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WARNING: SPORTS CONTENT!

Dec. 9th, 2011 | 03:51 am

I don't have anyone to talk to about this at the moment and it's nuts, so it's stream of consciousness blog time as it relates to tonight's league mandated untrade of Chris Paul from the NO Hornets to the LA Lakers.

Where does Chris Paul go from here? He doesn't want to play in NO, that's clear. He's toed the line of "looking forward to the season" because he's had to but now it's clear he has places he will and won't play, or at a minimum won't sign an extension with, greatly reducing his value to any interested team not on his list, and therefore the Hornets. Now he may be stuck there with a team he doesn't want to play for, with a team that did everything it could to ship him out so they wouldn't be stuck with nothing in free agency next year. The offer on the table would have put him in a great position to be in LA for much if not the rest of his career and that was taken away from him without so much as an explanation. How can there not be some kind of legal action from his camp (something they're apparently already pursuing with the NBPA).

Where does NO go from here? The league hasn't given them any real answers as of Thursday night/Friday morning. They don't know if they can move Paul at all now and even if they could from a league approved standpoint, what (if anything) has happened to his value at this point and what teams are still in the mix after "knowing" they couldn't get him when the LA trade became a "reality"? The GM in NO had been given every indication that he had the power to trade Paul wherever the best deal was and no word to the contrary was given at any point in the negotiating process until the deal was done. Yes, the team is league owned at this point, but it's privately run. Would this have been different if this were any other team? Does the Hornets organization, as it stands, have any legal footing of their own? How can they possibly keep Paul motivated through the season if it comes to that?

Where does LA go from here? LA now finds itself with two marquee players (Odom and Gasol) who had one foot out the door before it was slammed in their face. These aren't roll playing guys who shuffle from team to team as bargaining chips, these are starting players on a storied franchise. A franchise they both expected to be playing for this year and perhaps for the rest of their careers. Now they're stuck in limbo with a team that was obviously ready to unload them if the opportunity presented itself. That doesn't instill motivation for them to give their all for the franchise and if each of their histories is any indication, both of these players have plenty of pride to be badly bruised by this experience.

Where does the NBA go from here? Is this how it works now? Rather than using the 6 months they had to work out a satisfactory agreement with the players about how to better ensure league parity, have Stern and Co. just decided they'll veto any trade they don't like? Honestly, that's what this looks like to me. "Yes, that trade works in terms of our rules. Yes, you've taken all the proper steps, invested all the necessary time and resources and both sides seem to be happy with it. Yes, the value each team is getting seems to be about right but you know what, I'm not feeling it so no." Now you've got a handful of guys who may or may not show up for the first day of training camp TOMORROW. Stern has always run something of a sports dictatorship, but this is a whole new level and a scary one at that. I don't see how this just gets brushed aside as another trade that didn't come together. This isn't about some guy failing a physical, or paperwork not being filed, this is the league saying that it doesn't like where a particular player was going to end up playing because it was a big market that already had superstar appeal and didn't need the money that the proposed star generates.

As a Celtics fan am I happy LA doesn't get Chris Paul? Absolutely. But as an NBA fan, am I terrified that the league apparently somehow now has ultimate control over who plays where? You bet your ass.

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Happy Holidays!

Dec. 1st, 2011 | 01:36 am

I've posted links to the 11 track Mraz holiday collection as well as a few bonus downloads in the spirit of the season over at mraz_fans

Enjoy!

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New Mraz Community - Mraz_Fans

Nov. 3rd, 2011 | 08:09 pm

Just a quick news blast to let you know that I've started a new Mraz community(mraz_fans) in the hopes of not having to worry about post approval and that sort of thing. This will give me a chance to post updates and mod the community at my own pace rather than having to wait on someone else. Please feel free to spread this link around as much as possible.

http://mraz-fans.livejournal.com/

Thanks!

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Mraz Updates

Oct. 6th, 2011 | 08:27 pm

I'm posting this to my personal journal because it seems the Mraz community is now moderated and my post doesn't seem to be showing up

Afternoon all! As I'm sure many of you are aware, Jason has continued to roll out new tunes over the last few months and I've finally had a chance to make some updates to the Mediafire page. Here's what I have for you today.

First, I wanted to point you all to the Youtube videos from Mraz Superfan, and all around rockin' human being, Emile's living room concert a few weeks back. Emile and his girlfriend Antonia put the whole thing together and J played an awesome set for the two of them and a couple handfuls of their friends. I'm hopeful that once the new tunes are approved for sharing Emile will release the full audio recording of the show (which is excellent). EDIT: The audio from Emile's show is now available HERE!!. In the meantime, you can check out videos of the new tunes HERE, and pretty much the entire set HERE.

Secondly, Jason has released a preview single called "The World as I See It" on iTunes. Head over there now to pick it up.

In other news, I've converted and uploaded a few tunes from THIS recording (again by Emile) to my Mediafire page for ya'll to grab if you'd like.

The World As I See It (Also now available on iTunes)
The Woman That I Love
93 Milion Miles
I Won't Give Up

Here are direct video links for three more new tunes from Emile's LRC that i'm not going to make into MP3s, but feel free to check them out on Youtube.

(This Movie is) Rated Ours - http://youtu.be/EdGkNdWG7s4
She's The Bomb - http://youtu.be/wA4n9X3nqWY
I Never Knew You - http://youtu.be/WfBJb90fDME

I've also uploaded a few recent covers J has done, a bunch of them from the recent MD show (full lossless audio of that show from taper Timothy Brown available HERE), so be sure to grab those as well if you'd like.

Portishead - Glorybox
Pennies from Heaven - Bing Crosby
Silly Love Songs - Wings
Won't You Be My Neighbor - Fred Rogers
Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Stevie Wonder

After the jump, you can check out a full list of "New" songs that may or may not show up on the new album. If you notice anything missing, pleas let me know so I can add it to the list and get it uploaded. Thanks!

As always, I'd appreciate a comment if you're grabbing anything and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

Enjoy!

Full New Song List HereCollapse )

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Always a Celtic.

Feb. 25th, 2011 | 03:56 am

I have to get this off my chest, but I only have the length of my break to write it, so strap in.

I'm a Celtics fan. Since I can remember, I've rooted for the green. I grew up watching Bird, Parish and McHale. I can remember cheering on the team before I even knew what winning the game meant or entailed. In recent years, as my love for the game has grown, I've watched countless permutations of the C's ebb and flow. There have been players on other teams that I've pulled for, but there's something sacred and indelible that happens when a player becomes a Celtic, a real Celtic. Sure, hundreds of guys have played for the C's in the last 30 years, but only a fraction of them have truly been Celtics. It's that fact which makes the events of Thursday so hard for Celtics fans. When Danny Ainge shipped Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City Thursday, he sent away much more than a 26 year old big man. Perkins took a big chunk of Celtic pride with him, leaving a hole that draft picks and new bodies won't fill.

This is the toughest trade to deal with from a fan perspective that I can remember. It's rough on so many levels. It's been fairly common for me to rationalize moves like this simply by recognizing that my emotional attachment to players is the reason they don't let me run the team. In this case though, and with the close nit group of guys that make up the Celtics core, it seems as though emotional attachment is a key component to our recent success. I don't see how trading away a guy like Perkins, who came back early from his knee injury and does everything with class and an eye toward the team as a whole, can be good for the overall health of the franchise. Not to mention that Perk and Rondo have really bonded over the years. It's easy to forget that these guys are in their mid-twenties. It's easy to say "it's just business" but that doesn't excuse the fact that these are young men who's emotions tie directly to their performance. To me, it doesn't seem worthwhile to shake up Rondo's psyche since everyone in the organization has anointed him the future of the Celtics. There's no column for heart in the box score or the trade contract, but it's a big part of what makes a team a success.

If it's impossible to rationalize the Celtic's moves from an emotional standpoint, it's not much easier to do so from the logistical side. Not only did we lose Perk, but he's bringing Nate Robinson with him to OKC. As such, we lose the guy who's been backing up Rondo all season. Now, I've never been quiet about my disdain for little man Nate, but he's done a serviceable job at times and while I certainly like Delonte off the bench, he's JUST getting back from his wrist injury and has looked far from comfortable in the two games he's played.

In addition, the Celtics sent Luke Harangody and Semih Erden to the Cavs for...wait for it...a second round pick in the 2013 draft. After also dealing Marquis Daniels to the Kings, the Celtics have lost three big men, their backup point guard and (before his injury) one of their key swing men. In exchange, this year's team will gain Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. Green is an attempt to fill the shoes of 2008's James Posey and is a decent scoring forward. Kristic adds height inside and has decent touch from mid-range. That not withstanding, the team must now rely on the, not aging but aged, Shaq to heal quickly and completely. The man they brought in to be a mentor and put in a few backup minutes here and there, has now been thrust into the position as the team's only serviceable true center and he's not even playing right now. Jermaine O'neal has been a bust from the start and his ridiculous contract (and completely obliterated knees) are the reason he wasn't a trade option.

There's more to this issue than I have the stomach or time to get into right now, but one other thing stuck out for me as I watched the Perkins-less Celtics lose to the Carmelo-less Nuggets tonight; basketball is a very tough sport from a fan perspective. The NBA is a league that lets Carmelo Anthony, the third or fourth best guy in his draft class, kick and scream until he gets his way while the media covers his over-hyped escapade endlessly and then watches as a devoted and soft-spoken player like Perkins gets unceremoniously dismissed from a team that he's battled for for the last 8 years. Like I said, it's sad on so many levels.

This video was taken the day before Perkins found out he'd been traded. It becomes one of the saddest things I've heard at the 20 second mark.



If you can't hear it, Perkins banged his knee in the game on Tuesday night and is being asked if he'll fly back to Boston for treatment and skip the rest of the road trip. He looks at the interviewer incredulously and says he hopes to play in some of the upcoming games because, "I'm a Celtic". That's why no amount of compensation or cap space was worth it.

You'll always be a Celtic Perk, all the best.

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Early Onset Cataracts and Me - Part 1

Feb. 11th, 2011 | 11:29 am

This is the first part of what I had hoped to make a running (and possibly separate) blog of my experiences with cataract surgery. I was motivated to write it as a result of being able to find next to no information about the subject for anyone under the age of 40 and over the age of 10. I still intend to hammer out the final two parts but to put the recent Facebook posts in context, here's what I had thrown together as part one. I originally wrote this back in August.

It was a typically brisk February morning in northern New England. As I reached down to my right to flick my car's defroster on, I was surprised to find that I had to turn my head dramatically to the right to identify the pictographs surrounding the dial. The exaggerated rotation served to allow my left eye, rather than my right, to make the determination as to which selection was which. Such was the start of my current journey to correct a fast developing, early-onset cataract.

At the time I shrugged off the minor inconvenience. I was getting older and had enjoyed 28 years of perfect vision. I assumed that I was simply falling victim to the deteriorating eyesight that my parents had dealt with for years, and made no significant note of the situation other than to change my work-sponsored health insurance to cover vision care upon the ensuing renewal period.

By late 2009 I made an appointment for a professional eye exam. It would be the first test of my vision of any kind since my regular physical exams for high-school sports. By this point it had become clear that something needed to be done. Closing my left eye I was only able to identify shapes and colors with my right. Reading text smaller than a quarter inch was impossible at any distance and glare had become a noticeable distraction when driving at night.

After checking in at the Optometrist's office, the Rose and I spent a few minutes browsing and trying on the office's selection of eye glasses. I assumed that I'd be leaving the office that day with a corrective prescription and a new appreciation for all the times my friends and family had complained about the annoyances of needing glasses.

After a few preliminary health questions, the exam went on as normal. Staring across the room with both eyes at the projected eye chart through the Optometrist's lens apparatus, I read off the letters down to the sixth or seventh row. After closing the shutter over my right eye the process was repeated with similar results. It was when the shutter was moved to cover my left eye that the reality of my vision's degradation set in. Directly contrasting the image of the chart led me to an uncomfortable laugh. I struggled to focus on the letters in only the second row of the chart and the letters below appeared only as rough rectangles and then only dots.

After dilating both my pupils, the doctor took a closer look at my right eye and discovered the "rather large" cataract. So large in fact that he had trouble shinning light around it and off of my retina to get a full view. His remark that it was "actually very pretty" did little to improve my deepening concern. We briefly discussed my options and he left the decision in my hands, with an overall message that cataract surgery is a matter of personal preference, especially at my age. When the effects of the cataract become too much of an annoyance, you have the surgery. He did agree that cataracts at my age were far from common, and even less so in the case of someone with none of the typical contributing factors to early onset cataracts like smoking, certain medications or eye trauma. I left the office that day with far more questions than answers and blinking like crazy as a result of my artificially dilated pupils.

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Nope, Not Dead

May. 20th, 2010 | 04:38 am

Just thought you'd want to know.

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D&H in Hollywood: Part 1

Oct. 17th, 2009 | 05:49 am

As some of you may now by now The Rose and I, as a result of my often obsessive contributions to the Jason Mraz message board, were invited by Mraz and his management to attend his recent show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. 50 members of the board and their guests were offered a pair of prime tickets to the show if they could make it to the West Coast on October 10th. After a shockingly short conversation, The Rose and I began making plans months ago for the trans-continental journey. What will follow in the next few days is something of a synopsis of our amazing adventure that turned into much more than just a lengthy concert road trip.

Part 1: Getting There, Come Hell or High FeverCollapse )

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The Brain Worm That is District 9

Aug. 22nd, 2009 | 01:20 am

I can't get this movie out of my head, and not for any of the reasons I would have expected before seeing it. The Rose and I recently shared our joint fascination with, and fixation on, Neill Blomkamp's summer (sleeper) hit after seeing this poly-sci, pseudo-documentary a few days ago. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who's still on the fence about seeing it so I'll simply implore you to do so. For me, the most fascinating aspect of the film is the difference between what the trailers and press convinced me the movie was about in contrast to the content of the film itself. It's a case-study in great marketing that I assert put a large percentage of buts in the seats that would have never been there otherwise, and ended up being better for it.

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Almost Famous & The NBA

Aug. 1st, 2009 | 05:32 am

I'm linking this because it's amazing. Two things I love woven (mostly) seamlessly together by Bill Simmons. Fantastic! In hindsight, my "dream come true" career when I was growing up would have been to be an NBA-playing writer for Rolling Stone. I may comprise the entire target market for this piece, but that's not going to stop me from sharing it.

Long, yes, but worth it dammit.

A 'Band-Aid' for the NBA offseason

Has there ever been another good drama about the dynamics of a rock 'n' roll band? Think about how much time we spend listening to music. Think about how much time we spend wondering about bands and individual artists. Now, think about your favorite movies about fictional bands. Give me your top 10. (I'm waiting.) Give me your top five. (Still waiting.) OK, give me one other good one. You can't...

..You know what? I'm just going to have to prove it to you by dusting off one of my old-school column gimmicks. Let's hand out 50 of my favorite "Almost Famous" quotes and exchanges to the winners and losers of the NBA's 2009 free-agent buying spree.


Part 1
Part 2

After reading this whole thing I'm both even more excited about the coming NBA season and ABSOLUTELY going to watch Almost Famous for the one-thousand-and-first time this weekend.

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