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Everything posted by DaveO

  1. In the midst of the NBA playoffs, the Warriors have beaten the Houston Rockets twice; once in which Stephen Curry played only 20 minutes, lit up the scoring, then got hurt and sat for the rest of the rout(game). In the 2nd match up, Curry didn't play due to injury...opening up tremendous opportunities for Houston. Didn't pan out though as the Golden State Warriors won again, even without Curry. Of course there could be a variety of reasons for the results...but one suggestion is that James Harden's defense is simply not that stellar. Below a video of some of his shining moments on defense: "Great Moments in James Harden Defensive History" on espn.go.com
  2. Harden’s streak is remarkable. It has pushed his season scoring average to above that of Rick Barry (a player who my cousin and his teammates managed to hold to a measly 53 or so in high school). I haven’t watched any of the games in the streak. I don’t enjoy his game. The team is significantly missing other scorers; Harden is carrying the load, and they are winning. Bully for him. Meanwhile the Warriors have improved their game, Green is healthier, and is the facilitator that makes the game prettier, even as they Shoot almost as many 3’s as Houston, or fake and drive past defenders. The 3 has changed the game although it’s utilized differently by different teams
  3. That 2 Handed block at the basket was great athleticism, excellent hustle and very aware basketball. (Now for an entirely different type of freak of nature: the longevity, fullness and remarkable rigidness of Jimmy Johnson’s head of hair, possibly celebrating 2 decades of NFL commentary) If a single strand of hair moved as a result of the regular time tie, I’d be astounded
  4. If you think basketball or college basketball is entertainment worthy you may want to watch Zion Williamson of Duke. I don’t recall seeing anyone as stunning as him in an absurdly long time, and he is just a freshman headed to the pro’s next season. The most fearsome jaw dropping rampaging example of a big thick very strong guy racing coast to Coast and slam dunking was Charles Barkley. Nobody ever did it quite like him. This isn’t quite there—but it’s very close. Zion is must see TV
  5. Should the Wizards Tank This Season?? As a fan I never liked the idea for any team. But I’m neither a general manager tasked with setting a direction and (ultimately) competing nor the owner. It’s a strategy that can work wherein high draft choices might resuscitate a team in future years. This past December (and earlier) the idea gained popularity in press and social media. The team record was dismal, the star, John Wall was out for the season, the effort was listless and the results in play and record were discouraging. This piece in the Washington Post was one of many opinions in favor of tanking. This past Thursday the Wiz played overseas with owner Ted Lionsis at the game and interviewed on the subject: The Wizards will never tank (not this season) was his reaction. Hmmm...... Having been watching this team for too many decades, having attended countless games, having seen them flounder this season, having actually recognized and acknowledged they have been overall below average (i.e. BAD) for now almost 4 straight decades this season, for the first time, I relished the idea of tanking. It ain’t gonna happen- not this year. And they have had a winning (playoff quality) record since Wall went out. “Wait till next year”. Hmmmm...... How about waiting for the next several decades.....
  6. Here is to the Wizards. They made the playoffs. Do you realize they have had the aggregate worst record in the NBA since 2000. They probably had one of the worst records between around 1980 and 2000. They have been a disappointing team. ....and I've followed them virtually all of that time. I started watching them way back....in Baltimore...When Wes Unseld turned them into a fearsome team and Earl Monroe was a one of a kind unstoppable offensive whirlwind. They had other great players back then including the incredibly powerful Gus Johnson. And then the team got BETTER. They won a championship in the late 1970's had an excellent team....and a couple of dismal decades.... So it is good to see this team with some young stars plus some wise stable veterans finally make the playoffs. The Washington Post has an astonishing statistical look at the Wizards season thanks to 6 cameras attached to the tops of arenas catching every moment of every game. Here is an astonishing little detail one might never know: John Wall basically controls the ball more than any other player on any other team. Lots of other little nuggets in the story. In any case good luck Wizards in the Playoffs. You would have made Abe Pollin proud. --- [The following posts have been split into separate threads: Wes Unseld (DonRocks)]
  7. Here is a little tidbit, more relevant to our bartending school in Arlington, then my recent dining experiences. The Inn at Little Washington now has two grads of our bar school bartending; one for the last 1/2 year or so and one new. In one sense I'm surprised; the longer term bartender travels a very long distance to get there on her shifts. She loves it. Her wine and fine dining experience prior to her taking our course is ideal for the restaurant. She also has the vitality and smarts to provide the appropriate level of customer service. The second grad is less experienced but has the appropriate attitude and personality to combine her drinks knowledge with their demands and level of in house training. Good luck to the newest hire. I'm proud of them. I enjoy dining or more appropriately dining and drinking at the bars where grads work. Can't hit all of them. Hmmm. The Inn at Little Washington. Oi. I haven't dined there in years. I never enjoyed overindulging in the finest restaurants for obvious cost reasons, but more seriously in that it was "too much" for me. I've done it in little periods and after a while it turns me off. I used to dine there during its earliest years of operation. What a drive. Dinners were spectacular. More importantly we always went there with the same couple, possibly the couple with whom I most enjoyed fine dining. It was always a special occasion and a lot of fun. We always did an early seating so we could head back to "civilization". We always had a sober driver so I could indulge. Meals were spectacular. The other place we went to more frequently was L'auberge Chez Francois; also great, but the dining at Inn at Little Washington was even then at a level that was far superior. So if you are at the Inn...order a cocktail. I'd be interested to hear how it went.
  8. I've been interacting a lot with furloughed workers. That also includes contractors who are out of work. Our bartending school in Arlington is getting lots of calls from a variety of folks who either took our class in the past or who are taking or want to take our class now because of the furlough. I've also been seeing a plethora of free food/ discounted food/ and other services, primarily on my FB feed, primarily in PG and Montgomery County from old friends, both of whom used to be Feds. They are blasting out about relevant discounts and deals to their ample FB friends networks. (Good for them). There are a healthy volume of announcements on Social Media, wherein friends are spreading the word to affected friends. Back to the school "thing": Affected workers who took our classes years ago want to come back,, take our free refresher classes, brush up their skills, and want to get PT work (at the least). We have offered that, and made good on it (one person retaking the class about 27 years after she first took it). We are getting a lot of calls on that basis. Others on furlough who took the program but never tested out want to come in, retake it, test out, and then use their skills. The volume of calls of people who want to take advantage of our lifetime free refreshers is high. These days I'm on the phone more due to staff shortages and illness. I'm increasingly hearing about the impact of the furlough. On the new student or potential new student side we are taking more calls and inquiries about the class from furloughed workers. Some are taking the class and some aren't, but the interest is high. Additionally I'm filling in giving our placement assistance sessions to graduates. We do a lot. Part is that we here from employers needing staff and distribute leads. We do a significant amount more to help grads land jobs. I would think throughout this region if you are in touch with neighbors, friends, family; you have to have some sense of the furlough; the volume of people affected is far more voluminous than any single or a composite of the largest employers in the region. It is having a vast effect. The contractors out of work do not expect to be paid for lost time. I've met several already. I hope and wonder if they have ID's that can be used for the various benefits around the region. They merit it. As occurred in 2013 I expect they won't be repaid for lost time. Somewhat fortunately for the federal workers Congress had passed legislation that would have the furloughed workers paid for lost time. Trump just signed it. The Feds will receive lost pay. I doubt the contractors will. I also doubt that private workers and business people adversely affected by the loss of business will get any kind of reimbursement. It adversely affects this region in a serious way. This school saw the same impact in 2013 with the last protracted furlough. We see Feds who have been working longer, have higher salaries, and have cushion against periods without pay. We see Feds living on check to check. They are hurting. We see the contractors with the same status., and we are aware of some of the businesses that get crushed by the furlough. It is ugly. I'm sure there are folks on this board directly affected. Their experience is first hand and better than mine. Here are a variety of ways you can help furloughed workers
  9. An update on the notification on credit card fees or cash. The current sign (noticed in 2 different PP retail locations) now states that there is a 4% discount if you pay with cash. (I have no idea if they changed pricing in the last 3 weeks or not). From the business side it doesn't surprise me. The plethora of newer payment methods charge more than the traditional CC fees. Processing fees are going up.
  10. Java Shack no longer carries Junction Bakery croissants and other items. I hadn't seen the everything croissant for a while and finally asked. What I heard was they changed bakeries because of pricing. Maybe. I don't know. Of course that could mean that Junction Bakery in Alexandria may no longer carry Commonwealth Coffee. Dang I miss those Everything Croissants. They are delicious.
  11. At Whole Foods Arlington they had a free meatballs spaghetti and salad dinner. I wasn’t aware of it, but obviously those affected are very knowledgeable. The upstairs dining was completely packed—everyone eating meatballs and spaghetti Upon further research this was a chain wide meal deal throughout the region. I hope a lot of workers took advantage of the opportunity
  12. More on the Harden phenomena including a discussion with Tracy McGrady, who had a scoring streak...like Harden's...though Harden has now surpassed it...and Scottie Pippen, Jordan's teammate. Its a different game, so say the stars of yesteryear....
  13. Speaking of saucier’s, I know Steve Dugan of Earl’s was a saucier for a fair amount of time. That doesn’t connect to his specialty of sandwiches, unless he is applying that skill and knowledge to in house condiments, which may well be, but it does apply to his consistent production of turkey stock, which is used in his soups, and I suspect in house condiments and spreads. I take it back; his saucier skills and experience probably do play out in his sandwiches.
  14. I watched either all or almost all of those 2 finals series, albeit on black and white tv’s that were not large nor were the transmissions flawless (that befit the technology of the day) The Lakers were more imposing in NAME than GAME. By that time Baylor’s game had slowed due to leg injuries and I’m sure age. Possibly one could equate him to Julius Erving toward the end of his career: sometimes great sometimes not. I’m sure Chamberlain’s game had also slowed as he played remarkably less offense One little remembered factoid from the Laker Celtic series—Havlicek played every minute of every game. As to many players averaging 20 minutes or more in the 69-70 Lakers regular season—it was a factor of injuries; Wilt missed most of the regular season, Baylor and Erickson missed a big chunk of games and so on. The current Wizards alsohave many players averaging 20 minutes. Assuming Porter doesn’t start the Wizards current starting lineup has only one starter from what they anticipated at season’s start One other point: It was incredible the Knicks won the 7th game in that Willis Reed was hobbled by injury. It was not incredible they won the series. The Knicks had the best record in the league, Frazier and Reed were first team all NBA, I think Reed won MVP and Frazier, Reed, and Debuschere where all first team all defense. It was the Knick’s peak in their mini dynasty. The Playoff Lakers were better than their regular season record as Wilt played the entire 3 series, but he had very limited movement due to his injury. He couldn’t defend a healthy Reed’s jump shots. Alternatively it was incredible the Celtics won in ‘69. It was the last year of their dynasty. Russell was showing his age and had deteriorated as had Sam Jones. The Celtics only finished 4th in their conference while the Lakers won the West. It had to be “Celtic Pride” that carried them through the playoffs, plus Havlicek stepped up to show he was truly one of the best players in the NBA, starting that year. Oh yeah: in a losing cause Jerry West won the finals MVP. His entire series was magnificent
  15. As discussions swirl around the GS Warriors, the Cleveland Cavs and other teams, I keep going back to my favorite basketball "dynasty" (really meaning mini dynasty) of all time; the Kniicks from 69-70 to 72-73. Four years in the playoffs, three years in the NBA finals and two NBA championships. Very long ago. I realize that. I suspect that Steve R has memories of this mini dynasty. Any others? Here are some interesting elements to that team: For 3 of those 4 years they allowed the fewest points per game in the league. In the 4th year I think they allowed the third fewest points. They won championships with defense. They might have been the greatest passing team of all time; and did so while spreading the ball to the entire team with every player being a potential shooter and with no player dominating the shooting stats by any stretch of the imagination. Possibly the most balanced scoring of any championship team of any period. Completely unusual and even more balanced in that regard than other teams that approached ball distribution (thinking 2014 Spurs team as the most recent example and the 2004 Detroit Pistons before them). The Knicks of that earlier era simply spread the shots around more evenly than either of these two teams. Shooting stats from the team in the 69-70 season: (see below) The 69-70 team developed as a result of what had to be one of the great trades in the history of the NBA from the previous season, (68-69). Midseason the Knicks dealt the big talented but erratic Center Walt Bellamy and their starting point guard, Howard Komives to the Detroit Pistons and the Pistons sent forward Dave Debusschere to the Knicks. Reed became the starting center, Debusschere was the starting power forward and Walt Frazier became the starting point guard. From mid season on the Knicks developed into a league power. The enigma and missing piece was who would be the small forward, Bradley or Cazzie Russell. Cazzie was the better offensive player and scorer. Bradley fit Coach Red Holzman's scheme better. Holtzman put Bradley in the starter's role and it clicked. The 69-70 team was the epitome of this spread it around type offense, but it continued to operate in the same manner over the next 4 seasons; (through 72-73 another championship season and one additional year, as Debusschere, Reed, and Lucas remained with the team). It wasn't until Reed, Debusschere and Lucas left that shot attempts skewed more toward Frazier, Monroe, and thirdly Bradley. Remarkably when Earl the Pearl first joined the Knicks he changed from one of the leagues leading offensive weapons and leading shot takers, to the fifth option. He sacrificed his offensive orientation to be part of the team concept. I was lucky to watch them a fair amount. I moved to Baltimore for college and got to see Bullets/Knicks games in Baltimore. Possibly the greatest, most fierce mano a mano matchups in NBA history. Reed vs. Unseld, two height deficient Centers who were muscular physical brutes. (they must have crushed one another every game). Even more ferocious were the man on man battles between Debusschere and Gus Johnson two of the most rugged players in the league with Johnson additionally being one of the early skywalkers. Watching Bradley and Jack Marin play was fascinating in a different way. Those two guys covered a lot of ground from one side of the court to the other, moving out to the perimeter for outside shots. Man, those two guys were always grabbing and clutching. The creme de la creme matchup was the artistry between Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier. Mr offense vs Mr Defense. The Bullets emphasized offense, being one of the highest scoring teams in the league, the Knicks emphasized defense, being the league leaders. Over the course of a season neither team dominated, while the matchups and games were always fascinating. Everyone on those old Knicks could pass. Every player. The only starter who might not have been a stellar passer was Reed...but when you watched those games the Knicks always had a teammate in Reed's eyesight. He became a good passer and that coach and the teammates helped him become one. Well its over 40 years later...so who cares? Possibly Steve R, who related this great tale that I'm sure every star struck kid who idolized pro's would love to experience. (Steve R Schooling Earl the Pearl on the Playgrounds) As the current NBA season moves along, the Warriors with their great scorers also face defensive problems: players such as Harden, DeRozan, Westbrook, and Davis, all averaging over 30 pts a game, are monopolizing the ball; the Spurs play this Knicks type game, though nobody has ever distributed the ball like the Knicks....and the Cavs have the remarkable Lebron James..who admittedly makes his teammates a stellar team....I still yearn for those Knicks. PS (undoubtedly if one looks at old tapes of those games and that era today's players are more athletic. Still I maintain that Reed would be a star in today's game. He has a midrange jumpshot. How many of today's centers can do that? Uh...maybe one or two. He was amazingly tough against one and all including the giants of that time such as Chamberlain and Kareem. I can't see how anyone could control Monroe. His offensive moves were remarkably different and defied defensive efforts. If there was anyone who was as rugged and indefatigable as Debusschere he would probably be the all time best linebacker in all of football. I'd love to see Frazier play against today's guards. Besides passing his shooting was based on a sense of how to beat the defense, not just pure athleticism (like Larry Bird in a way). That team would be strong today. ....and getting back to Earl the Pearl. I defy anyone to come up with any player who could successfully defend against Earl the Pearl at any point in basketball history...
  16. DaveO

    Ristorante Piccolo Destroyed by Fire

    While comments above, or lack thereof indicate that this long time restaurant is not a favorite of members of this board over the last 10+ years, but did generate fond memories ....it is currently in a financial mess having filed for bankruptcy. Its a tough business.
  17. Over the last year more or less there has been an explosion of new places to eat in "Downtown" Roslyn; Downtown Roslyn being the essentially level area near the Metro and differentiated from the office, residential restaurants and retail that stretch up the hill on either Wilson or Clarendon Blvd. These places to eat coincide with the three massive structures added to the Roslyn landscape, two huge office buildings and one enormous high rise apartment building. It would not be fair to call most of this "dining". These are places primarily for lunch, some for breakfasts, and most for quick meals. Just a quick summary to list (hope I haven't missed any) McDonalds (first of the newer places in) replacing its long long standing stand alone building across from Metro. Nando's Peri Peri, The Little Beet, Sweet Green (across from Chopt), Compass Coffee just opened. Under construction are Cava, Bethesda Bagel, a Poke restaurant (name escapes me), and now Sfoglina has closed off its windows and is commencing construction. Ahhhh Sfoglina--the one true dining experience being added to downtown Roslyn. Roslyn: A real sort of downtown with high rise buildings, an office density that rivals that of downtown, and actually a relatively high "urban neighborhood" population (relative to other urban neighborhoods in Arlington (Crystal City, Pentagon City, Courthouse, Clarendon, Vg. Square and Ballston). All of which is to say that if you find yourself stuck in Roslyn...there is now less reason to moan.
  18. I must admit I loved the Soprano's. I grew up in the region where they filmed. Some scenes include locations I recognize. Moreover I have a strong suspicion kids with whom I grew up could easily have become gangsters. In fact upon watching the very first show my stomach tightened and I had an uneasy feeling as if kids with whom I grew up were pointing a gun to my head; the simple "friendly gesture" of one of the gang members but utterly frightening to all of the rest of us. Today, upon learning of some little bit of news I was feeling aggravated. In my perspective this is a classic Soprano's scene on aggravation...and to top it off ....its all about local coffee shops!!!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAYq9jSUKt4
  19. Here is an example of the ying and yang of the game: Harden is the dribblingest player in the NBA. The last chart in this article gives one sense of his dribbling versus the rest of the league. I'm not sure if I got this correct but I caught notice that the cameras caught over 800 dribbles by Harden in a recent game. OTOH: Klay Thompson just had a very big scoring game. His ying to Harden's yang; Thompson had 4 dribbles all game!!
  20. DaveO

    Dining in Rosslyn

    Sfoglina, which signed and announced a deal to open last summer just started construction at 1100 Wilson Blvd. Assuming 90-120 days for construction they should be open this Spring. They would easily be the best restaurant in lower Rosslyn in the relatively flatter and more densely populated (with office workers) area near the Metro. With no competition, I think they can turn it into a killer location.
  21. Brunch Guide (any volunteers to upgrade it?) --- Boy I like these questions. Does the A Team take off on Sundays for lots of brunches at lots of places??? I don't know...but I have had my fill of mediocre plain brunches. Great question for Hank's and I believe many places.
  22. I had read that article and thought it was interesting, explanatory, and analytical. As of last night Harden has 14 straight games of 30 or more points, a passel of 40 point games in that stretch. Nobody has done that since Tracy McGrady back in 2003. Harden is currently a scoring explosion. I frankly don't watch him much, mostly highlights here and there. I'm one of the people described in the article as not favorably inclined by his game. If I watched an entire game I might become bored by its combination of repetitiveness and isolation play. Regardless, he is both the killer scorer in today's game AND remarkably effective as the article describes. After a losing start to the season The Rockets are strong competitors for the playoffs and a high ranking position. Harden makes the Rockets great. Can't deny it.
  23. To my mother who passed away a little more than a month ago at an age of slightly more than 101 and 1/2. A while ago I learned if you speak and write about these hurts it helps you recover faster. Even as she had been in hospice care for a while following an illness we (and she) thought was going to be the end—she bounced back from that rather well and was out for dinner at Thanksgiving. As prepared as I thought I was afterwards I’ve felt a big gap. Deep down I believed she was going to live forever. She outlived every peer, friend and relative save one hearty gent seemingly still going strong at 104, whose and he were good friends of my parents Three aspects of her life come to mind. As we cleaned out her apartment and reviewed a lifetime of photos, it struck more deeply than ever before how well she did friendship. She had photos dating back to her’s and my dad’s earliest years and all periods thereafter. Among the photos from her teens into her early 20’s before she married were shots with friends. Some of those friends stayed as lifelong friends - till the friends passed away, the last one about 4 years ago that was roughly a very close friendship for about 75 years. There were photos of friends where I know the friendships exceeded 60+ years and they were dedicated friendships. My mom was a phenomenal friend, and we knew it, but the photos put a more definitive element to it than I knew or appreciated. This being a food forum- my mom became an excellent cook, starting from terrible when she married my dad, and progressing to often acclaimed, with sometimes awe from my SIL, the gourmet cook, former cooking teacher, and former tour leader of organized trips visiting 3 star restaurants in France. Who am I to judge, but I knew her cooking was far better than that of my aunts and of the few mom’s of friends whose homes I ate at. My mom took classes and worked at it. In the earliest days of this endeavor my dad tactfully used the description “interesting” for the meals that were “weak” and the term passed through the decades and was used by mom’s grandkids, but the “interesting” meals became incredibly infrequent over time; certainly far less than once a year!! BRAVO And boy she cooked in quantity—all the time. Funny story from my early college days: I had a friend who asserted he could outeat and embarrass any Mom, always eating more food than the cloud place on the table. I took him up on that bet as I had complete faith in my mom. She didn’t know of the bet when I invited him to our house for a stay over and dinner. She crushed him after his many seconds and thirds of multiple dishes when he finally pushed away a plate and admitted it was too much. I was quite proud of her that evening—let alone a wee bit wealthier. Lastly she was a mom to the amazing Very end. Over the last period she was heavily drugged due to her illnesses but also horrific pain from bone injuries. On the last day of good consciousness she spoke a bit but grew weaker. My SIL and I were sitting with her describing the family dinner the night before at my sisters. It was fun, animated, had a funny aspect, and very loving. As we finished the story she had a great smile and clapped. My lord that made her happy. She went into the last stage of unconsciousness after that and passed in her sleep somewhat after. Anyway my experience is that writing and speaking of the mental anguish helps to move it along. My mom never drank much maybe little wine, and I’m sipping a Cabernet to her memory