Friends,

Your homie Tariq emailed this last week, and I just had a chance to read it. It contains humor, sadness, and many moments of truth. You people mean a lot to me, but since I can’t afford to buy nice watches for everyone, I thought I’d share this instead.

Love and kisses,

Farmer Jones

P.S. I hope Quotemonger doesn’t read this. Dude’s head might literally explode.

By Tariq al Hayder/Haydar/Phonetic English Spelling of your Choice

“Lost in translation or just lost in traffic?”

-Black Thought, “Rising Down”

You know that sinking feeling that engulfs you when you realize that a game you want to watch is being called by none other than Reggie “Screech” Miller? I know that sensation all too well, but even though I have the option, in that situation, to switch to the local Arab announcers, I stick with Screech. That should tell you all you need to know about the basketball “experts” over at Arab Radio and Television (ART).

When it comes to football/futbol/soccer, there are plenty of truly knowledgeable guys who enhance the viewing experience, dudes who have actually played the game, like the Algerian legend Rabah Madjer, arguably the greatest ever Arab player, who scored an incredible back-heel goal for Porto in the 1987 European Cup Final, a goal that Pele described thusly: “It would have been the greatest goal I have ever seen, if he had not looked back at it.”

Basketball, however, is not the domain of legends over here. Instead, it’s dominated by post-botched-lobotomy mouth-breathers. Of course, as with any human endeavor in which incompetence reigns, there is in this predicament a gold mine of unintentional hilarity. One timeless remark still echoes in my prefrontal cortex, a classic line from the 2000 Olympics, when the Egyptian announcer blurted:

“I am so very proud of Shareef Abdul Rahman (sic). It is wonderful to see our fellow Arabs having successful careers in the NBA.”

I’ve endured hours of sonic molestation in order to compile the following, a greatest-hits list of blunders. I hope my agony brings you pleasure:

* “After counting the votes, it was revealed that the 2008 MVP was Kob Ryan, who narrowly defeated Chris Bowles.”

* During Game 1 of the Celtics-Cavs series: “This game is being played at this historic stadium, which lies in the very middle of the city of Celtic in America. This city has a large Irish and Scottish population.”

* “If New Orleans Hornets advance to the West Finals, they will surely lose, because they have a five-man rotation, which can be very exhausting.”

* “Paul Gasol managed to shoot from the key post because the safety was absent.”

* “The problem with the Utah Jazz is that they lack a powerful player who can score under the basket.”

* “Carlos Boozer has a very good spin shot.”

* “Before the season, Byron Scott stressed to his players that they needed to win 55-60 games in order to qualify for the Playoffs.”

* “It is very strange that the coach of the Boston insists on allowing this Ray Allen to play.”

* “The ploy of the coach of San Antonio Spurs has been exposed: before, adversaries were shocked when the Argentine Ginobili participated. Now, even though he is not among the five original players, they realize he is very skilled and can prepare for his imminent arrival.”

* “Byron Scott has played with many legends, including Magic, Kareem and Burt Rambis.”

* “Those were three very beautiful points from…this player you see on the screen…number 12… (pauses)… Chris Bone… I’m sorry, I apologize profusely, it appears that this is Michael Finley, who has replaced Chris Thomas.”

* “Amusingly, Richard Hamilton wears a plastic mask because it is a good-luck charm.”

* “The starting wing player for New Orleans Hornets is Maurice Patterson.”

* “Kevin Durant is good because he is tall.”

* “Chauncey Billups and Richard Wallace have scored the required number of points….Excuse me, I meant to say Rasheed Lewis.”

* “The Utah Jazz encountered many problems this evening, especially on the offensive and defensive ends.”

* “If any one of the Hornets feels that the probability of his shot attempt is 60%, he immediately executes a skip pass instead.”

* “The Detroit last won a championship in 2002.”

* “Since San Antonio Spurs have fallen behind 2-0, they must now win four consecutive games in order to advance.”

* “As you can see, number 5 Walter Herman has replaced Jameer Nelson as the point guard for the Orlando and will now dribble the ball.”

* “When Ming was injured, the Rockets collapsed. When Billups was injured, Detroit collapsed. Therein lies the strength of the Lakers: they can withstand an injury to any one of their key players because they are a cohesive unit.”

* “Joanne Dixon has checked into the game.”

* “When Atlanta won two games, and the series became tied at 2-2, Boston Celtics immediately made it a priority to ensure the series also remained tied at 3-3, because they have home-court advantage.”

* “Paul Gasol tries a stop move, but is fouled by the Utah.”

* “Rasheed Wallace has sent the following message to the rest of the NBA: ‘It is futile to try to stop my turnaround three, because it is a shot I own.'”