Showing posts from November, 2008

Classic card of the week

Bill Hanzlik, 1989 NBA Hoops

On one fateful day back in 1988, Bill Hanzlik crossed over James Worthy. Straight up crossed him. Worthy stood knee-locked for four seconds, not knowing where he was or what day it was or what a Laker is even supposed to be. Meanwhile, Bill Hanzlik -- who was more shocked at what had just happened than anyone else in the building -- drove past Worthy on a cloud of fear-induced adrenaline, hoping to reach the basket before Worthy gathered his bearings and recovered in time to use his superior athletic ability to smash Bill Hanzlik’s face into to the basket support as retribution for his public humiliation.

When he wasn’t busy crossing fools over, Bill Hanzlik was revolutionizing the bowl haircut + mustache + bowl full of weed combination.

Throw in the worst idea in uniform history and the overall fashion sensibilities of the late-80s, and you’re left with Bill Hanzlik: playa for life. Except, of course, when he was having back surgery:

Play limited due to bac…

A tradition unlike any other

Note: This column appears in the 11/26 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 11/28 issue of the Peoria Times

Thanksgiving traditions tend to change over the years.

My wife and I inadvertently initiated this holiday alteration when we decided to move here to Arizona all the way from New Jersey. And let me tell you something: Thanksgiving is quite different when you don’t eat meat and your family is thousands of miles away.

Back home, our tradition had always been this: Breakfast with my parents, then we’d spend the next few hours trapped in our car on the Outerbridge Crossing trying to get into Staten Island to see my wife’s uncle and the rest of the family for dinner, then back to NJ to my aunt’s house for dessert and our regular game of “which cousin got the drunkest?” It was always a busy day, but one of the best. My wife’s favorite, in fact.

Last year was slightly different. We simply couldn’t travel back home for both holidays, so we knew we’d be on our own. We wanted to make the best o…

Classic card of the week

Craig Ehlo, 1993-94 Topps

There are several ways one can choose to remember Craig Ehlo. One way involves the words: “Shot on Ehlo, GOOD! GOOD! BULLS WIN! BULLS WIN!” Another way to remember Craig Ehlo is this: super intense dribbler. I choose the latter.

Let’s go to the back of the card. But before we do, I ask all of you to graciously ignore the words “Spring shot” which randomly appear in red and blue lettering, and which – after hours of exhausting research – have no bearing on the overall content of this card. In fact, let’s jump right to “the buzz” surrounding Craig Ehlo. There is a lot of it, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Per minute, Ehlo ranked in the TOP 11% of the NBA in 3PM

Top 11%? That's almost top 10! Percent! This is a great stat to throw out if you are lucky enough to be invited to a Craig Ehlo-themed party. Or, you could also play the Craig Ehlo Arbitrary Statistic Game Where You Make Up A Craig Ehlo Stat That Nobody In Their Right Mind Would Ever Bother Looking Up (Mil…

Paying it forward and not looking back

Note: This column appears in the 11/20 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 11/21 issue of the Peoria Times

I’m not much of a good deed type of person. It’s not that I don’t want to perform good deeds, it’s just that doing so is not as instinctual for me as it is for others. For example, last Saturday night my wife and I were out for a drink with friends. While we were standing around talking, a very drunk man fell off of his barstool behind me. My first instinct was not to help the guy up, but to make sure everyone else saw this happen, because I thought it was funny. By the time the bouncers were hauling him outta there, the look on my wife’s face said it all -- Good deed: Unaccomplished.

Because I am apparently not the type of person to spontaneously spring into action, my good deeds must be carefully plotted out. I must create opportunities, or, at this rate, I am going to be in big trouble down the line. But here’s the other thing: Good deeds are not always accepted with open arms (…

Classic card of the week

Uwe Blab, 1989 NBA Hoops

So let’s say you’re Uwe Blab. It’s 1977 and you’re living in West Germany. Your name is Uwe Blab. You are 15 years old and like, 12-feet tall and have red hair. You have never seen a basketball before. Somebody hands you a basketball. You eat it. Somebody hands you another basketball and explains how to use it. You think the sport is an efficient game, and you decide to make it your career.

You fear the western culture and multi-syllabled names of the United States, but you realize that America is the land best suited for your talent of being 7’1”. You would prefer to inhabit an area of this land that rejects popular culture and accepts dictatorship. You travel to Indiana to play for Bob Knight.

Your teammates struggle to balance the rigors of the season with their academic requirements, but meanwhile you have joined an exclusive fraternity and are on your way to graduating with a double-major in math and computer science, which -- considering that it’s now 1983…

Classic card of the week

Jeff Snyder, 1992 Upper Deck

You probably notice the Star Rookie in the above card as none other than Jeff Snyder, the guy with the white-sounding name who was not, as it would appear, white, and who played for those immensely popular early 90’s Hawaii football teams with the rainbow-colored pants. But on the slim chance you are unfamiliar with this Star Rookie, we’re going to let the back of the card provide us with some additional insight:

University of Hawaii slotback…

That’s what she said.

…Jeff Snyder offers the Eagles the versatility of a Keith Byars, but in a smaller package.

This was pretty much what every team in the NFL was searching in vain for at the time, and have been searching for ever since: a player with the versatility of Keith Byars, but not as annoyingly large. Teams in the NFL are always looking for smaller players, as evidenced by the steady regression in player size the league has witnessed over the past decade. But it’s not just that -- they need these small player…

Conquering fears by giving of yourself, literally

Note: This column appears in the 11/13 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 11/14 issue of the Peoria Times

Like anybody else, I have fears. I’m not a big fan of flying, for example. In fact, I will not fly by myself. When my wife was studying at NAU a few years ago and I came to visit her from New Jersey, I actually took the train. I spent five days in all on the train and 45 minutes visiting my wife. But it cured my fear of flying, so that was good. I am also scared of the clown from the Stephen King movie “IT.” If you have seen that movie, then you are nodding your head. Another thing that scares me is death. Death is a biggie.

Luckily, for whatever reason, I never developed a fear of needles. This is probably due to the fact that my mom is a nurse, and she was able to use me as a human pincushion when I was a kid and she was working her way through nursing school; my arm in her right hand, textbook in her left hand, needle in her mouth. It never bothered me. The fact that I do not fe…

Smell of the week

Recently-cleaned-up-barf smell

Understand: we are not speaking of straight-up barf smell right here. That would be gross. What we are speaking of is recently-cleaned-up-barf smell. Which is arguably grosser. Nevertheless….

Hypothetical Scenario Based on My Own Personal Experience: You walk into your local convenience store where you always get your morning coffee. This place doesn’t smell too great as it is (Convenience Store Smell: coming soon!), but on this particular day you are immediately greeted with quite the pungent odor. “Who yakked?” you say to yourself. Could be anyone. Every single person you see looks like he just yakked 12 times in the past hour, plus half of them are buying hot dogs at 6:45 in the morning. You survey the grounds in search of the evidence. But as you realize there is no evidence to be found, your nostrils simultaneously detect a hint of a cleansing medium. Could it be 409? Fantastic? Liquid Comet? It’s difficult to determine because the “barf” part of rec…

Classic card of the week

Danny Ferry, 1990 NBA Hoops

When I was a youngster with dreams of playing in the NBA one day, this is exactly what I pictured my rookie card would look card like: Me, wearing a turquoise sweater, sitting in front of the Roman Colosseum, happy explaining the differences between The Cure and The Smiths to a crowd of intrigued locals.

Danny Ferry remains the Godfather of the Duke basketball stereotype: White, annoyingly intelligent, and a not-as-good-as-he-was-supposed-to-be NBA player. It’s often forgotten about now -- because no one besides me thinks about Danny Ferry in a historical context -- but Ferry pulled an Eli Manning back in the day:

Begins eagerly-anticipated NBA career after playing one year in Italy…Chosen by LA Clippers with No. 2 overall pick in 1989 NBA Draft before opting to play with II Messegero of Italian League in 1990…

In an embarrassing display on draft day, Ferry literally picked up his basketball, screamed, “But MOM, I don’t WANT to play for the stupid Clippers!” a…

Finding a good cause and sticking to it

Note: This column appears in the 11/6 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 11/7 issue of the Peoria Times

I have been trying to be more charitable lately.

This may be a direct result of the guilt I felt after my wife and I recently purchased a new 42” flat screen television (not her idea), which now broadcasts -- in HD -- those commercials featuring starving children in foreign lands. But the truth is that I had been feeling the urge to be more charitable even before upgrading TVs, which makes the fact that we bought the TV anyway an indication that I’m not off to a good start.

I’ve always tried to give here and there. For example, every single time I’m checking out at our local Safeway and I’m asked if I’d like to donate to so-and-so, I’m like, “Sure, throw a dollar on the ol’ credit card there -- that should solve it.” (By the way, I would donate more if they would lower the ridiculous price of their tomatoes. Seriously, Safeway tomatoes are so expensive.)

But lately something has been t…

Smell of the week

Copy machine smell

This is one of my favorite smells, not because it is a particularly enjoyable smell (it’s not bad either…sort of asexual), but because it reminds me of the good ol’ days. Many smells are pleasant not because of their inherent smelliness, but because of their nostalgic nature. It’s a personal preference. For example, Andy Dufresne probably enjoys the smell of sewage because it reminds him of escaping prison. That is an extreme example, but still.

Anyhoo, copy machine smell reminds me of my favorite job ever: working in the mail room at “the law firm” (aptly named so as to protect the identities of the innocent). It was my summer job for two of the best and least productive summers of my life. I worked in the mail room with a few guys that I remain close friends with to this very day, and each summer day was a lesson in how to get as little accomplished as possible while also complaining about the few times that work was required. Also, this work involved sticking paper…

Theme change: different stuff, coming soon!

The nice thing about having a blog called “So, do you like…stuff?” is that it enables me to write about pretty much anything.

Sure, since its inception over four years ago (!), it’s basically been a sports blog. In fact, you may notice the side bar mentioning how this blog has been nominated for “Best Sports Blog.” Well, I don’t mean to brag, but I was nominated by Peter Gammons my cousin Cara. And so far I have exactly one vote. And that’s because I voted for myself. Thanks everybody!

Anyhoo, I have been absolutely burned out from writing about sports. Don’t get me wrong -- I love sports. Always have and always will. But writing about sports -- even for a blog that nobody reads -- has become a chore. I mean, what else is there to say? There are SO many outlets now to read about sports, and almost every relevant sports topic now is draped in negativity. Much of it is speculative, voyeuristic, often pithy, and downright pointless. (I exclude myself from none of this, by the way.)

Maybe m…