Utterly, Completely Amazing

Posted in Golden (State) Years on March 31st, 2015 by bill

Steph Curry won Western Conference Player of the Week again last week, averaging 30 points, 8 assists per game, and 63 percent on 3s. Yawn. Just another week at the office.

Over the weekend my Warriors won their 60th game of the season and clinched the top seed in the Western Conference this year, and they lead the Atlanta Hawks by 3 1/2 games in the race for best record overall and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. There is not much more they can accomplish in the regular season; at this point it’s all about being ready for the playoffs, which will begin on April 18 or 19.

So I don’t plan on writing about them again until then, but in the meantime, for my own reference as much as anything, I wanted to post links to some of the cavalcade of glowing press the Dubs have inspired lately.

Like this one from the NY Times, where the Warriors are referred to as “3-point-shooting cyborgs.”

Or this one, from Grantland, which contains the following lovely piece of prose-poetry from Bill Simmons:
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The Serve of the Thin White Duke

Posted in Because he's David Bowie, that's why on March 31st, 2015 by bill

Poking around Chris O’Leary’s Pushing Ahead of the Dame today, I was struck by the following passage about David Bowie’s 1999 sessions with the band Rustic Overtones:

The band had wanted to invite Bowie for a [ping-pong] match during the sessions but thought better of it: this was a serious rock artiste, after all. Later, they read that Bowie was actually an avid ping-pong player and once had an epic match with Lou Reed.

Sadly, I was unable to find any photographic evidence of a table tennis match between Messrs. Bowie and Reed, but I did find this:

And this:

And this, which I believe is from The Man Who Fell to Earth:

Which was enough to make me pretty happy. Note the Batman symbol on David’s kimono. Awesome.

Also Noted

Posted in Golden (State) Years on March 18th, 2015 by bill

8 years ago, when the Warriors made the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons, there was much rejoicing among fans and players, and I wrote a giddy post entitled “Hell Freezes Over.”

This week, they mathematically clinched a playoff spot in the middle of a game against the Lakers, when the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Dallas Mavericks. Everyone glanced at the scoreboard, shrugged, and went about their business.

Progress.

The Golden Age of Hype

Posted in Dancing about architecture on March 13th, 2015 by bill

Is it vinyl, CD, or wax cylinder in there?

We are not living in a golden age of music right now. Sure, there is good music being made; always has been, always will be. But there’s nothing like the depth and breadth of the 60s and 70s, or even the 80s and 90s. You could come up with a thousand reasons why, from the decline of Western civilization to the rise of downloading and the vegetative state of the music business, but it hardly matters at this point. We all have access to so much music, no one now living will ever run out of new things to explore. So in a sense, who cares if not much great stuff is being recorded these days? We don’t really need much more.

But one place where the boundaries are still being pushed, and new summits still being reached, is in the area of hype. Last week, for instance, the Wu-Tang Clan held a public event at a museum in Queens, New York to preview their new album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. Why would people crowd into an auditorium and consent to have their phones confiscated to hear 13 minutes of music by a group whose previous release – A Better Tomorrow, still just a few months old – did not exactly set the world on fire?

Because according to scluzay.com:

The sole existing master of Once Upon A Time in Shaolin, of which all backups and digital files have been destroyed, is available through the New York auction house, Paddle 8. It is presented in a hand carved nickel-silver casing designed by the British Moroccan artist Yahya and accompanied by a 174 page volume containing lyrics, credits and anecdotes on the production and recordings of each song.

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What’s Blowing My Mind, 2015 Edition (Part 3)

Posted in Golden (State) Years on March 9th, 2015 by bill

“Your mind…blow it.”
-David Bowie, “The Gospel According to Tony Day”

Draymond Green

He will turn your money green.

I had just logged into WordPress intending to wax enthusiastic about Draymond when I clicked over to see what was happening on Grantland, and up popped this piece by Andrew Sharp:

Do You Love Draymond Green Like a Family Member?

And the answer is yes, yes I do. Andrew does such a good job of explaining why that I am tempted to just leave it at that:

So much of the NBA belongs to people who are gifted beyond comparison and talented beyond comprehension — guys who make impossible skills look routine. Guys like Steph, Klay, even someone like Harrison Barnes. I love Draymond Green like a family member because he was none of those things. He was the regular dude from Michigan who might one day be able to foul people professionally, and through sheer will and self-confidence, he has made himself as irreplaceable as anyone. This is the goddamn American Dream, at least for the 99 percent of us who shouldn’t bother dreaming.

But let me go ahead and add a few words of my own.
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What’s Blowing My Mind, 2015 Edition (Part 2)

Posted in Golden (State) Years on March 4th, 2015 by bill

“Your mind…blow it.”
-David Bowie, “The Gospel According to Tony Day”

Klay Thompson

Klay got his Harry Potter scar from a J.R. Smith elbow.

A couple years back, when I was first trying to brainwash my special lady friend into being a Warriors fan, I suggested that she pick a favorite player as a way to personalize the game. She quickly homed in on Klay Thompson, then a raw second-year guard with a huge upside and what looked, to me, like an equally enormous schnoz (she claimed it was “Roman” and elegant). Klay’s fortunes have soared ever since, and this year he signed a $70 million contract extension, started in the All-Star Game, and did this:

Very few NBA players will ever score 37 points in a game, much less a quarter. I unfortunately did not happen to be watching that night, and learned again the hard way that you just cannot miss Warriors games these days, because you never know when something mind-blowing is going to happen. (See also: Curry, Stephen, subject of previous post.)

As for Klay, what I like most about him is his matter-of-fact demeanor. He rarely shows emotion on the court (except when dropping 37 points in a quarter, and really, isn’t that a good time to flip out a little bit?). In a sports world overrun with hyperinflated egos, it’s refreshing to see a guy with superstar skills and a “just-doing-my-job-here” attitude.

Also, there’s this:

What’s Blowing My Mind, 2015 Edition (Part 1)

Posted in Golden (State) Years on February 19th, 2015 by bill

“Your mind…blow it.”
-David Bowie, “The Gospel According to Tony Day”

Steph Curry

Steph Curry can also fly, apparently.

As of this writing, the last day of the All-Star break, My Golden State Warriors have the best record in the league at 42-9. They have been so good, so consistently, that at times it’s become a little bit boring. After they methodically squeezed the life out of the at-one-time-considered-a-threat Houston Rockets a couple weeks back, sweeping the season series in decisive fashion, columnist Ray Ratto’s summary was:

Warriors add another sculpture to their Tedium Through Excellence exhibit.

This is a whole different world from what Warriors fans are used to, and while we’ve had a couple years to get used to the team not sucking anymore, my little monkey brain has not quite caught up to where things are now. In the days before the All-Star game I would see promos prominently featuring players in the familiar blue and gold and it would take me by surprise, even though Steph Curry was #1 in the overall voting, beating out even LeBron James.
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Thought for the day

Posted in Whatever Else on February 4th, 2015 by bill

They say that even a stopped clock gives the correct time twice a day. So if you collected 720 broken clocks and set them all differently, you would have the right time all the time.

The Journey of 10,000 Songs

Posted in Dancing about architecture on January 21st, 2015 by bill

About two and a half years ago I bought a new MacBook Pro. Unlike my previous laptop, it didn’t come with any music preloaded, so this was a chance for me to start from scratch with an empty iTunes library.

At first, I loaded only albums from 2012 to force myself to listen to recent music. Then I added stuff from 2011, and then 2013 when the time came. Then I wanted to have staples like the Beatles and the Stones, so I relaxed the rules, and from there things started to get out of hand. Around this time I discovered that it’s pretty easy nowadays to take your laptop to the library and burn to your heart’s content, without bothering to check stuff out and return it. My friend Robert gave me a memory stick full of Sly and the Family Stone and Madlib mixes. I got 8 CDs’ worth of both Johnny Cash and James Brown. You get the picture.

Fast-forward to today, and I just reached the 10,000-song mark. This seems like a good time to step back and reflect for a minute. Of course, 10,000 songs represents only the merest fraction of my total collection, but that’s still a lot of music; to be precise, 26 days, 5 hours, 4 minutes, and 56 seconds’ worth. So I could still theoretically listen to all of it during the month of February, as long as I didn’t sleep. If I just made a job of it and listened to 8 hours a day, it would take me 79 days to get all the way through, assuming I didn’t add anything more in the meantime. Which is unlikely.
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My Six-Word Review of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice

Posted in Moving pictures on January 12th, 2015 by bill

That is one shaggy dog, man.