Manuka's Place

Friday, April 21, 2006

NBA = Not Basketball Anymore


So a few years ago I swore off the NBA. I was sick of such a great sport dragged through the mud of greed, fame, and bling. Back in the day I was a huge LA Lakers fan. This was back in the glory days of Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Nixon, and later Scott and many others. I used to sneak my old transistor radio into bed with me and listen to the smooth sounds of Chick Hearn calling the Laker games. I fell asleep many a night to the sound of the Lakers playing in the Fabulous Forum in front of a sellout crowd of 17,505 as Chick used to say. I loved the Lakers and basketball. Then something funny happened. The NBA realized that it could make money promoting super stars. It was cool at first, Michael Jordan, Clide Drexler, Karl Malone, etc. And then with as fast as the short met with the knees, the NBA changed. Soon there was talk of "Jordan" rules. The fact that Michael Jordan can get away with bending some of the rules as long as it was entertaining. This was a slippery slope. Soon the refs began looking the other way when it came to the rules as long as the play was entertaining. Very quietly without much fanfare. Traveling was commonplace. Carrying the ball was not called. Hanging on the rim was complemented instead of called. Then came the high school kids into the NBA. All of the sudden, the NBA was seen as a way out of the ghetto and the entire landscape changed. The league is now dominated by players, not teams. There are no good rivalries anymore. No Lakers vs. Celtics. Everyone has too much respect for each other and the fire of competition has given way to entertainment. I think David Stern and Vince McMahon (WWE) have a lot in common. Even the purity of college basketball was impacted because no one wanted to stay in school if they could get paid. What happened? The NBA ceased being about the sport and became all about the almighty dollar. The sport I grew up loving looks nothing like it did even 10 years ago. It was after the 2001 season when I had had enough. I stopped watching, I turned the channel when highlights came on SportsCenter and I pined for the good ole' days of my youth. (I must be getting old.) Which brings me to my point. I couldn't help but notice that both local NBA teams have made this years playoffs. I am happy for one reason, my brothers team, the Clippers are finally in the playoffs. But what struck me funny is that they are the number six seed in the western conference but they have the home court advantage in the first round. WHAT?? Who's stupid idea is that???? How can the third seed team not have home court advantage. Who is making up these rules? I believe that this is a real sign that the apocalypse is upon us. How does that even make sense??? And the cherry on top was that the Clippers lost their last game of the season to clinch home court advantage in the first round. THEY LOST TO CLINCH HOME COURT ADVANTAGE!!!!! If they had won, they would not have home court in the first round. Is anyone else confused?? The first time I heard of this possibility I did not believe it. There is no way that a major sports league would let this happen. Memo to David Stern: Everyone is laughing at you and your league. What a joke. I am more convinced now than ever before that the NBA is no longer about the sport that Dr. James Naismith had in mind when he nailed peach baskets to the walls of the Springfield gymnasium in 1891. What a shame.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Juan Pollo and the iSight Camera


Happy Easter Eve! Can you say that? Are we still in Lent? I guess I should know. But I know that it is already Easter in other parts of the world so I feel O.K. about it.

The one really good thing I learned in parenting classes is that there is this place called Juan Pollo that makes the best tasting chicken in the world. They have awesome potato salad, great rice and beans and some killer salsa. We learned of this wonderful place when one of our classmates brought it for dinner one night. Jill and I were hooked right away. If you have a chance to go take it. So why all the talk about chicken? Well, Josh came over tonight for Easter and we went to Juan Pollo for dinner. The nearest one is in Anaheim and we took the 15 min trek over to what I call chicken corner. One one corner is Juan Pollo, across the street in one direction is El Pollo Loco, and across the other way is El Pollo Norteno. It did not dissappoint. We got the mini pack which has one chicken, rice, beans, potato salad, tortillas, and salsa. Jill also got some horchata, and I had a pina juice. Very yummy indeed.

So when we got back home, Josh and I started playing around with the iSight camera on my computer. We had a blast taking goofy pictures of ourselves. Here are the highlights, enjoy:

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Angels Baseball


So I went to my first MLB game of the season tonight. I don't remember if I mentioned that I went to see a game of the World Baseball Classic last month. I got to see team USA against Japan and the US won in dramatic fashion. No such luck tonight as the Angels got their butts handed to them by the Texas Rangers 11-3. Man, it felt good to be back in that stadium again. The Senior Pastor Kevin got four tickets from a guy he coaches little league with and he invited me and a few other guys from church to go with him. I was shocked that I did not have something else planned. I looked at my schedule, made a quick call to Jill and all systems were go. We had a great time eating peanuts drinking beer, and talking. The giveaway for the night was a retro Angels alarm clock with the rally monkey on it (see the picture). If you don't know what the rally monkey is let me know and I will give you the full story. The short version is that there is this video of a monkey that they play on the jumbotron and when they do the Angels seem to rally and get back into the game. It started about six years ago and got national attention during the 2002 World Series. The clock is pretty dorky but I will put it in the drawer with all the other Angel giveaway items I have collected over the years. Jill doesn't seem to understand that someday this stuff will be worth their weight in gold. It is my secret retirement plan. When all else fails I will sell my treasures for outrageous prices and then buy season tickets. If that doesn't work then I am getting a metal detector and I will be walking the beaches in search of lost coins, watches, and bobbie pins to supplement Social Security. Wow...that was a wired tangent! I am serious about getting a metal detector though. That sounds like fun. So anyway, the game was great even though the Angels lost. I got to see quite a few of my former coworkers. It was good to catch up with them. A few of them were pressuring me to get my job back. No thanks. I am pretty content where I am right now. I don't need anything else on my plate. I can't wait to go again. Until next time........

Friday, April 07, 2006

Are those flowers I see?


If April showers bring May flowers, we should have some nice ones in a few weeks. We have had our share of rain this year and it sure has been nice. Beside the fact that people from SoCal cannot drive in the rain. I heard a stat the other day from the CHP (California Highway Patrol), on a normal commute day there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 "incidents" on LA area freeways. This past Tuesday there were almost 600! Just because it is raining does not mean you can drive the same way you do when it is dry. I will cut them a but of slack. We don't get enough practice driving in the rain so that does not help. I saw the remnants of three or four "weather related" incidents on the Freeway Tuesday myself.

Speaking of driving. I had to renew my license and I was a bit scared to venture into the dreaded DMV. A few weeks ago I made an appointment and was grateful that it was early in the morning. I went to the DMV this morning at 8:30 and was leaving by 8:45. It was amazing!! No lines, no crowds. For the first time in a while I didn't feel like I was in the free clinic waiting to get a TB test (yeah I've been there before...don't ask). It was quite a pleasant experience. Now I am sure my picture will come back all goofed up but whatever. It could be worse.

I feel like I have made it over the hump in school right now. I took two tests this week and they were both really hard. My Revelation test was mostly brute memorization. We had so much to know and I think I did pretty well. I know I did mess up on one part because I wanted to get done and I did not see all of the directions. It had to be on the Greek part too. My Romans test was equally as hard but it took more synthesis of the information. We had to apply most of the material from Romans 1-8 into real life situations. One of the questions was, "You get a call on Saturday night and the senior pastor is sick, you need to preach in the morning here is your text...develop an outline to communicate the major theological points of the text and give some strategies to your people on how to apply it." What a great question!! It was hard but it really made me think. I spent quite a while mulling over a portion of scripture trying to distill the main point. It was a tough but rewarding exercise. I have a book report to write this weekend and then I will be about half way done with the course work for this term. I feel pretty good, but I will feel better when May 11th comes and the semester will be over.

Jill and I are finally finished with parenting class. It was 33 hours of sheer excitement (notice the sarcastic tone in my voice). I don't think I am ready to give a full blow by blow account, nor do I really want to. If you want the details you will have to call or send an email. See my previous post for the short version.

And finally baseball is back!!! All is right with the world again. I love this time of year. Baseball is the pulse of life for me. I just love it. I have been trying to catch a game a day (when I can). I hope to get out to Angel stadium in a few weeks to catch a game in person soon. I am glad that the season is so long because my Angels are in last place today, but a lot can happen and it usually does. It sure is good to have time to blog again. I hope to post more frequently now that I have a bit more time. Until then...

P.S. I took the picture on this post all by myself...are you impressed??