2014 MTV Video Music Awards Recap

Anyone who knows me knows I love award shows. Outside of sporting events, they’re probably the most enjoyable 3 hour television blocks of my year. The Oscars are alway classy and Emmys—which are on tonight—are kinda funny as well but the MTV Video Music Awards is in a league of its own. Every year I literally just sit on the couch for 3 hours and crush cheap beer while I try to figure out what in God’s name is happening.

Last year was awesome because it was the very first time I got to see Robin Thicke perform. Dude was firing on all cylinders since he took his first step on the red carpet that night and I was hoping someone would step up in fill in for his absence this year. However, I quickly came to my senses and realized that no one can fill Robin Thicke’s shoes because he’s a Goddamn African Bullfrog swimming in a tank with tadpoles, but whatever…

Bulleted Thoughts Because Why Not?

  • Ariana Grande opened the show with Nikki Minaj’s ass and some random chick who most likely won’t be invited next year. The performance was whatever and but the more important takeaway was that Ariana Grande is probably the hottest 14-year-old in existence.
  • It took a few years but I’m officially on the Taylor Swift bandwagon. I’ve probably listened to that new song she performed last night about 250 times today on repeat.
  • Maybe it’s because I’m not black but I don’t think Jay Pharaoh told a single joke throughout the duration of the program.
  • Biggest surprise of the night—in a landslide—was the fact that Sam Smith is white. Didn’t see that one coming at all.
  • I’m starting to respect the Kardashians now. They’re literally the biggest dickheads on Earth and the fact that they were texting during the moment of silence for Ferguson was so downright preposterous that you almost have to appreciate it. Kim was probably asking Kanye who Ferguson was.
  • I know I always speak in hyperbole but I’m being 100% serious when I say that the 5-second Robin Williams tribute was arguably the most ridiculous thing in the history of television. There was no introduction and it consisted of about 3 images of Robin Williams that I’m sure some Intern threw together as a Powerpoint Presentation 5 minutes before the show started.
  • The fact that Miley allowed some homeless dude to accept her award was pretty cool I guess but I already forgot what he was spreading awareness for.
  • Beyonce was literally so perfect last night. I was literally dead during her performance and I literally started convulsing when Blue Ivy waved to her on stage. Literally…

Robin Williams’ Death Is Such A Kick In The Teeth

One of the weirdest experiences in life is the first time you lose someone close to you. It’s an inevitability that it’s going to happen at some point or another, but when it does, it’s virtually impossible to grasp. For some reason or another, the human brain is incapable of preparing for things like this, and although Robin Williams presumably had no idea I even existed, I considered him as somewhat of a distant friend, I guess.

To clarify, I don’t want to sound overdramatic. The news of his passing—as well as the manner in which it occurred—was a complete shock and obviously I’m not crushed by it; however, yesterday marked the first time where I’ve genuinely been taken aback after hearing about the death of someone I never formally met. I wasn’t around for when Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston were the pulse of the nation, nor did I spend a bulk of my childhood watching Heath Ledger and Richard Seymour Hoffman films; therefore, I couldn’t conceptualize the magnitude of their impact.

However, in yesterday’s case, the situation was entirely different: I WAS around for when Robin Williams was the toast of the Oscars and being dubbed the “Funniest Man Alive” by Entertainment Weekly; I DID spend a large bulk of my childhood watching Jumanji and Aladdin; and once I finally became smart enough to understand/appreciate all of the 4-minute soliloquies and complex anecdotes in Good Will Hunting, I COULD conceptualize the magnitude of his impact.

I won’t go as far as to say that I’m going to lose sleep over the incident, but the manner in which he died—reportedly suicide, provoked by years of severe depression—is incredibly tragic. It’s tough to hear that someone who made such an overwhelming impact on the general public will no longer continue doing so as a result of mental illness.

Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that he cemented himself as one of the greatest performing minds of any century. And although I wish I could stay and write a little more on his influence, “I gotta see about a girl”; thus, I’ll leave you with one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history instead…

Anybody Calling Tony Stewart A Murderer Is An Idiot

For those of you who missed it, Tony Stewart was racing at a local dirt-track event in upstate New York yesterday and, well, shit sorta hit the fan. During one of the turns, Stewart bumped 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr.’s race car, sending it spinning into the outside wall. Instead of staying in the car, though, Ward Jr. unbuckled his seatbelt, leaped onto the track, and began screaming at the oncoming traffic before being clipped by one of Stewart’s car wings. Judging by the video, which you can watch here, Ward presumably died on impact.

So as with any other tragedy involving a public figure, the entire Internet is on the verge of implosion. Seemingly everyone thinks they know what the consequences for the incident should be/who’s at fault; however, like any other time that something worth debating gets brought up, 90% of the population doesn’t have a clue what they’re barking about.

Don’t get me wrong, though: I’m in no way, shape, or form a motor sports enthusiast. I take advantage of every opportunity to shit on Nascar and how its exclusively for people who failed to graduate high school; nevertheless, diagnosing this situation doesn’t require a diploma because it’s pretty black and white.

There’s no way in hell that you could call Tony Stewart a murderer or say he’s responsible for this. Like every sport, shit happens; tempers flair on occasion but athletes (or race car drivers) need to understand that. Just because someone nudged you into a wall—the initial bump looked pretty innocent—doesn’t mean you can unbuckle your seatbelt and break the Golden Rule of motor sports: Don’t get out of you car and stand in the middle of the track when other people are still racing.

That’s just common sense, to an extent. It’s similar to when people commit suicide by heaving themselves in front of subway cars. Are you going to sit there and contemplate indicting the conductor on criminal charges? I’d like to think not, but whatever. Feel free to be wrong.

#PeopleWhoSuck: The People Who Get Marylou’s Coffee

So before I get into this blog, I would just like to describe what I plan to talk about so those of you living outside of Massachusetts—I’m pretty sure the chain doesn’t host any locations outside of the state—have somewhat of a grasp on what I was dealing with the other day.

Anyway, Marylou’s is a local chain of coffee shops located around the South Shore. All of the stores are coated in flamboyant, pink paint and every girl working there is a certified smokehouse—consider it like Hooters, but instead of hookers and cheap beer, it’s college commuters and lattes.

Nevertheless, what separates Marylou’s from other coffee shops is that Marylou’s doesn’t exclusively sell coffee; according to their website, the chain specializes in selling “gourmet coffee,” which is just an extravagant way of saying, “coffee w/ buckets of sugar and exotic flavoring like Twix, Reese’s, or Butterfinger.” In a way, the concept is actually somewhat brilliant, however, my problem with MaryLou’s has nothing to do with their product; my problem with Marylou’s has to do with the people who go there…

For starters, every location Marylou’s owns does RIDICULOUS business. The one near my house has about 20 available spaces in their lot and there’s literally 50+ cars parked on top of each other at any given time. It’s to the point where Marylou’s could chuck a drive-thru on the Sinai Peninsula and high school chicks would be falling out the windows of passport acceptance facilities before second period.

And that’s another thing, actually: roughly 90% of Marylou’s profit comes from the pockets of the 16-20 year old female demographic. Every time I walk in that place, there’s a line out the door of girls who will eventually develop herniated disks before the age of 30 due to the fact that their necks are permanently wrenched downward at their iPhone. I just can’t even…

And what makes the whole situation worse is that these girls can’t order a simple coffee because they’re all seemingly on “summer diets.” Each girl takes her turn walking to the counter and proceeds to order an iced coffee as follows: “Ummm, can I have a medium iced with two teaspoons of omega-3 soy milk, 1.3768 grams of Splenda, 1.4 fluid ounces of some low-fat blueberry swirl bullshit anddd… Oh yeah! Two fucking Heath Bars…”

I guess I’m just being a jerk and chastising people for exercising their constitutional rights, but at the same time, does ordering an iced coffee really require such rumination? It’s roasted beans and frozen cubes of water for God’s sake—just pick a size, pay the $9 and walk out…

The ULTIMATE 2014 New England Patriots Season Preview

So it’s currently the beginning of August, which means we’re all officially imprisoned in a perpetual state of oblivion commonly referred to as the “dog days of summer.” In other words, there is absolutely nothing legitimate going on in the world of sports aside from a couple baseball teams fighting for playoff contention and preseason football. Thus, I’ve decided to provide you guys with what I believe is the ULTIMATE 2014 New England Patriots Season Preview.

Offseason: For those of you who elected to spend the last three months or so sequestered in a hyperbaric chamber or sorts, Bob Kraft & Co. have made quite a few moves since free agency commenced back in March. In fact, I can’t remember the Patriots creating such a splash with their offseason negotiations since, well, never. Normally they just trade away their first twelve draft picks for couple Starbucks gift cards, stiff a fan favorite out of a few million bucks in contract renegotiations, sign another 5’9″ white slot receiver from some D2 program in the midwest, and bring in about 40 defensive backs from Rutgers. However, our good friends in Foxboro seemingly snorted an 8-ball of pre-workout before crushing the boardroom this summer and I don’t see how anyone could argue with what the front office is sending to Sun Life Stadium in September.

In other words, our Jews beat your Jews and managed to silence any concern I had following the Pats’ loss to Denver in the AFC Championship Game. They locked up their two biggest free agent concerns in Julian Edelman (who’s been my favorite Patriot since his D-back days in 2011) and Vince Wilfork; they went out and scooped up Brandon Lafell, who at the very least should be able to use his frame to snatch a few red zone lobs; they further solidified themselves as the best-looking team in football by drafting Jimmy Garoppolo; and oh yeah, they signed Brandon Browner and this guy named Darrelle Revis who, according to sources close to the league, plays pretty decent defense…

Offense: Even though the Pats largely earned their early 2000s hardware on the back of a snarling, hard-nosed, “by any means necessary” defense, it’s pretty safe to say that things have changed in the last six or seven years. Strictly speaking, the Patriots have managed to reach two SuperBowls and seemingly three-hundred AFC Championship Games in the last decade because of what they can do on the offensive side of the ball. That said, the modus operandi in New England has slowed its role—and become more realistic—since that video game of a season they had in 2007; nevertheless, the narrative is still very much the same because Brady and Big Dick Bill are still jogging through the tunnel on the weekends.

In regard to the regular season, the Patriots are basically a lock to reach the playoffs because the AFC East is still a third-rate division. Miami may give them a couple migraines in late December but blowing the doors off Ralph Wilson and MetLife Stadium for four wins a year requires less tangible exertion than getting accepted to community college. As for the rest of the schedule, there may be problems because the NFC North always puts up a pretty scrap. The Packers and Bears are both respectable franchises and watching the Lions’ pass rush reminds me of that scene in the second Lord of the Rings when the orcs start to bullrush the Towers at Helm’s Deep. That said, the Patriots have good depth and a strong enough core of weapons on offense to pour in end zone trips as long as the offensive line doesn’t appear to be held together with an assortment of duct tape and rubber bands—like last year.

On a side note: I understand the concerns regarding Gronk and whether he can stay healthy but I’m getting sick of people questioning if he’ll have the same impact coming off injury. You can debate it all you want but the answer is simple: If Rob Gronkowski is on the field, you’re going to notice him. The guy’s been the breathing embodiment of consistency since he landed in New England and I still stand by my claim that he’s the most freakishly gifted athlete I’ve ever seen play the position. He blows by linebackers, he shrugs off cornerbacks, he DOESN’T drop passes, he’s the best run-blocking skill player in the league, and he rarely makes mental mistakes. Simply put, he’s just one of those guys who shows up to the field with a lunchbox and earns his 95+ Madden player rating…

X Factor: Obviously the biggest key to success this season concerns whether Brady and Gronk’s knees manage to elude implosion so I’m going to get a bit more Kraft-y (see what I did there?) on this one. Considering Brady routinely avoids the deep ball—presumably because Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson seemingly grease their hands with WD-40 before lining up for post routes—in favor of slinging bullets into the slot, my 2014 Patriots’ Offensive X factor is the same guy the Pats hired to replace that other white dude they traded to Denver: Danny Amendola.

Last year, Edelman basically chucked Welker’s jockstrap over his shoulder and into the recycling bin while Amendola reinforced the notion that he’s anatomically comprised of the same materials third grade teachers supply their students with for arts and crafts. I refuse to go as far as to say that he isn’t tough because it takes a tremendous amount of grit and balls for a guy my size to run a quick slant into an expanse of 250+ pound leviathans who are willing to heave you into a coma for a six figure annual salary; nevertheless, the dude can’t manage to sneeze without fragmentizing half of his skeletal structure and, without him, stringing together first downs becomes exponentially more difficult.

Defense: Like I mentioned earlier, the good people in Foxboro threw a bone to All-Pro Devon McCourty this offseason and spooned a couple veteran defensive backs who—if healthy and not jacked up on pharmaceuticals—should dramatically shrink the dimensions of the secondary; thus allowing Matt Patricia to explore personnel versatilities and pump a few more blitz formations into the playbook (otherwise known as the Gospel of Bill) rather than relying on scrubs the team pried from the practice squad three hours prior to kickoff.

As for the rest of the defense, things are looking just as solid. The return of Wilfork and Tommy Kelly should help plug that balsa wood wall that the Patriots called a defensive line last season; Mayo, Hightower, and Jamie Collins are athletic enough to hang with most tight ends if necessary; and considering that the Patriots finally locked up a few guys who can prevent opposing quarterbacks from slinging to their first read, look for Chandler Jones to chew up a handful of coverage sacks.

X Factor: This one was tough for me because there’s an overwhelming amount of potential in some of these younger guys. Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower had an absolute field day against the Colts in the divisional-round and Chandler Jones’ genetic inheritance gives me anxiety; however, my 2014 Patriots’ Defensive X Factor is none other than Rob Ninkovich because, although he was huge factor for the team last season, I’m expecting a Pro Bowl performance out of him this year.

For starters, Ninkovich is your prototypical Belichickian player: he grinds out series, he approaches/reads the game from the eyes of a coordinator, he’s white, and most importantly, he can play multiple positions. The guy’s as versatile as they come in the NFL and the closest player to Mike Vrabel the Patriots have had since, well, Mike Vrabel. I’m not going as far as to suggest he’ll become a red zone target in the near future—Vrabel somehow managed to haul in 10 touchdowns in a career where he lined up at tight end roughly 12 times—but look for Matt Patricia to take the governor off this dude early and often. With the revamped flexibility of the defense, we’re likely to see him taking reps at either end of the line, as well as outside linebacker in 3-4 sets.

Prediction: 13-3 and a New England/San Francisco SuperBowl…

PS  This is by far the longest blog I’ve ever posted to this site.