Thursday, June 30, 2005
  Shoplifters of the World (that means you, Putin), Hand It Over
Thumbs Up - To the Boston Celtics and their 2005 draft picks. Didn't grow up a Celts fan. May become one now.

Big props to Ryan Gomes, the All-American forward out of Providence COLLEGE (not University, Russ). In some ways, it's a sad change in the air that one of the best college players in the country goes 50th in the draft, ahead of unproven high schoolers, Euros, and green (no pun intended) underclassmen.

But the backboards aren't wood anymore and the balls don't have laces. The times-they-are-a-changin. And if I can change, and you can change, WE CAN ALL CHANGE!

Gomes may or may not have been slighted by returning for his senior season at PC, but look at the glass half-full. He worked on his game incessantly, adding range from beyond the perimeter, adding strength, and adding a bachelor's degree in sociology. Now he got selected to play basketball for a team he wanted to play for and a team that wanted him in turn. He's a winner.

My only knock is his wardrobe. I know you're a 2nd round pick without guaranteed money, but don't show up to your "Welcome to the Boston Celtics" press conference in a G-Unit t-shirt. C'mon, the 18-year old wore a suit (maybe the same one as the night before, but so what, I've done that...) Unless the "G" stands for "Gomes"-Unit, head to Syms. Or now that you're going to get paid, call Tom James.

And then there's first round pick Gerald Green. For everyone who thinks that the ills of the NBA are all the H.S. kids that declare, check out this quote from "G-Money:"

''If I don't get my education, [my mom] is going to fight me," said Green. ''Either I'm going to get beat up or learn." Gerald Sr. and Brenda want to insert an ''education clause" into a rookie contract that will earn their son approximately $2 million over the next two seasons.

Thumbs Down: Me.

Why? Because I dropped the ball. I dropped the blogge. Last weekend, while in Montreal, I forgot to pack the pen and pad like I did in Australia (check!), so I didn't have the running play-by-play.

But trust me, as much fun as it was and as great a city as it is, there's nothing funny about: "I went to the world's largest inclined tower and looked out au centre-ville. It was fun. Then I ate lunch. It was good. Then I looked at strippers. They were naked. Then I took a nap back at the hotel. I drooled. Then I went out. It was nighttime..."

The Index Finger: To the BBC's Andy Brown, for becoming the first Western journalist to conduct an interview with Australian prisoner Schapelle Corby.

On BBC One this afternoon, Brown told of his ordeal to get into the prison in Bali to speak with the former beauty student from the Gold Coast.

After approaching the gates to the prison, where he could see through the gate and into the cells, Brown inquired as to whether or not he could enter to visit Corby. He was told no, as only friends, family, and legal counsel were allowed in. After 20 minutes (and 20 dollars, I'm sure), one of the guards agreed to pass a letter to Corby, explaining who he was and why he was there.

She agreed to see him, and was happy to conduct the interview. After being taken out to a grassy courtyard where other prisoners and their families were meeting, Corby told of her conditions: 10 to a dirt-floored cell, with nothing but a hole in the ground to act for a toilet. All ten women slept among rats and when they did eat, the food was so bad that they were all suffered constant diarrhea.

Not pretty. Not for someone who may be wrongly imprisoned.

The Middle Finger: This one is now four-fold. Let's start in Arlington with Kenny Rogers.

(via the AP) The lefty for the Texas Rangers shoved two cameramen yesterday, sending one to the hospital in a videotaped tirade that included throwing a camera to the ground and threatening to break more.

Rogers, who missed his last start with a broken pinkie he suffered during an outburst earlier this month, erupted at the cameramen as they filmed him walking to the field for pregame stretching before last night's game at Arlington, Texas, against the Los Angeles Angels.

The 40-year-old left-hander first shoved Fox Sports Net Southwest photographer David Mammeli, telling him: "I told you to get those cameras out of my face." "I'll break every . . . one of them," Rogers said before he was escorted to the clubhouse by catcher Rod Barajas. Rogers was reportedly mad that reporters were questioning his work ethic and integrity.

Hey shithead, that's what journalists do. Some do it better and classier than others, but yeah, they ask questions. You answer them. If you choose not to answer, say no comment or walk away. Don't, in the words of Chris Rock, go tiger. Reminds me of the time my boy Dave and I stood out in dead center at Fenway and heckled Kenny for about 15 minutes solid while he was warming up. He flipped us off.

Onto Red Sox (check!) closer Keith Foulke. He was indispensible last season. As ballyhooed as the bloody sock was, or the pitching of Derek Lowe, there is no World Championship flag if not for Foulke. I realize that. I recognize that. I salute that.

I, quoteth Manuel Aristedes Ramirez, turn the page.

After blowing an 8-5 lead (he allowed two Timlin runners to score), and seemingly having the game ready to close with two strikes and two outs on two separate occasions, he blew it.

Since this isn't the first time this has happened this season (or this week or month), many reporters and fans have the gall to ask questions. (Foulke and Rogers should be required to audit a class or two at should some of the writers, but that's a different breed of cat altogether).

Foulke answered those questions with this gem: "I'm more embarrassed to walk into this locker room and look at the faces of my teammates than to walk out and see Johnny from Burger King booing me. I'm worried about these guys, not everybody else."

That's a Whopper. Hey Keith...Johnny from Burger King is paying a King's ransom to come watch you pitch. And you thank them by serving up soft-serve 85 mph dead-red fastballs. I'll stop here.

Jeremy Roenick. He plays hockey. Hockey used to be a professional sport. They had their own league and everything. Then the greedy owners and greedier players got into a spat and now hockey ended.

They've figured out a way to get back together and play hockey again, but to a lesser financial gain. (Hint Jeremy, that's what happens when things hemorrage. You patch it up and stop the bleeding. In the case of the NHL, it was hemorraging money. I digress.)

So Roenick lashed out. At who, the owners? Not really. At the media? Not then, but later. No, he lashed out at the folks who lost as much as they did. The fans.

He told the fans, who were upset because they lost the ability to watch their favorite sport because greedy and greedier got into a hissy fit, to "kiss his white ass" and that he didn't want them in the arenas when hockey returned. Kiss your wife with that mouth, JR? And don't worry, you won't have to uninvite fans to the arenas. You've already done that, all this year.

So what to do when confronted with public outrage? Claim you were misquoted and taken out of context. What context, exactly, did you mean by "white ass." Was the context what you see when you look in a mirror?

So JR went on ESPN's SportsCenter (live) with Dan Patrick, because "I didn't want to give their editors a chance to cut and splice what I had to say and misrepresent what I said." Spare me.

The last asshole of the week is Gary Sheffield. One can argue he's the asshole of the year, the century, and possibly the milennium, but let's focus on the present.

The NY Post penned an "exclusive" that the Mets and Yankees were talking a deal that would send Sheff to the Metropolitans for Mike Cameron and Miguel Cairo. That made Sheff mad. And when Sheff gets mad, he speaks up. And when he speaks up, he sets the English language back 15 years.

"I can't sit here and blame the Yankees for other teams wanting me, so let's clear that up,'' Sheffield said. "I understand that. But I'm just letting you know if it happens, it becomes personal and I'm not going to accept this because of the concessions I made.''

Concessions? Which concessions? Are your kids eating alpo for dinner? Did you have a spam-burger for lunch? Do you live in a youth hostel in the Bowery? Do the clubhouse kids get to bang your wife? (because we know R. Kelly already did. Just hope he didn't piss on her...)

Deferring four million dollars isn't a concession. It's a decision. And since you reside in the state of Florida, and that's also where the Yankees are based fiscally, it's conceivably a tax-free concession.

The Ring Finger: And trust me, this ring isn't going to Vladimir Putin.

It's going to hopefully go to the winner of Wimbledon, in (hopefully) a match between defending champion Maria Sharapova and former champ Lindsay Davenport.

Now, everyone knows Maria. And now that Raymond has retired, Everyone Loves Maria. She's in commercials, for Canon and Nike. She's on magazine covers. She's in sexy and glamourous pictorials. She's the new Anna K., except she wins on tour. But it's too easy to pick the blonde, blue eyed, tall leggy Russian. (whoa there, fella)

Now Lindsay, she is not the pinup type, but she's Adorable, even.

Dunno what it is. Maybe it's some weird fetish thing, that she's 6-2 and could lay a hurting on me, but I've always had a little thing for her. We also have almost the same birthday, so we're both gemini (which is you buy into that astrology shite means we're prolly both fucking nuts). The fact she's worth almost 20 million is also a mitigating factor.

So that's what I'm rooting for Saturday's Breakfast with Wimbledon on NBC.

The Pinky: This country needs a new leader. And since we're stuck with this one until 2008, here's my nomination for the next President of the United States: Robert Kraft.

Ivy League educated. Polished. Well-respected, locally and globally. Adept public speaker (both sober and after a few martinis).

Has to have a solid track record of running organizations to the best of their abilities. The Patriots are the class of professional sports right now. He has to be able to get things done. He got a 70,000 seat stadium built in the middle of a two-lane highway, after playing Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts against each other.

He can be hard-line (Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, and Richard Seymour) and amenable (Troy Brown, Tom Brady, Ted Johnson).

And as we saw yesterday, he can be gracious and highly diplomatic. He gave away his latest Super Bowl ring, which is actually valued at over $40,000 and is the largest championship ring ever produced by Jostens, Inc, as a "token of his appreciation" to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yeah, right. He gave it to him. When you're the former head of the KGB, you sorta always end up with people giving you things, like confessions under duress.

So when he realized that the "show-and-tell" session with Putin turned into "finders-keepers, dissenters will be hung in Red Square," Kraft adeptly turned the session into a goodwill mission.

Despite the possibilty of being strong-armed, he flipped the script.

"I showed the president my most recent Super Bowl ring," Kraft said in a statement released Wednesday. The Russian president "was clearly taken with its uniqueness," Kraft said.
"At that point, I decided to give him the ring as a symbol of the respect and admiration that I have for the Russian people and the leadership of President Putin."

Think Russia's gonna nuke us? Think the movie "Red Dawn" (the scariest scene of any movie, to me, was when C. Thomas Howell and Patrick Swayze were in school as the Russian paratroopers landed on the football field.) No way, not if Bob Kraft was on the job. He'd make a call, and Vladi would be on the Presidential jet en route for a little tailgating at the End Zone Motel. Maybe Tom Brady could introduce him to a few of Bridget Moynihan's Hollywood friends.

But when it becomes decision time in 2008. Vote for the one true Patriot. Vote Robert Kraft.
Have a great Fourth. TLBR will be celebrating Patriotism all weekend.
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A daily - or every-other-day - account of all there is in my head
that's dying to get out, via my fingers.
(I vow to attack this endeavor with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.)

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