Life Of Percentages

We, as a society, try to use words like “beliefs” and “positivity” as explanations of how we overcome certain things. I realized recently that it doesn’t matter how positive or how much you believe in something, things can always take a negative turn.

There are thousands of Self Help Books designed to make us better people. Authors like Tony Robbins talk about how positivity can solve your problems. People use literature and research as methods for constructing positivity.

Let’s use the scenario that I have a life threatening illness and there is a chance I may die. On one hand I am the roaring Ra-Ra confidence of the American spirit. Where I believe I can overcome ANYTHING! Let’s say I live…is it because of my positivity or because I took the right things? People will talk about how confident I am and how nothing can take me down because I believe. Not “just” because I took the right things.

On the other hand I am negative and depressed constantly. I feel like I have no value in this world and will die alone. But let’s say I take the medicine still (which I will go into later on) and I live. Do you think it was my negative attitude that rewarded me with life? Again, maybe me taking the right things cured me and not a mindset.

I had 2 life threatening concussions. I had bleeding in the brain and doctors were shocked that I had no symptoms at all and didn’t miss a step. At the same time of my first concussion, actor Liam Neeson’s wife (Natasha Richardson) hit her head on soft snow and died of a head injury. I hit my head on ice so hard that my skull cracked and I was perfectly fine while she died. So did I overcome my injury with my positive sensibility? Did my body say “Heal now” and it did? Or does this reside in the category of “shit happens”?

Jim Valvano gave one of the greatest speeches in history. He was diagnosed with cancer and gave an emotionally roaring speech at the ESPN awards ceremony about how anyone can overcome anything. A few months after his speech he died…..of the same cancer that he made us all believe that he can overcome. Meanwhile people who maybe have a more serious diagnosis of cancer and who aren’t as positive may live.

The reason I put in parenthesis the part about the medicine was because (even though I am mostly bashing the notion of positive attitudes as methods for success) you still have to have a small notion of positivity to want to take something in the first place. If there is a 1% chance that you may live after hearing that you have a life-threatening illness, then you have a chance. I could be a devout Christian and have my heart filled with the Holy Spirit and still die. Meanwhile, I can be a negative atheist who has the same thing and live. Putting my hands together in prayer isn’t going to guarantee success.

Mercer College beat Duke in the NCAA tournament last season. Are you going to make the argument that Mercer College was more positive and wanted to win more than Duke? Or can you make the argument that Duke’s shots weren’t going in and Mercer had a better game plan? There are 68 teams in the tournament so therefore you have a 1/68 chance of winning it all. There are no certainties in sports. If you make it to a tournament, then you have a chance to win. Don’t let odds makers determine outcomes.

We love the David vs Goliath type of stories. Movies like Rudy and Miracle show us how people overcome impossible odds and come out on top. What a better story? How LeBron James has overcome adversity and has finally achieved all he was predicted to or how Bill Russell has won 11 titles in a row because he played on the best team in the league at that time?

I don’t mean to shit on people’s beliefs or positive energy. I trying to be a best-selling author and overcome disappointment constantly. I get rejection letters from publishers and still I send more out. Why? Because it’s something I want to do for a living. There is a big chance that I may never achieve my dream and have to settle for another career choice.

So I believe in being positive because without taking that first step you might not get what you want or take what you need to survive, BUT I don’t believe that thinking positive or reading the right material will automatically solve your problems.

Like I said about sports and certainties, there are also no certainties in life. If you have a 1% chance of living, then you have a chance of living. If you have a 99% chance of living then you still have a 1% chance of dying.

We love to hope that there is some otherworldly force that can help us in times of peril. That our positive energy can therefore challenge the laws of the universe so we may come out on top, but sadly that is hysterically untrue. Sometimes, to be blunt, shit happens. And there are no guarantees with medicine, self-help books and Ra-Ra speeches.

Joe Reyes

 

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Interstellar: The Worst Movie of the Decade

 

Yes, you read that correctly. A blockbuster hit that won awards and has been nominated for 5 Oscars, I think is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. This movie was incredibly boring, outrageously long and confusing to the point where I had to research message boards to find out what was going on. Also, the music was entirely too loud. It might’ve been the theater I was at (I doubt it), but the music was so loud it drowned out some of the key dialogue.

When I saw the trailer, I figured it was going to be a bad movie. Because from what I gathered, the movie was about the Earth becoming uninhabitable and Matthew McConaughey going to other planets to find one that can sustain life for humans to travel to. This isn’t a plotline that looks to be filled with many twists and turns. Just seems like McConaughey would go to planet 1 and say “Eh” and go to planet 2 and see how it is.

McConaughey plays Cooper, a former pilot who eventually becomes the savior of the world…sorta. I was surprised that McConaughey wasn’t the writer on this movie, because it seems that Cooper could not die even though there were many times for it to happen.

The human race is dying of starvation I think. Giant sandstorms wipe away crop fields and causing people to suffocate. The only hope is to find another place for humans to live. Luckily, a wormhole has appeared in our solar system put by….aliens they think. The aliens must’ve known that Earth was in trouble and created a wormhole to another galaxy with habitable worlds.

There is a lot going on in this movie. I haven’t even gotten to the backstory of Cooper and his family. Cooper is a farmer now, who lives with his father in law, son Tom and daughter Murph. Yes, Murph, because that’s a girl’s name somehow.

Murph thinks there is a ghost in the house. In her room there is a giant bookshelf, and books seem to fall randomly. Murph decides to write these occurrences. Somehow Murph ends up connecting the dropping of books into Binary and Morse code. Really? Are we just going to pretend that makes sense?

Cooper indulges Murph’s crazy theory and puts the code as coordinates on a map and follows it to a secret military base. Cooper and Murph are captured by robots, tough talking Lincoln Log looking robots.

Skipping ahead, because this review isn’t even half way through. Scientist Professor Brand has discovered the wormhole with a bunch of other scientist and have already been sending exploration groups through and are sending another team consisting of Professors Brand’s daughter Brand….yes Brand is her name, random black guy and another scientist. Cooper is sent along as well. Because apparently they want him to pilot the craft because they are in desperate need and here Cooper randomly is.

Murph cries and tries to convince Cooper to stay. She even says the Morse code spells out STAY, but Cooper leaves anyway. The team goes into cryo sleep and go through the wormhole and land on another planet.

The problem is the time this mission takes. They don’t want to be gone too long because the world is dying, apparently, so taking forever isn’t a good idea. On approaching the planets, the time increases for the amount of time on Earth. 1 hour on the planet amounts to 7 years on Earth. So there is a rush to this mission.

I don’t want to spoil the ending or the 1 twist to it in the middle too much. This movie is about a Temporal Causality Loop. Family Guy had it in an episode. Stewie created the universe and Brian questioned how Stewie could create the universe if he was born in it. Stewie explained it like this “The universe created me so I can create it so it can create me and so on”. That is this movie in a nut shell. Something happens, beyond logical reasoning and TCL is the answer to it.

This movie was awful on all fronts. Worst of all, the ending was “apparently” a tear jerker. I was watching the ending and heard a sniff a few seats over. I see a woman in tears. I turn to tell my girlfriend of the phenomenon and saw another person crying. The whole theater except me was having an emotional reaction to the scene! To quote Lou Costello “Why? I don’t know”.

I give this a 0/5. It was just a disaster in every scene. Nothing made sense and it was just so long. I’ve seen long movies without a ton of action and still thought it was good. But this movie had no redeeming qualities to it. The biggest gasp moment for me was finding out Matt Damon was in the movie.

I do give the movie a smidge of credit. They had a line that was so hysterical that I literally laughed out loud. I highlighted it for you.

Cooper: Dr. Mann there’s a 50/50 chance your gonna kill yourself.

Dr. Mann: Those are the best odds I’ve had in years.

Joe Reyes

This Wasn’t Christmas

Today didn’t feel like Christmas. I don’t know what it as exactly, but something was off. The buildup wasn’t there. Maybe because I didn’t want anything and my parents gave me my gift early. We didn’t have a tree on account of my cat. It would be a tossup of how she would kill herself first: hanging herself on the lights or getting electrocuted.

Maybe it was the weather. There was 0 snow on the ground. Christmas Eve was like 50 something degrees out. I like a white Christmas. No, it’s not cliché to want snow. And you can bitch about how cold it is and how hard it is to travel in the snow, but waking up to snow covered trees outside and pegging the first old person you see with a snowball sounds like Christmas to me.

All the radio stations had recycled Christmas songs done by the new Disney Stars of today. That skank Miley Cyrus twerked her way into a holiday album that has been done time after time. Even the Salvation Army seemed to not be in the holiday spirit. I saw one member by the Shoprite ringing a bell for donations. He want even smiling. He was just sprawled across a wood pile staring at the ground. I doubt the money even went somewhere. Probably just buy crack with it. Since he was white it’s not racist to say.

Christmas day consisted of a family ride up to Staten Island to see my family. I looked out the window and saw trees with leaves on them. Maybe that tool Al Sharpton was right about the world getting hotter…or was it Al Gore? Either way it didn’t make any sense outside.

We passed a white cross on the side of the road. Probably some kid cut down in the prime of his youth to an accident…lucky bastard. The sky was bright blue and beautiful. It looked more like the opening to the Simpson’s rather than Christmas in New Jersey.

On the plus side we cut down on the holiday cards in my house. What’s the point of them anyway? To let me know that you survived another year? And if I didn’t get a card would I even worry? If I have to be reminded every year of your existence then you don’t really matter that much to me. I only sent out about 7 “Merry Christmas” texts. No reason for my whole family to send 3 separate messages to the same person with “Merry Christmas!!!”

My uncle’s fence said it all. He had a “Beware Dog” sign on it, but there was a Christmas wreath covering the “Dog” part. So I read it as “Beware Christmas”. Maybe I wanted more this year. Maybe I just wanted to feel some holiday cheer. Maybe I just didn’t get into the spirit. Or maybe it’s a tumor and luckily I won’t have to endure this crap next year.

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Joe Reyes

Larry Fitzgerald and Chris Bosh VS Hall of Fame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no question that these two men have Hall of Fame talent. When Bosh was on Toronto he had incredible numbers and was one of the best Power Forwards in the league. Fitzgerald has had up and down seasons because he had some terrible Quarterbacks around him. When Kurt Warner was giving the reins, Fitzgerald and the Cardinals went to the Superbowl. But with Warner retiring and Bosh taking a step back in Miami, both men have had subpar seasons at best.

The question is, do both men end up in the Hall of Fame? Fitzgerald has incredible talent and is a tough man to cover, but he doesn’t have a Quarterback. Without the Quarterback, you can be the most talented man on the planet, but still not get the ball.

Bosh took a cut in pay to play with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade and has also taken a step back in performance. Bosh knew his place on Miami. He was the 3rd best player on that team and played his role perfectly to achieve 2 championships.

The criteria for Hall of Fame isn’t “how good you can be” it is “how good you were”. Playing with a career with bad Quarterbacks do hurt your stats. Bosh does have rings, but came at the expense of his numbers going hysterically down.

Both men are deserving talent wise, but I think if you have to pause and look over their careers, then it’s a no. The Hall of Fame isn’t a collection of What Ifs. They are of players that were the man on their teams. Huge fan of both men, but can’t see them making the Hall of Fame. If they do, it won’t be on a 1st ballot.

Joe Reyes

Amare Stoudemire: In The Moment

I am a huge Stoudemire fan. I thought he was on pace for a Hall of Fame career, but I’m pretty sure the rest of his time in basketball will be plagued by injuries and marginal teams signing him. After a nagging back injury a few years back, Stoudemire hasn’t been 100% since.

Netflix features a very interesting documentary about Stoudemire and his road to recovery. But again, I feel that it will be all for nothing. When Stoudemire left the Phoenix Sun, he became the main man on the New York Knicks. Stoudemire was even having an MVP season in his first year with the Knicks.

The documentary shows Stoudemire’s training with Hall of Fame Center Hakeem Olajuwon. Most of Olajuwon’s game is faking defenders out with his footwork and scoring mostly uncontested. Olajuwon has basketball camps for NBA players and shows them how to play like he does.

Olajuwon showed Stoudemire over a dozen different moves and combinations. Stoudemire learned them all perfectly…..in the gym….with Olajuwon….not in a real game. In a real game Stoudemire is reduced to a 20 minute player a game. In the remaining years of his career I can see him being a 8 point scorer and grabbing maybe 7 rebounds a game. Not bad stats, but Stoudemire is getting paid way too much to be a bench player who comes in sparingly.

Stoudemire will never be at an All Star caliber again, but this was still an interesting documentary to check out. I give it a 5/5 for its insight into Stoudemire’s life and it does show a lot of his road to recovery. Even though I know it’s a futile effort, still a good watch.

Joe Reyes

Check me out on Twitter for more sports and articles @jreyes0003

 

 

Legs Don’t Bend That Way!

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As I write this I am still shaking from what I just saw. I just witnessed Paul George’s leg snap like a twig live on TV. The USA Men’s Qualifying team was playing a simple scrimmage and in one second the whole atmosphere changed. George went to block a simple layup, landed awkwardly and that was it. The bone popped right through the skin and my jaw hit the ground.

The game was called a few minutes after. The players all looked stunned and disgusted at the injury, as was I. It is sad to see George done for the Olympic tournament, but more importantly without a doubt out for the season.

I can see some kind of ramifications from this. I can see teams not wanting their star players enter this event, because an injury like this could happen at any moment. The Indian Pacers might not even make the Playoffs this season. After this injury, I can see some conflict of interests happening with teams letting their players attend this tournament.

Blake Griffin and Kevin Love didn’t take part in this event and looks to be for a good reason. So who knows what other star players might not attend after seeing what happened to George. Yes, you can get injured at any time, but can make the argument that more playing time puts you at more risk to injuries than not playing at all.

Joe Reyes