Cinco de Mayo Mailbag: Music, Film, NFL Draft, and NBA Playoffs

It’s been roughly over five months since my last Mailbag, and I dare say, it couldn’t come at a better time. I was starting to feel boxed in with all the serious posts that I have been writing. I get a certain pleasure from writing them, but it’s different than writing the comical pieces like the one you’re about to read.

I want to thank my readers, fans, and friends for sending their questions in.

Disclaimer: the thoughts and views expressed in the e-mails sent to me are in no way the thoughts and views of the writer of this piece. They are real e-mails from real people around the world.

As always, this will be in Q & A format, and I will be referring to myself by my initials- A.B.

Q: Love, when spelled backwards and read phonetically, reads evil. Don’t do drugs, don’t have unprotected sex, don’t be violent. Leave that to me. Somewhere deep down there’s a decent man in me, he just can’t be found.   

-Eminem, Detroit.

AB: For obvious reasons, I couldn’t post his entire e-mail to me. I don’t know why I put “Q” because his correspondence with me was more a statement than a question. Love spelled backwards is evil…phonetically. That’s great. You’re a real charmer, aren’t you? I don’t understand what you’re getting at when you warn people not to do all those things and then do them yourself. Are you being a martyr? Are you sacrificing? Maybe you’re being selfish. What if people grow up and want to do all those things? You’re going to sit there and tell them not to just so you can have more drugs, unprotected sex, and violence? How dare you.

Listen, I know you make good music. You’re the best pure lyricist I know. That doesn’t mean I like you, though. There was a time, yeah, when I thought you were cool. That was 11 years ago, when I was in 7th grade. I think it’s time you grew up, too. I don’t understand why you’re so angry all the time. Dude, you were born in 1972, so you’re almost 40,  easily on the wrong side of 30, and your songs are more angry than ever! That new ode to Dr. Dre is like someones banging pots and pans on my ears. In The Slim Shady LP you were insanely real. Really real. And then you got progressively angrier. I don’t understand. If you don’t enjoy being famous; if you don’t enjoy being a multimillionaire; if you don’t enjoy being an icon; if you don’t enjoy being a role model, then please, retire for real this time.

Usually by 40 years of age, people start to calm down. Get with the program, Slim.

ZzZZzZZzz, it’s getting old. If Kobe takes majority of his shots outside the paint, chances are he’s not going to get the FT’s. Also notice defenders don’t fall for his tricks anymore? His pump-fake hasn’t worked for years for a reason.

-KobeApologist@gmail.com

AB: I could have sworn that I explained in great detail how frequently he posts-up. Somebody is either illiterate and has a biased translator, or has the reading comprehension of a 5th grader. Get tested. The next time you read something that was over 1,000 words and feel like you can tear it down in under 30, you better think twice. You’re not Will Ferrell destroying James Carville in the debate scene of Old School. In fact, nobody is. That’s why it’s a movie. And why are you scared to put your real name in an e-mail/comment that needs to be approved before being posted for the public to see? To me, there can only be two reasons:

1. You are afraid of identity theft.

Last time I checked, nobody with the name “Roger” has ever had his identity stolen because he posted his first name on a public domain page.

2. You are afraid of getting beat up.

Last time I checked, nobody has ever gotten their butt kicked for disagreeing with someone who has no idea who they are in an online forum. In fact, that’s WHY people talk trash online-because they know that they won’t get beat up.

If either of these reasons reign true for you, then don’t be afraid. Nobody is going to hurt you.

If you’re really bad at reading comprehension (it’s a real epidemic, America), then go to pridelearningcenter.com and seek help. I’m here for you, Sarcastically-Dubbed Kobe Apologist.

The life of an NBA official is tough. We aren’t respected by anybody. The players hate us, the fans hate us, the commissioner hates us, and our families hate us. I don’t know any subculture that is more a pariah than our officiating union. We are, by far, the most hated group in professional sports. People hate us more than they hate greedy owners. People hate us more than they hate terrorism. They’d blame us for anything if they could. According to statistics, I’m the reason the Dallas Mavericks lost game 3 of the 2006 NBA Finals. I’m at a loss here. What do you think we should do?

-D. Crawford, NBA official.

AB: I have to agree with you. Life as a referee is incredibly difficult. I refereed for a league in the Fall, know a few people who do it as a second job, and you’re right. You can’t please anybody. Even when you think you’re doing a good job, you’re pissing people off. It’s a textbook lose-lose situation. And you’re right. People can easily blame you for that Mavericks Game 3 loss against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. In fact, us critics and fans can blame you for most of the Mavericks’ playoff losses. Since that infamous game 3 comeback by the Heat, the Mavs are now 2-16 all-time in games officiated by you. Wait, they won game 2 against Portland, so 3-16. That’s awful. Seriously. What’d Dirk do to get under your skin, man?

I can understand Mark Cuban. He’s annoying. To be honest, there’s nothing that you can do. I learned a few things in that position for the short time that I was in it. If you see something, you have to call it, and you can’t call what you don’t see. Also, don’t anticipate. Don’t expect a foul to come and then if it doesn’t blow the whistle anyway simply because your brain already told your mouth to chirp. And when I say if you see something to call it, then you should know damn well what that means. Even if you’re not entirely sure, but you’re more sure than you are unsure, then call it. I remember there was a time when I should have called a three-second violation on an offensive player, who then got a rebound, kicked it out, and his teammate made a 3-pointer. I felt awful. That was my fault. I am still haunted by dreams of that team losing the game because of me (I actually don’t even remember the outcome), and wake up sweating profusely. When you see J.J. Barea dribbling and driving, then you see him discontinue his dribble and you don’t call it, you’ve really screwed over the opposing team (the Lakers last night) because there’s no way to defend a perimeter player if you’re going to let him carry, travel, etc.

In reality, you need to set your ego aside, even though it’s human nature to have an ego, and do your job. You can’t take things personal because the players are passionate, know the game, and want to win. You can’t. Call what you see. Don’t call what you don’t see. Don’t anticipate.

And show Kobe some love.

Do you think they’ll ever let me referee a Laker game again?

-B. Adams, NBA official.

AB: DEFINITELY. Commissioner David Stern can’t stand criticism of the officials. He refuses to allow his power to be checked by anybody. Free speech doesn’t exist in the NBA. If Kobe complains, we know you’re going to hold it against him. How could you not? I’d have a hard time letting someone call me a sexing cigarette butt without being offended. I mean, come on. But the real question is: “why would you want to?” (in voice of Samantha Mumba in the Guy Pierce version of The Time Machine). With all the scrutiny you’re likely to face, I think it’s best you let things blow over. If Stern tries to put you in that position, you’re going to have to accept, otherwise he’ll fine you and order a hit on your family until you do, so pray that he doesn’t. The good news is that you’re a hero to the gay community. You helped them by being subject to such vulgar language and helping raise awareness for homophobic slurs and their inappropriateness in any forum. They might make you an honorary gay member for a day! How about that? Not bad for a 47 year-old New Orleans Southern beau. Or belle, now.

Since we mentioned the Lakers, we might as well continue on with them.

You had a point with Pau not making any of your All NBA teams. I’m still waiting for him to show up these playoffs. Anyway, here’s my question: Would you wanna kick Barea’s ass? Because in the famous words of Carlton, “I would.”

-S. Choi, Woodcrest, CA.

AB: Looks like at least one person is coming around to my stiff stance on Pau Gasol. He played spectacularly in the beginning of the year, but has tailed off since then. In these playoffs, Pau is averaging 13.6 points per game on 42% shooting, 7.8 rebounds per game, and is down from his season averages of 18.8 ppg on 52% shooting and 10.2 rpg. Talk about a dropoff. What is wrong with you?! Those are some Kenyon Martin numbers. Compare those numbers to those of his brother Marc Gasol: 14.8 ppg on 55% shooting and 12.1 rpg. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!

Are you being serious right now?

Can you picture Marc Gasol doing a cover like this? Honestly? Pau's gone Hollywood, folks.

Seriously? (By the way, am I the only one who sees the parallels between the Pau Gasol/Marc Gasol family and the Peyton Manning/Eli Manning family? The older brother is obviously the better brother, and he’s in the playoffs every year. The younger brother, meanwhile, has been there all of once and has already done what the older brother couldn’t-win a game as a Memphis Grizzly-and he’s outperformed him to boot. The older brother is definitely more talented, but the younger brother makes up for that disparity with unbelievable grit. His game doesn’t look as good, but it gets the job done. If the parallel continues, I’m afraid we’re going to witness a Memphis-Miami NBA Finals show down, similar to the New York Giants-New England Patriots Superbowl, and Pau is going to be in the owner’s box cheering his underdog younger brother on against the superteam that is New England/Miami. I’ve already made it clear-if the Lakers lose, I’m going for the Grizzlies. In the words of my illustrious co-worker, “Yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaah buddy!”)

Come on, man! You’re better than that. Look: I know that you guys haven’t practiced with Kobe Bryant all year. I know this. But there were many games during the regular season where you played well while he was in there doing his thing. It looks like defenses have figured you out. They’re forcing you off your spots, forcing you to shoot turnaround jumpers, denying you position, and turning you into a passing player. You’re not going to win like that. The Lakers’ losses aren’t all your fault, but let’s be real, here. You take the brunt of the blame. For everybody watching the Lakers play, their crowd has been extremely hard on Pau. He’s at a turning point with them right now. Before April, he was the one Laker other than Kobe whose jersey was a safe purchase. You knew Pau was going to stick around. Now? Laker fans get antsy every time he touches the ball. The last time I remember a reaction like that out of them was before we traded Kwame Brown for him in that Thursday night home game against the Phoenix Suns when Kwame had some 5 straight turnovers and the crowd started booing him.

The Lakers are going to make a push for Dwight Howard, who has made his desire to win known, and Orlando might bite. While I didn’t think Andrew and Dwight would work, both being Centers, I don’t envision the Laker faithful forgiving Pau for the Lakers losing to the ::gulp:: Dallas Mavericks.

2-0 series lead…………………………………………………………………..DALLAS?!?!?!??! (in Chris Berman voice)

Oh, and to answer your question, what do you think? I have hated Barea for a long time.

If you were the Laker’s GM, what off-season decisions would you most likely make?

-@laronprofit, Twitter.

AB: Operation Liberate Dwight Howard comes to mind. As Laker GM, my goal would be to free Dwight from his gimmick team, his hypertension-prone coach, and his facial hair. Hey Dwight, come on over to L.A.! Fish and Mountain Drew have the facial hair on this team! Don’t even worry about it.

In all seriousness, I have been highly critical of Laker GM Mitch Kupchak for a long time. In fact, I once got banned from a Laker forum (AND I’M A LAKER FAN!) for pointing out how Kupchak was more lucky than good. They didn’t seem to like that. But then again, fans are dumb, so I’m okay with it. But in the end, Kupchak has done just as much bad as he has done good. Most of his good came from inaction, while most of his bad came from ill-advised action. In the GM world, that doesn’t cut it. Still, I have a special place in my heart for him. Last August he took time out of his vacation to talk to me on the phone and help me get a marketing internship with the Lakers under their PR guy John Black. It didn’t work, obviously, because I’m an English major, but he didn’t have to do that.

So, to answer your question further, I’d pursue Dwight Howard, look to unload Luke Walton’s contract and back, relentlessly chase after Rick Adelman to replace Phil Jackson, and secretly send messages to Blake Griffin telling him that the Lakers locker room is better.

Why don’t I have a personality?

-B. Griffin, Los Angeles.

AB: Shhhhhhhhhh! People aren’t ready to hear that. They’re more interested in you bringing the Clippers to the promise land and electrifying arenas with your gravity-defying dunks. And that’s okay.

The Falcons addressed mainly offensive issues during this past draft, do you think they can get to the top now or is the defense still going to be an issue that they completely overlooked?

-S. Iranikhah, Atlanta.

AB: Great question. Thanks for changing the subject. All this basketball talk was starting to depress me. Oh wait. I’m a Cowboy fan. I know what disappointment feels like. And so do women. You know what I mean, ladies.

Anyway. I’m really high on Julio Jones. Even though I’m not a Falcon fan, I don’t mind them. It’s not like they ever did anything to rub me the wrong way. Jones is a big boy. Apparently he played some running back in his football career, so that explains why he’s not a prima donna like other primetime receivers. When asked if he was a diva, here’s how he responded:

“No, not at all,’’ Jones said. “But I didn’t grow up as no diva, either. I used to play running back, so I guess I have that mentality — just hard-nosed.”

You like that out of your future number one wide receiver. In his defense, the best receiver in the game isn’t a diva, either. Maybe you’ve heard of him? Andre Johnson out of Houston? Thought so. To answer your question, though, I do feel like your team could’ve drafted a corner or a safety. That they didn’t is an indictment of their coaching staff. According to NFL.com, their defense was ranked 5th in points allowed at 18.0, 10th in rushing yards allowed at 105.9, but their secondary was subpar, allowing 226.6. Maybe that’s why you lost to the Packers as just the second NFC number one seed to drop to the number six seed in the past 5 years (the first being the Dallas Cowboys losing to the New York Giants in 2007). Aaron Rodgers shredded your secondary, completing 31 of 36 passes 366 yards and 3 touchdowns. There’s a reason your entire division was left off the Top 10 Safety rankings. Notice how the top 3 all won at least one playoff game, and 2 of them were in the Superbowl? Take a page out of their book, Atlanta.

Defense wins championships.

What has happened to vampires? When I first burst onto the movie scene, they were awesome. Remember “The Lost Boys?” If I may say so, it was one of the best vampire movies of all-time. Back then, vampires were scary. They had that “I don’t have a care in the world other than having fun and drinking blood and indulging in crude sexual activity” attitude. They were creatures of the night, ruling the dark with an iron fang; not venturing into daylight worried about blending in with the teenage idiots of the continental U.S. and falling in love with plain Jane girls from the Southwest. Remember the days of motorcycles, leather jackets, and night life? REMEMBER THAT? 

-K. Sutherland, Hollywood.

AB: Man. The Lost Boys was such a good movie. It was like the American dream meets the Transylvanian nightmare. Dracula, the original vampire, was awesome. But Americans aptly reinvented the vampiric mythology, put their cultural stamp on it, and pumped out classic movies like the one that a fresh-faced Kiefer Sutherland was a part of. In 1987, you couldn’t walk around on Halloween without seeing some kid in a leather jacket and bleached blond hair. His face was iconic. Vampires were on the rise, and then they finally peaked in 2007-2008 (which coincides with the year the Lakers lost to the Celtics. See. Only bad things happen when the Celtics win). When the first Twilight movie came out, it was over. Remember the days when we had vampire HUNTERS? Weren’t the awesome? The Lost Boys, Blade, and Interview With a Vampire are no more. The old vampire gave way to the new vampire, and his name is Edward.

::sighs wistfully:: If only...

Not too long ago I had a conversation with some friends and my girlfriend about Voldemort and how he doesn’t do it for us as a villain. I’m not a “Harry Potter” fan. I’ve never seen any of the movies, and never read any of his books. All I know is what people tell me. The series has gotten progressively darker, it’s super entertaining, and a tad nostalgic. Now, Voldemort (spelled right?)could be so much worse(as in more scary) than he is. Sure, he’s a child’s books’ villain, but he’s nowhere near as scary as even your base comicbook villains. I’m more scared of The Comedian from Watchmen than I am “the guy whose name we don’t mention,” or whatever.  I postulated that it was because the author was female. Women don’t get scared by the same things men do. Guys want to imagine villains that can scare them. Girls? I don’t know what scares them, and I don’t want to guess and rub my female readers the wrong way (No double-entendre intended). My point is that it’s consistent with that of the Stephanie Meyer series. I don’t know what her goal is, but she knows her target demographic. It’s pretty well narrowed down to the XX chromosome population. JK Rowling has a more diverse audience, so her ultimate bad guy needs to be  more ultimate. And more bad. And pretty much more everything.

I’m more scared of my neighbor’s pitbull than I am of Voldemort.

Did you know that I played an Android on “The Outer Limits” in 1996 and had black hair?

-Heather Graham, The Future.

Yes. And you looked good then, too. You’re probably the hottest raven-haired Android I’ve seen since Android 18 from Dragon Ball Z. And he was a guy (By the way, how can fans of DBZ egregiously overlook Krillin’s wish to make Android 17 a human? I’m a fan. Krillin is comedic relief. We knew he couldn’t stay relevant in the fighting world forever, so we expected him to settle down. We also knew that Android 17 wasn’t all bad. She was an Android. But how is it okay for him to wish for her to become a human being JUST so he can pass on his legacy through her? Did she even have a say in this? Who would want to become a human when you can be an Android? They don’t ever have to worry about diseases, emotions, etc. Even if you think that being a human is okay, WHAT DID SHE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS?! You might call me chauvinistic after my JK Rowling/Stephanie Meyers rant, but come on…think about the women here. Android 17, my name is Anthony M. Burrola, and I fight FOR YOU ::points::!). And honestly, in real life, you’re really hot. And when I say real life, I mean if we were to see you walking down the street. What guy wouldn’t turn his head to get a second look? Be serious. In the celebrity world, though, you’re not going to win any beauty contests. Remember: it’s lonely at the top. Don’t expect everyone to appreciate you like I do. In fact, I have compiled a list celebrities that are super hot to me, but don’t always do it for other people.

Yeah, you’re on it. So is Fergie.  So is Rose McGowan. So is Amy Adams. Well, she doesn’t count. Over the last 5 years she’s become a 10. But in Talladega Nights, she was a 6.8 (closer to 7 because she looked like a hot nerd, which a lot of guys like). So is Sarah Silverman. Yes, I went there. I don’t know if I complimented or insulted you, but my intentions were good.

I bet the Lakers are missing me now. For years they kept me in the dark. I listened to everything they taught me. When Fish got suspended in game 2 of the  2009 Western Conference Semi Finals, I stepped up and did what he couldn’t. Yeah, Fish is a baller with ice running through his veins. But I’m Farmie. Without ME, the Lakers are just AWESO. This post-season is proof. You think I can’t guard J.J. Barea? PLEASE! I back up Deron Williams. Maybe you’ve heard of him? Anyway, you tell Phil I said what’s up.

-J. Farmar, New Jersey.

AB: Shaking my head (SMH)…I know you can guard J.J. Barea. I know! I’m not willing to say that we made a mistake yet. Talk to me after game 3.

I told you. I told you. Nobody listened to me. Everybody said that I was stupid for rattling the cage of Phil Jackson and the NBA champion Lakers. Nobody gave us a chance against you guys, even our ESPN Dallas correspondent Marc Stein. He picked Lakers in 7. That’s the most respect any analyst gave us. I told you. What did the Lakers shoot on 3-pointers in game 2 tonight? 2 for 20? HA! Remember when I said that swapping Trevor Ariza for Ron Artest would make the Lakers worse? Remember me? Looks like I was right!

-M. Cuban, Dallas.

AB: Sh…shut up.

Till next time.

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5 Responses to “Cinco de Mayo Mailbag: Music, Film, NFL Draft, and NBA Playoffs”

  1. Mq Says:

    I wish i would have sent a question! I have so many of them. I still want a basketball for dumbies blog. Great job on this one.

  2. Sina Says:

    First off, thanks for answering my question. But, yes, I agree with you on Eminem, why does he have to be so damn angry all the time?? But I also like the addition of the running back Rodgers, he seems to be a good compliment to Michael Turner, but we still cannot overlook the defense which is why I was baffled we did not pick up another safety or DB, let’s just hope the Falcons knew what they were doing

  3. daniel "cool beans" lee Says:

    Go to hell, Mark Cuban!

  4. Pretzel McShamis Says:

    Someday cool vampire hunters will show up again…

  5. laron Says:

    I like your head coach choice… not many oldies left in this league. And you’re getting rid of LUKE?! how could you.. there’s isn’t a better bench warmer. we need at least 1 ‘wtf is he here for?’ player to laugh at. oooo a D12-BG duo makes me wanna punch somebody. Wherever Bynum ends up, I’ll always love him… & man, that picture of Pau is just ridiculous. Is he doing the salsa? lol

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