player, and that’s not all his fault. He is a catch and shoot player. He relies on screens and a hot shot to score. If any are off, Reddick is a nonfactor. For that reason, Reddick cannot and should not carry this team. Shelden William should. He should get key posessions down the stretch. The fact of the matter is that¬† Shelden is simply a more consistent and self-reliant player. He dominates the inside of a paint in a way Reddick will never be able to dominate outside the arc. Shelden’s presence on the floor is felt on both side unlike Reddick. Shelden is blocking and rebounding machine aside from his scoring. Reddick rarely contributes in the assist or steals category. Shelden is consistency. Reddick is sheer potential. On a good night, it is no question who scores more points. But most nights aren’t good nights, and we can’t afford to keep on feeding Reddick the ball on an off night like we can with Shelden. On a bad night Shelden makes ONLY 50%. Reddick made 6 for 19 tonight. That’s 32%. It’s simply no contest. Shelden Williams should be the primary option for Duke. And JJ Reddick can be next if and when he’s open and shooting well. When exactly that will happen, I don’t know.

December 5, 2005 at 5:29 am Leave a comment

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