This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wooden Ships



To be honest, I never liked the prim, fussy, deeply religious man who exemplified bedrock Indianan conservative values.

He was so-o-o not LA.

When he forced Walton to get a haircut or else......that was it. I was done with the wizard of Westwood for all time.




Until today, when the knowledge of his passing hit home like yet another insistent blip across the radar screen of my own short shelf space, as I awoke once more to those middle-aged reflective memories that both sustain and depress an old man whose best days are in the rearview.

A wide-awake nightmare.

Then again, when you think about it, LA, the real LA, is so not LA. The real LA is the dirty, grimy, scalding asphalt of the deadend American dream.

There is no LA.

There never has been an LA.

There never again will be an LA that never was LA in the first place.

Some people are born and raised, live and die surrounded by family and friends, their souls anchored to a sense of place that radiates timeless enlightenment.

Every unremarkable stop along the highway where folks make the most out of their limited surroundings and manage in the process of life and death to imbue the universe with an infinitesimal speck of human dignity.

But "LA" is just a trickfucking that gets inside your head and then keeps moving you around, changing you, shrinking you, breaking you, eating at you until you haven't anymore the slightest idea uncontaminated by remorse.

For many years I exalted pridefully in the fact that I was "from LA" whenever asked by people who passed fleetingly in the night as I wandered everywhere in this dubiously grate banana republic of zero redemption.

I took immensely foolish pride in their conference of automatic respect for this accident of my birthplace, because they hailed only from some nowhere land like Malden, or Milwaukee, or Missouri.

John Wooden left Indiana but Indiana never left him. He’s died but he never succumbed to the temptations which buried me alive.

I left LA and LA laughed in my face, mocked me and scorned me every dogged step I traced along a meaningless path, allowing myself to get blown about like some shallow rooted weed that wouldn't last the season amidst an eternity of damnation.

15 comments:

donkeytale said...

Apologies in advance for subjecting you to the ongoing sports schtick...

socrates said...

I don't mind. You mentioned Bill Walton, and thus showed obedience to the truism that the sports universe rotates around Boston. I hope you like the added images.

I've always wondered if Wooden really let Walton smoke pot. Personally, when I was into shooting hoops, if I was baked, my percentages went way up. Of course at some point, I'd put the basketball down and go looking for some doritos or cold pizza. [/munchies]

Bill Walton's Inside Game

(excerpt by Pat Jordan of NY Times)

She [ex-wife Susie Walton] says that despite Wooden's reputation as a disciplinarian, he deferred to his star. "Wooden let Bill smoke pot but not the other players," she says, although Wooden denies it. "It's funny, but Bill never said Wooden was this wonderful guy then. Now he puts him on a pedestal. Bill is still searching for certitude in assertive father figures."

donkeytale said...

I hoped you'd add some pictures...thx for this.

No way Wooden allowed Walton to smoke weed. I think he did allow him his freedom of speech to demonstrate against the war, but only outside of basketball season.

I know what you mean about weed helping your touch. It helps me here the notes better too....but messes up lung function too much to be of any use....

socrates said...

Bill was probably giving Susie Chapstick and others some blarney, and they fell for it.

By the way, anyone going to see the Blarney Stone, here's some advice. Don't kiss it. The locals literally like taking the piss out of it or better put on it. And the Irish do like having fun spinning yarns.

I've been off of weed for a year or two. I wouldn't deny a puff if it's passed, but I don't go seeking out bags like the old days. At first it was tough. But after a while, I didn't miss it one bit. Cigarettes are a whole other matter. Those are considered more addictive than heroin, although less harmful, though still harmful.

I don't think marijuana should be illegal, and here in Massachusetts possessing less than an ounce is no longer considered criminial.

I'd have to research a bit to confirm it, but I think marijuana was made illegal because of racism. Whitey had no issues with Grandma Morphine.

I still want to know if Reefer Madness was an exploitation comedy or propaganda. I finally watched that a few months back. It didn't seem like propaganda to me. I bet it had the opposite effect of getting people to avoid it. The most effective anti-drug ad was probably the one with the egg and the frying pan. That was some scary shitoca.

But even those were taken too far. Nancy Reagan and her buddies were getting their propaganda put into ABC afternoon specials. I could find it at youtube, but there was a riotous special in which Chachi Arcola almost killed his brother due to smoking pot. It was too over the top. I don't think minors should smoke weed. That's my angle. 18 seems to be an appropriate age for folks to become adults, even if some develop sooner and others later.

donkeytale said...

I believe MJ is on the ballot for full legalization in the next Californiadise election, where none other than former Gov Moonbeam is back on the ballot for another try.

Both could well win.

President Jerry Brown instead of Jimmy Carter and who knows where this f'd up country's head would be at today?

socrates said...

Jerry Brown would have made the best President of all time. I like him much more than I ever did Kucinich. Ted Kennedy is the big what if. The Reagan counter-revolution might have never happened. Jimmy Carter was actually pretty good for foreign policy. No one hated us back then other than the typical losers taking hostages. Then there was a domino effect where more liberal countries like Canada and England became more conservative. Demotards as you call them went right. Ronald Reagan was an ass. Ketchup's a vegetable? Curses on him, Nancy, and their astrologer.

socrates said...

No center combo will ever match Parish and Walton.... for both skills and ugliness. Maybe I shouldn't have gone there. Walton's been a good peacenik. What a long, strange trip it's been. Truckin....

donkeytale said...

I see youre grasping at Celtic straws straws. I never considered the key importance of center tandems before.

RIOTOUS!

Parrish was a very good center with a nice jumper who played on a team stacked with historic level talent. He wasnt a difference maker.

Walton, of course, was at the end f a disappointing career, tragically shortened by a botched operation on his foot.

In his brief prime year and a half, Walton was the greatest center of all time not named Bill Russell.

His quickness around the basket, deft jump shot and free throw shooting abilities made an otherwise Cavalier-like Portland team into world beaters. There is something of Walton's game in Gasol, the quickness around the basket and the nice touch, but Walton of course was much more dominating as the offense ran through him.

Knocked off the historically talented 76ers in 77, and were off to an astounding 50-10 in 77-78 before Walton went down, and never came back, except for that one year in Boston.

He was a great team player who elevated those around him. Maurice Lucas became a star playing with Walton, but do you remember what he did after Walton's final injury knocked him out for good?

I remember a game in the 77 finals where Walton went something like 20 points, 23 rebounds, 8 assists and 7 blocks, or wtf.

And yet, like Russell, it wasn't his stats that made him great, it was his style of play, the rebounding and the quick outlet passing that triggered the fast break.

Still, injuries are part of the game and his lack of longevity are what downgrade his alltime greatness. But for pure basketball skills, only Russell was his equal. Alltime.

Game 1 was a ratings bonanza for the NBA, winning the night ratings wise for ABC.

Of course, the Celtics will bounce back tonight and play much better. Gasol came out and stated Garnett has lost a step, which is either a very stupid thing to say or else he's so confident in the Lakers skill dominance that it doesnt matter.

Either way, he should keep his mouth shut there and let his game do the talking.

donkeytale said...

The only concern I have for the Celtics is that they cannot match the Lakers overall quickness and speed.

Only Rondo on the Celtics can keep up, and he was pretty much neutralized in game 1. He will be the key tonite for Boston. He has to make effective penetration. He was impotent the other night.

I look for the Lakers to start fast and grab an early lead, with Rivers then going zone and ugly ball, which seems to work against the Lakers.

This will not be a showtime series. If it is, Boston has no chance.

donkeytale said...

This pretty good stuff, if my link works:

1977 NBA Finals

"The game turned sour with about five minutes left. First, Portland's Lloyd Neal and McGinnis squared off. Then Lucas and Erving traded elbows. Finally, Dawkins and Bob Gross went at it. After a tug-of-war over a rebound, Gross screamed at Dawkins, who responded with a roundhouse. Gross ducked at the last instant and the blow caught Dawkins' own teammate, Collins, who had been holding Gross. Lucas then nailed the 6-foot-11, 260-pound Dawkins with a shot from behind, and both benches jumped into the fray along with coaches, spectators, security guards and officials.

Even Ramsay and his assistant, Jack McKinney, took on a few fans before Ramsay turned his ire on Dawkins, only to be shoved out of the way. When the floor was finally cleared, Lucas and Dawkins were ejected. They were later fined $2,500 each, and Collins needed four stitches.

Lucas seemed ready to settle the matter right off the bat that Sunday, May 29. He strode directly to the Philadelphia bench, then startled everybody, including Dawkins, by sticking out his hand for a shake. That matter settled, he and the Blazers proceeded to take out the Sixers with offense. Lucas himself contributed 27 points and 12 rebounds. Walton had a mere nine assists, 20 points, and 18 rebounds. Twardzik, too, had returned to speed, driving the Portland offense along to a 42-point fourth quarter. They won in a blaze, 129-107, closing the in the series gap to 2-1."

Notice that Crum called Walton the best high school player he ever saw. I'm sure he saw Alcindor in hi skkkool too. Note Wooden's disbelief. La Mesa is or was a lily white upper middle class burb of San Diego, hardly a basketball mecca.

I saw Walton play once when he was in high school, at a famous annual Christmas tourney in the San Gabriel Valley that brought together the best LA city schools against the best SoCal suburban schools. Of course, the LA city teams usually dominated but not that year. I remember the final, Waltons allwhite team beat the top LA City team something like 83-44, or wtf. Unheard of.

In Calif. they divide LA City School district into a separate conference. The rest of the leagues are in the "CIF." Never the twain shall meet, except in nonconference preseason. Which blows.

socrates said...

I'm not grasping at anything. We were talking pot and Bill Walton. Eventually that road leads to Robert Parish.

One thing I've noticed more than ever is how stupid all the writings combined are on sports. Not you. Not me. O'm not singlingling anyone or any paper out. It comes back to your theory on rubbish.

It's beyond anonymous nobodies, althoough I've reached the point of reading what any of those yahoos say. You've got so-called professionals adding nothing. It was one game. It will take at least two more to know if it meant more than one cruddy game.

All your points are true. What I see is a general Western attempt at controlling social reality. I'm not attacking you, just writing in general. It turns into blah, blahg, Bertold Blecht.

We have to wait ans see!

Then it should be like how's the weather talk. Not Charles Barkley saying this is how it's going down and how it will finish, because I'm Charles Barkley. Even Jimmy the Greek wasn't all that accurate.

Walton was good. I was too young to appreciate 1977. I was just entering sports consciousness.

I remember 1975 on. But not much from the early years. I'm pretty sure I remember from the Tiny Archibald Celtics on, but even then I make mistakes. I'm no Rainman recollecting events at will. I saw what Red did in real time. Getting DJ for a not so good center Rick Robey. Drafting Bird a year ahead schedule. I loved the rivalry with the Sixers. I know exactly who you're talking about with Daryl Dawkins. Andrew Toney was incredible. Dr. J was like a Dominique Wilkins but with heart. Moses Malone, well, his first name was Moses. That kind of says it all.

And of course the Celtics fans invented the break all the odds and root Philly on chanting Beat LA.

Los Angeles has had a lot of historic success. They've won 10 titles to the Celtics' 17. They've had a better but somewhat similar run to the Atanta Braves. They've probably got the record for close but no cigar seasons, punctuated with the 1069 balloon game.

The LA fans are as obnoxious as it gets. No one was going to beat the Celtics in 2008 once they got past Cleveland. If this Celtics team were five years younger, yeah woulda could, shoulda, they would have rivaled teams from the 60's. Jordan's Bulls were not that good, imho. The 2008 Celtics were the closest team to historic greatness since Jordan's. Correction, I'll throw Tim Duncan's Spurs in there too. Maybe one of the recent Billup Detroit teams. Otherwise, Bird's Celtics, Magic's Lakers, and then Isiah's Pistons were the best. Before then there was Walton's Trailblazers.

In short, I totally agree with your premise that they don't make teams like they used to.


Paul Pierce should be first ballot Hall of Fame. Funny how as a youth he lived near Los Angeles yet then became the heart and soul of the Celtics.

Have there been other greats who played for the enemy of a historic rivalry? The only similar case I can think of is when in Little League, kids are forced to wear such enemy hats.

socrates said...

fricken sassafrassa typos

donkeytale said...

No time today, but I assume you enjoyed last night's action?

Rondo was awesome in crunch time. His two defensive strips from behind Fisher and Kobe were crucial, as was the jumper he buried.

Unorthodox but effective.

For the second straight game the officials were the top defenders, game one on Allen and last night on Kobe.

Swallow your whistles and let them play!

Last night was much more what you would expect from these teams. Back and forth all night long.

LA fans are obnoxious?

RIOTOUS!

donkeytale said...

Not sure where yer going with th too much sports schtick. One could apply that to all subject matter equally and then you mights well shut down the whiteysphere en toto.

Too much of everything meaningless in the postmodern world.

"Bertold Blecht" is a definite winner.

Pay the man, Shirley!

socrates said...

That win was huge, no doubt.

It was good to see Rondo back in form. It's disturbing how KG looks. He may have a bad shoulder to go with his cranky knee. Thankfully Rasheed Wallace is playing like the one who was with the Pistons for a title. And don't forget about Nate Robinson. He can help make sure Rondo doesn't get burned out.

There's definitely something wrong with the refs. Basketball is the only sport where there is this much complaining by both fans and the people involved. Then there's the Donaghy situation and historic scandals pertaining to hoops.

I'm in total agreement that sports can be a good vehicle for studying the human condition. Unfortunately, there is less of that than blowhard material.