Genie of the Lamp

Genie of the Lamp

I am not the genie of the lamp nor will I be providing any outright prognostications but will however say this concerning the reminder of the baseball season. Many things are expected of the Tampa Bay Rays and their dispassionate fans will be hoping that the team can really make it to their second World Series in three years and perhaps win their first title.

This Joe Maddon managed team is playing some great baseball and though the fans haven’t turned out in droves to support the team there’s still a hardcore base there that comes out to see the home team when they play at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida. We can attest to the fact that this team is very good it cannot be hidden that the Rays are no longer team that is easily intimidated. What we do know however is , if the support isn’t forthcoming from the community at large then this may well be the last hoo-rah for baseball within the community and Tampa Bay area as a whole. The front office of the organization have tried as they might to make it a going concern within the area but it all now seems to be for nought. Furthermore , the political and economic uncertainty still doesn’t make it a foregone conclusion that a new ballpark will be built for the team at some time in the future. And most certainly no one at this juncture is prepared to state who will end up financing such an endeavor . All we’ve tended to hear have been the sound bytes and not much else.

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Courtesy of St Petersburg Times


New stadium talks will wait until after the season ends

By Micheal Van Sickler , Time Staff Writer

ST. Petersburg — The Tampa Bay Rays and St. Petersburg officials have scrapped negotiations for a new stadium until after the last pitch of the World Series, sometime in November.

From the way negotiations have unfolded so far, they don’t agree on much.

Mayor Bill Foster said Wednesday that his offer last week to permit the Rays to leave Tropicana Field for a stadium anywhere in St. Petersburg and the greater Gateway area “was my best and final.”

Yet on Tuesday, Rays president Matt Silverman rejected this offer and said the club needs to consider all sites in the region, including Hillsborough County — which Foster said is off-limits.

“We’re really in uncharted territory,” said Rick Eckstein, co-author of the 2003 book Public Dollars, Private Stadiums. “If there’s going to be a standoff, it would be unprecedented.”

When it comes to Major League Baseball, cities cave and let teams out of iron-clad leases all the time, Eckstein said.

“The politicians see teams as huge trophies,” said Eckstein, a Villanova University sociology professor. “They don’t want to be associated with losing one. So if (St. Petersburg) holds to this, it would be revolutionary.”

Foster and City Attorney John Wolfe are relying on the city’s contract with the Rays, signed in 1995, to settle the conflict. The contract keeps the Rays at Tropicana Field through the 2027 season . If the Rays leave early, the contract says the city would be compensated for the economic loss.

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Now as we come down to the trade deadline __ 31st Julythere’s no sign that the team will be involved in any trades and at the same time they’re financially constrained by a budget that is meager the to say the very least. So much of what the fans will expect will come about from the resilience shown by the team on the field of play. Here’s hoping the Tampa Bay Rays can attain some success in the postseason .

Perhaps we’re all under the impression that having both TO and Ochocinco on the same team is a bad idea ? Now pardon me for saying this but Marvin Lewis and Carson Palmer are either in need of psychiatric help or they my well be unto something , with the combination of the two productive but lugubrious wide receivers. My guess and question would be , will there be enough balls on the field for two of the most bombastic and self promoting characters in the NFL ? Question who’s balls are actually bigger ? TO’s or Chad Ochocinco ?

To say that the Cincinnati Bengals have underperformed over the last few seasons certainly wouldn’t be stretching the truth. More to the point would be ,how it that Lewis is still an NFL coach is simply beyond me ! Let’s just say his idea of success when measured against the failures of his peers has me wondering what indeed is wrong the Bengalis’ hierarchy (front office) to begin with ? I can only surmise that team President Mike Brown woke from the midst of a nightmare and thought to himself what else can we as an organization can do to bring fans back to Paul Brown Stadium ? Hell if signing Owens was “his first” and “only option” then I’ve got several thousand acres of prime real estate in the Middle East that I’d like to sell to him …….. Kabul , Afghanistan to be more precise.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

T.O. misses flight to Bengals camp

By Joe Kay, AP Sports Writer

Georgetown, Ky. (AP)—Terrell Owens missed his flight but got his number.

When he finally makes it to town—a little late—he’ll be wearing his familiar 81.

The Cincinnati Bengals’ latest addition missed his overnight flight from the West Coast and had to take a later one on Thursday, delaying his debut at training camp.

The Bengals had planned on him arriving early in the day, taking his physical and signing his one-year contract while the rest of the team held its first workout. They scheduled an introductory news conference after the morning practice.

The news conference had to be rescheduled for after the evening session. Coach Marvin Lewis wasn’t sure whether the 36-year-old receiver would arrive in time to work out.

On his Twitter account, Owens posted a note Wednesday night saying he was headed to see a movie. He didn’t explain why he missed his flight on Thursday, but confirmed that his news conference had to be rescheduled.

“My Press conf about my “Decision” 2 take my talents 2 Cincy will b held 2nite after 7pm practice!!” he tweeted, playing off LeBron James’ one-hour television show announcing his decision to leave Cleveland.

Owens also misspelled Cincinnati in one of his tweets and was quickly corrected by a follower.

“Okayyyyyy I got it now, 2 n’s & 1 t! CINCINNATI!! LOL!” he tweeted.

He’ll have to make a donation to keep his favorite uniform number.

Receiver Antonio Bryant got No. 81 when the Bengals chose him over Owens in the offseason, giving him a four-year deal. Bryant said after the morning practice that he had already talked to Owens and agreed to give up his number.
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The upcoming season with regard to the Cincinnati Bengals should go a long way in telling us about the team and the mindset of its management. Failure at this juncture and both Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens’ days in the NFL could very well be numbered.

Having worked in the field of high finance within the city of London , the “Square Mile” often known as the financial heartbeat of the world, as there are more trades done there than any other financial center across the globe. Two trillion dollars ($2,000,000,000,000) a day wouldn’t be beyond the stretch of one’s imagination concerning the volumes of the trades being worked through each day. Specialists in those fields were highly sought after and their expertise was richly rewarded. There was a gentleman’s agreement that when seeking to hire from beyond one’s domain common courtesy was sought in approaching a perspective hire by first seeking the approval of that person’s employer for making an approach. The same such situation now applies to the NFL . But it’d appear that USC’s __ Lane Kiffin doesn’t believe that such rules apply to him when it comes to the hiring of his coaching staff .

Kiffin in hiring the Tennessee Titans former assistant running backs’ coach Kennedy Pola did so without first seeking the team’s permission with an approach to an initial interview . At the time of his hiring Pola was still in contract negotiations with the Titans. Now we could make a case for the argument that with Pola’s negotiations were not going to well with the organization and it led to his leaving the Tennessee Titans. But what might prove to be more unacceptable was that while Pola was still in negotiation with the Titans , he was talking through back channels with Kiffin and the Trojans. This doesn’t stretch the credibility of Kiffin’s stance that this was merely an unfortunate turn of events as it only muddy’s the waters in trying to ascertain the real truth as to what went on. And clearly at this juncture no one from within the Trojans’ athletic department is prepared to make a public statement on the matter. Most certainly Kiffin, himself, has now become somewhat docile in giving a taciturn response. Whereas, within the Titans’ front office and that of the team’s coach Jeff Fisher there is a great deal of anger and disgust by Lane Kiffin’s actions and that of Kennedy Pola. With there being no outright action that can be taken the NFL , the Titans have seen fit to seek their right of recourse through the legal system.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

USC’s Kiffin irks Titans’ Fisher with Pola hire

By Greg Beacham , AP Sports Writer

Los Angeles (AP)—Add Titans coach Jeff Fisher to the list of people Lane Kiffin had ticked off in Tennessee.

Kiffin hired Titans assistant coach Kennedy Pola on Saturday to be his offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Southern California, irking Fisher by failing to follow the usual protocol in courting another team’s assistant.

Fisher voiced his displeasure with his alma mater’s new head coach to the Tennessean newspaper, saying Kiffin hadn’t made the customary contact to tell the NFL team he was interested in Pola, a former USC player and assistant coach who joined the Titans after last season ended.

The move also left the Titans without a running backs coach one week before training camp opens.

“I am very disappointed in Lane Kiffin’s approach to this,” Fisher told the newspaper. “Typically speaking when coaches are interested in hiring or discussing potential employment from coaches on respective staffs there is a courtesy call made from the head coach or athletic director indicating there is an interest in talking to the assistant.

“So I am very disappointed in the lack of professionalism on behalf of Lane, to call me and leave me a voice mail after Kennedy had informed me he had taken the job. It is just a lack of professionalism.”

Kiffin attempted to rectify the damage later Saturday, finally reaching Fisher and discussing the abrupt move. Kiffin then issued a statement that didn’t exactly deny he had breached protocol, saying he first spoke to Pola on Friday, and then called Fisher on Saturday after Pola called him back, apparently to accept the job.

“I have spoken with Coach Fisher and he now has an accurate understanding of the timeline of events,” Kiffin said. “We realize the timing of this isn’t perfect for all parties, but this is a great opportunity and promotion for Kennedy.”

The state of Tennessee hardly needs another reason to dislike Kiffin, who infamously bolted from the Volunteers last January after just 14 months to take his self-described dream job at USC, leaving an angry mob in Knoxville.

Kiffin’s brief head coaching stints with the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee have been filled with minor missteps and conflicts, including an ugly feud with Raiders owner Al Davis and twice being reprimanded by the Southeastern Conference while he was with the Volunteers.

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Monetary compensation may well be the only satisfactory compensation that the Titans may well find from this all should there be an adjudication in their favor. As for Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans , given the unwarranted publicity garnered from the sanctions brought down by the NCAA upon their heads. One would’ve thought that this would be last type of adverse publicity that they would want at this juncture. And Kiffin , given his predilection for being less than forthright when it comes to his honesty. I can only surmise that USC’s newly appointed athletics’ director Patrick Haden along with University President-elect C. L. Max Nikias will be looking to sit down with Kiffin for a somewhat prolonged tete-a-tete with the coach. Given the recent upheaval within the athletics department the last thing the university now needs is more egg on its face. But given the maneuvers of Lane Kiffin since his hiring by USC what other conclusions can one draw from this all at this juncture ? It’s not as Kiffin has gone out of his way to do everything by the book to begin with. He’s become more of a one man wrecking crew with his asinine remarks and his gung-ho attitude. And supposedly this is the guy the school actually sought out to succeed Pete Carroll ? Let’s just hope that he only brings along only half the controversy created by his predecessor for the university’s sake . If not then they could be in for a bumpy and unpleasant ride once again.


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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the various subject matters raised within this piece ? By all means chime on in with a comment and I’ll look forward to responding in due course. Once again thanks as usual for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………… 🙂

Not Twenty Questions Can Count That High But Don’t Want To!

Not Twenty Questions Can Count That High But Don’t Want To!

So herein lies the dilemma Terrell Owens is still without an NFL home . Does he or is he deserving of one with an NFL “team” ? More to the point if you were a general manager would you be inclined to sign him for the long or short term? Teams now said to be interested in the player , the St Louis Rams amongst others . Why ?

Courtesy of ESPN.com News service

Rosenhaus confident T.O. will sign soon

Terrell Owens remains unsigned, but that might change soon, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Rosenhaus texted ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that he was “very confident” that Owens, who played for the Buffalo Bills last season, will have a new team “within the next few weeks.”

In an appearance on ESPN’s “NFL Live” last week, Rosenhaus said five teams were interested in Owens. However, the San Diego Chargers aren’t one of them, despite Vincent Jackson being suspended three games by the NFL and threatening to hold out over his contact situation.

“We’re all set right now with our receivers,” general manager A.J. Smith told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Seattle Seahawks are also out of the picture.

“No, you know, I go way back with T.O.,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle on Monday. “I was there [as an assistant coach] when he showed up with the 49ers when he was a rookie and nobody knew he had any initials or anything. And I really liked Terrell. But we won’t be able to do that this time around. I think at our time in our program development, we’re going to continue to work with the guys that we’ve got and go in a different direction than that. … We’re really looking to get the young guys going as much as we can.”

Owens said recently that he believed teams are swayed by the perception he’s a troublemaker. It’s a perception he believes he disproved with his agreeable behavior in Buffalo during a disappointing season in 2009.

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Owens has had his shot and essentially wherever he’s been he’s simply outstayed his welcome for one reason or another. If Owens can’t cut it with any of his four previous teams , then who’s of the belief that he’ll be successful with a fifth at this stage of his career ?

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What thoughts if any do you have on this subject ? Chime on in with a comment.

tophatal ……………………….. 🙂

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes ………………………………………. Don’t Leave Me This Way

Liar , Liar Pants On Fire …….

Liar , Liar Pants On Fire

So when did it occur to Alabama coach Nick Saban that sports agents interacting with his football players was a “real threat” to collegiate athletics ? Somehow him now haranguing and then comparing the agents to pimps seems somewhat asinine given the fact that the coach has about as much credibility and integrity as a Roman Catholic priest caught up in the midst of a sex scandal. This being the same football coach when questioned as to his then NFL future with the Miami Dolphins chose to deliberately lie to the convened journalists and members of the television media present. He would then depart from the team without providing any real explanation behind his departure other than to suggest that the pressure of being an NFL coach was too much to bear. What the hell did he expect in the first place a bed of roses ?

Now as a twice national champion coach , Saban chooses to take issue with the unscrupulous activities of the sports agents who choose to hover around campuses during practice sessions or the many who choose to associate themselves with the players by acting as boosters or facilitate the player being employed off campus while they’re attending college. These re but few of the countless things they’re known to have facilitated but not ll of these maneuvers have been legal and above board .

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Is it me but is Nick Saban choosing to ignore what’s actually happening right underneath his nose ? Pardon me for saying this but in light of the less than circumspect actions of both Pete Carroll , __ Tim Floyd and now former Trojans’ athletic director Mike Garrett can anyone be surprised by any of the problems now surfacing within the SEC concerning a number of athletic programs there ? There’s just as much corruption to be found on a college campus as can be found within the alleged hallowed halls of Congress . If not more so in the case of Congress as you’d be hard pressed to find a member there who hasn’t lied or cheated to get ahead in one form or another ! Anyone who believes otherwise my well have been watching far too much of the once celebrated television show “The West Wing” while it was on network television. There you were made to believe the President was above reproach , a person of immense honesty and that our elected leaders in Congress were men and women of integrity. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the collegiate coach and that of an elected Federal legislator __ the case can be made that the two are cut from the same cloth. !

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & Associated Press

Saban compares unscrupulous agents to a ‘pimp’

By John Zenor , AP Sports Writer

Hoover, Ala. (AP)— Nick Saban didn’t pull punches Wednesday when discussing the improper contact with athletes by unscrupulous agents, comparing their behavior to that of a “pimp.”

The Alabama coach was upset about the rash of recent agent-related incidents that have resulted in NCAA investigations at several Southeastern Conference schools.

“I don’t think it’s anything but greed that’s creating it right now on behalf of the agents,” Saban said in a rant at the SEC media days. “The agents that do this—and I hate to say this, but how are they any better than a pimp?

“I have no respect for people who do that to young people. None. How would you feel if they did it to your child?”

Agents, not national titles, was the primary topic on Day 1 at the Wynfrey Hotel. Three SEC teams—Florida, Alabama and South Carolina —are investigating allegations involving improper contact with an agent. Saban and SEC commissioner Mike Slive both emphatically said it was time for a change to NCAA rules governing agents.

Saban confirmed that Alabama is looking into a trip defensive end Marcell Dareus took to an agent’s party at Miami’s South Beach. South Carolina is looking into claims from the same South Beach party with tight end Weslye Saunders.

Georgia associate athletic director Claude Felton confirmed that the NCAA requested permission late Wednesday afternoon to conduct an inquiry on the Bulldogs’ campus. He would not say what the inquiry was about or whether it was related to the South Beach party. “This is all we can say,” Felton said.

Florida and the NCAA are reportedly investigating whether offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey—now an NFL rookie with the Pittsburgh Steelers received $100,000 from a sports agent’s representative between the SEC championship game and the Sugar Bowl

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Now while this all comes to the fore I’ve got to ask how is it that repeatedly when instances such as this come light there’s very little done by the NCAA when conducting their investigations and then let their findings be known ? A customary slap on the wrist seems to be the norm and when they choose to make an example of an institution they mete out punishment in such a way that has one calling into effect the sheer scope veracity of the unevenness of the punishment sometimes meted out. I’ve always maintained that if you’re going to make an example of someone then in order to for that punishment to be a real deterrent then one has to “hit the individual” in the pocket financially by meting out a stiff monetary fine ! Principal alone dictates and tells us that but it’d would appear that the NCAA as the governing body of collegiate athletics is all too image conscious for its own good. They would rather be loved by all than be hated by just a mere few but then again one shouldn‘t at all be surprised by that.

As the governing body for collegiate sports the institution does leave a great deal to be desired in the way it conducts its business and the secrecy with which it acts. Not even the noted secrecy and actions of those celebrated Swiss , Cayman Islands and Bahamian financial institutions can teach anything to the maneuvers that have been undertaken by the NCAA over the years. Never let it be said that the graciousness shown by the government to the institution wasn’t under-appreciated as the body has been able to enact so many powers and solicit vast sums of money in such a way that it would make any criminal organization and enterprise proud.

For Nick Saban and his intentions in voicing his concerns over the actions of these sports agents. My question for him would be this what if anything is being done his coaching staff , the athletics director and compliance officers of the Crimson Tide ? They too, much like the coach himself , has a part to play in this all rather than choosing to apportion blame elsewhere. It stands to reason that Nick Saban ought to be looking to see what he can and should be doing instead of coming cross like he’s caught someone who’s stealing from his cookie jar. It’s not s if he’s not making money off the backs of these to begin with so why all of a sudden now the fuss ? Has he been looking the other way before this all came to light concerning the Tides’ program ? If so, was this also happening while he was coach of the LSU Tigers ? Strange, I’d have thought there’d been improprieties there as well ? Because usually “where’s there’s smoke there also has to be a fire …….. isn’t that so” ?

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What thoughts if any do you have on the proposed investigations of the three SEC athletic programs now under way ? Is it justified or merely being done by the NCAA and SEC jointly in order to show that they’re on top of things ? Let me know how you feel bout the mtter and as usual thanks for the continued support .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………. 🙂

Maze feat’g Frankie Beverley …………………………… “Happy Feelings”

News And Views In The Ever Changing World Of Sports

News And Views In The Ever Changing World Of Sports

We can all agree that at this time of the year there’s not much news out there that one would deem newsworthy in the world of sports. As of now there’s not really much to opine about as it now stands. Well that’s unless you’re an aggrieved USC Trojans’ fan then you can’t take solace in the fact that the SEC or NCAA won’t as of yet be investigating the allegations into the fact that former Gators’ player Maurkice Pouncey may well have improperly accepted $100,000 whilst attending the University of Florida while on his athletic football scholarship. Well nothing new there given the fact that Gators’ football coach Urban Meyer is bout as strict with his players as the Los Angeles County Court System are on their treatment of Hollywood celebrities . But then again what else should one expect ? It has become the norm to see athletes and celebrities be treated as nothing more than Pre-K children each time they ran afoul of the law or knowingly break the rules of an educational institution and that of the NCAA .

Knowing what we already know about collegiate athletics when stories such as this come to the public’s attention we can either choose to ignore them or we can choose to discuss them like mature adults. But then again when discussing collegiate sports and in particular football it can border upon sectarianism in its resolve in trying to garner anything intelligent or enlightening as part of any type of debate or discussion. The NCAA > for its part can come across as a rather toothless organization whose bark more often than not is worse than its bite !

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Below I’ve either provided links or in part piece of an ongoing story for you to peruse that we might discuss. So by all means having read the links provided then do chime in with a comment.

Courtesy of USA Today & Sean Leahy

Report: Steelers rookie C Maurkice Pouncey tied to improprieties at Florida

C/G Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers’ first-round draft pick, may be facing some uncomfortable questions once he signs his first NFL contract later this summer.

According to ESPN, the University of Florida is investing claims that Pouncey received a $100,000 payment from the representative of an agent prior to playing in the Gators’ Sugar Bowl win over the University of Cincinnati in January.

“We were made aware of some information in early June that we reported to law enforcement and we then shared with the NCAA and the SEC,” Gators AD Jeremy Foley said in a statement released Monday morning. “At this time we have no information that has indicated that there are any compliance issues for the University of Florida.”

Pouncey entered the 2010 NFL draft after his junior season, but his twin brother Mike, a potential first-round pick in the 2011 draft, remained in Gainesville, Fla., for his senior season. He is also an offensive lineman.

If found guilty of improprieties, Florida could have to vacate its Sugar Bowl victory over the Bearcats.

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Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Russell pleads not guilty not guilty in Alabama case


Ex-Raider Russell pleads not guilty in Ala. case

MOBILE, Ala. (AP)—Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell(notes) pleaded not guilty to a charge of illegal drug possession Tuesday in Alabama.

Russell, 24, is a former LSU star who was released by Oakland after being the No. 1 draft choice in 2007. He entered the plea in court in Mobile. He is charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, codeine syrup.

Authorities have said that he did not have a prescription for the drug and that he was arrested July 5 at his home as part of an undercover investigation.

His attorney, Donald Briskman, said in a phone interview that there were about nine or 10 people in the house and that he believes once all the evidence is known, Russell will be exonerated.

Russell, a prep star in Mobile, had no comment after his court appearance. He has been free on $2,500 bond.

Briskman said he asked for an early hearing in order for Russell to get the case behind him and renew his effort to play professional football. A hearing in his case is set for Aug. 11 to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury.

One of the NFL’s biggest No. 1 draft busts, Russell completed just 52.1 percent of his passes in his career, with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and 15 lost fumbles. He won only seven of 25 starts.

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Someone explain to me what it was that Al Davis and the rest of the Raiders’ front office saw in JaMarcus Russell to begin with ? I’ve heard it said that temperament and maturity doesn’t matter when it comes to being professional athlete . Without either then an athlete will fail to show presence of mind to become a success to begin with ! Well the idiot who made that summary and asinine remark is too dumb to realize what’s needed to compete at the professional level ! Russell had none of the attributes required to make it at the next level !

Fedrigo denies Armstrong Tour de France stage win

OK so tell me who the hell is actually interested in the Tour de France to begin with ? Lance Armstrong may well be the nom-de-plume for the moment. But he’s not going to win the event nor was he ever like to add to his tally of seven consecutive wins. Lance’s time has come and gone ! nd besides the sport itself is rife with cheating nd prolific steroid use. Never mind the fact that the sports’ governing body UCI has about as much presence in dealing with the matter as the US government’s stance has been on immigration reform and that of the US economy. Both have become those respective legislative bodies’ Waterloo. The former seven time champion currently sits in twenty fifth place some 34 minutes behind the current leader Alberto Contador of Spain ,a winner of the race in 2007 and 2009 .

Sorry Lance you’re no longer worthy of being lauded as some hero , not when the sport of cycling is rife with as much cheating that’s alleged to have gone on within the sport over the past decade. Now you’re in the midst of an ongoing battle of words with one of your fellow compatriots in Greg Lemond , himself former winner of the event. Why don’t you boys just kiss and make up instead of coming across like pair of Ru Paul’s drag queen cast offs from the drag queen’s reality show ?

Cubs manager Piniella retiring after season

Right so this should come as a surprise to whom ? Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella announces that he’ll retire at the end of the season . Low and behold after all of the torture that lovable Lou has suffered at the hands of this team and organization I’d like to commend him on his decision to begin with ! It’s not as if the team was ever capable of winning a World Series title to begin with ! Instead there’ll just be another year added to over a century of infamy and sheer ineptitude. As for those endearing fans who attend Wrigley Field religiously each season I for one just hope that they can continue to endure the suffering that they’ve had to withstand ! At some point in the future things my well change but who know when that might be ? Even the purists nd pundits can’t decide when that will be but somehow they’re holding out hope for change in the fortunes of the Chicago Cubs . How about you ? Do you ever see things turning around for the baseball club ?

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Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka …. tophatal ………. 🙂

Nas ………………..” Made You Look”

Darkness Once Again Falls Over The Game

Darkness Once Again Falls Over The Game

It’s not that the game of baseball hasn’t done enough with regard to sports and race in this country . Well given the fact that era of Jackie Robinson and his introduction as the first player of a minority race to be allowed to enter and play the game professionally warrants the fact that they have progressed . But yet again this is the same game that would deny the right of a player to decide his own future as to where he could be allowed to play in terms of a team pending a trade. The management and executives held sway and at the time there wasn’t a thing that could be done by the player. Were it not for Curt Flood and his stance in fighting the hierarchy of baseball then for all sense and purpose the game would be very much remain in the guise of a plantation owner owning slaves. Almost every facet of their lives was ruled over by the plantation owner. And it was very much the same way for the game albeit that the MLBPA (union) would choose to side with the owners the vast majority of the time even when it was to the detriment of its very own members.

Now coming full circle and the game is now being used as a pawn in what could turn out to be a very contentious and most demonstrative case concerning the new immigration law that will come into effect later this year. Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona and the state’s legislature voted this into effect , which she then signed into law. Now that very same bill SB 1070 will be challenged by the Justice Department and INS jointly in the Federal Court System . Now in terms of there not being a comprehensive immigration policy we can only blame the successive administrations down the years who’ve failed to tackle this issue head on . There are those on the right who’d rather take drastic action without first weighing up the costs and then there are those who are on the left of the issue who’d say and do nothing but give the issue lip service. With that in mind it looks as if the fight will now become something where the game of baseball and in particular its hierarchy will be dragged into the midst of what could turn out to be one very contentious and possibly a racially divisive battle .

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Courtesy of USA Today

Groups pressure Bud Selig to move 2011 All-Star Game; Albert Pujols opposes Arizona law

By Nicole Auerbach, with Jorge L. Ortiz and Peter Barzilai in Anaheim

Local Anaheim and other Southern California organizations planned to deliver more than 100,000 petitions to MLB commissioner Bud Selig on Monday, demanding that he move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Arizona.

The organizations — representing civil, labor and immigrant rights — are using the petition delivery as a part of a national campaign to relocate the game. The campaign, MoveTheGame.org, was created to protest Arizona’s recent passage of the anti-immigrant and racial profiling law: SB 1070.

San Diego Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez, who was born in San Diego but lived 12 years in Mexico, stated earlier this year that he didn’t agree with the new immigration law. He reiterated it again on Monday and was joined by Albert Pujols in his stance.

“My first reaction was I don’t agree with it,” Gonzalez said. “It’s something that does affect my heritage. But at the same time now I have talked to a few people, I understand why it was put in place. I respect it. I respect their decision. I still don’t agree with it.”

“Move or not move? That’s a decision Major League Baseball has to make.”

Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols refused comment on whether the game should be moved, saying it’s out of his control, but did say he opposed the law.

Said Pujols Monday: “I’m opposed to it. How are you going to tell me that, me being Hispanic, if you stop me and I don’t have my ID, you’re going to arrest me? That can’t be.”

That stance is in opposition to his manager; Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa stated last week that Arizona should have the right to combat illegal immigration if it’s negatively affecting the state.

The campaign has activities scheduled for this week, and organizers hope to educate fans about the law.

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On the eve of this season’s All Star Game being held in the expansive Angels Stadium in Anaheim , California . Could there be a more appropriate time to verify what the commissioner’s response might be on this very matter ? He’s chosen not to make any formal or informal statements concerning the matter but it is already clear that certain MLBPA union members and players are beginning to let their voices be heard on this very issue . They’ve called for the game to be withdrawn from being played in the state of Arizona next season at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ stadium ,Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona . Anyone of the belief that were the game to be withdrawn that there wouldn’t also be serious ramifications for MLB would be under a serious misapprehension. Planning in advance a great many businesses have gone into overdrive preparing for the very event itself and the economic impact from the staging the event runs into several million dollars for such a small metropolitan city such as Phoenix. Is it any wonder that there’s a clamor the teams host the event each season ?

I get the impression that Commissioner Bud Selig and the owners would rather this all disappear rather than it being left to the hierarchy and owners to come to a decision on this matter. And whilst both sides can post a valid argument on the issue this is where I for one feel that the game itself shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip to hold sway. But then again baseball hasn’t always been the one to act in a positive light when it comes to racial issues. Prior to integration within the game it was rife with some of the most unheralded racial bigots that one could ever wish to find and that’s not just some of the most heralded names within the game but also many of the owners and executives who saw fit to make the game last bastion of representing the dominance of the Caucasian male. Now we’re told that this was a sign of the times and that in many respects we’ve progressed as a nation and as a people. If that is very much the case then from a political standpoint there are those who in many respects would rather see the present incumbent of the White House six feet under than portraying the fact that he’s either a Muslim or socialist rather than admitting what they are too afraid to say in public and that he’s African American or more to the point he’s a nigger. Truth be told it doesn’t matter who’s in the White House at present the morass that the country now finds itself is one of its own making wherein the both legislative chambers of Congress have been about as useful as fecal matter on the soles of one’s shoes.

Baseball for its part is now forced into delving into a place where it doesn’t want to go or be in. Suffice to say Commissioner Bud Selig had better pull his finger out of his ass and make a decision that shows that the game cannot be dictated to by those who choose to make it a hot potato . At the same time I’ve got to ask myself how is it that the administration and the state of Arizona not choose to show some common sense rather than acting like a bull in a china shop. Things are now getting so out of hand and it appears that neither side is prepared to give any leeway on this matter.
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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the matter ? And do you feel that baseball itself should be used as a pawn in this politically and racially divisive subject ? Leave a comment as to how you view the matter in general and I’ll look forward to responding to your comments in due course . Thanks as always !

NB: To read the Arizona State Senate Bill 1070 __(SB1070) in full just click unto the text link provided here within. SB 1070 ……..

Alan Parkins ……………………………aka tophatal _____ 🙂

Sam Cooke ………………………… A Change Is Gonna Come

Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Like me I suppose for the rest of you the topic and I do mean topic of conversation in the sports world may well have rested on LeBron James’ announcement that he was leaving Cleveland to resume his NBA career in Miami with the Miami Heat . Glasses were raised on South Beach while the once loyal fans of James in Cleveland showed their “disdain” for the player by burning his jersey replicas and whatever else they had in their possession associated with player. Not to be outdone Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert had a scalding reprimand for the player and essentially called him a coward.

Now far be it for me to show no real concern over this but once ESPN and their reporter Jim Gray chose to bilk this story for far more than it was worth , I essentially became tired of the story and of James the self appointed ” King” without a kingdom . Now don’t get me wrong with James now joining the Heat along also the recently acquired Chris Bosh to play with Dwyane Wade . This has now in essence made the Heat the presumptive favorites in the Eastern Conference and a legitimate challenger to the Los Angeles Lakers and the defense of their NBA title .

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Now while all of this has come into play perhaps the two proudest and most certainly the happiest are Heat team President Pat Riley and the team’s multi-billionaire owner Micky Arison who also happens to be the owner of Carnival Cruise Lines . My concern now has to be for the Heat’s coach Erik Spoelstra , given the fact that Riley engineered this coup-d’etat with little or no input from his coach. And with that in mind I wonder if Spoelstra will go now the same way of his predecessor Stan Van Gundy ? We all know that Van Gundy was relieved of his position so that Riley could make a quick exit from his executive position to take charge of the team win an a title and then relinquish the coach’s position and make a quick return back to his executive duties. Could this once again happen given the fact that the Heat now has Bosh , James and Wade all on the same team and with the lure there for Riley to return to the fray of coaching ? If I were Spoelstra at this juncture I’d be deeply concerned and looking over my shoulder with each passing second to see if Riley were there and whether or not he had a dagger in his hand !

Now while this has been going on the African continent and the country of South Africa has been hosting the World Cup. Outside the Summer Olympics this might just be the most watched sporting event and spectacle on the planet. FIFA President Joseph (“Sepp”) Blatter says that he expects as many as 700 million viewers worldwide to tune in and watch the finals itself. It has now all come down to this with the 64th and final game of the competition between Spain and the Netherlands . And though Spain would prevail as the 1-0 victors from a goal scored by Andres Iniesta in overtime , the game itself was something of a monotonous bore. With each team failing to convert a number of chances during regulatory play. As to what this might suggest to the first time observer of the sport I’ll leave that up to you to decide !

The most recent edition of FHM an adult oriented male magazine dealing in a wide range of topics issued their list of the “100 Sexiest Women In The World” and specifically dealt with their final top ten . Nothing wrong in that by my way of thinking but then again not all heterosexual males might well feel happy with FHM’s findings and their end result. Much like Maxim Magazine has its own list of their Top 100 Most Desirable Females , I for one feel that it’s something of a trade off in order to create some hype and controversy between the two publications on their observations and then leaving it for their patrons to continue to argue over or discuss !

And amongst FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women (2010) they have Desire Siahaan , Freida Pinto , Megan Fox and slew of bodacious looking females that would be enough to make a guy salivate and drool like a newborn child . But then again what grown man doesn’t when looking at a voluptuous and beautiful female ? My own thoughts on the matter goes with the old saying ………..”beauty is in the eye of the beholder” .

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Picture gallery for your perusal. Click on frame to see the picture in its original format.

Chime in with a comment if you so wish and your thoughts on the sporting weekend in general.

NB: Click on the link provided to view the list of FHM’s Sexiest Women In The World For 2010 . You will most certainly enjoy this pictorial . And that I can assure you will be the least of your concerns !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….. 🙂

Black Sheep ………………………. “The Choice Is Yours”

And The Winners Are

And The Winners Are

Well now that we know that LeBron James will resume his professional NBA career elsewhere there are now bound to be winners and losers amongst this all. Obviously the biggest losers here are the Cleveland Cavaliers’ organization , the city of Cleveland and the team’s now once again emotionally stricken fans. The team hierarchy of Dan Gilbert gave it his best shot but it became abundantly clear that he and GM Chris Grant were out of their depth and faced an uphill battle to entice the player to remain with the team. They’d done nothing to assure the player that they were serious in acquiring the talent to make the team better! . And the hiring of Byron Scott was too little and much too late .

The fallout from this is now clear as James will be now viewed as a pariah by the fans who many of which will have felt that he betrayed them. Furthermore for the businesses in the city of Cleveland this will come a boon to them with the thought that James will no longer be there. Especially given the fact that at home games at Quicken Loans Arena ___ business was brisk for businesses there that catered to the fans. The ramifications now will be devastating for all within the sector.

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With James having made his decision known in a public interview granted to ESPN last night. Let’s just say that once it became formal, a weight had been lifted off the shoulders of Art Modell , long felt and often thought of as the most reviled and despised person in the history of Cleveland area sports. In the space of thirty seconds last night, once LeBron had uttered the words “I’ll be leaving Cleveland to sign with the Miami Heat those words were like a dagger to the heart of the Cavaliers’ fans . Never mind the fact that another half a dozen teams around the league may have felt that they were in with a chance of signing the player.

Courtesy of USA Today

LeBron adds to history of Cleveland sports setbacks

By Nichole Auerbach , USA Today

Cleveland’s sports history took another hit Thursday when LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. Cleveland fans remember these events all too well:

PHOTO GALLERY: LeBron James in pictures
GAME ON! LeBron vs. Modell
NUMBERS: LeBron’s career stats

The Drive: The Cleveland Browns were less than six minutes from a 20-13 victory in the AFC Championship Game and the organization’s first trip to the Super Bowl, in January 1987. The Denver Broncos muffed the kickoff, and quarterback John Elway took over at the Broncos’ 2-yard line.

Six passes, three rushes and a couple of Elway scrambles later, Denver had tied the score with 37 seconds left. The Broncos won in overtime with a field goal.

The Fumble: A year after The Drive, the Broncos had a seven-point lead with four minutes to play in the AFC Championship Game vs. Cleveland in January 1988.

The Browns moved the ball to the Broncos’ 8-yard line with 1:12 left in the game. Running back Earnest Byner got the handoff, took off for the end zone but was stripped by Jeremiah Castille and fumbled at the 2-yard line.

Denver recovered, gave the Browns an intentional safety and won 38-33.

Cleveland is one of four NFL teams never to have reached the Super Bowl.

The Shot: In the fifth and deciding game of the first round of the 1989 NBA playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a 100-99 lead against the Chicago Bulls with three seconds left.

Michael Jordan got the inbounds pass and shot over defender Craig Ehlo. The basket counted at the buzzer, leaving the Cleveland crowd stunned, the first of many such game-winning shots in Jordan’s playoff career.

The Move:Art Modell, who owned the Browns for 35 years, had promised he would never move the team from Cleveland. But after the 1995 season, he began secret discussions with the state of Maryland about placing a team in Baltimore, which had lost the Colts to Indianapolis in 1984.

When the move was announced, fan reaction was overwhelmingly negative. Cleveland sued for breach of the stadium lease. The Browns franchise was ultimately deactivated for three years. With the 1999 season, the NFL gave the city an expansion team, which took the Browns name and colors.

The Collapse: The Cavaliers were the top seed in the Eastern Conference this past season after 61 wins. Led by James’ 31.8 points a game, Cleveland cruised through the first round vs. the Bulls.

In the second round, the Cavs took a 1-0 series lead on the Boston Celtics. Boston won Game 2 on Cleveland’s court, but the Cavaliers buried the Celtics 124-95 in Game 3 in Boston. The series seemed all but over.

Inexplicably, the Cavs came out flat the next three games and couldn’t score more than 88 points in three consecutive losses. James, at times, looked uninterested. The conference’s top team was knocked out, leaving James still looking for his first championship and Cavaliers fans wondering if they had seen the last of him in a home uniform.

The Decision: Or, as Cleveland fans will see it, The Failed Decision.

ESPN’s one-hour special, The Decision, sent Cleveland fans into a frenzy before James revealed where he would next play. He not only angered them by abandoning his hometown team but also humiliated them in what they saw as an over-the-top, prime-time debacle.

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For Pat Riley team President of the Miami Heat and their multi billionaire owner Micky Arison this must have felt like Christmas had come early and for the fans of the Heat and especially those in the luxurious enclave of South Beach , this just further adds to the visibility and vitality of the area. For Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh to now have James as a teammate this now makes the Miami based team the presumptive favorites within the Eastern Conference for the upcoming season. Anyone of the belief that the addition of James doesn’t immediately impact the odds of that statement had better seek psychiatric help . And for the team’s instate rivals the Orlando Magic whose lone move in the free agency market has been to sign backup point guard Chris Duhon from the New York Knicks . In due deference they might as well have signed the female who does the Pine Sol ads on television for all the good that will do. Magic GM Otis Smith is either naïve or he clearly believes to remain as they are will still make the team a contender. Given the lack of tenacity shown by the likes of Rashard Lewis , Vince Carter and the rare glimpses of brilliance shown by Dwight Howard in the NBA playoffs one seriously doubts that the Stan Van Gundy coached team will genuinely have what it takes to take down a newly revamped Miami Heat team.

While the immediate fallout hasn’t been lost on the fans the hierarchy of the NBA must have been rubbing their hands in delight knowing that this subject will become the water cooler topic of discussion for months to come in the off season until the new season resumes.Think of it as the NBA’s own version of the ongoing Brett Favre saga , only it‘s not about “will he or won‘t he “ ? But in actuality it‘s how the hell did that happen and how did the Heat pull off this coup d’etat ? In actuality this outcome was in the making the moment that all there players, Bosh , James and Wade sat down and broke bread together discussing their immediate future. And all of the subterfuge created with their multiple meeting with different teams was merely to keep the writers on their toes and build up the suspense for James’ announcement last night.

The New York Knicks for their part under GM Donnie Walsh thought that they were in with a very good shot of signing LeBron but given the fact that the nucleus of the team they had about as much synergy as oil and water mixing. Mike D’Antoni while being an admirable coach just doesn’t seem to be a person that a character such as LeBron James can learn a lot from, much less have respect for. And for spirited Knicks’ fans, think of the experience as something that you can learn from. If it hasn’t been enough with the moronic belief that because you were in the biggest market you gave the player the best opportunity to win an NBA title. No, the only opportunity being offered was the lure of Madison Ave to the player. Common sense would tell you that from the beginning but then again are they are any enlightened Knicks’ fans about ?

The New Jersey Nets were never in with a really serious chance of landing James despite his close friendship with rapper Jay-Z . So unless LeBron is interested in the pursuit of a rap career at some point in his future , then that baby has just been laid to rest once and for all !

It was felt that other than the Cavaliers __ the Chicago Bulls were the best bet to land the player. And given the proactive moves made by team executives John Paxson and GM Gar Forman with the team were some $30 million under the NBA salary cap. Everything seem to have pointed to the fact that an aggressive pursuit would be underway to land the talented league MVP . But things don’t always go as planned and with a wily veteran such as Pat Riley waiting in the wings . Let’s just say it was like watching an anaconda survey its surroundings before devouring its prey while everyone else watched. Unfortunately the Bulls are now left with little more than their pride intact and not much else to show for their pursuit. Michael Jordan isn’t about to walk back into the United Center to suit up anytime soon as he’s got the Charlotte Bobcats now to deal with. Ergo Chicago , you’ve just been punk’d !

You have to hand to it Pat Riley , he’s not only a move and a shaker but the guy can make it rain. How else can you explain it wherein he signs the three of the biggest free agents on the market at reduced salaries with little more than a three to five year commitment ? Screw that, Barack Obama should hire him in some capacity within his administration and to hell with the likes Tim Geithner and Ken Salazar . That duo is led with the responsibility of one, trying to reverse the economic downturn and the other to deal with BP Gulf oil spill disaster. And I’d hazard a guess if push came to shove that Pat Riley could pull a rabbit out of his ass and it wouldn’t hurt in the slightest ! Which begs the question what’s happening in the Gulf and is there an end in sight ? Does anyone really know ?

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OK so it now comes down to this, how long will it take for the Cavaliers’ fans to perhaps forgive and forget ? And if they do, will they be comfortable in the fact that while LeBron James was with the team they all enjoyed a glorious ride ?. Unfortunately, what the future now holds for the team doesn’t appear to be a pleasant one and it points to a situation where they could now go into free fall and become one of the more inept teams within the NBA. As a dispassionate observer on the outside looking in, my condolences go out to the Cavaliers’ fans but at the same I think that they were somewhat naïve to think that the player wasn’t going to come to the decision that he did. I mean , what were meant to be the pointers to suggest that he was about to remain with the team ? Does anyone care to evaluate and then offer up an answer ? Chime on in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support as it has always been gratefully appreciated . Thanks once again !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………………

Rick Ross ………………………. “Push It”

Reality tv star Shay aka “Bucky”

Rise To The Occasion Porn Is Here To Stay Whether You Like It Or Not ……………

Rise To The Occasion Porn Is Here To Stay Whether You Like It Or Not ……………

It’ s a $10 billion a year film industry that’s fast outstripping mainstream Hollywood in terms of revenues and has become a legitimate form of entertainment in the psyche of America. The porn industry is now a real business where people can legitimately earns millions without running afoul of the law. And just in case you think that they haven’t got any real backing , well for those of you uninitiated out there the adult entertainment industry have their very own lobbyists out there to protect their rights in Washington. So don’t kid yourself for one minute that both legislative houses of Congress aren’t keen to willingly act on behalf a paymaster , now matter how despicable they might be viewed by the moralists out there.

Former porn star and once the doyenne of the industry Jenna Jameson has now moved from in front of the cameras having retired to become a budding mogul and entrepreneur within the industry with her media company involved in the business. Jameson is also the live in partner of well known UFC fighter Tito Ortiz . The couple also have two young children together.

Now one might feel that the industry has no business being viewed as a legitimate part of the economy in mainstream America. But given what we know and that is ……… that sex sells . How else ought we to view this ? Rightly or wrongly we can agree that the misogynistic depiction of women being brutally subjected to different forms of sexual degradation is despicable. But at the same time here in the United States we also now have sex slavery and the trafficking of young men and women to fulfill the whims of individuals who’ve found an ever increasing way to satisfy their insatiable hunger for sex. Never mind that we’ve also had members of Congress and within the Roman Catholic church feeding off the most vulnerable amongst us , in having unsolicited sex with minors. And here in the US was the epicenter for that very scandal itself but you’d be hard pressed to hear anyone on the right or left allay that fact. Instead they much like the church itself chose to gloss over it all in order to try and maintain the fact that this was just one or two bad apples within the system and dioceses up and down the country. And with some public outcry it really had you wondering who really cares about the most vulnerable amongst us ? Certainly not the federal government in this case many of the most egregious of these crimes happened across the country and the stance taken by the hierarchy of the church was to have these priests transferred to other dioceses across the country where they could repeat those very same offenses again. And we think of the church as a place of safety ? More like a place of debauchery in this respect and the present leader of the church Pope Benedict XVI was none too quick to acknowledge the wrongdoing of many of the members of the church and his almost glib apology has me believing that he wasn’t overly concerned as to the damage done to the Catholic church and undeniably the fact that many of its worshipers would question their faith in the church.


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Now while there are many of us out there who enjoy viewing porn be it in the privacy of our own home or frequenting an establishment whereby it’s on view for public consumption . I’ve no doubt that there are those amongst who view this as some sick part of society that ought to be completely done away with. Herein , lies the question, if this is as such freedom of expression and a given right under the Constitution. Then where does the blame lie when there are those who make it the matter a cause and then state that the industry makes perverts , pedophiles and rapists of certain members of society ? My train of thought on the matter is that a sexual act that’s committed in the form of a crime is done by that individual by their own volition . To try and use that act and blame it on someone viewing porn is sheer hokum ! We’ve all got a moral compass within us to know what’s right from wrong. If the law can’t prosecute a perpetrator to the full extent of the law when such heinous acts are committed then it clearly shows that the legal system isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

As to the fact that the federal government receives a great deal of taxable revenue income from the industry does anyone really believe that they’d rather see the industry completely close down ? That’d be like saying that they can’t accept illicit campaign money from an outsider or from a foreign power. We all know that’s not going to happen if even if the moralists try to hold sway. Sex much like religion has been with us since the beginning of time and it’s not about to disappear anytime soon. So either accept or be constructive in your criticism of it but for God’s sake don’t try and take that puritanical route that it’s an abomination. Simply look at the behavior of our federal legislators and church leaders as an example as to how naive that thinking has become that they can do no wrong ? And then ask yourself does the porn industry really harming society as much as people say that it is ?

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Chime on with a comment on the subject matter .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………

TLC …………….. Red Light Special

Wrap Yourself Around The Flag This 4th July

Wrap Yourself Around The Flag This 4th July

If like me you’ve now become extremely bored by the comings and goings of the NBA free agency period you can well liken it to having a tooth pulled. Nothing says boring than having a bunch of multi millionaire players and owners act as if their world is coming to an end. As for David Stern and the NBA hierarchy they have to be loving this as the postseason was something of an uninspired disaster. They might suggest that because the finals were between the two most storied clubs in professional basketball. The fact of the matter was the series itself between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t that great an NBA Finals to watch and the play itself overall wasn’t that exciting to begin with.

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Now we have to put up with a bunch of self absorbed athletes and owners try to weigh their futures and in the midst of it all the fans are now wondering what to make of it all. Never mind the fact that for a mere $ 30 million extra some players will be squabbling with their agents merely to make sure that they get the top dollar available . Now don’t get me wrong I’m not against the players getting the maximum available to them but what I’m now getting sick and tired to hear is a player complaining that they’re not being paid enough or the fact that the NBA owners are now depriving players of their right to earn a fair wage. I’d dare say that at the vast majority of NBA fans will never see $120 million in their life time much less be able to fathom how the hell some of these players can complain that they’re not earning enough . Pardon me but when the unemployment rate as a national average is now at 9.8% and with each day the unemployment rolls seem to be growing by the hour . I can only surmise that this is the last thing on the mind of the likes of Dywane Wade or LeBron James and how they might feel that the fans may well view this all !

Now while many of us are about as interested in the many scenarios arising out of this all as we would be about the life-style of Paris Hilton the paparazzi’s main staple. Some of us will be about as interested the events as one might be in having a tooth pulled without anesthesia . It’s becoming very painful to see this all played out and the fans are meant to get excited by it all. So unless you’re an avid Cavaliers or LeBron James’ fan I can only surmise that you’re all so in awe of the events now unfolding. All I know is that from this moment on I’ll be making sure to completely avoid the news cycle of ESPN and the various outlets covering this all.

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While I know that Sunday is the 234th anniversary of this beloved country which I now call my home. I’ve got to say to you all and that’s in wishing you all a glorious 4th July . Have a great and safe one ! Wrap yourself around the treats I’ve left and hopefully you’ll enjoy it all ? Have a safe and happy 4th of July !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….

Jennifer Hudson gives her rendition of the the “Star Spangled Banner ”

If You Can’t Face Adversity Square On And Look At It Face On Then What Use Are You If You’ve Learned Nothing At All From It ?

If You Can’t Face Adversity Square On And Look At It Face On Then What Use Are You If You’ve Learned Nothing At All From It ?

Bitch and whine but yet throwing out statistics merely to justify a loss in a competitive match simply shows complete naivete and a lack of understanding as to what it takes to win. But low and behold forty eight hours after bowing out of the World Cup we still have US fans trying to justify the claim that the US team were better than their nemesis Ghana in the round of 16 . So the US out-shot Ghana 20-16 but it’s the end result that counts and this what I believe is the asinine realization that seems to be lost on many of these fans. Wake up and smell the friggin’ coffee the US lost 2-1 to Ghana. The African nation made it to the quarter finals and the US didn’t so for God’s sake stop the bitching and fu_king whining as you’re all coming across like children who’ve been told to take a damn timeout ! If you want to be constructive in assessing the loss then look at what positives if any have come out of this all and not harp on about why you lost the game . The result most certainly can’t be changed at this juncture . And besides who says that the US team coached by Bob Bradley was the better team to begin with ? Was it because a numb-nut like Alexi Lalas said so ? His understanding of the game and his opinions are about as warranted or merited as Paris Hilton’s views would be on peace in the Middle East ! For want of a better word who gives a sh_t to begin with ?

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Bob Bradley’s team was never that good to begin with and in terms of defense and their frontal players in attack. Well let’s just say there’d have been more presence upfront were it Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken as the frontal players on this US team. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan showed the creativity and presence of a docile mouse. Now with the US having returned home US Soccer President Sunil Gulati can assess what went wrong, where, when and why. Personally, until there’s a real competitive presence within the MLS in terms of the “talent level” then we’ll never see the maturation of US soccer on the international stage. The respect that the US craves won’t be given and it first has to be earned which is something that the fans and their players simply have yet to learn. Nothing could be more prevalent than the attitude and demeanor shown by Bradley and in particular by Landon Donovan in their post game interviews after the loss to Ghana .


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OK, so here we are on the first day of the NBA __ free agency period and as of yet we’ve yet to hear whether or not Lebron James will be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers or making a move elsewhere around the NBA. The thought was that James would be the “domino effect” that would set everything into effect. But that now appears to be not the case as it would appear that Toronto Raptors’ power forward Chris Bosh could well be the carrot that lures James into making a decision. Bosh as one of the second tier free agents on the market, is the most desired of the power forwards out there. And the thinking amongst several NBA analysts and general managers around the league is that whomever lands Bosh will have the upper hand in luring and signing Lebron James.

Now in assessing the situation my own feeling is that LeBron if he’s to win an NBA title then for his alleged Jordan persona will be in need of a Scottie Pippen. James despite being saddled with Antawn Jamison and Shaquille O’Neal , this Cavaliers’ team was merely doing it all with smoking mirrors. And for the ass kissing morons at ESPN who simply had their lips pressed so closely to James’ sphincter that they couldn’t see the reality that this team was simply not good enough to beat the Los Angeles Lakers much less the Boston Celtics . Mike Brown and former GM Danny Ferry simply built a team for the long haul of the regular season but not for the rigors of the postseason . And now with Brown having been fired and Ferry inauspiciously choosing to relinquish his position with the team. It has now been left to Dan Gilbert the team owner and newly installed GM Chris Grant to try and gauge the situation concerning James and his status. It doesn’t appear that there has been a great deal communication between James’ handlers and the Cavaliers’ front office . If that’s not enough of an indicator that things could quite possibly change with regard to the Cavaliers’ future then the situation could well be lost on the Cavaliers’ fans and their executives. What I find very telling concerning the coaching staff of the Cavaliers was that not one of their members has played professionally in the NBA. That’s almost unheard of amongst the coaching staffs of a number franchises around the league.

Now with the Cavaliers now rushing to sign Byron Scott as the team’s next coach, with the position having been turned down by Lakers’ assistant Brian Shaw. This off season has been a very interesting one for the Cavaliers to say the least.

At one should a team give up on the season in baseball ? Now approaching the league’s mid-season showcase of the All Star Game to be held at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California __ for which the event should prove be a great spectacle. The season has been filled with one or two surprises in the league and perhaps the biggest surprise might be that of the Cincinnati Reds and their ongoing battle for supremacy within the NL Central . While that has gone on , the Chicago Cubs seemingly finds with each passing game ways of sinking into further realms of mediocrity . I’m not about to say that the Cubs are done but my God if this team were a lame dog or horse they’d have been put down and euthanized. Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella seems to be out of touch and his team even more so but then again we are talking about the lovable and hapless Chicago Cubs where losing has now become the norm and winning has become a thing of the past .

Reds’ manager Dusty Baker could very well end up becoming the NL Manager of The Year should his team win the division. Other than that there’s not much more that can be said about the Cubs and their situation . As to the surprising ascendancy of the Reds it’s hard to bet against them and their season thus far. The play of Joey Votto and the middle order of the team’s offense has been simply astonishing . Their play seems to epitomize what this team seems to be about and what they’re doing makes them the NL story of the season.

Close your eyes and you’re liable to miss the image of the NFL as it sinks lower under the tenure of Roger Goodell . As for my own view on Goodell , well, let’s put it this way, for the highest ranking executive in the NFL to seem all clueless as to the players of the NFL and their behavior. Star players such as Michael Vick and Vince Young bring the image and reputation of the NFL into further disrepute and Goodell can only act like a Roman Catholic priest caught in the midst of another sex scandal . Instead of dealing with the situation with some authority , instead what we’re seeing from the NFL commissioner is the very fact that he’s a gutless individual ! Never mind the fact that there have been some serious allegations that have arisen concerning an Indianapolis Colts’ defensive tackle Eric Foster and a rape allegation . If Goodell handles this the way that he handled the Ben Roethlisberger situation then we might as well shut up shop as far as the image of the NFL is concerned. Because it’s not as if the NLPA and Executive Director DeMaurice Smith are in the least bit concerned with the image of their members to begin with. It’s as one patron of my site stated he’s not in the least bit concerned about an NFL player being involved in a fight . My question to him was what if the situation had escalated wherein the player ended up losing his life in an act of gun violence ? For which he’s yet to respond to my question but then again I shouldn’t expect anything less from someone who thinks that gun violence is probably the best way to resolve an issue. But then again amongst young African Americans that’s probably the be all end all when they’re severely lacking intelligence. Word to wise for Vince Young and in particular Michael Vick grow the fuck up and stop being and behaving like an asshole ! You’re both doing yourselves and your race a great disservice !

As for the Indianapolis Colts and their GM Bill Polian they’ve been less reticent to issue a statement concerning the matter and the alleged rape. The so called “pristine image” of the Indianapolis Colts is about as clean as that of the Roman Catholic church and their wish to be seen as God’s representative of Christianity on the earth. By my way of thinking that’s akin to asking a group of neo Nazis to be the custodians of the Torah and a church filled with young African American school children. You simply know that no good can from the outcome much like the Colts’ need to keep this all quiet and completely away from the public domain . And nowhere is this more self evident than in the actions of the organization and that of the commissioner’s office. And as to the assumption of the NFL if it’s a first time offense by a player then the league has a right to deal with the issue as it sees fit. Well whatever happened to the league’s player conduct policy ? Goodell much like his edict is completely full of shit much like the rest of the crap that he’d like for us all to buy into. I wonder how Goodell might have dealt would’ve dealt with the Ray Carruth affair were he commissioner at the time ?

Doubt my word concerning the NFL then simply look at the actions of Goodell and the inconsistencies of his rulings over the past few years ? Show me the consistencies in his deliberations and how he has come by them and then ask yourself is there any justification as to the types of punishment that has been meted out ? Goodell actions haven‘t exactly been seen as a deterrent to the players who court trouble and then hide behind the legalities of a justice system that has been all too soft on celebrities and in particular athletes. Were the actions seen that of an every day citizen then we’d be asking what the hell is going on. But as I’ve alluded to before the justice system and that of what Roger Goodell deems as being fair is about as equal in its logic as the actions of a habitual liar., Their actions are that way as a safety mechanism because it’s the only way that they know how to act.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Chime on in with a comment as you see fit and I’ll do my best to respond to your comments as succinctly as I can and once again thanks as always for your continued support and patronage. It’s been appreciated throughout my time here contributing within this domain.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal

Red Hot Chili Peppers ………… Give It Away