Thursday, July 31, 2014

Suits Power Rankings - We're Done

The biggest question I was left with from last week was, should I start referring to Charles Forstman as FORSTMAN, since he is definitely the most diabolical human being since HARDMAN. Ultimately, Forstman's power is more reserved, and he doesn't need to use force, or Forst, to get what he wants, so he will stay with the relaxed typing of his name. Other stuff happened too. You can read about it here. But enough with the small talk, it's time to focus on the present:

1. Charles Forstman - It was not nearly as strong of a performance as last week, but he retains his number one spot despite circling Mike's neighborhood for two hours before Mike finally came out and got a coffee. I have to think he could have been spending his time better than that. He more than redeems himself by making Louis take a check to ensure that he will own him for the foreseeable future. Honestly, things are going pretty great for Mr. Forstman, so it is no wonder that he has that cocky grin on his face at all times.

2. Jonathan Sidwell - He's not hiring Mike back, and I respect that he doesn't bend on his principles. You get one shot with Sidwell, and that makes him the most honorable person out there.

3. Harvey Specter - Picking fights with Cahill but still finding time to be a friend to Mike. Besides that, he makes a super silly decision to get rid of Logan Sanders for wanting to bang his associate. Hey Harvey, I'm guessing all of your clients have probably had a beatoff session to Rachel, so this is not a viable long-term solution. But he was able to get Mike back in the firm thanks to Louis, and let's face it, in Mike's heart, Rachel is a DISTANT number two behind Spec.

4. Sean Cahill - Cahill would have punched Harvey in the face, but luckily, Harvey waited for him to finish his classic story abut mail fraud, so he let it slide. I hope he seduces Katrina Bennett to get dirt on the firm. That's a power couple right there.

5. Katrina Bennett - Probably the best cheerleader on the show. Does a great job of making Louis feel good about himself, no matter how bad things are going.

6. Donna Paulsen - She spent her time trying to clean up everyone's mess. Everybody took her advice, which was positive, but the fact that Rachel knew she would be home alone instead of on a date cuts deeper than she will let anyone know.

7. Rachel Zane - Confesses to being a "Dirty, filthy, disgusting, brutal, trash-bag ho." Well, she would have had Chris Jericho been there to coax her along at least. She is doubting the existence of love, and really, who could blame her? Let's look at all the prominent marriages at the law firm. First, there's...yep, not a single one. Franklin, it may be time to give up on love, but I think she can find someone to Bash her.

8. Jeff Malone - Jeff Malone is an idiot. He is very concerned that Jessica doesn't trust him in everything that he does. The problem with that is that he can't do his job competently, so he really has nothing to be mad about. Still, he must be one hell of a lover, because she apologized to him for him being incompetent and insubordinate, so good on you having some God-given talent in the bedroom.

9. Louis Marlo Litt - Louis is breaking the law and feeling great about it until Forstman makes him take a bonus, so he is explicitly tied to breaking the law. Louis almost went all-in on his love with Sheila, but he decided to save Mike Ross, the man who convinced him that Sheila was engaged to Lorenzo Lamas. By bringing Mike in, he unknowingly exposed the firm even more to the investigation by the SEC.

10. Jessica Pearson - She is handing out favors to Louis, although it ultimately backfires when her worst nightmare is realized and Mike Ross is brought back to the firm. Also, she apologized to her incompetent boyfriend who messed up a contract and refused to double check it. You're dating a nincompoop, Jessica, a nincompoop.

11. Mike Ross - Turned down a million dollar signing bonus without a second thought. I'm gonna be real for a second. For a million dollar signing bonus, I would consider working for Hitler. Ultimately, I would turn it down, but I'd at least consider it, maybe even justify that I could take the money and be the bumbling buffoon of the Third Reich, screwing up things with hilarious antics, but even then, I couldn't take the risk that one of my stupid ideas would end up being brilliant and lead to a whole lot of bad things. Still, you have to consider that sort of offer. Harvey told him to find job advice, and he ended up going to a fantasy baseball nerd instead. Mike, winning your league is not as important as finding a new job (But if you're reading this, does he think that the Cardinals can turn around Justin Masterson? I'm asking for a friend who needs pitching help). Had he not been taking life advice from a poor man's Matthew Berry, he probably wouldn't have had his heart broken. Harvey gave Mike level-headed advice, but since Harvey's fantasy credentials are shaky, at best (He drafted Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, come on), Mike doesn't feel it necessary to listen to him.

12. Amy - Mike spent about three seconds concerned for her well-being, so that moment will likely go down as the most significance she has played in his life.

13. Logan Sanders - Fights like an idiot, and I'm not saying fighting is stupid, I'm saying his strategy literally could not have been worse. If you're going to shoot for a takedown, you need to finish that takedown. Mike didn't do any sort of sprawl to prevent it, but Logan just stopped his momentum and hugged Mike's waist like his little buddy. Then he gets hip tossed, which is probably a relief, since Mike easily could have dropped elbows on the back of his head which could have done all sorts of brain scrambling. No wonder Rachel wants nothing to do with him. If he is only taking half shots, what else is he only giving half effort on? FINISH YOUR SHOT.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The 3 Best Signings of the 2014 NBA Offseason

This NBA offseason has been a lot of fun, and that's not only because I am actually happy with what the Bulls were able to do. Just about every team has something to be excited about. I mean, just look at the Heat; they may have lost the finals, but they were able to outbid the Hornets for Josh McRoberts. Still, that move doesn't quite make my list of the best signings. Other signings that will not count are guys that took discounts to stay with their teams, so although Dirk may be the best value in the league, everybody understands that this was a great deal for the Mavs, so there is not much I can add on that one. Let's go to three moves that I really liked this offseason that deserve special praise.

Lance Stephenson
Lance got downgraded by the media, because he was supposed to get overpaid, but then he didn't actually get overpaid. He is barely making half of the annual salary that Gordon Hayward is, and Hayward got an extra year on top of that. Is Hayward twice the player that Stephenson is? No, definitely not. Is he even a better player than Stephenson? That seems like a debate to me, and I would probably side with Stephenson.

If you are worried about him being a head case, let's compare him to another player that had a career year after causing problems many different times, Kyle Lowry. Lowry got $12 million a year and an extra year on his deal. He's about five years older than Stephenson as well. Can you really say that he will outproduce Lance Stephenson? I can't, and that's why I really like the Stephenson deal.

There is definitely risk with Stephenson, but he may just be a goofball who works his ass off when it comes to basketball. Dennis Rodman was far worse than Stephenson on and especially off the court, but when his team needed him, he came through in the clutch and put together a Hall of Fame NBA career. Not bad for a head case.

Pau Gasol
Everybody thinks he was terrible last year, but he actually put up good numbers on a bad team. The versatility that the Bulls gained by putting him in the frontcourt makes them incredibly dangerous this year. Also, he got about the same annual salary as Boris Diaw, and Diaw even got an extra year on his contract. If you can find a person who believes that Boris Diaw is better than Pau Gasol, please introduce them to me, so I can slap some sense into them.

Isaiah Thomas
A little weird since this was a sign and trade, but the trade assets were minimal, and the deal is well worth it. Thomas can tear around the court and create shots. He has questionable defense, but he'll be able to keep up with the Suns style of play. Yes, the Suns already have Goran Dragic and (likely) Eric Bledsoe coming back, but since those guys start together, they can easily find 25 minutes for Thomas to mix and match lineups depending on who they are going up against. Also, Bledsoe hasn't signed a contract yet as a restricted free agent, and Dragic only has one more year left on his contract. Four years and $27 million is great value, especially considering that he is only 25 years old.

Monday, July 28, 2014

LeBron and the Leverage of Superstars

Breaking News: LeBron James signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This is the news that got all of the attention, but his actual contract deserves almost as much attention. LeBron signed a one-year deal with a player option for the second year. The reasoning behind only signing a two-year contract is that the TV deal will run out after that season, and the NBA is due to make A LOT more money. With the players having a 50/50 share of that revenue, the salary cap could be taking a big bump up which would mean that the max salary will get a significant bump. This makes total sense for LeBron, as it gives him the best chance to maximize his earnings.

But that player option for the second year is what fascinates me most. LeBron basically has ensured that he will hold the Cavaliers hostage over the next two years, because it makes sense for them to do everything in their power to bend to LeBron's demands.

LeBron wants Kevin Love, so the Cavaliers are likely to trade Wiggins, Bennett, and whatever else it takes in order to get Kevin Love. But it could extend far beyond that. If he doesn't want to play with Dion Waiters or Tristan Thompson, there is really nothing stopping the Cavs from trading them away in pursuit of someone like Thaddeus Young.

And are we sure that Kyrie Irving is safe? As much as I would love to have a scorching hot take, I'll put it at a medium burn, because he most likely is sticking around. But maybe Chris Paul gets unhappy in LA and wants out. Would it be ridiculous for LeBron to request having Chris Paul as his point guard? He's a better facilitator, and a far better defender. Yes, Kyrie is much better for the future, but LeBron's best years are right now, so I certainly wouldn't blame him for trying to bring in the best current talent to play alongside him.

LeBron is changing what it means to be an elite free agent. He not only gets to pick his destination, but by signing a short contract with a player option, he can choose his teammates to an extent as well. The owners wield most of the power in the NBA, but if elite players insist on player options, they can lock up security, while also being able to leave when it best suits them. You can say that LeBron is a once-in-a-generation talent, and that's true, but this option is probably available for at least the top 10 guys in the league. No team is going to tell Durant, Love, Westbrook, Davis, etc. that they don't want them if they insist on some player options in their max level deal. They will do what is necessary to get them on the team, and at that point, they will do what it takes to keep them happy and opting into the team's plan.

Everybody knows that LeBron is something special on the court, but it's off the court where LeBron's impact is truly changing the game.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Suits Power Rankings - Litt the Hell Up

Last week, the greatest moment ever happened, and the internet rejoiced. This week could not possibly be as momentous, or could it? Well, Suits tweeted this out to the number one fan (and there number two through number 100,000 fan).
Still, it is clear that I matter to the people at Pearson Specter. But this week still had a tough act to follow. The number one guy on this list did his best by screwing over everyone that he saw. It could be the greatest single week performance in Suits history. Let's get to it.

1. Charles Forstman - When Louis was able to nullify the deal for the Wexler shares, Forstman was there to scoop them up. So Harvey tried to come in his office like a big swinging dick with a fancy car and some leverage, but Forstman had already taken his leverage, and Harvey was so flustered that he left the keys to his car. Harvey probably had to walk home after their meeting to avoid the embarrassment of going back upstairs.

But that's all great for his new buddy, Mike Ross, right? NOPE, because Forstman plays by his own rules, so he sold all of his shares to Louis, mostly because he loves screwing people over.

So this is good for Louis, right? NOPE. Forstman knows that Pearson Specter are being investigated by the SEC, so he sets up a shady deal to get them in trouble, so the hammer is about to fall so hard on Louis.

Well, at least Jonathan Sidwell came out unscathed? Haha, nope on that one too. He told Sidwell that Mike was ready to screw him over in order to make the deal, so Sidwell lost a friend and had to fire Mike. So, yes, that does mean that Forstman double screwed over Mike Ross. I would not be surprised if Forstman sends Mike a video of him banging Rachel just to hammer home the point of how much he doesn't give a shit.

2. Sean Cahill - Cahill brings in Logan Sanders just so he can bust Harvey's balls. Days are pretty slow at the SEC, so he likes to pull these pranks to help pass the time.

3. Louis Litt - Louis is in a good mood, and that means personalized mugs for everyone. They are personalized with his own slogan, but that's still personalized. There is nobody better than him at finding flaws in legal documents. Unfortunately, he's also the best at messing up Harvey's world. I've seen less shitting on people in German Scat Films than Harvey has done to Louis this season. Louis has basically turned into Harold, and if Pearson Specter needed a Harold, they should really just get Harold. So how is Louis still this high? Well, he got the deal done, and Harvey forgave him for everything and even said that Forstman got Litt the Hell Up. A reasonable person could say that he broke laws in order to close the deal, but that hasn't come back to haunt him yet, and since nobody has ever gotten away with the most minor mistake (outside of Mike Ross not having a law degree), Louis is probably due for some good luck. I doubt we even revisit this little snafu in the future.

4. Jessica Pearson - Jessica puts the hammer down on Harvey to end the big deal. Then she goes behind her bangpiece's back to have Louis clean up his mess. I know Louis gets shit on a lot, but I really hope that Jessica doesn't decide that he should clean up Jeff Malone's messes in the bedroom.

5. Jonathan Sidwell - Sidwell is a tough boss, but he's a fair boss. He might be the most honorable guy in investment banking history, as he just wants to trust people, but Mike tried to screw him over, and he had no choice but to fire him. Since he likes smart people who think outside of the box, he may have to stretch his search from coast to coast to find a replacement. Luckily, there is not one, but two people that would be perfect for the job.

6. Logan Sanders - Logan has mad game, and he's got power over Rachel. Logan does his deals face-to-face, especially when dealing with the current boyfriend of a love interest. This obviously backfires for him as he loses his lawyer, but Louis comes in to save the deal and get Gillis Industries for him. Still, Harvey did try to drop him as a client so he could represent Mike. I can't imagine Logan is going to be too keen on sticking around unless he's sticking it to an associate.

7. Rachel Zane - Has a sad cab ride and keeps notes from ex-boyfriends. She also reminisces about the old times where she was a sexy little scamp up to nothing but mischief. Then she makes out with her ex-boyfriend to pull off the bad girlfriend trifecta (there are probably worse trifectas out there for girlfriends, but this is still bad). Rachel is the worst at cheating as she immediately tells the first person she runs into. She also gets into Mike's head, ruins the buyout deal, and then Mike loses his job. Next week, she will dump Mike and tell him that she poisoned his Grandma. WHOOPSIES.

8. Donna Paulsen - She gives Harvey bad news and then gets bad news out of Rachel. She gave Rachel advice, but she wasn't specific enough, so Rachel screws it up. She should have known better. If you tell Rachel to pick up some Chinese food, she'll be back in a week after a trip to China. You have to tell her to just call the delivery place down the street or she will take the path of most resistance.

9. Harvey Specter - Harvey is the prettiest girl at the dance, and he's got Mike and Logan fighting for his love, but he didn't let them profess their love enough and just chose Mike, which seems silly. Also, he got totally owned by Charles Forstman, and that owning could continue for weeks. Let's just hope it wasn't raining when he was walking home after forgetting his keys.

10. Katrina Bennett - Just doing some filing in the library. Another exciting Thursday night for Katrina.

11. Jeff Malone - He is confident in his skills, and he refuses to look over his work. He has good reason to be as he is better than 99% of all lawyers. Unfortunately, that may make him the worst lawyer at Pearson Specter. His deal for shares is null and void, so let's hope that doesn't happen to his romantic deal with Jessica.

12. Amy - Does not know how to do dress professionally, may lose her job by association.

13. Mike Ross - Mike felt really good early on. It looked like he was finally going to close on the Gillis Industries purchase. But he let his woman convince him to stick it to Logan Sanders, and since he didn't close the deal right then and there, he ended up losing everything. He lost the deal, he lost his job, and his girlfriend is making out with other dudes, so he may want to tell her to get lost too. It's not a great time to be Mike Ross.

14. Walter Gillis - Has anyone even told him that he lost his company? 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reviewing the Bulls 2014 Offseason

The Bulls are one of the most interesting teams in the NBA. These past two years they have been good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to make it out of the first round. Still, Bulls fans have dreams of them competing for the championship in this upcoming season. These dreams were especially strong as they potentially had a lot of money to sign an impact free agent to add to the roster. Let's look at what went down, and just as important, what didn't go down and try to determine whether this offseason was a success.

First off, let's look at the draft. The Bulls had their own first round pick as well as Charlotte's, so they had a good shot of adding not one but two impact players. Still, Thibodeau has not been one to give rookies a lot of minutes, so a great impact for their rookie year would be tough to expect. On draft night, the Bulls turned two assets into one better asset when they traded the two picks for a slightly higher one in order to select Doug McDermott from Creighton. Many people thought they gave up too much to get McDermott, but if that is the player they really wanted, then it makes sense to do what is necessary to get him. There are only five guys on the floor, so getting one that you really like is a smart move. Also, one very underrated aspect of the Bulls front office is doing a very good job of acquiring talent through the draft. Taj, Joakim, and Jimmy Butler were all picks that didn't get them much acclaim but have worked out very well for the team.

Before the free agency period began, the Bulls were involved in three credible rumors, two of which were good, and one of which was terrifying. The good was a possibility of trading for Kevin Love or signing Carmelo Anthony. The bad was that the Bulls would just keep Carlos Boozer and do nothing. That last one had me waking up in cold sweats. Let's attack them one by one.

This first one is still a possibility, but I don't really think the Bulls have what it takes to get Love at this point. They could trade Taj, Mirotic, one of their wings (Snell, who looked much improved in Summer League, McDermott, or Butler) and a couple first round picks. If I were Minnesota, I'd definitely take the lottery tickets of Wiggins and Bennett, but maybe they really love Mirotic. Still, this is very doubtful, and I'm okay with that.

Signing Carmelo Anthony did not happen and looking back had very little chance of happening. The Bulls simply didn't clear enough cap space to make a competitive offer. I think Carmelo would have happily gone to the Bulls had they been able to keep the roster in place and make the same offer the Knicks made. I think it was a strong possibility that they could have gotten them had they made the same offer the Lakers made as well, but it was not meant to be. We blame athletes like Carmelo for taking the money, but basketball is only going to last the next few years, and even on a good team, it's really hard to win a championship. I can't really blame the guy for staying in New York and hoping that Phil Jackson can luck into some game changing talents through free agency and the draft.

Finally, the last one did not come to fruition. Once the Bulls signed anybody, it was pretty clear that Boozer would no longer be with the team. Unlike most Bulls fans, I do not have animosity towards Boozer, as he was a fine player for the Bulls. He did not live up to his contract; he was not as good as Taj Gibson, but he still played hard. Still, he wore out his welcome, and it was pretty clear that the Bulls could not bring him back. I wish him luck as part of the new Big 3 with Jeremy Lin and Swaggy P.

But let's get back to what the Bulls actually did, from least exciting to most exciting:

Kirk Hinrich is back. Kirk Hinrich will always be back.

Nikola Mirotic is finally coming over to the United States. In my fantasies, he's a better version of Dirk Nowitzki. In reality, he should be a good offensive weapon, but the defense will likely leave something to be desired. He will be an interesting piece, and he can definitely step in right away to stretch defenses and cause matchup problems, especially when he is playing against second units.

The most exciting move was Pau Gasol. I love Pau. You love Pau. We all love Pau. Health is a concern, but when he was healthy, he was pretty damn good still. He nearly averaged a double-double, so having that as a backup big is a pretty nice improvement over Nazr Mohammed. And, like Mirotic, he will playing a lot of minutes against backups, which means he can cause serious issues against bench units. The Bulls will actually have scoring options on the floor for all 48 minutes of the game. Pau turned down offers for more money, so overall, this is just great news for the Bulls.

Finally, the Summer League happened. Doug McDermott was the only rookie to make the All Summer League first team, and you could make the argument that last year's first round pick, Tony Snell, played even better. This solidifies the bench for the Bulls. The starters still project to be Noah, Gibson, Dunleavy, Butler, and Rose with Gasol, Mirotic, McDermott, Snell, and Hinrich coming off the bench. I would definitely like to see Thibodeau be more willing to mix and match the big guys, as Mirotic could use a guy like Noah to protect him on defense, while Gibson can do the heavy work on defense with Gasol in at Center.

So that wraps it up. The Bulls have convinced me, yet again, that they are going to be the dominant force in the East. If Derrick Rose stays healthy (his stats may not have been great during his comeback last year, but a lot of that was just figuring out his touch around the rim as the explosiveness was still there), they are the favorites to win the East, and I don't see why they can't compete with the top teams in the West.

It may not be the Jordan years, but it's still a good time to be a Bulls fan.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My WWE Battleground Experience

So it was date night on Sunday, and I did the most romantic thing I could think of, getting my wife and I tickets to WWE Battleground. We shared a Mountain Dew beforehand, because we needed that childhood sugar boost in order to truly enjoy the evening. It also helped complete my transition into the 12-year-old that I become when watching professional wrestling. My seats were right by the preshow broadcast table. The most interesting part about that is obviously that Renee Young was constantly giving me looks despite my wife being right there. Get a hold of yourself, Renee. The best part though was Alex Riley refusing to acknowledge any fans calling his name, because he knew that the second he did, they were going to talk shit to him. Poor Alex Riley also got to his position 15 minutes before anyone else would join him. But let's look at this card match by match.

Fandango vs. Adam Rose was uneventful. My wife (who will be in the room while wrestling is on but rarely pays attention) made a good point in that everything around the Adam Rose is really fun. Unfortunately, she doesn't really care for Adam Rose. I have to agree. I want to cheer it, because the group is fun, but Adam Rose is not anybody that I care about.

For some reason they put on the main event second with Naomi taking on Cameron. It was bad. Yep, that's all for that.

The main card started off with BY FAR the best match of the night. The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family was awesome in every conceivable way. I screamed like a child throughout this match, as that third fall was insane. I thought the match was over at least eight times, and it got by far the biggest crowd reaction of the night. That match alone was worth the price of admission, which is good, because the other matches did not offer much.

Next up was AJ vs. Paige, and they got nothing out of the crowd. They were fine, but this crowd was only really into the tag match and the main event. Otherwise, it was dead in the arena. 

Then there was Swagger and Rusev, which was a little anti-climactic with the countout, but it was a fine match. Still, Swagger could have just been dazed from hitting the steel pole as opposed to being unconscious for the next hour.

You know what this card could have used? An exciting match between two young guys who just flat out go in the ring. Luckily, there was a match scheduled between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Unluckily, they cancelled the match. This was by far the biggest disappointment of the night.

Jericho vs. Wyatt was almost there in so many ways. It was almost a good match, but they couldn't quite find the right chemistry in the ring. The finisher came a little too easy. Overall, it was fine, but it could have been so much more.

It is impossible for battle royals to not be entertaining, and this one delivered. The Kofi spot was really cool, and everything Cesaro did was awesome, especially putting over Heath Slater. But as great as all of those things were, the best thing Cesaro did was during the entrances. He was just casually walking around the apron, and out of nowhere, he gives Big E a shove from behind. There was no provocation that caused it; he just did it, because that's what heels do. God Bless Cesaro. 

But yeah, it sucked knowing that Dolph was going to eliminate Sheamus only to be eliminated by The Miz immediately after. The crowd didn't even pop when Ziggler knocked him out, as everyone knew what was about to happen. 

The main event happened. Another okay effort with a stupid predictable ending. It could have used a whole lot more Brock Lesnar. 

So the tag match was amazing, and the battle royal was fun. Everything else was pretty forgettable, and still, it was a worthwhile experience. Live WWE events are fun to go to, and my wife said she would definitely go the next time that they were in town. I love her so much, almost as much as that Usos/Wyatt tag match.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Suits Power Rankings - Pound of Flesh

Last week, I made a bunch of references to Lorenzo Lamas in my review. I doubted that they would ever make a reference cooler than the man who played Reno Raines. The Lorenzo Lamas reference is equivalent to a unicycle with a flat tire; the reference they made this week is a 2007 Volvo S60. Yeah, they went and put on maybe the best episode ever. I seriously cannot wait to get to the rankings. Here is a link to last week's. Now onto the 60 minutes that may have changed my entire life.

1. Harvey Specter - Harvey started off a little slow, as Cahill actually held his ground. Then he went on a murdering spree. His victims:

Mike, who thought he could trick Harvey, but Harvey saw right through his plan, and sent him back to his fancy office with a frown on his face and his tail between his legs.
Jeff, who tried to justify not doing shady things, because that's not why he was brought on, but Harvey quickly informed him that he will do whatever Harvey says and he will like it.
Rachel, who wanted a day off, and Harvey made her feel as if she was asking for a private plane and a billion dollar salary. It took about 45 seconds to have her begging to work more hours.
Mike, again, when he tried to confront Harvey in the bathroom, but then realized Harvey had already thought all of Mike's plans through and annihilated his chances of winning.
Mike, a third time, when he questions Harvey about why he is at the hospital, and quickly replies that he would have visited Mike in the hospital if he ever worked hard enough to pass out.

Yes, he did run into some problems when Jessica went behind his back to buy up those shares, but that just gave him more time to show his heart of gold by taking blame and showing sincere regret to Mike followed by going to see Donna's play and making her feel like the belle of the ball.

2. Sean Cahill - While Harvey is busy on his murder spree, Cahill goes toe-to-toe with Harvey, TWICE, and gets the upper hand both times. That was amazing, but it was a pithy little one liner that truly changed the game. I watched it a half dozen times, as I had to make sure it was real and not some sort weird Suits dream (this happens more than I would like to admit). He says, and I quote, "Which one of you is Frankiln, and which one of you is Bash?" He called Mike and Harvey "Franklin and Bash." HE CALLED THEM FRANKLIN AND BASH. HE CALLED THEM FRANKLIN AND BASH. I'm done. This is the pinnacle of, they couldn't...could they? No, it would never happen...but maybe...I mean, it would almost be irresponsible to type it out...but it'd be silly not to throw it out there. Okay, I guess I have to throw it out there. PEARSON SPECTER FRANKLIN AND BASH. It's got a nice ring to it.

3. Jessica Pearson - The one person who gets the upperhand on Harvey as she doesn't care about honesty, honor, or even employees in the hospital, she cares about the client making some scrilla. That's some hardcore lawyerin' right there.

4. Donna Paulsen - Donna has a personal life, which obviously pumps me up, as I am a huge advocate for her having a life that does not revolve around others. I am incredibly happy that she has a huge part in a Shakespeare play. She finally shows some vulnerability, and she played it safe her whole life without pursuing her true dream. Finally, she believes in herself and owns her Shakespearian part. Since Louis helped her memorize her lines, she helps him overcome his stage fright. In the end, she gets a free ride to her final show from Harvey, who takes the time to let her know that she is his number one priority...for one night at least.

5. Louis Marlo Litt - Being a good friend to Donna by helping her memorize her lines. Of course, LML knows all of Willie's plays by heart. Unfortunately, he's never been able to perform because of stage fright. I'm not an expert on stage fright, but isn't, like, THE closest thing to being on a stage, performing as a lawyer in front of a jury? Turns out it is as Louis overcomes his fears and crushes his role. Then he tells Donna that she could be a lawyer, which means that everyone on this show will be a lawyer one day in honor of these power rankings that did not rank non-lawyers when it started. After this and the Franklin and Bash comment, I am 100% positive that the bigwigs over at Suits are reading, so hey guys and gals, sup? I'm ready to join the staff anytime you need me. Also, advanced copies of episodes would be fantastic. Email me at

6. Jonathan Sidwell - Sidwell is a Wall Street hotshot with a heart of gold, and everybody is happy that Mike will not have to screw him over in order to get his deal done.

7. Jeff Malone - Has to do some shady stuff to set up a trust for Logan Sanders, which makes him uncomfortable. When he complains about being shady, he gets treated like a bitch by Harvey. But he comes up with a perfect plan to get Logan Sanders the shares, so now he finally tops Karl as Harvey's favorite Malone.

8. Charles Forstman - Forstman respects Mike's crazy little plan and gives him the money without Mike having to screw over Sidwell. The gray fox never ceases to surprise.

9. Logan Sanders - Gave Rachel flowers, but still wanted her to get back to work. I respect that.

10. Mike Ross - He turned off his girlfriend's alarm like that is a good thing, only because he didn't want her to go to the hospital. What a jerk. Then he gets repeatedly owned by Harvey, but everything turned around for him in the end as Forstman is giving Sidwell the money, so Mike does not have to screw over the nicest Wall Street hotshot in history, and he has the money to crush Harvey. Still, that's all future success. This week was pretty rough overall.

11. Danyel H - Did not make the Suits Live leaderboard last week but came back to claim the #2 spot this week. The only question is how many of the answers are coming from Danyel and how many are coming from her cat.

12. Amy - She existed. She tries to talk sense into Mike, but he barely listens; I barely listen. She seems more of a Michael Bay prop actress as opposed to a Shakespeare thespian.

13. Rachel Zane - Is stuck between two dudes. She's a little too obsessed with law school considering she is already guaranteed a job when she graduates. C's get degrees, baby girl. This is not an aim for the stars, and you'll land on the moon situation. This is more of a situation where if you want to fly, buy a kite. Unfortunately, her rocket ship burns up at liftoff, and her lazy ass is in the hospital. Worst part about being in the hospital is she missed out on a steak dinner. If my main squeeze went out for steaks while I was in the hospital, it would lead to divorce. I would be inconsolable.

14. My Smugness When I Heard Dark Pool - I read Michael Lewis's Flash Boys, which discussed all things about the new stock market and dark pools were a huge part. I felt like the hottest of hot shots when I heard the term. Seriously, my smugness was at epic proportions. I was sniffing my own farts for the next six hours. Is that paprika I smell? Why yes, yes it is.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Suits Power Rankings - Leveraged

Suits really needs to stop taking weeks off. I'm not just talking about in the middle of a season either; I mean, they need to stop taking breaks. 52 episodes, is that so much to ask? The WWE has at least eight hours of content each week, and between all of that, nearly an hour is good. Suits just needs a really good editing staff to cut down the eight hours of crap into one great hour of television every single week of our lives. Come on, Suits Recruits, together we can do this. Where did we leave off last? No clue, it was TWO WEEKS ago. I faintly remember Mike and Harvey going against each other, Louis being lonely, and their being the hottest of sexual tensions between Jessica and Jeff Malone. What could be hotter than that? One thing: Lorenzo Lamas, who is the true number one of this week's power rankings. For actual people on the show, continue reading.

1. Sean Cahill - All he did was take people out like he was Bobby Sixkiller. Totally punked out both Jessica and Jeff. His smugness is so magnificent. Even when it appeared that he was losing, he still couldn't keep the smile off his face. And then, it turned out that he totally played Jessica and Jeff and they did exactly what he wanted. Eric Woodall is not a worthy competitor, but Sean Cahill has SEC SPEED, which can outmaneuver just about anyone in New York, which is clearly a Rutgers town.

2. Donna Paulsen - Finally, let's give credit where credit is due. This is what we need from Donna. She barges into Mike's office and starts busting skulls. She gets what she wants and moves on. Then she puts Harvey in his place, so he will make amends with Louis. She didn't take gruff, she didn't worry about gossip, she just got shit done. It was reminiscent of Sergeant Bobby Chase in Terminal Justice. Excellent work, Donna.

3. Harvey Specter - Drives an hour out of his way just to talk shit to Eric Woodall. Surpsingly, that did not get him the spot to head up the case against the SEC. He must have forgotten to tell them that he gave Woodall yesterday's paper, making it virtually useless. For his real case, things were also not going well, as he found out that Louis had never watched the show Renegade. As a fan of the classics, this is an unforgivable offense in his book, , and he was just using Louis's law mishaps to throw him off the scent of his Reno Raines fan club.

4. Charles Forstman - He's evil, but Harvey doesn't actually give the details as to why he is evil, so Mike goes into business with him, which will screw over Sidwell. I'm not exactly sure how a single line in a contract can cut out the boss of the guy who is making the deal, because I feel like investment bankers would do that anytime they made a deal, so they could use somebody else's money but keep all the profits, but Forstman must be pretty handy with the legalese. He sees himself as a Vince Black, but I think he will prove to be more of a Marshal "Dutch" Dixon.

5. Jeff Malone - Jeff and I have a lot in common. Everything he does is his own mind. He was nearly fired from his last job, and he has the ability to plow through rejections in order to seduce a woman in power. Still, he fell into a classic lawyer trap, and now he's stuck with his pants around his ankles. That's bad in business, but at least he's taking advantage of that situation in his personal life.

6. Jessica Pearson - She made a lawyer a partner who was about to be fired, whoopsies! Still, she put Harvey in his place, and she is about to have her cake and eat it too with some classic films (Snake Eater and Snake Eater II: The Drug Buster) and a bottle of Boone's Farm.

7. Rachel Zane - She is showing that she is an expert lawyer, despite only being a law student. She can look at cover pages and realize that the deals are no good, but she gives Logan options, and they work all night together to get him prepared for his board meeting. But all that research made things hot and steamy, and those two nearly rekindled their burning flame of love. Still, Rachel was responsible and backed herself out of what could have turned into a sticky situation. So keep on keepin' on, Ms. Zane, you're like a young Cheyenne Phillips.

8. Tony Giannopoulos - Does not know how to repay favors, does know how to give payback though.

9. Logan Sanders - Logan uses the classic plan of seduction where he buries Rachel in work, so that she'll be so turned on that she lets him bury something else. She's starting to wear down, which is good for him, because Logan is a dog with a bone that needs burying.

10. Amy - So that's Mike's Assistant's name? Okay, good to know. Her whole role on this show is to be a poor man's Donna, but if that's the case, give her some individual characteristics. Instead of liking lame things like Broadway shows, make me fall in love with her when she cuts out of work early to go to Beat The Streets or an independent wrestling show. I doubt those are her interests, which means I doubt I will be sad to see her go.

11. Jonathan Sidwell - Sidwell may be the most honorable guy in this bubble. He likes money; that is why he wanted his own company. When people make him money, he's happy. When people lose him money, he's sad. His motivations never change, so at least you know what you are getting from him. Unfortunately, honor does not take you very far in these power rankings, and he's currently being duped, which is bad news for him.

12. Mike Ross - Mike is going to acquire Gillis Industries, or he's done as an investment banker. Instead of crunching numbers, he's using Photoshop, which is really the way that gets business done these days. The plan works almost every time, but somehow Tony Giannopoulos was able to resist a business plan that had his head photoshopped onto Scrooge McDuck's body jumping into a pool of gold coins. Luckily, that same plan did work when he sent it to Charles Forstman. Unfortunately, Forstman is evil, and despite Harvey warning him not to, he made a deal with him, and now his future is tied to Forstman.

 13. Eric Woodall - He's just a pud who is cutting out yesterday's coupons in a tomorrow world.

14. Louis Marlo Litt - Louis is turning down J-Date requests left and right, because he's still in love with Sheila. Unfortunately, that love is blinding him to his job, as he keeps messing things up for the world's best best friend, Harvey Specter. He is left in a heaping pile of emotions, while Harvey probably goes out and revenge bangs Sheila. Louis got Litt Up. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Guy's Review of Every "Step Up" Movie

Step Up seems like a lame movie series that is not made for guys, but I cannot imagine a girl liking these movies half as much as a guy would. It is filled with hot chicks and action sequences, because they don't like to let little things like "coherent plots" get in their way of making a great film. The beauty of these movies is that I watched the first four in a weekend and outside of two characters (Tyler Gage and Moose), I have no idea if any of these people are supposed to be the same person from different movies. The main characters in every movie are Handsome Dude and Hot Brunette. I'm not even sure if they actually have names. I love it, so I feel I need to explain all of the greatness that these movies bring so you can be ready for the fifth installment that comes out on August 8. Since this is a review for guys, I will compare each film to an installment of the Fast and Furious franchise (Step Up is obviously inferior, but it gives you an idea of what you are getting into with each movie, because every red-blooded American has seen all of the Fast and Furious movies).

Step Up - Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
This movie is absolute shit. I can't believe they were able to make a sequel after this pile of garbage. I remember watching the previews for this one and assumed that Step Up movies were awful so I never watched any of them until I came across Step Up 3D (in 2-D). A lot of people mistakenly think this is a quality one because it's got Channing Tatum. It tries to be a real movie, but trust me, it's a giant pile of shit. Just skip to the second one; you won't miss anything.

Step Up 2: Back to the Streets - Fast and Furious 4
This is where they start to figure things out. They are not quite at the level that the following movie will put the series, but they are going in the right direction. The most important change is that they make the transition from classical dance to straight up street dancing. The second most important thing is that this is the movie that introduces us to Moose who is somehow the most important character in this series despite never really being the lead of the movie. He's the glue of the dance crew.
The biggest plot hole is the fact hat this girl does not want to leave Baltimore to go live with her aunt in Texas because all of her friends are in B-More. However, once she gets into the fancy school, all but one of her friends immediately turn their backs on her, so she is left without close friends. So, in the end, she probably should have just moved to Texas.
Still, this movie is almost there. It's got some hilarious street dancing, and they also establish that none of the characters are going to make any sense. Still, it is anchored down by some classical dancing, and they are only dancing for respect. The stakes get progressively higher as these movies go on.

Step Up 3-D - Fast Five
I have already written a whole separate post about this movie, because it's that good. But every time I watch this movie, I think I could easily come up with 2000 new words on it. You know how Fast and the Furious was a semi-realistic movie about racing cars through the first four movies, and then for Fast Five, they just said, "Fuck it," and made it the most awesome thing ever with shit that could never possibly happen in real life. That is basically what happens in Step Up 3-D, except for dancing as opposed to car stunts.

The best exchange of the movie, and a top five exchange in cinematic history:

Cool Guy: You're BFAB.
Moose: What's BFAB?
Cool Guy (casual as fuck): Born From A Boombox

It is very important how casually he says this, and also that he manages to do it with a straight face. It makes me laugh out loud every time I hear it, so it is basically their version of, "Show me how you drive, I'll show you who you are."

One issue is that everyone in this movie is the worst friend ever. Here is how every person treats their supposed best friend.
1. The bad guy in the movie makes his sister infiltrate the rival group, and then exposes her secret to the man she fell in love with.
2. The main girl infiltrated a rival group, gave away their secrets even though she said she cared about them as people. Nobody ever got mad at her for this.
3. The main dude is not innocent. He convinced his best bud (who he had known for about a month), Moose, to skip a test that was worth 25% of his grade, and also convinced him to go to a party and promised he would have him back in time for the party that Moose actually wanted to go to. Moose did not make it in time, because main dude snuck away to make out with main girl for a while.
4. Moose treated his best lady friend horribly as he constantly ignored her throughout the movie, as he only hung out with her when it was convenient for him.
5. Oh, and his best lady friend came up with the idea that her and a friend could be the Olsen Twins, but then Moose showed up, asked her to switch so he could be an Olsen Twin, and she's like, "Okay, I'll screw that girl over," so that girl had to come up with a completely different idea for Halloween. I would feel bad for that girl, but the pattern shows that she was probably a really shitty person to her best friend as well.
6. Finally, the whole dance crew who lives for free where their only responsibilities are to dance and have a good time, get super pissed at the guy when his house and club gets repossessed, because it means they have no place to live. If everyone would have just gotten job, he wouldn't have lost the place, but he was housing a bunch of ungrateful freeloaders. Seriously, this is the worst display of friendship in cinematic history.

But the reason I have written so much about this one is because I fucking love this movie. I laugh, I cheer, I even cover my mouth and go "Oh no he didn't!" If you only watch one Step Up movie, make it this one.

Step Up: Revolution - Fast Six
Where Step Up 3-D (available in 2-D) had to save a dance club/domicile for dancers who refuse to get day jobs, Step Up: Revolution takes it one step further where they must save an entire neighborhood. There are not only houses at stake, but a bar that will give you free drinks if you dance with their unattractive relatives. It is a very important place for poor people who want to live on the ocean in Miami.

Sandy Cohen is a real estate developer and father of the main girl, so he is the one trying to take away their neighborhood. His daughter tries to tell him to pick a different spot, but Sandy Cohen tells his daughter that he doesn't tell her how to dance, so she shouldn't tell him how to run his business. It's a sick burn that puts her in her place.

For the rest of the plot, they learn that it is not enough to dance to get noticed, they need to dance to make a difference. Once they learn that, they are truly unstoppable.

I think my favorite part is where the crew finds out that the new girl in the crew is actually the daughter of the developer that is trying to take their homes. One guy in the crew is like, "Should we talk to Handsome Dude about this?" And the other guy is like, "No, I have a better idea." His idea was to break into a fancy party, cause a shit ton of damage, and make the guests feel like they were about to be murdered. Nobody questioned this plan.

As great as that is, the most hilarious part is when Sandy Cohen tells his daughter, "Don't worry honey, soon we can leave here (Miami) and get back to Cleveland." Yep, Cleveland. You know what the best thing about Cleveland is? I don't have to live there. But it's pretty clear this movie was written by a Cavs fan.

So why write this report now? Two reasons. First off, ABC Family had a marathon of the first three on last weekend, and the fourth one was on demand from one of the premium channels, so I was able to knock them all out within a week. But more importantly, the fifth installment, Step Up: All In comes out August 8, just one month away, and I wanted to give everyone ample time to get amped up for this movie, as it includes All-Stars from the previous movies all coming together for what could be the most epic dance battle yet. Will I see it in the theaters? Probably not...but maybe, and that is saying quite a lot for a dance movie.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

What the Jeff Samardzija Trade Means for the Cubs Future

Two of the most talked about trade assets this season were Cubs pitchers Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. People speculated what each might bring in a trade to benefit the Cubs' future. Last night, it came as a surprise that the Cubs packaged both of them together in a deal with the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics definitely made it worth their while as they sent over Addison Russell, Dan Straily, Billy McKinney, and a player to be named later.

The player to be named later is supposedly not consequential, so let's not worry about that. The next player to focus on is Billy McKinney who was aggressively pushed to High-A this year and has struggled but has also shown promise. His strikeout and walk ratios look good, and his biggest issue is that very few of his batted balls have fallen in for hits in what is usually a very friendly hitter's league. He was a first round pick in 2013, so he has the potential to be a starting left fielder.

Next up, there is Dan Straily. I'm way too excited about this aspect of the trade, because the Cubs' Pitching Coach, Chris Bosio, has done amazing things with a similar player in Jake Arrieta. Do I expect Straily to match what Arrieta has done this year? No, and he probably won't even come close, but that is more because Arrieta is off-the-chain amazing. Still, I think he could turn into a mid-rotation starter, and I think his worst case scenario is a back-end starter. It's not amazing, but that is a nice piece to get in this deal, as I wouldn't be surprised if he put up better numbers than Jason Hammel for the rest of this season.

Finally, there is uber-prospect, Addison Russell. With a talent like this, nobody will blame you as your heart goes pitter-patter at just the sound of his name. He's a good defensive shortstop with a bat that could make him a generational talent. This is the reason they packaged their pitchers together, as I did not expect the Cubs to get a guy at this level by trading just Samardzija. Still, there is one giant red flag with Russell, and that is that he has missed most of the season after tearing his hamstring. When I think hamstring injuries, I immediately think of Jose Reyes, and that is why this sort of injury terrifies me. It could turn out to be a one-time injury where he fully recovers and sees no other issues, but I can just about guarantee that the Oakland Athletics front office were concerned about its long-term impact, and that was part of the reason they were willing to part with a prospect who has the potential to be a generational talent. 

So what does it mean for the Cubs future? Well, the most likely situation is that it gives the team depth in case some of these prospects don't pan out. Although Alcantara, Almora, Baez, Bryant, Russell, Schwarber, and Soler all have potential to be good-to-great major leaguers, inevitably, some of them are not going to reach their potential. 

If they do all make it, that's a great problem to have. It's not impossible to imagine this offense by 2016:
C - Schwarber
1B - Rizzo
2B - Alcantara
3B - Baez
SS - Russell
LF - Soler
CF - Almora
RF - Bryant

That is the rosiest of outlooks imaginable, but even if only half of those guys live up to their potential, and they put average guys at other positions, it could still be a pretty potent offense. The Cubs front office has done a phenomenal job of acquiring talent to build towards the future. It has not been a quick process, but it has been a thorough one as the Cubs minor league system is absolutely loaded. 

That still leaves the pitching side of things where Cubs fans seem to be worried, but this is an area where the Cubs front office has shown an aptitude for finding hidden gems for cheap. Even with these gems, it still only led to about a #3 starter in cases like Travis Wood, Jason Hammel, and Scott Feldman, which although nice, is not ideal in the playoffs. But the Cubs also acquired Jake Arrieta who has pitched like a legitimate ace this season, and it changes the whole outlook of the future of the rotation with a true #1 leading the way. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Chris Bosio has done a great job as the pitching coach, and if he can keep doing what he's been doing, finding quality pitching might be easier than expected.

And the Cubs also have a trade asset that I have not even mentioned yet in Starlin Castro. After a terrible year last year, he is back to fulfilling his initial promise. Worst case is they need to keep him as prospects don't pan out, but best case is that these prospects do pan out, and the Cubs can get a high end pitching prospect to add to their farm system. It seems unlikely that the Cubs would trade him this season unless they really don't believe in him to continue his performance, because he's signed through 2019, so he would still have incredible trade value two years from now. Javier Baez has not done enough to bump Castro the the outfield, so there is really absolutely no reason for the Cubs to rush to get rid of him unless they get an offer that is too good to pass up.

The Cubs from these last couple years have been the best bad team in baseball. Their record is awful, which definitely makes them a bad team, but their run differential shows that they are far closer to average than to the basement of MLB. Replacing the black holes on offense, filling in the rotation, and strengthening the bullpen don't require Herculean feats, it requires manageable tweaks, and the Cubs have more than enough talent to make that a reality. 

The future is bright, but it is also not imminent. Even with many of their top prospects due to debut in Chicago in the next year, there are going to be growing pains. 2015 is the year to expect a step forward where they can play around .500 ball. But 2016 is the year to expect the leap into being a contender. Be sure to get your shades on by then, because the future will only get brighter from there. 

I can't believe I'm saying this, but, it's good to be a Cubs fan.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Where Advanced Stats Fail

I am a stat nerd. I look up advanced statistics and use them to figure out what players I want the Cubs to target, and more importantly, which players I want to target for fantasy baseball. I am not smart enough to do the math behind most of them, but I am a huge proponent of using them for a greater understanding of player performance. However, I do feel like advanced stats fail when it comes to stating how a player is currently performing.

There are two examples I want to use to illustrate my point. I was listening to the Effectively Wild podcast, and they made the statement that Brandon McCarthy has been pitching very well this year. A listener called them out, and they had to defend their position. He's been striking out a decent amount of guys, and has been walking very few. His big issues is that a lot of balls in play have fallen for hits, and when guys get on base, they have been scoring at a very high rate. Those things tend to regress towards the mean, so you would expect McCarthy to improve later on this season. Honestly, I think that you can expect for him to improve later on this season, but that still doesn't mean he has been pitching well this year. His job to prevent runs, and he has not done that, as he has an ERA over 5.00. It is partially due to bad luck, but those balls are actually falling in for hits, and it is only a hypothetical that they will stop falling in for hits. Results matter, and although advanced stats are great for predicting the future, they sometimes lose sight of real things that have actually happened.

In 2011, Justin Verlander won the Cy Young award. However, I think a teammate of his may have had just as strong of a case. That teammate? Jose Valverde. I'll wait for your laughter to die down, but just here me out. Jose Valverde, by all rational thinking, had a lot of luck in 2011, but luck doesn't matter. What really matters is that he came in for 49 save chances, and he completed 49 save chances. He did not have a single blown save throughout the entire season. Now the statistically inclined will argue the point that he didn't strike out a batter an inning, allowed a lot of walks, and even with all of that his 2.24 ERA was good but not anything great for a closer. These are all completely true, but at the same time, a closer's role is very specific: Come in and protect a lead in the final inning. He was perfect in that role. Hypothetically, he shouldn't have been, but the actual results were him being a perfect closer. It doesn't matter that everybody knew he wouldn't be as good the next season, for the 2011 season, he was the best closer in the game.

So the question becomes, what would you rather have? A workhorse starting pitcher that will give you 250 innings, with an ERA in the mid 2s and tons of strikeouts, or a guy that when you put him out there in the 9th inning with a lead, he will protect that lead. Ultimately, the latter pitcher could give up zero runs with a one run lead, one run with a two run lead, two runs with a three run lead, and so on and so forth. You're probably going to have a guy with an ERA in the 5-6 range, but on executing his job, he would be perfect. Your team would win every game that it had a lead in the final inning. I'm not smart enough to actually figure out what would be more valuable, and I'm still leaning dominant starter, but for actually providing wins for the team, it's got to be pretty close, right?

And that's where advanced stats fail. Don't get me wrong; I love using them, but sometimes it is beneficial to just dumb it down and look at archaic categories like ERA and Saves. Those things actually happened, and what actually happened is far more valuable than what should have happened.

Just don't bet your future on it.