Song of the Week, 5/28/2017

Posted in Song of the week on May 28th, 2017 by bill

Round 3, Game 4: Warriors 129, Spurs 115

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 23rd, 2017 by bill
[caption id="attachment_7656" align="alignnone" width="500"]Matt Barnes celebrated the Warriors advancing to the NBA Finals by choking himself on the floor of the AT&T Center. Matt Barnes celebrated the Warriors advancing to the NBA Finals by choking himself on the floor of the AT&T Center.[/caption] Last night the Warriors completed their sweep of the pitifully depleted San Antonio Spurs, advancing to the NBA Finals with a perfect 12–0 playoff record. Which is nice, but a footnote at best. Their mission will not be complete until they win four more — almost certainly against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had a little hiccup on Sunday when they lost a game to the also sadly depleted Boston Celtics. That was probably a fluke that the Cavs will correct going forward, but the Celtics are to be commended for at least offering a little competition. So let’s go ahead and take a minute to appreciate the W’s advancing to their third straight Finals, a remarkable run of consistent success for a team that before 2014 had managed only one playoff appearance in 20 years. Then let’s forget all about that and look to the future — we have nine days to rest and get ready for the heavy rooting that will be required starting June 1.

Round 3, Game 3: Warriors 120, Spurs 108

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 21st, 2017 by bill
[caption id="attachment_7653" align="alignnone" width="500"]Have a seat, son. Have a seat, son.[/caption] 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
[caption id="attachment_7648" align="alignnone" width="450"]It was that kind of game. It was that kind of game.[/caption] 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. Whether it was due to rust, sunspots, or The Genius Gregg Popovich, the Warriors looked terrible from the drop, while the Spurs looked like a team with something to prove. The visitors raced out to a 30–14 lead in the first quarter as I fidgeted nervously on the living room couch, picking at a scab on my ankle. Between quarters I took a deep breath and told myself that surely this was a fluke — the W’s would shake off their lethargy and right the ship in the 2nd. But no. San Antonio’s lead ballooned to an unbelievable 25 points, dipped a bit, then stabilized at 20 at halftime. I made a sandwich and muttered to myself — we’re a third-quarter team, right? Then the second half started, and nothing was different. All the Spurs were playing well, but Kawhi was everywhere, dominating on both the offensive and defensive ends. Midway through the 3rd quarter, the W’s deficit was in the mid-20s and growing. I started mentally preparing myself for the loss and two days of reading about how overrated the Warriors were. Then, after taking a shot, Kawhi stepped backward to regain his balance and landed on a teammate’s foot, tweaking his bad ankle. He shook it off and kept playing, but a couple minutes later he shot a 3 and this time came down on Zaza Pachulia’s foot — again, as luck would have it, on his left (injured) leg. Kawhi grimaced, hobbled around a bit, and was quickly pulled from the game. And that was that. When he left, the Spurs were up 23; in the rest of the game, they were –25, which for the math-deficient adds up to –2. It wasn’t quite that easy, of course. It took superb offensive performances from Curry and Durant to pull this one out, but if Kawhi hadn’t been hurt, the Spurs would have won and I would be moping around in a bitter funk rather than writing this blog entry. That’s one reason why history is written by the winners, I think — the losers just don’t feel like it. Game 2 is tomorrow. In the meantime, we all breathlessly await the results of an MRI on Kawhi’s ankle. I honestly hope he’s OK; I want the W’s to win this series fair and square, without any more asterisks than the one that’s already attached to Game 1. As far as that goes, well, a W is a W is a W; no one in Dub Nation is inclined to give this one back, but I hope we all appreciate how lucky we got.

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
[caption id="attachment_7629" align="alignnone" width="450"]Kevin Durant looms large. Kevin Durant looms large.[/caption] 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. This is fun to think about until you realize that President Pence is going to be just as bad, and in some ways worse. Say what you want about FVC, he does not go around citing Jesus as the reason for his every decision. Pandering to the base notwithstanding, his is a thoroughly secular brand of narcissistic rapacity. Pence will open the door to theocracy...which would be one thing if he actually Did What Jesus Would. The reality is likely to be much more in line with the cold-hearted, narrow-minded social Darwinism that passes for Christianity in post–Jimmy Carter American politics. But that is something we are probably going to have to deal with at some point. It might as well happen as soon as possible, so voters have as long as possible to get fed up with Pence before the next election comes around. So all you potential Deep Throats out there, get busy.