I spent about an hour this morning on my phone in the Charlotte airport, following a 10-hour redeye flight from Rio de Janeiro where I slept a grand total of 20 minutes. After that kind of extensive research, I feel like I’ve caught up on things plenty well enough to throw out a bunch of assertions about what happened when I was gone. I’m writing this while cruising above Omaha and then the Rockies according to our pilot, who crushed my last hopes of getting a full hour of sleep over the last 24 hours by spelling out every single landmark across our fruited plain in a speech that – no exaggeration – lasted five full minutes.
Why do certain pilots think they’re tour guides? Just press buttons, stay sober, and get us to the destination as quickly and safely as possible. Then again, why do people stand in the aisle with vacant looks on their faces with a line of 200+ people wishing to board the plane?
“Where is my seat? Wait, I’m looking at it? That can’t be right, I’m pretty sure I paid for an exit row with a bottomless mimosa dispenser…”
Before I go into full Schulman mode and start a 1,000-word diatribe about screaming babies, here are the nuggets of non-wisdom I promised earlier. Most are about sports, and some might even make sense. But no promises.
Again, I’m delirious. With East Bay Sports Guy, Ruthless Sports Guy, Bay Area Stats Guy, Bay Area Duck Guy and Spartan Sports Guy producing such excellent content in my absence, I hope you guys didn’t get too used to lucidity around these parts.
— Some of the best parts about Rio: 35 degrees Celsius every day; New Year’s fireworks at Copacabana; coconut water out of actual coconuts; the ability to buy and drink beer anywhere; frozen acai treats (feels kind of like cheating to call those little cups of deliciousness “breakfast,” but we did on several occasions); eating dinner in a restaurant that doubles as a treehouse in Santa Teresa; ridiculously friendly locals; getting destroyed by the whitewater in my comical attempts at bodysurfing.
— The not-so-great thing about Rio: while the overall lack of modesty at the beach has some obvious benefits, I’d be fine with going the rest of my life without seeing another guy in a white speedo.
— Especially the guys who adjust themselves more than Pablo Sandoval.
— The weirdest thing that happened to us in Rio: turning on CNN in our hotel room and seeing my buddy Ethan Sherwood Strauss live via satellite from his living room in Oakland, talking about the Lakers and Nets. An international star on the rise, that guy.
— Since that’s as good a segue to sports as any I can think of in my current state, how about those Warriors?
— Either I was bleary-eyed or I read that Stephen Curry dropped 25 in the first half on the Clippers last night. When I left I was pretty sure David Lee would be the Warriors’ All-Star rep (I still can’t picture them getting two), now Curry looks like the guy.
— Guess Mark Jackson is still campaigning for both players – at least now the Warriors have a guy folks around the league may listen to. Jackson gets text messages after games from Reggie Miller, don’t you know! Sometimes Jax volunteers that info during postgame press conferences. The more names he drops, the better the Warriors’ chances of getting their first All-Star in 15 years. It’s the NBA way.
— It seems like almost every Warriors achievement comes with some sort of caveat. Their road trip included games against some of the worst teams in the East, Boston was playing without Rondo the other night, the Clippers were playing their fourth game in five days and Caron Butler wasn’t there … but they seem to be getting better all the time and they’re 22-10, which means they’re on pace for 56 wins. I was wrong about this team, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
— Even Andris Biedrins is producing these days! They don’t need to rush Andrew Bogut back, and they’d be foolish to do so.
— The only sports I watched in Brazil (besides a bunch of dudes in speedos playing soccer football on the beach) was the second half of Stanford’s Rose Bowl win in between dinner and a trip to the bar around the corner from our hotel.
— Surprisingly enough, I couldn’t find 49ers/Cardinals on TV anywhere. Probably because all they care about in Brazil is the NHL lockout. Many tears have been shed.
— So yeah, I haven’t seen a second of the 49ers’ last regular season game. I read the BASG posts in Charlotte, barely skimmed a game story and the box score while in Rio (the WiFi connection in our hotel was Oracle Arena-esque), so I don’t have much to say. Except…
— On Twitter during the Pats game I said the 49ers finally have a No. 1 WR in Michael Crabtree, and a couple people questioned me. 85 catches, 1,105 yards and 9 TD counts as No. 1 numbers around these parts ever since T.O. left, and one would have to assume those totals would’ve been closer to 100 receptions and around 1,400 yards if Colin Kaepernick started the year as the No. 1 (assuming Kap was ready to take over in Week 1, which may not have been the case).
— Get ready for the Billy Cundiff era. I guess. Blech. Next offseason I suggest the 49ers go on a scouting trip to the beaches of Ipanema, where guys play volleyball with soccer rules, and somehow don’t look ridiculous. When missing out on Nate Kaeding qualifies as a personnel error, you know the kicking pool is best used for wading. And I don’t mean Richey.
— Aldon Smith better have bought Justin Smith some sort of Christmas present, sort of like how QBs and RBs splurge for their offensive linemen. Justin would probably be happy with a keggerator full of Budweiser, considering he has an Anheuser Busch tattoo on his arm.
— 99 problems and Justin’s torn triceps is one.
— Mike Nolan is interviewing for head coaching jobs, which means Nike’s labs have all made engineering a high-performance tailored suit their top priority. Can’t wait to see Nolan wearing a coat and pants made from flywire and carbon fiber.
— You know, the NFC East was odd this year. (#Analysis)
— The 49ers’ chances of advancing to the Super Bowl are how much greater without the New York Giants in the mix? 100%? 1,000,000%? Maybe we should ask Brandon Jacobs, who’ll have plenty of time to watch the playoffs with his old teammates.