Temperature in hell continues to drop

Posted in Golden (State) Years on January 28th, 2008 by bill

Chris Webber prays for a reunion with his favorite coach.

The headline today read “Webber Returns to Warriors.” Some of you will know what that means and why it’s making my head spin. For the rest, here’s a little history to help you understand just how weird this is:

Back in the early 90s, I was captivated by a dynamic young basketball team called the Golden State Warriors. Coached by NBA legend Don Nelson and led by a trio of up-and-coming stars known by the acronym Run-TMC (Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin), the Warriors played an uptempo style of ball that made them both entertaining and successful.

But there was a problem: The team lacked size, and so while they were good enough to make the playoffs, they couldn’t match up with a bigger team over the course of a series. This prompted Coach Nelson to trade Richmond for a rookie named Billy Owens, whose combination of size and skills made him look like a surefire superstar.
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Guacamole and Chips

Posted in A few words from Lao Tzu (or someone like him) on January 25th, 2008 by bill


Speaking to an audience in Nevada this week, Hillary Clinton was heard to say:

“All of our problems are interconnected, but we treat them as though one is guacamole and one is chips.”

I find this fascinating, though not necessarily for political reasons. Some commentators wondered if this was her idea of a metaphor that would resonate with a Hispanic audience, but I have to think Hill is smarter than that. One thing no one has ever accused her of being is a dumbass.

No, what really gets me is the Zenlike, circular nature of the statement. It sounds like something Shunryu Suzuki might have said. In one sense it seems clear enough, but when you stop to think about it it’s a real head-scratcher. Are chips and guacamole not connected? What happens when you dip the chip in the guac and put it in your mouth? Are chip, dip, and mouth not all one for that moment? One question leads to the next until you begin to feel pleasantly lightheaded.

Maybe rather than pandering clumsily to Latins, Hillary was really sending a coded message to America’s stoners: “With Kucinich gone, you have to support somebody, and why not me? Remember during Bill’s adminstration how you could channel-surf without getting bummed out by news about the war and stuff? Those were good times. It can be like that again. Vote for Hill—she’s real Chill.”

Or something like that.

Break on Through (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Like the Doors)

Posted in Dancing about architecture on January 15th, 2008 by bill


One of the solaces of getting older is that the passionate prejudices of your youth start to fade. As time passes you become less determined not to like certain things, and the appeal you previously refused to acknowledge is able to break through the clouds and make itself seen.

For instance: From the time I was a teenager, I was eager to tell anyone who would listen exactly why and how much I hated the Doors. Most of it had to do with Jim Morrison and the whole idea floating around that he was some kind of Great Poet. To me Jim Morrison was always the guy who wrote these lines:

If they say I never loved you
You know they are a liar

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Rock’n’Roll Presidents’ Day

Posted in Because he's David Bowie, that's why, Dancing about architecture on January 8th, 2008 by bill

As I have mentioned in years past, today is the shared birthday of David Bowie, Bill Graham, and The Elvis Presley (as Andy Kaufman used to call him). Sort of rock’n’roll Presidents’ Day. Quite frankly, I resent having to work today, and as a protest I will just go through the motions while quietly humming a mashup of “Mystery Train” and “The Bewlay Brothers.”

In other rock news, I was delighted to learn yesterday that the boys from Bauhaus will be releasing a new album, their first since 1983’s Burning from the Inside, on March 3, March 8, or March 10, depending on which source you believe. According to bauhausmusik.com,

Go Away White was recorded in 18 days at Zircon Skye in Ojai, with singer Peter Murphy, bassist David J, guitarist Daniel Ash, and drummer Kevin Haskins playing together as a band in one room, taking first takes as final cuts.

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Posted in Whatever Else on January 5th, 2008 by bill

You hear people talk about posterity all the time. What they’re gonna leave behind for posterity, how posterity will see them, etc. etc. How come you never hear anyone talk about anteriority? What are they, chopped liver?

Page 2

Posted in Whatever Else on January 4th, 2008 by bill

The front page news today was all about the weather — which still, after all these years, no one does anything about — and Iowa, where Democrats voted (sorry, “caucused”) for an African-American and Republicans voted (sorry, “caucused”) for a theocracy. On days like this I am drawn to page 2, where the odd and interesting items congregate. Today was particularly juicy:

• At Gettysburg Hospital in Pennsylvania, the same couple, Kyle and Becky Armstong, had the first baby born in the new year for the second year in a row. I can’t help but picture them sitting in bed with a stopwatch on March 31st, waiting for midnight before going at it like wild animals.
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What Doug wants

Posted in Whatever Else on January 3rd, 2008 by bill

I have accidentally discovered an amusing new time-waster that will probably now sweep cubicles across the nation. Over the holiday I was on Amazon looking for my youngest stepbrother’s wish list. When I typed in his name I got 11 results which I then had to sift through to figure out which one was him. It turned out none of them were, but in the meantime I got some fascinating insight into the desires of 11 random guys named Doug. (The last name will not be given here.)

For instance, Doug #1 wanted:

The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000
• Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power
• Rutherford B. Hayes: Citizen, Soldier, President
• Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World—Told from Inside by the Man Who Ran It

Clearly, a possible future despot.
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The Red and the Black

Posted in Whatever Else on January 2nd, 2008 by bill

If you’re looking at the main page of this blog, at the top right you’ll see a calendar with numbers in black and red. A red number means there’s an entry for that date, a black number means there’s not. Ever since Crispy B. set this thing up for me almost three years ago, one of my great pleasures in life has been making the black numbers turn red. Some months I’ve done them all; some months only one or two. But so far in 2008, two for two! How long can I keep this up?

Auld Lang Sine Wave

Posted in Whatever Else on January 1st, 2008 by bill

So this was pretty much what I consider to be the perfect New Year’s Eve. Watched Shall We Dance with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (that is, Fred and Ginger were in the movie, not in my living room, though that would have been cool). Drank some wine. Watched the ball drop in Times Square, a spectacle marred only slightly by the inane babbling of Kathy Griffin (how Anderson Cooper refrained from strangling her, I’ll never know). Played with the cats a little. Ran an episode from the first season of SNL — not one of the best, but musical guest Jimmy Cliff ripped it up. Took an hour for [redacted]. Then spent the last hour of 2007 and the first of 2008 in pursuit of my personal goal of watching The Big Lebowski more times than any living person.
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