Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Bit Too Excited?

I love watching mascot shenanigans. One of my favorite sports moments is when the Kansas City Chiefs rat/mouse mascot.....why does a team called the Chiefs have a rat/mouse mascot? Anyways the mascots was riding on a scooter through the field and dove off into the refs as they were having a meeting. Everyone fell and the refs looked pissed though I'd hope that they had been consulted about the little move before hand.

What I can't understand is the mascot that gets an attitude and thinks of themselves as some cartoon gangsta. I know it must be difficult to convince people you're tough as you sit in a Barney costume, but that's your freaking job. Mascots are at a game to be fun and jovial, not to bow up to the opponent and act all Sopranos on them (you'd think the costume would give that away.)

But every year there is some mascot play-fight that goes horribly awry and turns into a legitimate beat down.

The latest contretemps involving mascots happened between the New Mexico State's 'Pistol Pete' and Utah States 'Big Blue.'

Pistol Pete, who looks like he's wearing a child cowboy uniform with a fake mustache and a New Mexico State flag draped over him like a superhero cape, apparently was enraged at the Blue Ox mascot for
a prank.

A Utah State fan offered the mascot $100 if he'd go and steal Pistol Pete's mustache. The mascot complied and ripped Pistol Pete's mustache right off. Apparently this is not what you do to Pistol Pete as he jumped on Big Blue and tried to choke the Ox at mid-court before he was pulled away. Yikes. Pistol Pete has been suspended for his attack.

This isn't the only display of mascot rage in college sports. Just last year Oregon's duck really went street hoodlum on the Houston Cougar mascot during a football game early in the year. The duck exacerbated the confrontation by grabbing his crotch in a classy display of manners and mutual respect.

I found it hilarious because it was the dumbest thing I've ever seen. But things are getting out of hand now. Too much mascot abuse.

The next time a mascot war escalates, we need Samuel L. Jackson via "Pulp Fiction" to stick his nasty Ge
ri Curled head into the fray and yell "Bitch be Cool!" He'll put those war mongers into place.

And then maybe he can convince Nick Saban to quit his job and wander the world in the name of God. Okay, now I'm dreaming.

For several instances of Mascots Gone Wild, check several videos I posted below.

Never Make Fun Of The Fat Kid

See, now we're making commercials out of this nonsense. You have a guy clearly making fun of an overweight mascot and the fatty finally snaps. I say the old bastard deserves what he got, but the man doesn't need to make a profit off of his pain.

You'll Never Look At Looney Tunes Again

This is what would happen in real life if Foghorn Leghorn got into it with the dog in the Looney Tunes cartoons. There would be a lot of tackling, pushing, and shoving. Then one pulls a switchblade and before you know it, the Leghorn household is victim of a drive-by. Man, times are rough....

Wisconsin Gang Bang

Sparty needed to check out the surroundings before he started his shenanigans. Before you know it, he's getting a curb job from a pile of Wisconsin fans. The last time I saw this kind of beat down, I was watching the movie Colors.

Too Far

See, now this is scary. The mascot loses his head in the middle of the fight....what if there are kids in the crowd? They will never look at Sesame Street the same again. And it's therapy for the next 20 years....

From The 2008 Summitt League Championship.....Whatever That Is

This one makes sense. You put natural enemies like an eagle and a jaguar out on the court at the same time, their instincts will take over.

Danger Will Robinson!

Two pinatas were trying to figure out what kind of candy goodness each one had in their belly when some bizarre mascot named "Steal" who looked like a cross between a nuclear warhead and a shuttlecock had to interfere. This looks like something out of an LSD induced dream.

Duck Hunt

Everyone was just drinking and hanging out at a football game. Then the Cougar mouthed off a little to the Duck who had clearly had a few too many. He was already in a surly mood from staring at Oregon's hideous football uniforms all day, so this was a bad time to push his buttons.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Pointless In The NBA

Out here in Phoenix the daily story is about whether the Suns can catch the Dallas Mavericks for the final NBA playoff spot. The Suns are currently sitting 3 1/2 games back of the Mavs and both teams keep losing games to keep things close.

As a Mavericks and Suns fan, I understand that the teams have to keep trying to win games and not give up on this year. It's awful as a fan to watch your favorite team tank the final part of a season in a display of complete hopelessness. The teams need to keep fighting.

But as a fan, I can accept the harsh reality. What's the point for either team battling it out for this final playoff spot? The winner gets to play the top seeded Lakers where they will most likely be swept out of the playoffs before they can blink.

Such is life in the NBA where there is anything but parity and to me it shows exactly why the NBA playoffs are less entertaining than the playoffs in any of the other major pro sports.

In the NFL the Giants barely made the playoffs and went on to win the Super Bowl. Just this past year the Cardinals went from being called the worst playoff team ever to a Santonio Holmes away from a title.

In the NHL any team can upset another team at any time during the playoffs. While botto
m seeds don't usually make it all the way to a championship, it is possible as evidenced by the Stanley Cup run that the Edmonton Oilers had as the final playoff seed a few years back. The Oilers just missed and lost to Carolina four game to three in the finals, but it was close.

Major League Baseball may have the same playoff contenders every year due to it's ridiculous
financial set up, but even with the Yankees and Red Sox dominating the headlines there are different champions most of the time.

Not so in the NBA. It just doesn't happen. Remember how crazy everyone got a few years back when the Golden State Warriors upset the top seeded Mavericks in the first round? Remember what happened after that historic upset? The Warriors were easily flipped out of the playoffs four games to one by the Utah Jazz.

There are no historic championship runs in the NBA. If your team is good during the season, they will probably advance in the playoffs. If they are a bottom seed, they won't. It's a great league for anal-retentive control freaks. Very few
surprises.

So wh
ile I can enjoy the newspaper's ludic way of pretending it matters if the Suns or Mavericks make the playoffs, I know that in the end it's just a matter of a few extra games. In fact, I'd almost rather both teams lose that final playoff spot and take their chances in the lottery. That's how a championship team is built. See Duncan, Tim or James, LeBron.

Maybe I'm a bad fan for thinking like this. But I know that while the Dallas Mavericks are most likely going to make the playoffs, the Suns just need to wait a week before inviting the Mavs players to join them on the golf course. That's just the way it goes in the NBA and it bores me to death.

Not Every Commercial Sucks

I honestly didn't see this Guitar Hero commercial coming. Now THIS was an ad worthy of a Super Bowl slot.

The next one could be for football season. Do you think it might star Peyton Manning?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Don't Be A Coaching Whore

My how things change in a couple of years. We have a new president, the economy is in tatters, and Billy Gillispie went from being a hot coaching candidate that brought a Texas A&M basketball program back from the dead to being about as popular as those toxic commodities that killed the economy.

The problem is that Gillispie jumped at the big opportunity before even figuring out if he fit in. He was THE most popular coach at Texas A&M, more popular than the football coach which is really saying something there. He could have asked for a raise, two nightly hookers, and a year's supply of Shiner Bock beer and he probably would have gotten it.

Then Kentuc
ky came calling. And Gillispie jumped at the chance to coach at a basketball superpower. Problem is, he didn't take enough time to check out the scene.

Now he's out a job and the Texas A&M faithful are cheering because they felt so betrayed when he jumped ship with them. Call it Aggie poetic justice.

Hopefully Gillispie has learned his painful lesson. Because the people in Kentucky sure haven't.

Fans still seem to expect the school to be able to go anywhere in th
e country and have good head coaches dive away from their programs at Kentucky's velleity.

That's the
only reason I can fathom when I read that Kentucky is going after Florida's Billy Donovan. Again. Maybe Kentucky has a fetish with the name Billy.

The school tried to get him away from Florida two years ago before Gillispie was hired. Apparently the school, like a hot woman, isn't used to being shunned because they're going after him again.

Donovan has already said he isn't interested in the Kentucky job. And I say good for him. He's given Florida back to back titles and has a firm place at the school for years to come.

If he left for Kentucky, not only would he give up all of the good relations he's forged at Gainesville, he'd be leaving Florida to go to a rival SEC school. This is known as pulling a Saban.

Nick Saban grew LSU into a power, then left for the NFL. After two years he left the NFL for SEC rival Alabama. And LSU fans now root against Nick Satan. With a passion. I'm sure Saban doesn't care since he's doing well with Alabama, but his reputation among fans definitely took a hit.

I can't imagine how crazy things would be at Florida if Donovan up and left to go straight to a rival school. Talk about playing with the karma gods.

People deal with a world full of gray every day at our jobs. We want our sports to be cut and dry....good teams and bad teams. That's hard to do in professional sports since a favorite player might get drafted by a team you don't like. But college sports is fandom in it's purest and simplest form. The worst thing that can happen to a fan base is betrayal.

That's why I'm happy Billy Donovan is sticking in Gainesville. Not because I'm a Florida fan, but because I don't want my college sports shaken by coaching musical chairs.

It's hard enough to make a name for yourself as a coach. Once you do, you might as well stick around and reap the benefits because you don't know what you got 'til it's gone.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Unhappily Ever After

What the hell is going on in the family of professional sports teams? There seems to be an uptick in dysfunctional relationships between team stars and coaching/management.

It started with Jay Cutler versus Josh McDaniels, now Hanley Ramirez is rebelling against a new dress code imposed by the Florida Marlins. Ramirez was not happy with what he considered a feckless new dress code forcing him to cut his hair and remove his jewelry while playing, so he scrawled "I'm sick of this sh*t" across his chest in marker and demanded a trade.

Players battling management is nothing new, but it's the tone of these recent arguments that makes them so odd. It almost sounds like an unhappy teenager fighting with their parents as both sides battle for control in the househol
d.

In Denver......

CUTLER: "Were you trying to send me to boarding school, Dad?"

MCDANIELS: "A border school called us asking us about it, so we listened to them. But don't worry, we aren't going to do it. It's too expensive."

CUTLER: "But you were listening to them! I knew you didn't want me here! You guys don't love me anymore!"

MCDANIELS: "Of course we love you. We were just listening to what they had to say. We weren't even close to sending you."

CUTLER: "Yes y
ou were! You probably just don't want to let me drive the car! Well, I don't want to live here anymore! I'm going to live with grandma!"

MCDANI
ELS: "Son, just calm down."

CUTLER: "No, I'll go live with Steve! At least his parents like me!"


Meanwhile, in Miami.......

FREDIE GONZALEZ (Marlins Manager): "Hanley, what is that you're wearing?"

RAMIREZ
: "It's a necklace."

GONZALEZ: "That's not a necklace, that's a rope made out of gold with a
pendant the size of your chest. And look at your pants, they're halfway down your legs!"

RAMIREZ: "That's the look, Dad. I'm in style!"


GONZALEZ: "Style? You look like a homeless man Hanley. And what are you doing with your hair? You look like you haven't visited a barber in a year. Go clean up."

RAMIREZ: "This is how I want to look! All of my friends are doing it too!"

GONZA
LEZ: "I don't care what your friends are doing. I raised you better than that. Go pull your pants up, take that ridiculous necklace off, and please get a haircut."

RAMIREZ: "No way! Do you want me to be a social outcast? Will that make you happy? Why are you ruining my social life?"

GONZALEZ: "I want you to look like you grew up in a proper family, not with a bunch of hippies. Now go change."

RAMIREZ: "I hate you! Why can't you let me be me? I'm not you, Dad!"


Then maybe Gonzalez finds pot in Hanley's room and asks where he learned how to smoke pot. Hanley yells "I learned it from you, dad!" And then Gonzalez looks guilty.

The Ramirez situation seems to be cooling down and maybe the Cutler one will too someday. But these organizational fights are sounding more and more like domestic disputes. Maybe one day soon a coach will take off his belt and spank the star. That will be a fun news day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

When We Were 13 and 3, It Was A Very Good Year.....

If Titans fans saw a video of Vince Young and Albert Haynesworth at a LeonardDale White birthday party two years ago, they would think heaven.

Now they have a backup QB and a Washington Redskins defensive tackle at the birthday party for a fat ass (though he did lose lots of weight this off-season. Good for him!)

A Job For The Dogs?

Who knows if it was due to Kobe cheating on her or lead to Kobe cheating on her, but apparently Vanessa Bryant is a raging psycho beast. At least according to the Bryant's former maid.

The maid is suing the basketball couple because Vanessa was allegedly verbally abusi
ve to her in front of others and accused her of stealing.

Things got really bad when Mrs. Bryant apparently ordered the maid to stick her hand into a pile of dog feces in order to retain a price tag from a $690 dress the maid had accidentally put into the washer. Bryant wanted the tag so she could deduct the p
rice from the maid's salary.

There are a obviously a couple of questions that have to be answered:

First, why does Vanessa Bryant feed price tags to her dog?
Second, is the maid telling the truth or does she just want a slice of the Bryant pie?

Kobe and Vanessa are battling the accusations saying they are completely false.

The case doesn't sound like it has a lot of tangible evidence to prove one thing or another and might ju
st come down to a she said/ she said battle which is always pointless in a courtroom.

From my experiences though, history is not on Vanessa Bryant's side.

During my stints in the soul sucking industry known as New York high-end catering, I've had the not pleasure of working many parties thrown by rich and famous people. Whenever there is a bad experience that involves yelling or tantrums, 90% of the time the wife is the one doing the abusing. My girlfriend has worked some of these parties and agrees with me that the wife is generally the culprit.

I don't know if it's because the wife has nothing better to do, if she knows she doesn't make the money so this is her outlet for power, if she's frustrated over her husband's misdeeds and this is how she copes, or if it's just a woman craziness thing. All I know is that if I was in any sort of propinquity to these women, I found a reason to get away. Fast.

So we'll see what plays out in this case, but I'm won't be surprised if we hear all sorts of tales about Mt. Vanessa blowing her top at the help.


What A Beautiful Mistake....

The best part about the slip is that it was made at ESPN, a station that takes sports and themselves sooooooo seriously.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Silver and Black NFL Prime Time... Wha?

Al Davis is either paying off Roger Goodell or threatening to sue the league again.

That's the only conclusion I came to after the NFL released it's kickoff and Thanksgiving schedule for the 2009 season.

Most of i
t makes sense:

The season, as per usual, starts off with the defending Super Bowl champions hosting a game on Thursday night. This year it's the Steelers hosting the Titans in what should be a bone crushing game where a grand total of 15 points are scored.

It won't be entertaining from a offensive perspective, but it's the Super Bowl champs against the team with the best record in the AFC last season. The matchup makes sense for the NFL.


The first Sunday night game will have Chicago visiting Green Bay. Meh. I don't get particularly excited about either of these teams and their championship hopes next season, but it's a classic rivalry. Again, I understand the NFL's thinking on this.

The first Monday night football game is Buffalo at New England. Great
ratings possibilities with the return of Tom Brady and the Bills coming to Foxboro with newly signed knucklehead, T.O. Makes total sense.

Even two of the three Thanksgiving Day games are fine:

Green Bay at Detroit isn't particularly exciting, but that has more to do with Detroit and they always play on Thanksgiving so there isn't anything to be done there. At least it's a divi
sion game.

The NFL network gets the Giants at the Broncos. Who knows what will be going on with these two teams by Thanksgiving? But the Giants are a upper echelon team and the Broncos are traditionally strong at home, so a good matchup on paper.

I commend the NFL for scheduling interesting games for a national audience to see.....except for two.

The game following the Bills/Patriots matchup on the opening Monday night is San Diego at Oakland.


The other ga
me on Thanksgiving is Oakland at Dallas.

Oakland? The Oakland Raiders?

What in the past seven years of NFL football makes you think the Oakland Raiders need to be watched by a
national audience? Twice? I admit it's funny to see the Animal House like tumult coming out of the Raiders camp, but that team is no fun to watch on the field.

In fact, just three years ago we were "treated" to a San Diego at Oakland game to begin the season. The Chargers won 27-0 and the game wasn't even that close. Aaron Brooks (hey! remember him?) threw for 68 yards and was sacked nine times. Niiinnnne times.

Simply stated, the Raiders are San Diego's beotch.

Hell, the Raiders were pummeled by the Broncos on Monday Night just last year!

So let's do it again! In fact, let's put Oakland on national television during Thanksgiving too!


The Raiders very well could be better this year, but that's not saying much. The team has had a double digit loss season every year since 2002. That doesn't bode well for an entertaining contest.

The NFL co
uld have given us the new look Chiefs with Matt Cassel, or the Rex Ryan Jets, or the freakin Cardinals. The Cardinals did go to the Super Bowl last year. Maybe they deserve a national game for once. The Denver Broncos would be the perfect team to open the season at San Diego with the Jay Cutler soap opera and the rivalry he has with Phillip Rivers. I would love to see that.

Nope. We get the Raiders. Twice.

Maybe Al's going to move them to Los Angeles again.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Comedy in Spaaaace!

So you don't like Stephen Colbert's biting political wit? Too bad. You can't escape him on earth and now you may not be able to escape him in orbit.

Colbert recently found out that the naive scientists at NASA actually allowed write in votes for the naming of the new space station module being launched. Naturally, he
wasn't going to ignore this opportunity and urged his fans to write in for his name.

Actually, I think NASA got off easy since all he wanted was the name "Colbert." He could have asked for "Gooore!" or "Marry Me, Oprah." and worked his thaumaturgy to really do something in poor taste. But Colbert is better than that.

Naturally, a cyber war began once people realized that Colbert was a serious threat to the
naming of the space station. I'm guessing NASA assumed people would simply vote for one of the four suggested NASA names (like 'Serenity' really gets everyone jazzed up.) But they allowed people write in votes and before you know it, Colbert fans had secured a victory for the political comedy blowhard.

A NASA spokesman says that they reserve the right in the naming process, but NASA should shun Colbert at their own risk. The last thing the space organization needs to do is to reach out to the public only to shun them.

It's in space! Just give Colbert his name and learn your lesson: Colbert fans outnumber the people genuinely interested in science.

Colbert Sends Fans to Action

Here's how the whole thing started with Colbert trying to get his name on the Space Station....

The Dork Reply to Colbert's Attempt At Space Glory

This is what happens when you let the comic book guy from the Simpsons reply to Stephen Colbert's attempt to land his name on the space station.... Ohhhh cheeseburgers and loneliness are a dangerous mix!

Monday, March 23, 2009

D'oh!


A professional athlete's comeback doesn't go as planned! Film at 11!

A pithy way to say that is that Lance Armstrong's comeback attempt failed. He has broken his collarbone and probably won't be ready to go for the grueling Tour de France in July.

Lance Armstrong is just the latest casualty of the rocky unretirement in professional sports. But he's not alone in his unfortunate situation. It just doesn't work very often.

In fact, if you take away the
sport of boxing where guys retire and return 12 times during a career, you have a pretty short list of successful returns to a professional sports.

Off the top of my head I can think of maybe three:

1.) Roger Clemens- If you count his mini-retirement from the Yankees and return to the A
stros. He didn't really spend much time away from the game though. It was more like a prolonged off-season.

2.) Too Tall Jones- He retired from football to box and then returned to the Cowboys to have another solid decade of play

3.) Michael Jordan- This is the one that really wor
ked. He rules the league, leaves to suck at baseball, and then returns two years later to win three more championships. Well done indeed, sir. But even then he tried to screw his comeback up with his little stint with the Washington Wizards.

Of course, Jordan retired in his prime, so he didn't return after a full career of wear and tear.


Most of the time we see the return of a sports great only to have the whole thing deflate like a cheap air mattress.

And sometimes it's even worse like when Lyle Alz
ado tried to make a comeback with the Raiders in 1990. He pumped himself full of steroids and then ended up with brain cancer. The professional athlete comeback attempt has proven over and over again to fail.

Yet athletes keep trying and we keep cheering them
on. Jets fans were so excited at the beginning of last season with the arrival of Favre. He was going to be the missing piece between a 9-7 season and the division title. Then they realized he was old. I know the shoulder injury stopped Favre from being effective, but that's part of returning to sports. If you haven't been working out during the off-season, your body isn't ready to go full speed again.

I know it's pride thing. It's probably a boredom thing too. I know Lance Armstrong is still in better shape than myself or anyone else I know. But when you see an athlete retire and then return, just stay away from the train tracks because chances are it's going to derail.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dedication

So which is better: The flip or the sign out that follows?

I really hope this is how Rich Eisen began

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Grab Your Telescope, The Huggins Comet Is Coming This Year!

Bob Huggins hates me.

At least that's my conclusion after I once again fell victim to the Huggins hype and picked West Virginia to move on several rounds in my NCAA bracket.

Then I got to watch the sixth seeded Mountaineers stumble around like they were sleep walking and lose to the eleven seeded Dayton Flyers.

I knew a Dayton upset was very possible, but Huggins seems to have teams that advance into the tournament when they aren't expected to. Just last year, West Virginia was a seven seed that upset Duke and then gave Xavier all they could handle in the Sweet Sixteen round.

I thought this year might be similar since the Mountaineers seemed to catch fire at the right time as they took out top seed Pitt in the Big East Tournament.

But they weren't on fire. Now I just want to light them on fire for making me feel stupid yet again.

But looking back, I should have known better and now I'm confident I've figured out the veracity of Huggins. Teams under Huggins (Both in Cincinnati and West Virginia) seem to have a
tournament schedule like a solar eclipse, leap year, or a passing comet. Over the past 15 years, a Huggins team has advanced past the first weekend of play once every four or five years.

Last
year West Virginia made it to the Sweet Sixteen round. That means that the Mountaineers should be a lock to advance around the year 2013, so adjust your schedules accordingly.

If We
st Virginia actually does make it out of the first round in the next few years, we'll know two things:
A.) My brackets have once again been screwed
B.) Bob Huggins really does hate me. What a heartless bastard.

Friday, March 20, 2009

And Now A Word From The Greedy Rich Divorced Couple..

Not a bar discussion about sports goes by without someone bringing up how much athletes are paid. Yes, some athletes have lost all sense of reality due to too much money too fast.

My personal favorite story is when Deion Sanders became a Dallas Cowboy, he was h
ouse shopping. He apparently kept insisting on getting a house with a large fence so that no fans wouldn't know where he lived. Once he found a fence large enough to suit his needs, Sanders immediately went out and purchased a giant gate for the driveway entrance with his nickname 'Prime Time' on them in giant golden letters making the giant fence pointless.

But athletes are still basically just working class guys who get paid really really well. They still clock in to work every day and their job is based on performance.

You want to find people who have lost all sense of the basics of life, go look at the white collar bastards whose soul purpose is to collect as much money as possible by any legal (sometimes illegal) means possible.

Everyone has heard of AIG by now, but that company is just the poster child for the others who have managed to escape public notice.

The latest story of the ridiculously rich is the divorce proceedings of financial man George David and his ex-wife Marie Douglas-David.

First all, I should point out that Ms. Douglas-David is apparently a Swedish countess, so she's already unaware of any semblance of normal life.

Secondly, Ms. Douglas-David is saying that she needs $53,000 a week just to survive after
her loveless marriage soured. And she has the expense sheet to prove it!

Some of the highlights of her needs:

-She only needs $350 for food, but $4,500 a week for clothing.
-She needs $1000/week for hair care
-She needs $1500/week for entertainment
-She needs $1000/week for horse care
-She needs $8000/week for travel

Oh, and this is on top of the $36 million she's already been offered.

Her weekly income from employment? Zero.

Bummer.

But instead of going on some diatribe about the evils of rich people, I'm going to take a positive approach and put you in the place of the C
ountess. Boob jobs are not required for you.

Let's say you just stuck the $36 million in a retirement fund. Which means you could pro
bably retire now.

Here are a few highlights of what you could get with your $53,000/ week allowance this week:

-A 50" wide screen, high def, plasma screen television to watch March Madness on

-Cab rides to and from your place for 20 of your friends so that they don't go Donte Stallworth on someone by accident.

-20 high-end Belgium beers for each friend. We're talking the kind with 11% alcohol like Delirium or Duvel. They will knock you on your ass.

-2 hi
gh-end pizzas for each person. We're talking coal oven super style pizzas with any topping they want.

-a couple of punching bags so your friends can beat up whatever team they hate aka
Duke punching bags.

-A basketball hoop to put outside so you and your friends can make drunken idiots out of yourselves trying to replicate moves made on the television.

-2 Hooters waitresses to serve you. Or if, Hooters girls aren't your thing, you can probably just hire a couple of exotic dancers to pose as Hooters Waitresses.

-A Bose surround sound system that includes a CD and DVD player in case your friends want to play music so that the exotic dancers can strip

-A vide
o game system plus games that everyone can play if they get bored with the strippers.

-The ability to pay off the neighbors so no one will call the cops during any of your hedonistic activities.

And you still have around $20,000 left! So let's just hire more hot women to watch the game with your friends.

Dreams are nice.