My Life as a Californian Eskimo

George R.R. Martin once wrote “nothing burns like the cold,” and up until these last few weeks I had no idea what he was talking about. Of course things burn hotter than the cold. The oven, a fire, Miley Cyrus’ desire to twerk. They all burn like hot magma. That was until California turned to Winter after 11 months of cold-ish Summer, slightly colder Summer and, of course, Summer.

These have been dark days for us Californians. Mother Nature has played a cruel joke on us. In my 26 years as a resident of  California*, my body has grown accustom to temperatures north of 70 degrees without a cloud in the sky. And now, 50 degrees and overcast? This truly is survival of the fittest.

I feel like I woke up in a bad movie. Like I’m in the straigh-to-DVD sequel to “The Grey.” Instead of being a bad ass Liam Neeson badassingly punching wolves in the throats while enduring sub-zero temperatures, I am braving the elements sans wolves. This story is scary enough we don’t need wolves to pile onto our already frozen temperatures. This is California for god sake.

*Other than the one month I lived in Yuma. That got weird, but that’s another story. Actually it’s really quick: Don’t live in Yuma. Ever.

Now I bet you’re asking yourselves, “Lance, why don’t you just turn on the heater?”

Well, 1) you’re a dick, and 2) I have tried.

With the heater not working, I can see my breath as I exhale in the comfort of my own home. Who can possibly live like this? I force myself into alcoholism in the name of being warm while dressing like a poor man’s Eskimo. That smile you see on my face? It’s not because I’m happy. I’m daydreaming about my next burning hot shower that will give me solace for a plethora of seconds.

Driving home from work, I spy a homeless person in 30-degree weather and I’m saddened. An even more shocking chill runs down my spine, what if that was me? I already can’t handle 50-degree temperatures in my apartment. With this newfound perspective on life, I immediately race past this homeless man into my heated car, to warm up of course. I sped home on a mission to unshackle myself from my Eskimo-like costume of two sweaters, a beanie, wool socks and my trusty beanie to sleep.

I write this as a cautionary tale, my friends. I now know what that crazy George R.R. Martin is saying. I hope none of you have to brave the bitter burning of the blistering cold. People (me) should not have to live like this. Thanks a lot, Al Gore.

Lance Cartelli 

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The Optimistic 2013 NFL Season Preview

Optimism. It’s a crazy thing. It gets people like you and me through the ups-and-downs of every day life. Some of us are more optimistic than the others. We’re optimistic that we’ll fall in love with our soul mate – if you believe that crap. Optimistic that one day that shit office job you’re working turns into the dream job you’ve always wanted. Whether any of that actually happens, it doesn’t matter the optimism gets us through it.

We tend to be really optimistic when it comes to sports. Specifically, our own sports teams. That’s the beauty of the beginning of the season; every team has the same chance as the other. Every team has the hopes and aspirations of winning a Super Bowl, unless you’re the Raiders.

I’m the optimistic type. I’ll meet that special girl in slow motion at a bookstore, even though, I haven’t set foot in a bookstore since N-Sync was still together. Now that they are back, I guess it’s time for me to re-enter Barnes & Noble. But, I digress. I love being the optimist, there’s no point in looking at life through any other lens.

With that being said, I look at all 32 teams through the Optimist filter on Instagram.

Arizona Cardinals:  Finally the Arizona Cardinals sign a quarterback that isn’t colorblind and knows how to throw to his own team. Larry Fitzgerald lights up defenses like Kurt Warner is back in the packet slingin’ the pigskin. Every other quarterback in the NFC West is out for all seventeen weeks and the Cardinals win the division.

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons replaced Jabba the Hut, I mean Michael Turner with a less-slow and not quite as washed up Steven Jackson to improve their running game.

Baltimore Ravens: Ray Lewis is so inspired by only God knows what as he drunkenly runs onto the field during pre-game warm ups to do his dance. The Ravens team is so overcome with emotions they decide to change their team name to the Baltimore Ray Lewis’. That isn’t enough for Ray Lewis and the Ray Lewis’ so they decide to change the city name of Baltimore to Ray Lewis. The Ray Lewis Ray Lewis’ do a bunch of Deer Antler Spray, yell everyone’s ear off and the rest of the NFL forfeits because they decide to join the Ray Lewis Ray Lewis’. So, no, concussions don’t end football. Ray Lewis ends football.

Buffalo Bills:  EJ Manuel duplicates the success of the other dual-threat QBs like RGIII, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. The Bills turn into a read-option only team of Manuel and C.J. Spiller. I become very excited that I drafted Spiller in my fantasy team and find an atlas (they still make those right?) and try to find Buffalo on a map. Alas, I give up when I look outside and realize no one cares where Buffalo is.

Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton is no longer the forgotten man when it comes to dual-threat QBs and continues his hot streak from the end of last year. But, everyone questions why ‘Superman’ would be in North Carolina.

Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler finally hires a body language coach, so he doesn’t look like a depressed stoner every time he throws an interception or gets sacked leading to us ask: why he is so happy that he just got sacked seven times in one game.When+I+see+posts+in+this+channel.+Yeah+Mr.White+Yeah_c88b2f_3953846

Cincinnati Bengals: The Red B.B. Gun turns into the Red Rifle and leads the Bengals to the AFC Championship game, while scientists prove that Gingers do, in fact, have souls.

Cleveland Browns: Norv Turner develops second-year quarterback and AARP member Brandon Weeden into a successful QB only to retire the next year because he’s an old fart.

Dallas Cowboys:  Every year we hear the same thing from Cowboys fans: This is the year. Tony Romo and the Cowboys found their “secret sauce”. Dez Bryant finally wears his pants around his waist and will become the greatest receiver to ever put on the star.  Benjamin Button Jerry Jones’ ’40-year-old’ brain’ works wonders and every shrewd move they made in the offseason works. Like trading away a defensive lineman when their best lineman is out for the first six weeks, or trading back in the first round to take a Center that could’ve been available in the third round. Cowboys fans are always the most optimistic fans except maybe the Chargers fans “WE’RE GOING TO THE SUPERBOWL!”. Which makes reality even sweeter, when the ‘Boys give their ‘fans’ scattered all across the nation hope and then kill their dreams week 17 ever year.

Denver Broncos – The Broncos get an exemption from the league allowing two footballs to be played at once, allowing QB Peyton Manning to evenly distribute the ball to all his talented receivers. Let’s just hope with twice as many balls (hehe) that Peyton doesn’t throw against his body in the playoffs again.

Detroit Lions – Detroit throws the ball about 700 times and the bionic arm of Matthew Stafford somehow doesn’t fall off. The Lions only have three in-season arrests and Reggie Bush is the back that everyone envisioned him to be coming out of the league. Ndomakong Suh only gets 17 personal foul flags and steps on approximately three groins. I’d say that’s pretty optimistic.

Green Bay Packers– 90% of the Packers fans realize that Green Bay isn’t a made up city like Des Moines ClayMatthewsSpin(you can’t fool me Iowa!) and is in Wisconsin. Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Braun fight in a steel cage match and Clay Matthews and the defense figure out who finally has the ball on a read-option play.

Houston Texans: The Texans hold off the Colts in the AFC South only to lose in the first game of the playoffs, like usual. The Texans manage to hold the attention of the fat city of Houston until Dwight Howard and the Rockets start playing in October.

Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck succeeds Eli Manning as the quarterback that looks like he breathes through his mouth the most and enjoys quantum physics, yet throws dimes as he leads one of my three fantasy teams to the Championship.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars decide to sign Tim Tebow to be the team’s mascot and combs Blaine Gabbert’s hair to create the greatest GIF in the history of mankind. Just kidding. 

Kansas City Chiefs:  Alex Smith realizes what a wide receiver is and that they are actually there to help Alex and then, in a moment of triumph he has an epiphany to let loose and throw them the ball, it’s amazing. Andy Reid suffers amnesia and learns that running the ball is a good thing.

Miami Dolphins: The Miami Dolphins sign LeBron James to play tight end and E! gives LeBron and Ryan Tannehill a reality show where we can see a lot more of Mrs. Tannehill.

Minnesotta Vikings: The Vikings bench Christian Ponder and put in an extra offensive lineman to run a full-time Wildcat offense. Adrian Peterson runs for a plethora of yards while breaking his leg, tearing both his ACL’s and laughing it off while eating Nutella.

New England Patriots: The Patriots get hooked up with Aaron Hernandez’s PCP dealer and Bill Belichick gets super high and tie-dye’s his cut off sweatshirt starting a new fad for old boring hippies.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints put a reverse bounty on actually trying to stop a team on third down. Rob Ryan eats the whole city of New Orleans.

New York Jets: Nothing can be worse than the butt fumble right? UNLESS THERE’S THE TWERK FUMBLE! 1209135_588172444562781_644352947_n

Oakland Raiders: …

…Wow, this is tough. Hm… Maybe Terrelle Pryor can… Nope, sorry. What if Darren McFadden is healthy and he can…Damn, not that either. I guess maybe playing Teddy Bridgewater and JaDeveon Clowney highlight videos instead of their games is the way to go this year.

Philadelphia Eagles: Chip Kelly’s offense works in spades. Michael Vick returns to his old-form and I don’t mean dog-fighting Vick. The Eagles run 127 plays a game and watch as defenders slowly collapse from dehydration. Chip Kelly runs onto the field and yells “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

Pittsburgh Steelers: Head and Shoulders creates a shampoo that reverses the signs of aging allowing Troy Polamalu and the Steelers defense to be good again and Jerome Bettis chugs it and returns to the field so the Steelers can finally have some semblance of a running game again.

San Diego Chargers– Charger fans fill up three quarters of Qualcomm each weekend to see Ryan Mathews leap over the goal line for a touchdown and he doesn’t break his collarbone! Philip Rivers realizes that Vincent Jackson isn’t running deep routes as a Charger anymore and decides not to throw into triple-coverage on 2nd-and-one.. Manti Te’o gets a real life girlfriend and they kiss on the “Kiss Cam”, but everyone questions whether it was CGI from a Michael Bay movie.

San Francisco 49ers: Michael Crabtree flies to Germany to kick it with Kobe Bryant’s doctor, and they create an Achilles Tendon from the rainbows of Unicorn hugs and giggles. He and Kaepernick ride in on the majestic beast while ‘Kaepernicking’ and Jim Harbaugh shakes Pete Carroll’s hand so hard that all the adderall for the Seaderall Seahawks falls out from his pockets. Oh, and they finally win (another) the Super Bowl.

Seattle Seahawks– Tyrion Lannister — damn, I did it again — Russell Wilson continues to improve with all odds against him. Who would’ve thought a talented athlete that was drafted in the MLB and dominant in the NCAA could be so good?! Right ESPN?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay becomes too hot and humid everyone travels to Revis Island and over populates the pristine land. Revis holds out and travels to Cuba where he knows no one will follow him. He befriends Elian Gonzalez.

Tennessee Titans: Chris Johnson decides that instead of racing a cheetah, he wants to actually score touchdowns. He’s back to being CJ2K and people forget that Jake Locker isn’t any good.

Washington Redskins: RGIII stays healthy and invites coach Mike Shanahan over for dinner with his family. Which he names “Operation: Wine and Dine the Old Orange Guy”…not as catchy as his rehab name. Honestly, who names their own rehab? I don’t walk around my house yelling “Operation: Don’t stub your toe after drinking a beer”. Hm…Maybe I should.

Just for the heck of it. My optimistic Super Bowl pick:

Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers

Follow Lance “The Red Mamba” Cartelli on Twitter! 

The No Headband Game

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Michael Jordan’s Flu Game. Jordan’s “Shrug” Game, Willis Reed’s injured ankle game, Magic Johnson’s Baby Hook. These are some of the greatest games in NBA Finals History. After last night, we have to add one more to the pantheon of the “Holy shnikies! We are watching history! Games”. The “No Headband Game”.

It was like Superman shed his suit and glasses** and donned a cape and instead those stupid glasses are equivalent to a headband that protects a certain hairline from being shown over and over on really high definition televisions. Wait…that doesn’t do it justice. It was really like when Steve Urkel from Family Matters decided he had to take drastic measures to win Laura’s heart. He invented “Cool Juice” and what resulted can only be described as television history. Stefan Urquelle. LeBron totally drank “Cool Juice” with about 9 minutes left in the game and became Stefan Urquelle.

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**Quick Tangent: Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman absolutely started the fake glasses trend that has maneuvered its way into pop culture with hipsters and NBA players. The only problem is NBA Players/Hipsters aka Plipsters. You aren’t hiding your identity! We totally know who you are. All Superman has to do is put on some generic reading glasses from CVS and BOOM. Clark Kent and everyone is fooled. It’s ridiculous.

LeBron pre-headband was having a pedestrian game, a game where people would question his ultimate legacy in another loss to the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. But no, headband off, “Cool Juice” chugged and voila, LeBron and company not only came back in epic fashion. They destroyed the smartest, most headstrong team in recent memory. This is Spurs team is a team that never shakes, never questions itself, always finishes off quarters and games, but on the biggest stage they folded. Manu Ginobili had a +/- of -21 and 8 turnovers. Kawhi Leonard couldn’t hit both free throws to make a two possession game. Parker took uncharacteristically bad shots.

They literally roped off floor with time left on the clock, the NBA even brought out the trophy. You cannot get any closer to destroying the fake dreams of the fake fans of Miami. They were leaving for South Beach so they could see Chris Brown & Drake fight again, I’m sure.

But no, we were privileged to see the best NBA Finals game since 1998 and Jordan’s game-winning shot against the Utah Jazz. Stefan Urquelle LeBron James’ no headband did it. THAT HAS TO BE THE REASON.

How do the Spurs recover from this? Game 6 on the road against the best team in the NBA and they choked. How do they even show up for Game 7 after such heartbreak? If one team can do it, it is the Spurs.

But the real question is: Will LeBron be wearing a headband? Is this a new statement like when Jordan wore 45 or Kobe cut his afro and sported #24? Or is it LeBron’s superhero, his Superman, his Stefan Urquelle that only comes out when they need a Super Hero.

I loved Family Matters. It goes down as one of the greatest sitcoms of the ’90s. My friday nights were epic #TGIF. Boy Meets World, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Step by Step and Family Matters. How do you beat that? YOU ADD STEFAN URQUELLE.

LeBron, for the love of Basketball please rock the no headband and take what is rightfully yours. Your second NBA Title. The Laura to your Urkel.

– Lance Cartelli

NBA Finals Storylines and Prediction: What Really Matters

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It’s finally here, the NBA Finals! After an excruciatingly long playoffs that started in April and saw great series like the Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers, the rise of Steph Curry and the dominating backcourt that was Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock of the Los Angeles Lakers (J/K), we finally made it.  The two best teams in the NBA tip off in what should be the best NBA Finals in the past 10 years sans Lakers vs Celtics in 2010.

We could go over the X’s and O’s, the pick and rolls, the rotation help defense but that shit is boring. Let’s take a look at the real storylines of the 2013 NBA Finals:

The Stars:

LeBron James – LeBron is obviously the best player in this series and the world and he can and will take over games whenever he pleases. He’s like Will Smith, whenever he wants to come back and dominate the box office – he will. Oops, just saw the news about “After Earth”…I guess that’s what happens when you’re in a M. Night Shyamalan movie and your characters name is Cypher Raige. Guess I’ll have to come up with something else to name my first born son.

On the other side, Tony Parker is playing like the best point guard in the NBA and Tim Duncan had to have visited Germany to inject his whole body with what Kobe did for his knee.  If Parker remains unguardable, the Heat are in for a long series. Duncan is a better matchup for Bosh than he was against Hibbert, but going up against the greatest power forward in the NBA is never an easy task.

Former Stars:

Dwayne Wade & Chris Bosh – Let’s face it, LeBron is the only legitimate superstar on Miami now. I’m not saying that DWade and Bosh can’t be huge factors in this series – – they will be — but, if you had to rely solely on those guys then Wade wouldn’t be able to carry them like in ’06 and Bosh would bring you back to the days when he was a Raptor and looked like he was adopted out of Jurassic Park.

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Manu Ginobli – Manu is a shell of his old self as well. He’s still a high-energy player that comes through whenever you need him. If Ginobli outplays Wade this series, the Spurs will win. The only problem is Ginobli is falling apart faster than Rob Stark’s peace offering in Game of Thrones. #RedWedding.

Fans: 

You know you’re a Spurs fan when…

  • Your team always “plays the right way” since, apparently, they are the only ones in the NBA that actually do play the “right way”.
  • You say, “It’s not boring basketball, it’s beautiful basketball”. If anyone ever says that they are a soccer fan. They are really into passes and not seeing a score. (BTW, the Spurs are definitely not boring, they are fun to watch…wait, what’s happening to me?!)
  • You are the most annoying lady in the building. #SceamingSpursLady

You know you’re a Heat fan when…

  • You became a fan in the past 3 years and call everyone a “hater” because they don’t like LeBron and the new Flo-Rida CD.
  • You can’t point out Miami on a map.
  • You’re a lady that flips off opposing teams and was once wanted for her husband’s murder.
  • You look like this:
#Swag

#Swag

Coaches:

Gregg Popovich – Arguably the best active coach in the NBA and one of the greatest coaches of all-time and creator of the greatest sideline interviews. Ever.

I want to see Popovich on Christmas morning as a child. I bet he hated it.

Popovich can cement his legacy with a win over the Heat and it may be the end of his prolific career (Duncan’s as well).

Erik Spoelstra – Spoelstra is an underrated coach, if you can be one with four hall-of-famers on your team. He is only 42, has a championship under his belt, and has kept this team together through a lot of adversity. And he takes a shoulder bump like a champ. Out maneuvering and out-coaching Popovich might be an impossible task, but if he can match him and find ways for “The Others” to contribute, it will be his greatest achievement as a coach and cement his legacy as one of the best coaches in the NBA. No pressure, Spoel.

Red Mamba / Birdman – 

I could write a whole 250 page manifesto on whether to love or hate Matt “Faux Red Mamba” Bonner. KOBE HOW COULD YOU?! One day, when Kobe and I become BFF4L and he reads my columns, he’s gonna totally regret that move then we’ll live happily ever after! But until then, I hate you, Matt Bonner. It also doesn’t help that announcers have latched on to this great nickname and call him it at every opportune moment. These NBA Finals are gonna force me to drink more than I actually do. Oh well.

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The Birdman is scary. So scary that I picked him to be the #10 athlete I’d love to see chase down Beiber. But, like I said before I’m pretty sure they are best buds and that when this season is over Beiber will invite The Birdman into his entourage and have him featured on one of his songs. As Americans, we can only hope that Birdman the Rapper is featured as well and they have a rap battle. Mind = Blown. That would probably go down as the worst song ever made and it’d probably win a Grammy.

Prediction: 

This series is tough to predict. I usually go with the best player in the world, but the Spurs are a different beast. LeBron will put up his points, but after a week and half off and the greatest coach in the NBA has that much time to prepare for an opponent, he will shut down “The Others” and the Spurs will take this series and solidify some of the greatest careers in NBA history.

Even if you aren’t a fan of these teams, this series has a chance to be epic and will be a joy to watch the two best teams faceoff.

SPURS IN 6. 

Follow Lance the real “Red Mamba” Cartelli on Twitter!

ESPN Backhands LeBron James and Beiber & Bynes Dream Couple!

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In case you were to enthralled with Justin Beiber doing an Amanda Bynes impression** at the Miami Heat game on Monday, then you already know that the Heat decimated the Indiana Pacers and have advanced to the NBA Finals to take on the wily vets, the San Antonio Spurs.

**Best celebrity couple ever? (If you can still call Amanda Bynes a celebrity). What would their celebrity nickname be? I love these things: Jamanda Byber? Amastin Beibynes? Jumandin Bebyners? Jumanji, for short?! The possibilities are endless! I must make an iPhone app that does this for me.**

ESPN posted that great video from illustrator Richard Swarbrick. Now, I don’t know this illustrator from any other illustrator, but clearly he has an appreciation for the history of Basketball. From Willis Reed playing on his hurt ankle to Michael Jordan celebrating his six championships and the most famous layup of all time to Magic Johnson’s skyhook. I would buy posters for every single one of those images, but the one image that stood out among the rest – LeBron’s cramps.

Swarbrick, you crazy son of a gun, you illustrate some of the most historic and glorious moments in NBA History and then give a little backhand to Bron Bron? Is he a Cavs fan? Did he hate the decision as much as the rest of the world? Or he hates male baldness? Maybe he doesn’t like that LeBron is being compared to Jordan. Whatever it is, it’s hilarious. When his artwork for this inevitably comes out I shall frame LeBron writhing in pain. No homo, No offense, Bron Bron.

My only question: Where was the iconic Paul Pierce getting wheelchair-ed off the court from the NBA Finals against the Lakers?

Other than the one LOL moment from the video, it’s pretty awesome. But, seriously can we get Beibs and Bynes to date already? She might throw her bong at him though. 

Follow Lance “The Red Mamba” on Twitter!

10 Athletes I’d Love to See Chase After a (Speeding) Justin Beiber

Justin Beiber is under investigation after allegedly speeding through a gated community in LA in his white ferrari. The cops aren’t the only ones interested in Beiber’s activities, former football player Keyshawn Johnson followed Beiber to his house to confront him on his reckless driving, but Beiber danced his way into his house without talking to Johnson.

Keyshawn was a prolific receiver, but he wasn’t fast back in his prime so there’s no way he could chase after the Beibs these days. But I can think of at least 10 athletes today that can stop the Beibs today and make everyone regret being a Belieber.

10. Chris “Birdman” Andersen – The “Birdman” as some affectionately call him is a big man that has journeyed around the league and is now a key contributor to the Miami Heat. The tattoo aficionado terrifies me, but I think if he ended up chasing after Beiber he’d fit right in on his entourage and might even be featured on J. Beib’s new single.

9. LeBron James – LeBron is one scary man. So scary that his hair is running away from his face! Ha! I kid. Bron Bron has been seen by many in their rearview as he comes gliding across the court to swat an attempted lay up, just think what he could do to Beiber and his ferrari.

8. Justin Smith – The San Francisco 49ers’ defensive lineman known as “The Cowboy”. He intimidates 300-pound offensive lineman and shoves them like a rag doll, so what could if Beiber was speeding through his ranch? Probably this.

7. Kevin Garnett – Garnett is a big man that has guarded the paint for over 18 years and Beiber has been alive, like 18 years. Plus Kevin Garnett is 7 feet tall and yells obscenities all the time, that would hurt poor Beiber’s virgin ears.

6. Patrick Willis – Willis is the leader of the 49ers defense and the heir apparent to Ray Lewis as big middle linebacker that will destroy you. His hobbies include long walks on the beach with his dog, Zeus and destroying wide receivers that like to go over the middle. Be careful Justin!

5.  J.J. Watt – Watt is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL and was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year award in just his second season. He loves going after the quarterback, come to to think of it, Beiber has the same facial features as Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo. They should both be careful.

4. Mike Tyson – I know he’s not a current athlete, but Mike Tyson is still one of the scariest men on Planet Earth. If someone told me Metta World Peace’s dad was Mike Tyson you wouldn’t hear an argument out of me. I don’t know whether Tyson would destroy Beiber or hug him like he’s his long lost white child, actually I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. Tyson and Beiber have to be BFFs.

3. Jon “Bones” Jones – Arguably the best fighter in the UFC, Jon “Bones” Jones is one of the most dangerous athletes in all of sports. Bones Jones would hit Beiber with a spinning elbow faster than Beiber could sing “Baby, baby, baby”.

2. Brock Lesnar – Lesnar is a former WWE and UFC Champion that had stints in the NFL. I don’t know where he is now, but I’m sure whatever it is he’s breaking someones bones. Lesnar will make you think that there is alien life, he is not built like a human should be with muscle on top of muscle. I still think he should’ve been the bad guy in “Fast and Furious 6″. Oh well, there’s always a sequel.

1. Metta World Peace – The artist formerly known as Artest, World Peace is a psycho who likes to thank his psychiatrist after winning NBA Championships. That is the last man I would want chasing after me. Justin, World Peace is Coming After You! Oh damn, I just gave Beiber the new title to his CD.

Follow Lance “The Red Mamba” Cartelli on Twitter!

Kobe Bryant Tweets a Grotesque Picture of His Surgery, Crosses Social Media Boundaries

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In case you’ve been living under a rock the past couple months, Kobe Bryant has taken up social media in an unprecedented way. After rupturing his achilles tendon, Kobe has embraced the 21st century and has quickly ascended my Power Rankings of Favorite Tweeters and Instagrammers. Congrats Mamba, you’re my number one!

Recently, he’s been giving updates on his rehab as he tries to prove his haters wrong and comeback from his most devastating injury of his career. But Kobe crossed a line this past week. A social media line, that is usually reserved for the creepy people on the internet not named Kobe. He Instagrammed a picture of his achilles surgery and it was the most disgusting picture I’ve seen since Kevin Ware’s broken leg made its way on the interwebs.

Click here to view the graphic photo 

At least he’s got the #hashtagging down. #Graphic is an understatement, Kobes.

While perusing my Instagram and eating lunch, this popped up. So, after I puked profusely and woke up from my Instagram induced blackout (I didn’t faint! I swear!) I thought we should set a couple guidelines for celebrities and their Instagram’s.

Do’s:

Do post #selfies of yourself. Honestly, if you’re a celebrity that means you’re probably pretty damn attractive. As much as I hate #selfies, if you’re good looking I won’t complain. Unless you post an inspirational quote as the caption to your selfie, then I will pray for your soul.

Do post pictures of you with other celebrities. Do I want to know if you’re out partying with Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Rodman and Charlie Sheen? Hell yes I do. That would be a fun game of Marry, F*ck, Kill*

*Marry: Charlie Sheen because you know he’d at least keep it interesting. F*ck: Lindsay Lohan, well she’s a girl, I’m a guy, it’s physics. Kill: Dennis Rodman, no explanation needed.

Do post behind the scenes looks at your prolific life. If you’re an actor, take some pictures that will give us an inside look on your new movie that I will probably download. If you’re an athlete, take a picture of your teammate passed out on the plane ride. We eat that shit up.

Don’ts: 

Don’t post gruesome pictures of your injuries! It is disgusting and will make the collective nation sick. We get it, Kobe, you’re a warrior, you play through injuries and you speak your mind. But, please spare me seeing the insides of your body. It just ain’t right.

Don’t tweet out a picture of your instagram that you Facebook’d. That is confusing and annoying and I will probably hate you.

Don’t like pictures that people have tweeted just of you. You’re a celebrity, so I’m sure you’re naive and need the attention, but just do a Google image search of you and bask in the glory that is yourself.

Follow Lance Cartelli on Twitter!

Mike Millburn: Green Bay Packers NFL Draft Preview

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There are very few things in my life that I can say I truly love.  Other than the obvious loves of friends, family, and pets (at least when my cat doesn’t wake me up in the morning), my list of lucky recipients of those three magic words is staggeringly short.  And yes, that means I’ve never said “I love you” to a girl – alas, that is another story for a different blog.

However, there are two things in this world that I love unequivocally, that have always been there for me through the good times and bad, and that I know will never abandon me:

The Green Bay Packers and the NFL Draft.

Luckily for me, these two wonderful things are destined to coincide once again in less than 24 hours, when Roger Goodell welcomes the world to Radio City Music Hall and the 2013 NFL Draft.  As is customary for this time of year, pundits and fans alike entertain themselves with numerous mock drafts and projections that are almost certainly never right.  This year is no exception – but instead of focusing on all 32 teams, I will go position by position to see if I can find eight players in this year’s draft that would make a good fit for the Green and Gold this upcoming season.  This is assuming, of course, that GM Ted Thompson will stand pat and not trade any picks, but that probably won’t happen.

Quarterback: Seriously?  Next…

Running back: OK, now we can get serious.  The Packers have not taken a running back in the first round since 1990 (Darrell Thompson), and their best first-round back in the modern draft would be John Brockington (1971).  Green Bay’s position in the back end of round one suggests a potential landing spot for Alabama’s Eddie Lacy, but given Ted Thompson’s aversion to taking running backs early, my guess is he waits.  A guy like Wisconsin’s Montee Ball makes sense in the second round, and if the Packers bring back free agent Cedric Benson that will certainly take the early pressure off of Ball (who had over 300 carries each of the last two years).

Wide receiver/tight end: Despite the loss of Greg Jennings to division rival Minnesota, the receiving corps still stands as one of the strengths of the team.  That being said, having an extra pair of hands in the slot certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing.  Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope could fit that role nicely in the fifth round.  Jermichael Finley, despite his inconsistencies, is still the number one tight end, and there’s enough depth on the roster to absorb the loss of Tom Crabtree to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Offensive line: Green Bay has taken an offensive tackle in the first round two of the last three years, but Bryan Bulaga (2010) may be better suited to play on the right side and Derek Sherrod (2011) still hasn’t recovered from a gruesome broken leg.  Given Marshall Newhouse’s struggles this past season, another first round offensive lineman may be in the cards.  Florida State’s Menelik Watson, despite his relative inexperience, could be the answer with most of the talented tackles off the board at 26.  The two guards are the stalwarts of the line.  With Jeff Saturday’s retirement, and Evan Dietrich-Smith unproven, there may be a need for the center of the future.  Alabama’s Barrett Jones, the reigning Rimington Award winner, would be a steal in the fourth round and could start from day one.

Defensive line: Anybody who watched the playoffs last year saw that the Packers had just a bit of trouble stopping the run against the San Francisco 49ers (something the Editor of this blog likes to remind me of every now and then).  Even with B.J. Raji in line for a contract extension and plenty of young bodies to man the other spots on the line, an extra body would be welcome.  A speedy defensive end like LSU’s Lavar Edwards, who could play end or outside linebacker in the 3-4, might be a nice fit for the Packers’ second choice in the fifth round.

Linebackers: The Packers just signed this guy to a long-term deal, which will keep him as the face of the defense for the foreseeable future.  Last year’s first round pick Nick Perry got hurt early last year and should be ready to take back his spot opposite Matthews.  The inside linebackers, however, are a different story.  Desmond Bishop didn’t make it out of the first game of the preseason after tearing his hamstring and his replacement (D.J. Smith) tore his ACL against the Houston Texans and was recently released.  Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk were average at best; Iowa State’s A.J. Klein could bring some relief in the sixth round.

Secondary: Fan favorite Charles Woodson was released after this past season, but the cornerback situation is in good hands.  Second-rounder Casey Hayward allowed quarterbacks an NFL-low 31.1 quarterback rating against him, and even though Tramon Williams had a tough 2012 he is firmly entrenched in the other corner spot.  However, the safeties have struggled since the career-ending injury to Nick Collins and it remains to be seen if any of Green Bay’s recent picks (save Morgan Burnett) will be the answer.  Phillip Thomas from Fresno State could be that guy in a fairly deep safety class; the third round would be an ideal place to pick him up.

Special teams: Mason Crosby was essentially the worst kicker in the league last year not named David Akers.  Yet through all of his struggles, head coach Mike McCarthy displayed unwavering support for Crosby all season.  Bringing in some healthy competition in the seventh round might not be a bad idea.  Florida’s Caleb Sturgis was one of the nation’s premier college kickers this past season and could be just the guy to push the incumbent Crosby.  The punter Tim Masthay (affectionately known as “Ginge”) isn’t going anywhere.

To recap, here is the ideal Packers draft (provided Ted Thompson keeps all eight picks):

First round: Tackle Menelik Watson (Florida State)

Second round: Running back Montee Ball (Wisconsin)

Third round: Safety Phillip Thomas (Fresno State)

Fourth round: Center Barrett Jones (Alabama)

Fifth round: Receiver Ryan Swope (Texas A&M)

Fifth round: Defensive end Lavar Edwards (LSU)

Sixth round: Linebacker A.J. Klein (Iowa State)

Seventh round: Kicker Caleb Sturgis (Florida)

Of course, given the unpredictable nature of the NFL Draft, there is a great chance that none of these picks will come to fruition and this article will be rendered moot.  But that’s the best part of this time of year – the unpredictability.  I know I won’t be the only one glued to my TV for the next three days.

Happy drafting to all, and to all a good draft!

Mike Millburn

NFL Draft Cootie List

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Today begins one of the best sports weeks of the year, NFL Draft Week! It should be a national holiday, we should all have the week off of work to put our finishing touches on our draft boards, pick out the right finger foods for our draft day parties, and select our draft day crushes – those young men that older men salivate to have on their team. Trust me we all do it. Now, it’s always fun to pick your draft crushes and to get really pissed off when you, as the Couch General Manager, don’t get the player you’ve been wanting since you saw him dominate in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl or was it the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl? Either way, you’re mad. But did your team select the exact opposite of your Draft Day Man Crush? The one player you did not want your team to select, the player that was dominated in all the YouTube video research you did all offseason, your Draft Cootie!

The Draft Cootie List is something no fan should have to deal with, they have all the tell tale signs of being a bust. They have red flags whether it be injuries or off the field concerns. They’re like that person on a reality show that is just there to get really drunk. There main purpose is to get famous and eventually the inebriated loser gets the boot in that first episode. They bring all the requisite drama for a reality show, but are really ruining it for that one special person trying to find true love! Pretty much they are JaMarcus Russell (the ultimate Cootie).

If you are too old to know what Cooties are or you had a really bad experience in elementary school with said cooties, let me refresh that memory of yours and bring back some hurtful ones. Cooties are a highly contagious viral disease that is transmitted through the act of touching, or an airborne disease or through rumors from the dickhead bullies in elementary school. There is no cure and once you are afflicted by this disease will completely cockblock you and ruin your game. (Can you tell I’m bitter?). Cooties were pretty much the first STD that elementary kids had to deal with. In some cases, you are given Cooties because that significant other may be interested in you and are trying to deal with such new feelings. Which is directly related to our Draft Cootie List.

San Francisco 49ers Draft Day Cootie List:

For the sake of the 49ers Cootie list, I won’t add any players that are way out of position for the Niners to draft (Top 10) or positions that are not of need (OT, ILB, RB).

Keenan Allen: A talented wide receiver that played his college ball at the University of California. He would fill a position of need for the Niners at WR and he’d be close to home, but he’s got a lotta Cooties. First, he’s got a nagging knee injury that has been the talk of front offices around the league. He also failed a drug test. That’s a lotta cooties, I wouldn’t touch him in the first or second round.

Margus Hunt: Physically, he’s everything you would want in a 3-4 DE on a team desperate for more depth on the defensive line and looking for an eventual replacement of Justin Smith. He’s 6-8, 275-pounds and was a Discus and Shot Put thrower in Estonia. But he’s already 25 and he never really dominated at SMU. If he falls to the Niners second pick in the second round is the only time I’d consider drafting him.

Eric Reid: Former safety for LSU, Reid dominated two years ago in the SEC, but this past year was a disappointment. He’s only 5-10, which is short for a safety, especially in a league where the receivers are getting bigger and bigger, height is a big deal to talent evaluators. I’d rather have Jonathan Cyprien.

Who’s on your Draft Day Cootie List? Be safe my loyal readers!

Follow Lance Cartelli on Twitter!

Ryan Pedersen: Donald Butler: Fan Favorite and Future Captain

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Donald Butler’s rookie year was not what he had in mind after he was drafted out of the University of Washington. During Training Camp in 2010, Butler suffered a season-ending achilles injury. Current Chargers Defensive Coordinator and Butler’s former Linebacker Coach, John Pagano, knew that Butler was going to be a leader on the Chargers’ defense. Pagano knew some players have the ability to lead and he knew the Bolts had a special player in DB56.

Chargers have recently approached Butler to (hopefully) give him a contract extension and continue his career with the Bolts and I, for one, am ecstatic that this could happen. He will be the Captain of the defense coming into the 2013 season with Takeo Spikes and Shaun Phillips recently shown the door.

Despite missing four games last year, he still killed it and was in on every play. Look for Butler to be around the ball on every play and elevate his game to become one of the best linebackers in the league and at 24 years of age, he’ll continue to get even better. Suppose he would’ve played a full second-half of the Ravens game last year, the Bolts could’ve avoided yet another embarrassing franchise scar that was 4th and 29. I know for sure he wouldn’t have missed his tackle!

Pull this off Chargers and you will make fans very happy (I’m still mad about Louis Vasquez signing with the Chargers rival Denver Broncos but what’s new?) Oh, and he’s a great follow on facebook. He Bleeds the blue and gold.

Kawhi so serious?

Ryan Pedersen

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