On The Wudderfront: A Bombastic Look Back at Last Week's Headline Heat
Seasonal Salutations, Wudder World.
While many of us look forward to the upcoming holidays, or in the case of our Jewish readers are currently in the midst of them, we here at The Wudder take a look back.
We'll start small, looking at the past seven days in people, places and pop culture.
We'll spread out backwards from there, with our annual year-in-review stuff, which we'll be bringing to you from now until the New Year arrives, two weeks from today.
Here's some selected stories that generated a ripple in Wudder World over the last week.
It's 2017. We have the technology to clone sheep or deliver gifts to homes via drones.
Yet two things, long past their expiration date, we seemingly refuse to update:
1) depending on oil to fuel our primary modes of transportation.
2) old dudes in zebra-stripe suits with chains on sticks determining first downs.
The NFL is a $45 billion-dollar business.
Can we put a chip in the damn ball already, like in tennis, and be done with this?
I’m not gonna say Black Thought of the Legendary Roots Crew is the greatest rapper of all-time. There’s far too many variables to place him atop that pedestal.
I will say that his appearance on Funkmaster Flex’s show on Hot 97 this past Thursday was the greatest radio-station freestyle ever. I can’t think of anyone else living or dead who could have equaled it. Ten straight minutes of pure propane flame. The sweat trickling from his forehead towards the end is our only evidence that Black Thought is human, rather than a supernatural rap cyborg.
I lost count of how many times I lost myself in this clip over the weekend. But it’s safe to say that even in our shared viral video existence, where things fall apart in less time than it takes a fruit fly to live and die, we will be deconstructing this one for a while to come. Hip-hop culture will benefit from its reverberations, because many aspiring to greatness will now be forced to further step up their game.
As my #ThatSite innanet-big-sister Fire used to say back in the day:
^^^THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED^^^
You know what would have surprised me less than finding out 81-year-old billionaire Southern “gentlemen” Jerry Richardson, known simply as “Mister” to all his staff, with his own statue standing outside the team’s stadium, was the type to dole out dirty-old-man lines to female employees and occasionally let loose a racial slur?
Hearing he wasn’t the type to dole out dirty-old-man lines to female employees or occasionally let loose a racial slur.
Some things just seem to be self-evident.
Regardless, it appears “Mister”is now Mr. #MeToo.
In an unprecedented attempt to get out in front of an impending storm, Richardson has been messy enough behind the scenes to feel the need to Donald Sterling himself out of the franchise he’s principally owned since their NFL arrival in 1995.
While unsurprising, there's another NFL owner Jerry I mighta guessed would be the first swept up in the Creep Comeuppance of 2017.
He did already have that sexual assault accusation he paid to keep quiet a few years back.
The main difference, is that long before he willingly volunteers to sell them, under any circumstances, they'll have to pry the Cowboys franchise from Jerry Jones' cold-dead hands.
Over the past 48 hours, the Twittersphere has been abuzz that Puffy (NOPE, we stopped there in terms of his name evolution) wants to buy the Panthers, with Steph Curry’s help, and make his first order of business signing Colin Kaepernick.
Anyone that actually believes any of that has a remote chance of happening, I’ve got a time-share suite at Trump Tower Moscow to sell you.
For starters, Puff has money, but NFL franchise money is another level to the game.
It typically requires being a billionaire, either via inherited asset wealth, oil money, or holding a majority share of ownership in a multi-billion-dollar corporation (think Home Depot or Microsoft).
While I’m sure Sean Combs has been out here living his best life for two decades since Life After Death, I don’t think he’s caking enough off Ciroc bottle sales, Sean John clothes and Revolt TV to have NFL franchise-owning levels of bread.
Even if he did, that Billionaire Boys Club isn’t gonna sign off on Puff being a face of their league, nor the first black owner in NFL history.
Anyone thinking otherwise can snap out of that dream anytime now.
Puff is smart enough to know this, even if some of his lovers and haters are not.
He also knows how to keep his name out there, while generating free publicity.
And that’s whatever name it happens to be this season: Sean, Puffy, Puff Daddy, Puff, P Diddy, Diddy, or more recently, Brother Love aka LOVE.
Take That, Take That.
The Sixers lost a 3 OT heartbreaker, on national TV, Friday night.
I caught the first half in real-time, then had to set the DVR, with the obligatory extended half-hour recording time, just in case.
Managed to avoid all texts, skip checking the internet, and made it thru all my Friday evening late working obligations to get home not knowing the final outcome.
Watched the second half…then OT…phew, glad I now always go with the extra recording time, in order to not suffer a re-occurrence of the debacle that befell my boy Granite & I with the 2008 NCAA college basketball title game, following an E Street Band show in Anaheim that night, only to have it cut off shortly after Mario Chalmers hit the game-tying shot.
The first overtime was capped off by Joel Embiid’s stellar block of Russell Westbrook on a potential game-winning driving layup.
Cool, let’s play two (OT’s) like Ernie Banks.
As the second overtime ended on a full-court lob pass to Ben Simmons that didn’t quite make it, then about a thousand replays on when the 1.4 ticks on the clock started, I came to a horrifying realization: uh-oh, maybe I should’ve extended the DVR for an hour.
Almost as quickly as that panicked thought came, that recording ended.
Dejected, as the sky outside was slowly transitioning from dark to light, it occurred to me that my efforts would be for naught, in terms of reaching a conclusion to this contest.
By a stroke of luck, after making a last-minute effort to check before checking my phone and heading off to bed, ESPN was replaying the broadcast.
As I turned it on, the re-broadcast was heading into the first overtime.
Thru superstition, as if my dedication to an already-determined outcome would be karmically rewarded, I sat thru the first two overtimes again, while struggling to keep eyes open until getting back to the moment before the DVR cut off.
Once reaching that point, I was not rewarded but instead punished, as Russell Westbrook drove the final nail in the dog-tired Sixer coffin at Wells Fargo in OT 3.
After the game, much was made of Westbrook’s wave while telling Embiid “go home” and JoJo’s laughing while declaring "this is my house”.
But Joel’s trolling and ability to make others mad, while somehow never getting agitated enough himself to lose his cool, or sense of humor, is old news.
What is new, is the Sixers seven-foot-two unicorn, transcendent superstar-in-the-making-pending-medical-clearance, pushing his body while playing FORTY-NINE minutes, besting his career-high minutes total, from only two days earlier, by ten minutes.
A short-term L, but maybe long-term gain, as Embiid’s competitive spirit proved capable of pushing thru fatigue and physical pain.
Westbrook’s counting stats, as judge/jury/executioner of the OKC offense, were ridiculously gaudy: 27 points, 18 rebounds, 15 assists.
But for those of us who (eventually) watched all seven periods of play, or who can parse thru a box-score to see 10-for-33 shooting or a -6 +/-, it was pretty clear Russ had a rough game, right up until the very end when he caught fire.
No matter what type of night he's had, you can count on a guy as indefatigable as AI on HGH, to have more left in the tank at the tail end of a third additional frame of the game.
The less said about the Embiid-less Sixers two-point loss in Chicago last night, on the front end of a back-to-back, the better. We got tonight, as Bob Seger sings, and the Kings are in town.
Last Tuesday’s special-election in Alabama, gave many a chance to perfectly utilize the phrase “and the horse you rode in”, as Doug Jones defeated nut-job/bigot/twice-disbarred-judge/child-molester/spoiled-sport Roy Moore.
As of press time, Moore’s loud-and-wrong act still hadn’t conceded. Apparently, his ability to read poll data, or admit defeat, are on par with his equestrian skills.
Let’s hope that last week’s “The Unbearable Flightness of Eagles” reverse-jinx, anticipating a Moore victory, is in full effect during the upcoming Birds’ postseason.
Speaking of the Birds, we’ll give credit where it’s due: Nick Foles filled in capably against an awful Giants team this weekend.
Sure, if push came to shove we’d say the TD/turnover numbers looked far better than his actual play, particularly in the first half, but no need to quibble.
You’ll take the end result every time.
Still, it was a nail-biting win over the two-win Giants.
So, the Winston Wolf Corollary is still in effect.
I’m not sure how the Eagles got their best corner back in the lineup and got worse in the secondary, but they’ve probably been playing a bit over their skis in that unit all season.
They’ll need to get that corrected to avoid an upset at the Linc in January, by an experienced playoff QB with a better supporting cast than Eli Mannning had on Sunday.
That includes almost any of them: Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, or Russell Wilson if he makes it.
It will not include GODgers, whose mid-season injury proved too much for the Pack to overcome, even tho he returned to try to save the season on Sunday.
The Los Angeles Lakers retired two numbers in Kobe Bryant’s honor last night.
Two numbers for twice the diva, or twice as many shots since he ran off Shaq.
Or maybe two for the number of years his farewell tour lasted, as an albatross around that franchise’s neck, that they're still trying to recover from.
But let me try to be respectful and say yeah, uh, congrats and all that.
Salute to a dude so classy his own momma didn’t feel the urge to hop on I-76 for 15 minutes to see her only son’s last game ever in Philadelphia.
Or maybe it was because he sued her over an eBay-d Lower Merion Kobe jersey that he wore while living in the house she cooked his dinner growing up.
Thanks for the memories, the lame self-glossed-and-unaccredited but appropriately snake-inspired nickname, the amazing string of plane rides back-and-forth from DEN-to-LAX in '04 to fight rape charges your police statement all but admitted to while also offering up the most notorious dry-snitching example of all-time, and lastly for somehow cursing Carson Wentz while the Birds were in Orange County two weeks ago.
Let's wrap this reminiscing section up with the hilarious apex of Kobe's career in rap:
And just so we can't be accused of leaving you with something that wack...
Bonus Cuts: Five Great Rap Albums That Sound Even Better in Cold Weather
Mobb Deep-The Infamous
Yes, I know this came out in the Spring of ’95, while the even darker, chillier follow-up, Hell on Earth dropped in Winter ’96. But now that we’re twenty-plus year’s past both release dates, let’s agree on two things:
1) The Infamous sounds like cold weather, despite having a song called “Temperature’s Rising” on it, from the menacing opening notes of “Survival of the Fittest”.
2) The Infamous is a better album than Hell on Earth.
Cannibal Ox-The Cold Vein
“I feel like everybody wants something from me.”
“Yeah, tell me about it, it’s a cold world out there, sometimes I think I’m getting a little frosty myself”.
The opening lines of sampled dialogue, appropriately from The Big Chill, sets the tone for this 2001 El-P (Company Flow, Run the Jewels) produced indie-rap classic. The words manage to sound far more ominous while in the context of the frigid, dystopian future of “Iron Galaxy”, its opening and best track.
Atlanta isn’t exactly a true cold-weather climate. But on occasion, like black ice, you feel what happens when you take sun people and put them in a land of snow.
This album remains cooler than a polar bear’s toenails, or Freddie Jackson sipping a milkshake in a snowstorm, combined. Go on and marinate on that for a minute.
The GZA-Liquid Swords
The path for would-be contenders to pass this album in the race for “greatest cold-weather rap albums of the past quarter century” is a wide entrance, small exit like a funnel. So deep, it’s picked up on radios in tunnels.
Crafted in a time long before the term “climate change” became a political football, professorial microphone maestro The GZA, aka The Genius of The Wu-Tang Clan, was dropping science necessary to navigate thru this “cold, cold world”.
You could really put any of the first round of albums by the Bootcamp Click (Black Moon, Heltah Skeltah, Smif-n-Wessun, or OGC) down as a frost-bitten contender.
All of them sound like Timberland boots, Carhart pants, and hoodies or bomber jackets, while being able to see breath in the air from the cold or the weed smoke.
But this album feels the most like the mood music that takes you down into a dark, dusty, hazy head space and keeps you there for a full hour or so.