Shirts vs. Skins – Venice Beach was uploaded to Flickr

not sure who won

embiggen by clicking

I took Shirts vs. Skins – Venice Beach on February 02, 2013 at 02:04PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on December 14, 2014 at 03:02PM

Photo Republished at Seven steps for the beginning hockey player

Blackhawks Patrick Kane Hoisting Stanley Cup 

My photo from the 2010 Stanley Cup Parade was used to illustrate this post

Just because you’ll never be as good as Patrick Kane doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start playing. (Photo by Seth Anderson / Flickr & Creative Commons)

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Luol Deng of the Dinka Tribe

Hoops facade

Steve Aschburner reports on why Luol Deng is in all probability the most interesting NBA player still playing in this years playoffs. Joakim Noah has an interesting backstory too, but not as deep a tale as Luol Deng’s:

A member of the Dinka tribe, Deng was born in the Republic of Sudan as one of nine children. He remains devoted to his homeland through his Luol Deng Foundation, which focuses on charitable work in Chicago, in London and back home. He is especially active in the Lost Boys of Sudan efforts to help.

• His father, Aldo, served in the Sudanese parliament and was the country’s Minister of Transportation before sending his family to Cairo, Egypt, to avoid Sudan’s civil war.

• While in Egypt, Deng received basketball instruction from former NBA center Manute Bol, another Dinka tribesman.

• When Deng was 8 years old, his father was granted political asylum in England. That explains his participation in international competition with the Great Britain national team, with an eye on the London Games in 2012.

• He came to New Jersey at age 14, sent with his older sister Arek. They enrolled at Blair Academy, a prep school in Blairstown, which promptly became a serious basketball threat. Arek went on to play at Delaware, their brother Ajou played at Fairfield and Connecticut and Deng spent the 2003-04 season at Duke.

He averaged 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Blue Devils and became the seventh pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. (Phoenix traded his rights to Chicago for Jackson Vroman and a 2005 first-round pick that became Nate Robinson.)

In January, Deng was cheered by fellow relocated Sudanese at a makeshift polling station on the city’s North Side when he voted on a historic independence referendum for that country. At one point, he draped the Southern Sudan flag around him. The effort was successful and in July, the southern state will officially secede and Deng’s proud father Aldo will be there.

“It’s OK for people to take basketball seriously,” Deng told a New Jersey reporter after practice Monday. “It’s not something to resent or lecture them about, ‘Oh, you take all this for granted.’ … But I know how good I have it. Sometimes people struggle, even here in Chicago, and it’s no more than bad luck.” •

Oh yeah, we almost forgot: Deng is President Obama’s favorite NBA player.

(click here to continue reading Chicago’s Deng in position to add to already-lengthy resume |

RIP, Maurice Lucas

Charles Pierce remembers Portland Trailblazer legend, Maurice Lucas, in a reminiscence that begins:

Thirty-nine years ago this fall, I moved into the 11th floor of a 12-story dormitory at the corner of 16th Street and Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was a freshman at Marquette University. (The dorm, McCormick Hall, is round and shaped like a beer can, which is remarkably appropriate in more than the metaphorical sense, and the building has been rumored for almost 40 years to be sinking into middle Earth.) Not long after I moved in, I found myself intrigued by the music coming out from under the door of the room next to mine — music which I now know to have been “Eurydice,” the closing track from Weather Report’s astounding debut album. (Mmmmmm. Wayne Shorter!) As I was listening, an extremely large man came out of the room and introduced himself. “Pretty cool, isn’t it?’ he said.

And that was how I met Maurice Lucas.

For the next couple of years, we talked about music, at least as much as Luke talked to anyone, him being what you call your campus celebrity and all during the glory days of Warrior basketball and the high-sun period of Al McGuire Era. Whatever I know about any jazz recorded after the big band records to which my father listened — Mmmmmmm. Basie! — I learned from Luke, with whom I don’t believe I ever exchanged four words about basketball.

(click to continue reading RIP, Maurice Lucas – Charles Pierce Blog – Boston sports news –

Mo Lucas always seemed like an interesting cat, and obviously someone that Bill Walton accorded immense respect to, which is also worth something…

The NYT has a more conventional obit

See Ya Later Kirk Hinrich

Kirk Hinrich
Kirk Hinrich, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

with a pool of blood (or Chicago skyline screen)

see ya later Kirk

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has traded guard Kirk Hinrich, the draft rights to forward Kevin Seraphin and cash considerations to the Washington Wizards in exchange to the draft rights to forward Vladimir Veremeenko.

“During this free agency period, we wanted to aggressively position ourselves to explore every avenue possible to improve our team. That said, it was not an easy decision for us trade Kirk, but one that we felt was necessary in order to make the Chicago Bulls a better basketball team,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “Since Kirk joined us back in 2003, he came to play every time he stepped on the court and he always gave 100 percent. We will miss Kirk and wish him the best of luck.”

Hinrich leaves the Bulls ranking first in team history in three-point field goals made (812), first in three-point field goals attempted (2,144), fourth in assists (3,004), fourth in steals (655), fifth in turnovers (1,116), sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.379), sixth in disqualifications (30), seventh in minutes played (17,502), eighth in points (6,902) and 10th in field goals made (2,510).

Reading Around on March 13th through March 15th

A few interesting links collected March 13th through March 15th:

  • Deep Discounts on Maria Pinto, Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic – Frugalista – Photo by swanksalot, used via Creative Commons license.
  • Busy Soccer Scene Despite Looming Strike – LAist – Photo by swanksalot

    Major League Soccer made history this past week, but for all the wrong reasons. Frustrated by the lack of progress towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between themselves and the league, MLS players overwhelmingly voted in favor of a strike. Through their vote, players have essentially told MLS that if an agreement is not reached by March 25th, clubs shouldn’t expect to see them in their respective locker room

  • 449 – “Great Party Place, Wisconsin”, or: America’s Beer Belly « Strange Maps

    – This map represents localised references in the Google Maps directory to either grocery stores or bars. Yellow shading indicates that there are more references to grocery stores than bars at that particular location. Red indicates more references to bars.
    Yellow is generally prevalent in most of the US; one can assume that there are more grocery stores than drinking establishments in those areas. But red dots, where bars outnumber grocery stores, are dominant in a few very particular regions:
    The aforementioned party state, Wisconsin. The dotting corresponds quite closely with the Wisconsin state line, turning yellow again where northwestern Wisconsin transforms into Michigan’s northern peninsula.
    North Dakota is also heavily bar-oriented, as are significant parts of Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas and – ironically – Iowa.
    Illinois is also a mainly ‘red’ state, with the notable exception of Chicagoland, on the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

Starbury in China

Notorious locker-room cancer and intern-boinker Stephon Marbury, aka Starbury, has apparently accepted a contract to play for a basketball team in China, Taiyuan Shanxi Zhongyu, currently ranked 15th out of 17 teams.

Hoops from Yesteryear

Li Fei, a 21-year-old college student, said that with Mr. Marbury on the team “it injects more excitement into the game.”

“I’ve always been his fan.” Mr. Li said. “I know he’s a selfish player, and he doesn’t like to pass, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a great player. It’s beautiful to watch.”

It’s hard to say how this marriage will work out.

Taiyuan is the capital of China’s northern Shanxi province and the center of China’s coal-mining industry. The whole city is covered in a thin layer of coal dust, including Zhongyu’s Binhe Sports Stadium, which seats about 4,500 people. It has less than a fourth the capacity of New York’s Madison Square Garden where Mr. Marbury played from 2004 to 2008. Courtside seats in the arena, which run about $1,464 a season, are a collection of worn red sofas and lounge chairs.

The Binhe Stadium looks like an abandoned building in the daytime while the team is practicing, its gates held closed with bicycle locks. About two hours before each game, security guards set up temporary metal detectors in front of each entrance to the stadium.

[Click to continue reading NBA’s Marbury Takes His Game to China –]
[Non-WSJ subscribers use this link to read the full article]

For a guy who always thinks he is the best player in the league, despite contrary evidence, perhaps this will be a good experience. If he lasts the season…

Taiyuan is markedly less tourist-friendly, internationalized and cosmopolitan than bustling cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. It’s hard to find a bank ATM that will accept foreign credit cards.

“If he lasts 10 days, I’ll be amazed,” says Bruce O’Neil, president of the U.S. Basketball Academy, which trains young American players to be drafted by Chinese teams. “The culture shock is tremendous.”

Mr. Marbury, though, isn’t playing in China for the money. He’s here to promote his shoe and apparel brand, called “Starbury” after his nickname, featuring low-cost sneakers for $15. The market is potentially huge: The NBA estimates that 300 million people play basketball in China. Mr. Marbury has the Starbury logo tattooed on the side of his shaved head.

His new employer, Zhongyu-owner Wang Xingjiang, is an iron and steel magnate and basketball fanatic who made the Forbes “400 Richest Chinese” list in 2008. At the time, his net worth was estimated to be $260 million.

Stadium Boondoggles ruining more cities

“Major League Losers: The Real Cost Of Sports And Who’s Paying For It” (Mark S. Rosentraub)

Cities are being forced to gut budgets for non-essential items like schools, police, road repair and so on in order to fund impoverished sports franchises, and the sweetheart stadium deals the sports teams negotiated. Or something.

LBJ Library Sky

Years after a wave of construction brought publicly financed stadiums costing billions of dollars to cities across the country, taxpayers are once again being asked to reach into their pockets.

From New Jersey to Ohio to Arizona, the stadiums were sold as a key to redevelopment and as the only way to retain sports franchises. But the deals that were used to persuade taxpayers to finance their construction have in many cases backfired, the result of overly optimistic revenue assumptions and the recession.

In Indianapolis, the Capital Improvement Board spent 2009 trying to find $32 million to run the Lucas Oil Stadium and convention center. In Milwaukee, a drop in sales tax receipts may delay by several years the date for paying off the bonds issued to build Miller Park, the home of the Brewers.

Columbus, Ohio, is considering using public money to keep the Blue Jackets in town. Glendale, Ariz., has fought to hold the Phoenix Coyotes to their long-term lease. In New Jersey, a ticket surcharge may be added to help resolve a tenant-landlord dispute between the Devils and Newark.

Mark Rosentraub, the author of the book “Major League Losers,” said that many of the stadium deals included “revenue bombs,” with financial traps like balloon payments on debt in later years and sweeteners like the Hamilton County property tax rebate to win public support.

In many cases, the architects of the deals are long gone by the time the bill comes due.

The plan went awry almost from the start. The [Cincinnati Bengal’s ] football stadium exceeded its budget by $50 million, forcing the county to issue more bonds. Forecasts for growth in the sales tax turned out to be too rosy. The teams received sweetheart leases. In 2000, voters threw out the county commissioners who cut the deal.

That year the sales tax grew 1.8 percent, the first of many years below the 3 percent forecast. Both stadiums were originally expected to cost $500 million combined. Yet Paul Brown Stadium alone cost $455 million and the Great American Ballpark, the Reds’ home a few hundred yards down the Ohio River, cost $337 million by the time it opened in 2003.

The generous deal for the Bengals has been a sore spot. The team had to pay rent only through 2009 on its 26-year lease, and has to cover the cost of running the stadium only for game days. Starting in 2017, the county will reimburse the team for these costs, too. The county will pay $8.5 million this year to keep the stadium going.

The Bengals keep revenue from naming rights, advertising, tickets, suites and most parking. If the county wants to recoup money by taxing tickets, concessions or parking, it needs the team’s approval.

[Click to continue reading As Revenue Plunges, Stadium Boom Adds to Municipal Woes –]

Sunset at Safeco Field

Was it really worth it? Are public spectacles so important to our society that paying wealthy team owners to host their games is more important than funding all else? If owners of sport teams are so broke they need welfare to pay for their team’s stadium, perhaps they should sell the team to someone who can pay the team expenses without taxpayer dollars. The sporting stadium boondoggle is one of the worst kinds of corporate welfare in the nation.

Pepsi Super Bowl Advertising Backlash

I know I should just ignore it, but for the record, this quote from Tim Calkins seems ridiculous to me.

No Coke, Pepsi

Pepsi’s break from the big game does carry a risk, branding experts say, because consumers have come to expect entertaining ads from the company.

“It’s a bit of a gamble to walk away from such an iconic event that has been such a big and critical part of their marketing program,” says Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Ill. “I think there could be a bit of backlash.”

[Click to continue reading Pepsi’s Drinks Will Sit Out the Super Bowl –]

Background, Pepsico is forgoing wasting lots of money on 2010 Super Bowl advertising1, and placing the budget instead in online marketing, and in so-called cause marketing

Under the program, Pepsi will award grant money for community projects proposed and selected by consumers, such as helping high-school students publish books to develop their writing skills. Pepsi says it has earmarked $20 million of its ad dollars for the grants next year.

Anyway, back to Professor Calkins: is he really claiming that because Pepsi isn’t going to spend $3,000,000 for a :30 2010 Super Bowl spot, that consumers are going to riot in the street, pitching cases of Pepsi One in Monroe Harbor? Consider me skeptical. Can you tell me, unprompted, which corporations advertised in Super Bowl 2009 and who didn’t? I doubt it. Even someone like myself who records the Super Bowl but then skips the actual game to watch the advertisements2 can’t recall, unprompted, who ran a spot and who didn’t. So what kind of backlash is Professor Calkins expecting?

  1. according to a TNS Media Intelligence chart included in this WSJ article, PepsiCo has spent $138,000,000 on Super Bowl advertising since 1987, plus another $53,000,000 advertising other PepsiCo brands like Sierra Mist []
  2. in theory anyway, we usually end up watching a few moments of the game itself, and only watching about 1/4 of the commercials []

Obama and the Chicago Olympics

Notice Obama isn’t actually going to Copenhagen: the bid is not worth wasting the power of the presidency on. The Olympics might end up in Brazil, after all.

Gotta Support the Team!!

With 16 days left until the International Olympic Committee chooses a host city for the 2016 Olympics, President Barack Obama stood on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday and made a pitch for Chicago’s bid to win those Summer Games. He promised that if the I.O.C. chose Chicago, the city would make the United States — and the world — proud.

“Chicago is ready,” Obama said during an event featuring Olympians, Paralympians and local schoolchildren. “The American people are ready. We want these Games.”

“I promise you, we are fired up about this,” he said of the possibility of the Games being awarded to Chicago, where he lived for nearly 25 years before moving into the White House.

[Click to continue reading Obama Says Chicago Is ‘Ready’ to Win Bid to Hold 2016 Games –]

Division Street Bridge
Here’s what the City of Chicago needs to spend money on instead: this is the Division Street Bridge, seemingly rusted nearly to collapse. Why don’t we spend money fixing our infrastructure and mass transit first?

Ms. Obama loves to publicly tease the President:

Michelle Obama, a lifelong Chicagoan, will lead the United States contingent at the meetings. On Wednesday, she showed the crowd charisma that just may win over some I.O.C. members.

After taking to the podium, she encouraged the audience to cheer and show its Olympic spirit. She then poked fun at her husband’s attempt at a few of the Olympic sports that were on hand, causing the crowd to roar with laughter.

“You should have seen the president in there fencing,” she said of her husband, who said he had always wanted to try the sport. “It was pathetic.”

and not sure how relevant the Chicago Cubs attendance records are to funding Olympics:

Michelle Obama said Chicago was the “ideal home for the 2016 Games,” not just for its landscape, infrastructure or resources, but also for its people and their love of sports.

“You know, you have to admit, even White Sox fans are impressed by the fact that even though the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in centuries, Cubs games sell out,” she said. “Everybody’s there. It doesn’t matter. Win or lose, we are going to watch the Cubs.”

because the White Sox don’t always sell out, just the Cubs.

I still haven’t heard anyone give a good reason as to why Chicago should even host the Olympics, much less fund the damn things.

Click here for some other posts discussing the 2016 games

No wonder I hate football

No wonder I hate football, the overwhelming majority of coaches are Republicans, at both college and professional ranks.

LBJ Library Sky

During the 2008 campaign cycle, college and NFL head coaches (and their wives) contributed a total of $13,286 to John McCain and the Republican National Committee. From that same group, Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee received just $4,600—half of it from Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears and the other half from San Jose State’s Dick Tomey.

In all, 20 coaches active in the 2008 season gave to Republican candidates seeking federal office. Three donated to Democrats. This disparity is even more striking given that, among the individual donors in the ’08 campaign cycle, Mr. Obama outraised Mr. McCain by more than a 5-to-1 margin.

Some coaches display their largely conservative instincts in non-financial ways. Jack Del Rio of the NFL’s Jaguars led the crowd in the pledge of allegiance at a Sarah Palin rally in Jacksonville last fall. Longtime Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs addressed last summer’s Republican National Convention. Lou Holtz fired up congressional Republicans with a pep talk in 2007 and recently flirted with running for Congress in Florida. Ralph Friedgen, the portly University of Maryland coach, good-naturedly called one of his Canadian players a socialist last fall.

There’s no evidence that coaches with a conservative bent are better coaches or more likely to get jobs. Football coaches aren’t the most diverse group, which may help explain their political similarities.

[Click to continue reading Why Your Coach Votes Republican –]

Wild CatThe reasons the Wall Street Journal opines as to why Republicans are pretty ridiculous1: more marketing for the Republican brand, in my opinion, but you can make up your own mind whether Republican virtues translate onto the grid iron.

  1. discipline, self-reliance, loyalty to core values – yeah, the Republicans I know and read about don’t fit any of these parameters []

Dwyane Wade buys Chicago townhouse

Summer Hoops - Lomo
[Summer Hoops, Rogers Park somewhere]

Sam Smith reports:

Has Dwyane Wade purchased his Chicago dream house as a prelude to signing a free agent contract with the Bulls next summer?
Or is Wade just a clever real estate speculator at a good time?

Prying eyes want to know. And at least basketball franchises in Chicago and Miami.’s real estate blog reported Monday that Wade has purchased a four story riverfront townhouse in Kinzie Park, which is just west of the Loop across the river from the East Bank Club. The price is said to be about $1.4 million, which hardly seems like what you’d pay for an occasional getaway place back in your hometown if you are planning to establish roots in Miami by signing a major extension.

[Click to continue reading Chicago Bulls Blog: Dwyane Wade buys $1.4 million Chicago townhouse]

Hey, DWade for Ben Gordon1 is definite upgrade; even though Dwyane Wade is injury-prone, he is certainly one of the top guards in the NBA.

Sam Smith still doesn’t believe in outgoing links, but Google is2 our friend:

The Kinzie Park townhouse is part of a development of former industrial parcels across the river from the East Bank Club that also includes high-rise condos. The townhouses have private yards fronting the river along a shared promenade. Wade bought a 3,900-square-foot unit with a two-car garage and a rooftop deck.

The property was on the market for almost a year, says the seller’s agent, Harold Blum, and it sat vacant for a while. “But then we furnished it and we got two offers,” says Blum, who would not reveal whether Wade’s offer was the higher of the two. Wade closed on the sale in late June, but information on the deal only surfaced recently at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

[Click to continue reading NBA and Olympic Star Buys in River North – Deal Estate – August 2009 – Chicago]

Coincidentally, Flickr-eeno phule and I were just walking past here a couple weeks ago, albeit on the other side of the river. It doesn’t look like I took any photos of this area, but then I didn’t see anything photo-worthy either. I’d like having DWade as a near-neighbor, not that I’m much of a celebrity stalker (well, except for the time Michelle Obama was eating across the street). The Chicago Bulls can dream, right?

  1. who signed with the Detroit Pistons over the off-season []
  2. usually []

Eamus Catuli – AC0063100

Eamus Catuli - AC0063100
Eamus Catuli – AC0063100, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

I’ve never actually been to Wrigley Field before, so had to look up both of these signs. Luckily, my iPhone got reception, and was able to find the Wikipedia entry:

The Lakeview Baseball Club, which sits across Sheffield Avenue (right-field) from the stadium displays a sign that reads, “Eamus Catuli!” (roughly Latin for “Let’s Go Cubs!”—catuli translating to “whelps”, the nearest Latin equivalent), flanked by a counter indicating the Cubs’ long legacy of futility. The counter is labeled “AC,” for “Anno Catuli,” or “In the Year of the Cubs.” The first two digits indicate the number of years since the Cubs’ last division championship as of the end of the previous season (2008), the next two digits indicate the number of years since the Cubs’ last trip to the World Series (1945), and the last three digits indicate the number of years since their last World Series win (1908).

The Modern Athlete

“The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy” (Bill Simmons)

Bill Simmons is nearly finished with his book on a subject near and dear to my heart, the NBA. Avi Zenilman of The New Yorker interviewed Simmons on the NBA Finals, and the topic of the modern athlete came up:

The lack of college experience also means that you probably have less of a chance to have a conversation with a Finals player about English lit or political science. For instance, if you’re a reporter, maybe you don’t ask for thoughts from modern players on the Gaza Strip or Abdul Nasser, or whether they read Chuck Pahlaniuk’s new book. These guys lead sheltered lives that really aren’t that interesting. Back in the seventies, you could go out to dinner with three of the Knicks—let’s say, Phil Jackson, Bill Bradley, and Walt Frazier—and actually have a fascinating night. Which three guys would you pick on the Magic or Lakers? I guess Fisher would be interesting, and I always heard Odom was surprisingly thoughtful. I can’t come up with a third. So I’d say that the effects are more in the “didn’t really have any experiences outside being a basketball player” sense.

I can’t wait to see what happens to KG, Kobe, T-Mac, Carmelo, Howard and others when they finish with basketball. These guys have been mini-corporations and basketball machines since the age of eighteen. What will they do? What will be important to them? When I was researching my book, one thing that blew me away was how brilliant the guys from the fifties and sixties were. Not as players, as people. Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Bob Cousy, Wilt Chamberlain…these were thoughtful, well-rounded human beings who cared deeply about not just their sport, but about their place in society and (in the case of the black guys) their stature during such a tumultuous time. Everyone knows about Russell’s eleven rings, but did you know about everything he did to advance the cause of African-Americans? Everyone knows about Oscar’s triple doubles, but did you know that he filed the lawsuit that paved the way for a real players union and free agency? These were truly great men and the N.B.A. just wouldn’t be where it is if that wasn’t the case.

Nowadays, the mindset seems to be more, “What can I do to raise my profile? How can I become more famous? How can I make more money?” We need more David Robinsons and Steve Nashes and Ray Allens. The N.B.A. does a terrific job of getting their players into a community, but I wonder how many of those players actually understand why it’s important, or if it’s just something else on their schedule right between “Make a cameo on Kendra’s reality show” and “Meet with E.A. bigwigs about a possible N.B.A. Live cover.” Five decades ago, when Russell wanted to get his point across about something that was important to him, he would write a first-person account in Sports Illustrated. Today, Shaq gets his point across in a 140-character Twitter post. I don’t think this is progress.

[Click to read more of Studying The Finals: News Desk: Online Only: The New Yorker]

Amen to that.

Alien Hoopsters 6 on 6