The KREMLIN

1) This disintegration is light. Andrei Voznesensky knew it. Boomtown Bobby Frost knew it. We all knew it. United colors of Benetton unite! Not androids but al-droids. Sets of eagles flock. The dog is crossways-supine. Can you believe that sports figure? He’s wrong and I am righteous. Books line the walls like crackers do the pantry. And who eats those crackers? Bugs?

2) Close your eyes. Imagine the elements fleeing. Does that entice you? It does me. The car is parked just a few blocks away, but let’s focus. There’s no elements, so there’s no car. There’s no car, so there’s no stereo. There’s no stereo so there’s no music. The elements have defeated music. There’s no prison or meat. There’s no yacht club. Place thirty men at the castle gate and there will be no castle or men. Violation of elemental code results in nothingness, for codes cannot contain us like they did when we first learned of them.

3) Damn cats keep finding a way into the bedroom. Gonna hit them with a rolled up French flag. Got that flag in high school. Went there.

4) We made towns reflect the highways. It’s all gas stations and shopping centers instead of welcome centers and whorehouses. At least when there were trains, there were whorehouses with pretty good cooks. Walk thirty miles north and find the nearest train tracks and maybe sleep there for awhile, but it won’t prove anything. Matters of the heart or matters of the head or whatever, they are all solvable. Matters of the law? They’ll always evolve like so many animals.

5) Ranch dressing is delicious and I won’t sit at the table with all these bastards badmouthing it, I got half a mind t

6) My mind’s eye has cataracts. I used to see my fate stored in tupperware containers of hope but now they are all blurry running off of the counters of misdeed. Seeing as how I broke them myself I have no one to blame but myself. I got these invitations laying in front of me, so that I can plan my next meals. Finality is mostly available to those who believe anything ends. But the dreams keep spreading and running on the floor, curling the linoleum. Some of them are creamed corn. The others? Leftover stews of various fashion.

7) Mosaic, motion, moreover, moment, momentum, more, most, moratorium, mocha, mot, molehair, mole, mobile.

8) Lists scare me. Skateboarding scares the shit out of me. It really does. Look at all that motion. So fast and controlled, the wheels are barely above ground like those backyard pools. Those scare me. Phones? Check. Scary. Scars mend, fear does not. Even if you conquer a fear, it still manifests itself in pride. Fear cannot be completely destroyed. Fear matters. Look at the way the woman stares at me when she leaves her house. She’ll die with that expression on her face and she’s totally unaware of how I love her for it. I’d break into her house just see her break that face, but she’ll only stare forward, concerned with the new big move and how she is afraid of it.

9) It’s so bright in here. The blinds are all worthless since I can still see. Curtains do so much.

10) I am important. I am mended. I am a fence. I am a controlled substance. Hold me up to the lamp. I can be seen. I can be brought. I can be methodical. I can be here. Hang me from the hook. I am touched. I am moved. I am spoken of. I am patterned. Position me further from sight. I can be ridiculed. i can be shut in. I can be dark. I am opined. Distend, fraction, draw. Forward. Intrinsically, you will move as a lizard would. The manner of human near you is of no matter. Slide, slither, snarl all you want, I will be there until you discard me. I am a contained emotion, unbound, unvarnished, unified against you like those who believe you alive.

onemindatatime:

HUM, “STARS” 

120 Minutes was an amazing show. 

Hum was an amazing band. 

I’ve watched a lot performances from the show, and Hum’s is probably the loudest. 

And Matt Talbott rocking jean shorts and crew socks is the perfect compliment to the volume. 


Repeated from Facebook:

I’m not appalled by amendment one. I’m not shocked. Nor am I scared. Amendment One is the last vestige of a dying society; one of intolerance and soon-extinction. Display the last petitions, shake the final signs, and placate the thinning crowd. When we win, and it will happen, we will celebrate your failure with the grace and aplomb you refused to teach us. We will hold our LBGT brethren next to us in love and support rather than fear or messianic spite. You will envy the glory with which we celebrate. You will hate not us, but hate our brazen shows of affection toward those who stand among us and not against us. It will be our reward, forever. Pass your already benign law. We will surpass you and when we do, we will ignore your spiteful cries.


Link to WRAL’s story on the matter.

Mike Brown and the Case of the Missing Piece(s)

More and more, I’ve been noticing Mike Brown being in-game critical of Pau Gasol’s lack of emotional prowess. Twice during the LA-Boston OT game, Brown wanted a shot from an open Pau when Pau gave the ball, and a possession, away. The eternal struggle for Brown is how to use Pau, Bynum and Kobe in tandem, thus limiting the bad Kobe shots and maximizing the size advantage the Lakers still have minus Odom. 

There isn’t a perfect attack angle in basketball. The malleability of defense is too unpredictable, like in all sports. The closest the world has seen to perfection in basketball are Red Auerbach and Phil Jackson. Both used their team advantages to the best of their ability and had superior talent with which to work. Mike Brown’s superior advantage is not Kobe’s intensity, it is not having a top-five player at the end of his peak. Brown’s advantage is having two advance-skill big men playing next to a top-five player at the end of his peak. 

To hear people talk about Brown, however, he’s a reclamation coach. He’s been brought in to coach superstars with strange lineups to championships they have not won. He was LeBron’s defensive personal trainer in Cleveland. Each of those teams: fat Shaq, Varejao, Jamison, et al— they were flawed giants. This is Brown’s first head coaching experience with true big men, his first foray with a superstar that has real help. Brown has been an assistant around Tim Duncan, sure, but it wasn’t his job to maximize Duncan’s effectiveness like it is now. 

I don’t know enough about the work ethics of Bynum and Gasol to compare Brown’s time with Duncan, Shaq or anyone else. I can say Brown seems spoiled on the idea of basketball prowess having been around so many good players, including Bron, but that is conjecture. I can tell you what I see on television, read in limited articles and interviews (most Lakers articles and interviews center around Kobe) and hear from fans. The most interesting tidbits center around how his offense runs.

For an offense that uses as many isolation plays as his does, Gasol/Bynum should be able to get position and play one-on-one ball or catch passes out of a lot of double teams. Pau should be shooting a lot more than he does. Right now, he’s around 14 shots per game, making 7. Thats second-most on the Lakers in both categories, a full 10 shots behind Kobe. The limited range for a player like Bynum means he can really only post and set picks, but that should be enough at his skill level. What can Mike Brown do to optimize his bigs? Well, he can get them the ball more. Seems it is as simple as getting the ball out of Kobe’s hands. The problem with Brown’s offense is his love of starting his offense from his best player, according to the eye test.

Then why is Pau passing up open shot opportunities? The need area for the Lakers right now depends entirely on ball movement. Bynum needs the ball in one-on-one situations, and as Hubie Brown blithely stated in a recent game, “he needs to get into his move quicker.” A lot of that is mental, sure, but some of it is getting the ball to the the two big men quickly, efficiently and allowing them one-on-one matchups. The worse a team is at moving the ball, the more you isolate and the more you lose the talents of a big man. 

The Knicks, the Lakers and the Kings were the top three isolating teams in the league for two reasons. They don’t have good point guards (or in the Knicks case they might have a good point guard). The Knicks troubles are well-documented, The Kings have lots of hybrid guards who can score but aren’t great passers and the Lakers have Derek Fisher and Steve Blake who are getting decimated. When the primary ballhandler is unable to start the offense, the best player on the floor (Kobe, Melo, um, Evans/Cousins?) is forced to handle the ball more and create plays. Essentially, Mike Brown has to ask Kobe to impact every play. That means more shots for Kobe. It’s not all that selfish, it’s just his nature. When a good scoring player handles the ball, he likely expects to score. Kobe creates, the others have to figure out where to be in case he cannot. 

Bynum can’t camp out in the lane, Pau can’t stay in his favorite areas (since Kobe requires space and you don’t want to carry defenders to the ball). In the Lakers-Celtics game (and somewhat in the Knicks game), Pau and Bynum stayed low to decimate the smaller team with offensive boards. The Celtics are a poor rebounding team, so it made sense to use the Kobe isos and crash the boards. Still, 87 points in an overtime game is not exactly astounding, even in a win. They need a facilitator, and they need one fast.

So, then, how does Brown deal with the lack of a facilitator? In Cleveland, like in LA, the point guard wasn’t competent. Eric Snow, Damon Jones, Daniel Gibson, Sebastian Telfair, Delonte West, Mo Williams— a rogues gallery of inefficient passers. West might be the best passer in the group. In fact, Mo Williams was brought in specifically for his scoring prowess. Add Fisher and Blake to the mix and you see Mike Brown’s dilemma. The primary ballhandler in each of his offenses has been a subpar version of what any offense needs. 

It’s easy to pinpoint Brown’s lack of offensive coaching ability and pin it all on isos. He’s coached two of the best one-on-one players in recent basketball history, has only now gotten a real tandem of big men, and has never coached a competent point guard. I’m starting to understand why he’s so stuck on isolation. If Gasol is going to pass up shots and it is a Bynum and Kobe show? I’m not entirely sure Brown isn’t pulling the right strings. He isn’t maximizing his players, he’s maximizing his possessions. That might be the wrong way to go about coaching offense, but until he gets a real facilitator, it won’t matter. Brown’s offense doesn’t have a chance to be good in the first place.

On Lin

I don’t remember which twitter account it was, but there was someone who noticed what I noticed. This kid out of Harvard was playing in the NBA Summer League and was trying to actually run an offense. The earmark of summer league are the fantastical, terrible shots players take to impress scouts against the lack of defensive hubris. Yet, this kid was instigating pick-and-rolls, making good entry passes, and getting to the rack with purpose rather than just wildly flailing. 

In that same Summer League, though I can’t recall if it was the same year, Anthony Morrow emerged from Georgia Tech to drop 55 in a game. He’s currently under a fairly sizable contract with the New Jersey Nets. He is the standard bearer of a now-defunct idea. During the time Morrow emerged with the Warriors and Nets, Jeremy Lin bounced around the league— from Dallas’ invite to Summer League to Golden State, Houston and New York— on non-guaranteed contracts and garbage time. He was a crowd favorite in Golden State but was buried beneath big contracts and prolific scorers. He never really had a shot in Dallas since they had Kidd, Terry, Beaubois, and Barea on a championship-level team. Houston’s asset-collecting buried him behind trade-chips and high-lottery aspirations for the playoffs. Lin’s future was grim due to the exact reason the NBA is so great right now. The abundance of talent meant nearly everyone had pieces they liked (or higher-paid players that needed time to develop).

Even the Knicks, as has been well-publicized, were about to pass on Lin. He got a shot at PG due to the Carmelo trade, the Billups amnesty, the Baron injury, Bibby’s decline, Toney Douglas’ lack of skill, Shumpert’s struggles and a desperation for production once Stoudemire and Melo were both out of the lineup. The Knicks deserve the bare minimum of credit for playing Lin in the first place, but a wealth of credit for not being shortsighted enough cut him. In fact, I wrote this on a friend’s facebook wall yesterday before the Lakers onslaught:

 The Knicks are an absolutely special case with maximum amounts of freedom for a guard like Lin (excellent in the pick and roll, able to get to the rack). Yes, a lot of teams should have been calling, but he would have floundered for longer and maybe gone from the league if he had come up with the Mavs, stayed in GS or even ended up in Sacramento or a comparably terrible team.

D’Antoni’s system, so widely regaled under Nash and so harshly criticized under the dearth of PGs since, gives Lin the chance to use his abilities rather than languor under the idea of a real set offense. D’Antoni trusts his system to a fault. That requires him to trust his players on the court to an even bigger fault. It could have marked his downfall in New York, but if Lin continues to play well, it could be the beginning of meted success. Carmelo’s ball-stopping and necessity to play a muted version of the point negated D’Antoni’s trust in movement and judgement. Now, with a scoring point guard, his system can be safely judged again. Lin is hungry, young, fast, smart and knows the foundation of D’Antoni basketball is decision-making in the pick-and-roll combined with hitting open shots. In short, he knows his role.

Focusing ahead, his role shouldn’t change. Sure, with Melo and Amar’e back, he’ll handle the ball less. In return, Melo won’t have to force nearly as much, right? And if people collapse on Stoudemire, Lin can score. His scoring numbers might decline, but theoretically his assists should increase and his turnovers should decline. In this short and glorious four-game stretch, Lin has shown an absolute: he makes good decisions when they are there to be made. Last night the Lakers began sagging off of the Knicks’ “bigs” (read: Jared Jeffries’ baseline slouch and Tyson Chandler) to clog the lane. Lin responded by giving the ball up early, turning it over or dribbling out of early, failed pick-and-rolls to start a new play. He spaced well and hit stand-still jumpers without the ball. Most importantly: he kept his dribble alive. He can handle, something Shumpert can do in spurts, something Douglas and Bibby can’t do and something Baron Davis is not doing in a suit and tie. 

How much does something so simple as “keeping the dribble alive” matter? It matters a lot more when the cast of characters around Lin is this poor. His main option, Tyson Chandler, has never been an offensive player. Steve Novak is a spot-up shooter only. Landry Fields has struggled mightily with his jumper this season (and some of last season too). Shumpert is playing nominally better as a 2 (pointed out by Zach Lowe), but still isn’t much of an option for a team in need of points. Bill Walker is an asset or ally on any given play. The Knicks’ PG freedom allows Lin to attack the basket at will— something for which the Lakers, Jazz, Wizards, and Nets’ various talents and windfalls have had no answer.

There will be answers, though. The league will make adjustments. The question now: what happens when Baron Davis is “ready?” The puns are rolling in droves. Sportscenter can’t trip over itself enough talking about him. Stat-oriented writers are trying to figure it all out. And the common fan is drinking it all in. Some are questioning him in the long-term, some are loving the short-term, but the question remains. Who runs the point when Baron comes back? 

This is where the abundance strikes again. I’m not saying Lin will be buried in New York, but he could easily lose minutes if Baron flashes some game. If Lin is a product of necessity, what happens when the necessity shrinks? Lin’s not as expendable as he was last week, but is he beholden to his pattern as of late? When his numbers decline (as all numbers do over time), will he fade into the background like so many other quick-hit phenoms? In New York during D’Antoni’s tenure, there’s been last year’s insistence that the Knicks keep Landry Fields in a trade where they lost Danilo Galinari, Chris Duhon (who set the record for number of assists in an MSG game once… seriously, I was there), Nate Robinson, and a multitude of other MSG favorites with little to no staying power. Being a crowd favorite does not a contract make.

Lin feels different from those other names. Those who recognized it in Summer League, those who knew it at Harvard, those (like me) who loved him in Golden State, those who lost him on the back-ends of rosters and D-League starts, those who corralled him back when they saw the short-term contract in New York, those who are just now hearing about him after his 38-point run last night, we’re all here because his game is so functionally endearing, he’s helping a suffering franchise in need, and he’s interesting. He’s Taiwanese-American, a little small, skinny, an underdog, but most of all, he feels different because he might actually be good. He’s not a trade piece like Galinari, a freak of nature like Nate Robinson, overhyped like Fields (well, he might be). Lin is a product of a surplus and a defecit. He’s right-now brilliance on a shaky foundation.

All that said, his game can supersede the hype surfeit. All the obstacles ahead— Melo is a ballhog, Baron is coming, the inevitable decline from this star-struck run, the system he resides in— show exactly why Lin can succeed. These aren’t beginner questions, they are veteran status questions. He’s surfaced from nothingness exhibiting the strength most players work for years to attain. On the same week LaMarcus Aldridge finally got his All-Star nod, Lin has entirely overshadowed him. In the same calendar year that the biggest Summer League success story to date (the aforementioned Morrow) signed his deal, Lin has become the talking point. Part of that is his background, the teams he’s faced, and who has rejected him. Part of that is the over-saturated media market. The biggest part, though, is Lin’s game; his controlled chaos in the face of overwhelming talent in front and behind him. Now, he gets to finally explore the talent around him. I can’t wait to watch him get comfortable in his new role.

This thing is going away,

because I don’t use it and I don’t wanna pay for it.

Don Cab Ruled.

NEW SCRATCHING BOX.

NEW SCRATCHING BOX.

Worst song ever? 

Every time I hear about how Prince is a genius, I remember this song as definitive proof that, while I like him, he made some grievous errors in his career. Forgivable for the most part, but in this case? I think not.

Prince is an anomaly for me. I love the hits, can get with the lesser jamz, but abhor him at his worst. He is truly polarizing. I can’t really say that about most of the elder rockers. I either love them or hate them, but with Prince I am walking the tightrope between no thanks forever and PLAY ALL THE THINGS.