This is the first installation of what’s going to become a semi-regular feature on this site. I’ll take something that I love—but is generally reviled or pooh-poohed by others—and defend it.
The series begins with Jameer Nelson, the point guard for the Orlando Magic. As most of you know, I attended Saint Joseph’s University at the same time as Nelson, so I may be biased. But there simply isn’t a more-improved player in the NBA this year, and he should be an All-Star.
(The final selections for the squads will be named tonight, so we’ll see if he gets his due.)
It’s true the Eastern Conference is loaded with deserving guards, and since Allen Iverson already stole one of the starting spots, there are only two or three more spots available.
And while New Jersey's Devin Harris and Vince Carter, Atlanta's Joe Johnson, Boston's Ray Allen, and Cleveland’s Mo Williams are all having All-Star type seasons, no one deserves a spot in this year's game more than Nelson.
He’s averaging a career-best 16.9 points per game—up from 10.6 last season, and top 20 in the Eastern Conference— and dishing out 5.3 assists. His 50.6 field-goal percentage is seventh in the conference, and he’s making over 44 percent of his three-pointers.
It’s true that the 33-9 Magic get most of their three point opportunities because of double-teams Dwight Howard draws in the paint, but Nelson still has to make the shots. His control of the game tempo is a great part of the team’s success, and Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis know it.
I have never been the biggest fan of professional basketball (Globetrotters aside), but this year’s Magic team has turned me into someone who actually watches TNT for something other than Charmed reruns. Plus, watching the Knicks in college always made me shiver.(FYI- I just found that picture. I do not have it taped to the ceiling above my bed, or glued to the inside of my Trapper Keeper, or in a locket around my neck, right next to my heart, where it would belong.)
UPDATE: Nelson was named as an All-Star reserve last night. I can only assume it was because of my post.
After thinking long and hard about this, I've decided the winners of the Rod Blagojevich headline/ caption/ thought bubble-thingy contest. And, yes, you heard me right: winnerS.
So, I give you now the champions of cheek, the kings of komedy:
Jesse, for his stirring rendition of Blago's last minutes as governor of Illinois, and his restraint:
"...And I'll ****ing shoot the rest of the ****ing hostages once every 15 minutes until you give me the ****ing money and a fully fueled jet at O'Hare ****ing Airport. ****!"
And Andy, for his lighthearted take on a boring news conference:
Now I assume I know who both of you are, but if for some reason you are not the Jesse and Andy I'm thinking of, holla at me. Oh, and if you seriously want me to do the message your answering machine, I have some ideas.
Also, thanks for the 18 comments. I had no idea 18 people even read this thing.
I really do plan on updating this site more often than I have in recent weeks. Promise.
In a world where politicians are increasingly shielded by aides and press officers, it's nice to know that sometimes a picture is worth more than a whole story of quotes.
In honor of this ridiculous picture of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, I'm starting a caption/ voice bubble/ headline contest. In the comments section, post a caption, quote from Blagojevich, his neck-braced friend, or his sleeping child or a story headline.
For the winner I will leave the outgoing message on your voice mail. If you want. I TOTALLY understand if you don't want me to, but I'm trying to give Carl Kassel and "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" a run for their money.
The original photo can be found here, if you would like a bigger photo to view.
Now I could just say I wanted to wait until 2008 was actually over to post this list, but the truth is I've been a little lazy. But I figure if I put this this out two weeks ago it would've just been white noise and you would've ignored it.
That being said, this list is not of the Top 10 BEST albums of 2008, it's of my favorite albums. I'm going to try and post a song or at least a link with each song. Since most of you probably don't really care what I think, I'll keep my comments to a minimum and let you just listen to the songs.
So here it is, with some honorable mentions. Feel free to comment on the list and tell me how I ignored My Morning Jacket or placed Girl Talk too high.
Kanye West "808s and Heartbreak"
The Walkmen "You & Me"
Crystal Castles "Crystal Castles"
Fleet Foxes "Fleet Foxes"
Q-Tip "The Renaissance"
Song of the Year:
I really loved a bunch of singles this year, but this track melts everything else. And since I didn't have enough room for the album in my Top 10, here's Bon Iver's "Skinny Love," via David Letterman.
Top 10 Albums:
10. Lil Wayne "Tha Carter III"
As much as I love this album, I have to admit that a lot of that admiration comes from this album cover.
(UPDATE: If you want a great review of this album, go here, to Ross' blog.)
9. Cut Copy "In Ghost Colours"
I think this was a really good year for dance music, and this album proves that.
8. Girl Talk "Feed the Animals"
Just go see him live. That's all I have to say. This video clip is from the show I was lucky enough to attend in Baltimore in October, and the audio file below is from the album. The sound is a bit off on the video, but I didn't include the link for the sound, I included it for the insanity.
7. Los Campesinos "Hold on Now, Youngster..."
Welsh band. Spanish name. Fun.
6. No Age "Nouns"
I watched only one music video on MTV this entire year, and I caught this one. It sold me instantly, and the rest of the album is even better than this single.
Eraser - No Age
5. War on Drugs "Wagonwheel Blues"
Great Philadelphia band, going on tour with The Hold Steady this spring. Alas, they aren't stopping in DC.
4. Vampire Weekend "Vampire Weekend"
The backlash against this album was really unwarranted. It's a fun album, so why all the fuss? Plus, it made me look up what an oxford comma was.
Any of these last three albums could've easily been my number one album, but after listening to each one more time this week I decided on this order. So, technically I guess, these are the top three albums of this week.
3. TV on the Radio "Dear, Science"
This is easily the band's most accessible record, something that may upset old fans but bring the band a host of new ones. Aside from this album, singer Tunde Adebimpe's version of Neil Young's "Unknown Legend" from the Rachel Getting Married soundtrack is one of the best songs of the year.
2. The Hold Steady "Stay Positive"
Not as good as 2006's "Boys and Girls in America," but a sub-par Hold Steady record is better than most regular records. The last track,"Slapped Actress," is the band's best album-closing track since 2004's "Killer Parties," off its Almost Killed Me album.
1. The Daylight Brigade "Spring"
This group of musicians from Nashville was introduced to me a friend (Charlie), and this album floors me every time I listen to it. It's much softer than all of the other albums on this list, and aches in a way that old Ryan Adams albums used to. I'm hoping to head down to Nashville this spring, so there may be some interviews with the group here in a few months.
The group (not a band, they say) has a pretty small Web presence, but if you click here you can download their albums. Do it.
So, there it is. Feel free to rib me in the comments section.
(UPDATE: Some people have asked me— both in the comments section and off-line— about some other albums I didn't include. So here are a couple more that I really enjoyed but didn't put on the initial list: The Foreign Exchange "Leave it All Behind"; The Roots "Rising Down"; Wale "Mixtape about Nothing"; Times New Viking "Rip it Off".)