Western Conference Finals, Game 1: Warriors 119, Rockets 106

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 15th, 2018 by bill
James Harden's idea of defense is trying to blow Kevin Durant over.

James Harden’s idea of defense is trying to blow Kevin Durant over.

I was a little antsy as I sat on my couch last night with a gray cat in my lap, waiting for Game 1 to tip off already after four long days of no basketball. My Warriors were set to face the Houston Rockets, owner of the league’s best record at 65–17, and one and a half–point favorites according to the oddsmakers.

The first couple minutes did not go well. A defensive lapse left James Harden all alone for a three, which he buried. Big Clint Capela rejected Kevin Durant’s first shot attempt with authority, then slammed home an alley-cop dunk on the other end. Draymond Green got a technical 1:07 into the game for shoving Harden under the basket, and was lucky he did not get booted summarily from the game. Andre Iguodala picked up two quick fouls and headed to the bench.

But despite all that the Warriors never trailed by more than 9, and had closed it to one at the end of the 1st quarter. The game was tied at 56 at halftime.  Read more »

Here We Go Again

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 14th, 2018 by bill

I haven’t written a word about the NBA playoffs so far this year, for a couple of reasons. One is sheer laziness. Another is that when I went back and reread posts from previous seasons, some of them struck me as rather tedious. And if I think they’re tedious they must be, because I’m quite vain about my writing.

But then sometimes it’s really less about the reading than the writing. Keeping the old instrument tuned and so forth. So let’s do this.

Later today Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets will tip off. It’s been a weird year for Dub Nation; after last season’s 16–1 romp through the playoffs, a certain malaise seemed to settle over the team and its fans. It was hard for all of us to get up for each and every game like we used to; three straight seasons extending all the way into June had taken their toll. Read more »

Song of the Week, 5/13/2018

Posted in Song of the week on May 13th, 2018 by bill

This song by Air wins hands down the prize for best combination of electronics and banjo — not that there’s much competition. Four minutes and forty-two seconds of pure aural pleasure. But be sure to listen to it in stereo, and as loud as possible; on tinny computer speakers the whole point is lost.

Song of the Week, 4/21/2018

Posted in Somebody's birthday, Song of the week on April 21st, 2018 by bill

James Newell Osterberg Jr., a/k/a Iggy Pop, turns 71 today. Who would have guessed that, of these three guys,

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he would be the last man standing? How does he keep on going, when by all rights he should have been dead decades ago? Must be that… lust for life.

Robert Coover Quote of the Day

Posted in A few words from Lao Tzu (or someone like him) on April 10th, 2018 by bill

From “Seven Exemplary Fictions”:

What is life, after all, but a caravan of lifelike forgeries?

Ursula LeGuin quote of the day

Posted in A few words from Lao Tzu (or someone like him) on April 5th, 2018 by bill

From the introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness:

I talk about the gods; I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.

Song of the Week, 3/24/2018

Posted in Song of the week on March 24th, 2018 by bill

It’s true, you know. The question is, will we?

Song of the Week, 3/4/2018

Posted in Song of the week on March 4th, 2018 by bill

The producers of the surrealist Dylan quasi-biopic I’m Not There made some inspired pairings of song and artist for the soundtrack album, but none more than this one. Who could be more suited to the sneering hipster takedown “Ballad of a Thin Man” than erstwhile Pavement leader Stephen Malkmus? He’s never sounded better, and neither has it.

Song of the Week, 2/11/2018

Posted in Song of the week on February 11th, 2018 by bill

I’ve been listening to a lot of The Fall since Mark E. Smith shuffled off the coil a couple weeks back. They did a lot of great — if often abrasive and difficult — stuff in their early and later years, but my favorite period is the 80s. For most of that decade Mark E.’s wife, the aptly named Brix, stirred a little sweetness into the pot of warlocks’ brew, creating something that occupied a unique place on the noise/pop spectrum. The 2-CD compilation 458489 B-Sides, which collects just the B-sides of their 45s from 1984 to 1989, is a ludicrously deep well of dark delights. To wit:

McGinty thought he could fool The Fall
With his imitation speeds
But he had not accounted for
The psychic nose
And did not know
There are no big shots on the rock
And even if there were
McGinty
Would not be
Among them

Song of the Week, 1/28/2018

Posted in Dancing about architecture, Song of the week on January 28th, 2018 by bill

Mark E. Smith

Word arrived yesterday of the demise of Mark E. Smith, 60, longtime CMO (Chief Musical Officer) of the ever-changing corporation known as The Fall. Now that he is gone, we can mark the final Fall tallies: 42 years, 60-some band members, 32 studio albums, and an unknown but immense number of live albums.

Smith was truly one of a kind. Not a musician, not even a singer, really — more a human conduit for some kind of powerful, dangerous, uncontrollable energy. This kind of thing takes a toll on a person, not to mention his prodigious and unrepentant consumption of speed, alcohol, and tobacco. So on the one hand it’s fairly impressive he made it to 60; on the other hand I kind of thought he’d keep on indefinitely, growing forever more gnarled and opaque.

In his younger days Smith was, if not handsome exactly, striking:

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— with a fierce intelligence shooting out of his eyes like laser beams. In later years he increasingly grew to resemble Stephen Hawking:

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There may be a cautionary tale there; was there perhaps an alternate route that allowed him to maintain both his creativity and his health for a little bit longer? No way to say for sure, of course; we each must choose our own path, and Mark E. Smith certainly did that.

Well, M.E.S. is gone but he left his mark. The Fall’s catalog is both deep and broad, running the gamut from the worst kind of noise to a sort of left-field pop that netted them a number of hit singles in the UK. There’s no way to pick one song that represents their oeuvre, but here’s one of their classics, with Smith ranting irascibly about the deplorable state of his current residence: