A Disturbing Phone Call

Since playoff’s end, I have had few opportunities to make the conversation with Sergio. So I received El Chacho’s call today with great anticipation.
Me: Sergio, is that you? Sergio! ¿Cómo está?
Sergio (quietly): Hola, Rudy.
Me: Where are you calling from, mi amigo? Are you in the Canary Islands?
Sergio: No. I am right now looking out at a blighted, nightmarish landscape.
Me: You’re in Los Angeles?
Sergio (with a weak chortle): If only that were so. For a hinting, let me tell you that I left my bag in the rental vehicle for un momento, and it was gone almost immediately.
Me (with forced joviality): You were robbed? Ah, you need a good Spanish meal to lift your spirits my friend!
Sergio: If only it could be so. But other than endless mall strippings, I have nowhere to turn. Even now, I am in a repulsively genérico establishment named “Red Robin”!
Me: You will have to tell me what a robin tastes like! Well, perhaps you can take in the sights at your mystery location?
Sergio: I have done so. With informed local guides. It took a single afternoon to view them all.
Me: Well, you simply need to move on to new pastures of greenery my friend.
Sergio (abrupt harsh laugh) I am going nowhere.
Me (as the truth begins to dawn): Wait, you’re in an economically depressed area with high crime, low culture, and an enervating landscape… Surely you’re not already in—
Sergio: Sacramento. Check, please!
Foto from Blazers Edge.


Non-Dairy Dairy Products

I recently confessed my admission of my lackluster physical condition. (And yes, I am still seeking my lost lung.) So I have taken an interest in the training of my Blazer mates.

You can see that Brandon Roy endorses the use of a product known as Muscle Milk. I have obtained a bottle of this substance, and I am somewhat perplexed by it.

At first I thought it might be composed of an enzyme harvested from actual muscles. Yet as biceps come mercifully unequipped with nipples, this makes no sense. But as Muscle Milk contains no milk of ANY kind, perhaps anything is possible with this non-dairy dairy product!

As for LaMarcus Aldridge, he has warmed the cockles of my heart with his off-seasoning embrace of the world’s greatest sport: fútbol! Surely he will report to our campings with a renewed cardiovascular structure. (But I will have to speak to him about that Chelsea jersey...)

Adición: El Chacho recently sent me this book, Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know.

It looks like a most impressive treatise; surely this Mary Jo Buttafuoco is justly renowned to my American readers?


An Unholy Alliance of Spaniards

It's a relaxing evening as I am walking the streets of Palma de Mallorca. Sangria spills onto the cobblestones, and the clamor of a dozen different tongues fills the air. But only one thought makes up the filling of my mind:

Fernando Alonso has announced himself as the sponsor of Alberto Cantador’s cycling team next year!

Since Contador’s Tour de France victory is assured, this will create an unholy alliance of two of Spain’s best-known athletes. (That is, if one considers either race-car driving or bumper pool to be sports!)

As a popularity Internet indexing of Spaniards shows (right), the Alonso/Contador bloc is in the top 20 already. And while Pau may be trailing at numero 25, you can imagine how I feel about barely eking out superiority over a coach and a sculptor!

That means that my work has been chiseled out for me. It will be no easy task to wrest the title of Spain’s best-beloved sportsman away from Contador's odious axis of excellence. So I need to get out and glad-hand the fanbase!

Further, I must shape myself into spectacular cardiovascular condition for the upcoming Eurobasket championships.

I am not there at the present. In fact, as I run, I have found that I seem to be missing a lung. (Please inform me if you find it.)
Alonso/Contador from the Guardian,
Rudy foto by David Cameron.


No Blood in the Water, No Foul

A number of thoughts vertically leap into my mind upon seeing this poster of Shaquille O’Neal. My hope is that the match is “no blood, no foul,” as any plasma in the ocean's water could prove disastrous for the newest addition to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Yet in probability, the only great white that O'Neal will be dunking on in the nearest future is Zydrunas Ilgauskas during practice! As an aside, this puts me in mind of a tale that Spanish actor and noted atheist Javier Bardem told me:
An atheist sails a small boat off the coast of Majorca. He dives into the azure water and swims some distance from the craft when he sees the dorsal fin of a great white shark approaching him.

The atheist’s heart is beating like the Rose Garden in overtime as the homicidal guppy bears down on him. Glancing back, he sees the fearsome jaws of the grande squalo bianco opening, and despite himself, the atheist cries out, “Oh God! Save me!”

With a suddenness, time stops, the water stops moving, and a deep voice from the heavens calls down: “Why call upon that which you do not believe in?

Astounded, the atheist blurts, “I have not believed in you, it is true. And to be truthful to myself, I cannot ask you to save me now. Perhaps I can presume upon you for a smaller request. Can you make the shark believe in you?”

The disembodied voice replies, “Very well.” And suddenly the water starts to move again. Looking back, the atheist sees the shark stop and pull away from him.

With relief, the atheist begins paddling toward his boat once more, when he hears a new voice behind him. Turning, the atheist is stunned to hear the shark saying, “Gracias a Señor para estos tus regalos, que estamos a punto de recibir de tu prima, por Cristo nuestro Señor, amén.”*
*This is a common grace said before meals in Spain. (One wonders if this tale has a metaphorical quality of the damages that the Cavaliers may inflict on their opponents this seasoning?)
Rudy foto from ACB.


What a Bonbon, and Me with Diabetes!

There are a number of Spanish realities which can give Americans pause. One that came to mind during my recent photo-shooting with actress/model Leticia Dolera was the Spanish expression, “What a bonbon, and me with diabetes!” (This is as referral to my pre-establishing relationship with Cristina.)

It is a “street compliment,” but one without uncouth associations. We Spaniards also call slow-dancing “buckle polishing,” which always delights Jerryd Bayless.

Back to the bonbons: I received some of these candies in the mail. You see, I may have been an NBA rookie last year, but I am a veteran reader. For instances, I have a number of periodicals that count me as a subscriber. One of my favorites is La Lata.

In English, La Lata means “the can.” And when it arrives, to read the magazine one must obtain a can-opener.

The latest issue came in a hermetically sealed paint can. There is printed material, and also a collection of artistic objects created around the issue's theme. The new theme is “Vice,” and so the can includes dozens of pieces that dealt with everything from nail-biting to temptations of the flesh to chocolate. (Yes, my magazine came with bonbons!)

Did this give me thoughts of wickedness, iniquity, depravity, degeneracy, debauchery, and moral turpitude? ¡Naturalmente!

And somehow Leticia obtained my mobile number and even now is calling me. It brings to mind another common Spanish praise for a woman: “What curves and me without brakes!” I will let Leticia go to voice-mail, but still, La Lata has been a real can of worms!
Leticia Dolera foto from MagazineDigital.com,
J. Bayless from azcentral.com,
La Lata from the Wall Street Journal.


In Which Incendiary Taunts Are Detonated

Though I had hoped for restfulness, this summer has been surprisingly grueling. Por ejemplo, I recently had a most arduous photoshoot for La Vanguardia newspaper.

I was to share the lens with the formidable Spanish actress Leticia Dolera. American viewers may be unfamiliar with Leticia, but her film discredits include Mà Morta Truca a la Porta (“The Dead Hand Knocks on the Door”) and Semen, una Historia de Amor (which I think you can easily translate yourself!).

A strangely competitive air quickly swamped the set. For in addition to bringing significant wardrobings, Leticia also trundled in an ample amount of moxie. Why? I cannot say. Did my looks pose a threat to hers? I cannot say. But almost immediately, Leticia employed a mini-trampoline to loom above me.

And then, to my astonishment, she insisted on rolling out a basketball with which to dazzle me with her handlings. Further, as the actress tried to cross me over, Leticia's taunting grew muy incendiary!

Perhaps because Leticia has braved so many onscreen terrors, she felt able to cow a simple Majorcan. But I had reached my limit! Though it was perhaps ungentlemanly, I stole the ball from her and dribbled down the set. Then I dunked with force on a hoop that was conveniently located there.

So let it be known: This is the fate of all actresses who dare challenge me with their primitive skills!
Model shootings from MagazineDigital.com.


Sniffing Turkoglu and Turning Up One's Nose

I have made it a point to note with astuteness the qualities remarked upon by American observers of basketballing.

Thus, I have come to learn of the legendary glue players.
As epitomized by those like Shane Battier, these glue players do the hustle. And though they appear hygienic, the true glue players are covered with an admirable grittiness.

Further, their noble leadership and strength serve as the pivots on which their weaker mates swivel!

This is in direct contrast to the Turkoglu players. Players of this ilk are merely known for their ability to leave a turbulent wake of flim-flammery and pizza boxes behind them!
Along these linings, a hearty ¡Felicidades! to the fine personage who initiated the above graphic of amusement. (I especially enjoy my brandishing weapon; El Machetero would settle for nothing less!)
Shane Battier from Deuce of Davenport.


Flim-Flam Stories and Tapas

I have had to pull myself away from Camp Rudy to deal with a host of reports rounding the corner. It seems many are intent on scooping news that I will demand a trade if Hedo Turkoglu is obtained by the Trail Blazers.

These are mere flim-flam stories, and nothing but shams and lies!

But let me hypothetically state that if Hedo is obtained, the Asia Minor native might pull apart the Blazers in a major way. Just look at what he is doing to Peja! Further, Hedo is infamous for eating pizza just before a match.

This is unheard of, and I frown upon it. It belies a lack of professional intent. And as Sergio and I have shown, chicken strips and tapas (French fries) should be the preferred pregame meal!
Hedo from Basketbawful.

Camp Rudy 09: La Noche

To my left lays the pool, swathed in its blue shimmer. Through the recumbent air of the summer night floated the fluttering, ribbony sounds of crickets. And with my listening, I hear something come quietly from the gym:

Thwock. Thwock. Thwock.

The campers have broken curfew and snuck into the gym for clandestine basketballings! I lean back, a smile upon my lips, lost amid my own memories of midnight hoops.

¡Ah, de espíritu juvenil!

Let the little scamps play. It is all to the good.

And tomorrow, I shall extract a measure of payback, Rudy-style!

Foto by Casey Holdahl for Blazers Center Court.