Round 3, Game 3: Warriors 120, Spurs 108

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 21st, 2017 by bill
Have a seat, son.

Have a seat, son.

We pretty much knew what was going to happen in this game yesterday morning, when word came down that Kawhi Leonard once again would not be playing. Without him, and with point guard Tony Parker already done for the year (and possibly forever), the Spurs simply don’t have the firepower to hang with the Warriors.

But they did a pretty good job of it for a quarter and change yesterday, with ex-Warrior David Lee torturing his replacement Draymond Green down on the block. Then Lee went up for a contested layup and came down funny. He left the game and did not return — he tore a patellar tendon, it turns out — and once again the Spurs were forced to turn to their bench, bringing in little-used Joel Anthony.

Even after that they hung tight for awhile, but the writing was on the wall. The Warriors started to slowly pull away and while the game never turned into a blowout, there was never any doubt about the outcome.

Meanwhile, over in the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers laid a historic beatdown on the Celtics in Game 2 of their series, going up 72–31 at the half and winning by 44. It is now not just possible but likely that both the W’s and the Cavs will get to the Finals without losing a game, which will be…interesting. If both teams sweep their respective series, there will be eight long, long days off before the Finals begin on June 1. How on Earth shall we keep ourselves entertained?

Song of the Week, 5/20/2017

Posted in Song of the week on May 20th, 2017 by bill

R.I.P. Chris Cornell

Round 3, Game 2: Warriors 136, Spurs 100*

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 17th, 2017 by bill
It was that kind of game.

It was that kind of game.

This one gets an asterisk too, because with Kawhi Leonard out with an ankle injury, the Spurs looked nothing like the team the made the Warriors’ lives hell for the first 30 minutes of Game 1. He is their linchpin on both defense and offense, and in his absence Steph Curry went immediately into Human Torch mode, scoring 15 points in the first quarter as the W’s went up 33–16.

This game was never close and not, in fact, very interesting. But again, a win is a win is a win. The Warriors need only six more of them to hoist the trophy. The hope all around is that Kawhi will be back for Saturday’s Game 3, making things a little more competitive.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference Finals will finally get underway tonight, with the well-rested Cleveland Cavaliers facing the scrappy Boston Celtics. There are a lot of us hoping that the Celtics can provide at least a modicum of challenge for the defending champs; we shall see what we shall see.

Round 3, Game 1: Warriors 113, Spurs 111*

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 15th, 2017 by bill

kawhi

Now there’s something to write about.

Yesterday My Golden State Warriors and Other People’s San Antonio Spurs met in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. In the pregame show all the talk was about, do the Spurs have any chance at all against this Dubs juggernaut? Is it 80, 90, or 95% likely that the Warriors will win? In one segment, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green’s mothers sat around drinking mimosas and talking like the title was already won. I myself was telling people that any bet on the Spurs was a foolish one, that with Kawhi Leonard playing on a questionable ankle, the series would not be competitive.

Then the game started.

Read more »

Song of the Week, 5/13/2017

Posted in Song of the week on May 13th, 2017 by bill

This week I had the privilege of seeing Leslie Feist and her band perform at the Fillmore in San Francisco. It was a superb show in every way — punctual and professional but also joyful and inspired. She even resurrected “1-2-3-4,” the 2007 fluke hit from which she’s been running ever since.

But the centerpiece of the show was a complete run-through of her new album, Pleasure. Like its predecessor Metals, Pleasure is an idiosyncratic piece of work that takes some getting used to, full of unexpected outbursts and sudden endings. But hearing it live really made it come, er, alive. And I came away really impressed with Feist’s guitar skills — I knew she had a great voice, but I never knew she could shred like that.

This video was not from the night that I went to, but appears identical in all respects — she even wore the same frock, unless she has several identical ones — except for a wee spot of technical difficulty. Dig it:

The Vultures Are Circling

Posted in Bread and circuses on May 11th, 2017 by bill

Just five days after I mentioned Watergate in my last political post, Prez Von C. went ahead and fired FBI Director James Comey, stirring memories in many of the infamous Saturday Night Massacre. To which my immediate reaction, I must admit, was glee. I could care less about James Comey, whose fault all this is in the first place; but for FVC to make such a bold and desperate move, he must have something big to hide.

A day later the euphoria has settled a bit, but still…whatever he’s trying to cover up, it’s bound to come out sooner or later. The only question is, will it be survivable? As Richard Nixon learned to his chagrin, you can’t just fire your way out of a crisis. Sooner or later the pigeons will come come to roost. The vultures are circling. I’m mixing my bird metaphors and I don’t care. Let the trials begin.

Series 2: Warriors 4, Jazz 0

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 9th, 2017 by bill
Kevin Durant looms large.

Kevin Durant looms large.

In the second round of the playoffs — a/k/a the Western Conference Semifinals — the Warriors slowly, methodically strangled all the life out of the Utah Jazz, a pretty good basketball team who just didn’t have the firepower to compete at the rarefied level the W’s currently occupy. It’s possible that no one does — with the possible exception of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are also 8–0 in the playoffs, looming on the horizon like a coming storm.

But in the meantime the Dubs will have to play the winner of the San Antonio Spurs/Houston Rockets series, now tied at 2–2. It is of course Wrong to look past any opponent, and those are both quality teams who are capable of causing trouble. But neither has looked what you’d call formidable up to this point, and the Warriors will get to sit back and rest as they fight a war of attrition.

The only problem worth noting at the moment is the continued absence of Coach Steve Kerr, who had surgery this week to address his spinal fluid leak. This is less of a problem for us than it is for Steve, who has apparently been dealing with brutal pain throughout the season. I hope he feels better, whether or not he makes it back onto the court.

In the meantime, the sun is shining, so I’m going to shut down this machine and go walk around in it.

How many more days?

Posted in Bread and circuses on May 5th, 2017 by bill

This week I’ve been reading Hunter Thompson’s account of the last days in office of Richard Nixon, and I find myself salivating a little bit. How long, oh Lord, how long, until Fuckface Von Clownstick is run out of Washington on a rail? Has he already committed the crime(s) for which he will be impeached and then pardoned by President Pence, or is that yet to come? I just hope it doesn’t take five years and a re-election for it to happen.

There’s some major historical irony in the fact that the Watergate burglary was committed because Nixon was worried about losing an election that, it turns out, he won easily. One can easily picture FVC doing the same thing — so determined to win the popular vote this time that he signs off on election-machine hacking, widespread phantom voting, or the kneecapping of minority voters.

With any luck it will not come to that. The foulness and corruption infesting the Von Clownstick administration is so rampant that there just have to be some major felonies being committed. The only questions are, a) how long will it take for them to be discovered and brought to light, and b) how much will the president know, and when will he have known it? For him to be brought to heel, he will have to be caught so red-handed that all but his most delusional supporters will finally be forced to face the truth, but I for one have no problem imagining at least a dozen ways that could happen. Read more »

A few words from HST, part 6

Posted in R.I.P., HST on May 4th, 2017 by bill

This passage, again from “The Temptations of Jean-Claude Killy” (1970), I’m posting just because it made me laugh out loud. We can always use that. It takes place at a car show in Chicago and features a cameo by O.J. Simpson, then an NFL rookie.

Jean-Claude makes his pitch for Chevrolet every two hours on the button: 1–3–5–7–9. The even numbered hours are reserved for O.J. Simpson.

Barker: “Tell me, O.J., are you faster than that car over there?”

O.J.: You mean that groovy Chevrolet? Naw, man, that’s the only thing I know that’s faster than me… ho, ho….”

Meanwhile, slumped in the folding chair near the Killy exhibit, smoking a pipe and brooding on the spooks in this place, I am suddenly confronted by three young boys wearing Bass Weejuns and Pendleton shirts, junior-high types, and one of them asks me: “Are you Jean-Claude Killy?”

“That’s right,” I said.

“What are you doing?” they asked.

Well, you goddamn silly little waterhead, what the hell does in look like I’m doing? But I didn’t say that. I gave the question some thought. “Well,” I said finally, “I’m just sitting here smoking marijuana.” I held up my pipe. “This is what makes me ski so fast.”

Their eyes swelled up like young grapefruits. They stared at me — waiting for a laugh, I think — then backed away. Five minutes later I looked up and found them still watching me, huddled about twenty feet away behind the sky-blue Z-28 Chevvy on its slow-moving turntable. I waved my pipe at them and smiled like Hubert Humphrey…but they didn’t wave back.

A few words from HST, part 5

Posted in R.I.P., HST, Read it in books on May 2nd, 2017 by bill

This excerpt from Hunter’s profile of the skier Jean-Claude Killy, circa 1970, is relevant to current events in a slightly different way from some of the other pieces I’ve been posting. See if you can spot it.

I boarded the plane and instantly found myself involved in a game of musical chairs with the couple who were being moved back to the tourist compartment so Jean-Claude and I could have their first-class seats. “I’ve blocked these two off for you,” the man in the blue uniform told me.

The dowdy little stewardess told the victims how sorry she was — over and over again, while the man howled in the aisle. I hunkered down in the seat and stared straight ahead, wishing him well…. “You sons of bitches!” he yelled, shaking his fist at the crewmen who were pushing him back towards the tourist section. I was hoping he would whack one of them or at least refuse to stay on the plane but he caved in, allowing himself to be hustled off like a noisy beggar.

“What was that about?” Killy asked me.

I told him. “Bad scene, eh?” he said. Then he pulled a car racing magazine out of his briefcase and focused on that. I thought of going back and advising the man that he could get a full refund on his ticket if he kept yelling, but the flight was delayed for at least an hour on the runway and I was afraid to leave my seat for fear it might be grabbed by some late-arriving celebrity.

Within moments, a new hassle developed. I asked the stewardess for a drink and was told that it was against the rules  to serve booze until the plane was airborne. Thirty minutes later, I got the same answer. There is something in the corporate manner of United Airlines that reminds me of the California Highway Patrol, the exaggerated politeness of people who would be a hell of a lot happier if all their customers were in jail — and especially you, sir.