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Dear Uncle Rick,
Your fans know you as Rich, your wife as Richard, my mom as Rick or pain in the ass. I know that we weren’t close but I was closer to you than I was any of my many aunts and uncles. Perhaps it is because we are both six and a half feet. Perhaps it is because we are critical thinkers. Who am I kidding? It is because my mom thought the world of you and only said good things about you. We had a lot more in common that you realized. In reality we were closer than either of us gave credit for. Like a true Buckler, you were humble.  You probably didn’t think our email exchanges meant that much to me, and I probably didn’t think our email exchanges meant much to you. We both know the truth and I am sure that we each held each other closer to our hearts than we realized.
I was proud that you were my Uncle. I love my family but it is not easy to be open about it. It’s not like it comes up in conversation how one’s mom or uncle is cool. Comics gave me that opening to brag about family when I wish I could talk about them constantly.  “Oh you liked the Fantastic Four movie, did you read the comic? Oh by the way, my Uncle worked on it.” You came up in conversation at least once a week. I am sure people around me are sick of me bragging about my Uncle Rick.
You had a hand in so many great comics that it is crazy. I don’t even need to go to your Wikipedia page to rattle them off and I have never been a comic person. Off the top of my head, Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Eerie/Creepy with my dad, and everyone’s favorite: Deathlok. That is just what I can rattle off the top of my head without checking. You worked with the greats: Ditko, Sinnot, and you were mentored by Jack Kirby. Your peers were all times greats because you were an all time great. My personal favorite thing about you is that your art was turned into a stamp by the United States Postal Service. It is so easy to get 15 minutes of fame this day and age but your 15 minutes are an infinity because your legacy cannot be ignored.
My favorite memories with anyone, were going to San Diego Comic Con when you were there and we would hang out together. I know how much you were suffering the past few months and it pained me. Every time the phone would ring from New York, my heart would drop because it never got better. You said that you had good days but I know how strong you tried to stay for your family. I know that you didn’t want to be sick and would rather be drawing or at a convention than in bed. You are a fighter and while cancer may have won, I know that it rued the day that it ever messed with you because you gave it the fight of your life.
Even taking away all of your comic achievements I would still think the world of you. Your comic achievements just make it easier to bring up how awesome my family is.
You were the reason why my parents met for crying out loud.
We come from a great family full of great people. You were no exception. I mean you were the reason that my parents met.
Have fun in heaven Uncle Rick and buy Jack Kirby and my father a beer for me while you are up there. Meanwhile, here is to you: my great Uncle Rick.

Love,
Your favorite nephew
Daniel

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Rex

Rex

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The Girl Scout Cookie Dilema

Why do girl scouts only sell their cookies in front of grocery stores and whatever you want to call Target and Wal-Mart? I don’t see the logic. Lets sell cookies in front of a store that already sells cookies. If you ask me to buy cookies as I walk into a store that sells cookies cheaper regardless of the taste, there is no way that I will buy them from you. It is basic business. I am all for giving my money to a good cause; and buying cookies for a good cause is one great trade off but we live in a world where the economy is in the can so I can’t justify giving my money to any cause, unless it is my gas tank. If it means saving me money, then I have no problem getting a dirty look from a little girl and breaking her heart for a second. I look at it as training to be a parent in the sense that you will have to learn how to break a child’s heart. If you want my money girl scouts, go in front of a pet food store or Chipotle, or pizza or a burger place where I will probably have spare change, have not purchased a desert, and would probably think about buying your delicious cookies.

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Headed East, where Kaman would land on the Eastern Conference

Atlanta
Kirk Hinrich’s expiring deal and candy

Boston
Chris Wilcox, Jermaine O’Neal, JaJuan Johnson annd Avery Bradely work.
Unfortunately it seems like an overpay for Boston. I wouldn’t trade Bradely and Johnson for Kaman.

Charlotte
Boris Diaw’s expiring deal and candy. They have a lot of young players that can fit in the Hornets plans. Plus the Cats have trade exceptions.
Unfortunately this makes no sense unless the Cats want to have edge in re-signing Kaman.

Chicago
Not unless Chicago will use Boozer or Deng as currency, or the Hornets want a combination of Brewer and Watson. The Bulls are fine where they are and would be stupid to break the team up

Cleveland
Has some cap room, is suprisingly in the playoff chase and just might work. Multiple scenarios are in play here:
Varejao for Kaman if Cleveland thinks that is an upgrade and or wants to get out of his contract would work straight up, otherwise they would have to get creative. Cleveland may have the cap room but still needs to add 8 million in salary, which probably won’t be that hard. Varejao would also be easy to flip to a 3rd team.

Detroit
I am sure that Detroit would love to have the expiring deal of Kaman, but it probably wont happen. The Hornets would have to want a bad contract or Stuckey when he becomes available and be willing to take on Jason Maxiell’s expiring deal.

Indiana
Has the cap room but would probably only do it if Kaman came cheap. Another big is not what they need right now.

NJ
Humpries or Okur and candy. They want a big guy but his name isn’t Kaman.

Orlando
Kaman would be a nice clog in the middle if Howard gets traded. Reddick and Nelson would work but would the Hornets even listen to that? You would have to get creative for anything else.

Toronto
Only works if the Hornets would take Jose Calderon, otherwise a non option unless they will Barbosa and junk.

Miami, Milwaukee, NY, Philadelphia, Washington
Would have to wait for a buyout.

Overall
I like Atlanta’s chances. They are in the market for a big and have some pieces. After Atlanta it is a toss up. I would put Indiana, New Jersey, and Charlotte in the mix. Charlotte is a trade happy franchise and NJ has the contracts and you never know what they might do if they get shut out of the Howard sweepstakes. Toronto and Detroit could be very dark horse options.

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Outlook of Kaman going to the Western Conference teams

Dallas
Have the expiring deals but would have to give up a piece of their core(Kidd, Terry, Dirk, Odom) to make it work so it’s not happenining.

Golden State
Monta Ellis is really the only big reasonable contract. He would be interesting going to the Hornets but would Stern approve it? They also have the big Kwame contract that they could pair with Brandon Rush and candy.

Houston
Think they would ever trade with the Hornets again? Hornets could want Scola and candy but that would require taking on salary that Stern might not approve.

LA Lakers
Odom’s exception and Luke Walton who could retire would work. Of all the deals that make sense and the teams that would want Kaman, the Lakers make the most sense. They need a back up big and a big man rotation of Bynum, Gasol, and Kaman would be huge that no team could compete with.

Memphis
Mayo and junk; I mean candy would work. Memphis probably can offer the most young players and Memphis has the need for a big guy. Another finals worthy big man rotation, just replace Bynum with the rotation of Gasol, Kaman, and Randolph.

Minnesota
Beasley and candy. Would Minnesota even be interested? I doubt it

Phoenix
Nash for Kaman is the only option. Ya right.

Portland
Camby for Kaman, ya right. Too redundant.

Sacromento
Have tons of cap room so they would only need to include a small piece in the deal. Kaman would make a good mentor for Cousins.

Utah
Would the Hornets want Devin Harris? Utah doesn’t really need another big but that doesn’t really matter because the point here would be to acquire an expiring deal for Harris.

Denver, Clippers, Oklahoma City, San Antonio
Not going to happen

Outlook
The Lakers make the most sense here. Every other western team would have to get creative or break from the mold.

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The Manning Options

Captain Obvious says that Manning needs a new place to play. It would be a shame to see one of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation retire. He is still a player that people can get excited about.

San Francisco
Alex Smith is a free agent, so think about it. The 49ers have no reason to keep Smith with Kapernick in the fold, but they need a solid excuse to move on from him after this season. Manning would be the perfect excuse. He would bridge the gap to Kapernick, and keep the team in playoff contention. If Manning is half of the player that he used to be, that would probably be the equivalent of Smith. Not only that, everyone is in the fold already for a solid repeat of this season.

Why it won’t happen: Someone please give me an excuse because Alex Smith is just not a good enough excuse for me.

 

Jacksonville

Here is a team with an underrated defense who seems to be in the playoff hunt, every other year. They play in a warm weather environment that Manning would be attracted to.

Why it won’t happen: They are Jacksonville. Blaine Gabbert’s development.

 

Buffalo

I tried to talk myself out of this but I just couldn’t find a good enough reason besides the weather; and lets face it, weather is not a good enough excuse. Buffalo showed us last season that they are a decent enough team that isn’t that far away. Fitzpatrick is good, but not as good as Manning.

Why it won’t happen: I believe that Fitzpatrick has a huge salary cap number.

 

Denver

Think about it. Of all the people in the world who can push Tebow to the sidelines, there are only a few names; none of which are available. Brady, Manning, Rogers, Brees, Romo, and all of the other elite quarterbacks. The Broncos are already a playoff team, with Manning they would be assured of being the elite of the league.

Why it won’t happen: Reality, Manning won’t want to play in cold weather.

 

Washington

If I was to bet that one team would throw money at him, it would be Washington. Sadly, they are Washington.

Why it won’t happen: Does anyone want to play for Dan Snyder? Lack of winning culture.

 

Miami
They need a quarterback, and live in a warm climate. Pennington thrived there with worse players

Why it won’t happen: perception that they are far away.

Seattle

They need a quarterback, but they really should allot their resources elsewhere.
Why it won’t happen: Need a young quarterback, bad long term prospects for a quarterback who has two years left, cold weather climate for a quarterback with a achy body.

Too many excuses not too:
Minnesota, Arizona, New York Jets, Tennessee, Cleveland

 

Teams with established quarterbacks:
San Diego, Kansas City, Oakland, Philadelphia, New York Giants, Dallas, Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Atlanta, New Orleans, St. Louis, New England, Houston, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati

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Jobbers

Watching Brodus Clay destroy Heath Slater on Raw tonight, got me thinking: jobbers have got to me the most under-appreciated people in wrestling. Guys like the Brooklyn Brawler, Duane Gill, Funaki, and Barry Harrowitz are among the guys who have had solid careers because they do the job. One of the antonyms for jobbers is ‘enhancement talent.’ I like that phrase better because that is what they are. They are talent who enhance who they are doing the job for.

Many people wonder why their favorite wrestler doesn’t get pushed to the next level. What people fail to realize is that roles on the card are critical in wrestling. Main-eventers, mid-carders, and jobbers; they all have a role. People need to realize that it is not necessarily a bad thing for their favorite wrestler to be a jobber; because, at least he has a ‘job.’ I am sick of hearing the question: ‘why isn’t this guy pushed?’ There is a reason why people like Santino and Tyson Kidd are not pushed higher in the card; they are perfect in the role that they have. Santino is the perfect comedy jobber in my book. The guy has no business being in the main event, but he does all the right things to keep his job until his body gives out. When Santino almost won the Royal Rumble last year, it was great. Here was a jobber who almost had the chance to main event Wrestlemania. Jobbers, in the the world of wrestling they deserve to main event Wrestlemania.

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