Sunday, April 26, 2009

Great start

The Cavs started their 2K9 playoff run by dominating an aging, completely overwhelmed Pistons team, dumping them 4-0 and winning every game by a double-digit margin. With the possible exception of Game 3, in which the Pistons actually played great defense and the Cavs' back-court shot roughly 0.0% from the field, the Cavs were in complete control, so much so that not even their most pessimistic, woe-is-me, just waiting for the other shoe to drop fan (read: yours truly) can find fault with the team's performance. Sure, I'll be on the verge of nervously puking my brains out come the next round, especially if the Heat is our opponent; Wade is a terrific player, and is perfectly capable of single-handedly carrying his woeful supporting cast, not to mention overcoming the inexperience and overall ineptitude of the Heat's Coach Kumar. Still, if the Cavs maintain their focus and continue with their relentless hustle and suffocating defense, I like their chances.

It would be especially sweet to see this current line-up go all the way (PLEASE, GOD!!!), considering not just their talent but also their off-the-charts chemistry and likeability. They've definitely joined the short list of my all-time fave Cleveland teams, right there with the '95 Indians (minus Albert Belle, of course) and '86 Browns (Dixon & Minnifield, who unknonwingly co-created the Dawg Pound by barking at each other after pass break-ups or big tackles, and Bernie's breakout season). Bron-Bron and his choreographed pre-game team poses, the insane Mo Williams and his running floater, which he's christened The Mo-Flo, Big Z and his all-bald coiffure that makes him look like a seven-foot-three Lithuanian Nosferatu, Sideshow Andy, Delonte's gibberish syntax/accent, the return of Joe Smith, Coach Brown's colour-coordinated old-lady glasses... and this awesome spoof commercial to get the team and the fans pumped up for the playoffs:

Go Cavs !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ye Olde Shakespeare Day

Today, April 23rd, marks the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth (1564, Stratford-upon-Avon) as well as his death (1616, New Place). Why, then, are we still calling for a National Shakespeare Day, not only in the States, but also in the United Kingdom? This day should have been designated to The Bard centuries ago.

There is plenty of debate when it comes to assigning top-dog status to someone in any branch of the humanities. Who was the greatest composer of classical music? Some claim Mozart, others claim Beethoven, still others claim Bach. Who was the greatest composer of opera? Some claim Verdi, others claim Puccini, still others claim Wagner (yuck!). Who was the greatest painter? Rembrandt? Van Gogh? Monet? The same debate can rage in pretty much all areas of the fine arts... except when it comes to English-language literature. There is no greater writer in the English canon than William Shakespeare, regardless of era or genre. I would like to go as far as pronouncing The Bard to be the greatest writer ever, but cannot because of my embarrassingly thorough ignorance of non-Western literature. Nevertheless, I cannot fathom the fact that we have idiotic designations like National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day or Lazy Day, but no Shakespeare Day on April 23rd! Disgraceful.

A few links of interest:

Join the cause and heed the call for a National Shakespeare Day, both in the UK and the US.

Brush up on The Bard's greatness -- here's his complete opus, courtesy of MIT.

Read about The Bard's life, theatre, and conspiracy theories about his authorship.

Browse through this plethora of Shakespeare resources, courtesy of Palomar College.

And, if nothing else, insult a friend, co-worker, or insignificant other, Shakespeare-style!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A short Easter feel-good story

The place where I work is adjacent to several large, disturbed woodlands that house a homeless camp and myriad birds. We have woodpeckers that have bored their nests right into the overhangs, have seen various cardinals, have had ibises walk right up to our door, and hear pheasants caw-awing in the near-distance every day. Our building's windows have a mild tint and are completely reflective, so much so that the woodpeckers perch on the structure and peck at their reflection. When you combine the reflective windows with the woodlands' proximity, it stands to reason that it would only be a matter of time until a bird slammed right into the windows, and this finally happened a couple of days ago. The bird in question was a tiny indigo bunting, and it was really shaken up by the collision -- when I first went out there to check on it, it was trembling uncontrollably and couldn't even pretend to move away. I continued to check on it periodically, and was enough of an insensitive jerk to take advantage of the bunting's inability to fly away to snap a picture:

Now, when it comes to animals, I've always been a firm believer in the Humans Should Not Interfere doctrine. We have a really idiotic perspective that the cute and fuzzies are worth protecting and nurturing, while the not-so-cute and fuzzies are not. Even worse, we've gotten into the habit of looking at the animal kingdom as a surreal, archetypal western novella: the cute and fuzzies are Good, and the not-so-cute and fuzzies are Evil. I, on the other hand, don't subscribe to this garbage. It may be a byproduct of being a pretty unattractive guy, but with the notable exception of the opposite sex, appearances mean nothing to me. As a result, I do not assign more or less worth to an adorably cute indigo bunting than I would to the nefarious-looking turkey vulture or the creepy colony of ants that would scavenge the adorable bunting's carcass. So, against the pleas of co-workers and customers, I saw to it that the bunting was left alone to live or die. At some point in the day, when one of the co-workers went to check on the bunting, it had recovered enough to hop/fly into the bushes.

The moral of this rambling story: leave the beasties alone, whether the end-result is desirable by our idiotic standards (the bunting recovered and flew away to live happily ever after) or whether the end-result conforms to the savage reality of life (the bunting did not recover, died in the bushes, and was supped on by The Conqueror Worm). So long as we don't interfere, the animal kingdom will benefit.

Happy Easter!