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469936 Posts in 17395 Topics by 2897 Members - Latest Member: tiancheng7w September 01, 2014, 04:33:12 PM
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51  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 17, 2014, 12:56:20 PM
I don't think McHale is a bad coach; I just think that Harden is (like you said) all about the stats, and Howard isn't the type of guy who can be a leader. Personally, I think it says a lot when Chris Bosh declined to play there.

True, especially when you consider that Bosh is a Texan. He would have been a perfect fit, basketball-wise, an underrated defender who covers a lot of ground, a very good shooter inside of 3 (and not bad from 3), a much-improved leader since his time with the Raptors. But he stayed in what is almost definitely a worse situation, basketball-wise. Of course he also got paid...

It's their backcourt I worry about the most: one guy can't score, one guy won't defend.
52  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 17, 2014, 11:28:25 AM
Houston seems likely to regress, and while I know people like to mock McHale as a coach, I think the issue is more in the front office. Daryl Morey didn't do McHale any favors this offseason.

The Rockets lost Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, and Chandler Parsons. That's 30-something points, 17 rebounds or so, more than 8 assists ... and that's just stats, which are obviously misleading (because a player's stats aren't just tied to that player, but to the role itself--for example, a 10 ppg scorer sent to a worse team and put into a feature role may become a 20 ppg scorer without improving at all). On the non-stat issue, you've got one of your three good defenders--Asik--gone, leaving you with only about two decent defenders (Howard and Beverly) among returnees. You've lost your only legitimate offensive point guard in Lin. And Parson truly was a do-it-all, hitting 3s, creating for others, something of a mismatch for everyone.

In return, the major additions are Trevor Ariza and draftees Clint Capela and Nick Johnson. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Ariza's great season--especially late season--were a contract year aberration. Call me a skeptic but after a few decades watching the NBA, one can see these things coming. He's a fine player, but he's an inconsistent role player in his 30s, so his athleticism will decline and hurt his defensive abilities. So you're paying an aging guy 2/3 of what you could have paid your early 20s model... great idera.

Capela is miles away from contributing from what I can see.

Johnson has moxie and some nice athleticism, but he has "reserve" written all over him, in no small part because he's a 6-2 or so off guard. Hopefully for him, the presence of ball-dominant, playmaking Harden will make that less of a problem, allowing him to work more off the ball and try to defend PGs.

But really, Harden is a matador defender (at best) and a stat-chaser. He hasn't always been, but it has gotten ugly in Houston. I had a lot of good will toward him from high school through OKC, but it's mostly gone. (Kind of like my feelings for Kevin Love, actually.) He's not the little [player] I once knew, ooh oooh oooh oooh.

So this team that is supposed to be built off of ball movement and the 3-point shot might struggle, as they have gotten worse in the shooting department, worse in the passing department (meaning it is harder to locate and get the ball to shooters), possibly questionable in the chemistry department, and worse in the defensive department, meaning it will be harder for them to get out and run.

53  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: has anyone made a map of smiley smile members? on: August 17, 2014, 09:30:33 AM
Well, as my board name suggests, I live in the heart of the USA. There's one dot.

And if KC is the heart, I guess my combined knowledge of anatomy and geography puts me in the brain of the USA.

Minneapolis.
54  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 17, 2014, 06:35:16 AM
I wasn't thrilled by Team USA's performance last night, but I understand it must be a tough position to be in: first game against organized competition and--after training camp--suddenly no Paul George or, more importantly, Kevin Durant, who was intended to be the featured offensive player. They added Rudy Gay.

Anyway, they looked somewhat disjointed. Only 16 assists on 32 field goals, with James Harden in particular making a lot of what struck me as selfish plays, steamrolling toward the hoops come hell or high water. That said, he also had a team-high 5 assists, and he did get to the FT line 11 times (and hit all 11). So it isn't that he wasn't valuable.

Anthony Davis of the Pelicans was spectacular. He has to be one of the 10 best players in the world. Didn't take long--what, is he going into his third NBA season? Amazing. 21 years old.

Brazil had a lot of talent: NBA players Nene of Washington, Anderson Varejao of Cleveland, Tiago Splitter of San Antonio, Leandro Barbosa of Phoenix (free agent now); former NBA players Alex Garcia of San Antonio and New Orleans and Marcus Vincius of New Orleans; and potential future NBA players Raul Neto (rights held by Utah) and Marcelos Huertas, who is an older free agent but is quite good. So that's roughly eight guys with NBA connections or serious aspirations--no pushovers. But their guards especially really struggled as they tried to defend the U.S. guards, and honestly they had a hard time with U.S. pressure, too.

But while the Americans forced 16 turnovers, they committed 20, not because of Brazilian pressure so much as sloppy play in efforts to "hit home runs." I expect the U.S. team to play more fundamentally and seriously as the games start counting, saving the Globetrotters schtick for blowouts.

Up next is a game in New York against the Dominican Republic, which while obviously not a world power ranked at 26 by FIBA, is actually a program on the rise. They are coached by former Pitt star and longtime John Calipari assistant (Memphis and Kentucky) before taking the South Florida job this past March. Antigua has done a nice job getting Americans with Dominican ties--not uncommon in New York, for example--onto the roster. Among them are NBA vet Francisco Garcia, former Pitt guard Ronald Ramon, former Kentucky center/forward Elroy Vargas, St. John's forward Orlando Sanchez, and incoming freshman star center-forward Karl Towns Jr. This isn't anything near as talented as the US--or even as Brazil, for example--but it's a very much improved roster than what the Dominicans have had in the past. (It should also be a boon to Sanchez in recruiting, giving him ties to young players of Dominican descent in the U16s, U17s, U18s, etc., helping him build relationships and bring guys to South Florida.)

Then there are two more friendlies before the real games start. I think the two remaining exhibitions after the Dominicans are Finland and Slovenia.
55  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 16, 2014, 06:33:33 PM
Team USA v Brazil in an exhibition in Chicago to warm up for the Worlds. Lot of nba guys for Brazil, but not really a coherent or fluid team.
56  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: The return of the \ on: August 15, 2014, 03:26:30 PM
Mellow Doors bootleg from December 22nd 1967 in Los Angeles:



Includes covers of Patti Smith and the Stones, and some blues/soul.

Covers of Patti Smith almost a decade before she started releasing music? Maybe just a cover of Gloria, the Van Morrison song the Doors and Patti Smith both did?
57  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 15, 2014, 05:39:51 AM
Ha! It's almost true, too...
58  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: My Very First Beach Boys Release on: August 14, 2014, 04:28:04 PM
My first Beach Boys albums weren't cassette, and I didn't have either of those. But I relate in that I, too, grew up in the era of the cassette. What that meant to me was that I related my parents' copy (or an aunt's, possibly, somehow migrated to our house over time) of the vinyl Endless Summer was understood (by me...god, I hate passive voice) in the context of Sunkist and David Lee Roth, the latter of which was really what I was most interested in--by far. Being tremendously cool as I hit my teens, and thus not remotely interested in that cheesy Sunkist crap, much less "Kokomo" (though I liked the Fat Boys and thus "Wipeout"), it took me another decade or so to get into the Beach Boys in any kind of serious way. Eventually, somewhere in my mid-college years, I was shocked to read that this Beach Boy was apparently some sort of genius and that this Pet Sounds album was not only good, but [what the f***?] great. Bought it, listened to it, absorbed it, yadda yadda yadda*, wrote this post.

Maybe it's too bad I didn't have that comp with H&V. Might've converted me earlier. On the other hand, I was busy proclaiming the glories of Whitesnake and such at the time.
59  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 14, 2014, 03:36:18 PM
I like football but my attention has really waned in recent years. Honestly, while I seem uber-geeky about basketball, I'm probably at about 35% geekiness in comparison to my prime. Football was never quite the same for me, but has taken a similarly or greater dive. Basketball, I'll watch anybody. Football, it's just Vikings, Gophers, and sometimes Notre Dame.

The Gophers are going to be fun this year. The schedule is really tough (rated something like 22nd most difficult in the nation), but the talent is really getting better and it seems like a program you can begin to depend on. Coach Kill's predecessor, Tim Brewster, was just a huckster. Horrible. Some decent recruiting, though a lot of the best guys didn't ever get eligible or were kicked out of the program and/or school. Kill keeps pulling in under-the-radar-to-decent recruits, but they improve. That's a huge key to college football, especially in a program that isn't going to ever attract large numbers of true blue-chippers: coaching kids up. Glen Mason (Gophers coach in the late 90s to the mid-00s) was pretty good about it, too. Brewster was just the worse. And it didn't help that we had new coordinators every single year. Adam Weber, a former QB, had five different offensive coordinators in his five years, if I'm not mistaken. Just pathetic. Coach Kill is doing a great job.




 The Gophers host Ohio State 11/15/14.

And sadly, that is not likely to be a good example of the Gophers' improvement: our talent can't come close to the Buckeyes. Home game or not, I'm sure we'll lose by double-digits. And quite possibly by 20+.
60  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 13, 2014, 05:29:53 PM
I think I probably agree with all of that, except the part about his competence: there were hearings that included that and he was indeed ruled incompetent. I think the point there wasn't whether he was responsible for racist remarks, but rather that by being mentally incompetent, he was no longer capable of running the team and thus his wife had control (and was able to sell).

Thanks for the clarification on that. But I also wonder how/why that ruling didn't carry over as to whether he could LEGALLY be responsible for saying the things he said - which ultimately were used against him.

I don't think there is any "legally responsible for what he said" involved. There is no responsibility to be proved or disproved, as that wasn't what caused the team's sale. Basically, this is what I understand as having happened:

1. Sterling's prostitute (sorry, but seriously...) releases racist remarks.
2. Media, league, world go nuts and want him to sell. League makes its somewhat questionable (legally) fines and orders him to sell.
3. He won't sell.
4. Hugely embarrassed (for so, so many reasons by this time...) wife hopes he may decide to sell and talks to potential buyer, Steve Ballmer.
5. Ballmer agrees to buy an insane $2 billion ... but Sterling won't cede.
6. Wife thinks she knows how to make him sell and get out of controversy: mental stability clause of ownership agreement.
7. While furor over racist remarks goes on, the wholly separate process about his mental stability (and thus legal right to prevent sale of team) continues.
8. He is ruled mentally unstable, and thus not competent to block sale of team.

In other words, from a purely legal/procedural standpoint, the racist remarks aren't why he sold the team. His court-proven mental incompetence--admittedly tested in the first place because of the remarks, but with those remarks otherwise irrelevant in this context--is why he had to let his wife sell the team.
61  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 13, 2014, 04:30:51 PM
I think I probably agree with all of that, except the part about his competence: there were hearings that included that and he was indeed ruled incompetent. I think the point there wasn't whether he was responsible for racist remarks, but rather that by being mentally incompetent, he was no longer capable of running the team and thus his wife had control (and was able to sell).

But as both of you said, the world--or at least anyone paying attention--knew who and what Sterling was for years. Decades. The remarks in 2014 were not shocking. The reaction was what was shocking.
62  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 13, 2014, 03:41:31 PM
I like football but my attention has really waned in recent years. Honestly, while I seem uber-geeky about basketball, I'm probably at about 35% geekiness in comparison to my prime. Football was never quite the same for me, but has taken a similarly or greater dive. Basketball, I'll watch anybody. Football, it's just Vikings, Gophers, and sometimes Notre Dame.

The Gophers are going to be fun this year. The schedule is really tough (rated something like 22nd most difficult in the nation), but the talent is really getting better and it seems like a program you can begin to depend on. Coach Kill's predecessor, Tim Brewster, was just a huckster. Horrible. Some decent recruiting, though a lot of the best guys didn't ever get eligible or were kicked out of the program and/or school. Kill keeps pulling in under-the-radar-to-decent recruits, but they improve. That's a huge key to college football, especially in a program that isn't going to ever attract large numbers of true blue-chippers: coaching kids up. Glen Mason (Gophers coach in the late 90s to the mid-00s) was pretty good about it, too. Brewster was just the worse. And it didn't help that we had new coordinators every single year. Adam Weber, a former QB, had five different offensive coordinators in his five years, if I'm not mistaken. Just pathetic. Coach Kill is doing a great job.

63  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 13, 2014, 01:18:50 PM
Yeah, I get what you're saying. I just think everyone, including Doc and Paul, is out to do the best he can for himself and his family. Then when they saw leverage, they used it.

Thinking about Sterling in general is just depressing. Even in his court appearances recently...what a miserable f***.

Slow time for bball this month, draft over, free agency fireworks mostly over, the Worlds and training camps a ways off. I need action!
64  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 13, 2014, 10:19:21 AM
You have some solid points. And everyone did know Sterling was a racist, penny-pinching asshole. There's a reason no free agent re-signed there until Eric Piatkowski--actually two: players felt like they were escaping jail and wanted out; while Sterling was happy to suck, get lottery picks on lower salaries, and watch them bail for bigger contracts while he welcomed a new batch of prospects and collected league cash from tv deals and revenue sharing.

Here's where I might differ: the players and coaches only have so many opportunities to play and coach, and, asshole pig owner or not, the Clippers are one of those 30 opportunities. I think he was a power the less empowered tried to work around to pursue their (highly lucrative) dreams. When they saw a chance to help force change, they took it.

Frankly I relate somewhat. I'm employed by a firm I don't especially like which is itself owned by a company I loathe, which is mostly owned by a few people I fully despise. But I do what I do to get what I can, and if the chance to change things for the better arose, I'd take it. But I willingly, if unfortunately, still show up, do the work, and collect the checks.

The Clips aren't angels or heroes, they're just like anyone else, people, compromising.
65  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 12, 2014, 05:01:35 PM
Interesting, and wise for all involved.

Detroit will be looking to make moves, though, for sure. Up to and in the early half of the season. Time to define that team and build toward an identity. With SVG, we kind of can guess where he's going. You know, the sad thing is, Smith is almost a great Hedo Turkoglu guy, the one who can facilitate from the forward position and let a shot-happy PG (Jennings in the Jameer Nelson role) play off the ball. But unfortunately, Turkoglu was a good 3-pt shooter when he was at his best for SVG, while Smith is ... not.
66  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 12, 2014, 08:30:58 AM
Part of the issue is that SVG loves surrounding his post(s) with 3-pt threats though, so threatening Smith re 3s doesn't achieve that, either. And to bring your best paid player off the bench is rough.

Hopefully for their sake Detroit can move Smith for legit PG and/or 3-pt threat wing. Getting Monroe on a qualifying may be the best way to try and do that while retaining flexibility.
67  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: 2014 New Releases on: August 11, 2014, 04:00:42 PM
Yeah he released a new album in his duo with his model girlfriend
Never heard their act. Will check it out. I liked Friendly Fire back then.

With Friendly Fire, I'd have agreed with Gabo, more or less. I think Midnight Sun is pretty decent. Doesn't blow me away as some kind of important album or anything, but it's nice. And in fact their earlier album turned out to be listenable, too. Go figure.
68  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: 2014 New Releases on: August 11, 2014, 03:26:11 PM
I listened a couple of times to the 2014 album Midnight Sun by Ghost Of A Sabre-Toothed Tiger, aka GOASTTs. It's a duo between Charlotte Kemp Muhl and her boyfriend, Sean somebody. Lemon, I think. Having heard Sean's previous stuff I wasn't expecting a lot and don't recall why exactly I decided it was worth even giving a listen. I'm glad I did. Fans of '60s-inspired psych pop will probably find something to like. I don't have specific points to make here, but I'll get around to it. I haven't bought it yet and just want to decide whether to do the whole thing or just a few songs.

Here's a live clip from Letterman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns8VauCJYTs
69  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Thelonious Sphere Monk on: August 11, 2014, 02:58:00 PM
There are Diz big band recordings from the 40s with Monk on piano, though not in any kind of featured role. I reference them somewhere in this thread--'Round Midnight, I think--so you can check there for the title. That's what comes to my mind as another example
70  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 11, 2014, 02:55:47 PM
Wow, you're right that Hibbert on the Pistons makes even less sense than Monroe. At least the latter can play PF. Hibbert and Drummond are both pure centers.

I heard about--and liked, from their point of view--Dragic to Indiana. I think he's a really good player. Nobody was ever as high on him as me, but my reputation is sketchy because I have an inexplicably love for Euros in general, so my opinions get taken at like 65% by my friends... But he's really good! But while I can totally imagine Phoenix moving Dragic or Bledsoe, I can't imagine them doing it for Hibbert...

You know what, if I were Detroit, I'd be trying to do Monroe for Bledsoe or Dragic. That's what I'd be doing...
71  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 11, 2014, 05:28:27 AM
A fine minor move, call it Rose insurance.
72  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Thelonious Sphere Monk on: August 10, 2014, 07:57:55 PM
I like vocal jazz but free/improvised music really bores me. Its an academic genre because it lacks immediacy. Classical too is like that. Maybe its because i know a lot academics/snobs listen to those two genres...



Free/improvised isn't really what Monk is doing. There is improvisation, obviously, but it is all always over a chordal foundation. "Free" would imply something more totally lacking structure, wholly improvised with no underlying tune.

It's interesting that you call the music combining an assortment of folk musics that rose out of bars an "academic genre." It became one, of course, just as rock n roll long-since did. There are kinds of jazz that fit that description. But as many others or more most certainly don't. Is blues academic? It's improvisation over a song structure, same as jazz, just easier. Check out some of the stories above: plenty of jazz musicians thought bop was too cerebral, then later that cool was. They responded with what they thought was more vital, vibrant, elemental.

Comparing it to classical music is really funny, especially since the aspect of jazz you mention not liking is improvisation, something (formerly common but long-since) mostly absent from classical.

If you're judging music based on people you know and what they listen to, I'd advise you to stop it. Don't blame the music for some idiots' tastes.
73  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 10, 2014, 04:52:46 PM
I had forgotten, until today, about that Minnesota deal back in the day-the one where they had agreed to a deal with Joe Smith before they were legally allowed to. What were the specifics on that? They were talking about it on the radio, and it had slipped my mind.

That's going back quite a ways, but this is what I recall. The Wolves wanted to sign Smith, but couldn't sign him to what both parties agreed was his market value due to cap restrictions. However, the "Bird rule" as it existed in those days only said you could pay your own free agents whatever amount you wanted, regardless of your cap position. So they agreed to a small-dollar, one-year deal with the (written!) verbal agreement that they would use the Bird rule to sign him to a bigger contract after that year. That was an old trick I recall Phoenix using quite a bit, guys signing small one-year deals, then extensions. Now the Bird rule has been changed to tie the amount you can pay your free agents to their experience and their time with your team.
74  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: 2014 New Releases on: August 10, 2014, 10:44:02 AM
I listened to the 2014 Owen Pallett album, In Conflict. It didn't appeal to me much at all.

Pallett has recorded under his own name and previously as Final Fantasy, and has arranged (especially strings) for a lot of artists, most notably Arcade Fire. His work features violin, which he plays (along with singing, keyboards, etc.). I fully enjoyed his 2010 song "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt," the odd video for which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G-cqAehehA

In Conflict includes contributions from Brian Eno (synth, vocals, guitar) and piqued my interest to a moderate degree. It wasn't something I was awaiting, but I kept it in the back of my mind as something to check out. So a couple months after the fact, I finally did.

And I didn't much like it.

My criticism isn't really fair and says more about my taste than about the album itself: it's too ambitious for me. It's not to say I want or like only 3-chord, stupid pop. Plenty of my tastes range far beyond that (be it Stravinsky, Zappa, Monk, Ellington, Wilson, of Montreal, and on and on), it's just that there are different kinds of ambition in my eyes. (Or ears.) And this album sounds like ambition for ambition's sake, like someone talented putting together really well crafted music to show you he's talented, not to present some other feeling or point. It doesn't sound joyful to me, or pained, or excited, or anything else. It just sounds crafted. And honestly, to me, mostly boring.

The tune I liked most is this, "Infernal Fantasy." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ngL5SmEIos  It maintains a feeling of motion throughout, its melody has a surprising turn, and the bass line is propulsive without being the primary driver (that left to the arpeggiated synth). The latter half of the song may be the one moment on the album that feels fully alive to me. I may buy this song. The rest, I probably won't listen to again.
75  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: August 10, 2014, 10:16:36 AM
I read this morning that Indiana offered Phoenix Roy Hibbert, Chris Copeland, and cash for Goran Dragic. With Indiana down two playmaking wings (Stephenson and George), I can see why they'd covet Dragic. Plus, he would be a really good fit beside George Hill, as both can play either guard spot. Dragic is the far more dynamic playmaker and would energize the perimeter game. He would surely also thrive playing pick and roll / pick and pop with David West and Luis Scola.

Further, one can see why they'd be ready to unload Hibbert (or at least his contract). If you're paying max money for your Hibbert, you need him to show up and rebound and block shots. Sadly, he was woefully inconsistent in that respect last year.

However, the Pacers were apparently rebuffed. So it's all for naught.
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