¡La Mejor Salsa del Mundo Es el Hambre!

This above title has a roughened meaning of "Hunger is the best sauce in the world." And in our valiant victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, novice player Jeff Pendergraph was famished!

He leapt and collided like El Chacho at a buffet. Best of all was when Jeff set a pick so stalwart, Al Thornton hit him and foundered like a ship washed against the Rock of Gibraltar!

And then Jeff dunked. ¡Pum!

Foto from the Oregonian.


Of the Toughness

To be sure, these days have been difficult for myself and all of my mates. But as you Americans say, when the tough gets going, that going becomes even tougher.

And as a Mallorcan, I have been forged in the heat of this toughness! It was on that sun-kissed island that I perceived the following while lounging on the beach. A beggar with his hands out had slogged through the hot sand to approach a grandmother.

“Please, señora,” the poor man pleaded. “I haven't eaten all day.”

“Good,” said the grandmother. “Now you won't have to worry about cramps when you go for a swim.”


Rudy foto from the Oregonian.


Of Alley-Oops and Enchantments

And so another warrior falls beneath the scythe. With Joel Pryzbilla now out for the season, the ineluctable question is “Why has Fate singled out the Trail Blazers for its direst attentions?

Perhaps there is no reason, and the die was cast in ages past, when Greg Oden was a mere youth. This reminds me of how justice was administered in Spain back in Franco’s day. The tale is told of the judge sitting in his blackened robe. Before him, the defense lawyer and persecutor prepare their opening remarks.

The judge then gestures to the bailiff:

Bring in the guilty man.

You may well ask what I have done during my forced inactivities. Oh, I balked and chafed at the restrictions placed upon me! And so I had to add anti-chafing balm to my medications.

More happily, I plunged myself into the readings of books for full days and nights. My mind has been filled with alley-oops and enchantments, with quarrels, battles, challenges, wounds, wooings, loves, tempests, and impossible follies.

And so I now seek to return to the parquets to seek adventure and practice the qualities of a native Spaniard: To right wrongs, to be a boon to my mates, to seek eternal renown… and perhaps to enjoy some tapas before plunging into battle again!

Or, in the pithy words of the estimable Yao Ming: “Again I reprove that Tauren warrior.”


A Very Catalonian Christmas

As my mates journey abroad, let me share with you about Spanish traditions of the yule’s tide. Por ejemplo, do you know the character of El Caganer (“the great pooper”)? In northeastern Spain, figurines like this one date back to the 1600s and are considered symbols of the greatest healthiness.

Thus, these traditional statues of El Caganer evacuating his bowels are a common sight in Catalonia. Recent figurines include the celebrity, such as my friend Rafael Nadal, or figures such as Dali and Queen Elizabeth.

I know these must seem an oddity to North Americans. But we Spaniards do not count ourselves among the scatalogically prissy!

Before dining, Catalans sometimes say, ¡Menjar bé, i caga fort, i no tinguess por de la mort! (“Eat well, poop strong, and you will have no fear of death!”) And the two rivers that once bordered Barcelona (Catalonia’s capital) were called Merdanca (poop stream) and the Cagallel (turd carrier).

In this Christmas season, Catalan kids play a game searching for the Caganer, who is hidden somewhere in the Nativity arrangement. It is akin to “Where’s Waldo?”, yet with a marked difference.

Ah, the festivities! Now is the time for bakeries to peddle pastries shaped like fecal deposits. And a hollow log known as the Cagatió (“poop log”) packed with gifts. Children beat on the Cagatió with sticks and all sing a song to persuade it to yield its gifts.

Caga tió (Poop log)

tió de Nadal (log of Christmas)

no caguis arengades (don’t poop salty fish)

que són salads. (which are not good.)

¡Caga torrons (Poop almond candies)

que son mes bons! (which are much better!)

El Caganer figurines from Caganer.com,

Cagatió from My Dutch Fairy Tale.


Derrick Rose and the Breakers of the Wind

As stated, my initial notion was that Derrick Rose's public imaging might lack a certain originality. But these breakers of the wind that Rose sports are not without a certain appeal!
Foto shoot from GQ.

A Dearth of Funk

Once again beneath my heels I feel Rocinante’s ribs. I take to the road with my shield held high.” From Che Guevara’s final letter to his parents.
During my brief confinement following the surgery of the back, my mind voyaged afar. I thought of Miguel de Cervantes penning Don Quixote while imprisoned in a Seville jail. There, Cervantes battled doldrums by confining his altered ego Quixote within chivalric madness and silly armor.

Bedridden, I fought battles and built castles in my mind. Descending into a momentary funkiness, I even donned a threadbare bathrobe that Sergio would find amusing. To battle this unseemly inactivity, I allowed my stubbling to flourish into a valiant neo-beard (or “pudding trap” as Greg Oden calls it).

It has served me well.

But now I face the future with relief from my back and a dearth of funk in my heart. For to be otherwise would prove as false to my Mallorcan heritage as this youth’s stubble is to his face. ¡Ad astra!

Rudy foto by Ben Golliver of BlazersEdge.


Rudy Undergoes Surgery

Rudy went through a surgery in the Portland area today called a "microdiscectomy." It's intended to reduce pressure on the spinal nerve that is causing pain in Rudy's right leg. (A wealth of information regarding the procedure can be found at BlazersEdge.)

The staff here join all of Rudy's fans in sincerely wishing him a successful operation and healthy recovery.


The Blush Should Be on This Rose

In the mists of the not-far distant past, we were crushed by the Golden State Warriors... this, despite the factoid that they outfitted a mere eight players for the match!

Along with you, I dismissed this as an event of freakish nature. Yet since then, our misfortunes have mounted, dismounted, gathered feedbags, and then galloped off again, and I feel that a reign of unreality has usurped my senses.

Last año, we Trail Blazers were a powerful team in our home pavilion. Excepting the topsy-curviness of the playoffs, the Rose Garden was a bastion of our greatest strengths and most artful lay-ups.

No longer!

And now, other mobs of anarchy storm our shattered ramparts. For I see that Derrick Rose has been deemed by the Victoria’s Secret as “Chicago’s sexiest athlete." (Listen carefully: Those flopping sounds you hear are Joakim Noah and Patrick Sharp convulsing in jealousy.)

To be sure, the notion of basketball player as elongated beefcake is nothing new.

But the light heart (and low mind) behind Derrick Rose’s award is most derivative. Let me simply say that the jersey work of an enterprising Blazers fan last season is award enough for me! In fact, perhaps my Mallorcan concupiscence should be administered into our starting line-up... it might be the changing of the off-guard that we need!

Adición: To cap to the week's confusions, I viewed an American-style "football" game Thursday. It pitted two local universities against each other in what is known as the "Civil War."

I was taken aback by this moniker; as a Spaniard, you can imagine the dim view I have of such conflicts. But luckily, there were no Falangists in the arena, only fans clad in orange or green.

As to the match, I have no notion of what happened... but it was all very exciting!

Nic Batum from the Oregonian, Derrick Rose foto from here, Kareem Abdul Jabbar from SI Vault, Rudy’s jersey by Ben Golliver, Rudy at Autzen from draker.


"¿Cómo Se Cuelgan?" (or "How's It Hanging?")

The query is posed: Why have we lost all three of our recent matches? There is no easy answer. But it is my belief that every basketball competitor is as Heaven made him… and sometimes a great deal worse.

On to a lighter topic: Before each match, my mates and I greet each other in a friendly manner. So prior to our contest against Miami, the conviviacious Jeff Pendergraph called out to me, “Rudy! How’s it hanging?

His reference was both alarming and clear. But I answered in good faith! “In briefs, scientists believe testículos descend for temperature reasons related to the fertility. Their hanging nature prevents the unwished-for activation of esperma by keeping the temperature of our nutmegs different from the body.”

But from Jeff’s crestfallen aspect, I could see this was not the hoped-for response.

Luckily, Greg Oden intervened. “The question is not ‘Why’s it hanging,’ Spaniard. It is ‘How’s it hanging.’”

A revelation! Well in that event, it appears to be hanging in a normal fashion, and I thank you for the concern. (Even so, I wonder: What manner of pathological curiousity leads to such inquisitions?)

Rudy foto from Rudyfans, Star Wars from ricko.