One more time to the well

Posted in Golden (State) Years on November 10th, 2014 by bill

The Warriors lost their first game of the season last night, putting an end to this little flurry of giddy intoxication. I think they will still be great this year, just not perfect. Which is fine.

On the bright side, Draymond Green had a career-high four blocks, which gives me a convenient excuse to use my favorite phrase of the week one more time:

Quoth the Draymond: Nevermore!

Quoth the Draymond

Posted in Golden (State) Years on November 9th, 2014 by bill

Noted philosopher Draymond Green

“Obviously, we’re not looking at it and thinking we’re the best thing since sliced bread. It’s a long season. We’re five games in, but winning is fun.”

Golden State of Mind

Posted in Golden (State) Years on November 6th, 2014 by bill

They make a grown man cry.

On the one hand, I don’t want to talk about the Warriors – that’s the Golden State Basketball Warriors, the only sports team I allow myself to really care about anymore – because they are playing so incredibly well right now, it seems foolish to do anything but sit quietly and enjoy, On the other hand, I don’t want to talk about anything else.

The Dubs have played only four games, but they have won them all. And last night they shellacked the LA Clippers, the team that bounced them out of the playoffs last year, in a way that can only be called ruthless. The Clips looked shocked, Chris Paul looked like he wanted to run and hide, Doc Rivers looked like he wanted to pull his hair out except his hair is about three micrometers long and that’s not possible.

Yes, it’s a little early to gloat. I know this. But when am I going to gloat if not now? The best part was watching Clips power forward Blake Griffin – a big, strong, talented guy who is also a total crybaby – suffer at the hands of the Warriors’ Draymond Green, who played phenomenal defense and hit four three-pointers. Here is Draymond running back down the court after one of them:

Out of context that looks a little dickish, but trust me, in the moment it was entirely appropriate.

I could go on and on about Steph Curry, who was his usual baby-faced-assassin self; Klay Thompson, who battled through a tough shooting night and hounded CP3 on D; and Andrew Bogut, who showed the Clips what a real tough guy looks like. But I have stuff to do.

All this giddiness won’t last forever, of course. It could end as soon as Saturday, when the W’s play the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are playing great too and haven’t lost a game either. So I’m going to savor this feeling while it lasts, like a fine wine with a long, slow finish.

End of an Era

Posted in Whatever Else on November 4th, 2014 by bill

Tom and Ray, laughing as always

Because I sometimes have a morbid mindset, every so often while listening “Car Talk” I would think, “Someday one of these guys is going to die, and that’s going to be a real bummer.”

Well, here we are. Tom Magliozzi, longtime co-host of “Car Talk” on NPR with his brother Ray, passed away yesterday at the age of 77. One of the comments on the NPR web site says “I never felt so sad over the loss of someone I had never met,” and that about sums it up.

How many hundreds of hours have I spent over the years listening to those two guys giggle? If laughter has any medical value, Tom and Ray have extended many of our lives considerably. It was always a pleasure to hear two people take such joy in entertaining themselves, each other, and incidentally whoever happened to be listening.

And of course we will continue to hear them, as NPR has a gazillion shows in the can. But it makes the world a little drabber to know that Tom and Ray will never crack each other up again. Well, that’s life. Give somebody you love a hug why dontcha.

The Redness and the Horror

Posted in Audio transmissions, Read it in books on October 31st, 2014 by bill

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” has never been more resonant than it is now, in the year of Ebola hysteria.

Blood was its Avatar and its seal –the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men.

So this being All Hallows’ Eve, why not give it a read, or better yet a listen. I’ll give you two versions to choose from. Either the classic, classy British-accent version by Basil Rathbone:

Or the extra-twisted version read by old Uncle Bill:

Some of My Favorite Shows (Part 2)

Posted in Dancing about architecture on October 3rd, 2014 by bill

This picture is almost as blurry as my memory.

This one is a little tricky, because my memories of the show in question are very vague. You might ask, as my friend TV did, why I want to write about a show I barely remember. It’s a good question, and the answer is that I have fond feelings for the band, the time period, and the people involved, and enjoy thinking about all of them.

The band was Shriekback, the venue The Stone in San Francisco, the time late 1985. I was attending UC Santa Cruz at the time, and had gotten into the habit of reading the SF Chronicle’s Sunday arts and entertainment section (known to all Bay Areans as the Pink Section). When I saw that Shriekback — one of my favorite bands then and now, and one rarely seen on U.S. soil — was playing in S.F., I was determined to be there. I convinced a group of friends to make the trek, and for transportation we enlisted a hallmate who was not a favorite person of ours but had a car. It was not a proud moment, but sometimes you do what you have to do.
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Some of My Favorite Shows (Part 1)

Posted in Dancing about architecture on September 17th, 2014 by bill

Updating the Bands I’ve Seen list lately got me to thinking about Times of Olde, and I realized I’ve never written much about many of the great shows. And I might as well do that, because my memory is not getting any better. In general, I probably remember a show that happened 20 or 25 years ago better than one that happened in 2008, but the brain damage is selective and unpredictable.

My first real concert (seeing the Hooters in a shopping mall doesn’t count) was Devo at the Tower Theater in suburban Philadelphia. If the internet is to be believed, this event took place on November 13, 1982, which means I would have just turned 15.

To say that from 1981 to 1984 I listened to Devo and nothing but Devo would be an exaggeration, but only a slight one (the Cars were in there too). To a kid of my age, gender, class, IQ, and general orientation toward reality, they were the only band that mattered. As I wrote previously (in a piece about how much they’ve betrayed me in later years), their message was one that I found irresistible:

They and I and those like us were not weirdos but superior mutants, and the future belonged to us.

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Just for the heck of it: Marty Feldman

Posted in Whatever Else on September 10th, 2014 by bill

Desirable Elements of Information

Posted in Golden (State) Years, Spam, wonderful spam on August 29th, 2014 by bill

Some now living will never die.

It’s been a while since I could just post about whatever I felt like, so I thought I might take a few minutes to update you, faithful readers, about some of my ongoing obsessions.

Abe Vigoda

According to every source of information at my disposal, Abe Vigoda remains alive. Among those who have shuffled off this mortal coil since I last wrote about Abe (2/25/11):

Andy Rooney
Amy Winehouse
Whitney Houston
Adam Yauch
Donna Summer
Ernest Borgnine
Sherman Hemsley
Gore Vidal
Phyllis Diller
Jack Klugman
Charles Durning
Norman Schwartzkopf
James Gandolfini
Peter O’Toole
Slim Whitman
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Elaine Stritch
Robin Williams

Just to name a few. Whereas Abe’s to-all-appearances-imminent death has been a running gag in popular culture for about 40 years now. Long may he reign.
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Bands I’ve Seen 3.0

Posted in Dancing about architecture on August 28th, 2014 by bill

His mind is like an ocean.

Since I haven’t updated this list in about 4 years it seems like I should, although my live music consumption has gone way down. This is partly because I am getting old and tired and most of the bands I love have broken up, and partly because a couple years back I relocated to Darkest Northern California, which is not often visited by the major touring bands. Every once in a while someone throws us a bone — for example, Ozomatli put on a sizzling show at the Van Duzer Theater Tuesday night, complete with encores in the lobby — but mostly we are left with only local options. And some of those are quite good, but they have a tendency to be late-starting shows aimed at college kids (see the second sentence of this paragraph).

One of the better shows I’ve seen since I got here was by Naïve Melodies, who are a Talking Heads cover band; I’m not sure whether they should go on the list (though I have included cover bands before, specifically AC/DShe, the all-girl AC/DC). Another was a screening of Stop Making Sense at the Arcata Theater Lounge (complete with dance floor), and that definitely doesn’t count.

After all these years I’m still missing an “I” and a “Q.” I never saw Queen, Quarterflash, or the Quicksilver Messenger Service, but I would see Q-Tip given half a chance. As for “I,” it may have to wait for time travel so I can see the Ink Spots.
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