9/25/2011

Magic's last game was Michael's first ring

I didn't realize that.  or maybe i just forgot, it was 20 years ago.  but it's kind of amazing.  the brief summary:
On June 12, 1991, Michael's Chicago Bulls beat Magic's Lakers to win their first title ever.  Before the next season started, Magic would announce that had HIV and would retire.  Magic briefly returned to the NBA 5 years later, but it was just a 17 game tour.

the other night while watching my new favorite show, the NBA channel's "hardwood classics".  They were showing that game.  i was afraid it would be sad, but it was incredible.

the lakers were down 3 games to 1, so the series was clearly going chicago's way.  but the game was in LA, and the lakers played well.  this was a different laker team than the current version.  when they lost a series (or a championship), they lost clawing and fighting.  to their last breath.

chicago was better.  their defense was scary:  long arms, quick hands, tall players and fast guards.  but magic's triple-double kept them in it (16 points, 20 assists, 11 rebounds, in 48 minutes).  but he didn't have anyone else to carry the load.  worthy and scott were injured in the previous game, kareem was retired, kobe was 12.

what i noticed most were 3 things:

  1. "magic can take 3 shots and still dominate a game".  Dr J said that.  its true.  the lakers played an NBA finals game, without 2 of their top 3 scorers.  the other (magic) took 12 shots.  and they were in the game til the last minute.  there was just something about that guy that made his team better.  elden campbell and terry teagle shouldn't be trading punches with scottie pippen and michael jordan, but they were.  
  2. scottie pippen was sick.  sick.  he was as good as anyone on the floor.  he could take it to the rack anytime he wanted.  his arms made him 7'4".  he could rebound.  he could shoot.  i didn't find a flaw with his game.
  3. this game was a passing of the torch, quite literally.  the sport has a long history of great players, who defined their era, passing the role to the next guy.  wilt and russell dominated, and then came kareem.  bird and magic dominated, until bird's dominance ended prematurely.  he even called out the moment (in the middle of the '87 finals) saying "he's the best there is" about magic after his game 4 winning shot.  jordan watched magic and bird dominate for years, even though he was clearly the most exciting and talented player in the league.  with this game, jordan took the throne.  what i noticed most about jordan was that he could score constantly.  not only because he could get to the rim every time, but because he had to.  he played with an intensity that set him apart.

also obvious in watching jordan, is how much kobe plays like him.  almost identical.  the drop step, the drive-hang-and-wait, the jumper, and the intensity.  and like his mentor, his intensity sets him apart.  some mock kobe for this mimicry, but another perspective is that we're lucky.  after losing michael, we got kobe.

9/12/2011

Apparently we're racists

The IAT (implicit association test) is used to judge whether people have subconscious preferences towards groups of other people. JAMA (journal of the American medical association) recently published a study in which IATs were used on incoming medical students to see if they have any hidden biases. Long story short, they do. And if you extrapolate this group to represent all of us, well, we're racists.
It's a good discussion, can we extrapolate med students to represent regular normal people. People like you and me. There are some reasons why you can't, but that's not really my subject today. So if you have a major problem with this assumption, uh, I guess you should stop reading and leave a nasty comment below.
Ok, for the rest of you...
This study showed that Americans have a bias towards white people and towards the upper class. That is, they are more likely to think and act favorably (in an unconscious way, not in a deliberate purposeful way) towards those groups. In fact when conscious choice is measured, people are pretty fair. That is, they try to treat people equally.  And by the way, this article just looked at "whites" and "blacks".

So there it is. It's measurable. It's unequivocal. Smarty-pantses at Harvard have proven it. We prefer wealthy white people. Can we have a moment to digest this?

Is this really a shock?

I mean, shouldn't we naturally try to show favor towards the powerful? Throughout animal history, hasn't it always been to one's advantage to gain favor from those in power?

Hang on, this is not going to devolve into a "justification of racism" blog.

I'm just stunned by the implication that this test makes. Not whether they're right or wrong with their findings. But that this stuff is measurable and they've come to a conclusion... we're racists.

And there's good reasons for it. We've been socialized that way.
Exhibit A - google "black people", you see this one first.
Exhibit B - google "white people", you get this story first. (Chinese companies rent white people)

These are poor examples, sorta.  but my point isn't whether or not americans have been socialized towards certain stereotypes about whites, blacks, or for that matter, women, men, latinos, men who make pastries, women who play professional softball, etc.  for me this is a given, we're socialized.

my point IS that we now have a scientific conclusion to that socialization.  it creates unconscious decisions.  aka, racism.

hey racists, isn't that a relief.  it's not your fault.  if you grew up in LA hating USC and everything they stood for and everyone who rooted for them, well that's pretty much the same thing.

hopefully, this leads to a greater understanding of the power of our socialization and more intention behind the images and stories we support.

even more interesting to me, though, is the question "what is racism?".  shouldn't we judge people more on their actions (conscious decisions) than their thoughts (conscious or unconscious)?

9/10/2011

ambien... wtf?

ok... it's pretty clear that ambien is NOT ok.  and for those keeping score at home, any post with a title that ends "... on ambien" was written just after taking the popular insomnia drug.
the posts usually start out just fine.  some normal rambling about something of particular importance to me, and then they change.  and then they go astray.  and by the end, they make no sense whatsoever.
here's a short sampling...


"even writing this message, n ambien, tpied int oridig marchmallows, it quite difficult.  'it looks like a holte in the beach somewheel."


"ooops, the shower's been on.  damn,allthehotwaters gone"


"what's hotter than the shape of a magnum burned into the chest hair of magnum PI   someone photoshop that for me and i'll make you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams"


am i scooping mellon-ball sized chunks out of my brain?  or am i just skipping steps in the thought process?

on stage i used to say that ambien was like a 'one night stand with alzheimers'.  i hope so!

did you know it's the #1 sleep agent prescribed by me?
did you know that many olympic athletes use the medication to sleep for a few hours between races, while being jacked up on PEDs?
did you know this (shout to cracked.com)...


9/08/2011

Dude Runs Across Freeway! On Ambien

i was driving home a few minutes ago (11:15pm local time) when i saw a guy run across the freeway.  freaked my shit out!
i'm zooming along in very light traffic, then i see a person on the side hop over the side rail.  now the freeway i'm on is elevated, about two stories about the street, so this took some work.  and we're NOT in a good neighborhood.
as soon as he gets over the rail, he starts running.  i'm in the 3rd lane (of 5) but i'm not sure i'll miss him.  so i swerve to my left while honking.  he just keeps going.  fortunately, there was a break in the cars right behind me, so he had a fighting chance of making it to the center divider.
this is a 10 lane freeway!
the guy was black, wearing red hot pants, a white tank top, and one of those reggae knit caps.  like this:
wtf was he doing?
had to be running from someone right?  or high.
or maybe he found a portal to another dimension
or had no health care?  (see a prior post)

the effect it had on me was fear.  i'm afraid of people who don't show the same attachment to life/health/physicality that i do.  Andrew Sullivan explains this well in a piece about the suicide bombers in 9/11 (see) link
"a suicide attack is one of the most terrorizing, because you know that the will behind it is beyond the usual parameters of human nature. Like kamikaze missions, the tactic was a sign that these men were operating on a different matrix from the rest of us."
if this were the Matrix, an agent easily could have jumped into my body in order to quell some unrest and/or destroy the rebels that were "taking the freeways".
and heaven forbid if i saw another one.  instantly they'd be related.  whether in family or just circumstance.  impossible to see these as two distinct random events.
a third and it's a movement.
when does it become a revolutions

... because that's exactly what we're talking about.  a revolution.
and what will it take.  what level of discomfort with life as we know it, will make revolution an obiouvs alternative.

we're there noW!  we just have plenty of 'things' that people need, so we stay satisfied.  it's enough.  but we all feel  that were living some kind of partial truth.  and we can wait to have our kids see it.  then we can say "see, this is what we've been living it."  on the other hands, one they see it will be devastating.  we'll have to lie in the piss and squalor with our own children and admit "we know, and there's noting we' re doing about it."