Elster's World

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Couple of Thoughts on a Slow Afternoon

- Bill Simmons linked this amazing story about former Jets head coach Pete Carroll. While obviously he didn't have great success on the NFL level (33-31 in four seasons), I will never look at him the same way again. Sometimes we get a little too caught up in short term success. Perhaps Carroll wasn't ready in 1994-98 to be a head coach in the NFL.

Regardless, reading this piece completely changed my view of Carroll (unfairly that of a crappy NFL head coach). Just the part about his regular trips into South Central LA make me remember that your success or lack thereof at your job should never define the person that you are. Go Pete.

- If there is a more selfish player in New York sports than Stephon Marbury, please point him out to me. Despite his diminishing skills, the over hyped point guard continually refuses to play a team game, and, after a string of bizarre incidents this past summer:

1. selfishly bailed out on the team and flew home during a pivotal west coast trip, effectively killing any positive karma that may have existed

2. selfishly took WAAAAY too much time off after his father died. Look, I know people mourn in different ways, but imagine taking an entire month off after your parent died at work. How would that go over?

3. selfishly (reported) decided to have surgery on his ankle and is taking off the remainder of the 2007/2008 season.

Well guess what Steph? The Knicks are 2-0 since your latest injury and are playing much better team basketball without you. Isaiah Thomas was quoted as saying the team is playing crisper, ball movement basketball without Starbury. So by all means, go have your surgery.

Sadly, the Knicks cannot get out from under Steph's contract. However, if I was Dolan and trading Steph is impossible (which, of course, it is), I'd tell Marbury to take a seat at the end of the bench - there to remain until his contract expires and then he can then fulfill his lifelong dream of playing in Italy. But I wouldn't let Thomas or any other coach let him step one foot on the floor to play except meaningless garbage time. This would wound the ego of any self respecting player. On the other hand, Marbury continually shows he has no self respect so maybe this wouldn't work after all.

- Can I Get A Side Order Of Insanity With That?

- Gawker.com has released this unbelievable video of Crazy Hollywood Start Du Jour, Tom Cruise, that the Church of Scientology uses to promote its nutty cult. On the heels of last week's rumors that his baby with Joey Potter is really the spawn of the late (he's not really dead, just in another galaxy) L. Ron Hubbard himself puts Scientology back on the great map of kool-ade drinkers everywhere.

In this brilliantly zany video, Cruise describes how Scientologists are the ones who can bring about world peace, save lives, stop accidents - all while having a grand old time. Really, you have to give credit to someone who can whip up that kind of crazy fervor and insane laughter in a 10 minute span. Kudos Tom. You've done it again. And here I thought you peaked in A Few Good Men.

On the same vein, coincidentally I got a call from an old classmate yesterday about the possibility of an elementary school reunion. while we were talking about a venue, my friend laughed and reminded me that I had the dubious honor of going to school with the hottest leader of the new Kabbalah movement - "Rabbi" Michal Berg -son of Philip Berg - the noted Kabbalah "scholar" and possible charlatan.

I remember spending time in his house in Kew Gardens as a kid and even then, the word "cult" sprung to mind. Watching the followers of the Kabbalist Berg cleaning up dog poop from the rug and generally being mistreated by Michael and his older brother Yehuda, even a 12 year old kid knew this wasn't normal behavior. Shabbos at the Berg house was even more loopy. (In retrospect, I'm shocked my parents would even let me go there. I'll need to have a talk with them about that when they come back from their Israel vacation.)

And now Michael and Yehuda are running the show in California, hanging out with notables like Madonna and writing self help books that don't help. What a world.


  • 1. I'd consider Carroll to have been a mediocre head coach rather than a "crappy" one. He was unfairly fired by the Jets and while he wasn't great with the Pats, he did take them to the playoffs twice in three seasons. He was fired because Kraft decided to take Belichick away from the Jets.

    2. I disagree that Marbury "selfishly took WAAAAY too much time off after his father died. Look, I know people mourn in different ways, but imagine taking an entire month off after your parent died at work. How would that go over?"

    You are really out of line on this one. The reality is that most people return to work way too early after sustaining a loss. If a person is in a position where he or she can get more time off, they should take it.

    Would you say that Brett Favre came back to work way too early (the next night) after his father's fatal heart attack?

    3. Cruise is very eccentic, but who is he hurting with his beliefs? Why do you call Scientology a cult? Is Orthodox Judaism a cult? Do we drink the kool-aid when we put on tefilin, shake a lulav, etc.?

    4. I'm not a fan of the Kabbalah Center, but your personal insults toward the Bergs is shockingly mean-spirited.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 10:54 AM  

  • I know them personally - that's my right. To you it's mean spirited to me it's the truth. To me, any group whose primary focus is fleecing the weak minded (read up on L Ron Hubbard and you will see he is one of the greatest charlatans of arecent history) of their hard earned money is a terrible thing.

    Do people say this about Jews? Some do, yes. But this post is based upon my personal beliefs. All of it. Including my feelings about the Bergs and their little Kabbalah empire and Stephon Marbury's intentional tanking of the 2007 season.

    By Blogger Elster, at 11:37 AM  

  • "I know them personally - that's my right. To you it's mean spirited to me it's the truth."

    It's probably lashon hora and I also think it's cowardly to attack someone without backing up your attack with your name.

    As for Marbury, your first and third points are legit. But if he can put family ahead of work, kol hakovod to him. Most of us can't as often as we'd like.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 11:52 AM  

  • My name is Elie Hecht and I stand by my words.

    As always I repect your opinion. As often, I disagree with it.

    By Blogger Elster, at 12:44 PM  

  • Are you the Elie Hecht who came in 5th in my fantasy football league?

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 4:11 PM  

  • No - the Elie Hecht who whipped your behind in FFL this year more times than you beat me.

    By Blogger Elster, at 4:55 PM  

  • Sorry - guess I confused you with someone else.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 8:22 PM  

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