Saturday, March 25, 2006

Paul Esposito Gets $9m

For those of you that didn't go to Wagner, or don't remember, we went to high school with Paul Esposito.

From the Daily News:
"More than two years after the Staten Island ferry crash took both his legs, Paul Esposito won the second largest legal settlement in city history yesterday - nearly $9 million.
As part of the deal, the city agreed to pay the money directly into an annuity fund that, over the next 50 years, will pay the 26-year-old Esposito $25.6 million.
"The only thing Paulie wanted out of this lawsuit was to make sure his medical needs and his lifetime needs were covered," said his attorney, Derek Sells of The Cochran Group, the firm founded by the late Johnnie Cochran.
"Once we reached that number, Paulie just wanted to move on," Sells said. "He is focused on living and he feels wonderful."
Esposito lost both his legs above the knee when the Andrew J. Barberi ferry crashed into the St. George Terminal on Staten Island on Oct. 15, 2003, killing 11 passengers and injuring more than 70.
He owes his life to a quick-thinking British tourist who stemmed his loss of blood.
The ferry crash spawned 191 claims against the city, of which 100 have now been settled. Esposito's payment is roughly eight times greater than the next largest.
"The city continues to express its deep regret for this tragic accident and hopes that this settlement will in some measure bring closure to Mr. Esposito and his family," said Lawrence Kahn, the city's chief litigating assistant.
The deal comes three days after Esposito's lawyers mistakenly broadcast plans for a press conference to announce a deal - an event they were forced to cancel after city officials insisted the deal was not done.
Esposito, who has learned to walk on prosthetic legs and is planning to go back to college, was not expected to talk publicly until a Monday press conference.
"This will pay out for his whole life," Sells said of the settlement. "And that's what is significant."


How Does Mike Do It?

Once again Mike is pulling off a tremendous run in ESPN's tournament challenge. Right now his entry is ranked #2699 (tied) out of more than 3 million entries overall. If he can get the next 7 games right (UCLA losing to UConn in the final), that would be incredible and probably put him in the top 50 nationwide. What's crazy is Mike is fairly consistent about this. His highlight is picking Ohio State to the Final Four in 1999 when they had Scoonie Friedlander, no wait, Scoonie Penn. I also think he picked SU to win it all in 2003 and I remember him touting 6 seed Wisconsin last year, and they did go to the final 8 before losing to UNC. This year his pick was Georgetown. Although he had them beating Florida in another pool, in ESPN he picked Florida. Other than the major surprises (Bradley, Wichita State, George Mason) that almost everyone got wrong, Mike has been near perfect after the first round.

Guard play is key come tournament time

Friday, March 24, 2006

We Don't Need Him

For some reason a report recently asked Kobe Bryant about the lack of Jews in professional sports. At some point, after jokingly questioning the research, Kobe said "I wouldn't mind being Jewish. I wouldn't mind. Really." He then said he would pass Dolph Schayes as the great Jewish basketball player.

Catch the Madness...Next Year

In my hand I have an order form for tickets to next year's East (Rutherford?) Regional Semifinals and final (the rounds we're currently in, week 2 of the tournament). It costs $140 ($132 if I go to the box office in person) to see three games over the two sessions. Please let me know if you are interested. Tickets are given away on a lottery basis, if there are more applicants than available tickets. I can do a maximum of 6. Must have an answer in the next couple weeks.

Idiot Leaves Baby in Car

This story has me thinking there might be more to it. A guy gets on the train, then realizes "oh shit, I never dropped the kid off at daycare?" The baby was still in the car at the train station. By the time he got off and came back people noticed the baby in the car, fireman got the baby out and sent it to the hospital. Child Services released the baby back to the mother, evidently granting that it was indeed an accident.

Another Racial Firing

The latest guy to lose his job over a racial remark is a sports talk show host in St. Louis. Dave Lenihan was discussing Condoleeza Rice's supposed interest in the NFL Commissioner's job. He meant to say it would be a big "coup" for the league. Instead, he said "coon".

“She’s just got a patent resume, of somebody that’s got such serious skill,” Linehan said on the air. “She loves football, she’s African-American, which would kind of be a big coon, a big coon – oh my God, I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that, OK? I didn’t mean that. That was just a slip of the tongue.”

Simmons Gets a Push

Sports Illustrated has an article in its latest issue about sports columnists/bloggers on the internet. The article comes with a huge full page picture of Bill Simmons. I haven't read it yet but I expect it to focus on the fact that he has a huge readership and he seldom, if ever, does any real reporting.

have I mentioned that Isiah sucks as a GM?

Ok to Cry?

I don't think it makes Adam Morrison a sissy because he cried after last night's game. In fact a lot of players on teams that got eliminated have cried. JJ Redick did too, but he was a little Brokeback before this incident so the jury's still out. But I don't think crying is a sign of weakness. We all get upset, what's the big deal about shedding a few tears. Remember what Will Smith said "I don't care if you lose, long as you came with, its ok to cry, ain't no shame in it." That said, no man should ever cry tears of joy (except maybe birth of a child) or cry at a movie.




Toughness

I'll miss Pittsnogle. I can't wait to see what happens to him in the NBA draft. Hopefully teams were watching last night. A bloody nose did not deter him from hitting the game-tying shot with 5 seconds left.

No pain no gain
You've been Pittsnogled

Idol Chatter

Mike and Stacey started an American Idol pool, everyone puts in $10 and through a random draw you are assigned on of the 12 finalists. Winner take all. Kate and I drew Bucky. Bill got Chris and Alison got Mandisa. Finale night should be interesting in their household.

Here are my latest American Idol odds and some other prop bets:
Chris 3 to 2
Mandisa 2 to 1
Katharine 100 to 1
Taylor 200 to 1
Pickler 300 to 1
Ace 400 to 1
Elliot 500 to 1
Paris 600 to 1
Lisa 700 to 1
Bucky no chance...in hell
Kevin off
Melissa off


other bets you can place
Pickler says to Constantine "you want to put that where?" 2 to 1
Taylor dies on stage after a seizure 5 to 1
Paula is involved in another scandal when she throws her panties on stage while Ace performs 10 to 1
Diabetes is blamed when Elliot gets voted off 15 to 1
Katharine will someday be on the cover of Maxim 25 to 1 (I hope so)
Kevin Covais is romantically linked to Becky O'Donoghue 100 to 1
Mandisa wins and within 6 months loses 100 pounds but refuses to say how 10 to 1
Chris quits the show to replace Eddie Vedder in Pearl Jam 3 to 1

I've got the McPhee-ver

Tough Way to Go Out

Two great careers ended in difficult fashion tonight.
My favorite player Kevin Pittsnogle hit a huge 3 with 5 seconds left to give West Virginia a tie against Texas. That game about a minute after getting swatted in the nose and having to come out of the game to stop the bleeding. He made the shot with cotton stuffed in his nostrils. Unfortunately Texas' Kenton Paulino hit a 3 as time expired to give Texas the win.
In slightly less dramatic fashion Adam Morrison's career ended with a loss to UCLA. Gonzaga led the whole game but Morrison hit 2 free throws with 3:27 left to give Gonzaga a 71-62 lead, those were the last points the Zags would score. He missed a couple shots down the stretch and UCLA got a couple big plays and timely hoops. I had Gonzaga in the Final Four and was feeling pretty confident, but they blew it. With about 10 seconds to go Gonzaga inbounded to Morrison, UCLA wouldn't foul him, but he had to give it up. He threw it to Batista who got stripped, UCLA converted that into the go-ahead basket.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Duke Goes Down

Just like I said, if Redick had a bad shooting night, Duke is very susceptible to an upset. He shot 3-18 in a McNamara-esque performance and left the court for his last game with tears in his eyes. LSU did not play great (they had a long scoreless streak early in the second half that let Duke back in the game) but they did play good defense on Redick and they did stay in the game while their two best post players sat on the bench in foul trouble. While I did have Duke winning this game I picked Texas to reach the Final Four from this region, so that pick got a slight boost.

Finally

Those bastards at Cablevision and those bastards at SportsNetNY (who refused to even interview me) finally reached a deal so I now get the Mets network. First program I checked out was Mets Classics from September 17, 1986. The Mets clinched the Eastern Division behind Dwight Gooden. One side note, Rafael Palmeiro hit his second career home run in that game.

Bonds to Sue

Barry Bonds apparently sent a letter to the authors of "Game of Shadows" threatening to sue them. I guarantee this will never happen. As Paul's Poop legal expert, The Concierge, says, the truth is the best defense. We know most if not all of the book is true so I can't figure out what Bonds is going to say. The only thing I think he can say is that his grand jury testimony was illegally leaked, but in that case, isn't the leaker responsible?

Who's Brad Mem?

Unfortunately he's nobody. Kate enjoyed last week's Bradley-Pittsburgh game because the scorebox on CBS said "BRAD -- PITT"

Tonight's Tournament Action

The NCAA tournament resumes with four games tonight:
At 7:10 in Atlanta (probably the national game) Duke plays LSU:
Of course we know the evil Duke will win this game because if they get behind the referees will randomly start to make bad calls. Somehow this always happens. LSU has two chances to win the game. First, Big Baby gets Shelden Williams in foul trouble. But that won't happen because refs look the other way like when Jay Williams raped Steve Blake during the 2001 national semi. Second, JJ Redick has a bad night. This is a real fear for Duke because he hadn't been shooting well, then he missed a bunch of free throws. Also no one on Duke's supporting cast has stepped up to become a scorer. Duke 76, LSU 71

At 7:27 in Oakland (4:27 local time) Memphis plays Bradley:
Despite the support of dearly departed one-year alum Kirby Puckett, Bradley's tournament run is over. Patrick O'Bryant (not Irish) has enjoyed the ride and has moved way up draft boards. He looks like a mobile big man who can score, defend and run. Memphis has too much size and athleticism to fall victim to the plucky 13 seed. Memphis 68, Bradley 55

After that game in Oakland (probably the national game) UCLA plays Gonzaga:
UCLA has been playing great but there comes a time when great guard play runs into great big man play. I know Pizza Parlor Derek and love Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, but I don't think he can keep up with Morrison. Although Morrison is really starting to piss me off with his antics I think he may be ready to carry this team to the final four. If he has two good games he can do it. Gonzaga 81, UCLA 78

The last game (after Duke-LSU in Atlanta) is Texas against West Virginia:
It all depends on WVU's shooting. If they are hot from the outside they can build a big lead and Texas won't be able to catch up. But as much as I love Pittsnogle, I think LaMarcus Aldridge and PJ Tucker will be too much for him inside. The Mountaineers really have no inside game. Texas 63, West Virginia 54.

Paulo's Book Club: "Blink"

On my cruise I had time to read, finally. I read "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwelll and absolutely loved it. The book starts with a story about an ancient statue that a museum was considering buying for millions. All their research insisted that the statue was authentic. But several art specialists independently all had a bad feeling about it in the first two seconds after seeing it. Blink is about those two seconds. The statue was eventually shown to be a fake.
Blink is about how the mind's initial judgments are so powerful, and about the things that influence our decisions. How packaging for food makes people like the taste better. It also explains that autistics lack the skill of picking up on people's facial expressions. And how the cops who shot Diallo became momentarily autistic due to the pressure and missed all the cues in his face and body language that he was not a threat. My favorite chapter was about jusTON. It was called "The Warren Harding Error: Why we fall for tall, dark and handsome men." After reading that chapter I had a much better understanding of why everyone loves Justin.
The author, Malcolm Gladwell, also did a very interesting Curious Guy with Bill Simmons. He knows a lot about sports and uses his knowledge of the brain to analyze sports in an interesting way.

First recommendation in Paul's Book Club

Duke Sucks

This e-mail exchange has been making the rounds on the internet. It's between a Cameron Crazy and former Duke player Elton Brand from 1999, when Brand became one of the first players to leave Duke early for the NBA. Brand confirmed in general that this is factually accurate, in general, maybe it's been changed a little.

From a Cameron Crazy:

"I graduated from Duke last May and just wanted to express my disgust for your decision to leave the Duke program after only two years. As an alum, not only do I hold the school in high regard, but the basketball program as well, especially since both have deservedly garnered such a great deal of respect for their accomplishments. As part of our basketball program, you represent Duke as a whole. We are first and foremost an academic school, you clearly did not belong at Duke in the first place if this was the extent of your commitment to Duke and a college education in general. You have not only insulted the current students who are putting in four years at a school they love, but also the thousands of alumni who have realized the value of a Duke education and what an honor and privilege it was to be there for four years.

If you do not realize the opportunity you have in front of you to play for Coach K and at the same time attain a Duke diploma, then that is certainly your loss. I just wish that you had spared us the notion that you were continuing in the tradition of being a Duke student-athlete, in emphasizing excellence in both academics and athletics. You will not be considered part of the Duke family, in my mind as well as many others. You have by no means proved yourself worthy of that title.

Sincerely,
(name not published)"




Response from Elton Brand:

"Thank you very much, for reminding me of the reason why I left Duke. People like you cannot and will not ever understand my situation. I'm sure daddy worked very hard to send your rich self to college. While real people struggle. I would also like to extend an invitation for you not to waste your or my time ever again. Never being considered a part of your posh group of yuppies really hurts me to the heart. Yea Right because I don't care about you or your alumni.

Sincerely,
Elton Brand #42 NBA"

Pa Beers Turns 29


Happy Birthday to Evan and Dylan's daddy. To celebrate they plan to watch Ice Age...for the 30th time.

Would You Bang? Dana Jacobson

Our latest candidate comes to us from the set of ESPN2's morning show Cold Pizza. Does Dana Jacobson heat your slice, or does she piss you off as much as Skip Bayless and Woody Paige do? Let's see what our experts think.

Pizza Parlor Derek:
"One thing many of these ESPN personalities have in common is that they strattle a fine line that presents a dillemma to every man. At their best they are women with nice smiles or features that you can carry a conversation with about sports and not have to explain anything or feel embarrassed for knowing so much about one topic. At worst they make you wonder what WNBA team they coach. For Ms. Jacobsen that line is as simple as hair length. The old pictures of her with long hair show she has a cute smile and seems pleasant. Now she has cropped hair intimidates Bob Knight and is a major step down from Thea Andrews. I would have to say NO I would not bang Dana Jacobson."



Tom, Terrific

Pedro has backed out of pitching on Opening Day. That means Isaacs, Shawn and I are going to have to watch Tom Glavine. Hopefully Pedro will be ready to pitch later on that week.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

CBS Overrun with Dukies

In case you didn't notice last week, CBS's coverage of the tournament was dominated by Dukies. Seth Davis was in the studio, and 3 of the 4 broadcast teams for Thursday's games had Dukies doing analysis (Jay Bilas, Jim Spanarkel & Mike Gminski). The funny thing was none of them were nearly as biased as Dick Vitale, and he didn't even go there. One more funny thing, Stephen Bardo who was with Gminski and Tim Brando in the only 3-man booth at one point called Gminski, G-Unit. I thought that was funny.

Jay Bilas when he was an annoying Duke player, before he became an annoying Duke broadcaster who thinks every team is great

Car Melo

Carmelo Anthony invested in an IndyCar. Car-Melo will be the number 91 car, and featuring Melo's portrait. It will be driven by P.J. Chesson. Melo says "For the record, I'm not getting in the car. I can't fit into no IndyCar."

This car is special

Best Damn Hotties

Another tournament of hot chicks. This one includes only girls who have appeared on the Best Damn Sports Show Period. The Dibble bracket looks strong with #1 seed Jessica Alba, but Stacy Keibler is a force to be reckoned with. There's also an interesting first round match between Brooke Burke and Brooke Burns. A tough one for me pits Gabrielle Union against Elisha Cuthbert.

I'm all wet is Elisha Cuthbert's line
Laying the smack down on Vivica

Hot For Teacher

Charges were dropped against hot teacher Debra Lafave. The 25-year old had sex with a then 14-year-old boy two years ago, in school and at her house. Most of us don't think this kid was damaged by this because he probably became the coolest kid in school for banging the hot teacher. But now all the attention got to be too much for him.




Muhammad Ali, Compulsive Gambler?

A report in the Washington Post says there is evidence that the treatment for Parkinson's Disease causes people to become compulsive gamblers and sex addicts. The drugs may increase dopamine in the brain which is associated with addictive behaviors.

Stool Sample

My stool sample revealed that I came in contact with Campylobacter. It could have been from undercooked poultry, contaminated water or maybe some other unclean situation.

Boozer's Wife is Pissed

Carlos Boozer rented his $12m, 10-bedroom mansion in West Hollywood to Prince for 8 months, for $70,000/month. Now Boozer is suing because Prince painted the exterior of the house with purple striping, the ‘Prince’ symbol, and numbers 3121.”
Prince installed a purple monogrammed carpet in the master bedroom. He had plumbing and piping added in the downstairs bedroom “for water transfer for beauty salon chairs.”
As part of the promotion for his new CD (3121), Prince is expected to hold a private concert at his Purple palace for fans who find a Wonkaesque “purple ticket” inside their CD cases.

The Boozer estate, evidently before Prince defiled it

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Crazy Kitty

Piper the cat had been stuck in a tree for 8 days. They finally try to rescue him, and he falls. You must watch this video. His tail is so cool. He was not harmed.


myth: cats always land on their feet

Dress Like Kevin Covais

Once the great promise of the internet said that you would be able to see something on TV then go to your computer and buy it. Thanks to a website called starstyle.com, you can see what the American Idol contestants are wearing, then buy the same things. Katharine's lovely dress or Kevin's gay flowered shirt. And we know how much Mike loves Jennie Garth so he can buy clothes just like what she's worn on What I Like About You.

I've got the McPheever

Sopranos

As you can guess I hated the latest episode of the Sopranos. I hate the artsy, metaphorical crap. I think most people watch the show for the humor, sex and violence. I think a lot of people are talking about how funny Vito was, and they are saying "what the fuck?" to the rest of the episode. Here's an interesting take: Tony is in purgatory.

Lady with Perfect Memory

Some lady remembers every detail of her life. Give her any date and she can tell you what day of the week it was, what the weather was, anything personal or historic that happened that day. The researchers asked her which dates they interviewed on, and she rattled them off. She even told one guy that he had gone to Germany. He didn't even remember that. I strongly recommend reading more about her.

World Baseball Classic

The inaugural World Baseball Classic ended with Japan triumphing over Cuba. There were a lot of problems with the WBC but overall it worked. When I was traveling I encountered a Puerto Rican bus driver who was so into it, he and I talked for about five minutes about it. He knew the players on the teams better than I did (except for a few wrong first names) and he said the people of Puerto Rico were really enjoying it. I definitely think it should stay, with a few changes:

1) Should be moved up two weeks. That would allow the national teams to have a longer camp before spring training. It would get the games away from March Madness. And it would give players more time to be with their teams once its over.

2) They need to have one round of pool play with 8 teams. It would add only one extra game, if you eliminate the second round of pool play. But it would decrease the need for tiebreakers like the one that sent Japan into the semifinals.

3) Expand the pitching staffs so that each team has 4 or 5 starters so that they don't need pitch counts.

4) No ties.

Remember, baseball is out of the Olympics after 2008 so this competition is needed to help grow the sport. The Latin countries love it. The asian countries love it. Maybe they can extend that into Europe. Maybe we can send Mike Piazza to live in Italy permanently as baseball's goodwill ambassador.

It's Yankees with 2 Es dumbass

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sick Stats

I'm finally over whatever flu or virus I picked up.

Food eaten (Wednesday-Friday): bagel, soup, 10-12 saltine crackers, bowl of lime jello
Peak fever: 103.7
Poops taken: too many
Stool samples taken: 1 (don't ask)
Hours watching NCAA tournament: 37
Syracuse victories: 0
Field goals made by most clutch player in the tournament: 0
Weight loss: 8 pounds

Hopefully this means a real return by the blog.