Basketball Season Is Over

I didn’t write about the Warriors at all this season, and I feel OK about that, because look what happened? Last night they won their fourth title in eight years, and this one might have been the sweetest of all. “Holy cannoli,” said Klay Thompson, who came back from the two worst injuries that can happen to a basketball player — torn Achilles and ACL — to win himself another ring. And he was right, you know?

Conspicuous in his absence was Kevin Durant, who left after the 2019 season to play in Brooklyn, choosing Kyrie Irving over Steph Curry as a running mate for some reason that still mystifies me. In his place was Andrew Wiggins, the former #1 overall pick who everyone had given up on, and was at the times the best player on this team. Which, let me repeat, won the championship.

I’m happy for them all, especially My Personal Savior Steph Curry, who started ugly-crying before the game clock even hit 0.0. The idea that it meant something that he’d never won MVP of the Finals was stupid to begin with, and can now thankfully go away for good. And Klay and Wiggins and Jordan Poole, and Gary Payton II, who has been bouncing around the league for years and finally found a home with the Dubs, making key contributions down the stretch despite having his elbow broken in the first round of the playoffs.

And Draymond. Draymond, my wayward son. Loudmouth, lightning rod, provocateur, basketball genius. The Celtics fans were chanting “Fuck you, Draymond” during the games; his teammates did the same while spraying Champagne around the locker room post-game. These are the kinds of strong emotions he inspires. Without him, Steph is probably another great player who never won a title.

Most of all though, I’m happy for myself. I spent the whole season telling anyone who would listen that we were going to win it all. I didn’t just have a feeling — I did the math. (Nate Silver, BTW, can kiss my ass. Wrong again!) I got some funny looks in return, especially when the W’s were stumbling through the end of the regular season. So, I cannot tell a lie: It feels good to win, and it also feels good to be right. I have to love myself for that.

The only downside is, now basketball season is over. How shall I be entertained? Your suggestions are welcome.

The Princess of Puréed Peas vs. the Most Famous Baby Penis in the World

Last week one Ann Turner Cook passed away at the age of 95. You probably don’t recognize the name, but you might have seen this drawing of her as a baby:

Most likely in a context like this:

Says the NYT:

Ms. Cook was the bona fide Gerber baby, the winner of a nationwide contest in 1928 that has since seen her portrait reproduced on billions of jars of baby food and other items sold round the world.

In 1990, The New York Times described the sketch, by the artist Dorothy Hope Smith, as being “among the world’s most recognizable corporate logos.”

As a baby, Ms. Cook was in very much the right place at the right time. As an adult, however, fearing ridicule for her long-running role as a princess of puréed peas, she did not disclose her identity for decades.

Ms. Cook, who received no royalties for the use of her image, profited from it by precisely $5,000 over some 90 years. That sum — a settlement she accepted from Gerber in 1951 — let her make the down payment on her first home.

(more…)

Happy Election Day

Spent some time this weekend going through the California Voter’s Guide, and this was by far my favorite thing in it. I didn’t vote for Mando, because he is clearly insane, but I am a fan.

“Earthling” Revisited, Briefly

When Earthling came out the critical consensus was that Bowie, once the most audacious of pioneers, had been reduced to a follower of musical fashion. And this narrative is not necessarily wrong: Earthling is clearly an echo, a couple years after the fact, of the great drum’n’bass/jungle/trip-hop boom of the mid-90s.1

At the same time, it reflects the Catholic tastes and ingrained idiosyncrasies of its maker, a man from another time and another planet. Earthling is an album that only David Bowie could have made, and he gives it his best effort. But try as he might — and his enthusiasm for the material is palpable — he can’t quite keep the ship afloat.

Earthling is not without its charms but dilutes them. Each individual song is too long, and the album as whole is waaaay too long. In fact it was originally slated to be an EP, and probably should have stayed one. I’d keep “I’m Afraid of Americans,” “Looking for Satellites,” “Seven Years in Tibet,” and maybe “The Last Thing You Should Do.” As a wise person once said, “Brevity is, in almost everything, a virtue.”