Rose Injury May be “Break” that Celtics Need

Derrick Rose (Source: Dennis Wierzbicki, US Presswire)

 The NBA Playoffs commenced yesterday afternoon and the biggest early news broke in the very first game between the Bulls and 76ers in Chicago.  The Bulls All-Star point guard and 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose tore his ACL toward the end of a lopsided Chicago victory.  While this is unfortunate for the Bulls and sad for one of the game’s brightest young stars, Chicago’s bad luck may translate directly into shamrocks for the league’s most veteran team – the 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics. 

Paul Pierce (Source: zimbio.com)

 Unlike the NHL Playoffs that reseed its participants between each round, the NBA Playoffs are a bracket.  Once the original seeds are determined, your next opponent shows up on the next line just like in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  In other words, the winner of Seeds 1/8 automatically plays the winner of Seeds 4/5 regardless of what happens in the first round matchups between Seeds 2/7 and Seeds 3/6. 

What’s the point?  If the Celtics can win their first round series against Atlanta, then they will most likely face wounded Chicago in the second round.  The NBA typically awards its MVP Award the most fairly out of all the major sports.  The NBA attempts to crown its MVP by answering the question: “Which player most affects his team’s ability to win baskeball games?”  In the 2010-11 NBA season, Derrick Rose was the answer. 

In January at Washington DC’s Verizon Center, I had the pleasure of watching Rose disect the Wizards.  It’s not only his ability to score, but also Rose’s lane penetration and passing that fuels the Chicago offense.  On Day One of the playoffs, most NBA analysts concurred that the Bulls postseason fate is doomed without DRose. 

The Celtics, on the other hand, seem to be peaking at the right time, like in 2010, when Boston reached the seventh game of the NBA Finals.  Although Ray Allen is banged up and his participation in the early stages of the Altanta series is questionable, Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been successful in incorporating young Avery Bradley into the Boston offense.  Bradley takes pressure away from Rajon Rondo, allowing the All-Star to concentrate on the strengh of his game – distributing the basketball. 

If the Celtics defeat the Hawks (who it should be noted have homecourt), they should be able to also beat Chicago in no more than six games.  That result would most likely pit Boston against the defending Eastern Conference Champions – LeBron James and the Miami Heat.  The Celtics have OWNED the Heat in 2011-12.  In the Celtic wins over Miami, Boston has presented itself as a clearly superior team. 

So the question is: Where is the end of the road for this veteran band of Boston Celtic warriors?  I think that the health of the Big Three is the answer.

Votes Have Been Tallied – World’s Top Attraction Announcement!!!

On April 17, 2011, Jen and I celebrated her birthday by walking across The Golden Gate Bridge.  This occasion inspired us to form a list of our Top 20 World Attractions.  We developed a three-tiered triangular ranking system with Tier 3 on the bottom (Attractions 11-20), Tier 2 in the middle (Attractions 6-10), and Tier 1 on the top (Attractions 1-5). 

Jen and I published our rankings of Attractions 6-20 on March 11th, and then asked for your help in selecting the Top World Attraction.  So we left Attractions 1-5 (Tier 1) unranked.           

 

ErnBlog.com is proud to announce that all votes have been tabulated and therefore, without further suspense … the World’s Top Attraction is:  

1. Statue of Liberty (New York City, USA):

 USA!  USA!  USA!

THE REST OF TIER 1:

2. The Pyramids and Sphinx Complex (Cairo, Egypt): 

 

3. Eiffel Tower (Paris, France):

Ooh, la, laaah!

 

4. Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, USA):

Who are those beautiful people?

5. Westminster Abbey/Big Ben (London, England):

Ah, can hear that Olympic music right now.

TIER 2:

 6. St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City)

No, not in Rome, not even Italy.  Vatican City is its own country.  You need to show your passport and be dressed appropriately on your way in.  Pants and collared shirts for the guys; no skirts above the knees for the ladies.

7. Acropolis (Athens, Greece):

8. Coliseum (Rome, Italy):

9. Taj Majal (Agra, India):

10. Great Wall of China (Badaling, China):

TIER 3:

 11. Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA):

12. Lincoln Memorial (Washington, DC; USA):

13. Louvre (Paris, France):

14. Sydney Harbor / Opera House (Sydney, Australia):

15. Wailing Wall (Jerusalem, Israel):

16. Great Barrier Reef (Queensland, Australia):

17. Walt Disney World (Orlando, USA):

 

18. Tower Bridge (London, England):

19. St. Basil’s Cathedral (Moscow, Russia):

No, it’s not The Kremlin!

20. Palace of Versailles (France):

For the Record:

Continent Breakdown:

Europe:                9

North America:     5

Asia:                     3

Australia:              2

Africa:                   1

Sorry, South America and Antarctica!  Better luck next time!

National Breakdown:

USA:                     5

France:                 3

England:                2

Australia:               2

Italy:                       1

Vatican City:          1

Greece:                 1

China:                   1

India:                     1

Russia:                 1

Egypt:                   1

Israel:                    1

Visited by Big Ern (7):

St. Peter’s

Coliseum

Golden Gate Bridge

Disney World

Honest Abe

Statue of Liberty

Westminster Abbey/Big Ben

Visited by Ern and Jen (4):

Golden Gate Bridge

Disney World

Honest Abe

Statue of Liberty

 

Number of the Day: 237

Lexington Green (Source: redcoat.org)

My Number of the Day is 237.  Why?  Because it was 237 years ago this morning that British colonists in the Massachusetts town of Lexington finally had enough with excessive taxes, hosting soldiers in their own houses, and worshipping a king 6,000 miles away.  So on a chilly April morning, some overtired New Englanders exchanged a few bitter words.  Back in 1775, there was no Major League Baseball, Marathon, or Dunkin Donuts to soften the harshness.  Back then, the topics were simple and universal: politics, taxes, food, survival.  We don’t know which colonist fired “The Shot Heard Round the World” at a British soldier that morning, but we do know that the effects of that decision altered the history of our planet. 

By the following summer, the American Colonies had declared independence from Great Britain.  By 1789, revolution had spread across the Atlantic into France.  The poor French serfs did not want to “eat cake” leftover from Queen Marie Antoinette’s lavish Versailles parties anymore. 

Some monarchies survived into the twentieth century.  But by the early 1900’s, even the Russian Romanov Dynasty was on the run into extinction.  Today we sugar coat revolution by throwing the Disney DVD “Anastasia” into the Blu-Ray player for the kids to watch while we figure out our tax returns.  Now we get bored watching revolutions transpire on CNN from places like Egypt, Libya, and Syria.  Remember how exciting it was just nine years ago when the statue of Saddam came down with Iraquis celebrating in the background?

Back in 1775, revolution was top secret stuff.  John Adams risked his self-made legal practice on the confidentiality of those late-night Sons of Liberty meetings.  I guess nowadays, revolution is a global phenomenon that “pops up” now and then in third-world nations when oppression of the poor reaches a torrid-enough fever.   

Anyway, the Number of the Day is 237.

Concord's Old North Bridge (Source: planetware.com)

         

 

Here We Go! Baseball Opens with Battle of Aces!

Tigers ace Justin Verlander (Source: zimbio.com)

 All right!  Let’s do this!  Major League Baseball 2012 is here!

Yeah, I know that the season really started last week in Tokyo when the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners split a two-game series.  And, yeah, I know the World Champion Cardinals beat the Marlins in Miami’s brand new stadium last night behind seven-plus stellar innings from Kyle Loshe. 

But, as far a Big Ern’s concerned, the regular season REALLY starts in one hour in Detroit when Jon Lester and the Red Sox visit reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award Winner, Justin Verlander and the remodeled Tigers.  The middle of the the Detroit order is stacked with Miguel Cabrera, newly acquired Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young.  With veteran manager Jimmy Leyland still manning the controls, the Tigers seem poised for a run at the AL Pennant. 

Red Sox ace Jon Lester (Source: redsoxtimes.com)

 The Red Sox are returning from a disappointing 2011 campaign.  As much as their September collapse is fresh in our minds, many of us forget that they started the season with a 2-10 record, including six straight road losses to kick off 2011.  April was as big a problem as September in last season’s Red Sox demise. 
 
This year, Bobby Valentine has returned to managing and he selected the seething volcano of Boston as his new stomping grounds.  Contrary to the friendly, unobtrusive mannerisms of Terry Francona, Valentine is crass and direct.  It is clear that the upper brass wanted more discipline in the clubhouse.  We will see if the more strict Valentine can, as teachers say, “control the classroom” more effectively than his predecessor.   
 
The Red Sox are loaded with talent, especially in the starting pitching department with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz.  This year, former set-up man, Daniel Bard will join the starting rotation.  Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to watch Bard’s debut as a starter in person next week at Toronto’s SkyDome. 
 
Well, that’s all I have for now.  I’m ready.  I hope you are too. 
 
Only two more words from Big Ern: “PLAY BALL!” 

Word of the Day – Entrench

 

Source: topics.nytimes.com

 

So I went to see my friends at Bank of America today to ask about refinancing my home mortgage, which is currently with another bank.  The representative quickly arranged a phone call for me at the bank with a loan officer.  When he typed my last name into his computer, the representative could see that I have a bank account and credit card account with Bank of America.  “If you took out a home mortgage,” observed the rep, “you could become really entrenched with us,” he concluded with a smile.   

My reaction did not share his optimism.  Who wants to become entrenched by a bank, especially one as gargantuan as Bank of America?   

Let’s look at the three Dictionary.com definitions for the word entrench:

en·trench –

   /ɛnˈtrɛntʃ/ Show Spelled[en-trench]

verb (used with object)

1. to place in a position of strength; establish firmly or solidly: safely entrenched behind undeniable facts.
2. to dig trenches for defensive purposes around (oneself, a military position, etc.).
verb (used without object)

3. to encroach; trespass; infringe (usually followed by on  or upon ): to entrench on the domain or rights of another
 
I think that the Bank of America rep was attempting to use Definition 1 with his observation.  However, I interpreted his statement using Definition 3.  And I think that most American loan consumers are more familiar with my perspective of entrenchment.  These consumers better smarten up – because now the banks are actually starting to advertise entrenchment in a positive correlation of “protection”, rather than the financial reality of “infringement”.

Math Moment: Number of the Day

Today’s Math Moment revolves around the Number of the Day.  There is no question that today’s Number is 4 (Four).  Today is the fourth day of the week, the 4th day the month, and also the cuatro month of the year.  

Since the number 4 is such a central part of all of our lives today, it got me thinking about quadrants.  Did you know the year 2012 divided by 4 is 503?  That means that you can take the entire two-millennia AD (Anno Domini) period and divide it almost evenly into four 500-year quadrants, if you will.

As you know, I always like to tie math to history.  So, this obsession with the number 4 got me wondering what the most significant event of each AD quadrant.  So here are my thoughts:

Quadrant 1 (Birth of Jesus Christ – 500):

Emergence of the Catholic Church

Quadrant 2 (501 – 1000):

English Monarchy Begins

Quadrant 3 (1001 – 1500):

Christopher Columbus discovers the Western Hemisphere.

Quadrant 4 (1501 – 2000):

The American Revolution against and Independence from England.

Royal Family Adopts Kappotis-Style Living

Prince William, Prince Harry, and Princess Kate of England (Source: Splash News Online)

We see this more and more nowadays.  In the words of the immortal Chris Farley, “Sometimes brothers just gotta hug!”  Sure I could live in my own house, have enormous bills and plenty of “quiet time”.  But, really, where’s the fun in that?  It’s so much more interesting having my little brothers Eric and Dante around all the time.  And when we acquired Dante’s girlfriend Kristen last summer, the Kappotis Brothers House & Backyard compound secured a spot as one of Greater Boston’s hippest social meccas.  Anyone who’s anyone makes a frequent appearance at Kappotis Brothers House & Backyard.   

So about a month ago, Prince Harry realized that he didn’t have everything.  He didn’t have a “compound” he could go to.  When he wanted to party, he had all these weird people who he didn’t know walking up to him and asking him for stuff.  Dante had this same feeling in the spring of 2009.  Whether you’re a royal monarch, a video game wizard, a computer programmer – it just doesn’t matter.  “Sometimes brothers just gotta hug!”  Harry picked up the tele, called up the future King of England and said something to the effect of, “Yo bro.  I just had a brilliant idea.  What do you say about me moving in with you and the Princess?”

I’m guessing that Prince William initially had all kinds of disconcerting characterizations running through his head: 

William: Organized and fiscally responsible with 10-year blueprints for the future saved in Excel.  Trying to budget for royal projects starting in 2035.

Harry: Sporadic and unpredictable partyboy mostly focused on the coolest clubs and hottest chicks.

But then, the future king thinks, “Sometimes brothers just gotta hug!”

William thought about always having a fridge stocked with beer and having buddies over for all the big football matches.  I would even advise him to consider Halloween and Christmas parties. 

So Prince Harry has moved in.  And as they like to say in London this year, “Let the games begin!”

If the two princes and the princess survive their first spring of this “Real World”-style Kappotis experiment; I am happy to announce that the Brothers Kappotis, Kristen, Jen, and Amy have invited the Royal Triumvirate to our summer cookout in Peabody commemorating the first birthday of our hot tub.  We are expecting early to mid-July, conveniently before the Olympics, so I don’t want to hear any excuses! 

In the meantime, I will offer one piece of advice: “Harry, the dishes don’t wash themselves!”