Wednesday, June 4, 2014

3 HUGE lessons to learn from the Donald Sterling saga

The last time I wrote an article on this joint, I defended Dwight Howard and blamed Laker fans for unfairly criticizing him. Then the traitorous bastard left us for Houston and I stopped writing for a while. So first of all, even though I was 100% right about what I said about that asshole, I apologize to all my fellow Laker fans for not joining on the hate early. (Although that very same hate might have been responsible for him leaving in the first place.) So anyways, 12 months, a trip to the motherland, a pregnant wife, and a baby later, I am back! (I thought about writing about the baby as my first article back but hey, you have to keep your priorities in order. So I chose to write about Donald Sterling instead.)

Lesson # 1: All press is good press...Sort of...

Answer this: If the Sterling tape was never leaked, and if Donald Sterling put up the Clippers for sale because he wanted to sell the team, without any controversy, would he have gotten the same price? Before you answer, keep in mind that the Forbes 2014 valuation for the Clippers was at 575 million. The highest any NBA team had ever been sold for was 550 million. (Milwaukee Bucks last month.) My answer is no. 

The Donald Sterling controversy was responsible for two very big factors that lead to the Clippers being sold for 2 billion dollars. The first and most important being that it increased the profile of the team. The Clippers became a household name in the non-sports household. The controversy shined a spotlight on the team's extremely likable superstar leader Chris Paul. The controversy shined a spotlight on the team's wise black coach who is beloved by everyone that knows him. The controversy shined a spotlight on the high flying Lob City duo of Blake Griffin and Deondray Jordan. As a direct result of this increased profile,  the Clippers franchise became more desirable in the eyes of those who can afford to buy a team. Prime example: Do you really think Oprah even gave two shits about the Clippers before the Donald Sterling controversy? I HIGHLY doubt it. She might not even have known they existed. And all of a sudden we hear that she wants to buy the team? The line of billionaire celebrities that wanted to buy this team went up to the Staples Center 300 section. And most of those people wouldn't have been in that line if this was a regular controversy-free sale of an NBA franchise.  

The second factor that came into play because of the leaked tape is a very basic economic principle. When you have a motivated seller, you will get a better price if you are the buyer. But a seller who is being FORCED to sell and is willing to fight to the death for his right NOT to sell? You can only imagine what motivated billionaires that want something will try to pay for something they can't have. And that is exactly what happened. The bidding started and everyone knew they had to go high in order to get Sterling to stop fighting and sell, and Steve Ballmer's bid turned out to be the highest. So ironically Donald Sterling's moronic words were responsible for him getting $2 billion for a team that he was FORCED to sell, which is more than TWICE as much as he would have gotten had he wanted to sell the team on his own. If I had not seen how much of an imbecile he looked on Anderson Cooper, I would have guessed he had planned the whole thing all along...Or maybe even that was just an act...Nah, he's too much of a moron for that. 

Lesson #2: The NBA only cares about one thing: The NBA

When everyone was calling for the NBA to do something about Donald Sterling, I was asking myself, why would they do anything? They already know he's a racist. It's been well documented in the past and the NBA has looked the other way. But of course when you are in the middle of the playoffs, and it's been one of the greatest first rounds of all time, in a point in time when the NBA has never been more popular or profitable than now, THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL YOU CAN HAVE PLAYERS BOYCOTTING PLAYOFF GAMES. Besides a swarm of killer bees being unleashed in the arena during game 7 of the Finals, playoff boycotts would basically be the worst case scenario, the 9/11 of any sports league. THAT was the difference between Sterling's discretions in the past and this one. This one affected the league's money/brand/popularity/image. So when NBA commisioner Adam Silver uttered the words "Banned for life" and imposed a maximum fine on Donald Sterling, forgive me if I didn't join in on the Martin Luther King Jr. comparisons. If you disagree, I need you to click on this link for me. Don't's not porn or some sort of virus.

Lesson #3: Steve Ballmer DID NOT overpay for the Clippers

According to Forbes, the Clippers net operating profit is approximately $15 million per year. With the $2 billion price tag, it would take Steve Ballmer about 133 years to break even if he never sold the team. Obviously these are rough estimates and I am not taking into account future improvements on operating profits, TV deals, and other factors. But even WITH all of that, this is not a very good investment in roughly financial terms by any estimation. Of course that could all change if another billionaire wants to buy this team for even higher. But what I am getting at here is that this is not a business investment. This is a toy. This is like me and you buying an XBOX. Let me put it in a context everyone can understand: 

If you loved taking it up the ass, but you weren't gay, and there were only 30 dildos made on Earth, and out of that only one dildo was immediately available for sale, and cucumbers/carrots/eggplants/bananas were all extinct, and you had pretty much an unimaginable amount of money, how much would you pay for that dildo? Exactly. Steve Ballmer's dildo is the Clippers. 

Lesson #4: In the end, Donald Sterling got EXACTLY what he deserved

Yes, you read that correctly. First of all, in a cosmic/karmic way, Donald Sterling should have been punished. Yes, he was illegally recorded and he has the freedom to say what he wants. So maybe he shouldn't have been punished for this specific incident, but he has gone unpunished for all the bullshit shenanigans he has pulled off in the past. The housing discrimination, the media manipulation, the unfair treatment of employees, all of the stunts he has pulled off with Clippers players coaches and executives. So I have no problem for punishing him for this when all the shit before has gone unpunished. 

With that said, many people are saying that Sterling walking away with $2 billion is not a punishment. But Sterling was worth 2 billion BEFORE the sale of the Clippers. When you are in your 80's what's another 2 billion when you already have 2 billion? Money doesn't mean shit to Donald Sterling at this point. The $2 billion is just a consolation prize for being illegally recorded in his own home. He already has so much money that he doesn't get off on making a huge profit. What the old racist bastard gets off on is being an "owner" of a franchise. He gets off on being an "owner" of black athletes. He gets off on sitting court-side as the "owner" and everyone looking at him and saying, look, that's Donald Sterling, the "owner" of the Clippers. He gets off on being the boss of people and paying them money for working for him.  He gets off on heckling and criticizing his own players (Baron Davis) DURING the game. He gets off on negotiating contracts, evaluating and devaluating players, and firing coaches and GMs, and not paying them according to their contracts. He gets off on bringing his friends and mistresses to the game of HIS franchise of which he is the "owner". And now, he cannot do any of that! He can't be the "owner." That is is a HUGE punishment for someone like Donald Sterling. If you can't understand this, it's simple...just go back and use the dildo analogy...

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Unfair Criticism of Dwight Howard. What Gives?

As I do everyday, I woke up this morning and sat on the shitter going over the Facebook newsfeed on my iPhone. There I noticed some people had a couple of not-so-nice things to say about Dwight Howard. Without mentioning any names, here are a couple of them:

Dwight please don't resign with the Lakers. You'll never win a championship.

I rather have 2014 cap space and draft picks anyways. #signandtradeD12

As I read these comments, I panicked. I thought Dwight had signed somewhere else. So I checked ESPN. Fortunately, he hadn't left yet. (Then I remembered he's not a free agent until July 1st.) Immediately, my next thought was to dust off the old jizz-stained laptop keys and write my next blog article. Here is a nice first thought:


Let's get something clear. I am not saying Dwight Howard is the best player in the league or better than Kobe or even a #1 franchise player. He has two huge flaws:

1. His head
2. Limited offensively

But is there another NBA superstar without any major flaws not named Lebron James? The answer is no! These flaws are no reason to get rid of Dwight. He is still the best center in the league. Who would you rather have in his place? Blake Griffin is an athlete who happens to play basketball. He is not a basketball player. Roy Hibbert has had a good playoff series. Let's see him turn that into multiple All-NBA seasons before we turn him into Hakeem Olajuwon. Marc Gasol? At some point I would like to write an entire article on why he is overrated. Omer Asik? Andrew Bynum? Tyson Chandler? Not even close. There is a reason why every team with cap space is chomping at the bits waiting to get their hands on Dwight. There is a reason why the Lakers have made Dwight their number 1 priority despite having their worst season ever. These GMs are smarter than you! (and me.) So before you unfairly blame Dwight for this past season, try to gain some perspective on the situation:

1. The back injury was a real thing. I know it sounds like an excuse, but Dwight himself is the one who came back early from the back surgery, so everyone expected him to be 100%. If he had not come back early, people would have realized the back injury was more serious and maybe they would have cut him a little slack. Remember in the beginning of the season, Dwight wasn't even supposed to come back until January. And the dude ended up playing in the freaking preseason! For the sake of the team!  This set him up from the very beginning to have a season with lingering injury issues. He wasn't 100% at any point in the entire season. 

Injuries weren't only an issue for Dwight. This was the most injury riddled Lakers team EVER! Look at the number of games missed by key Lakers players:

Dwight Howard: 6
Pau Gasol: 33
Meta World Peace: 7
Kobe Bryant: 4
Steve Nash: 33
Jordan Hill: The whole season!
Steve Blake: 37

With even 10% less injuries the Lakers could have had a better record and much better playoff situation. I mean they had freaking Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock starting in the playoffs!!! That kind of injury situation, combined with all the bullshit that I wrote about in the next paragraph, is a bad situation for any superstar. Forget Dwight Howard, Michael Jordan could not have had a positive outcome playing for the 2012-2013 Lakers.

2. Within a span of about 6 months, the Lakers traded for a different starting center, traded for a different starting point guard, signed two new key role players, installed a new offense, fired their head coach 5 games into the season, ditched the new offense, hired a brand new coach in the middle of the season, installed a brand new offense in the middle of the season. Are you fucking kidding me? This is not Major League Baseball. You cannot put together a bunch of different parts together and hope to win right away. Basketball is much more of a team game. It requires continuity and chemistry between the players and the coaches. The 2008 Boston Celtics does not happen very often. None of those changes can be blamed on Dwight Howard. The Lakers management is to blame here. Firing a bad coach to hire another bad one. Trying to implement a run-and-gun offense with an aging team. Handling the coaching search in the worst way possible. Maybe the Laker fans should all unite against Jimmy Buss instead of Dwight Howard. 

3. Dwight Howard cannot guard 4 players by himself. The Lakers' defense was horrible this year. But I don't understand why people are blaming D12 for that. I don't care how good of a defender you are. If you are surrounded by the worst defensive starting 4 in the league, you are not going to look good defensively. Everyone is raving about Roy Hibbert's defense in the playoffs. He played great. But don't be so quick to declare him better than Dwight. Let's compare the defensive help they had:

Hibbert's PG: George Hill (Young, athletic, excellent defender)
Dwight's PG: Steve Nash (Old, slow, maybe the worst defender in the league at his position?)

Hibbert's SG: Lance Stevenson (Young, athletic, energetic, no pressure or expectations)
Dwight's SG: Kobe Bryant (Old, at one point a great defender, now he chooses not to play defense, plays too much help defense forgetting about his own man, gambles way too much to go for steals, way too much pressure on him on the offensive end to also play excellent defense)

Hibbert's SF: Paul George (Young, athletic, maybe the best defender in the league, was even able to contain Lebron)
Dwight's SF: Meta World Peace (Old, slow, fat, good hands but maybe the slowest SF in the league when it comes to foot speed)

Hibbert's PF: David West (Strong in the post on both ends, one of the toughest players in the league)
Dwight's PF: Pau Gasol (Getting older, questions about being soft)

So before we all get out our pitch forks and run the best center in the league out of our city, just take a second to breath, and remember that Dwight still led the league in rebounding, was the starting center on the All-Star team, and made 3rd team All-NBA in a year where it was impossible for him to succeed. That is his worst year. If you ask me, that's pretty damn good for a worst year. His best year will consist of an MVP and a trip to the finals. Will he be the best offensive player or the emotional leader of the team when that happens? Probably not. But he was, is, and will be for the foreseeable future, the best center in the league. So unless you are prepared for life without him, beware watch you ask for Laker fans...

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The One and Only Certainty for the Lakers: CHANGE

As I sit at my desk writing my first article after the longest break I have ever taken from this blog, I amreminded of the first time I took some time away from writing. It was back in June 2012. Here is the first article I wrote upon returning. At the time, I strongly felt the urge to drain my man period, or manstruation, if you will, by cursing, ranting and raving. This time, it is different. I don't feel the urge to spend an entire paragraph saying the word "fuck" or call people retards or make racist comments. Don't get me wrong. I still have those feelings. I am still the same angry racist asshole you know and love. But I just don't feel the need to go out of my way to express my inner asshole. (Instead I just vent my frustrations through my outer asshole sitting on the toilet.) Maybe I am getting old. Maybe my testosterone levels are slowly declining. Or maybe I am just getting fatter and lazier. Whatever it is, here is the point:


Brace yourselves Laker fans (and haters). Changes are coming. BIG TIME! If there is one thing we can all learn from this Kobe Bryant injury, it is this: Kobe Bryant will rehab and work his ass off and be back and he will be a top tier player when he returns. No doubt. He will be ready. But will the Lakers be ready? I am more worried about the rest of the roster hell of a lot more than I am worried about Kobe Bryant with a torn achilles.

Back in 2009, I was talking with a friend of mine from pharmacy school. We were discussing the upcoming NBA playoffs. I casually mentioned to my buddy that I didn't think Dwight Howard was serious enough to win a championship. I thought he goofed around too much. I thought he liked to laugh and smile and make jokes just a little too much. Then a few weeks went by and Dwight Howard single-handedly carried a weak Magic team to the Finals. "I guess I was wrong," I said to myself. In reference to that thought, today I sit here saying "I guess I was wrong," once again. (I am sticking to my original thought of Dwight not being serious enough.) So here is the bottom line: Unless he dramatically changes his on-court personality(not impossible), Dwight Howard will never win a championship being the best player on his team. 

I think whether Dwight Howard resigns with the Lakers or not is irrelevant. Here is why: Whether he resigns or not, the Lakers are not going to be good enough next year to win a championship. Due to the contract and cap situations, the Lakers will be limited in what they can do to their roster. And whether he resigns or not, after next year, the Lakers will be contenders. Why?

Because they have only one player signed for the 2014-2015 season. Wait. Let me repeat that. The Los Angeles Lakers have only one player signed on for the 2014-2015 season!!! That player is Steve Nash at around 9 million. That means they have more than 80 MILLION DOLLARS coming off the books in the summer of 2014. Now of course some of that money will be used to resign Dwight, Kobe (at a much lower price) and maybe Pau (also at a much lower price). Regardless, they will have more cap room than they have ever had in the modern free agent era. And being the Los Angeles Lakers, they will attract some big time free agents. Here are some POTENTIAL free agents in the summer of 2014:

Dirk Nowitzki
Tony Parker
John Wall
Dwayne Wade
Lebron James
Chris Bosh
Luol Deng
Paul George
Carmelo Anthony
Zach Randolph
+ A bunch of other really good young role players and upcoming players that can be available.

With all the good team trying to limit their spending in order to avoid the luxury tax bill, and the bad teams not being as good of a destination as LA, I think the Lakers are going to revamp their entire team with a  bunch of new free agents in that summer. I am not saying all of these players I listed want to come to the Lakers. The Lakers may not even have a shot at some of these players. But if they can just sign a couple of those young big names, or maybe three, put them along side some sort of combination of Dwight/Pau (will be getting paid much less than now if he sticks around/Kobe (will be getting paid much less than now)/Nash, and recharge their bench with some young athletes, the Lakers will be contenders again...soon.

Lakers being contenders is not so surprising. Almost everyone can predict that will happen, just because they are the Lakers. But whether or not they will be perennial contenders on a verge of starting another dynasty will all depend on the coaching situation. I have been frustrated with the Lakers coaching situation for a while now. Every day I go to a wishing well near my house and through in loose change wishing the Lakers would fire Mike D'antoni. Lately I have been throwing in hundred dollar bills. Short of winning the first round playoff series against Pop (The best coach in the league) and the Spurs, I don't there is anything D'antoni can do to save his job. The problem is, I am not running the Lakers. Jimmy Buss is.

And as far as all the Laker haters are concerned, laugh it up right now. You have this short window until the summer of 2014 to clown on the Lakers all you want. They may be down right now, but the greatest franchise in the history of sports will rise again. Change may be inevitable when it comes to their roster, but one thing that never changes and never will, is that the Lakers will always be good again... 
...and that's just the way it is...

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing

Saturday, November 3, 2012

2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers State of the Union: 0-3

Before I begin this article, I would like to just say one thing:

When I go back and read this at the end of the 2012-2013 NBA season, I hope I can say I was wrong. I fucked up. I misjudged the Lakers. I overexagerated their problems. I overreacted to the bad start. I underestimated this entire team. My bad. If I can say that about myself in mid June 2013, I will be a very happy man. Let's begin. 

If you analyze this Laker team, you can come to one of two conclusions:

1. The Lakers have many problems.
- Bad defensive strategy
- Bad offensive strategy
- Unexplainable coaching decisions
- Lack of fundamental skills
- Carelessness

2. The Lakers have only problem.
- Mike Brown

Here is the kicker: No matter which conclusion you chose to believe, it all leads back to the coaching staff...and who is the head coach of the Lakers??? MIKE FUCKING BROWN! Let's address all of his problems, one by one.

PROBLEM #1: Defense
Isn't Mike Brown supposed to be a defensive coach? He earned his stripes in Greg Popavich's staff as a defensive specialist. He was supposedly responsible for all the great defense they played when they won those early rings. Something tells me players like David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Mario Ellie, Bruce Bowen, and Avery Johnson had more to do with that great defense than Mike Brown. He left the Spurs and they haven't really skipped a beat on defense. I will admit, during Mike Brown's fist year with the Lakers in 2011-2012, I felt the defense was much better than with Phil's last few years. (At least in the regular season.) But so far, contrary to what everyone believes, the Lakers biggest problem has been defense. Here are the point totals for their first 3 opponents of the season: 99, 116, 105.

You tell me. When you have Dwight Howard (easily the best defensive player in the league), Meta World Peace (former defensive player of the year), Kobe Bryant (9 time All-defensive team), and Pau Gasol (> 7ft wingspan, better than average defensive player), and you give up those kind of point totals, especially when 2 of those 3 teams (Dallas and Portland) aren't expected to make the playoffs, there is something internally wrong with your strategy. The Lakers keep wanting to funnel everything to their 7 footers. That is a good strategy only if your defense breaks down. But to use that as your primary defensive strategy? That's a flaw. Here is why:

1. Risk of Dwight getting in foul trouble when he keeps having to pick up driving guards. 

Evidence: Game 1: Dwight fouls out. Game 2: Dwight has 5 fouls. Game 3: Dwight has 3 fouls in the first half and has to spend most of it on the bench meanwhile Clippers take control of the game and never look back.

2. When Player A funnels his man funnel towards Player B, Player B becomes a help defender. In turn, Player C becomes a help defender since he now has to account for Player B's man. In turn, player D becomes a help defender and so forth... When you play a decent offensive team, they will get wide open looks all game long when you keep having to play help defense and run towards offensive players with the ball. 

Evidence: Game 1: Brandon Wright goes 5-5 when his man Dwight Howard keeps having to help on Darren Collison, Elton Brand, and Beaubois. Game 2: This time they picked up Dwight's man. But that left the perimeter open. Wesley Mathews goes 4/6 from deep, and Batum had 9 good looks from deep. Luckily he only made 3 of them. 

How do you fix this? It's not easy. I admit. Especially when you have a major defensive flaw at point guard. First of all, they have to play straight up. Chances are, the PG will not be able to keep his man in check. But that's fine. They have Dwight on defense as a BACK UP if it breaks down. The guards also have to do a better job of fighting through the screens and recognizing who they are playing. If it's a good shooter, they can't go under the screen and they can't go softly. They have to fight OVER the screen with strength and speed. If it's an average shooter but someone that can drive, they should go UNDER the screen and take away the drive. More often than not, the players make wrong decision. That's a coaching issue!

PROBLEM #2: Offense 
When Mike Brown was asked why he doesn't run more pick and roll, he said the pick and roll offense is too simple and predictable. Well, if that is the case, why does every single team in the league run it? Especially in the moments that matter. And if it so simple and predictable, how come the Lakers cannot stop it on the defensive end when the opposition keeps running it against them over and over again? Especially now with all this criticism, Mike Brown will not turn to the pick and roll because that would mean him having to admit he was wrong. If you don't want to run it every single time, at least run it two or three times per quarter. At least run it once in crunch time. How can you not, when you have the perfect players to do so? At some point, you have to admit you were wrong, and do the right thing.

And why does everyone think Eddie Jordan is some kind of offensive genius of all of a sudden? If he was, he wouldn't have been available for an assistant coaching gig. He would have been a head coach somewhere. The guy 257-343 was as a head coach. That's only a 428 winning percentage. That Princeton offense of his doesn't have a great track record.

PROBLEM #3: Bad coaching decisions
Why does Mike Brown insist on sitting Chris Duhon? I understand he is not a great NBA player. Maybe not even a good NBA player. There must be a reason why he was just a throw-in in the Dwight Howard trade. But surely, he must be better than Darius fucking Morris. Duhon is a seasoned vet with starting PG experience. That has to mean something. He has to be good enough to be a 3rd point guard on an NBA rotation.

On the same token, what is the fascination with Devin Ebanks? He's garbage. I don't understand why the Laker organization is so enamored with this guy. Any other team would have cut him a year ago. They keep hoping he will turn into Trevor Ariza circa 2009. I got news for you. Don't hold your breath.

PROBLEM #4: Lack of Fundamental Skills
I don't mean dribbling or shooting or footwork. I am talking about specialized fundamental skills based on the make up of your team. For example, Ray Allen mastered the fundamental skill of running without the ball and getting himself open for 3's based on his team's offense in Boston. Mainly, it involved Rondo's passing abilities. Blake Griffin and D. Jordan have mastered the skill of trailing a play or cutting towards the hoop for alley-oops when Chris Paul is driving or making plays. David West mastered the skill of setting a screen and then popping open for an open jump shot with Chris Paul in New Orleans. In the same way, the Lakers have great post players. So the perimeter players need to master a skill that takes advantage of that. That skill is the art of the post entry pass.

It sounds simple. But it's not. When there is heavy pressure on the passer and/or the post player, it is very tough to make a pass into the post player. That doesn't mean its impossible. Right now, the Laker players (MWP, Blake, Ebanks, Jamison, Morris, etc) just take one look at the post-up guy calling for the ball, and then decide to swing the ball to the weak side. That's why Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol only end up with 7 shots in the entire game. That's why they get frustrated. That's why they pick up fouls. The Laker dynasty in the early 2000's was based entirely on this skill. Robert Horry, Rick Fox, Ron Harper, Brian Shaw, and yes, even Kobe Bryant were masters at getting Shaq the ball no matter how much defensive pressure there was. Ironically, Kobe is the only guy on this team that knows how to make a post entry pass. Mike Brown needs to realize this and run some drills in practice that allow the players to master the skill of making a post entry pass.

PROBLEM #5: Carelessness
Why are the players so careless with the ball? Because they are not scared of the consequences. Why are they not scared of the consequences? Because they don't respect Mike Brown. Would you? Just look at the following picture. No successful coach in the history of the NBA has ever made that face.

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly, 
The King of Nothing

PS. Before the season I was 100% sure I was going to switch Time Warner Cable since Directv hasn't picked up the Lakers yet. Now, with each loss, I become one step closer to not caring about watching the Lakers this season. Not because I am a bandwagon fan, (Cuz I am not.) But because I know I will ultimately be disappointed as long as Mike Brown is the head coach of the Lakers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Religious Algebra 101

Recently, I had the opportunity to help out a loved one solve some hard ass high school math problems. When I was in high school, and this stuff was fresh in my mind, these problems were tough, but solvable. Now? It was damn near impossible. I felt like an idiot. Now I know what a black kid feels like in remedial math. Anyways, the whole experience gave me an idea for my next article. I was already thinking about writing something about why not throw in some mathematics in there to take me back to my glory days at Laguna Hills High School? For all of you dumbasses, don't worry, this is not a math article. It is about religion. The points are just in the format of equations. But don't worry, you won't have to solve for X. This article is an extension of something I wrote earlier, entitled, "From God to Vegas...".

Please read this note before you begin reading: Just like with my first article about religion, I am not trying to promote one belief over another. It is neither my intention nor desire to make someone waiver from their faith/beliefs OR convince someone into believing something one way or another. It is not my intention to offend anyone's religion. But it IS my intention to offend their intelligence. (kidding) Through these "equations" I am merely presenting various observations/possibilities/theories that have come across my mind in the hours of sitting on the toilet thinking about this stuff. I am not promoting my beliefs, quiet simply because I myself don't know think I know the truth 100%.

Religious Algebra Law #1: The Spare Wheel Theory

IF Sadness > Happiness THEN God > World/Self
IF Sadness < Happiness THEN God < World/Self

Here is what a theist (someone who believes in God) would/should say to this equation: 
"Unfortunately, this is true. Many people use religion and God as a spare wheel. FDR prayed over the radio with the entire country when the Allies invaded Normandy in WW2. When the Challenger went KABOOM on live television, everybody and their mom prayed in front of their TV sets. Same thing on 9/11. At times of misery, we turn to God. Which is good, but what about the times of happiness? Is that all God is good for? To help us when we are down?  How about praying when DON'T need something? How about praying just for the sake of praying? How about praying just to please God?"

My two cents: If the very people that promote their belief in God didn't use him like a spare wheel, the whole God/religion concept would seem more legitimate to non-believers.

Here is what an atheist would say to this equation: 
"Doesn't surprise me. You know why? Because this is one of the very specific reasons why God and religion were invented in the first order to cope better with tragedy. The psyches of human beings are too fragile to come to grip with the fact that bad shit just happens...randomly. And when it does happen, they are too fragile to handle it. So God and religion are not only a way of coming to terms with why bad stuff happens (God's wish, God's plan, God's test, etc), but also it provides a sense of comfort in tragic times." 

My two cents: So what? I am not saying God and religion are false, but even if they were, the sense of mental support and comfort they provide in times of sadness is very real...and probably unlike any other type of support this world has to offer. How would this be any different than taking prescription antideprassants to unnaturally alter your mood and using chemicals to trick your brain into thinking you are happy?

Religious Algebra Law #2: The Insurance Policy (AKA Pascal's Wager)

IF (Belief = Yes God) AND (God = Exists) THEN Afterlife = Positive
IF (Belief = Yes God) AND (God ≠ Exists) THEN Afterlife = Zero
IF (Belief = No God) AND (God ≠ Exists) THEN Afterlife = Zero
IF (Belief = No God) AND (God = Exists) THEN Afterlife = Negative

Therefore: Possible Outcomes: 
If you believe in God - Positive or Zero
If you don't believe in God - Negative or Zero

Here is what a theist would say to this equation: "This is absolutely correct. The only outcomes for you if you believe in God are positive and neutral. The worst possible thing that can happen to you is NOTHING! Why take the chance? If you don't believe in God, there is a negative possibility you may be punished. So don't risk it!"

My two cents: There are so many other complications and factors involved. Almost every major religion has a large list of rules and gray area in their philosophy that it is not a simple equation that if you believe in God you will have a good afterlife. And who is to say God will definitely punish those who don't believe in him? And if you are going to be using this logic, then please admit that you believe in God not because of your love/attachment/devotion/desire to please him, but because you want to save your own ass. (I am not saying this because I am an atheist, because I'm not one. When I do religious stuff, I fully admit I do it out of fear of what will happen if I don't. I want to save my own ass. I admit it.)

Here is what an atheist would say to this equation: "God believers like to only use logic when it is convenient for them. Whenever there logical arguments brought up against the existence of God, the believers always say God/religion/spirituality are above human logic. They are on a different plane of understanding. We cannot possibly begin to understand them. So then why use this logic? And even if this insurance policy logic makes sense, it doesn't make you right, and it doesn't prove anything."

My two cents: Different people are motivated by different things. Even though this logic may seem kind of hypocritical, if it used to make people live better lives and be better people, then what is the harm? On the other hand, if it used for wrong reasons like religious wars or personal gain, that is a whole different story...and probably a whole different article."

I think this is enough God talk for one day. I wanted to write more equations and shorter explanations but with this topic, no amount of words are enough to cover an issue. So I will leave you with this.

Many of you may already know about this. It is nothing new or original. But nevertheless, it is extremely interesting. It is the omnipotence paradox. You can read about it all you want on Wikipedia. If you don't want to read about it, here is the gist:

Can God create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it?

Whatever your answer or comment is, feel free to post it in the comments.

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top 25 Restaurant Foods I Have Ever Eaten (Part 2 )

In case you missed numbers 25 to 11, here is Part 1. Before we get into the top 10, here are some more honorable mentions that I either forgot to write about, or just recently tried. 

Honorable Mentions
Counter Burger, Los Angels/Irvine CA
Javier's, Las Vegas
Island Burgers
Patxi's Chicago Style Pizza, San Francisco CA

Number 10: BRAR's Food Culture of India, Toronto Canada
All you can eat buffet that includes all kinds of Indian food, pasta, pizza, ice cream, etc - Easily that best Indian restaurant I have been to in North America. I don't know if it was because I was having fun messing around with my cousins or just enjoying spending precious quality time with my east coast family, but to me, BRARS was the best Indian restaurant meal I have ever had...and I am not just saying that because it was 'all you can eat.' This place had both quantity and quality!

9. In N' Out
Animal-style grilled cheese and fries - Holy shit In N' Out is good! A grilled cheese sounds pretty simple. How much better can be than any other grilled cheese? But somehow, even without the delicious animal-syle sauce, they make the grilled cheese taste special. Add that sauce on there along with the bomb ass animal style fries and In N' Out is something special. It's one of the few things the West Coast has that the East Coast can be jealous of.

8. Veggie Grill, Los Angeles/Irvine CA
Quality imitation-meat menu including burgers, sandwiches, wings, and everything else that is usually made out of meat - In number 13, when talking about Ike's Place, I talked about options for vegetarians. Veggie grill takes this concept all the way. It is dedicated entirely to vegetarians. They got everything from chicken wings to chili to carne asada and carb cake sandwiches. I've never eaten meat so only a true meat-eater would be able to tell you if this compares to the real stuff. But for people like me who will never experience the delicious, savory, juicy taste of actual meat, Veggie Grill is the next best thing!

7. Udupi Cafe, Tempe AZ
Manchurian - This is a south Indian restaurant but most of the food is not so great. Ironically, easily the best tasting thing on their menu is not south Indian food. It is their Manchurian. Holy shit that is some bomb ass tasting shit. I nearly jizzed in my pants when I first had it. If I forget to go to this place whenever I go back to Phoenix, I am going to shoot myself in the mouth. And if I do remember to go, I am still going to shoot myself in the mouth because there aren't many better tasting things it will experience.

6. Bleecker Street Pizza, New York City
Pizza - Bleecker Street Pizza is often given the designation of New York's best pizza. In a land known for having a great pizza joint on almost every block, that is a great accomplishment. It is like being the cheapest Indian, or the dirtiest player on the Celtics. Overall, Bleecker Street does have the best tasting pizza I have ever had. Yes, that includes Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix. There is something in that sauce that gives it a subtle yet distinguishing spicy flavor. The crust, the cheese, the short wait time, you name it, Bleecker Street excels at every category that has to do with pizza.

5. Little Italy Pizza, 33rd and 5th New York City
Pizza - I have to specify the intersection of this place because there are like 10 different Little Italy Pizza joints in New York City and I am sure they are all awesome because that's just how New York City is! I just wrote about the number 6 entree (Bleecker St. Pizza) being the best overall pizza I have ever had. So why the hell would Little Italy be number 5 on the list? I promise it will make sense after I explain it. Here it is. If I use my brain, Bleecker Street is ranked higher. If I use my heart, Little Italy is ranked higher. Bleecker Street is like Lebron James. Logically, the best in almost all facets of the game. But Little Italy is like Kobe. Even though you know statistically, logically and practically Kobe does not match up to Lebron, if you are Laker fan like me, you will take Kobe over Lebron because you judge with your heart. When I had my rotation at a small pharmaceutical company in Midtown Manhattan, I ate lunch at this place almost every single day for 6 weeks. So I am much more familiar with Little Italy than with Bleecker Street. Also, if you are comparing only the crust, no matter what you use to judge, your brain or your heart, Little Italy has the best god-damn crust I have ever had! There is an element of crunchiness and an unbelievable texture to that crust. I have never seen that kind of crust duplicated anywhere. So Bleecker Street is the best pizza I have ever had in the world, but Little Italy is my favorite pizza in the world!

4. Yard House
The Gardein Menu - Yard House's gardein menu is fucking awesome! Buffalo and firecracker wings, Thai chicken pizza, chicken strips, and a bunch of other fake meat stuff! Meat eaters have told me it is pretty close to the real deal. And those god-damn truffle fries! Easily the best sports bar/restaurant combo I have been to!

3. Bulan Thai Vegetarian Kitchen, West Hollywood CA
Vegetarian chicken wings - Bulan Thai is an all-vegetarian Thai food place. But it's only on here because of it's chicken wings. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THOSE WINGS ARE GOOD!!!!! Whenever my buddies and I go to LA, we pretty much HAVE to make the obligatory stop to Bulan Thai to eat those wings. Even if we are going eat somewhere else, we will go to Bulan Thai and grab some wings as appetizers. The texture of those wings is unlike any other kind of imitation meat I have ever had. It HAS to be the closest possible thing to actual meat. If you are a vegetarian but have a fantasy about eating meat without actually eating it, go to Bulan Thai and grab some of these wings!

2. Mamoun's Falafel, New York City
Falafels - Ok I am sure there are many great falafel places in New York City. I have only been to a few of them. But forget about falafels...Mamoun's has the best overall restaurant food I have ever had. That goddamn falafel is so simple yet so fucking GOOD!!!!! And it's not just about the food. This particular location has no seating. I mean just look at the picture. The place is tiny! But there is always a line there. (Except apparently when that picture was taken...) But the whole Mamoun's food experience is awesome. At night, you will see a bunch of people standing on the street struggling to eat falafels while sauce runs down their hands. (If you watch the show Louis on FX, you can see this scene in the opening credits as Louis CK walks down the street into the Comedy Cellar next door.) We always walked down the block, sat on the curb and gobbled those falafels down like a couple of homeless men. It's a great experience! My dream night in New York City would be to eat some Mamoun's, then go to the world famous 'Comedy Cellar' comedy club next door and catch a set of Louis CK. And I don't know what is in that sauce but it is HEAVENLY!!!!! If cum tasted like that sauce does, I would become a cocksucker overnight.

1. Taco Bell
Everything - There is so much good food at Taco Bell, I didn't know what to put in the picture. So I just put up a picture of the whole menu! I am not going to go much into talking about Taco Bell, because I have already written an entire article about it here!

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Top 25 Restaurant Foods I Have Ever Eaten (Part 1)

Recently I went to San Francisco and ate some bomb ass sandwiches. This got me thinking about food. I love food. (In case you couldn't tell from my skinny body.) Earlier this year, I came up with awards for the thing that is INDIRECTLY responsible for making me fat. Now, I have decided to write about the thing that makes me DIRECTLY fat...FOOD! Food is awesome. I haven't met a single person in my life that doesn't like or care about food. (With the exception of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj...but he doesn't count since he is an exception on most worldly lists.) Since everyone needs/wants/likes to eat...I hope all of you will enjoy this. Before I delve into this thing mouth first, here are some side notes:

- This list only includes Restaurant food. (Yes, that includes fast foods. Fast food are true restaurants too.) Don't get me wrong, I LOVE homemade food. But that's not what this list is about. My mom and grandma make some bomb ass food. (Any my wife. Kind of.) But that stuff is entirely in its own category. It would be like comparing apples to oranges.
- OBVIOUSLY this list only includes restaurants that I myself have been to. There might be really delicious stuff out there that might belong on this list but I haven't tried yet.

Let's get started...Hopefully by the end of this I will have your mouths more watery than New Orleans after Katrina. Since this list is huge, I had to break it up into 2 parts. Here are numbers 25 to 11.

Honorable Mentions - These places are pretty good but unfortunately, they didn't make the list. Some of them, like the New York City restaurants, are not on the list only because I have only been there once and don't remember a whole lot about the food.

Panda Express
Ghengis Grill, Phoenix AZ
Gobo, New York City
Dhaba, New York City
Tamba, Las Vegas and New York City

Number 25: Jack In The Box

Seasoned Curly Fries and Stuffed JalapeƱos - If you know what Ekadashi is and you do it, next time go get some seasoned curly fries from JITB. Greatest Ekadashi food ever! If you eat out...

Number 24 and 23: Subway and Pizza Hut

Veggie Sub and Cheese Pizza - Subway and Pizza Hut are like the Toyota Camry of fast food restaurants. Nothing flashy, sexy, or fancy. But reliable. Dependable. You know what you are going to get and it's not going to disappoint. And with all of these other newer sub and pizza joints popping up, Subway and Pizza Hut still remains the best!

Number 22 and 21: Slices, Tempe/Phoenix AZ and BJ's Restaurant and Brewery

Thin Crust from Slices and Deep Dish from BJ's - Both of these places got the right formula for their respective kinds of pizza. Slices has some really good, easy to eat on-the-go, thin-crust pizza. It's good if you want to grab a quick bite on your way to the movies but you don't want to feel too full. Their formula is: Simple + Fast + Very Hot = Good Thin Crust Pizza. BJ's has some bomb Chicago-style deep-dish thick-crust pizza that is very filling. Their formula is: Slow cooked + Wide variety of toppings + Very Hot = Good Thick Crust Pizza. Oh...and I forgot about the of the greatest desserts ever!

Number 20: Red Robin

Gourmet burgers with boca or garden patty, Unlimited regular or garlic fries - See what I said about Subway and Pizza Hut? The same can be applied to Red Robin's burgers. It's like a fancy Camry. One step above a Camry. Camry XLE? Or maybe an Acura TL. Reliable, dependable, not going to disappoint, but still has some pop to it. And goddamn those garlic fries are good! Especially when they are free. Keep em comin!!!!

Number 19: Albertaco's Mexican Food, Cypress CA

California Burrito with fries - This joint is off the hook! It is the perfect place for college students. (Unfortunately I am not one of those.) Their California burrito with french fries in it is the best burrito (Or second best) I have ever had.

Number 18: Max Brenner, Las Vegas and New York City

The Chocolate Menu and the Hazelnut Cream Chocolate Shake - One word: Chocolate!!!! This place has some bomb ass American food, but it's on here for it's chocolate menu. They got all kinds of chocolate stuff ranging from waffles to fondu to pizza. And the Hazelnut Cream Chocolate Milkshake is one of the greatest tasting shakes I have ever had.

Number 17: Macayo's Mexican Kitchen, Arizona

Enchilada-style burritos - It's like El Torito, but good! If you have a ball, you will order the big-ass burrito they have but make it enchilada-style. If you have two balls, you will finish it.

Number 16: Tandoori Times, Phoenix AZ

Paneer Wrap - I've only been to this place once and don't remember much of it. That's how good these paneer wraps were. And much like many of these restaurants, it would be much higher on the rankings if I went there more often.

Number 15: Best Thai Cuisine, Riverside CA

Spicy Fried Rice, Pad Thai, Pad Kee Mow, Chicken Cashew (Tofu) - Discovered this place in college thanks to my roommate and friend. It's a small place but it's full of heat, spice, flavor, and the best Thai food I have ever had to date.

Number 14 - Cafeteria, New York City

Truffle Mac n' Cheese - I came down to this place for "Sunday brunch" with my roommate in NYC. It was pretty awesome. The freaking wait was so long that we ended up going across the street and ate lunch at a pizza joint before coming back and eating brunch. Even though our stomachs were full, we ordered triple digits worth of food for the two of us and we finished it. That's how good this place was! (Also: That's how expensive this place was!) The truffle flavored mac n' cheese is definitely on the short list of the greatest things I have ever tasted.

Number 13 - Ike's Place, San Francisco CA

Veggie sandwiches - There is only one word why this place is ranked so high on my list: Options. Especially when you don't eat meat, you appreciate sandwich places that give you options. With all the different kinds of sandwiches they have, and the different options of breads and toppings, there are hundreds of different options for vegeterians. I appreciate that.

Number 12 - Gobi Mongolian BBQ, Los Angeles CA

Tofu, veggies, noodles, and bunch of different sauces cooked right in front of you - This Mongolian BBQ idea is ingenius. Basically you pick what you want and the combination of the ingredients. Then you give the bowl to the cook who cooks it all right in front of you on a big ass hot plate. If it doesn't taste good, it's on you. But it tastes good pretty much every time!

Number 11 - Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix AZ

Margherita and Biancoverde Pizza (Gourmet) - My undergrad physiology professor told me about this place after I told him I was moving to Phoenix for pharmacy school. For A LOT of people, this place is ranked much higher. Usually number 1. Although I don't have it in my top 10, I do remember the pizza being pretty damn good. Maybe it is simply because I have only been there once. Can you blame me? The place is so goddamn hard to get into. This is definitely the most INTERESTING restaurant out this entire list of 25. Here is why.

First of all, the place is rated world's best pizza by MANY credible food reviewers including Bon Appetit, the NY times, Vogue, and Rachel Ray. At one point in time, if you googled "world's best pizza" the first 10 hits were Pizzeria Bianco. Sure, the pizza is good. (I mean they made a pizza without sauce taste better than the one with sauce. That is some mad skills.) But is it THAT good? There are definitely other factors besides food in play here that lead to this kind of recognition. This is a very interesting phenomenon. 

It all has to do with the economic priniciple of sunken cost. This place is one of the hardest in the world to get into. First of all, it is world famous, yet it is a small space with maybe 15 tables. They only take reservations for parties of 6-10. Everyone else must be seated on a first-come first-serve basis. You can go there ahead of time, put your name on the list, call them every hour to keep your name on the list, and then have them call you an hour before they can seat you. So I went there at 5PM, put my name on the list for 2 people, drove back home, played a game of intermural football, and got a call at 8PM that there will be a table ready at 9PM. DID I TELL YOU THIS WAS ON A WEDNESDAY NIGHT??? And when we got there at 9, it took another 45 minutes of us waiting in the bar next door before being seated. Was it worth it? Sure. Only because I was a bum of a student and didn't care much for studying so I had a bunch of time on my hands. But for tourists, visitors, and people with jobs, this might be a pain in the ass, especially when everyone tells you that you "have to go there."

So imagine you went through all of that to eat some pizza... All that time spent is sunken cost. So in order to keep you sane, and not feel ashamed that you went through all of that just for some fucking pizza, your brain tells you that this pizza is so damn good, that it was all worth it!!! That's the only way you will keep your sanity and not hate yourself. That psychological effect, combined with the hype you have heard about this place before you got there, and the fact that the world famous celebrity chef (Chris Bianco) that you saw on the food network is 5 feet away from you making your pizza and talking to you personally and then coming over to your table to say hello, makes you think this is definitely the world's best pizza! (Even though the actual food might not be.)

Wow...that was a very tough article to write. So much good food. Every time I look at it, I end up coming up with a completely different rankings order. Stay tuned for part 2 when we look at the Top 10!!!

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing