Allow Me My Small Pleasures

During one of my brief sojourns on the parquet in these playoffings, I witnessed an energetic dunkage by Amare Stoudamire.

The Sun followed suit with an inchoate bellow at his home crowd.

They politely applauded.

Turning to me, the tattooed basilisk cried, “This is MY house!

“My compliments on the décor!” I said warmly.

As Stoudamire gave me an uncomprehending stare and turned to run downcourt, I added, “Though your draperies leave much to be desired.”
Foto by the AP
photo below by britty_d


Distant Dreams and the Brains of Pharaohs

As I commenced to address this season, I looked back upon our 2008-2009 campaign with condescension. To be sure, Sergio and I had a fine year, but I considered it a mere preparation for NOW.

And here I am months later, a mere afterglow of myself! It is sweet mercy granted by Providencia that I was ignorant of my future. My defense is so bad, my countryman from the Toronto Raptors has volunteered his name to me, so that I might be called Jose Calderowned.

And my offense! It is to weep tears of blood.

Imagine if we knew the outcomes of all our de tres puntos attempts and elaborate parquet schemes…how ruined our lives would be! 

Instead we trot up and down the basketball court of life unaware of life outside the pavilion, as happy as any dumb animal...that also happens to play basketball.

What is next? Who knows it? If we were to possess a herald of the future on the team, it would have to be Andre Miller. While he may not be an oracle, I am told that in his youth, Andre performed antic routines. Perhaps!

Yet I think of him as an rough uncle, complete with irascible habits, unstoppable reminiscences, and a form from the three-point line that causes shooting coaches to quail and avert their eyes.

Here is Andre’s high-pitched post-match comment after this evening’s drubbing in Phoenix: “Rudy, do you know how the ancient Egyptians prepared the Pharaoh’s body for the afterlife?

I replied that I was unaware of their methods.

They pulled the Pharaoh’s brain out of his skull through his nose with a hook. And that ain’t nothin’ compared to what the Suns just did to us out there tonight!
Matador foto from Reuters
Rudy graphic by Brandon Mitchell.


WARNING: Even the Stalwart Val Kilmer Would Avert His Gaze from This Debacle

A difficult week. My poor play in the playoffings has resulted in attempted character assassinations here, here, and here. And here...and even my post-practice heaves are subject to barbs! This has resulted in something most unwelcome— yes, a decrease in “Ru-dy” chants, but more importantly, a decline in blog visitations!

Matters grew so dire, I utilized technologies to locate my sole remaining reader. Whoever this individual was, he or she visited my site daily and diligently. Such loyalty! So I decided to pay a visit! Sitemeters and Google mappings provided the needed coordinates.

Ascending the walkway to an attractive cottage in Lake Oswego, I imagined who my sole remaining supporter might be. Perhaps a comely Oregonian answering the portal in a Rudy jersey? Perhaps not, but no matter! The encounter would doubtless leave my reinvigorated for our next match!

Instead, I got one of the region’s ubiquitous doughy, bald fellows.

“So you are the one who has been reading!” I said undeterred. “I thank you for the support.”

The door-dweller's eyes flashed in recognition, but he cocked his head skeptically.

“My bloggings!” I prompted with a knowing smile.

“Ah!” the man shook his head in demurral. “No, I’m a Nuggets fan. My wife set our browser’s homepage to your blog to tease me.” 

Further words were exchanged. I do not recall them.

Retreating to my auto, I felt two centimeters shorter. If only I could avert my eyes from my own situation! I was thus reminded of the travails of the Earl of Uxbridge at Waterloo. After his ninth steed was shot from under him, the Earl’s luck changed...for the worse! A load of grapeshot smashed into his right knee and the Earl cried out, “By God, sir, I've lost my leg!”

His companion removed a telescope from his eye and said, “By God, sir, so you have.”
Fotos from Getty Images and Tara Jane.


Curfews? Gesundheit!

As a callow (but tanned!) youth on Mallorca, I once remained at a poetry recital on the beach until an hour of the night most unseemly. My father chided me upon my return with a familiar line. “When I was your age, my father would not allow me to go out of the house after midnight.”

“Your father’s curfew,” I replied, “seems hardly born of wisdom.”

At this, my padre exclaimed, “He was a far better father than the one you have, you rapscallion!”

There was a pause, and then gales of laughter swept our darkened home. And so, here in the sun-baked perdition of Phoenix, I have restricted myself with my own curfew. I watch tape, take notes, and look to improve on my play in the first match of our playoff series.

And I also write verse! For instance, take note of this recent stanza:
The Phoenix Suns’ frenetic play
Takes on an orange-tinted haze
And on the court, their tattooed ass
Brays and brays and brays.
Rudy foto by Teresa Roca Ramia.


Beware the Fumes of Eyjafjallajokull!

Even as an ash cloud erupts from the volcano beneath Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier, so do the simmering passions of my mates prepare to burst forth against the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs. The opposing team is comprised, almost to a man, of true gentlemen and hidalgos. Nonetheless, let the following serve as a manifesto, or perhaps a mission statement, to these selfsame Suns, and in particular, their exasperating centerpiece, Amar’e Stoudemire:

We will come, you tattooed basilisk of the desert, to test the issue of who is more battle-hardened. You contemplate others from your heights like a pitiless Nero, riding roughshod in your arrogance over fine fellows like Dante Cunningham. This will not do!

Not to overstate the case, but the courtside cruelties we will inflict upon you will cause your balky retinas to spout blood. Swaggering, you will enter the match, staggering, you will depart. In the end, we will gloat over your vanquished barbarity and truly annoying mannerisms, treating you like a luckless corpse... albeit one that happens to have an impressive vertical leap.

And perhaps we can win a match in Phoenix in the processing!

What follows are my further thoughts on the matter (my further disdain for Stoudemire is expressed here):


The Fine Line Between Approbation and Probation

The post-seasonings commence shortly, so now is a good time to salute our basketball enthusiasts!
Admittedly, some fans can wax OVERLY enthusiastic. (Even for someone christened "the Electric Spaniard" they can be frightening!) 

But I believe that MOST Trail Blazers zealots know how to balance the fine line between admiration and pathology.
Never mind.

Fotos by Bruce Ely for the Oregonian
see a magnificent gallery of his work here.


For Whom the Chanting Roars

Naturalamente, I have heard it chanted in pavilions in a deep “Ru-dy! Ru-dy!” roar. But in last evening’s match against the Thunder, my ears were treated to a new experience: The assembled enthusiasts in the sold-out arena paid tribute to the superlative Marcus Camby by chanting (go and figure!) “Mar-cus! Cam-by! Mar-cus! Cam-by!

Did this engender jealousy among players who have been with the team longer? (Namely, everyone.) I cannot analyze the minds of colleagues, so I cannot say!

To be sure, there is a pleasing rhythm to names comprised of two syllables, which is why players with surnames like "Pendergraph" should not anticipate moments like this. And how fortunate that no descendant of Madrid financier Don Juan Nepomuceno de Burionagonatotorecagageazcoecha plays for the team. (Chanting his name would result in arrested cardiovascular systems!)
As is known, we may now be pitted against the Denver Nuggets in the playoffs. This is well and good, although I share Lionel Hollins assessment of their court stylings.
Foto by the Oregonian but not the basketball graphic
Oh, and modesty cannot prevent my sharing a personal highlight from Camby's curtain-callings!


This Flagrant Foul Is Joined in Process

As Erik Dampier raised his gigantic arm, he seemed ready to threaten the very heavens, earth, and watery abysses! The wrathful Maverick then delivered his blow with such force and fury, if his hand had not twisted in the course of the descent, the stroke would have put an end to my mortal coil and to all of my adventures.

But fortune has better things in store for me, and as the behemoth's engorged digits struck, all the damage they did was to carry off a large part of my face (together with my left ear), all of which tumbled to the hard woods in a hideous ruin.

Or so it felt! And to add insult to mortal injury, no foul was called! Yet I was assessed a technical for not immediately passing the ball to the referee? (Or was it for being overly Spanish?) Surely, it is a tipsy-turvy world we live in!
Fotos from the Oregonian and Reuters.


Of Perspective and Iberian Trolls

In my postings herein, I must think my thoughts in Spanish. Then, I translate to the English! But translating my own cogitations is an impure process. Thus, as I read myself here, it is as if I were viewing a Flemish tapestry from the wrong side; I can make out the figures, but they are obscured.  It is a matter of perspective!

This is a misfortune, as anyone who has beheld the splendor of Flemish tapestries —or my writings in Spanish— can attest.

Nor am I alone! Many have viewed with concern my statements in a Portland newspaper suggesting that I may flee after this season concludes. Yes, it is true that my play has lacked the highlightings that marked my days with Sergio. And yes, in spots, my efforts have been spotty. (Yet when I have been hot, I have not been haughty!) It seems that this season, I have walked on eggshells…and they have cracked! But rest assured that my meaning was not that I am primed to bolt.

But reading the article from the wrong side of the tapestry, I discern that it might make sense for me to do so. In this way, I can misconstrue my own meanings! But consider: Is Nate McMillan reeling me in? Would I be better where I’d be Real-ing Madrid instead? 

And finally, why is Pau Gasol lurking under a bridge like a gigantic Iberian troll?
Fotos from SI Vault.


Singed Beards and Blackened Eyes

I find that it is impossible to carry the torch of wisdom through a crowd without singeing someone’s soul patch.

And now that Jeff Pendergraph’s eye has taken a shining, we have a corollary: It is impossible to impede the progress of a Jerryd Bayless drive without taking an elbow to the orb!

While Jeff valiantly continued practice, his bravery shrinks in comparison to the equanimity mi amigo Pau Gasol displayed. Even as the earth quaked beneath three of the United States and Mexico, his interview answers babble forth! (Observe the hangers swing to the right.)
And to think that Pau's toughishness was ever given a question! It is to laugh.


Spheres of Activity & Buttered Popcorn

A difficult day. I just concluded a conversation with my paramour in which Cristina shared that she grows tired of my year-round basketballing. 

Why? She claims it is a bore. 

To which I replied, “Boring? But basketball is life on the wing! What other sphere of human activity calls forth all that is most noble in men’s souls, and all that is most base? Or has such excitement? Or more vividly exposes our strengths and weaknesses? Boring? You might as well say that life itself is boring!” 

There was no response, and I am not sure how much of my speech she heard. (Which is most unfortunate, as I was most pleased with the “sphere of human activity” line!)

Adición: When word reached our locker chamber of the April Fools prank played on Kenyon Martin, there were some smiles. A member of J.R. Smith’s entourage filled Martin’s auto with buttered popcorn. This was an unfortunate choice, as the car’s interior was white! 

Martin was so enraged, Martell Webster said he “threatened to get Orville Redenbacher on someone’s ass”!

The Melancholy Passage of Time

I have heard tell that "I'm sorry" are the most difficult words in the English tongue. 

Not so! As someone who celebrated his birthday with family and friends in an empty mansion via Skype, I can tell you that the most difficult English words are feliz cumpleaños.

To alleviate the pain, a thoughtful team of Blazer enthusiasts created this gift to me:
Pardon! This is the correct video:
El Machetero thanks you, mi amigos. If every man is a child of his own deeds, then you have very fine parents!


El Chacho in the Big Apple

Somewhere in Lake Oswego, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, is a Spanish restaurant. It was the favored dining location for the dinners Sergio and I shared last year.

Now that El Chacho in the Big Apple, I do not care to frequent this locale…anymore than I care for swimming in the bittersweet sentimentality of this video.

Well, perhaps just one more viewing. *sigh*

Garbled in Translation

     We NBA players of foreign tongues learn that language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for the Blazer Dancers to caper to, even as we long to move the stars.
     But that is still no excuse for misspelling Zaza Pachulia's jersey!