The Couch Slouch

With two decades in the books, 21st century is not off to the best start

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Two decades in the books, and, I must say, the 21st century is off to a rough-and-tumble start.

(This, of course, also could've been said of the 15th century, and it rebounded pretty nicely – the key being the invention of the printing press, followed by Christopher Columbus accidentally "discovering' the New World, prompting the New York Post headline, "Headless Body in Topless Bar as Italian Explorer Stumbles Upon Civilization.")

Let's take a closer look at the bugaboos and blemishes infesting our nascent millennium:

The rise of Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless: They call it "Embrace Debate." I call it "Embrace Carnival Barkers Spewing Hot-Take Nonsense That Makes Extraterrestrial Eyewitnesses Seem Reasonable."

The fall of civility: If I'm next in line to check out at a supermarket and they open a new register, the three people behind me will rush over in a stampede to get there first. Uh, as George Costanza once intoned, "You know, we're living in a society!"

Mixed martial arts: Just when I forsook boxing, the UFC became a thing. It is forbidden in Couch Slouch's household, though our beloved pit mix Daisy steals glances of it in the backyard on her smartphone.

Facebook: Sure, Coca-Cola is the most successful retail product of all time because people love its taste. But how do you explain the feat of Facebook, a runaway consumer hit that makes people lonely and depressed?

The NBA has turned into a Pop-A-Shot contest from long distance: God bless Stephen Curry, an utter delight to watch. But now every 7-footer east of DeMarcus Cousins is jacking it up from beyond the arc. And let me ask you this: In soccer, when you score from 30 yards out instead of from five yards out, how come they don't count it for, say, 1.5 goals on the scoreboard? Think about it.

Avocado toast: Do I like avocado? Yes. Do I like toast? Yes. Am I going to pay $10 for a slice of avocado on a piece of toast? No.

Juicing: Eat a banana, for goodness sakes.

Computerized statistical analysis: If you think being told a team has an 82.3 percent win probability with six minutes left in the fourth quarter needlessly sucks the joy out of sports, you might be on to something. Plus do you really want Nate Silver sitting to your left for three hours talking up launch angle and which way Wisconsin is leaning?

Science denial: What planet are flat earthers, anti-vaxxers and climate change rebutters living on? And is e=mc² suddenly in question?

Streaming services: Believe it or not, you can have too many choices. Give me Channels 4, 5, 7, 9 and 13, and I'm good to go.

Kale: I actually enjoy it. But kale enthusiasts are worse than cycling enthusiasts – they think they own the road.

Too much Boston success, too many Boston sports fans: Nobody wants the New England Patriots (or the Boston Red Sox) to win another championship. Nobody wants to be next to a Boston sports guy in a bar, plane or bank line.

Robocalls: A generation or three ago, the phone ringing was a happy sound. Now, it's someone running for reelection, a supposed creditor or a fake IRS official asking for your Social Security number or you could be in prison within a week.

Public subsidies for new stadium venues. Your tax dollars at work; does not include the "personal seat license," where you pay a nominal five- or six figure fee to allow you the right to buy a season ticket to your very own seat!

People taking photos of their meals at restaurants: Just eat the damn food before it gets cold.

Twitter: I do not need 280 characters to express myself on this subject area – Twitter is the global warming of the Internet. We are doomed. #JustSayNoToTwitter

The decline of boxing, pinball machines and telephone booths. This speaks for itself.

FIFA: Crooks.

Replay: The rest of our lives apparently will be under review.

Ask The Slouch

Q. While surfing away from an NFL game recently, I happened across a pro bowlers telecast. As I watched, mesmerized, the thought came to me: How can we use replay to screw up bowling? (Jim Clanton; Spokane Valley, Wash.)

A. Bowling cannot be screwed up. Incidentally, we use replay at my local bowling center only when there is a dispute in regard to whose beer is whose.

Q. Are other scribes and talking heads allowed to disseminate the views of your column without your express written consent? (Jack Drury; Lavale, Md.)

A. It's a moot point – no other scribe or talking head wishes to disseminate my views.

Q. Do you think Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Bell wish they were still in Pittsburgh? (Matthew Blume; Albany, N.Y.)

A. I wish I were still in Pittsburgh and I've never even been there.

Q. Any truth to the rumor that the estate of Harold Ramis is suing the Washington R*dsk*ns for stealing the plot from "Groundhog Day"? (Dan Morgiewicz; Burke, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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In the last four games, Russell Westbrook has been averaging 31.5 points per game. Even in the Rockets tough four game losing streak, despite not playing against the Memphis Grizzles, he has been the bright spot for the Rockets.

Honestly, the Rockets need Westbrook because of the energy he brings to the team. He always keeps the offense flowing and teammates active. Westbrook can give his team a sense of urgency when he is hot. He is a huge confidence builder to the team because of the positivity Westbrook brings. Westbrook is never hard himself because he does not want his emotions to get in front of his play. Being able to watch Westbrook motivate his teammates is amazing. Allowing himself not to get frustrated, unmotivated, or rude towards his teammates, caused the Rockets to get a must needed win against the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night.

"Obliviously that helps winning, but um through it all you got to stay positive. I know sometimes it's difficult. When your losing, in a drought, you're not shooting well, you're not playing well, but greater days are coming. I believe that; I truly believe that. I stay positive always; it's pushing us in the right direction." Westbrook told the press.

Westbrook loves keeping his teammates involved to keep the defense guessing.

"He is so versatile; he gets everybody involved. When he is attacking the rim, everybody is on alert. Guys get open shots." Harden told the press.

Westbrook field goal percentage is starting to improve now. Over the last four games he has been shooting 56.3% from the field. He is starting to let the game come to him now. Westbrook has become more aggressive in an efficient manner by attacking the rim more. Instead of Westbrook jacking up random three-point shots, he has taken minimum attempts. He is figuring out his strengths which is playing below the arc. Westbrook is much more dangerous when he is attacking or on a fast break.

Westbrook is starting to look more unstoppable than Harden right now. He has been holding the offense above float because of Hardens bad play. Hopefully, Westbrook keeps this up and continues to elevate the play of his teammates. This could continue the success after Wednesday night's win.

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