It?s Friday! And It?s Da Bulls!
Written by IndyHoya
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!
Salutations 55ers!* Hey, what difference a couple of days can make, eh?* First we’re suicidal and now we’re talking playoffs again!* Yup, our embattled warriors first derailed the 76ers (on the road, no less!) and in doing so broke a string of 9 straight road losses.* Then, not content with that, they then dispatched the Dirk Nowitzki-less Mavs in summary fashion.* In both games, we broke 100.* Suddenly, we’re moving the ball, piling up assists, and even more importantly finding the bottom of the hoop.* Paul George and Tyler Hansborough are getting into a flow and Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy’s shots are coming back.
But tonight we’ll be tested. The big, bad Chicago Bulls come to town. Yup. Chicago.* For starters, something literary and elevated from poet Carl Sandburg.* I’ll gradually get more profane and scatological as the Newsletter wears on.
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the
faces of women and children I have seen the marks
of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who
sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has
never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse.
and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.
Yeah, big, tough, mean Chicago and all those big, tough, mean Chicagoans (and undoubtedly their equally big, tough, mean bandwagon local fans) will be at Conseco Friday night.* And their big, tough, mean basketball namesakes, the Bulls will be there too, all hell bent on giving us hicks from Naptown (zzzzzzz) our customary drubbing..* Sounds bad for us! *The ogres from the North are coming! *Head for the hills!.* Does the Pacers two-game euphoria now have to come to an end?
Nope!* Not necessarily!* The big-shouldered, half-naked, sweaty, hog-slaughtering old Bulls do play plenty good in the friendly confines of the United Center.* However, their road act of late has left a lot to be desired. Wednesday, the lowly Charlotte Bobcats put them away.* In so succumbing, the Bulls suffered their third straight road loss to a team with a record under .500.
At home, those wicked, crooked, brutal Bulls have allowed opponents to average only 82.4 points over a current 7-game winning streak.* But away from the railheads and stockyards, in each of their last 3 road games, our taurine friends have given up an average of 96 points. Wednesday, their vaunted defense managed to squeezed out only a season-low 7 turnovers from the lackluster Bobcats.
The Bulls are kind of hurting in other ways too.* Their big man, Joakim Noah, can’t play Friday night..* He’s recuperating from thumb surgery.* And their golden boy, prime scorer and SAT-test imposter Derrick Rose (more on him below), has been struggling big time.* Over the last 7 games, he’s shot only 40%, gone 3 for 25 from 3-point range, and averaged 5 turnovers a night.
Friday’s game will be the Pacers’ second encounter with the Bulls this year.* In our first matchup, they prevailed 92-73. At that time, the Bulls were healthy but we weren’t.* DG, you’ll recall, didn’t play in that game because he had a severely sprained ankle.* Without Danny around, Golden Boy Rose garnered 17 points. But it was really the Bulls’ power forward, Carlos Boozer that was our undoing.* Boozer had a fabulous night against us — 22 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal. *No maybe we get the karma.
So on Friday night, a lot of important questions get to be answered. Can DC and Brandon get their points and still keep a lid on Rose?* Can DG go for more than 20 and still clamp down on Luol Deng?* Can Tyler/JP/McBob/Jeff somehow platoon and keep Carlos Boozer under control?
Another important story to watch is Big Roy, who has looked a lot better in the last couple of games.* In Noah’s absence, can he get something going in the pivot against oldster Kurt Thomas (at 37 the second greyest player in the NBA – Shaq’s the oldest at 40) and make taffy out of Thomas’ backup Turkish import, clumsy 7-footer, Omer A?ik?.
Yeah, there could be a lot of human interest in this game, people.* Maybe, just maybe, the Pacers can make it 3 wins in a row and we could be witness to a breakout home court statement against our arrogant friends from Lakeville. Let’s be there in force, all yellowed up, screaming, and very, very nasty.* Chicago doesn’t have a monopoly on bad behavior. There are plenty of people in 55 that can play that game too.
PTO Doings! The Pacers Tailgating Organization was environmentally challenged on the evening of the San Antonio game.* Downy flakes of snow were filtering down, a bone-chilling wind was blowing, and only a hardy core of regular participants watched ace log-splitter Indianapolis Markus put his shoulder to the task, manfully providing dicing up firewood to fuel the fire-pit that PTO Prez Aaron Coleman presciently brought with him (in a rare but welcome show of Presidential foresight and judgment).* Brats were dispensed with, mostly because it was too damned cold to even set a grill up to cook them.* Instead, the usual crew of oddballs basically showed up late and left early, opting to warm their tingling appendages in the toasty bosom of Conseco before they froze up altogether and completely fell off.
But for all the cold, the Wednesday PTO meeting was still kinda interesting. Kielbeze was the first arrival for a change and he added some sartorial class to the event, showing up with a spiffy Pacer necktie – previously unseen.* His wife, Ashley, teeth chattering like telegraph keys, huddled in her home-made Pacer blankie.* And Indy Markus (possibly still drunk from the last PTO) came skipping in with pockets full of teensy bottles of airplane booze that he generously doled out to those over 21 that wanted fueling. *(I opted out, as teensy-weensy vodka bottles have never done much for my stomach when the latter is already full of frozen beer. Iron-man, Red Foster – possessed of digestion less sensitive than mine– was less particular.* Red is the 55er who has been focusing Area 55 ire of late on Conseco denizens traitorous enough to come to games wearing opposing teams’ jerseys.).
By the way, those of you who have not seen what a visit to a PTO session can do to an otherwise normal human should probably view the following videotape of Indianapolis Markus.* Warning!* Not pretty!
The default locale for the pre-Chicago PTO Friday will be, as usual, at the Anthem parking lot just south of the Delaware entrance to Conseco.* Stop by! It’s fun!* It’s frivolous!* It’s Fellini-esque!.* Dress warmly, expect anything, and don’t get too close to Markus.
OK, Who Stole Pacero’s Drum? A little known fact, but true, is that immediately after El Pacero’s gold-flaked, snare drum disappeared from its Conseco storage area, our Pacers went into an abysmal slump – something that the heroics of Area 55 and all kinds of lineup tinkering by Coach Obie have only now partially overcome.* So what happened to this hallowed instrument?
Well, the blame right now seems to rest squarely on the suits from PS&E.* See, El Pacero naively entrusted his tom-tom to PS&E for safe storage after a home game.* Now the sucker is gone!* The suits assured him that it was to be stored in a vault that was secured with a locking device whose combination was known only to Larry Bird. Yet somehow, some way, despite the promised 24-hour armed guard and the secret location of the vault, Pacero’s noble drum — the device used to cue virtually all of Area 55’s chants – has inexplicably vanished!* Larceny is suspected.* At any rate, Pacero’s repeated demands for its redelivery have been met with only mumbling and mealy-mouthed stonewalling by PS&E.* Consequently, a restive Pacero has opted to consult with yours truly.* Suffice it to that say attention-getting legal action is now being contemplated.* As soon as Pacero and I finish ironing out the terms of my contingency contract, PS&E could be looking at a multi-count mindboggling civil lawsuit sounding in negligence, breach of actual and implied contracts, promissory estoppel, monetary damages for breach of a gratuitous bailment, and intentional infliction of emotional harm.* Rest assured.* Actual damages will be demanded, as well as consequentials and punitives.
To quote from some of the witness statements (Yes, PS&E, I’m gathering witness statements!)
“Area 55 just hasn’t been the same since they lost Pacero’s drum!* We’re rudderless, our chants lack emphasis, it’s affected our creativity!” (Chris Goff-Statement, Page 1)
“Let’s sue the snot out of ‘em!” (Tony Laurenzana-Statement, Page 5)
And this, from Indianapolis Markus:
“ I believe that we will win!* I believe that we will win!”
Want to be part of the upcoming class-action?* If you feel you’ve been detrimentally impacted by the missing sonority in Area 55, please dial 1-800- LAWSUIT.* And do it today! Telephone operators are standing by!
What’s a Dunk Contest without White Thunder? Hey, 55ers!* Did you see this?* http://tinyurl.com/4fepu53
Or this?* http://tinyurl.com/482qoyv
Or this?* http://tinyurl.com/62bolr5
So shouldn’t Josh McRoberts be in the NBA dunk contest?** Hell yes he should be in the NBA Dunk Contest!* And that’s what my friend, fellow 55er, Rob Greenway, thinks too.* He sent me this:
AND NOW SOME FUN FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO!
“A Rose By Any Other Name Should Smell as Sweet!”As all careful readers of this Newsletter know, the NBA is a limitless font of weirdness, replete with miscellaneously intriguing factoids certain to pique the interest of even the most jaded of sports enthusiasts. I share a few of these today.* Our first topic is Derrick Rose, Chicago’s Mr. Everything.
Mr. Everything’s self-christened nickname is “Poohdini”.* Odd huh?* What does it mean? How did this happen?
Well, according to Derrick, it came from his Grandma.* On observing him when he was just a little cherub, and noticing fact that he liked sweets, had sort of yellowish skin, and a slightly chubby appearance, Grandma Rose didn’t think he was malnourished or jaundiced.* No!* She was instead reminded of “Winnie-the-Pooh!.” Sticking with that thought, she took to calling him “Pooh”
All-Everything Derrick liked this nickname.* He liked it so much that he tattooed a variation of it on his left bicep.* His choice of embellishment actually depicts a wizard holding a staff in one hand and a basketball in the other. And over this winsome image he caused to be emblazoned, in ornate, cursive script, the word “Poohdini.”* Ah, the artistry!
Just what a wizard holding a wand and a b-ball has to do with a cuddly Pooh-Bear*is beyond me.* And what’s this “Poohdini” stuff?
Let’s take a close peek and try to figure it all out:
Still baffled? In his expository video, a seemingly drugged Derrick (I think he popped a couple of Ambians before his photo session) methodically inventories all 9 of his tattoos. He explains his “Poohdini” one as well.* View his vid and be enlightened!
Yup.* “Poohdini,” per Derrick’s explanation, is a creative cross of his own invention between “Pooh” (Grandma’s doting nickname for little Mr. Everything) and Harry Houdini (the famous, long-deceased escape artist and magician).
There are other theories about “Poohdini”, however, and I now share mine with you:
See, I have heard a tantalizingly similar expression — “Poodini” – before.* I heard it at a* PTO meeting, actually.* And the term emanated from the mouth of none other than Bedford 55er and PTO regular, Duke Dynamite.* The context for the expression involved the Duke rooting around in the pine trees at the back end of the Anthem parking lot.* When I inquired of him exactly what his expletive “Poodini”meant, he referred me to the Internet’s “Urban Dictionary,” which defined it thusly:
“A ‘Poodini’ occurs when you are on the toilet, for what we shall refer to as a ‘number two’ and you turn and look down to inspect the specimen and find it has completely vanished into the nether reaches of the porcelain bowl – leaving no trace. Furthermore you check your wipe and you find that the paper remains clean.Almost convinced that nothing has actually happened and that* you simply imagined the poo…you exclaim ‘Poodini!’”
Don’t believe me?* Hey, that’s the sanitized definition.
I have a flash to Derrick: Next time, before tattooing, consult the “Urban Dictionary” and the nuances of your subject matter.* It’s not pretty.
You can learn more than you probably want to know about “Poodinis” here, but if you’re squeamish I really don’t recommend it::
Meet Benny the Bull – Criminal Mascot! For more than 40 years, Benny the Bull has been entertaining Chicago Bulls fans, first at*Chicago Stadium (1969–1994), and then at the*United Center (1994–present). Over the years he has become almost as popular as some of the franchise’s most notable figures, such as players*Michael Jordan and* Scottie Pippen, and head coach*Phil “Zen Master” Jackson. Indeed, Benny is one of the longest-tenured mascots in the NBA and in all of professional sports. He may also be the only one with a criminal record.
Here’s a quick pic of Benny:* http://tinyurl.com/4nct4ss
On July 2, 2006, Benny’s human portrayer, Barry Anderson, was arrested by an off-duty police officer while performing at the “Taste of Chicago” food festival. Dressed in his Benny the Bull costume, Anderson drove a miniature*motorcycle through the festival, although he did not have a permit to do so. When the officer, who was providing security at the event, identified himself as a policeman and called on Anderson to stop, Anderson fled. The officer pursued on foot, and when he caught up with Anderson, Anderson allegedly attempted to punch him in the face, breaking the officer’s watch and knocking off his glasses. Anderson subsequently claimed that the actions were performed in “character”, and that he did not intend to cause injury to the officer. He was nevertheless arrested and charged with battery and illegally driving within the parkway. After Anderson was arrested and charged, his costume was returned to the*United Center.*The charges were later dropped after Anderson agreed to pay the cost to fix the officer’s glasses. This wasn’t the first time Chicago’s mascot turned lawbreaker.
In 2004, Chester Brewer who was playing the part of Benny’s predecessor, “Da Bull,” at the time, was arrested for selling marijuana from the trunk of his car near Cabrini-Green. Thankfully for the kiddies, Brewer was not dressed in his bull get-up at the time.
Oh no!* It’s “Veal” Scalabrine! He is Brian Scalabrine. He is The Scalster, Ex-Scal-I-Bur, Scally, Big Scal, Legend, Veal, BS. The man himself is a god among basketball players and he must be worshipped. Even we, diehard Pacers fans, must give in to the greatness that is Scalabrine! We probably won’t see much of him.* He ordinarily only plays when the Bulls are up 19 or so.* I therefore sort of don’t want to see him Friday night. But yet part of me still does.
Who is Brian Scalabrine?
He’s a 6’9” redheaded, strange looking 9 year NBA vet.* And he plays for the Bulls.
An unlikely New Jersey legend was born during the 2001-02 season, when Scalabrine was a rookie with the New Jersey Nets. Mike O’Koren, then a Nets assistant, was having dinner at an Italian restaurant and ordered veal scallopine. Starting the next day at practice, after O’Koren’s light-bulb moment, the first-year forward from the University of Southern California would thereafter be known as “Veal Scalabrine.”
“The players started out calling me ‘Veal Chop,’ because when I first started I kind of played reckless — and fouled people with a chop,” Scalabrine said. “I’m not Veal Chop anymore. I’m just Veal.”
He’s also even more popular with folks who can claim to be regular visitors to the United Center in Chicago. The Bulls picked him up after the Celtics opted not to resign him.* At the UC, it’s not uncommon to hear a SCAL-UH-BREE-KNEE chant if the Bulls are up big and the big redhead isn’t in the game.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Scalabrine said. “They could have been booing me.”
Why do I have all this love for Brian Scalabrine? View a compendium of this Bulls anti-hero in action and find out!
Alas, fellow funsters. It is now late and I must be off to the land of Nod. But I’m doing a ritual gargle and saying a prayer for my Pacers before I doze off.
I sooooooooooooooooo want to beat the Bulls!
55ers!* Gear up and be strong Friday night!.* Remember too that Friday is a yellow-out.* So dude up. Paint up. Scream like banshees and raise hell!
Let’s help our warriors give the big, bad Toros from Chicago something really profound to remember us by.
Go Pacers!* Go Area 55!
Joe Murphy – Indy Hoya