May 30th, 2006

Swade By the Sublime

Dwyane Wade is really, really good. And he's getting better. He's scoring like MJ did in the playoffs, but with a higher shooting percentage. More importantly, he makes baskets when his team needs them most.

I know, as the statheads out there will surely point out, that every basket is equally important. Nor would I want to dispute that. But basketball is a game where the willingness to shoot when the pressure is on -- dare I say "in the clutch"? -- is important in ways that can't really be quantified in a box score.

I've watched countless basketball games where, as the game winds down, players freeze up. Someone has to be willing to take shots in those situations. Even if they aren't high-percentage ones, there's always the chance of getting fouled, especially in traffic. This is one reason why basketball doesn't work the way baseball does from a statistical standpoint. Jordan was famous for taking and frequently making those sorts of shots. Of the NBA's younger stars, Wade, Lebron James, and Carmelo Anthony have already developed reputations for doing the same.

Because Wade is on the best team of those three by far, he gets an unfair advantage in comparisons between them. James is probably a better all-around player, though not by a huge margin. And Anthony, who trails the other two in most respects, may be better than he seems. Having said that, though, it's hard not to sit back and marvel at how well Wade is playing right now.

Tonight's circus shot, which happened, not because of an ill-advised desire to show off, but because Wade was nearly upended by a hard foul on his drive to the hoop, was so spectacular that the network television cameras missed it the first time. The lead cameraman clearly didn't anticipate anyone making that shot. Luckily, though, it was captured from other angles. This still-camera shot missed the hoop as well, but it does a great job of showing how remarkable the play was:

I've seen some amazing shots over the years, but this one has to rank near the top of the list. The body control Wade displayed was phenomenal. It's one thing to do what MJ did on the famous switching-hands-in-midair drive against Magic's Lakers. It's another to make a similarly acrobatic play after a collison that seems destined to send you tumbling down onto your head. Besides, I like this shot because it's a superhuman version of my signature move, when I cut across the lane and spin the ball off the backboard with table-tennis English while floating over the baseline.
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Unpacking the Packing List

Back when I first moved in with my present partner, I made an effort to organize my possessions. It failed, ultimately, as anyone who ever saw my "office" off our 617 Napa Street kitchen after, say, 1994 could tell you. But I did manage to create file folders that I'm still using to this day. I was also able to catalogue most of the books that I consigned to our storage space. Here are the notes I made for the enigmatically named "Box 3," completed on 2/19/92. Like most of my boxes of books at that point in my life, it was probably a Black Mountain Water box inherited from Annalee, who used to have bottles delivered to her apartment. Those were the days. I should also add that I was making no effort back then to group books according to author, period, or content. I merely tried to squeeze as many books as possible into each box, necessitating a wide range of shapes and sizes. Without further ado, then, I present this archival document of my archival impulse. Wait. You object? This bores you silly. Sorry, friend. May I humbly suggest, though, that you read my "About De File" sidebar -- you'll have to scroll down a ways -- on the right of my LJ layout. Anyway:
FAINT WHITE SPRAY-PAINT

1) Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures
2) Art Nouveau: Prints, Illustrations, and Posters
3) Georgia O'Keefe: Arts and Letters
4) George Nakashima, The Soul of a Tree: A Woodworker's Reflections
5) Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare (Pelican)
6) The Taming of the Shrew, "" ("")
7) Antony and Cleopatra, "" ("")
8) The Winter's Tale, "" (Folger Library)
9) The Tempest, "" ("")
10) Macbeth, "" (Signet)
11) King Lear, "" (Signet)
12) Kenneth Burke, Towards a Better Life (novel)
13) Libido (sexuality journal, Winter 1990)
14) Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub
15) Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (Oxford)
16) Lessing, Nathan der Weise
17) A Guide to Old English, Bruce Mitchell + Fred C. Robinson
18) Word-Hoard, Stephen A. Barney
19) The Phantom Ship, Captain Marryat (Flying Dutchman tale)
20) James Fennimore Cooper, The Red Rover
21) Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
22) Ovid, The Art of Love
23) Edmund Spenser, The Fairie Queen (Longman Annotated English Poets)
24) St. John's College Catalogue, 1984-85
25) Figures of Speech: American Writers and the Literary Marketplace, from Benjamin Franklin to Emily Dickinson, R. Jackson Wilson
26) Joy of Cooking (paperback edition, water-damaged)
27) Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
28) Heine (Heinrich - poems and prose in an old 'Fraktur' edition)
29) Nathaniel Hawthorne, Selected Tales and Sketches
30) The Folksinger's Guitar Guide
31) James Joyce, Dubliners
32) Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life...
33) Measure for Measure, Shakespeare (Pelican)
34) Troilus and Cressida, "" (Signet)
35) A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas (blue envelope)
36) The Book of Mormon
37) German quarterly on 'Geschichtswissenschaft' from 1899
38) Dissertation on Goethe's Faust, 1920
39) Herman Melville, Moby Dick (Signet)
40) Frantz Fanon, A Dying Colonialism
41) Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals
I wish I could say that my book-buying tendencies have become more orderly over the years. Or at least I wish I could say that I wish that and mean it. But the truth is that I still buy all manner of strange titles in used bookstores, library discard sales, and thrift stores. The only difference is that I now lack the time and opportunities to pursue this quixotic quest with the cocido-loving zeal that I once did. Did I mention that I'm sorting through old computer files of late in search of rich chocolatey goodness?

Accountable To the Present, Recounting the Past

Just so you don't think I've snagged my stone-wash denim cargo pants on a submerged branch in the course of all this diving into my trove with its treasures untold, let me state, for the record, that I'm finding the latest Built To Spill album You in Reverse -- you can get a taste of it here -- perfect for my spätfrühling mood. I've liked the band since the early 1990s, but have never been a huge follower. For some reason, though, I'm suddenly smitten with the sprawling post-hippy guitar landscapes that Doug Martsch and his collaborators conjure. I mean, I know what the record's Pitchfork reviewer was getting at, but I'm apparently in a frame of mind that makes neo-Neil Young rambles sound like the second coming of the Danny Whitten-era Crazy Horse. Maybe it's all that time I'm spending underwater. Maybe it's that aquarium I drank the other day.