Thursday, July 18, 2019

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #35
Sometimes it's not enough for a post, but I can't stop it's just bar chatter. 

I watched Big 3 basketball last weekend for the first time.

This is a thing?

I heard about it, and it seemed like it might be interesting. So flipping through the channel guide I spotted that it was on so I flipped over to watch for a few minutes. So, let me get this straight. It's three man, half court, basketball. Game at 50, playing deuce. With a ref. That had an arena full of people. And has a TV contract.

Kiss my ass.

If you had told me ten years ago that this would be a thing, I would not have believed you. Watching some old pros play half-court was just...weird. I'd just watched the NBA summer league the night before, and by the way, when Harden and Westbrook sit down and Clemons stands up, the foot does NOT come off the gas. That aside, watching Big 3 basketball was an ARE YOU SERIOUS?  What I essentially watched was what happens in gyms across the country on any given weekend. In my high school gym 30 plus years ago on a Saturday afternoon. Three on three. Only with jerseys, a bench, commercials and somebody not playing calling the fouls. 

This is a thing?


Friday, July 12, 2019

Who in the hell left the gate open?

Ramblings Post #373
The other big leagues better take notes. This is how you do it. You take the hope and dreams of your fans and coat liberally with flour, seasonings and a brush of corn meal and then deep fry it to a golden brown. Serve with white bread, cole slaw and hot sauce. Sports have a tendency to get stagnant if too much power accumulates in one place for too long. The heroes hang around long enough to become the villains, or whatever the Patriots are currently classified as. But you if you keep the whole shebang in motion, not too much, but enough to keep ALL the fans interested  then good things happen. Or bad depending on your team. But then there is always next year. And use hot sauce with butter base. 

One way to put it is that this NBA off-season has been a dizzying realignment of power, and arms race if you will, as the front offices shift the players around the metaphorical board in an attempt to gain that elusive advantage, that minor edge, needed to be able to call themselves champions in a league where every night everything is in play.

Another way to put is dammmmmnnnnn!

First the Fat Boys break up, and now this. Russell Westbrook is being traded  to the Houston Rockets. Lord Jebus. If you ain't know, Russy plays pro basketball like he got the real life cheat code, able to regularly put up normally elusive triple doubles (double figures in three separate stats) by the end of the third quarter. Smart managers build teams around guys like him. And he's been on a rampage since his running partner KD basically said "let me go get these rings." and headed west. OKC was maybe one good player away from being able to contend with the Warriors, until one of them (KD) went and joined the Warriors. But as long as you had Westbrook, a championship felt just a player and a few jump-shots out of reach. Except of course, for the Warriors. But then this off-season happened. The Lakers beefed up with AD. And Kawhi came out west. And the Warriors look like they're not rebuilding, just reloading. And despite claims of steely eyed resoluteness, somebody in the Midwest blinked. And with shipping out Paul George and this trade, its pretty clear the Thunder are going to follow the 76ers model, rolling into more than the next few drafts with so many picks they might go into rookie shock.

(is that a thing? It is now. Rookie Shock. That's mine.)   

This move also re-unites Westbrook with always exciting (re: loose cannon) James Harden in what might just be the deadliest back-court in the NBA today ...if they can figure out how to share the ball. I'm going to suggest that passing drills be a very big part of the Rockets future practices. And although not a "Big Three", because right now it appears that the current NBA salary structure incentivizes dynamic duos anyway, this pair is going to put the hurt on some folks. The way this off-season is all falling out, these veritable tectonic shifts mean the upcoming season isn't going to be a cakewalk for anyone in either conference.

Finally, here's hoping Chris Paul is taking elocution lessons. With the move to Oklahoma he's going to have to mentor Gilgeous-Alexander and ride rough with pretty much no real help over the next few seasons (if the Thunder don't trade him to Miami?). He's still a baller, but by yourself is hard. He'll be 37 when his current deal is over, ancient in basketball years. Not Vince Carter old...why is he still playing?... but up there. If CP3 is forced to stay I think that the coming seasons of frustration as he suffers the growing pains that come with a front office having a "trust the process" mindset are going to make a spot in the announcer's booth feel like a beach on tropical island. I mean, he does look good in the State Farm commercials. 

Barkeep. Whiskey, and leave the bottle. Because as the league has proved so far, just when you think it's over, it ain't over. Dammmmmnnn.

Found this on Deadspin. Talk about premature.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

50 Movies I think you should watch. Because reasons.

Ramblings Post #372
Life is strange. There should be more to this but my mind is on other things and I needed an intro. I'm trying to get my focus back to writing, to sussing out opportunity, to moving forward. I need Jesus and twenty eight million dollars. And a cool vanilla shake. 

I'm a big movie fan. I don't watch them as much as I used to, but still. Back when I had time I would indulge and get lost in what I considered good storytelling and visuals that lingered in the eye. Classics, action flicks, dramas, comedies, documentaries, musicals, it didn't matter. A good story is a good story. Movies have traditionally been a way for us to imagine together, as a community if not a country. They can be at inspiring  if not motivating. A great movie can change your whole attitude about life for a while, a bad movie can make you dream about moving to Hollywood because you KNOW that you can do better. As I said, motivating

A while back while talking to a younger fellow ranch hand I found out that she had never seen the Belushi-Ackroyd classic The Blues Brothers. I mean, a college educated grown woman of legal drinking age who has not been in coma had never seen The Blues Brothers, a film I consider a classic. I was quite frankly scared to ask about basics like Casablanca or The Godfather, lest my faith in the future of humanity be ruined. Again, I'm not asking had she seen the Bruce Willis heist comedy Hudson Hawk, I 'm talking about commonly accepted pretty damn good movies. And so I instructed her to carve out two hours and go to whichever service she subscribed to and watch it. No, I kid, I loaned her an actual physical DVD. Man, I am old. 

While she was educating herself to what good films are, I took a few moments to compile a list of films that I thought she also see. If only to broaden her horizons as to the magnificence that is modern-ish cinema. I was also amazed that when I actually gave her the list she hadn't seen many, if any, of them. 

"Deep Sigh" 

That list was about 84 movies long, which when I sat down and put serious thought about it I  was able to push out to 100. Good movies. Well mostly good movies. A lot of good movies and few movies that just need to be seen because like..damn. People need to know! But 100 is a lot of movies, and I don't want to discourage my audience from checking them out, so for this exercise I've split that list in half, with this being the first list. These aren't in any real order, this isn't the bottom half, or anything, just the fifty on this list. Maybe grouped by genre but that's it. Movies I think the next generation should all watch. Some are good, some are just horrible. But all are worth sitting through. 

Think of this as less for entertainment, although you will be entertained, and more for  education, although they won't learn much.

The 50 in this list...
Some Like it Hot
The Seven Year Itch
Westside Story
Arsenic and Old Lace
His Girl Friday
Mr. Roberts
The Producers (1967)
Singing in the Rain
My Fair Lady
A Face in the Crowd
Auntie Mame (1958)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
North by Northwest
The Glass Bottom Boat
Lawrence of Arabia
The Blues Brothers
Animal House
Blazing Saddles
The Princess Bride
Thelma & Louise
Groundhog Day
The Godfather
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Usual Suspects
Die Hard
The Untouchables
My Cousin Vinny
Coming to America
True Lies
When Harry met Sally
Sixteen Candles
Top Gun
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
A Time to Kill
A League of Their Own
The Big Lebowski
Smokey and the Bandit
The Wiz
The Fifth Element
Full Metal Jacket

Barkeep, a bourbon and sprite, house bourbon is fine. I may have to do music albums for her to listen to next. Hey man, do you know anybody who can fix an eight track player? 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

NBA Free Agency, what hath thou wrought?

Ramblings Post #371
It was on sale, so I'll admit I broke down and bought NB2K19. I mean like a sale sale. Not a Steam Level Sale, but still it was less than $20. And it's not...terrible. Or at least it isn't right now, but I'm certain they'll be turning the servers off in 12 months or so. Then we'll see. I had a few extra bucks and really should have bought myself that purple fake tiger leather jacket with the fake ostrich collar. Probably would have been a better investment.

I'm not going to say it was entertaining watching Stephen A. Smith lament his beloved Knicks have to settle for Julius Randle. I'm lying because it was entertaining, hell, it was downright funny. We all watched as the long standing NY home team disassembled itself, sending the immensely talented Porzingis sent to Dallas and giving itself tons of cap end up with Randle, Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock and Bobby Portis. No Kyrie Iriving, no Deandre Jordan, not even the gap year listed Kevin Durant. All of them are coming to New York, just not for the team Smith roots for. As he lamented, the Brooklyn Nets just got everything the Knicks fans wanted for, Free Agency.

I will give the NBA its props...the salary cap and all it's creative machinations are doing exactly what it was designed to do, keep the whole league competitive. In the age of the max and super-max contract, building a dynasty is one thing, keeping one in place for more than a few seasons is nigh impossible. Miami held sway for a moment, then Cleveland climbed to the fore, then the Warriors and now who will it be? The Sixers? The Timberwolves? The Jazz? Nobody saw Toronto before they got here, the Lakers look like they're back. And I know nobody was checking the Nets until Sunday night around 6:05pm. Wild and wooly ain't the word for it.

Between the sign-and-trade deals, restricted and unrestricted designations, the pick trading and the rest, maintaining a "Super Team" going forward is going to require another "super team" in the front office. This from a guy who actually plays the GM mode in NBA2K. The Warriors got away with holding the dynasty together for a while, but this year even they've had to spin off valuable pieces like Andre Iguodala and the aforementioned Durant. Although I understand for Durant it was a relationship thing, which is great that you have enough loot to just be able to align your path to be comfortable doing your job.

And aside from the Duke super-senior class that is the Pelicans, which despite my high hopes for Zion I so want that squad to be a bust, the whole of the NBA is in a kind of magical disarray. Which is good and bad. I've always been a team guy, as in I hope my team does great. Others are fans of individual players, as in they follow their favorite player wherever they end up. But the disarray means new combinations of stars, and new hot teams, which will create new excited fans, which all means new money. And incidentally new energy which is good for all of us too. But mostly the money. It also means the team you love might just be rebuilding this year, so suck it up. This year I think Free Agency delivered on both aspects, with teams beefing up and players securing the bag.

At least everyone can take pride that they're not the Wizards. Or the Knicks.

All this, and we still don't know where Kahwi Leonard is going yet! I'm willing to bet it's the Pacers or maybe the Nuggets. I kid. It's probably whoever can get him a good lease deal on 2004 Dodge Durango.

Barkeep. Keep it on ESPN or the NBA channel. And I'll need some paper to keep track. And I need to concentrate, so I'm not drinking. Just a beer.