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Found 16 results

  1. Lonzo Ball, I fear, is somewhat overrated, has too much baggage, and might be a disappointment in the NBA. Look at his stat line this year: 14.6 points, 6 rebounds, 7.6 assists. That's very impressive, especially for a freshman, and especially in the assists category. However, his shooting technique is extremely flawed, and he's not mature enough to tell his father to back off. Yes, he can shoot an open 3, but his free-throw percentage this year is 67.3% - think about that for a moment. He's big and quick, he can jump, and he can pass very well, but he is a big risk - my dark side hopes the Lakers pass on him at #2, just to irk his father. I believe Lonzo Ball will be a good NBA player, but I'm not convinced he'll be the superstar his father claims he already is. Feb 1, 2017 - "Why Lonzo Ball Isn't the Surefire NBA Superstar Some People Seem To Think He Is" by Colin Ward-Henninger on cbssports.com
  2. Should Costco have its own thread? I don't know how many of them sell fresh food and meat. I bought one of the buy and bake pizzas at Costco today. It seemed awfully cheap ($7.99). I decided that was probably because it was square and they may be experimenting with that (square takebake combo--the pepperoni and plain cheese were the same price). I have a Wolf Range--not the full commercial but fancier than a basic home range. It has 6 burners. I think if it as being pretty big. It's never been inadequate for anything we've asked of it in going on 2 years. (I'd have to dig through paperwork to give the precise specs.) The pizza is too big to fit in my oven! It looked like it might just fit, but I realized immediately that the front glass door was getting coated in cheese and tomato. I folded a margin of it over and am still attempting to cook it. When I bought it, I had figured if it was terrible, it was only $8, but I didn't factor in to that the labor cost of cleaning my oven door. Thank you very much .
  3. 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)]
  4. File this away for future visits to the Newseum: Online tickets are 15% off (substantial when you consider general admission is $24.95). Even at full price, this museum is worth the admission - I suspect attendance is dropping off, and it may not be around forever. Also, the tickets include the "next day free" - useful for those (like me!) who quickly develop Museum Fatigue. I went back for the second consecutive day yesterday, and I'm glad I did (I combined day two with a trip to the National Archives - nothing like strolling down the street to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, an original copy of the Magna Carta, and the Emancipation Proclamation. These documents aren't terribly beautiful, but just being in their presence is positively awe-inspiring). Make sure to follow their suggested itinerary: Go downstairs to the bottom floor, look around (make sure to see the FBI exhibit down there), then take the extraordinary hydraulic elevators (the largest cars in the world, I believe) up to the 6th floor (where you can go outside onto a large balcony, giving you perhaps the best views in all of Washington, DC), and work your way down a floor at a time. Must-sees include the 9/11 exhibit, the Pulitzer Prize Photos exhibit (one in particular cut deeply into my psyche - a starving child, who collapsed on the way to a food-relief center in South Sudan, with a vulture just sitting there, waiting - do not click on this if it will bother you, and it might). The famous photo of South Vietnamese Police Chief Loan is there - believe it or not, he ran a *PIZZA PARLOR* in Burke, Virginia, called "Les Trois Continents," for fourteen years, until his identity was made known, and was forced to close down. (I couldn't believe it when I first heard this, but I verified it to be true.) There's a strong exhibit about the Kennedy family, in honor of JFK's 100th birthday, but I'm a little "Kennedy'd-out" of late, so I didn't spend too much time there). Also, there's a 100-foot-wide movie screen which I didn't get to see, but you should check on its schedule. And if you've never seen pieces of the Berlin Wall (which started going up the very night I was born!), they have the largest display of it in the Western Hemisphere, alongside an intimidating, three-story, guard tower. I'm probably missing a couple of things, but this list is a pretty good starting itinerary. I remember so well when this museum was in Rosslyn (it opened there in 1997, and moved to its present location in 2008) - it was small, free, and really amazing even then - the outside portion was something people often stumbled upon by accident - but now it has had some serious money pumped into it, and is a major tourist attraction in DC.
  5. I've seen enough of Naomi Osaka where I'm thanking the Lord that we have the next Women's superstar who doesn't squeal like a sodomized chipmunk every time she strikes the ball. Osaka grew up idolizing Serena_Williams, and was wonderfully deferential to her after a somewhat controversial victory (which included three code violations that went against Williams). In fact, when Williams won her first Grand Slam title, Osaka wasn't yet born. Remember the name, Naomi Osaka: You'll be hearing it for years to come.
  6. I'm not going to Google this: Didn't Eritrea come into existence *after* it split off from Ethiopia? Hence, after Italy colonized Ethiopia? I think I have something to learn here.
  7. I knew that racket technology had ended serve-and-volley tennis, but I never really knew if there was a specific "moment in time" when it ended. Well, there was - in 1997, when Gustavo Kuerten won his first French Open using Luxilon polyester strings. This article says it better than I can - especially the video which shows Kuerten's returns dipping down at Sampras' feet at the net in a 2000 tournament. Because of these strings, players were now able to swing as hard as they could, off both wings, and almost never miss. Look at what the game is today - the best players can rally for hundreds of shots without missing, all the while swinging as hard as they can swing. Tennis is now a sport of who is in the best physical condition - there are twelve-year-old kids who can hit better ground strokes than many college players could a generation ago. Oct 8, 2015 - "1997: Gustavo Kuerten's Game-Changing Win with Polyester Strings" by Steve Tignor on tennis.com Pete Sampras was *so much better* than Gustavo Kuerten that it was a travesty that he lost, and Sampras will quite possibly be remembered as the last pure serve-and-volley player in history, thanks to these strings. A quote from the article: "By 2000, Kuerten was No. 1 in the world, and some of his fellow players began to whisper that his string should be banned for giving him an unfair advantage. Tour stringer Nate Ferguson has said that as he watched Guga dip passing shots at the feet of Pete Sampras on his way to the title at the Tennis Masters Cup (now called the World Tour Finals) in Lisbon in 2000, he wondered how anyone would ever be able to rush the net again. Ferguson’s thought proved prescient: Fifteen years later, now that polyester is the standard on tour, virtually everyone rips the ball with pace and spin the way Kuerten did back then, and few dare to venture to the net. The feel of natural gut is out; the power of poly is in." The game has been forever changed. I think it's a very similar concept to "clap skates" - the speed skates with blades that were only attached to the boot from the front, which interestingly caught on around the same time as Luxilon strings did in tennis (and, not long before Mark McGuire hit 70 home runs). This article explains it very well: Feb 15, 2014 - "How a Century-Old Skate Design Completely Changed Modern Speed Skating" by Bring Back (?) Anthony Mason on kinja.com I'm not being judgmental here - however, one thing technological advances do (as is touched on in the speed-skating article) is take away valid comparisons with past and present generations. Baseball - steroids excepted - is the one sport where the equipment was mandated to stay basically the same as it was almost one-hundred years ago, so it's much more reasonable (and fun!) to compare Ty Cobb to Rickey Henderson, than it is to compare Jack Kramer to Roger Federer.
  8. There has been only one other person in my lifetime I idolized as much as Sviatislav Richter, and that is Brooks Robinson. Mar 19, 2015 - "Sviatislav Richter: The Pianist Who Made the Earth Move" by Steve Wigler on npr.org
  9. Do you watch college football? I do. Not voraciously but sporadically. Its somewhat like watching college basketball vs the pros. One phenomena is that when a player sticks out and is so remarkably more talented than everyone else he creates memorable unmatched plays and generates astonishing displays of athleticism. Over the past quarter century or so probably the single most exciting player in college football was Michael Vick. Vick; pretty interesting career and life. He was a combination running/throwing quarterback at Virginia Tech, probably led them to their best records, and made remarkable play after play. He was the fastest quarterback in memory, was a shifty runner, had a cannon of an arm. He could create excitement with his arm or his legs. In college, his dominance was transcendent. Often he would step back to pass, the defense would spread to cover receivers, the defensive line would open up and Vick would take off on amazing runs. Left, right, shifting and faking out tacklers then turn on the super speed. Vick was a first draft choice around the turn of the century and was so athletically gifted he was often able to replicate those exciting plays in the pros. He was quite good his first 6 years...and then his own personal tragedy struck. But enough about Vick. Currently and last year there is a successor to Michael Vick. His name is Lamar Jackson and he is the quarterback at University of Louisville. Jackson is in his second year and is simply shredding defenses. He simply is the most talented player on the field. He may not be as fast as Vick but he is similarly shifty and every so often simply leaps over tacklers. He flicks passes. It seems effortless. He is rolling up astounding plays and scoring touchdowns either by running them in or passing for them at an amazing clip. ....and he looks like a man against boys. Here is a clip of some of his amazing plays.
  10. Jean René Désiré Françaix is not a well-known 20th-century composer in the United States, but is the composer of one of the more difficult pieces in the clarinet repertoire: "Tema con Variazioni." I'm proud to say that my son, Matt, will be performing this as the opening piece in his solo recital early next year in Bloomington, Indiana, most likely Feb 27, 2017 (if anyone is interested in seeing it live on podcast, let me know, and I'll confirm the date, which, for now, is tentative). If anyone is interested in attending the recital, I'll be going out to Bloomington and can give you a ride. The great neo-Impressionist Maurice Ravel, wrote this to Francaix' parents: "Among the child's gifts I observe above all the most fruitful an artist can possess, that of curiosity: you must not stifle these precious gifts now or ever, or risk letting this young sensibility wither." There aren't many great recordings of this online, but this will at least give you an idea for the piece.
  11. "It doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." Reading this book made me think of that famous line uttered by Rick in "Casablanca." What a beautiful, wild and wondrous world this is. And what a tiny little speck am I in it. A friend loaned me this book, and he raved about it. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it or not. I didn't study much science in college, taking "Understanding the Weather" for an easy A, only to find the cushy professor who always taught the class was replaced that year by someone who cared about cumulus clouds I loved this book, perhaps because of my lack of knowledge about the topic. Reading it on an airplane beside my college-aged kids, they rolled their eyes at me as I shared tidbits. "Everyone knows that, mom. We learned that in fourth grade." My educational shortcomings aside, this is a book that scientists and the less scientifically inclined can enjoy. Richard Fortey, a senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London, writes extensively about life on earth, in all of its stages. I enjoyed his writing style, and I never felt like I was reading a biology textbook. His tone is conversational, and he even throws in pieces of poetry, here and there, for people whose brains work like mine. I learned a great deal reading this book, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
  12. I post this not because I like David Ortiz (I am, after all, a Yankees fan) but for a number of reasons both positive and negative. On the positive side, and setting aside my Yankee fandom, he is an icon for the Red Sox. He is a beloved character in Boston and was a member of three world championships ... after 86 years without a championship in Fenway Park. And there have only been four players to play on three world championships and hit 500 HRs, with Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and Reggie Jackson preceding him. On the negative side, he has an association with PEDs. Of course, there is no "proof" per se, but his best friend on the Red Sox during those championship years was Manny Ramirez, who was caught and suspended multiple times for PEDs use. A few others of those Red Sox players during that period of time were also suspected of PEDs use, and Big Papi (or "Big Sloppy" to Yankees fans) was at least gulty by association. Besides, how did he lose that hole in his swing that he had when he was David Arias of the Twins? (But my primary gripe about any and all of this is simply that the 500 HR Club is not what it once was. When I was growing up, it was the absolute power hitter mark of excellence, the line of demarcation between the very good and the great. Now, it has been removed from that status by the stench of PEDs use. And that is a shame, pure and simple.) Anyway, from a Yankees fan, here is a tip of the cap to Ortiz, for his accomplishments, for what he means to his fan base, and for his eventual enshrinement in baseball's Hall of Fame.
  13. I notice there isn't a thread on one of the finest songwriters of the 20th century - Townes Van Zandt. Unlike some other "songwriter's songwriters," I always always prefer Townes' versions of his own songs over the covers. As the (also) great Steve Earle said, "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world, and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." "Pancho and Lefty" "Waiting Around to Die" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDymc0CJ6pQ And my favorite of all time: "If I Needed You"
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