Sunday, October 31, 2010

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm

Like C&C Music Factory and Arsenio Hall used to say in the 90's, these are a few news-pieces that made me go hmmmm.

1. The Hangover & Mel Gibson: So let me get this straight. The cast and crew of the Hangover II WILL work with convicted-rapist and drug-offender Mike Tyson but they WON'T work with Mel Gibson, who was caught on tape ranting to his girlfriend (who set him up) about all things from race to their crappy relationship? Don't get me wrong, I love Iron Mike, and Mel's rant was insane, even for Hollywood standards, but it seems pretty hypocritical of this ego-bloated Hangover crew to put up the morality stop-sign for Mel, who did not technically get convicted of anything criminal yet, but will roll out the red carpet for Iron Mike, a man who did 4 yrs behind bars. By the way, if anyone thinks the Hangover II is going to be good (because the first Hangover was awesome), I refer back to Meet the Fockers (maybe one of the most unwatchable, cringe-worthy movies ever made) and the upcoming Little Fockers. Sometimes one great movie in the comedy series is enough. Ironically, Tyson is the only one who said he had "no problem" working with Mel. Go figure. P.S. Why is Bradley Cooper, at the height of his Hollywood fame dating Renee Zellwegger? Bradley, you could have any woman you want. You settle for that pale, prune-faced borefest? Come on, BC, get real.

2. The Albany Warehouse Fire: Today the Times Union called the Albany Warehouse building the white elephant in the room. I'd say so! Doesn't it seem a bit strange to anybody that this awful eye-sore on the Albany skyline just suddenly caught fire, when all accounts said it was long-abandoned? Right now the building is owned by a firm who can't sell it and seemingly has no future plans for it. Obviously, if nothing is going to be done with this disgusting building, it would serve all involved to just get rid of it, right? Then, suddenly, a fire, and guess what, Albany fire fighters decide not to attack it, for danger reasons. I have proof of nothing, but my instinct tells me there are people pushing levers on this fire deal, and I wouldn't be surprised if a few weeks from now the building is declared too dangerous to stand, and ordered for the wrecking-ball treatment. Stay tuned.

3. Jenn Sterger & Brett Favre: Am I supposed to feel outrage or anger about the text messages and inappropriate photos (Brett denies the photos) that Favre sent former Jets reporter Jenn Sterger on his cell phone? Have you ever seen this Sterger girl? She is literally a 105lb package of temptation, at all times, in all situations. She did sideline reports for the Jets in a low-cut belly shirt and is splashed all over the Internet in provocative pics. I don't know about you, but that doesn't strike me as overly-professional, in any regard. My point is this: If it looks like a duck, it might NOT be a duck, but it's at least wearing a duck's costume. You can't flaunt yourself as a belly-shirt, flirty "wooo girl" then all of a sudden ask to be taken seriously when you make accusations of inappropriate behavior against you on this level. It doesn't cut both ways, honey. Now she won't even talk to the NFL about the charges. Of course not. She wants a payoff from Favre and a reality show. Was Brett (a married man) wrong to act like this? Of course. But he wouldn've tried sending those texts/photos to a woman who sold herself as all business. So ladies, before you defend poor, little, half-shirted Jenn, ask yourself 1). How did Brett Favre even get her cell phone # in the first place? (Don't tell me you believe that story about the Jets worker giving it to Brett behind Sterger's back.) And, 2), please, understand: Jenn Sterger, and all women like her, are the reason why feminism is comedy relief in this country.

4. Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What does that mean? Now before you read this wrong, let me say: cancer is a touchy subject (I recognize that) because it's a horrible disease that has rocked my family and I'm sure many others. Like Furio said in the Sopranos, "cancer, it respects-a nuttin." I pray everyday for a cure. And I know the pink shirts and fundraisers make the youth aware of the disease and that's a good thing, trust me, it is. I'm just not sure how me giving you a quarter outside Giants' Stadium or wearing pink will lead to a cure. Where is all that money going? Is it paying for treatment? Trust me, cancer treatment is out-of-this-world expensive for each person afflicted, and it's THAT person who's paying. Enter insurance, and if you don't have insurance, goodbye 401K. In regards to all cancers: Is the collection-can money for some scientist sitting in a lab somewhere still finding "the cure" for cancer? Is that the idea we're still selling? Is that money funding further research? What does that even mean? Is a CURE for cancer even possible? Haven't we been trying to cure cancer since the beginning of mankind basically? The truth: nobody has pinpointed without debate what causes cancer (not really) and it doesn't seem we're getting any closer to a cure. The treatment/technology is better, of course, but I feel like cancer is a part of being human, it's part of the deal, so to speak, like headaches or baldness. A doctor once told me, "We'd all die of cancer if it wasn't for heart disease or diabetes or car accidents. There's no way around cancer if you live long enough or eliminate all other causes of fatality." As a society, we understand the human body, and we know what cancer IS, but we have no idea how to STOP it, not really. It's genetics and everything else is a dice roll, whether you'll get it or not. Don't believe me? Statistically just 10% of life-long smokers ever get lung cancer, yet world-class biker, Lance Armstrong, gets cancer at 33 yrs old. Just one of a million oddities. It's a dice roll. Look at AIDS. AIDS came along in the 1980's and it was a death sentence back then. Now, in many ways, we have AIDS under control, already. By all means, donate, educate yourself, but I'm not sure all those quarters and pink shirts are leading to a cure anytime soon. And that sucks.

5. The New LeBron James NIKE Commercial: Have you seen this new commercial yet? It's LeBron James asking "you" what "should I do?" The commercial is answering all LeBron's critics, even poking fun at Charles Barkley, who harshly criticized James leaving Cleveland for Miami, and doing it on ESPN. Want my advice, LeBron? Stop talking about "the Decision," stop making commercials like this, stop talking about your tweets, stop hosting nightclub parties in Las Vegas, just SHUT UP AND WIN SOMETHING. Then start talking again.

Things that make me go hmmm

Brian Huba

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Giant Victory!

Last night I had a dream. In this dream the NY Giants destroyed the Dallas Cowboys in a must-win game for the 'boys in their own stadium on national television, thus ending the Cowboys season and seizing control of the NFC East. Then, the craziest thing happened in my dream: Tony Romo went down with a shoulder injury that could end him for 6 to 8 weeks and Wade Phillips was left scratching his head . . . again. The best part of this dream was that the entire country finally got to see why Eli Manning is a top 5 QB and Tom Coughlin is a GREAT head coach. And that defense. Oh my God. I don't even want to talk about that big-D, our NYG big-D. Then I woke up and it was real.

One month ago the NY Giants were humiliated on NBC by Peyton Manning and the Colts. The score was lopsided but in addition to that the whole Giants operation looked like a sinking ship. Coughlin seemed out of sorts (translation: he seemed old and out of touch all of a sudden) and Brandon Jacobs was throwing helmets into the stands. As a fan I was upset that the Giants put on such a poor performance in front of a national audience, and I found it harder to convince anyone outside the big-blue circle that Eli was great and Tom Coughlin was a top-tier coach, not just a tired, well-paid, content grandfather of 14. One week later: blasted at the hands of Tennessee in the new 1.6billion-dollar digs in the Meadowlands. Record: 1-2, Coughlin's future: In Limbo, Danger Level: Red.

Then two things happened 1) Tiki Barber opened his mouth, blasting Coughlin again, and 2) I made the 2.5hr drive south to East Rutherford to watch the Giants battle the Bears. I'm not sure which factor played a bigger part in the bone-crushing beating the Giants D handed Chicago that rainy night in NJ, but I'm guessing the Tiki comments reminded the entire organization whose back they really had, reminded them that this team chose this coach over that player in '07 and was going to show the world they were ready to do it again. (By the way any man who leaves his wife when she's pregnant with twins to be with a 21 yr old the way Tiki did is complete scum.) Four straight wins later, the Giants are the class of the NFC...again, and looking a lot like that plucky, championship bunch from '07. Record 5-2, Coughlin's Future: Bright, Danger Level: n/a

What I loved about last night was the character that the NY Giants displayed. Down twice early (10-0, 20-7) they just kept digging until they took Tony Romo out (the 5th QB the Giants D has sidelined this season) and had their hands squeezed around the throat of every Cowboy player and coach. If it wasn't for 2 brilliant replay challenges by Tom Coughlin early in the game, the Cowboy lead could've increased. Both those challenges by Tom were masterful and led to 7 NYG points; more if Brandon Jacobs didn't fumble. Eli Manning was a God last night. He picked Dallas apart like a playground bully. Think about this: Big Blue turned the ball over 6 times and still scored 40+pts. Imagine if the NYG's had zero turnovers. They would've scored 70pts. Dallas converted one 3rd down, one! It was a mauling of epic degree, and I couldn't be happier, despite the sloppy NYG playing down the stretch. I didn't like the let-up with the big lead. But, hey, thank God the Giants have a great Head Coach to make that a teachable moment.

Last night was a victory for tough guys, proven winners like Tom Coughlin. His coaching was a work of art. The game plan was perfection, executed with hit-man precision. Coughlin made Wade Phillips look like a FOOL on his own field. Eli was amazing, despite the picks. Don't believe me: read the stat lines. Any idiot who thinks Eli is "average" knows nothing about football. Eli average? No. Vince Young is average. Ryan Fitzpatrick is average. There are six QB's in the entire NFL with Superbowl rings. Eli is one of them, plus an MVP Trophy. Average? Are you insane? Have you ever seen him work his magic at the line of scrimmage? You give Eli a defense and he'll take you to the playoffs. I promise! It looked like he was playing Cohoes High School last night. That (the Cowboys) was the team favored to win the NFC this year? Really? Eli average? Get real.

Every other word from Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden last night (the game announcers) was a praising of Coughlin and/or Eli. What can I say? Experts are experts for a reason. And I was so happy that all this good stuff happened in front of 20million viewers. Now finally (maybe) people will understand when I say that Eli is a top 5 QB and Coughlin can't be replaced. Nobody wins a football championship in Oct. I get that. But in the NFL, as in life, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. Right now I like where the NYG's are going. R.I.P. Dallas.

Next NYG stop: Superbowl...again

Brian Huba

Sunday, October 24, 2010

You Call That Fundraising?

What is the story with the teenagers and younger children standing outside the doors of Wal-Mart asking you to give them money to support cheerleading, or Boy Scouts, or whatever else they belong to? Of course I don't mind donating money to groups like this, and I love to see children of all ages find happiness in extra activites, but this whole entrapment-at-the-doors-of-Wal-Mart approach seems wrong for some reason. Here's my thought(s) on it.

Shouldn't a team or organization looking for a donation do something in order to earn it (a car wash or cookie sale, etc)? When did the Boy Scouts (whose whole reason for existing is to teach young people to be resourceful) or a HS cheerleading team, or any other group like this start going to stores and saying, "give us money," or "support us"? What is the lesson in that? And what really irks me is their parents are standing right there with them, smiling if you give the money and adding to the uncomfortable feeling if you don't.

I think in a lot of ways this is a snapshot of everything that's wrong with our up-and-coming generation: they never have to DO anything, or MAKE anything, or THINK of anything. Between the text messaging, and DVR's, and I-Pods, kids are just droning out on us, even the most scholastic-minded ones seem to lack any real, genuine creativity or communication skills. I feel like parents (some not all) who are raising children now are enabling this new trend, and never taking it upon themselves to challenge young people with conversation, or debate, or a life that isn't 100% dependent on technology. I spoke to some teachers who told me that they have students whose parents call them during class on a cell phone, when they know that the school has a no-cell-phone policy. Enable much?

I don't think it should be up to ordinary people in a community to feel obligated to "support" a group like the Boy Scouts or HS cheerleaders, etc if it's just a we-want-money-so-give-us-money arrangement. Make something for us to buy from you, put on a spaghetti dinner and work a night in a kitchen preparing meals for people to buy, operate a car wash one Saturday and spend that day running it. Get to work! Get creative! Most community members are great, but I don't blame these same people for feeling trapped and/or cornered by a group of oh-so-cute kids barracading the doors of Wal-Mart and hamstringing them for a handout. Forget that! Kids nowadays (wow, I just sounded like my grandfather) are skipping so many essential parts of the developmental process, i.e. working after-school jobs, volunteering to help out in the community, joining clubs, just talking and communicating with people to learn what that's like.

There is a difference between a handout and a donation, but that difference is being blurred. A handout is a handout, a freebie, an agreement that requires no commitment or pride. A donation is something that is earned for supplying a satisfactory service of some kind. The problem: that difference stays blurred into adulthood for too many teenagers now. Nobody wants to work anymore. Every 22 yr. old wants the corner office right out of college. There's no EARNING IT anymore. And I blame everybody for that: the kids, the parents, the teachers, all of them. Way back when I was in grade school (wow, I just sounded like my dad), I used to sell candy bars door-to-door, walking my entire neighborhood everyday after school hawking them overpriced crunches and peanut butter treats for the 5th grade class trip. I wanted to sell the most product and win that limo ride to McDonald's. Well, I didn't win that limo ride (I came in 3rd place in the grade), but I learned a valuable lesson. I learned that I wasn't competing against myself for success, I was competing against everybody else out there, and if I wanted to rise to the top of anything, I had to outwork everyone else involved. There were no handouts or free passes. That year we went to NYC for our class trip, and I really felt like my fingerprints and sweat from all those nights of knocking on doors made that trip happen, and I have never forgotten that.

What's the lesson nowadays: Make enough people, going in and out of Wal-Mart, guilty enough to give you money to support whatever group you represent? Good lesson.

There's a difference between a handout and a donation.

Brian Huba

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Since I've Been Gone

Since I last wrote in June, so many things have surprised me and reminded me of the wacky, wild world we now live in. I am happy to be back writing blogs for the Troy Record. I thought the best way to reintroduce myself was to sound off about some things that have just thrown me for a loop. Here it goes.

The Watervliet Dog Shooting: Is abuse against defenseless animals some new trend I haven’t been made hip to yet? It seems like every other day there’s another disgusting story about some slimeball destroying a dog for some ridiculous reason. I was glad to see that the Humane Society has offered up another $500.00 to catch the piece of garbage that shot the 13-month-old Brittany spaniel, with a pellet gun on Oct. 3 in ‘Vliet. The dog died a week later, leaving its family grieving and looking for information. I’ll throw another $100.00 on the pot. Just tell me how. I still say these scumbags should get the death penalty. There are two crimes in this world that NEVER are excusable: rape and animal abuse. Please catch this creep, tie a cinder block around his waist, and throw him (or her) off the Patroon Island Bridge.

The Tea Party: OK, I’ll admit, I am not an expert on all that the Tea Party stands for. But it seems like they’re churning out one lunatic candidate after the other. I’m all for shaking up the status quo in politics, but any movement that dubs Sarah Palin as one of its leaders, is really the stupid being led by know the rest. Palin is the dumbest politician in the history of the world. But I was happy to see that the Tea Party people actually dug up someone almost as idiotic as Palin: Christine O’Donnell. Wow. Is this woman really running for political office? Moving to Canada has never sounded so good.

The Mid-Term Elections: Speaking of insane politics is anyone else disgusted by the circus-show that is the mid-term elections in NYS? It is one insane campaign ad after the other on TV. I get it, send the message, smear the other guy, go for the jugular. But do these candidates really think New Yorkers are stupid enough to swallow these over-the-top scare tactics. “Chris Gibson wants to end the dept of education!” Really? Does he even have the power to do that if elected to such a minor office? Gillibrand is probably the worst senator in the country. She would leave a New Yorker for dead on the side of the road if it meant getting her hands dirty. But she’ll win and so will Scott Murphy. How bout that Governor’s debate the other night? THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH! New York has never looked so good, huh? Paladino is a maniac who got attacked about his stance on gay marriage and Cuomo doesn’t have a thing to say about anything. It took him a year to even enter the race, after hiding in the weeds like a coward. Like that guy said to Denzel in AMERICAN GANGSTER, right before he died in that furniture store, “Forget it. There’s nobody in charge.”

The Ground Zero Mosque: I know this is an older story, but, what do you say, guys, enough is enough, don’t you think? I know ALL Muslims didn’t attack us on 9/11, but supposedly (as the government’s story goes) some Muslims DID attack us. Albeit radicals, but Muslim nonetheless. Do we really need to build a monument to them on the same sacred ground that dying Americans painted red? All these movements and rallies and such to get this Mosque built. Enough already! Just leave it alone. Build the thing somewhere else and shut up about it. Don’t tell me about freedom of religion or whatever other stupid logic you have for building this thing on top of our mass grave, our open wound. What’s next: A shrine to Japan at Pearl Harbor? How about a Timothy McVeigh statue in Oklahoma City? A statue to Eric Harris outside Columbine High School? Get real.

Fire Tom Coughlin and Eli’s Overrated: Let me say this as straight as possible: The New York Giants would be crazy to cut ties with Tom Coughlin at the end of this season, unless it ends in complete mutiny. The NFL is a tough guy league, built on discipline and high IQ. That’s why Tom is a winner everywhere he’s ever been, and clowns like Rex Ryan and Mike Singletary are flavors of the week. Every time the NY press rails for Coughlin’s head, or Tiki Barber is calling him out, the Giants respond in serious fashion. Anybody who thinks Cowher would be a better fit than Coughlin is a big-name-crazy meatball. If some Giant fans had their way in ’06, Coughlin would’ve been gone back then. Good thing we held on, huh? (That’s a reference to the Superbowl win over an 18-0 Patriots team. The most satisfying Superbowl victory ever.) I think the Giants are Superbowl-bound again this year. But only time will tell. And all this talk about Eli being overrated is outrageous. The man does nothing but win. Have there been some stinkers along the way? Of course. But overall he’s smart, solid, and is NEVER, EVER sick at sea. NEVER. Eli’s average? No Shaun Hill and Alex Smith are average. There are six QB’s in the NFL with rings. Eli’s one of them. Oh yeah, and a MVP trophy to boot. Eli’s average? You give me Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning, I’ll take my chances.

Brian Huba