Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 20 Video Games Of All Time

Oh man this was a challenge.

We’ve come a long way in the gaming community. Its really amazing that the more advanced in technology we have become, the more sophisticated the games have become. However, when it all boils down, gameplay is still key. Remember when Pong was the best game? That was just 3 lines and a ball in front of a black screen and no one complained about that at the time.

We have a serious gaming paradox going on here, especially in the more mainstream games. Game developers are trying nowadays to produce the most realistic graphics and characters possible, but weren’t games SUPPOSED to do the exact opposite? Games were supposed to bring us into fantasy land with fictional characters and places where players could escape the reality around him or her. In trying to make the best games possible, most people have become spoiled with graphics, and judge games nowadays not on whether a game plays good or not, but whether a female character’s boobs bounce around when she walks because that implies realistic graphics.

A lot of these games are superlatives, meaning they are the best in their respected genre in my opinion and I can’t find any game to top them. A lot of these games are older ones too because they still can hold their own ground through time and space. The hardest part of this countdown was not listing the games, but figuring out the order. Anyway, here’s the countdown:

20. Tekken Tag Tournament (PS2) - Want to know what’s funny? Even though Tekken in my opinion is the best fighting game franchise, I enjoyed this game more for the bowling minigame than the fighting part. However, having a tag system was a great idea and something that hadn’t been done up until that point. If you have a friend who likes fighting games, I guarantee he’ll enjoy the idea of teaming up with you.

19. Tomb Raider 2 (PS One) - Talk about a game that never changes its style, Tomb Raider nowadays is boring and repetitive to me, but back then in the early days of the Playstation, Tomb Raider was fucken amazing. The first one roped me in, but the second installment will always be my favorite, especially since after that the game series started to go downhill. Tomb Raider 2 is one of the best action/exploring games I ever played and the levels are much more diverse than the first one. Its also one of the few games where I can say if you’re frustrated or Lara Croft doesn’t do what you tell her to, then you can always break her neck.

18. Mario Kart 64 (N64) - Before I played Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing like 12 years later, this WAS the best kart racing game I played. I still have to include it on my countdown because this game was a large part of my childhood and the replay value I got out of this game was tremendous. I raced everyone I could, including my friends and family, for months and months. I’ll always remember Mario Kart 64 as my first favorite kart racing game, especially since there really were no kart racing games at that point in time.

17. Teenage Mutant Ninjas Turtles: Turtles In Time (SNES/Arcade) - This is probably the shortest game on my countdown, but possibly the best game on my countdown to play with friends. This is the best game I played in the beat em up genre and it certainly is the fastest and smoothest of this category too. Its more fun in the arcade obviously because you can have up to 4 people. In fact, if you’re going to play this game, play it in the arcade (if its still around) because I guarantee you with the noise and atmosphere going on around you this is one of the best arcade experiences you will have.

16. Silent Hill 4 (PS2) - Before Fatal Frame, it was always a toss up for me whether Resident Evil or Silent Hill was the scariest game. While Resident Evil focused more on action, Silent Hill focused more on fucken the player up psychologically making Silent Hill a true scary game. Though all the Silent Hills were very good, 4 was my favorite because I loved how the apartment you lived in became more and more haunted as you progressed through the game. You never knew what or where something was going to pop out. Usuallly in a scary video game there’s at least one spot where you’re safe, but not in this one. Not even in your own apartment.

15. Tetris Attack (SNES) - For a puzzle game to make ANY countdown other than a puzzle countdown, it must be good, and Tetris Attack is the best and most addicting puzzle game I ever played. This game takes Yoshi and Mario’s enemies and have them battle it out by having you perform chains and combos in a tetris like setting to drop blocks on your opponents screen. Its simple. Its tetris with a twist and like I said, its surprisingly very addicting. I have a friend who I played this with when we were kids and both of us were so good sometimes our matches would go beyond the timer on the screen.

14. Super Mario 64 (N64) - How could you have a countdown like this and not include the first true, successful 3D game. Not only was this Mario in 3D, but it was a great game. Nintendo’s method of having players revisit the same levels over and over to find every last coin and star worked on me and everyone else I know as we spent months trying to collect all 120 stars. I will admit, Sonic may own Mario when it comes to kart racing and the “classic” series, but Mario owned Sonic in the 3D realm for the most part.

13. Goldeneye 007 (N64) - Hour upon hour of my childhood was spent in multiplayer mode shooting my friends and messing around with the cheat codes and bomb physics. I don’t regret any of those hours either. This was the first shooter I ever played and remains one of the best. Seriously. All you Halo and Call of Duty fans should worship and have a Goldeneye 007 appreciation day once a year.

12. Pokemon Red/Blue (GBC) - If you’re reading this and you’re above the age of thirteen, then don’t you dare fucken lie to me and say Pokemon wasn’t a part of your child. The Pokemon nowadays are retarded and don’t even look like what they should represent. Red and Blue is what made Pokemon the addicting RPG that it is today and these 150 will always be classic. Enough said.

11. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64) - What can’t or hasn’t been said about this masterpiece of a game. Hands down one of the best, if not the best, games on the N64. If you want a lengthy story filled with twists and turns, puzzles, heroic epicness, and a sexy horse to ride on, then look no further than Ocarina of Time. I will say this though. Fuck that annoying fairy and fuck the water temple.

10. Gran Turismo 4 (PS2) - The best of the GT series and easily the best racing simulation game series, I prefer 4 because it’s the one I remember playing the most with the introduction of 24 hour races and an insane amount of cups to play. Unlike the most recent Gran Turismo 5, most importantly, there was no leveling up system. In 4, you just went from one cup to the next without replaying the same cup over and over to level up. Leveling up in racing games is fucken stupid and that’s taking the RPG element a tad too far. Therefore, I like 4 the best of the GT series.

9. Fatal Frame 2 (PS2) - Not many people know about the Fatal Frame series so when I talk to people who actually have played it or at least heard of it, immediately I get an erection. I get rock hard with excitement. I chose Fatal Frame 2 in particular because this is by far the scariest game I have ever played. EVER. I dare you to play this alone in the dark and walk around in first person through the lens of a camera, waiting in anticipation for a deformed ghost to pop out of the wall. You know its coming. You can feel it, but you never know where they are coming from. There are no guns or metal pipes in this game. Oh no. You’re armed with just your wits and a camera. I often debate with my friend over which is scarier, Fatal Frame or Dead Space, and I can argue for Fatal Frame because of the lack of guns. This is survival horror at its finest. The atmosphere is bone chilling, the sound effects will leave you on the edge of your seat, the puzzles in this game are challenging and fair, and overall it’s a heart pounding game.

8. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES) - Donkey Kong Country was epic and revolutionary on the SNES in terms of graphics, gameplay, and platforming and DKC 2 expanded everything and made them better. Dixie was the most useful monkey of the bunch because she could fly so I always tried to keep her alive. The music in DKC2 is the best of all the DKC games and some of the best music in video game history. Just listen to Web Woods or Bramble Scramble if you want peace in your life.

7. Final Fantasy 9 (PS One) - When picking which Final Fantasy game to include on this countdown (because you can’t have a top video games ever countdown without including at least one final fantasy game), I immediately ruled out 10 because Tidus is gay. Tidus, Rikku and all the other annoying characters ruined what was an amazing experience. Final Fantasy 13’s battling mechanics were too complicated. I can’t remember a thing about 12 so it must not have stood out much to me and as for 11, any game where you have to pay to play online is a fucken gimmicky waste of money. Excuse me Microsoft. I’m not even that hardcore where I’d wanna pay to play online. So by default in my mind that left 7 and 9, and I picked 9 because I liked the crystal system to learn attacks and I liked that you could rename the characters. It is really a toss up though, but I like the storyline and characters in 9 over 7. But I think anyone who plays games knows how successful most of the Final Fantasy games are so the graphics, storyline, and music all speak for themselves.

6. Super Mario RPG (SNES) - Perhaps one of the few times I will admit Mario trumped Sonic is in the RPG department. Sonic Chronicles was just O.K when compared to Super Mario RPG, which was absolutely amazing in every aspect. If I had to pick a company to make an RPG for me, it would always have to be Squaresoft and what a job they did adapting Mario and his world into an RPG. I think that’s what made this game so revolutionary. Who would have ever though to take Mario and put him into an RPG and have it be so successful. The graphics of Super Mario RPG were extremely colorful and lively, all the characters, including Mallow, were funny and well-scripted (well accept Mario because he never talked), and the fact that you could fight with Bowser as your ally is probably one of the greatest turn of events in video game history. This is definitely one of the SNES’ best games and one of the best RPGs ever.

5. Kingdom Hearts 2 - Here’s a terrific idea: Let’s take the most popular characters in the history of Disney animation, put them together with the characters from the Final Fantasy game series, and have Squaresoft produce the game. Obviously they struck gold with this classic, which has a storyline that’s as mystical and magical as a Disney film itself. One of the best features of Kingdom Hearts is for the first time (at least I believe it’s the first time this ever had been done), unlike traditional RPGs where you remain fixed to a turn based attack system, in Kingdom Hearts you could run around and attack. I don’t believe Square had done this prior to Kingdom Hearts and it was genius. I liked Kingdom Hearts 2 better because the battling system had more combos and special attacks, as opposed to the first one where I felt like I was just pressing X the whole time. Don’t even get me started on the graphics and music. Like I said, its like watching Beauty and the Beast, except you’re playing it. On a side note, I am gravely disappointed they released Kingdom Hearts on the PSP and there’s no trace of any Kingdom Hearts 3 on the PS3. What the fuck Square? All that time producing it on the PSP you could have produced it on the PS3.

4. Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing (PS3) - This game has to be on this countdown because it’s the third fucken time I am talking about it. I’ll keep it brief though. Despite its occasional glitches, this is the smoothest kart racing experience you’ll ever have. The steering and drifting, especially, is what makes this the best kart racing experience. The races are fast and fun, the tracks are beautifully detailed and creative, and the online multiplayer, with its batch of interesting people, is what made this game amazing for me. I would put this ahead of Mario Kart any day.

3. Star Fox 64 (N64) - Controllers themselves may vibrate nowadays, but remember the first game used with the rumble pak? I loved feeling the N64 controller vibrate. Mix that with the action and intensity of constantly dodging lasers, bombs, and projectiles, and you have yourself Star Fox 64. This game actually made me feel like I was Fox in the cockpit of his arwing commanding a team of morons. As much as it was annoying to keep rescuing Slippy, I really enjoyed doing it because it made me feel like I was their leader. The zones did get repetitive though, because it was always the same layout where the same actions kept happening, but once you learned what to do, you could fly through each zone flawlessly. One thing I always found funny was that you always fly towards the planet of the level, but you never land on the planet. Except in all-range mode. The best part of the game for me was the all range levels were you battled Star Wolf. There were no laid out, pre-determined patterns there. Anything could happen during these 4 on 4 battles so you always had to keep an eye on your teammates. Overall, this is the best flight game I’ve ever played.

2. Sonic 3 and Knuckles (Genesis) - Sonic will always be my favorite gaming mascot (well Tails actually), but Tails isn’t the star of the Sonic games. Sonic is the star and Sonic 3 and Knuckles will always be remembered to me as the last and best in the ‘classic’ Sonic game series. Sonic was easily the best game on the Genesis and Sonic 3 and Knuckles took what made Sonic 1 and 2 great and expanded on everything, including the power ups, speed, and levels themselves. The layout for the special stages were the easiest in a Sonic game too. People may disagree on Sonic’s popularity and new games nowadays, but looking back I don’t think anyone could disagree Sonic was totally bad ass and beat the classic Mario games in every department.

1. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS One) - Sonic may always be my favorite gaming mascot, but Castlevania was always my favorite game series dating back to Castlevania 1 and 3 on the NES. Not 2 though. Castlevania 2 was a failed science experiment. What drew me into Castlevania, as funny as it sounds, was not the action or platforming, but the music. Castlevania’s music on the NES, for that 8-bit era, was so good for its time and made the game much more enjoyable. Castlevania was also hard as fuck though. Castlevania 4 on the SNES was very good, as was bloodlines on the Genesis. Castlevania on the N64 failed however. Then came Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on the Playstation and holy shit were my balls blown away. Castlevania decided to take on my favorite genre, which is RPG, and the amount of swords, shields, items, clothing, and accessories you could find was just insane. The entire game was one giant puzzle of a castle where you needed keys and magic spells to unlock doors to get to other parts of the castle. The castle and game were so big that once you beat it the right way, the castle flips around and you have to beat the whole game upside down. Imagine that. Imagine finally beating Mario or Sonic only to do it again upside down. Leveling up was very fun and it was nice to see that they brought back enemies from the classic Castlevania games. The soundtrack was very good and orchestrated well and the music during the boss battles was fucken rocken. Overall, this style of Castlevania is one I really liked and its rare for me to adjust so well to a game when it changes its style. This game shows, or showed anyway at that time, that people like me are easy to please. Sometimes, its not all about the graphics because what’s the point of having amazing graphics if the gameplay sucks. I’m all about the gameplay, not graphics, and this is a game that plays the best even today in a world where we’ve become spoiled with graphics. Funny thing is game developers must be realizing this too because all the classic gaming franchises seem to have gone back to 2D this past year, proving gameplay trumps graphics.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

House Season 7 Episode 2 Review

House's Season 7 Episode 2 titled "Selfish" is a vast improvement over the premier episode of season seven and feels truer to the older episodes of previous seasons, with the exception of newly developing stories of course. This episode was fast paced and less wacky than the first episode of season seven, but still managed to be comical and extremely serious when the time was right.

This episode begins with a boy in a wheelchair being pushed around a skateboarding rink by his sister for some good cause. However, unexpectedly the sister collapses and is rushed to the hospital where House and his crew work. The sister is played by Alyson Stoner, which was a shock to see because the last time I saw her on television was when she acted for the Disney Channel.

House tells the other doctors about his new-found relationship with Cuddy as he flirts with her throughout the episode. In fact, the amount of sexual jokes and references run numerous throughout the show and are all actually very funny and cleverly inserted. The other doctors, in trying to figure out how to come to terms with House and Cuddy, advise House to not cave with his doctoral decisions, which he does throughout the episode, nor let Cuddy take advantage of him. House and Cuddy even visit the human resources department of the hospital in which Cuddy signs a form that says she will show no favoritism towards House. After all, Cuddy is House's supervisor, which can cause dilemmas between personal life and work life.

The sister in the hospital is diagnosed with a failing kidney and collapsed lung after throwing up blood and much speculation by the doctors. After receiving a lung from a donor, her body rejects the lung and services will not provide her with another lung. She needs bone marrow and half a lung from her brother, who is unaware of her situation at this point. While facing this conflict, House is also dealing with a father and son, both of extremely old age, who want the father to be put in a home for special treatment, but neither of them will admit this to each other. Meanwhile, the other doctors feel House and Cuddy's relationship is effecting their work and advise House to set some ground rules, but House would rather avoid the situation.

After talking with her brother, House realizes the sister has sickle cell and tells Cuddy the sister needs half a lung from her brother, which Cuddy is totally against. This dilemma calls into question the philosophical issue of sacrificing one life for another. Meanwhile, House also figures out that the old father has zinc poisoning and sends the two away, suggesting they get therapy and returns the money they gave him to lie to each other.

The final series of scenes are very touching, dramatic, and philosophical. After the sister's father begs House to save his daughter and House tells him the only way to save his daughter is too use his son's lung, the sister detaches all her intervenes medicines and oxygen and collapses in the hospital hallway. In a dramatic speech, the brother tells his sister that she can have his lung, which she finally agrees to. House apologizes to Cuddy for their previous argument and they realize they need to be more brutally honest with each other in order for their relationship to work. This episode showed a remarkable ability that few shows do correctly. That is, the ability to switch from a comical to a serious tone and vice versa in a method that displays playful humor and convincing actor. I also applaud the large amounts of philosophical discources and dilemmas that took place during this episode. As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm unsure exactly how the structure of this show is supposed to be, but I hope the episodes continue in the style of this one.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Evaluation of Social Networking

Check out my podcast in which I evaluate the pros and cons of Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter over the years.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Religion's Pros and Cons

Check out my podcast on the benefits and drawbacks to the religious effects on children and teenagers:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Affirmative Action Is Reverse Discrimination

I see those who support affirmative action as those who support reverse racist ideas. The reason for this is they see women and minorities as not becoming successful because they are not reaching their true potential through hard work and instead are trying to cheat the system and cover it up through affirmative action. By having affirmative action, one is basically undermining the skills of women and minorites by saying they are not capable of reaching the potentials and capabilities that white men are and therefore women and minorites need extra help at the expense of white males and those who are already working hard to qualify for schools and jobs.

Check out my podcast to see why Affirmative Action Is Reverse Discrimination:


Monday, August 2, 2010

YouTube Is Replacing Television

I believe YouTube is direct competition with broadcast television for various reasons. Listen to my podcast to find out why:

Friday, July 30, 2010

Voting Is A Privilege. Remember That.

African Americans aren't being deprived to vote because they are African American, but rather, they are being deprived to vote BECAUSE THEY COMMIT CRIMES AND FORFEIT THEIR FREEDOM IN JAIL. I'm not being racist. I'm really not. THE FACTS DON'T LIE. More African Americans are in jail than white Caucasian people and therefore, more African Americans lose the privilege to vote. They do it to themselves. I can't stress that enough. It is that simple.

Check out my podcast about why voting is a privilege that can be taken away:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Truth Behind The War In Afghanistan

Hopefully the validity of the recent WikiLeaks, which released over 75,000 secret US military reports covering the war in Afghanistan, will give us better clarity into America's involvement in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq

The average American, including myself, doesn't understand war completely or the circumstances surrounding war. Most people just immediately assume war is bad, but I can bet you a million dollars that if your home was invaded by a burglar, then you'd want to take out that baseball bat from under your bed and defend your territory. The war in Afghanistan was no different. America's home was invaded by outside forces and so we had every right to go fight for our freedom or further risk havoc and more death. However, somewhere along those lines the truth as to why we were really fighting became blurred. There are hundreds of factors and elements to be taken into account when deciding whether this war, or any war for that matter, is just and if the truth of these recent documents is valid enough to support a just cause for war, then we must continue to fight.

Listen to my podcast about my thoughts on truth, the Wikileaks Afghanistan documents, and the war in Afghanistan and Iraq:



To further read about these Afghanistan leaked documents, the best sites I found were :

http://wardiary.wikileaks.org/


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/7910926/Wikileaks-Afghanistan-Iran-accused-of-supporting-Taliban-attacks.html

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Support Of Nationwide Curriculum

According to the July 21st, 2010 edition of the New York Times Online, "Less than two months after the nation’s governors and state school chiefs released their final recommendations for national education standards, 27 states have adopted them and about a dozen more are expected to do so in the next two weeks. Their support has surprised many in education circles, given states’ long tradition of insisting on retaining local control over curriculum."

If you were to count Obama's effective contributions to America thus far, you'd probably have a short list. However, Obama's plan on education is his greatest contribution yet and beats his other plans, such as health care, by a longshot. I'm in complete support for a nationwide school standard for education and the doing away with of local control over curriculum. I'm curious though, whether states are jumping the gun and adopting this plan without thinking things through because according to the plan's gimmick, states that adopt the standards by Aug. 2 win points in the competition for a share of the $3.4 billion to be awarded in September. As a result of school systems suffering in the economy, this leads me to believe a lot of these states adopted this plan so quickly just for the money. In addition, once schools adopt this plan, I can imagine it'll take some effort and money to put the plan into use. For example, schools will have to buy new supplies and textbooks and that could cause some inconvenience for those schools already suffering financially.

Even still, one's education is one of the most important aspects of any individual in everyday conversation and in order to get anywhere in life and having all children on equal levels means that there is no excuse for any child of any state to get left behind. National standards are seen as a way to ensure that children in all states will have access to a similar education because it is clear that some children and teenagers are smarter than children and teenagers in other states. The plan's layout detailed expectations of skills that students should have at each grade level. This means teachers will need to rethink their teaching and testing methods as a whole. Every student should learn the fundamental building blocks of education (reading, writing, and arithmetic) and have similar testing methods. Tests are a good source used to acknowledge one’s ability to interpret and communicate his ideas in a way which shows his teacher or foundation administering the exam that he has learned as much as he could master. The ability to process material and display what he has learned shows he can think on a level which a certain university requires. If all children learn material equally, then theoretically the playing field when applying for college should be even enough where factors such as discrimination, poverty, or poor backgrounds should not be an issue.

The downside to a national curriculum is that this means there is no room for flexibility in learning. This means schools can be thought of as factories producing robots and this may not make learning as fun for kids and high school students, whose attention spans are already difficult enough to acquire a hold of. Also, if the government takes control of the country's learning criteria....that sounds a lot like "gasp" communism, wouldn't you think? I don't have such a big gripe with communism because I understand the original concepts of communism were supposed to be good things, but I know when uneducated people hear the word "communism" these days, immediately they panic and shake their head as if the end of America is coming.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tipping is Bull

During these tough economic times (what happened to "change," Obama?), Americans need to hold onto every dollar they can. There's nothing wrong with saving a buck here or there for when you really need it. There, I offer eplanations as to why I believe tipping waiters in restaurants is bull and why the restaurants should be responsible for paying waiters instead of the public. Think about the hundreds of times you ate at restaurants over the past couple of years and all the money you could have saved.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Deportation Starts Now!

According to the Arizona Immigration Law, which is supposed to take effect on July 29th, police will be required to check the immigration status of people they stop or arrest if they suspect they are in the country illegally. Partisans in the debate over Arizona’s immigration law debated for the first time in federal court Thursday, July 15th, 2010, providing an early glimpse into the legal arguments that will be used in the coming battle over the new law.

I don't understand people. What's there to debate? This is one of the greatest laws ever passed. Everyone, for the most part, is against illegal immigration and believe illegal immigrants are part of America's decay and yet people are unwilling to sacrifice fifteen minutes of their time if they get pulled over for the greater good of finding and stamping out illegal immigrants. Obviously, this law will encourage racial profiling and people getting pulled over just because they are suspected of being illegal immigrants, but so what? If you have nothing to hide and you carry your card in your wallet, then you'll be fine. However, for the fifteen minutes you sacrifice for getting pulled over, you're keeping this law active. This, in turn, means the possibility of actual illegal immigrants being found is made possible.

The downside to this law is that people are going to declare it unconstitutional, which I can see why people would say that. Police are essentially under this law prying into the lives of innocent people, but how is that different from being interrogated on a subway or on the street? Well, guess what? When an illegal immigrant takes your job, then you'll regret not being pulled over and following the law. Also, I can see plenty of judges throwing illegal immigrant cases out the window. For example, if a citizen gets pulled over, but doesn't have their card with them, then what? Overall, he is legal, and therefore you can't make a case out of it. Finally, there will be many people who will say that there could be a better law or method to finding illegal immigrants than pulling people over. I agree with that, but for now we have to deal with what is, and what is right now is this Arizona Immigration Law until a better law is thought of.

Illegal immigration is a problem for me personally because I think its severely unfair that illegal immigrants essentially can receive the same benefits as Americans, but don't go through the same processes that legal Americans go through. Illegal immigrants are part of those who disrupt the balance of America’s economy, politics, and culture. They take jobs from an economy where finding work is already difficult for legal Americans, refuse to assimilate, and are depriving Americans of their culture and political unity. I have no problem offering a job to an immigrant as long as they go through the processes of becoming a legal citizen, but many of them don't. Nothing drives me more crazy than when I hear of a car crash because some immigrant driver didn't understand the difference between "go" and "stop." I know America doesn't have one universal language, but I do know America is also a democracy where majority rules, correct? Therefore, if a majority of citizens in America speak English and a majority rules in America, THEN LEARN ENGLISH! It's simple logic, really.

If I got pulled over and were suspected of being an illegal immigrant, I wouldn't be terribly annoyed or offended because I know I'm legal and I know for the expense of my time I'm contributing indirectly towards a greater cause.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lebron James' Decision Is Valid

I have to blog about a sports political issue, known as Lebron James' decision, because this episode is absolutely ridiculous and has spiraled out of control. First off, I've never seen such a big deal being made about any player being traded to another team. To have a special on ESPN about being traded is a waste of airtime. He didn't turn his back on anyone. He went to another team. Players get traded all the time and no one makes a mountain out of it. Yes, I know its Lebron James and therefore we should all bow down before him, but any good player like Lebron can have an impact on any team. Why didn't people go crazy when Allen Iverson or Carlos Boozer were traded?

To be honest, I'm not a huge basketball fan, but I know enough about the teams and players on the teams to get by in a sports conversation. Also, I'm very logical. Something a lot of people seem to lack these days. After listening to ESPN, reading comments on Facebook and Twitter, and listening to "fans," I feel like I am the only one who supports Lebron James' decision to go to Miami ... and I live in NY. In order to understand why Lebron James made this decision, you have to look at it from his perspective. The media, ESPN, and basketball fans EVERYWHERE hyped this guy up to be the biggest star in sports ... yet he hasn't won a championship in 7 years. He probably won every other award except an NBA Championship. In his interview, he made it very clear that he wants to win and win multiple times. In fact, there is TREMENDOUS pressure on Lebron to win a championship soon otherwise he may be viewed in the eyes of some as another Dan Marino type (Dan Marino was one of the greatest NFL Quarterbacks to never win a Super Bowl). Isn't winning the big championship game what sports is about anyway? Shouldn't that be the reason why players push themselves all season? Also, the sad truth (and I know Cavalier fans would probably shoot me for this) is that Lebron James was never going to win in Cleveland and he realized this. That team wasn't built with a good enough supporting cast for Lebron. Neither are the Knicks and the Nets. Therefore, he went to a team where he knows he can win and in doing so I don't understand how this once praised man who everyone WANTED to see win is now being persecuted because he made a decision that would help him do the very thing that everyone originally wanted, which is to see him win a championship.

Looking at this episode from the perspective of most basketball fans, the reasons for why they suddenly turned their backs on him are simple. First, they are jealous Lebron James didn't go to THEIR team. This is stupid because with 30 teams in the league, there could have only been one winner. That means 29 other teams were not going to get Lebron and therefore expectations to acquire him should not have been so high. Second, it's much easier to hate the guy and declare him a traitor than to realize his perspective as I stated in the above paragraph. The fans and media ultimately put him in this position where he has to win. So why not go to a team with other All-Stars and put yourself in a position where you can win. No one made this big of a deal when the Boston Celtics assembled their "Big 3."



Sunday, July 11, 2010

BP's Brains Need Some Oiling

According to the NY times website, "Crews removed a cap from atop BP’s out-of-control well in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, beginning an ambitious engineering effort that could fully contain the huge oil leak but will also make matters worse, at least temporarily." Further Mr. Wells said "contingency plans were ready in case the installation failed. And even if a new cap is installed, the well will be open for at least several days, and more oil will pour into the gulf." Mr. Wells expressed confidence that the new approach — the latest in a string of efforts, many of which have failed — would succeed. “In four to seven days, we’ll have that sealing cap in place,” he said."

This was published on July 10th, 2010 and seems to be the most recent news about the oil spill. Now, in all honesty, I have not been following this event, but the first question that should come to anyone's mind is why was the old cap forming a loose seal and allowing oil and gas to constantly escape from it? In plain English, who's in charge over there at BP? Aren't there routine inspections? Couldn't this have been prevented?

Another thing that strikes me about this event is just the uncertainty of how it will play out. Phrases like "in case the installation failed," and "many of which have failed," leads me to suspect that whoever hired these engineers to clean up this mess may want to take another look at their college degrees and credentials because by reading this article, its clear to me that they don't know EXACTLY what there are doing. This isn't good, considering the amount of oil lost and the cost for this lost. Further, the fact that they will continue to lose more oil even with the new cap is installed tells me they need a new plan.

I will admit though (and to their credit) that it's easy for me to sit here and criticize while they perform work that I probably never could comprehend. The undersea efforts to contain or stop the gusher is being done by remotely operated robots in extreme conditions of temperature and pressure 5,000 feet below the surface of the gulf. Now that's impressive and quite technical. Even still, these are supposed to be professionals aren't they?. Therefore, the question still remains. Why so many failed attempts?

I also wondered about what happened to all the oil that poured into the Gulf. Well, to their credit, "BP has positioned more than 40 large or midsize skimmers near the well site and has 14 teams ready to conduct controlled burns." This is to help deal with the oil that was lost. Finally, BP plans to devise a scheme that would "eventually stop the leak and permanently seal the well by pumping heavy drilling mud into it, followed by cement, through a relief well." Good job BP. At least now you're aware serious oil spills exist and are already planning ahead to prevent this from happening again. Don't forget those inspections!