Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ten Summer Reads

We’re less than a month from the Unofficial Start of Summer. Time to get the Summer Reads together. Here’s ten to get you through the dog days.

10. Admissions by Jean Hanff Korelitz

While you’re on a Tina Fey kick, how about . . .
9. Bossy Pants by Tina Fey

8. Twenty-Thirty by Albert Brooks

7. Sharp Objects or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

It’s baseball season, so why not . . .
6. Calico Joe by John Grisham

With the Leo remake out this summer, there's never been a better time to re-read . . .
5. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

4. New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherford

If you’re planning on spending the summer doing some serious training . . .
3. Once a Runner by John L. Parker

On 5/21/13, one of the best is coming out with his new book . . .
2. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

As summer comes to a close, you’ll need something to get you ready for football . . .
1. Earn the Right to Win by Tom Coughlin

Read More:

Brian Huba

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What's Really Happening Here?

Can we take off the American-flag t-shirts and turn down the Toby Keith for a second, and ask: What's really happening here?

Two guys living in Boston and going to college there (one of them on full scholarship) suddenly decide to blow up the Marathon then seemingly have no exit strategy when the crapola hits the fan. Then some grainy video clips come out of said guys carrying backpacks during the marathon, and suddenly they’re the guys, and then one of them is killed in a made-for-Hollywood firefight and the other is caught in a boat parked in some Bostonite’s yard. Oh yeah, we were also told that these two boys killed a young security guard/cop for no reason at all, and everyone is screaming in their Southie accents for forty-seven-cent justice.

Are they working for something larger? Maybe. But who? So they came to America, earned naturalization, went to college, all in an effort to get a foothold on a major US City to blow up a marathon then instantly be killed or incarcerated? Why not just get a degree, get an awesome job, and in the meantime chase the thousands of Boston coeds? Why not just live the American Dream, the best dream on Earth?

First question: Why would two guys living the life in Boston and going to college in one of the coolest cities in the world suddenly decide to blow up the Marathon on Patriots Day? Are you suggesting that some kid half-planned this from his dorm room at Dartmouth Mass? Then we put out this tape and execute him and that’s the end. His brother is pulled out of a parked boat the next day, and is taken past the media throng in an ambulance so nobody can actually see him. Why didn’t they carry him out on a stretcher? Why didn’t they lug him out Lee Harvey Oswald style?

The family of these two boys are SCREAMING frame job from the other side of the world. Everyone from the aunt to the father vow that these boys did not do this. Vow that they're pawns. And I ask you: What’s the evidence against them? The tape? That’s it? “But, Brian, the FBI knows a lot more than they’re telling the media.” Hiding info from the media? Hogwash. I think the Government and the Media are working together. The Govt is using the Media to be portrayed exactly how they want to be viewed by the world on the heels of this incident. They are using the TV and Internet forums to deliver a scripted, calculated response to an apparent act of war.

Did you see that outrageous display on the Boston street when they yanked suspect #2 out of that parked boat? It looked like the last scene in a bad Bruce Willis movie. Did there really need to be 98 police vehicles in that caravan behind the ambulance? It was like we were putting on a show for the rest of the world, sending a message: Don’t mess with us. Then everyone from the police chief to the mayor to the governor go podium. One after the other stepped to the mic and delivered Oscar-acceptance speeches. They were completely hamming it up for the cameras. It was like an SNL skit. But we never SAW the suspect. Why didn’t we see bin Laden either?

Three people were killed at the Boston Marathon and about a 150 were hospitalized. BUT Obama looked like a world beater announcing just hours after the bombing that we WOULD capture those responsible. Then we had them both before the weekend. The whole world is watching CNN and MSNBC again, so the media makes out like bandits. Maybe in the throes of all this Americana, Obama can get his version of Immigration Reform passed. Is that what this is about? After all, look how tough and organized he was when it came to this “horrific incident.” I can’t quite figure out what’s happening here. But we know that in the past people in power have done a lot more than kill three innocent to get their agenda executed.

Am I saying that’s what's happening here? No. I have no idea what's happening here. Now that people are singing the National Anthem again, and screaming for the brutal death of these two foreign-looking guys who blew up our beloved parade and assassinated a cop, swell from the mountaintops, I wonder who and what is about to profit from all this energy. The moments of silence will fill sports arenas and the charity concerts will come and the Boston merchandise will move like hot cakes. The GOP and the Dems will play nice for a while because “We’re all Americans at a time like this,” and politicians will ride this wave of higher office. Hell man, this bombing's making somebody a Senator or VP nominee. The FBI and Boston Police and the American Defense Personnel come off looking like rock stars on the world’s stage. CNN and MSNBC were there every step of the way, so tune in, Middle America. And Bradley Cooper is already visiting victims.

Instead of asking who stands to profit from all this energy, I guess the better question is who DOESN’T stand to profit?

Read More:

Brian Huba

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Snake Bitten

Last night was a sad moment. To see Kobe Bryant, on the ground, rubbing his ruined Achilles after another "gangsta game" was heartbreaking. But what happened to Kobe last night's been coming since November.

Sometimes the writing’s on the wall. This year’s Lakers team was snake bitten from the jump. Kobe and Dwight HATE each other. Total dysfunctional mess with a weakling in the head coach's office, a non-confrontational Euro. You need to be confrontational as hell when you got that job. Phil Jackson: He's confrontational. He made Kobe and Shaq work. They DESPISED each other.

The marquee trades that prompted talk of a championship parade this June crumbled instantly when the season started. Dwight Howard? Get real. LA's the land of Jabbar and Chamberlain and Shaq-Diesel. Steve Nash is ten years past his prime. The guy looks like that weird-haired dude at the YMCA now. LeBron would shatter Nash on a breakaway. I think he would actually kill him. I'm not being figurative. Then Jerry Buss dies. Dr. B was a great owner and knowledgeable basketball mind. His son Jim isn't yet. Sometimes a team is just doomed. Kobe’s injury? How else would this train wreck end?

Five days into the season, they fire then-coach Mike Brown way too fast. He had two years left on his deal. Miraculously, Phil Jackson, like a prophet sent from God, sweeps in and says he'll rescue this trigger-finger owner, save his rep and his PR backside, and take the Lakers all the way. Every fan in LA wants Phil. Every fan in LA hates Buss Jr. It's like a hand-delivered blessing from the Heavens. Kobe publically politicked for him. It was a no-brainer.

Here's the catch: Not only is Phil the greatest NBA coach ever, he’s also the boyfriend of Jeannie Buss, Jim’s sister. And, by all accounts, Jimmy Boy didn’t like Phil’s star power or his place at the Buss family table. So, to the collective rage of every Laker ticket holder and the astonishment of every NBA expert, Jim Buss disses Phil and hires Mike D’Antonio, even though Mike hasn't recovered from a knee surgery and can't walk. I'm sorry, you don't get a European dude to coach the Lakers. You get Phil Jackson.

Eighty mil in total salary plus luxury tax off the charts, and it was over before Dr. Buss's grave was even dug.

Despite the Lakers working themselves back into the playoff picture (barely), it was clear that D’Antonio was the wrong coach. His demeanor wasn’t right. His style wasn’t right. And on top of it all, Buss Jr. gave Mike D. a four-year deal. He sent the message: "Screw you, Phil, this is my team."

The season was a corpse. The Hollywood Drama was in high gear. And the injuries were piling up. Pau Gasol was out for like two months for a foot injury. Same injury: Eli Manning didn't miss a SINGLE start. Steve Nash got broken in half the sixth game of the year. But thank God for Kobe. 34 years old, and he's the third-leading scorer in the NBA. He's in his 17th season and he's putting up 30 points a game through the all-star break.

He played well enough to somehow reverse what this owner had created. He is having the best year of his epic NBA run. He puts four scrubs on his back every night and manages to lead them to slightly more than fifty percent victory rate. He gets injured every night then just plays the next game on it.

He's your whole franchise, your whole world, and you hire NOT the guy he wanted, even though together they brought the Lakers to the heights? You hire the guy Carmelo Anthony called a joke three months before?

With less than a week left in the season, and the Lakers clinging to their post-season lives, Kobe put together three of the biggest "are-you-kidding-me" games of his career. Against New Orleans, he scores 23 points in the fourth-quarter, after scoring only 3 in the first three. He took the game over. By the way, Kobe has played 17 seasons + another two seasons with the Olympics and all the playoff runs. He practices for three hours BEFORE practice. Do you know how much it would suck to be his wife?

The VERY next night he plays ALL 48 minutes and drops 47 against Portland in a titanic performance. This coach didn't give Kobe a single rest on the back end of a double-nighter. Then, back in LA, Kobe scores 34 against Golden State to keep the Lakers alive for the playoffs. With just a few minutes left in the game, he makes a simple move to the basket, is fouled, and his whole career goes up in smoke. Fully-torn Achilles Tendon. Not kinda torn, fully torn, gone. Out 6-9 months. The same injury that ended Barkley and Shaq. The other injury he suffered this season happened with only seconds left in the game too. Snake bitten.

I don’t know if this is the end of Kobe. I've watched his entire career. Kobe will rip your heart out and eat it right in front of you. He's a killer. Kobe's in his 17th season and is abusing people. Jordan was shot by year 15. And Jordan didn't have to cart around this bag of clowns at 34 years old. It saddens me that Kobe's legacy and the ticking clock of his incredible career was put in the hands of an owner whose daddy made the money. Kobe deserves better than what happened to him last night.

He’ll be 35 in August, dealing with an injury of this magnitude, on the books for $30-million in salary next year. It’s a tricky thing to figure out from all sides.

A good coach manages his team and his star players. He thinks bigger picture. This coach, to save his job and push this sorry team into a certain first-round playoff exit, ran Kobe Bryant's career into the ground.

After blowing out his Achilles, Kobe hobbled on one leg to the free-throw line and sank both shots. A few minutes later, the Lakers won by two points. Legend.

Read More:

Brian Huba

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Lost Pearl

A few weeks ago we were at D'Raymond's Restaurant with a wonderful group of great friends. It was shaping up to be one of those amazing nights in life, full of food, wine, laughter. One couple was a week from having their second child. The other couple was just beginning their life together. As for me and my wife, we were on top of the world. The best was yet to come.

That night my wife lost the pearl earring out of her right ear. She was devastated, but searched the parking lot and restaurant quietly, so not to ruin anyone else's time out. That's the type of woman she is. When the rest of our party eventually got wind, I told them not to fret, promised them that she would find that pearl earring. This woman is the only good thing that has ever happened to me. She is the only thing I have ever loved. She is my good-luck charm. She is kind, and caring, and compassionate. She loves animals and never says a bad word about anybody. I believe in Darwinism. She believes in Karma. I promised all at that dinner table that she would find that pearl earring.

And . . .

The next day she went to Macy's with the one earring remaining, and they gave her a second set for free. They knew she wasn't lying. They knew she was a genuine person, and her sadness over the lost earring was real. In less than 24 hours she had three pearls instead of two. This is who she is. This is how it goes for the good ones.

But then . . .

One week later the man who delivers bread at D'Raymond's pulled a single pearl earring off the snow-and-salt covered parking lot outside the restaurant. Our waitress called us and my wife had her lost earring back. At the end of it all, she walked away with two sets of pearl earrings and more proof to me that she is an eternally blessed and charmed woman. She is the woman who saved my life when I had no hope. I am dead without her. She is always able to take the saddest, most-dire situation and make it good again. She beats the odds. She shocks the world.

Now . . .

Life has tested us once again, a much greater test, perhaps the scariest of all tests on Earth. This week our family received news about my wife that we never saw coming. I can now tell you what being in Hell is really like. I can now tell you about a level of fear that I never knew capable for a human being to feel. We planned on a pregnancy announcement this spring. Plans have changed. My family has gone to war. My world has gone dark.

In the end . . .

My wife is a charmed and blessed woman. She brings the light. Now the world is about to find out how strong of a person she is. And very soon, we will pull that missing pearl off the snow-and-salt covered parking lot of life. Soon we will be whole again. My wife will take the saddest, most-dire situation and make it good again. She is the star of our family and I can't wait to have kids with her then grow old and gray with her. There will be light again.

Brian Huba