Wednesday, June 25, 2008

An open letter to Jim Gibbons

With the impending fight to repeal cost of living allowances for state employees about to kickoff this Friday here in good ol’ Nevada, I’m being bombarded with sample letters to send to state representatives and leadership. I haven’t found one, however, that has contained the appropriate tone, and therefore, I decided to create a “choose your own letter” so that anyone struggling with just the right words for Governor Gibbons can strike just the right chord. Enjoy.

Governor Gibbons,
(Greetings / Hello there! / Rot in hell!) I am a humble teacher in the Clark County School District here in Southern Nevada, which by the time you read this will be the (fifth largest school district in the nation / fourth largest district in the nation / wait a minute, four students just walked into my class).

As you can tell by my (concerned / incendiary / vitriolic) tone, I am writing to you in response to your (short sighted / asinine / !@#$@#% stupid) attempt to repeal the four percent cost of living allowance that we, the (humble / pissed off) public servants of the state were scheduled to get. Now, Governor Gibbons, with (all due respect / a burning hatred that will endure the scorching heat of Hades), I’m not going to talk dollars and cents with you, because (I wouldn’t understand it / you wouldn’t understand it), but there has to be a better way, doesn’t there? I even voted for you, something that many people wouldn’t even own up to now.

I have to say your questionable decisions in the time that you’ve been in office have caused me to (question my decision / cry myself to sleep / flagellate myself with a whip Opus Dei style!) daily. I know that in your eyes educators are (noble in thought and deed / lazy nogoodniks) but your actions (are not consistent with your campaign promises to be education minded / make you look like a simpleton and an idiot).

On a personal note, I hope that your divorce proceedings are (going well / going poorly / giving you what you so richly deserve). Please give my regards to (your mistress / your ex-wife / your other mistress).

In closing, I would just like to say (please do the right thing and keep the COLAs we were promised / good luck getting re-elected / please don’t get drunk and beat any women in any parking garages). Seriously.

With (sincere regards for your political future / a hope that we will make it above the poverty line next year! / a burning rage that makes Naomi Campbell look like Mother Theresa.)

Your Name Here

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Yeah, I have another blog...

Anyone who is a regular reader (there's two of you, to clarify) might like to check out another blog I'm running. You can find it at:

You'll find the tone there decidedly more reverent. Many of my friends are Mormon, but many are not, and I designed this page to share more of my spiritual side. I hope it will become a place for people to ask questions that they might not in other forums, but it's also a reminder that as wacky a guy as I am (read my Paris Hilton review) it is truly my faith that has brought me a ridiculous amount of joy to my life. I'll post the link permanently eventually, and no, there isn't much there yet. I wouldn't be surprised to see some more postings over here at The House explore religious questions as well. Plus, there's pictures of my family over there for anyone thinking they aren't well represented over here (I'm just protecting the innocent!).

Anyways, I hope you enjoy:-)

Friday, June 13, 2008

My media quotes of the week...

Well, it's been a busy couple of months for me. I know that not all of you have kept up with my media appearances, indeed, your DVR might break under the strain, so I have some of my most pertinent quotes right here for you, in one easy place.

On MJ/Kobe comparisons:
"So Jay, we're done with this, right? We never, ever, for as long as we live, have to hear Kobe mentioned in the same breath again with his royal airness? Can we make this man law now? Kobe choked harder than Mary Kate Olsen trying to swallow food."
-The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, June 11, 2008

On the Twilight series of books:
"Do I have to turn in my man card, or cut off a corner, for having finished the second Twilight book? By the way, you may be the first person I've ever met with legs whiter than mine...Yes Conan, I'm about 50 pages into the third..."
-The Late Show with Conan O'Brien, June 9, 2008

On allegations of kickbacks from Paris Hilton for a favorable album review:
"That's between me, Paris, my accountant, and Matt Leinert."
Statement made to

On calling a Red Wings victory:
"You're right, it did take some serious cajones for me to call that for the Wings once they were up 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Finals. Do I get some dap for that, Wilbon?"
-Pardon the Interruption, "Five Good Minutes", June 6, 2008

Responding to media criticism regarding Pau Gasol's performance in the NBA Finals:
"That’s why I don’t read the newspaper! Because it’s garbage! And the editor who let it come out is garbage! Attacking Pau Gasol, a pro athlete doing everything right! And then you want to write articles about guys who don’t do things right and downgrade them, the ones that do make plays. Are you kidding me? Where are we at in society today? Come after me! I’m a man! I’m 30!"
-L.A. Lakers postgame press conference, June 12, 2008

On success in the blogosphere:
"How pathetic is it to invent quotes on ones own blog. I would never do that."
-Interview with The House of Milo, February 2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

How do you like my Panda Style?

Review of Kung Fu Panda

Starring Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Anglina Jolie, Michael Cross, Jackie Chan and a bunch of computer animating geeks

Directed by Mark Osborne and John Stevenson

Another summer, another blockbuster computer animated movie, and a Dreamworks picture to boot. You see, in the computer animated movie biz, there's Pixar, and there's everyone else. Pixar delivers the modern classic Finding Nemo (a personal favorite) and Dreamworks delivers...Shark Tale. About fish. And a car wash. Hmmm... Pixar delivers A Bugs Life a great little movie (and even one of their weaker entries) and Dreamworks hits us with, Antz. With Woody Allen. And the movie title pluralized with a "z". Right... If you take away Dreamworks' 900 lb. gorilla (or ogre) Shrek, and the chasm between the two studios is even greater.

Why the rift in quality? In short, I haven't the slightest. Pixar doesn't know how to make bad movies. Whereas Dreamworks, minus the Shrek films, are good. They're like Big Macs. Without the money to go to a nicer place, they'll do just fine. You eat them, you feel pleasant enough, and then you're burping thousand island secret sauce for the rest of the afternoon. One theory I have is that I think the Shrekification of movies has something to do with it. The scientific formula for Shrek is simple:

Big colorful characters for kids + mature in-jokes that kids don't get divided by # of fart jokes = Box Office Bonanza.

We like it, it works. BUT, we don't want it every time. We can only take so many zany and colorful talking animals guys. Give us something different, something a little more nuanced than neurotic giraffes a la Madagascar. Now that I've spent half my article trashing Dreamworks animation, let me tell you why Kung Fu Panda is their best movie since the original Shrek. Are you ready for this?

It's not very much like Shrek.

Okay, okay, it still admittedly a little like Shrek. You've got your talking animals, and your sprinkling of potty humor (which remains hilarious), but in essence Kung Fu Panda is a modern reinterpretation of the classic Kung Fu movie in animated form. It manages to strike a nice balance of wildly imaginative cartoon characters with a traditional quest to become the ultimate warrior, in this movies case, the Dragon Warrior. I'll be honest, this movie had me at the opening sequence, in which Po, the titular Panda, dreams of the Furious Five, this film's quintet of nearly indestructable warriors. He awakens from his dream world to a drab reality, where he is unable to kip up from his back to standing, and his association with the Furious Five is limited to the action figures that line his window sill, something that thirtysomething Star Wars geeks like myself will richly appreciate.

Po has a love of food, and Kung Fu, but is stuck living out his father's dream as a noodle vendor. We never learn exactly why Po's dad is a bird, but it doesn't matter. It's a nifty bit of foreshadowing that suggests to us that, like his family lineage, Po is not quite where he belongs. When he learns that the local master will be choosing the new Dragon Warrior, Po naturally finds a way to get to the event, and through a bizarre and serendipitous situation, he becomes the unlikely Warrior to defend the people from the menacing Tai Lung.

There is not much here that hasn't been covered before, themes of believing in yourself and using the gifts that we have and being who we are have been the topic of countless other films (Karate Kid?) but the quality is in the telling. Jack Black is used appropriately, but not obnoxiously, as the unlikely Dragon Warrior, and while the personalities of the Furious Five are never fleshed out beyond Tigress, voiced by Angelina Jolie, their differences lie in their various fighting styles (all of them, cleverly, represented by the actual animal. The tiger style master is a tiger, monkey style is a monkey, mantis style...yeah, you get it).

And their fighting styles are what elevate this film above previous efforts. The hook of thinly veiled adult humor to reel in Moms and Dads has been eschewed in favor of outstanding action. There were moments of intensity that rivaled, and in some cases trumped, The Incredibles, which for me is the pinnacle of animated action. And while Moms and Dads will no doubt flock to this film as their kids beg for it, this is a film that I could easily see curious teens and childless grown-ups enjoying without hesitation. I found the art direction to be just as fantastic as the action. While the movie's humor may make you forget, there are beautiful moments in the film, that whisk the viewer away to a place where warriors meditated on cloudy mountain tops to attain the universal secret to enlightenment, peace, and awesome !@# kicking abilities.

I entered Kung Fu Panda with moderate expectations and was well pleased with the mix of humor, action, and surprising beauty. Don't let this somewhat high minded review make you think you're walking into an animated Citizen Cane, but what the movie does, it does well. A bit surprising to myself, I give Kung Fu Panda four out of four pot stickers, and give it a Viper style infused 20 ft. high flipping dragon punch recommendation. Kids will enjoy. Action and martial arts afficionados will be delighted. Everyone wins. Believe me when I say that it does get a bit intense in the cartoon violence department, but just about every kid except for the most sensitive should be just fine.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Words simply cannot describe...

Review of Paris by Paris Hilton

Sometimes when we least expect it, fate intervenes in the lives of mortals. Such was the case today, when I thought I was just going to get fitted for a tux so that I could act as a secret service agent at a local high school graduation ceremony. I must recount the tale, so that the full gravity of my opening statement may be felt. As most even moderately technically savvy individuals do at the beginning of any road trip of any length, I mapquested the address of the tuxedo rental shop, and set out to burn gasoline as expediently as possible. When nearing the establishment, I called to see what the cross streets were. "Cheyenne and Cimarron" said the voice on the other end of the phone. "Really?", thought I, as I passed Charleston and Cimarron. Never one to question disembodied voices, I dutifully headed to Cheyenne and Cimarron, only to find...trees. I was puzzled. I headed back to Charleston and Cimarron (remember, how much is gas up to?) to find that, in fact, I had passed the shop the first time around. "Oh well.", thought I, as visions of four dollar a gallon gasoline made me as woozy as errant fumes. I got out of my van to find, a sign taped to the inside of the establishment.

"Will re-open at 4pm. Sorry for the inconvenience."


It was 3pm.

The closest gas station informed me that regular unleaded could be had for the unusually reasonable price of 4.05 for a whole gallon!

Unable to bare the thought of another trip to be fitted, I instead headed to a nearby library. My thoughts turned to my blog, believe it or not. Recently, I've found that my niche, something I truly enjoy doing, is dissecting the fruits of others creativity by way of reviews. I would pick up some music. After travelling for forty five minutes in my van, having wasted untold dollars on lining the coffers of the Saudi royal family, I was in the perfect mood to review something. But what? As I perused the bounty that the public library offered, I was flummoxed, as nothing stood out. It was at that point that I found myself at the cross streets of fate and destiny when she looked up at me in her disinterested "I have more money than God." sort of way, beconing me to pluck her out of the rows and rows of jewel case filled bins. I gently lifted her out, asking myself the question, was I really doing this? Would I really check her out?

I was, and I did. And let me tell you, my life hasn't been the same since.

You see, you might assume, that because of my own ineptitude and some bad directions, I would be in a completely lousy mood, and in no shape to review anything, much less the self-titled debut of a debutant who is famous for being famous. But as I gently loaded the CD into the van's disc player, something strange burned within me. I wasn't ready, nor could any mere man be ready, for her subtly crafted opening lyrics.

"Ah, yeah, that's hot..."
So began my sonic journey into Paris...her self titled CD. This singular work of studio production and non-chalant vocals was like a summer reality show breaking up the monotony of sunny days and workless weeks. Paris is an album long tour de force, showcasing not only the poor little rich girl we have all grown to, something, but an introspective and even brooding side. Until this album, I never knew that being a billion dollar heiress could be such a thankless and harrowing journey.
It is on the album's second track that this became readily apparent to me. Fightin' Over Me is a subtle and cleverly written flirtatious number, and her nuanced lyrics completely floored me with her grasp of the human condition.
"Everytime I turn around the boys are fightin' over me,
Every time I step out the house they wanna fi-ight over me,
Maybe 'cuz I'm hot to death and so so so sexy.
All the boys, all the silly boys, wanna fi-ight over me."
Until I heard this song, I would have never, ever figured Paris Hilton to be a postmodern feminist, and yet, I think hearing, or reading in the case of this review, is believing, wouldn't you? She walks a fine line, but guest rappers Jadakiss and Fat Joe seem to be up to the task of walking the tightrope. As they deftly maneuver the lyrical landscape, they seem to embody the tenets of postmodernity as espoused by Mary Joe Frug, Jadakiss representing postmodernisms assertion that human experience is inextricably connected to the power of language to shape our perception of reality, and Fat Joe, representing Frug's second tenet, that sex is not entirely natural, and that society has created a system of meaning for it and encoded the female body with said meanings. Indeed, as he assertively delivers the lyric "Yeah ma, you wit' the realist, how simple is that?" I found myself asking the exact same question.
After that post-modern feminist anthem, the album only picks up inertia. And while nothing short of a 2,000 page dissertation could do this piece of audio excellence justice, the short space I have here will have to suffice. Another standout track is Screwed, which is nothing more than a thinly veiled critique on the war in Iraq. "Please don't let it begin, you're under my skin." she starts in a casual tone, proclaiming her bold assertion that involvement in the middle east should never have been an option. She no doubt stood boldly with Obama when others were sounding the war drums. "Same old story, boy meets girl and she falls much harder for him. Baby, wheres the glory." It is obvious that the U.S. is the girl in ths story, and that we fell in love with the idea of liberating a subjected people, when in fact the boy, in this case Iraq, was really not in tune with the idea in the first place. Now we, deeply ensconsed in the middle east, are asking ourselves the very same question. Where's the glory indeed?
"Since I'm already screwed here's a message to you, my heart's wide open, I'm just knockin' through, to the lover in you, tonight, tonight, you're gonna turn out the lights. And give me a little more room to prove it to you."
Indeed, we're already involved, Paris seems to say. We've already lost billions in dollars and thousands of lives, but we're still trying to fulfill Bush's proud "Mission accomplished" moment so many years ago. Whether it's 2013 or a hundred years, we are commited to our lover, Iraq. Indeed, proud Iraqis, give us a little more room to prove it to you.
I could go on and on for pages about how Stars are Blind is a plea to help sightless children charities, how Turn You On is her tender homage to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Do Ya Think I'm Sexy is a cry for awareness for both bulemia and anorexia, but to do so here would only defile the singular glory that it is to listen to these seminal works. I cannot simply assign a score to her album. I can only recommend that you not only buy this album, but buy multiple copies, as you will listen to it so frequently, you will likely not only wear out your CD player, but the discs themselves. I would also recommend downloading several copies digitally through iTunes, as well as purchasing the several academic treatises that have been written to unlock Paris's cleverly hidden meanings and symbolism. I cannot recommend this album highly enough, and I can only assure you, that if you pay money for this album, you will definitely get what you so richly deserve.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tastes like good, smells like scout camp

If someone doesn't tell you about it, you'll never find it. Seriously. Don't let it's inauspicious location fool you, however. Buzz BBQ should surely be the Buzz of BBQ gourmets everywhere. When we entered the small strip mall location, we were greeted by one of the cooks and, presumably, co-owners (pictured at far right). We happened to be talking about a few of the other BBQ joints in town, and he defiantly declared that none of them could compare to Buzz. After the hefty portions of briscit, pork, and ribs that I downed, I agree with him. Let's go down the essentials.

Meat. Check.

Styrofoam plates. Check.

Wet naps. Check.

And really, that's all you need, isn't it? Let's not kid ourselves, you're not going to head to Buzz for a fancy night out of eating. The southwestern atmosphere is fairly sparse, the style can only be described as "lawn furniture chic", possibly minus the chic. This doesn't matter. In fact, it almost adds to the ambience, because you're going to indulge your inner Bubba (you know this when you're allowed to sign the wall in magic marker if you down their pound and a half sandwich), and let me tell you, Buzz does not disappoint. This is the best BBQ I have eaten in Vegas. Hands down. Bar none. I don't know what magic they pull to make the meat as tender as it is, and their sauce as tasty as it ends up being, but there is something in that campfire smell that makes you scarf enough BBQ to cause your digestive tract groan under the strain.

A few negatives made this experience less than perfect, however. Not as impressive as the meat itself (heaven in slabs of glorious protein) were the sides. They were utilitarian at best. Also, be prepared to wait if you get a large family meal to share with friends as we did, because when they say slow cookin', they mean it. We waited a good 40 minutes (possibly more, my wife swears it was an hour). Factor the time into your evening, and you should be just fine. Lastly, and this is nothing close to a deal breaker, you will leave smelling like scout camp. I kid you not.

If you can ignore these negatives, Buzz will indulge the inner carnivore in anyone. Don't plan any heavy lifting for after, because the heaviness of the meal will no doubt lull you into a state of stupid lethargy. The reviews they have framed inside their restaurant along with the Best of Las Vegas 2008 recommendation are well deserved. Buzz backed up their bravado with all of the fire we'd expect from a crochety prairie worn cowboy. John Wayne would be pleased.

7810 W. ANN Rd # 130

Unlike vampires, this book doesn't suck...

There are novels, and then, there are event novels. You know event novels. Harry Potter was the granddaddy of them all. The first event novel, if you will. Some telltale signs of the event novel are kids waiting in line at midnight dressed as their favorite witch or wizard at their local Borders or Barnes and Noble, blockbuster movie adaptations, and twenty, thirty, and forty somethings crashing the party in shameless fashion. With the advent of the event novel, has come the unavoidable vigil from event novel aficionados who ask the same question in a longing chorus.

What's next.

Because for every Harry Potter, there has been numberless Spiderwick Chronicles, Eragons, Golden Compasses, and Lemony Snickets which have been unable to capture the popular imagination of enough of us shameless eternal youngsters to be dubbed the next event novel. If I'm going to be berated for reading something targeted at an adolescent, it had best not disappoint. Enter Twilight. I am not ready to dub this the next big thing, but if Harry Potter is the summer blockbuster of novels, then Twilight is the ridiculously successful viral internet campaign. In the course of a weekend, I barely beat out a Hollister wearing LDS twenty something for the last copy of the third Twilight novel at Wal-Mart at 7am. Now this was not even a new book, mind you. It was a newly released "special edition" which contains the first chapter of the fourth Twilight book. Tricky, eh? I watched as my wife's copy of the book made the rounds with four of my wife's friends in 24 hours. By the way, the movie will be released in December. The trailer preceded Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

If you pick up Twilight and take all of 10 seconds to read it's book jacket, you will find that this is a love story. With a vampire. Now wait, before you go running for your garlic and crosses as images of that freaky goth girl from fourth hour come flooding back to torment you, let me assuage your fears. While I am sure that some emo-tastic youths will use Twilight as the standard to which they will pin their hormone driven hopes and dreams, this novel does away with many of the gothic trappings of vampires that are likely to drive away the defenders of normalcy. Gone are their aversion to crosses, to daylight (at least in the traditional sense), and the traditional methods to do away with them. The concept of the vampire with a conscience is not new, but it is written here in a realistic enough way that it seems new and fresh.

Twilight is written from the viewpoint of it's heroine Isabella, or Bella, Swan. She is written in a way that is at once familiar and accessable. She's that smart girl you knew back in high school who was cute enough, but whose intangibles such as her sarcastic wit and keen intellect elevated her to something more. I envision her as the poster child for the emo-nation, brooding and hopeful, funny in a dead pan Steven Wright sort of way. For any of you Generation Xers out there, she's a hotter and more outgoing version of MTV's Daria.

Bella is new to Forks, Washington, the perfect setting for vampire love. You see, Forks is in the most overcast region in the U.S. As Bella gets her bearings in her new town, she makes friends, and is intrigued with a fashion model hot group of ousiders who are all members of the Cullen family. She notices that they keep to themselves, they have pale complexions, and their names are all a little out of place in the present day. Quite interesting. Hint, and a fairly major spoiler...

They're vampires.

And if you don't know that the first moment they are introduced, you my friend, are an idiot. And if you don't know that Bella is going to fall for the super hot Edward, then I have some land in Florida to sell you. Yes, Twilight navigates it's efficient narrative with all the subtlety and nuance of a jackhammer at 3am. You will find no revolutionary plot twists, and any man card holders may have to temporarily relinquish them or have a corner cut off to make it through some parts, but in the end, Twilight turns out to be a rewarding read.

My recommendation for guys who are mildly curious, especially married guys, would be to give it a shot and chalk it up to research. I've been watching my wife tear through these books at a disturbing clip, and it is quite interesting to see what has her twitterpated. A word of warning, however. I did grow tired of after the two hundredth time or so reading about how Edward (vampire love muffin) was an Adonis, a God, how chiseled his perfectly formed chest is. I get it. He's hot. Let's get back to crushing vans in half.

Twilight earns three cloves of garlic from me out of four. It isn't exactly fast food, but as the commercials say, it's good food fast. There's plenty of romance for the ladies, some good action for the fellas, and enough innovations with vampiric lore to keep everything new.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The new standard bearer in pro franchise excellence

Since winning their fourth championship in the last 10 years, the San Antonio Spurs, those of the floptastic and uninspiring gameplay, have been lauded as the standard bearers of excellence among all professional sports franchises. Indeed, a Sports Illustrated cover from last year hailed them as such. Had the Patriots not executed the finest choke job of the modern sports era (in fact, has their been a bigger choke job ever? Eli Manning won the Super Bowl, for crying out loud!) perhaps they would have unceremoniously ripped the mantle from the Spurs, all the while Bill Belichick pointing and chanting "Nanny nanny boo boo, stick your head in doo doo NFL!" With the Patriots flopping like the Spurs, and the Spurs flopping against the Lakers like, well, also like the Spurs, the window has been opened for the most dominating team you have most likely never seen.

My journey with the Red Wings began during the 1994-1995 NHL season. Seinfeld was in full swing back when Thursday really was must see. Teenagers were just getting over the Seattle grunge movement, Dr. Dre was tearing up the radio, Napster was still a few years off, and a younger version of me was learning the ins and outs of one of the hottest extreme sports out there, before we even knew what extreme sports were. I was an in line skater. My buddy Bryan and I had been skating around Las Vegas for years, but were just finding out how enjoyable street hockey was. Of course, checks and hits produced scrapes and scars, because we were rarely smart enough to wear protective gear.

During this time, I realized Hockey was ultimate dopeness. Today's crazy teens might have called it "sick". Either way, I realized that I was going to have to follow the NHL, and that I would need a team. Being a native Las Vegan, I've had to poach my favorite teams from other cities. Steve Young made me a believer in the 49ers, and I have loved them since the Cowboys first beat them in the NFC championship. I followed one of my favorite UNLV players in Arman Gilliam to the NBA and have been a Phoenix Suns fan ever since. Hockey was a trickier proposition. I had no previous link to the sport, other than the fact that I was now going to be a fan. I had to choose my team well. During this process, I read in an SI article that talked about how the Detroit Red Wings were currently in the midst of the longest Stanley Cup draught (27 or 28 years, I believe it was) so there was compelling drama. They were an original six hockey team and they had been the team of Gordie Howe so they had tradition. They had sweet unis, which any of my friends will tell you is extremely important to me. Lastly, they threw octopi on the ice during the playoffs, symbolizing the number of wins required to win the Stanley Cup in the original playoff format. When I realized that I could be a hockey fan AND piss off PETA at the same time, I was sold.

You can see then, why this bitter and disenfranchised Suns fan has had the chance for ultimate redemption during one of the best times in all of pro sports, when basketball and hockey frolic for a rollicking month, and thrust un-reality TV back to the depths from which it sprung. The Red Wings are en route to another Stanley Cup, and the Spurs, the previous gold standard for pro sports, will reluctantly lose their tenuous grip on the unofficial title of "most successful pro franchise".

So, why will the mantle of greatest pro franchise be unceremoniously ripped from the San Antonio Spurs by the Detroit Red Wings? Let's compare the franchises. First, obviously, the most important measure by which any franchise should be considered, number of titles won.

San Antonio: 4 Detroit: 4*

Now, I may jinx my team, and maybe they will suffer one of the biggest collapses in the history of the NHL, but I'm going to call the Stanley Cup in their favor with them up 3-1. I could just wait for them to win to see, but it's much more dramatic to make the call early. Now, we have this raw number, let's judge the quality of these titles. One of San Antonio's titles came in a strike shortened season. Oops, strike one against them. Two of San Antonio's titles came against the Juggernaut known as...The New Jersey Nets?!? Strike two. NBA Finals ratings have tanked when the Spurs are there. Not really a measure of their greatness or not, but rather a measure of America's good taste, but they are boring, so we are going to count that as strike three.

Finals appearances since 94-95

San Antonio: 4 Detroit: 5

Now, you may judge and say "Wait a minute, they made it one more time, but they didn't win." Indeed, but just as the adage says, better to have won and lost, than never to have won before. Yes, that one loss in the Finals came in a strike shortened season, but all of Detroit's wins came in legitimate full length seasons. Advantage, Red Wings.

Conference Finals since 94-95

San Antonio: 7 Detroit: 7

Pretty even statistic here. San Antonio doesn't lose any ground, but doesn't gain any either. I would argue, however, that it is more difficult to win in the NHL playoffs, where the game's name changes to "Goalie" and a hot man between the pipes can knock off even mighty juggernauts.

Seasons with best regular season record since 94-95

San Antonio: 4* Detroit: 5

This statistic is important, because in the discussion of successful pro franchises, win percentage usually gets tossed out there at some point, and the NHL will get the short end of the stick every time because of its point system because games could end in ties until the recent rule changes. It's like trying to compare apples to oranges. The end result, however, cannot be disputed. How many times have these franchises been the standard for regular season excellence. Detroit has done it one time more, but San An gets a dreaded asterisk for sharing the best record with Dallas one year. Oops! To be fair, I should mention that the mighty Red Wings were upset in the first round one year having won the President's Trophy (record for most regular season wins/points) BUT, the difference is, a set back like that would derail lesser franchises for years. Just look at how the Dallas Mavericks have reeled since losing to the Golden State Warriors in the first round. What did Detroit do? Rebound to make a conference final and Stanley Cup final. Much in the way wily job candidates make their negatives positive in job interviews, so do the Red Wings turn a colossal blunder into an example of their unending commitment to winning.


Now, beyond these measures of excellence, what are some of the intangibles that must be considered? All Detroit has done since the 94-95 season is win. Detroit has suffered no losing seasons in that time, and San Antonio has. The last time Detroit didn't qualify for the playoffs was the 85-86 season. In this years Stanley Cup finals, the Wings held the Pens scoreless through the first 2 games, an NHL record. Detroit has continued their winning with 3 different coaches, while San Antonio has had the luxury of one coach. The Red Wings have accomplished what they have in essentially one less season than the Spurs, losing an entire NHL season to a work stoppage. And speaking of the work stoppage, the NHL drastically revamped their rules and implemented a salary cap. The Red Wings have reached a conference final since that time and, presumably, will win the Stanley Cup this year under the new rules.

Final Verdict

You don't watch the NHL. That is a fairly safe assumption given their marginal ratings. In not watching, however, you have missed the most dominant pro franchise since 1994, and their winning is not done yet. So, if you learn nothing more from this little article, know this. If you want to really look like you know sports, and you ever happen upon someone who asks you "So who's the best team in the NHL this year?" Just answer the Red Wings. Season in and season out, you've got a great chance of looking like a genius.

Go Wings!!!