Archive for April, 2013

I’m Blind. I’m Deaf. I Wanna Be A Ref.

April 24, 2013

Now before I begin my tirade, let me just say this: The Milwaukee Bucks did deserve to lose last night. They hung in there valiantly for three quarters, but at the end of the day just couldn’t get the job done. Quite simply, they were just handled by a much more talented group of basketball players. In fact, my main criticism of the game (which I’ll be getting to in a moment) probably had absolutely no bearing on who came out victorious. Probably.

There. Now that I have that out of the way: Fuck the referees of the National Basketball Association.
In case you’re wondering what I’m referring to, let me give you the play by play (along with my own personal opinion) of how things went down last night at the end of the 1st quarter.

1. After a missed shot attempt by Miami, the ball seemingly comes to rest in the space between the rim and the backboard.
My opinion: A slightly odd occurrence, but not unheard of

2. Lebron James jumps for the ball in an effort to grab the offensive rebound.
My opinion: Totally normal occurrence

3. Before Lebron comes down with it, the ref declares the ball dead, resulting in a jump ball.
My opinion: A questionable call, but could’ve easily been called a live or dead ball

4. Mr. James, unhappy with the decision, frustratingly screams and pouts like a little bitch
My opinion: A bit of an overreaction that was seemingly directed at the ref

5. The ref, believing Lebron’s rage is directed toward his call, issues the almighty King James a technical foul.
My opinion: Perhaps a slight overreaction, but definitely merited

6. A stunned Mr. James runs to the ref and apparently explains that his strong words were directed at himself and not the official.
My opinion: I’m not sure if this exact tactic has been utilized, but it is pretty much standard procedure for an NBA player to dispute just about any call they don’t agree with

7. The referee reverses the call and takes the technical foul away from Lebron James.
My opinion: WHAT THE FUCK?!?

In the 20 plus years I have been watching basketball, I have never once seen or heard of an NBA ref issuing a technical foul and then completely rescinding it to a “no foul” ruling. I guess they don’t call him King James for nothing.

I’m aware that the game of basketball is filled with a plethora of questionable and outright terrible calls, but to me this is on a different level. When I was a kid, I was a huge Michael Jordan fan. Inevitably, someone told me about what came to be known as “The Jordan Step.” (For those unaware, “The Jordan Step” was the occasional extra half-step or so that Michael Jordan would sometimes take while driving to the rim. Typically, the refs did not call travelling when “The Jordan Step” was taken.) After seeing that, it became painfully obvious that referees in just about every sport will turn the occasional blind-eye to penalties and fouls committed by marquee players. It’s something that fans have come to expect as a part of the game.

Yesterday’s blown call however, was a horse of a different color because a foul was actually issued. The ref could’ve easily looked the other way and let Lebron throw his little tantrum without consequence, but he didn’t. He clearly gave the signal for a technical foul on James, and once you do that there’s no going back…or so I thought.

I have no idea what King James did or said to that referee to get him to reverse that call, and guessing what it may have been just pisses me off more. All I know is that he talked the Bucks out of a free throw attempt (that they probably would’ve missed) and a possession. Also, let’s not forget the fact that Lebron also weasled his way out of the automatic fine given to any player receiving a technical foul in the playoffs.

It’s a safe assumption to say that just about everyone counted the Bucks out against the Heat in this series. But despite how out-matched Milwaukee was, I thought they would at least get a fair shake at taking down the defending champs. Obviously, that is not the case.

Tomorrow the Miami Heat will come to Milwaukee for Game 3. And seeing as Game 4 is also in the Brew City on Sunday, I would assume the team will be staying in town through the weekend. So if anyone happens to see Lebron, Wade, or Bosh out on the town….buy them a drink. In fact, buy them 10. We need all the help we can get.

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Review – American Idiot: The Musical

April 16, 2013

american-idiot-logo

“I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
-Arnold Schwarzenegger

Had it not been for that intolerantly stupid quote seen above, I may have never come to see American Idiot: The Musical. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning.

In September of 2004 when American Idiot (the album) was released, I was one of the 267,000 people who bought it the week it came out. I didn’t have any extreme love or hate for the first single, but I did already own every other Green Day album and found it necessary to keep the collection current. I had previously read all the hype surrounding the record and the praise Billy Joe Armstrong was receiving for creating a concept album that was being hailed as the first ever “punk rock opera.” As for me, I probably would’ve been more impressed if the band would’ve released a cover album. I mean let’s face facts, even the best concept album could easily be called “a lackluster effort.” After all, the songwriters didn’t even have the motivation to tell more than one story. Those lazy bastards just wrote one song and turned it into an hour-long record!

Despite these things, I did my best to give the album an honest and unbiased listen. When I was done I had found what I thought were a few standout tracks (“St. Jimmy” and “Whatsername”) and I chalked American Idiot up as a solid release from a band that has truly never disappointed me. (Wow, I just realized that as I typed it.)

And then the insanity began.

Now, I understand that Green Day is by no means some fledgling little band trying to break out of the underground. Since 1994, Billy Joe & Co. have been staples on MTV and mainstream radio. They’ve sold millions of records and sustained a longevity that is surely coveted by any other band today. But even knowing all these things, I still had no inclination how much bigger Green Day could get.

As the album was released and 2004 bled into 2005, I was simply bombarded with single after single after single. All together, five separate songs were released from American Idiot. And from the insane regularity that each one was played on radio and MTV, you would’ve guessed that people were being paid for listening to them. All of sudden, these three guys in their mid-thirties started rocking heavy amounts of “guyliner” and quickly became poster children for a rebellious anti-George Bush youth. And that goddamn heart-shaped grenade from the album cover was everywhere. I’m fairly sure that Hot Topic adopted it as their official logo for a year or two.

As you may have figured out, the mid 2000s found me a bit burned out on Green Day, specifically American Idiot. When their next album, 21st Century Breakdown, was released, I was absolutely overjoyed that it wasn’t greeted with the absolute madness as the previous release. Even though Green Day was still one of the most popular bands around, it seemed that the hysteria had finally subsided.

And then in April of 2010, American Idiot: The Musical premiered on Broadway.

Now I don’t want to get into a debate about who or what is “punk rock,” but I think we can all agree that Broadway musicals are clearly not. And yes, I know that inevitably all of us are doomed to grow up and sellout in our own ways, but a musical? A Broadway musical? Really? Did The Ramones write an opera? Did the Sex Pistols perform ballet? No. They did not. And to be perfectly honest, hearing that American Idiot had become a musical did, in its own way, break my grenade-shaped heart.

But at the end of day, we all have to grow up. And as time passed, I actually learned to accept the fact that punk rock, albeit in a rather mutated form, had made its way to Broadway. I even started to embrace it a little. I realized that as my generation hits middle age, the world has no choice but to cater to what we want. And apparently we want good music in our commercials, epic comic book movies, and punk rock musicals. So maybe it wasn’t all bad. But for as much acceptance as I began to have for the situation; one thing was abundantly clear. I was not going to see that goddamn musical.

Then about a month ago, I was driving home from work when my local radio station announced they would be giving a prize to the first person to call in and answer a trivia question. I had no idea what the prize would be, but I called the station before the question was even asked (because I am a smartass at heart). And wouldn’t you know it, the line was ringing! I then turned the stereo up to hear the question:

“Who said ‘I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman’?”

Holy Shit! I knew it. I patiently waited about 20 seconds until the DJ picked up the phone.

“You got the answer?”

“Yup. It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger.”

“That is correct. You’ve just won two tickets to Green Day’s American Idiot: The Muscial

“What?”

Seeing as my wife was interested in seeing the show, I decided to put my vow to never see this aside and find out for myself just how bad this was.

So after 900 words, here is my official review of American Idiot: The Musical. I didn’t hate it.

In fact, since seeing the show I’ve actually gone back and revisited Amercian Idiot (the album), and subsequently have found a new appreciation for it; proving once and for all that I am a massive tool. And I most certainly am not “punk rock.”

Look.Listen.Read: “Breezeblocks” & “Oh My Dayum!”

April 9, 2013

Other than being stuck in my head for the past week, these two songs have nothing in common.