Jake's of the Blogosphere

Psychobabblishisms, Media and me

What happened to the Slam Dunk Competition? (A re-post from my archives)

3:51 is the time on the clock in the background of the Jordan poster I had in my room growing up. I looked up at it in awe for so long, that time is burned into my brain.

What happened to the Slam Dunk competition? The stars stopped competing. Somewhere in the last 10 years or so the mentality shifted and people started saying ‘there are some great jumpers and dunkers out there and this is their chance to get some attention’. What this actually means is ‘Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James don’t want to take the chance of being upstaged by someone you’ve never heard of. Aside from it being fun to see the 5’8 Nate Robinson get his head up to the rim, the competition has gotten boring, unimpressive and is heading into an abyss.

Watching this evening’s “All Star Saturday Night”, I can’t help but think it’s time is coming to an end. The harder they try to add content and make this evening of events entertaining, the worse it becomes.

The only thing that could save this tradition is to go back to the original formula. The 8 best and most popular 3-point shooters compete in a 3-point shootout and the 8 best dunkers (including the 3 or so most famous) compete in a slam dunk competition. Simple and worth watching.

I’ll check next February when they announce the competitors and if I haven’t heard of at least half of them I’ll go catch a movie or something.

Can We, as a Nation, Handle all this Information?

When I was a kid, we learned about elections in our civics class. As an exercise we lined up, went in voting booths and our class had a fake election for president. The race was Bush/Dukakis and I knew nothing about either of them. Our teachers handed out a little school newsletter with photos and some information about each candidate. Then we voted!

Upon returning home that evening I was asked by my parents to recap my experience of voting. Being very liberal, my mother was mortified to hear that I had voted for Bush and asked me why… As a completely uninformed and uninterested little kid, the honest truth was that I based my choice on the fact that Dukakis was “weird looking.”

As I grew older and studied communications, media strategy and social judgment theory in college, I had teachers ask questions like, “does Kennedy win the election if Nixon doesn’t look like such a creepy sweaty old man in that first televised presidential debate?” As technology and the access to information has increased over the years, we have now reached a point where elections at all levels can be won and lost with a single photo or soundbite. In this next presidential election cycle, our nation will be fully entrenched in web 2.0 like Twitter. We were just starting to get into Twitter in the last election and now it carries significant social influence… Will a poorly thought out 140 character tweet be the “Dukakis in the tank” in 2012? Does all this technology help us vet our politicians even better, or does it simply cause us to elect candidates based on their communications staff?

With Rest and Fluids, Our World Cup Fever Will Pass

Studies have shown that 50 minutes is the maximum time a boring 7th grade history lesson will remain effective on a 12 year-old’s fleeting attention-span. As we get older, Americans have even less patience when it comes to our sports. So much so that, as the world embarked on engaging our nation in world-wide epic sporting competitions, they discovered very early on that if they want the cool kids (the only one’s who have dropped a nuke) to play along…

They had one of two choices:

1. Everyone else in the world learn how to play American-rules Football and field teams at the pro level.

2. Give us 4 years in-between sports competitions to ramp back up our collective attention span.

The world chose door number two. Thanks to this decision we, as a nation, have been able to revel in the excitement of Curling, scream in front of our televisions while teenage girls wave ribbons around and grown men jump on trampolines. We watch with genuine anticipation while people cross country ski, and we practically pass out with excitement watching 22 men often do nothing but run back and fourth pretending to fall and cry for 90-ish minutes to a chorus of deafening vuvuzelas.

Every four yeas we all wonder half-way through the madness of World Cup Soccer why we don’t watch soccer ALL THE TIME (and make no mistake, I am right there with the rest of us)! The answer is this… We simply can’t. It’s not in us. We think we want to, but we don’t. We will all return to our homes after talking about the game (or not) at work today, put a warm towel on our collective head, take some tylenol and watch this World Cup Fever pass. We’ll have 4 short years to recover and we will be ready and raring to go!

Don’t worry… Only 2 more years and we’ll be right back up on the Pommel horse

Dearest Dan Gilbert,

Well, this is awkward… It seems that you have turned out to be quite the whiny little b*tch. As someone who was fairly confident and hopeful that LeBron was going to leave your Cavs, you were not even on my radar as the person who would come out of this looking like the biggest douche. I certainly thought there was a chance that in all the excitement LeBron would put his foot in his mouth and forget to give the whole ‘Akron will always be my home’ speech, but I was wrong. It was you, Dan… It was you all along.

But I say go forth, Mr. Gilbert… Take your team of slightly above average and slightly overpaid basketball players and deliver that championship you just guaranteed the already suffering people of Cleveland. It will make a wonderful Disney movie one day.

Or… You can stop drawing so much embarrassing attention to yourself and tell the people of Cleveland the truth… that you’re going to take that cap room that just opened up, go out there mid-season and get someone good enough to help Antoine Jamison eek out a playoff appearance where you will lose in 4 or 5 games… Likely to the Heat.

And in the future… If I were you and found myself in a situation like this again, I would try a little harder to avoid acting like an unstable 16 yr old high school girl who just got dumped by the boy she was convinced she was going to marry.



A Week On My Own

My wife is away on business for a full week. As I am riding into DC on the Metro in my wrinkled shirt and contemplating the abundance of bologna and cheese I will be eating for dinner the next 7 nights, I am struck by the amusing fact that not only do I do the laundry in our house, I also do the cooking… So why the wrinkled shirt and bologna? The short answer is that I am a guy.

I know this may come as a shock to all of the wives out there, but aside from the compulsive-types, us guys would not cook or clean without you around. It’s not that I don’t like a clean house, I LOVE it when the house is clean! I just don’t care enough to clean it instead of doing, well, pretty much anything else. We do it cause it makes you happy… or keeps you from getting mad (very little difference to us).

Basically, when it comes to being on our own:

1. We do the dishes when we see bugs and pests or we run out of clean dishes (under this dire circumstance we will commence with cleaning them one at a time by hand as needed until we just get tired of it, at which point we will run the dishwasher and use the dishes directly out of it).

2. We do the laundry when we see stains (Otherwise we, at the most, fluff in the dryer) we do make an exception for gym clothes (sometimes) and underwear (when we’ve completely run out and/or justification for reuse). We also do not rule out our tendency to just buy new clothes, especially underwear.

3. We change the sheets when…….. ummm…. awkward….

I think what we’ve all learned here is that spouses/ live-in partners are vital to the well-being of the typical guy. Also, that boys are gross and everything I wrote here is about other people and not me, of course…

Poll of the Day

Lebron, My Take

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a LeBron fan, not a Cavs fan, a LeBron Fan. I chose him over Carmello when the NBA fans divided into factions and I haven’t looked back since.

My main concern over where LeBron chooses to go is completely selfish. I would like him in a market closer to DC where he might be easier to find on TV during the season. The more I think about it, however, the more I think that what is really most important to the NBA is that LeBron go ANYWHERE. He must leave Cleveland, and here’s why…

Despite the crowds at games, if you ask around you will find that the NBA is not as popular as it was during the Bird/Johnson 80’s or the double 3-peat 90’s era of Jordan. The middle class has begun to turn it’s nose up at the league and praising college for its purity, girls ball for its fundamentals and seeing the NBA players as overpaid crybabies getting in all the trouble of the NFL without the excuse of steroids. The reigning MVP moving to another team will spark intrigue. Even better, if he gets somewhere that has been hoarding enough cash to buy a young 6+ year dynasty (and LA can keep itself intact), things could get  interesting and very entertaining.


Lindsay Lohan is finally being sent to prison for 90 days followed by 90 days of rehab. Here’s my thing… She was precocious and a great actor for a little kid. She was then beautiful and a decent actor for a teenager. Now, she is a strung out and haggard looking, below average actor who I could care less about. I’m glad she’s going to jail for a little bit and I think the news is well worth a blurb on a news scroll, but that’s it. I don’t need anymore TV shows being interrupted for the details of her sentencing. She’s a washed up child star. Can you imagine how little TV we would have been able to watch in the late 90s if TV shows were preempted every time one of the ‘Different Strokes” kids got arrested?

An open letter to people who are protesting Howard Stern being considered by Idol

Regardless of my feelings about American Idol or my desire to or not to see Howard as a judge, I feel like I need to address this sudden outcry and resurfacing of the idea of Howard as obscene.

Howard Stern plays a character on the radio. Sex and sexual content are often a topic of discussion on his program, but this is to appease to the large segment of his listening audience who are tuning to hear sexual content. Is he merely pandering to a portion of his audience by being outrageous on occasion? Absolutely, much like these groups and personalities are calling for letter writing campaigns only to pander to their hyper-sensitive hyper-conservative donors/viewers/listeners.

In reality, Howard is a fiscally conservative middle-aged OCD intellectual. He has raised 3 well-mannered and intelligent daughters, none of whom have ever listened to a show of his. In his free time Howard is a homebody who enjoys shows like Idol and Dancing with the Starts. He does charity work with his wife Beth and spends a large portion of his remaining time playing chess and taking chess lessons.

As far as Howard’s show, I’m sure it is not everyone’s cup of tea. To be honest, about 25% of the time I don’t enjoy or am not interested in the content and I simply change the dial to NPR or some other station. What I enjoy listening to is the other 75% of the show. This larger portion of the program is taken up with insightful and amusing discourse on media trends and current events as well as some of the best and most in-depth conversations with famous guests that I’ve heard.

Howard’s show is a soap opera, an entertainment news program and a reality show all wrapped into one. There is nothing wrong with choosing not to be a fan, but I take up issue with people who claim that Howard is crude and his show is disgusting and should be taken off the air when they haven’t listened to it.

To me, this is the equivalent of calling for a boycott of Kevin Spacey because he was a serial killer in Seven, and this is not the type of moral judgment we should be letting our children see.

The Howard Stern Show is available on SiriusXM radio and, for those who would rather not tune in, is easily avoidable, just as it has always been.