By The Intern
Page 2

In the inevitable backlash against Hawks fans collective hatred for Steve Belkin, I've heard quite a few people rise up to defend Belkin's veto of the Joe Johnson deal. The rationale seems to be that Johnson is a nice player, but not "seventy-mil plus draft picks" nice, and that someone needed to step in amid all the hype and prevent the Hawks from tying up an exorbitant amount of money in a player that was arguably the fourth best guy on his team last year. At least, this is my understanding of the argument.

(Personally, I maintain that Belkin is being insultingly slick with his desire to operate the Hawks on the cheap, and is therefore still the antichrist. But let's assume for a second that his intentions are pure.)

One, I don't agree with the premise that the Hawks are overpaying; I truly believe that Johnson IS that good. Then again, it was only hours after news of the sign and trade that I was ready to reserve a spot for Johnson in the Hall of Fame. But here's the point: even if the price for Johnson is absurdly high, it's the right move. Hoping to lure someone next year or hit the lottery jackpot (Greg Oden in two years) doesn't cut it; it's all about momentum, something the Hawks finally have going for them.

With Johnson, a legitimate playmaker and versatile defender with a picture-perfect jumper to boot, the Hawks can continue to build on that long-lost momentum that GM Billy Knight has successfully restored. Atlanta is in no position to be overly picky; passing on Johnson would be like a homeless man dismissing a hot meal because he's holding out for filet mignon. Johnson may not wind up becoming a top twenty player (then again, he very well might), but he opens up room to allow the Josh's and Marvin to develop, brings a dormant franchise off of its deathbed, and paves the way for additional free-agent signings in the future. Basically, his desire to come to Atlanta is a godsend. You're nuts if you don't think that seventy-mil and a couple of draft picks is a bargain.

dfw.com (Aaron S.; registration required) -- Let's see, he is strictly forbidden from even glancing at another woman, has to give a dopey sign of acknowledgement on the court every 1.4 seconds, and continually sits through an emasculating and highly creepy seaweed bath ritual. Is there anything left for Jackie Christie to accomplish? Will she pull an Elway and ride off into the sunset? Not a chance. In the ultimate encore, Jackie pulls out the mother-in-law card (halfway through the article). She really has no equal.

nba.com -- Harry the Hawk lays the smack down on Jay Mohr (cnnsi.com).

aftenposten.no -- Man hits tee shot in Norway, gets hole-in-one in Finland. North Korea's Kim Jong-il casually dismisses the feat, tells of time he teed off at the Old Course, hit a drive clear over the Atlantic, and landed a remarkable hole-in-one on the 4th at Augusta. Claims he wasn't even wearing pants.

nationalgeographic.com -- Turns out that flippin' ligers are real. I'd follow with a joke about breeding them for their magical powers, but I'll lame myself out some other time.

foryouto.com -- Here's a rather self-serving, but nonetheless funny, dig at our main man T.O. Someone needs to tell him and Drew that they flat-out lost. Robin Ventura never charged Nolan Ryan again. Tucker Carlson didn't challenge Jon Stewart to a rematch. Let it go.

And finally, one completely selfish link ...

mcsweeneys.net -- My favorite album of the past ten years (and probably of all-time if being completely honest with myself) is Ryan Adams' "Heartbreaker". My love for this album borders on the obsessive, to the point that I really wouldn't know how to explain myself with anything less than five-thousand words. Yet in just four paragraphs, author Nick Hornby sums up my thoughts on the album almost perfectly. So although I realize this is random, I feel that I've been pretty good about keeping the readers in mind when I choose links. But not this time. Consider this my three-month bonus to myself, and one of the only times that I will impose upon you.

(And if you're intrigued and have never heard it, buy the album today, thank me continuously tomorrow)


FRIDAY
newsday.com -- Ray Mickens takes on "nice guys finish last" saying; gets knocked out in first round.

usatoday.com (Ryan D.) -- Spectacular article on West Virginia's Kevin Pittsnogle. Forget about all the West Virginia jokes to be made, I just hope he's getting the requisite mileage out of "Pittsnogled." If he cuts someone off in traffic, he ought to flip 'em the bird and scream, "You've been Pittsnogled!" When a teammate lands on his Park Place hotels, it should be "Pittsnogled again!" He could even bring it into the bedroom. There's really no excuse for using it anything less than 132 times a day.

azcentral.com -- Mark Grace unknowingly swears while on the air. When told of the mishap, Grace allegedly took a swig from his flask and responded, "Don't worry, nobody's listening anyways." (works better if this was the Indians ... or the Royals)

snltranscripts.jt.org (Tom P.) -- Here's the Stevie Wonder Impersonator transcript (from Simmons mailbag yesterday). I've never seen the skit, making the fact that I cracked up the entire time I was reading this all the more impressive.

yahoo.com -- Alarming stat regarding "paternal discrepancy." Insert Shawn Kemp joke here.

imdb.com (Adam K.) -- Scroll down to the fourth news blurb from the bottom, then try to tell me that Mickey Rourke isn't the coolest man on the planet. Note that he SHADOW BOXED while calmly taunting the jilted boyfriend. I wouldn't care if he was seventy -- dude starts confidently throwing shadow punches, I tell him to keep the girl and we go our separate ways.

(By the way, if you're still not sold on the "tough guy" factor of Rourke, check out his imdb profile -- imdb.com)


WEDNESDAY
maddenholiday.com (Brian L.) -- Although it's sort of like throwing a New Year's party on January 2nd, here's a brilliant Madden petition, albeit one day late. To make up for this missed opportunity, I offer a timely heads up on the impending Tara Reid train wreck (eonline.com) (Matt D.).

yahoo.com -- And now a warning to all of you closing in on your thirtieth consecutive hour of Madden. Of course, none of you are actually reading this -- otherwise you wouldn't need the warning. Carry on.

ajc.com (Sunday; registration required) -- Besides being a pompous judge who isn't the least bit funny, a daily dose of 'Nique to keep me sane, and Hawks co-owner Steve Belkin being revealed as a Donald Sterling wannabe, this link contains my favorite picture of the year -- a principled Billy Knight refusing to shake hands with the phony Belkin. For what it's worth, I believe in you now, Billy. I really do.

newsday.com -- High school cheerleaders use a chant to help police catch hit and run suspect. Unfortunately, the routine turns out to have been stolen from their inner-city rivals. Dance off ensues.

(And yes, I just made a "Bring It On" joke)

ebay.com (Jeff N.) -- For those looking to take Simmons up on the book suggestion, here's a site owned by eBay that eliminates the bidding process.

Speaking of the book club, there will be a signed photo of Simmons for all charter members. We're currently debating between two different angles.

Option A: the Hasselhoff route (fanspace.com)

Option B: the Ha route (nba.com)

I'll update everyone once we decide on which direction to go with the photo.


TUESDAY
My fashion sense, much like my sense of direction, is completely nonexistent. I used to dismiss it as apathy, but I've slowly realized that I'm actually incapable of assembling a wardrobe. If I had to describe my style, I'd probably go with "refined hobo."

With that in mind, I spent this past weekend visiting friends in Los Angeles. The particular friend I was staying with used to be just like me -- utterly clueless and indifferent to clothing fashion. But a few years in California, and now he has a trendy shirt for every occasion, always uses "product" in his hair, and seems to live exclusively on a ridiculous liquid diet of specialized smoothies, Ensure, and anything else that can be ingested through a straw. Basically, L.A. has swallowed him alive.

Using him as my frame of reference, I made it a point to pack the trendiest striped shirt I own. To make a long story short, I ditch the hobo dress and wear the shirt out on Friday night. We naturally wind up at some dive bar called "The Roost" where everyone is dressed down with casual indifference ... except for me, the idiot in the over-the-top striped shirt. I think I was set up.

movies.go.com (Bryan M.) -- Statler and Waldorf (old guys in the balcony from "The Muppet Show") review movies online. Throw in the scene-stealing Swedish Chef, and you have nostalgic comedy at its finest.

airguitarusa.com (Jon in NJ) -- The official Web site of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships. Is this unfathomably dumb? Of course. But I defy anyone to look at that picture on the left-hand side and then try to tell me those doofuses don't have heart. You can't.

ebay.com (Erik G.) -- Guy on eBay will rap for food. Fifty bucks says this is just a down-and-out Scott Stapp.

baysox.com -- After Simmons requested an Allen Iverson charity golf tournament, The Answer responds with his Celebrity Softball Classic. Impressive, but an important technicality. "Mark it zero! $%^&*@# mark it zero!" aol.nba.com -- A barechested Amare Stoudemire views himself as quite the Renaissance man. Or as Simmons says, "He forgot to mention that he cured polio."

yahoo.com -- Carte blanche for men everywhere to never listen to women again.

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