Thursday, August 27, 2009

Coming out the woodwork!

I've been getting a lot of communications lately about lots of different food vending trucks that are hitting the scene. It looks like the modern day roach coach is making quite the splash, and everyone is jumping in on it. The first truck that I heard about was the Kogi BBQ truck that took advantage of early tweeting before it hit the big time. In the last few weeks, a few more trucks have popped onto the radar. I'm going to keep a running list of these to see how many we net out with in L.A.:

Kogi BBQ - Korean BBQ meets taco truck
Baby's Bad Ass Burgers - Sliders served by Hooters-esque girls
Nom Nom - Viet banh mi and Viet tacos, that's dac biet girl
South Philly Experience - Philly Cheesesteaks to gizzzo
Lomo Arigato - Peruvian/Japanese fusion

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Near Future for the L.A. Lakers

[writing assignment]

We’re in the late part of Summer, and it looks like the Los Angeles Lakers have made most (if not all) of the moves that they’re going to make before the season begins. To quickly recap, they didn’t re-sign Trevor Ariza who left for Houston, but in return they did sign Ron Artest. They re-signed Shannon Brown to two years for about $4M and were able to re-sign Lamar Odom to three guaranteed years and an option on the fourth year. They cut Sun Yue, sold some of their draft picks and have Adam Morrison and his contract lingering for another season. All in all, it seems that the Lakers made a lot of right moves this off-season. But what lies in store for Los Angeles’ beloved franchise? Optimistically, three or four more championships…in a row. Realistically, maybe only one or two within the next four years.

Below is the first of a series of analyses of how the Lakers franchise will shape out over the next few years -

Trevor Ariza for Ron Artest

This is a highly debated issue both amongst Lakers fans and non-fans. “Why would we trade Trevor Ariza? He’s a great role player, can hit the open spot up shot, has solid defense, meshes well with the team’s chemistry and overall has a good head on his shoulders.” All excellent points for Trevor, and I cannot disagree with any of them. However in Ron-Ron, L.A. gets a lock-down defender (All-NBA defensive team, NBA Defensive Player of the year 2004), instant offense (as needed) and lastly, what I like to call the “thug factor”.

In short, the thug factor is having that guy on your team that nobody wants to mess with because he looks a little mentally unstable OR he looks like the guy that nobody can beat up. It would be like having Deebo from Friday on your team. Good examples other than Artest are a Rasheed Wallace or a Paul Millsap. Last year’s Lakers did an exceptional job winning the title without the thug factor. In some years, one team might bogart these players in the league, i.e. the Portland Jailblazers (Trailblazers) in the early-mid 2000’s.

Now it’s arguable that Ariza has the brighter future between the two, and that Artest is a gamble because of his reputation for lashing out. These are both points that I agree with 100%, however, the one factor that needs to come into consideration is time.
Although Trevor has a bright future ahead of him, he is not super-star material. He’ll make his bread and butter as a defensive specialist with the ability to score in double figures, similar to a Bruce Bowen or Tayshaun Prince. He is not the type of player that can carry a team or build your team around. He is more or less the defensive piece to a championship team.

Intro Kobe Bryant. Kobe is the superstar on the team who is about to sign the last big extension of his career. It’s speculated that he’ll make somewhere between $86M-$91M over the next three years. I’m assuming the Lakers might try and lengthen that to at least four years. Kobe is currently at the peak of his career and will probably start declining in the next two years or so, which means the Lakers need to squeeze out as many championships out of their Alpha player while he still has the physical ability.
Ron Artest is in a similar stage of his career. He’s nearing 30 and has maybe hit his peak a few years ago, but his game isn’t declining at an accelerated rate. He has about four more solid years ahead of him before his game really starts going downhill. He can still defend the Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony on the other team without being outmuscled like Trevor (and sometimes even Kobe!) did during the playoffs and regular season. In addition, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom are in similar places of their player life cycle. These next three to four years have the Lakers core aligned to win a few more championships before the team has to rebuild again. And they will probably build around Andrew Bynum and bring in another “A” caliber player. At that point, a player like Trevor Ariza won’t make a huge difference.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Black and White cookie

There's an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry and Elaine are in the Royal Bakery and Jerry buys the Black and White cookie.

JERRY: Oh look Elaine, the black and white cookie. I love the black and white. Two races of flavor living side by side [mumble?] It's a wonderful thing isn't it?

There's a pretty funny site called Homies and Honkies that has a collage of awesome duos throughout time who are the essence of the Black and White cookie. There are even stretches of the imagination where ethnicity or color were never given, but strongly implied, such as Lion-O and Panthro from the Thundercats. We never knew Panthro was "black"...but in actually, I think we did know. Interesting!

Anyhoo, it's a great stroll down memory lane. You'll see amazing tag teams like Karl Malone and John Stockton (Utah Jazz), Danny Glover and Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapons 1-3), Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson (White Men Can't Jump) and even Michael Jackson and Michael Jackson!