friends, NBA, readers forum

Scott Guldin Takes The Plunge.

Of all the voices chiming in at the Voreblog NBA Playoffs Readers Forum, one has been conspicuously absent: that of good friend and Chicago Bulls fan, Scott Guldin. There has been some playful banter back and forth between Ben and Scott about Ben jinxing the Bulls this year by coming out as a Chicago fan and predicting this Bulls team has the horse sense to win it all. (Yes, that was a What About Bob? reference.)

Scott texted Ben last night to say he hasn’t been commenting on the forum because “at first I was bummed at the Bulls’ sluggish performance, and now out of sheer superstition.”

Then, today, he took the plunge.

I remain optimistic about Chicago’s chances. (After watching Oklahoma City tonight, though, I remain decidedly less optimistic about theirs.) I won’t go so far as to say Chicago wins game three, but I think the Bulls return to Chicago with the series tied at two apiece.

In the meantime, Scott asks the Voreblog readership why he cares so much about the outcome of a sporting contest. He wants your theories to wash over him like a healing salve. You can join the conversation and share them here. Bonus! Matthew Leathers, who is reportedly in Cincinnati this weekend, may chime in and lose his mind if his Canucks drop tomorrow’s game four and head back to Vancouver with the series tied. Or you may not care whatsoever and are simply waiting for “The Bachelorette” to premiere on Monday. Whatever the case may be, let’s go Bulls.

NBA, poop, readers forum, sports, Utah Jazz

Where Shenanigans And Poop Jokes Happen: A Special, Non-Utah Jazz NBA Playoffs Readers Forum (or, “If Scott Guldin Told Me Fourteen Years Ago I’d Be Pulling For The Chicago Bulls, I’d Have Sworn He Was Trying To Sell Me A Bridge”)

x

The most commented-upon posts in our blog’s brief history are the 2009 and 2010 NBA Playoffs Readers Forums. (Last year’s post had 170 comments, on topics as diverse as Scott Hastings’ Shoe Cam, Yoda’s age, T-shirts you regret buying and whether or not Mike Breen’s eyes are actually located in his colon. Plus there were some diarrhea jokes. Good times all around.) This is in part because the playoffs stretch on for two months (or what feels to Erin like two bazillion years). This is also because Scott Guldin and Denys “Yellow Thunder” Lai are devoted readers and diehard NBA fans, while Matthew Leathers cannot stop rambling on about the Vancouver Canucks.

What’s different about the 2011 NBA Playoffs is that my (Ben’s) beloved Utah Jazz are not in them. It’s been five years since Utah missed the postseason. It did so in stunningly self-immolating fashion. First Jerry Sloan left, then Deron Williams was traded, then — in a perfect summation of the way things went this year — Andrei Kirilenko and his expiring contract missed a layup.

What do Utah Jazz fans do with all this free time in April, you ask? Answer: Photoshop. (To appreciate the humor here, you should know that the theme is “Gone Fishing.”)

What else do we do? Find a new horse. Because I can’t not obsessively follow the NBA, watching a postseason without Utah is usually an exercise in rooting against teams (i.e., the Lakers, Spurs, Heat, etc.). This year, though, I’m pulling for two teams: the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder. I’ve previously written about my change of heart with regard to Chicago. The Thunder are just a likable bunch. They’ll run the Spurs out of town in the second round and maybe, just maybe, take down the Lakers in the Conference Finals.

My preseason prediction was the Lakers over the Celtics in the Finals. My head says I should stick with that. My heart says it’ll be a Bulls/Thunder championship, with MVP Derrick Rose delivering Chicago its first post-MJ title. If it doesn’t happen, Scott Guldin will say I jinxed it. Believe me, Scott — this is not a latent desire to avenge Utah’s Finals losses, or the time you made me wear a Bulls shirt into Peirce. I hate everyone else in the East. Everyone. Plus your Bulls are practically Utah East, what with Boozer, Brewer and Korver. (I’m here for you anytime you need to talk about Boozer’s maddeningly inconsistent postseason play. I’ve been there. It’s not easy.)

Join the conversation in the comment thread.

Go Bulls! And Thunder!

readers forum, sports

Revisiting the Thirteenth Voreblog Readers Forum: The Agony of Defeat, Continued.

x

Woe.

x

You may recall (though there is no compelling reason why you should) that we once had a Readers Forum on the topic of sports fan misery.

In a comment on said forum, Matt Masterson contended that there is no more accursed creature on earth than a Cincinnati Bengals fan.

Now, proving his point, Matt has requested that this topic be revisited in the following fashion:

“I believe based on 3 stats I can prove the Bengals are the most pathetic of all the pathetic franchises. I say you open it up to all readers. Give them a chance to post the three stats that best prove the pathetic nature of their favorite pathetic sports franchise.”

Because this exercise could possibly prove to be in some way cathartic for Matt and his fellow “Who Dey” sufferers (Paul Daugherty devoted an entire column to them in yesterday’s Enquirer), and because Mr. Andrew Cashmere recently lamented that we have not had ourselves a good Readers Forum in a while, we will indulge them by opening it up and inviting you to participate.

I (Ben) maintain that the most miserable sports fans are those like myself who root for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Wait! some might say. The Pirates have been world champs before! Shouldn’t that alone disqualify them from this misery fest?

And here’s where I’ll invoke the “in my lifetime” rule to this forum. The Pirates have been world champs in my lifetime, but I was two when it happened (1979). That doesn’t count.

My formative years were spent knowing nothing but defeat, spare a three year run as NL East champs (1990-1992) that ended in a soul-crushing loss (Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS in Atlanta) which was a defining moment of my difficult teenage existence.

But Mr. Masterson wants stats, so I’ll give him stats.

1. Since that Game 7 loss, the Pirates have never had a winning season. That’s eighteen consecutive losing seasons.

2. That’s the longest streak not just in MLB history but in all of professional sports.

3. Matt will tell you that the Bengals have the worst winning percentage of any sports team over the past two decades — even worse than the Pirates. This may be true. But Pittsburgh has lost 1,530 games since Sid Bream slid past Mike LaValliere. I just spent the past fifteen minutes researching that statistic. That’s pretty pathetic all by itself.

Matt et al. — the floor is yours.

But first, a gallery of losers:

x

“I lost, and I still have bad b.o.!”

x

“Why did they make this bar exactly five feet ten inches tall??”

x


“We’re losers AND Bruce Pearl is our coach!”

x

“I thought British Knights were still cool!”

x

“Uh, Timmy, your Pinewood Derby car is a block of Gouda cheese.”

x


“It’s complicated, Lena.”

x

Life isn’t fair, Becky.

readers forum, sports

Forgetfulness

Impromptu Voreblog Readers Forum!

What have you forgotten how to do in the last fifteen years?

Ben graduated from high school fifteen years ago, and he has forgotten everything from pre-algebra through calculus. Integers. The Pythagorean theorem. Cosines. Differential equations. Euler’s formula. The Leibniz notation. All of it, flushed out his brain like Draino obliterating a hair clog in the shower.

Erin has forgotten how to play Nukem — a game that Ben did not believe was real until he just Googled it. (“It’s like volleyball but you catch it.” “It’s like volleyball but you catch it? And you’re making fun of me because I’ve never heard of it?”)

(“I’ve also forgotten all fifty state capitols,” Erin said.)

If you’re the hometown Cincinnati Reds? Well, since 1995, the last time you appeared in the postseason: you forgot how to hit.

Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay pitched the second no-hitter in postseason history today, blanking the Reds 4-0.

Let’s go, um, Reds.

[sigh]

friends, NBA, readers forum, sports, Utah Jazz

Where Shenanigans Happen Redux: A Special NBA Playoffs Readers Forum (or, “If You Think Yellow Thunder Won’t Bring Up Baron Davis’s Dunk Over Andrei Kirilenko in Game Three of the 2007 Jazz/Warriors Series, I Have a Bridge In Brooklyn To Sell You”)

x

In the brief history of this blog, no post has been more frequently commented upon or viewed than last year’s NBA Playoffs Thread, which made reference to the expression “I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you,” an expression Ben was previously unfamiliar with. To quote Wikipedia, “References to ‘selling the Brooklyn Bridge’ abound in American culture, sometimes as examples of rural gullibility but more often in connection with an idea that strains credulity.” Ironically, the popularity of this post may have less to do with its subject matter — we surely have lost twice as many readers for our incessant Utah Jazz/NBA blogging as we gained — and more to do with the fact that, somehow or another, we landed on the first page of images when you Google “Brooklyn Bridge.” The search term “Brooklyn Bridge” is almost always the top way that people find our blog on a daily basis. Unless they are rabid Jazz fans or enjoy pictures of obese cats, it’s unlikely they hang around long.

We are resurrecting the image this year to launch the 2010 NBA Playoffs Readers Forum. You’ll also notice the Brooklyn Bridge has replaced those two semi-nude wrestlers on the sidebar who previously served as a link to Wandering Rocks, our well-intentioned, ill-fated attempt to read and group blog Ulysses. All throughout the playoffs — even if, heaven forbid, Utah disappears after the first round — you can comment on this thread with your thoughts and insights, no matter how tangential they may be to actual basketball. Some questions to kick us off: Who will win it all this year? Can Utah survive long enough (i.e., get to the second round) for Andrei Kirilenko to return from a strained left calf? Will George Karl’s absence on the bench affect the Denver Nuggets? Will Kevin Durant make a splash in his playoff debut? Are the Lakers out of gas? Who will be this year’s Mikael Pietrus, i.e., the role player who plays out of his mind and develops a bizarre tic such as bobbing his head like a goof after every jumper? Will a championship ring keep LeBron in Cleveland? Will Ric Bucher retire in shame for predicting that the Celtics will make the Eastern Conference Finals? Will Yellow Thunder bring his A game even though the Warriors have nothing to look forward to but the draft lottery (and the silky, smooth jumper of Jon Scheyer)? Will Andrew Cashmere’s investment in a LeBron jersey last November pay off? Will Scott Guldin challenge Rajon Rondo to a good, old-fashioned duel … to the death??

Join the conversation! Comment now!

parenthood, readers forum

Special Readers Forum: Baby Edition!

Many of you, in your kind words responding to yesterday’s post, have already sounded off on the matter of whether or not we should find out the gender of Baby Voreblog. You’ve been appraised as to where the respective sides stand on this matter: Erin wants to know. Ben does not.

What should we do?

Let’s put it to a vote!

x

A deal was put on the table. Erin agreed not to find out … if Ben agreed to buy her a weiner dog.

Let’s put it to another vote!

x

Further comments and parenting insights welcome, as always. As well as all the usual digressions that accompany a good Readers Forum. Since we’re already on a roll on the previous post, please direct your comments there. We’ll throw out a starter question: What’s the best — or worst — piece of parenting advice you’ve ever heard or been given?

books, friends, movies, music, readers forum, television

Best Of The Decade: A Voreblog Readers Forum Ten Years In The Making

x

Everyone who’s anyone as an esteemed cultural critic is slapping together a “Best of the Decade” retrospective, be it magazines (Paste, Entertainment Weekly, New York), newspapers (The Guardian, The Onion), or The Mecum Family. We will attempt no such exhaustive glimpse back in this space — we’re busy enough contemplating the Best of 2009.

However, we invite you to be as exhaustive as you like. What movie, book, CD or TV show defined the aughts for you? When you think back on the 2000s, which piece of art endures?

If The Mecums didn’t put Gosford Park on their Top Ten list, we wonder: What did they put?

Other thoughts scroll through our mind at night. Like:

What album touched the depths of Emily Huie’s soul in the past ten years?

Which film renewed Scott Guldin’s faith in humanity after his tragic pre-millennial dirigible accident?

What TV show — besides “The Gilmore Girls” — did Andrew Cashmere turn to after “Becker” was cancelled in 2004?

And what book — besides It’s Hard Out Here For a Shrimp — did Mike Allen pick up for inspiration when his roller derby career went south after his 2001 career-ending injury?

Of course, you are also welcome to write about, say, the Best Worst Things of the past ten years. Like: The Best Bad Movies of the 2000s. (The A.V. Club ranks Wicker Man #2 on its list.) Or: The Best NBA Players to Root Against. Or: The Best Evil Company Spokespeople.

Invent your own categories.

Be creative.

And comment now!