Wood Don't Bother Me

Here's a track, and accompanying fantasy-vid, from Wayman Tisdale's posthumous The Fonk Record. George Clinton and George Duke are involved. Thanks to Catchdubs for the tip.

I don't have the energy today for a real post, so instead, I'm going to read through the headlines and make a couple of jokes about each one. Also, I want to get back to reading Mark Jacobson's The Lampshade, which might be the best book I've ever read. You should buy it and leave me along for the weekend. Just don't bring it to the gym with the dust jacket on. It's kind of like a personal version of when a certain "history of an racial slur" book came out, and the country learned that you're never as alone as you think on the subway.

-Tony Parker is staying in San Antonio. Have they even played yet this season? It must have gone really, really well. $50 million for 4 years. Royce Young observes that Parker isn't as old as people think; is entering his prime; and might not be as injury-prone as we've come to believe. I don't even know what "injury-prone" means anymore. One appendage? A mental deficiency? Just a badly-made body that nevertheless, was high-test enough to make the NBA? God is weird. I'm just happy that we can stop talking about Parker to the Knicks. Call me crazy, but I believe more in Felton as a distributor, at least in an up-tempo team or off athletic bigs, than I do Parker. Part of my respect for Duncan, Manu, and yes, Hill, stems from the limitations of Tony Parker. His playmaking has always been wanting, although it's improved; he's got no range on his shot; and yeah, he plays off of guys with a far more intuitive grasp of the flow of a possession. How is he so much better than what Russell Westbrook was before he started to get his brains squashed into one single skull?

-From Ken Berger: When the Magic were eliminated by the Celtics last summer, Dwight Howard wrote up a list of perimeter creators he wanted and stuck it out there for all the world to see. What a great guy. This comes out (or back, I don't remember it) in a Berger piece about ... last night's drubbing. The question we're left with is, naturally, what's Howard thinking now? Vince Carter, who was supposed to be that perimeter threat last year, and presumably still now, called the loss to Miami "a wakeup call". The subtext here is whether or not it's fair to consider Vince relevant anymore, and with that, whether he's wiling to call himself irrelevant, take a back seat in anticipation of another scorer arriving. Players do that once the new kid's in town. But before? Ouch. Oh, and I initially thought ""It felt like the entire team landed on the back of my head" was about the pressure of the team's situation; it's really about his injury that everyone laughed at.

Note: I misread that first VC quote this morning -- both when it came, and what it referred. But that only mollifies the situation slightly. Thanks to Tray for pointing it out.

-The Sixers intrigue me. They have a critical mass of useful, encouraging, or RIGHT NOW pieces, at near-every position. But -- questions of rotation aside -- they inspire little confidence. It's not that the team is crowded and tense like steerage. I also have probably not adequately considered the Doug Collins Problem. But can it really be that things are so bad that Iggy wants out (no -- Broussard says everyone botched his original report)? Do they really badly need some sort of #1 to lead the way, be a little selfish, etc.? Can they be franchised by the Rockets management?

-The Warriors, unless Curry is dead this morning, somehow have more personality than in the Last Days of Nellie, while playing much more coherent ball. Guys like Biedrins and Wright seem to have spent the summer getting better just to make Nelson look bad. Monta is now one of the most totally kosher, and digestible, redemption narratives I've ever seen -- NO SACRIFICE. Talk to Eric Freeman sometime about his complicated feelings on Josh Hamilton, then I'll give you my really insensitive counterpoint. Anyway, to sum up the entire team with a tweet I delivered last night, WE ARE THE DORELL WRIGHT WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR. Now if only my stupid fantasy league hadn't already snatched up the whole GSW roster in the draft.

-Blake Griffin mortal, Clippers demoted. I need to make some time to watch Cousins, once Evans is back. Evan Turner really surprised me against Miami.

Here is a song that is so perfect that it's perfect for any occasion. You could use it at a wedding or a funeral:

It's like every single thing I love about The Band, plus Memphis soul, and I never get tired of it. I wonder how many movies it's been in. It should showed up on This American Life, which probably happens more often than I think. Happy Halloween!

-Stray thought: After reading Kevin Blackistone's column on LeBron's ad, which connects that nagging final line with Muhammad Ali, I'm more confused than ever. Before I read that, I'd decided that "should I be what you want me to be" just didn't match up with every prospective response to "what should I do"? If it's a recasting of the question, then it's a punchline that negates much of the introspection, and willingness to put himself under the microscope, that came before. That Ali reference would seem to support that turn. But it's a Muhammad Ali quote. As KB points out, it's wholly inappropriate; if LBJ did change the world, it was only for very elite athletes.

The real effect, though, is just that of utter, icon-laden, obfuscation. A brilliant ad is ending, needs a flourish ... how about MUHAMMAD ALI!??!? You can't argue with that. Or fail to be moved by it, once you get it. Evoking (invoking?) Ali suspends all discourse. It's vague enough -- or more precisely, disjunctive enough -- that we're left with nothing there but FUCK YEAH SHIT IS DEEP LIKE ALI. Either it's a distinctly Nike-ish (think "Revolution") use of truly important cultural matter to signify, well, something important and deeply cultural by association, one that deflects any conclusion and leaves the ending vague and impressionistic. Or it's just crass. Either way, that last line drifts further and further away from the rest of the ad. They should just re-cut it without that final sentence. Just the shot of him gliding.

That was a lot of yelling. I'm going to read. I don't know why I waited so long to check out Lew Kirton, but here's a good song by him.

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At 10/31/2010 12:08 AM, Blogger Tom Deal said...

shoals you should do posts like this on fdarko more often. as a reader since 06 this quick hits of deep cuts is awesome.

At 10/31/2010 1:22 AM, Blogger tray said...

On the Sixers, we really don't have a critical mass of useful and encouraging pieces. We have four. Iguodala is obviously super-useful (and super-disinterested in/incapable of being a #1 guy). Holiday's useful. Turner's good and apparently actually kind of interesting too. Williams would be a useful sixth man if we were any good. And I guess Brand's useful but it feels like he's not because he used to be Elton Brand and now he's just this termite artist of pretty good rebounding and Corliss Williamsonesque interior scoring. After that, Thad and Speights are strictly one-way bench players who can score in spurts, do virtually nothing else, and cost you ballgames more often than not. Hawes is garbage.

Nitpick: Vince didn't say that the list was a wakeup call for him. He said the loss was. They just happen to be next to each other in the article. But more interestingly, what about this Howard ad where he tells us he's not our friend just because we follow him on Twitter? However essential it may be for him to move his image away from ultimately frivolous purveyor of on and off-court jollity, is this No More Mr. Nice Guy act credible? Is it potentially counterproductive? Or is there really a new angry Howard rising?

At 10/31/2010 3:35 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Thanks for pointing out that. Changes made. Thought this might even make the whole thing more depressing.

No love for Lou Williams? Oh wait, we've been over this before.

At 10/31/2010 12:53 PM, Blogger Tom Deal said...

there was an interesting post on... some sixers blog i can't remember that compared aaron brooks and lou williams. while i personally believe brooks to be the better player (STATS DONT COUNT CLUTCH) lou has the edge in nearly every major statistical category and many of the advanced ones. and supposedly his d is better.

i think you underestimate many of those guys tray, there's hella intrigue and talent on that roster, they just need to be properly motivated/organized. dcollins is likely not the man for the job.

At 10/31/2010 11:51 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I wonder, team, what Collins and the Sixers actually portends. I'm not clear as to the impetus behind the hire except the whole "Collins is a basketball lifer and has a good grasp of Xs and Os" meme. It all strikes me as kinda similar to the NBA draft after the studs have been picked over and you're left with "best available". Which isn't even to say Collins was the best available, only that the best coaches are/were already with really good teams or were otherwise occupied.

How do people not named Phil Jax, Van Gundy, Brown et al motivate discombobulated athletic millionaires?

Agree, too, this quick-hitting format is cool once in a while.

At 11/01/2010 3:02 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Having watched the LeBron ad on TV now, I think the last line is actually, "Should I be who you want me to be?"

I'm still pondering whether I think who vs. what makes any difference.

I found the Blackistone article somewhat unconvincing.

There's no evidence of direct quotation or even reference. It's not like it's such an uncommon sentiment that a connection is a necessary conclusion.

I also had a couple of problems with the assertion that Ali's statement was revolutionary, whereas LeBron's was banal commercialism. When Ali made his statement, it had significant symbolic value for a portion of the population. It's become a part of the Ali mythology over 40 years, and it's a piece of the larger story of the evolution of American society, particularly race relations and black self-perception, among other things. But at the time it was made, I think "revolutionary" is an overstatement. And it's a particular kind of overstatement: one that's made about things that happened in the 60s that did, over decades, contribute to re-shaping society, but that weren't immediately transformative and that don't provide a model for current "revolutionary" actions or statements because the circumstances and context have changed. So, I think Blackistone is mischaracterizing the (immediate) effect of Ali's statement and creating an unrealistic standard of judgment for the actions of others.

Finally, the argument that LeBron's actions amounted to nothing more than a revolution for the wealthy is both factually incomplete and premature. What he (and Wade and Bosh) did also freed up money for Haslem and Miller, two "middle class" players. LBJ got a job for Ilgauskas; I can't remember at this point whether other teams were making him offers. It seems to me somewhat overlooked that, if this is a new model, it's one that includes superstars finding a way to play with the people they want to play with, which necessarily means creating opportunities for non-star players. Will that also increase the negotiating power and freedom for those players? Too soon to say. Too soon to say what LeBron hath wrought. But, you know, articles need to be written ...

I probably need to stop this kind of stuff before I turn myself into an unthinking LBJ defender.

At 11/04/2010 3:02 AM, Blogger Tom Deal said...


perhaps the thought is that collins has brewed and stewed over being out of the league, and will come not only with the lifer-dom and the x/o's but also some nifty new insights and maybe a thoughtfulness like phil/red/popovich/riley/other greats. i note that championship coaches are often described as contemplative, and the ones with strong introspective streaks tend to be better. but perhaps there's a selection bias.

there's also always the hope that you'll just HIT on the right combo of coaches/players. or that your coach will be improved by the players you have in whatever way. there is something of a seeming serendipity (at least that's the way i interpret what GM's/owners are seeing, I think they see it as serendipitous) in how coaching either works out or don't. somebody like collins could just work. the sixers, having no real prospects (or simply being lazy/interest in taking a risk) decided to just try something out.

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