I think I owe an apology to the late- Mr. Harrison Brown.
I was very skeptical of the photographs and reportage from the stabbing which ostensibly claimed his life.
Something happened today…and it may not have been an accident (“There are no accidents.” –intel community axiom)…but it probably was.
I overheard something.
You know, my ears are always pricked up.
I would have made a great HUMINT operative…at least in that respect.
Because my whole life has depended on the sensitivity of my ears.
To have “a sensuous ear”…as one music critic once perhaps stumbled into with dubious diction.
But my ears are always going.
Vacuuming up my surroundings.
And I caught an anecdote.
At the coffee shop.
Apparently, Mr. Brown (who is said to have been stabbed to death in Austin) asked to call his mother as he was dying.
I must admit: this detail broke my heart.
Which creates a problem (or points out a potential area of difficulty).
Namely, we cannot reason with our hearts.
But, all the same, we cannot help but do so…in some situations.
We weigh the evidence…and try to discern whether we are being scammed.
And so, I will repeat, if Mr. Brown indeed perished in Austin two days ago (and it’s “looking” more and more like he did), then this is immensely sad.
But we must keep our minds sharp.
Some events don’t fit a pattern…because they are the first in a series.
However, there seems to be a real problem in the U.S. with a group known as “Antifa”.
Antifa are agitating “against fascism”.
But they seem to be becoming that which they seek to fight.
They are not, it seems, nonviolent protestors.
But I will leave this thread here for a moment…
Sufficing to say that the accused killer of Mr. Brown (Kendrex White) may have been at least “inspired” by Antifa agitprop (graffiti, in this case).
And so, it is very possible that the volatile atmosphere in America caused a mentally unstable person (the condition attributed to Mr. White) to commit a tragic act of violence which left one person dead.
Which brings us back to Cass Sunstein.
Mr. Sunstein, if I understand him correctly, seems to see “conspiracy theories” as arising from an inability or unwillingness to accept reality.
But search for a moment and you will find the former Bush advisor Karl Rove saying something to the effect of, “We create reality.”
With such hubris from the Roves of the world, it does not make confronting reality a black and white (one or the other) affair.
Indeed, it brings us back once again to fuzzy logic (in some respects).
And what the intelligence agencies of the world have given the planet is an immense level of uncertainty concerning the veracity of “news”.
Once we dig enough to find one “big lie”, we are unlikely to accept much else on face value…ever again.
And this is a troubling state of affairs for blokes like me.
But we’re gonna leave it.
I thank God for His blessings.
And I hope to more humbly walk the road of faith.
And so we will turn to something lighter: basketball.
If you tuned in to my last diatribe, you found a “basketball review” (whatever the hell that is) which had nary a word about basketball 🙂
That was because I was deeply distressed.
Terrorism is “over there”…until it’s not.
And every act of violence is terror.
War is terror.
Some would say terrific.
But I must focus…
I reread my writing several times.
“God damn, what a nutjob I am!,” I thought 🙂
And it’s true.
But I mean no harm.
I shoot from the hip.
I don’t mean to insult.
I’m just not disciplined.
Like tonight (ahh basketball…).
On national TV, it was clearly heard that coach Gregg Popovich said, “What the fuck?!?” in the loudest tones imaginable.
Popovich is a firebrand.
Apparently a liberal.
And he hates Trump.
This was a bone of contention for me for much of this year.
Just imagine, “My idol, Gregg Popovich, hates my new idol: Donald Trump.”
I suppose that’s what they call cognitive dissonance (in a certain respect).
But that’s good.
It’s good to challenge.
It’s good to speak up.
It can be costly, but it can also be priceless.
In America, we want people to speak up.
But we don’t want violence.
Indeed, violence in a republic must be met with nonviolence.
Gandhi proved this. Martin Luther King, Jr. proved this.
And the second was inspired by the first.
All of which is to say, that Antifa is illegitimate.
Or rather, their strategy is not smart.
They are alienating those whom they should draw in.
But back to coach Pop…
“What the fuck?!?” was a great moment.
It was candid.
It was clear as day.
Patty Mills did not foul James Harden when he went over that screen 🙂
And that is the beauty of sports.
We can get worked up about those things.
And then we can go back to civil society.
American sports are surprisingly free of hooliganism (for the most part).
There are exceptions.
Philadelphia Eagles fans.
The “Malice at the Palace” (the brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons in the Motor City).
But with exception to these few aberrations, American fans tolerate each other.
They may not like each other, but there’s very little high-profile violence at sporting events.
Of course the operative words are “high-profile”.
News outlets are no-doubt corporately linked and dependent upon the huge associations such as the NBA, NFL, and MLB.
But…as I resorted to in my last drivel installation…what the fuck?!?
It is an honest sentiment.
And Gregg Popovich is a bastion of discipline.
But that fire–that emotion…that passion is what makes him real!
He WANTS to WIN!
That’s the goal.
For a company, make money (Eliyahu Goldratt).
For a team, win.
These assumptions can be challenged.
But the challengers will always run up against a very strong current: common sense.
[Indeed, the founding of the USA leads back to those same words which by no accident Thomas Paine chose.]
And so we are into basketball.
Trying to detour.
With one more caveat: anxiety.
It is not without reservations that I post what I post.
I’m brave/stupid, but I’m also a wimp.
That’s what it takes.
You can have a PhD from MIT. And a certificate from Harvard.
Your pedigree can be thoroughly Ivy League.
And yet, sometimes there is no other word for it than “guts”.
When a psychiatrist says “guts”, watch out.
If the bon mot (thank you Flaubert) is “guts”, then you are in some serious shit.
If a genius-level IQ resorts to that diction…”guts”, then it is not a dumbing-down.
It is the only word which fits.
And “What the fuck?!?”.
So, as always (it seems), I am battling my old demon: anxiety.
I exercise. I eat healthy (more or less). I sleep (as best I can).
I “take as prescribed”.
And still I have my days (like today) where anxiety is almost an insurmountable impediment.
And so I thank God for the blessing of watching this game tonight.
With my family.
What an exceptional reason for joy and happiness.
Ok, that was only a 1228-word introduction.
On to the game!
Last game was so bad, my “review” was void of any basketball substance.
But guess what?
My team bounced back!
Big league 🙂
And I was so proud of them.
I was not feeling well for most of the game, but still it was a joy to see players like Jonathon Simmons and Kawhi Leonard bring the energy and juice to this one which was lacking in the previous match.
The Spurs fixed the problem.
But life rolls on.
And now there is a new problem.
He was having a great game.
And then he just came down weird on his knee.
And it looked bad.
Parker was (literally) carried off the court by his teammates.
And that puts a damper on this win.
But we gotta celebrate.
For Tony. And for the team.
The Spurs brought it this time!
LaMarcus was much better.
The effort was there.
Diving for loose balls.
Kawhi was magnificent.
So cool under pressure.
I was so proud of him!
And how ’bout Pau Gasol with 13 rebounds?
Great job, big fella!
Parker had 18 huge points before he went out with a very bad-looking injury.
I pray Mr. Parker is ok.
Danny Green had a good game.
Dewayne Dedmon again brought instant energy when he finally got in the game.
Patty Mills was tenacious.
This may be Patty’s team going forward.
Depending on Parker’s status.
And Dejounte Murray, in retrospect, was a very smart pick by the front office.
But I expect to see a lot of Ginobili…and Leonard bringing the ball up…and Jonathon Simmons in the game.
Manu had 18 great minutes tonight.
Effort. Hustle. Drive. Back to that word: passion!
Ginobili is capable of running the point…in some ways.
But there will need to be a group effort if Parker is not able to go.
But hey: Jonathon Simmons!
This guy was THERE tonight!!
When you can fire Kawhi Leonard up, then you’ve really done something.
Kawhi doesn’t react a lot.
But when Simmons blew past Beverley for the and-one slam, Leonard’s reaction seemed to say, “‘Bout time someone else dunked the damn ball on this team!”
Simmons goes big.
He is always looking to make the big play.
And in some ways, this makes him a bit like Ginobili.
Understanding the psychology of the game.
Remember Game 1.
Dedmon and Simmons were about the only guys who showed up with any…guts!
Mix it up! Get in there! You’re not happy about losing by 30. Hell no!!
Ok, let’s talk Houston.
Ryan Anderson continues to be very efficient for the Rockets.
It remains to be seen whether his hand or wrist injury will effect his play going forward.
Trevor Ariza did a 180 from Game 1.
He was 0-4 from three.
Clint Capela was not the dominant presence he was in Game 1.
He had a more mediocre outing this time.
Patrick Beverley is a very talented player…and always a handful.
But his threes weren’t falling either.
And the funniest stat…
It’s pretty strange when a guy who is three rebounds shy of a triple-double (James Harden) can be said to have had a bad night 🙂
But it’s true.
Harden was 3-17 from the field.
That is extremely inefficient.
Not much more to say about that performance.
James just never really got it going.
The Spurs returned the ass-whipping of Game 1 to their opponents in this Game 2 beatdown.
Eric Gordon was somewhat kept in check.
Lou Williams was a non-factor.
And so, Game 2 was a mirror image (but flipped) of Game 1.
Finally, I just want to offer a prayer…a sincere prayer…for the family of Harrison Brown.
Whether I’m duped or not…I’ll take Pascal’s wager here.