My favorite musical group of all time, the Wu-Tang Clan, is performing right now and I reluctantly gave up on attending the show after getting over to the venue and seeing the line spanning all the way around the corner. Really, though, for a number of reasons I was at least ambivalent and at most uninterested in going to see the Clan in concert and seeing the humongous line just solidified my apprehension into nonattendance.
I've been physically ill, just feeling cruddy and cloudy with a boogery head cold and a combo of other ailments for the past 7 days, most likely brought on by the stressful work environment I'm in each day. Pretty much every day at work features me having to ward off angry vendors to whom we owe tens of thousands of dollars and tell them "we just don't have it" and variations of that pathetic statement. The owner, who is also my co-worker, is a trampled man. His company is crumbling to dust before his very eyes.
I actually saw Wu-Tang perform live here in San Diego exactly two years today and it was a spectacular show. My reluctance to go see them again though is partially because of their never changing up the set list when they perform together as a group; they play the same exact tracks every time. All the mid-90s classics. Never any more recent (last ten years) material. Plus my favorite member, The Rza, won't be performing on the current tour because he's in China directing his first movie, The Man with the Iron Fist starring Russell Crowe.
If one of the members was performing solo or alongside some of the lesser heard but highly skilled Killa Bees then I would be a lot more eager to see it because they would certainly delve deeper into their vast catalogue. I'm glad to hear that 1990s Wu affiliate La the Darkman is one of the opening acts on this tour, though. And I heard he performed this classic song at the San Francisco show on Thursday:
It'd be really special if he got the chance to perform this relatively obscure Wu gem with Masta Killa and U-God, "Element of Surprise" produced by 4th Disciple:
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R.I.P. to the great Ron Santo who died at the age of 70 yesterday. The should-be Hall of Fame third baseman was a Chicago Cubs legend. He suffered from diabetes which eventually led to him having both legs amputated but he was still always a mainstay at Wrigley Field. Sad to see him go.
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I received a phone call while still in bed sleeping this morning from my friend and co-worker informing me that the Padres had officially traded hometown hero and superstar Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox. I'm shocked at how quickly it happened but it really seemed inevitable. Gonzalez is one of the best players in baseball right now and he was entering the last year of an extremely underpaid deal, while it was becoming more and more clear that there was no way the Padres would be able to re-sign him with the money he'd inevitably demand on the market as such a great commodity. It's sad because he's a San Diego native of Mexican-American descent which makes him a perfect fit here but such is the business of baseball. The Padres don't have much money (though I'm not sure why) and he was going to undoubtedly command a huge contract.
The Padres' GM Jed Hoyer is a former whiz kid from the Red Sox front office and so we can be confident that he knew exactly which minor players to snatch up from his former team in return for this most precious trade piece. According to Marc Hulet from FanGraphs, the new arrivals from the Sox already slide right into the top 5 prospects in the Padres system.
While I'm glad I got to attend so many Padres games this summer and see one of the best hitting Padres of all time lead his team through a pennant race, I'm not quite as emotionally attached to the players as some of the Padre diehards and, objectively, this seems like a great deal for the situation they found themselves in. It will be fun rooting for Adrian to kick the Yankees' asses. But I wish this deal didn't have to happen.
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For the last few weeks I've been absorbed fully into the happenings of the NBA, watching multiple games every night. Having watched games featuring almost every team in the league, I'm starting to wonder if there are any truly boring teams to watch. There doesn't seem to be right now as even the crappiest teams have a player or two who's worth watching. The best example of this is the perennially pathetic Los Angeles Clippers who have become must-see TV for me lately with rookie Blake Griffin exploding onto the scene with nightly highlight reels of him doing things you normally only see in NBA Jam or old Shawn Kemp highlights.
Even the Knicks, that formally destitute, dilapidated franchise I've always rooted for but most recently shielded my eyes from, seem to be crawling out of their years in the sewer. Mike D'Antoni has the offense clicking, playing fast-paced, exciting and high-scoring basketball while Amare Stoudemire is settling into a consistent streak of awesomeness and starting to have great chemistry with new point guard Raymond Felton. The Knicks are actually fun to watch.
The NBA world was abuzz all week about LeBron James' return to Cleveland to play his former team but after the bullshit about his famous powder toss and the player introductions, there was really nothing special to the game at all. The Heat absolutely scorched a clearly inferior team right from the start and that was the end of it.
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I've been reading and loving two excellent but very different basketball books lately, The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac and Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11, and I will write a review for them soon. I can't speak highly enough about both of them. In the Macrophenomenal book, the team over at FreeDarko uses sleek artwork and graphs to examine the culture and essence of the contemporary NBA and the Prospectus book is an absolute gem, reminding me of Bill James' Baseball Abstracts. Glad to see this infinitely awesome sport inspiring such great material.