New Ice Age in Hell?

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 24th, 2007 by bill
2007_04_19t034557_450x428_us_nba_wednesday.jpg This photo of Devin Harris' apparently lifeless body pretty much says it all.

It's taken two days for it to start to sink in. On Sunday, the Warriors — that's the Golden State Warriors, my favorite basketball team and possibly yours — faced the #1-seeded Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. The Mavs, who went to the NBA Finals last year and won 67 games this year, were playing in front of a rabid home crowd. The Warriors, meanwhile, were happy just to be in the playoffs for the first time since 1994. Then a funny thing happened. After a slow first half that ended 38-38, the W's surged ahead in the third quarter behind 19 cold-blooded points from Baron “Boom Dizzle” Davis. And in the fourth, instead of pulling an el collapso like the playoff novices they are, the Warriors kept control of the game. One memorable sequence featured Jason Richardson losing the ball to Dallas’s Devin Harris, then racing downcourt to swat Harris’ layup attempt off the backboard. Harris lay sprawled on the floor, clinging to Richardson like a baby koala, as the Dallas bench whined for a foul. Meanwhile, the ball found its way to Warrior Matt Barnes, who drained an unlikely, soul-crushing 3-pointer from the corner. There was no more drama after that. The Mavs failed to mount a comeback, throwing up brick after brick as owner Mark Cuban sat looking alternately forlorn and enraged. My friends and I watched in a stunned silence; we Warriors fans are simply not accustomed to this kind of success. It’s a shock to the system, but given half a chance I think we could get used to it.

Hell Freezes Over

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 19th, 2007 by bill
2007_04_19t034557_450x428_us_nba_wednesday.jpg Oh happy day. Oh happy, happy day.

Anything is possible now. Pigs can fly. Fish can ride bicycles. Alberto Gonzalez can start telling the truth. You can tug on Superman's cape, if you want to. Trust me, it's OK. The Golden State Warriors have made the playoffs. The last time that happened, back in 1994, well...we were all a lot younger, for one thing. Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins, second-year players who made key contributions this year, were 8 years old. Kurt Cobain had just blown his head off with a shotgun (supposedly), and O.J. Simpson had not yet killed anyone (allegedly). We were listening to albums like Teenager of the Year, Kerosene Hat, and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. The phrase "presidential knee pads" had yet to enter the lexicon, and we still believed in a place called Hope. And other blather to that effect. That's the distant past, and for the moment I am concerned about the near future. Beginning on Sunday the Warriors will face the Dallas Mavericks, whom they swept the season series from this year and just generally match up well against. It's not totally crazy to believe that, even though the Mavs are a #1 seed and the W's a #8, our boys can play them to a standstill, if not actually beat them. And then, maybe, the Warriors will ride their momentum through upsets of the Suns and Spurs, going on to meet the Pistons in the NBA Finals. We'll be watching the game one day and the "Breaking News" graphic will flash. ABC News will cut away just in time to catch an enormous spaceship landing on the roof of the White House. America will watch in stunned amazement as a squad of Black Lectroids distintegrates Bush, Cheney, and Rove with their ray guns. Having secured the area, they will return to the mothership and emerge once again in the company of our new leader...George Clinton, the Funky President. It could happen. Because reality has cracked wide open. The Golden State Warriors have made the playoffs.

Fire Fire Fire

Posted in Audio transmissions on April 16th, 2007 by bill
bevisfire.gif I have written previously about both Captain Beefheart and That Petrol Emotion. But have I written about the intersection thereof? I think not. To remedy that situation, I offer you a song called "Hot Head" lifted — like the Sonic Youth song I posted a while back — from the out-of-print Beefheart tribute album Fast’n’Bulbous. This is a cover of a song originally found on Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band's 1980 album Doc at the Radar Station (also home to the song with the best title, maybe, ever: "Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on My Knee"). Few bands have the wherewithal to successfully re-create the Captain's strategically warped rhythms; the Petrols not only pull it off, they also interpolate part of the Ohio Players' "Fire" just for the hell of it. If this song doesn't have you pounding both fists on the table and shouting "Fire fire fire!" like Beavis on Pixie Stix, it's time to check your meds.


Posted in Read it in books on April 12th, 2007 by bill
kv_age18.jpg A picture of young Kurt Vonnegut that I stole from a German Web site. Word reached the compound today of the passing of Kurt Vonnegut. While this can hardly be called a tragedy (Vonnegut lived 84 long, long years) or a surprise (he spoke often of committing suicide, both passively — by cigarette — and actively), still, it's...something. One might be tempted to ask how someone so severely depressed could create such beauty, humor, and humanity. Or conversely how someone capable of creating such beauty, humor, and humanity could be so severely depressed. But the two seem to go hand-in-hand so often that it doesn't even surprise me anymore. No time for any in-depth consideration of Vonnegut's work and life today; others will be taking up that task (Cecil?). But I wanted to take just a moment to say goodbye, thanks, and God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut. (P.S.: For memorial listening, might I recommend the song "Nice, Nice, Very Nice," by Ambrosia? Look it up.)

Why Advertising Sucks, Pt. 639

Posted in The sacred box on April 7th, 2007 by bill
I feel violated. There I am, finally sitting down to watch my beloved 30 Rock. The first commercial break starts, and before I can even reach for the remote, I hear this:
Sheryl Crow, on tour. Four weeks in and her hair still looks fabulous!
I mean, after all the precautions I take to avoid having to listen to this kind of gibberish. Geez.