The Raptors Wake Up

I said at the beginning of the season that it might not be until December that the Raptors started gelling as a team, what with the roster upheaval and all.

It looks like gelling time has arrived. After winning a tough road game in overtime last night in Washington, they are currently running the Bulls out of their own building. One sequence in particular stood out for me: the Raps reeled off four consecutive possessions, collecting offensive rebounds off three straight misses before Calderon buried a three to pretty much end the game with two quarters to go.

If you've been watching the Raps for a while you know how mind-bogglingly weird that sequence is. They're the team, historically, giving up all those offensive boards, not the team ripping them down.

They were up by 20 at the half, then extended that to 30+ in the third quarter (which had been their let-down quarter in the first two months, especially after a big first half -- the Denver game was probably the most egregious example.) It got so bad that on the last possession of the third quarter, Jarret Jack let the clock wind down by tucking the ball under his arm, leaning over and re-tying his shoelace.

In the annals of awesome dick moves in sporting events, that has to rank way up there.

After looking like total crap last week, the Raps are suddenly not just looking like a playoff team, they're looking like a dangerous one. They've hit bottom (coughAtlantacough), plunged through the crucible and come together as a team in the fire.

The Raps (Antoine Wright excepted... he still looked like his head wasn't in the game tonight) have figured out how they need to play to win basketball games. Now, they just have to keep doing it.

One more thing: Bryan Colangelo has done a great job building the roster not just for this year, but for next. If Bosh stays, great -- they've got five guys who can score in the starting lineup and some good plug-n-play pieces off the bench, and a roster that can play defense just well enough when they need to. If Bosh walks though, they can just find a defensive load to play center and block some shots, move Bargnani to the four and still have a dangerous offense with a better defense. Either way, it should be a solid team.

OK, two more things: DeMar DeRozan is going to be friggin' awesome. In a season or two he'll be Vince Carter without the sucky attitude. It's going to be a blast watching him evolve into Air Canada 2.0.

Next Stop: Blackface

I've noticed my repertoire has become very vanilla over the last couple of months. I'm not doing as much Prince (which is usually my go-to non-white guy) for one thing, but even beyond that the Motown and soul experiments seem to have mostly disappeared.

This must change, and not just with me nutting up and trying I Know You Got Soul (gulp) at Hip-Hop Karaoke. There's all kinds of stuff I've been meaning to try at 'regular' karaoke sometime: Use Me, Family Affair, Stand By Me...

This is the month for at least some of those.

Most Ridiculous Scrabble Game Ever

Remember that Facebook Scrabble game where I made the two 90-point plays back-to-back, and typed a word in the chat box (Justice!) and promptly got handed the letters to spell it?

I've now collected four bingos in eight plays: REZONING, JUSTICE, AUNTIES and now LIBERATE. I have 397 points. Off eight words. It's sick.


The Grand Undead Party meme taken to its logical conclusion:

Zombie Reagan Raised From Grave To Lead GOP

The New Me

I think I need to say something about my Brainsgiving experience.

First, it was a tremendous show. Ryan Belleville absolutely killed; if you see his name on a bill, kick the walker out from under a grandma to get inside the venue. He's got the chops, the material and the on-stage energy to be absolutely huge. Jillian Thomas also more than earned her three-year merit badge. Pat Thornton spun his usual crazy gold, Statutory Jape were excellent... hell, everyone was good.

Including (so I've been told) me.

Keith and Amanda talked me into closing the show (Pat was the headliner... I got the traditional vaudeville "act who performs while people are leaving the theatre" slot). I went on stage as a lounge singer version of Carl Jung, serenading our brain mascot with a version of Dream Weaver in mixed English/pidgin German (oooo, TraumWeber, I believe you can get me through die nacht, etc etc), which then morphed into 99 Luftballons.

Of course on stage, all the fractured German I'd crammed into my brain fled, and I just garbled out some harsh syllables and hoped no one would notice (or at least, everyone would be polite enough not to call me on it afterwards, which they didn't.) But dammit, it felt good to actually be performing, backed by a real band. Way better than even the thrill of live band karaoke.

More importantly, my own brain has been working better since Saturday night. I'm writing some good stuff, and kicking out some wicked ideas. Last night at "regular" karaoke I tried something batshit crazy (Roundabout by Yes) and it was mostly solid (I bluffed my way through the bridge, but I doubt even Jon Anderson call pull that thing off these days.)

I may even start doing some open mic stand-up, just to see if I can.

Up until now, when it came time to help out with Brainsgiving (or the Eyes show last year, when we did the marathon Nuit Blanche show) I was always reluctant. I was a writer, not a performer (and a lover not a fighter).

Today, I feel like a performer too.

November's Travesties

35 different songs, not including the pseudo-German TraumWeber... err, Dream Weaver/99 Luftballons medley at Brainsgiving:

19th Nervous Breakdown - Rolling Stones
Animal Nitrate - Suede
Battle of Who Could Care Less - Ben Folds Five
Because the Night - Patti Smith Group
Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes
Changes - David Bowie
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da - Police
Deacon Blues - Steely Dan
Doctor My Eyes - Jackson Browne
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright - Bob Dylan
Dragula - Rob Zombie
Five Years - David Bowie
Fuck Her Gently - Tenacious D
High School Confidential - Rough Trade
Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
In Bloom - Nirvana
Kooks - Davd Bowie
Lawyers, Guns and Money - Warren Zevon
Lean On Me - Bill Withers
Lose Yourself - Eminem
Lucky Man - Verve
Mississippi Queen - Mountain
Not Fade Away - Rolling Stones
Paperback Writer - Beatles
Pulling Mussels From the Shell - Squeeze
Roundabout - Yes
Save It For Later - English Beat
Spread Your Wings - Queen
Sunglasses At Night - Corey Hart
The Letter - Box Tops
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - The Band
Up On Cripple Creek - The Band
Watching the Detectives - Elvis Costello
When Love Comes To Town - U2 w/BB King
You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate

Aw, Shucks

Scratch Huckabee's name off the list of "viable" Pub presidential candidates in 2012.

It's too bad. Huck's a right entertaining fella, and he certainly would have livened up the proceedings.

On the other hand, without Huckabee to split the fundie vote, Palin's path to the nomination gets a bit easier...


In the annals of stupid art ideas, this has got to be in the top 10. "Hey, you know what would be awesome? Let's take a great painting created to convey a sense of three dimensions within the confines of two-dimensional space, and use CGI to make it three dimensional!"

If Picasso had wanted anyone to see the backsides of the figures in Guernica, he would have painted them. That was the entire point of Cubism.

Maybe next, someone can play connect-the-dots with Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

(via Sully, who completely fails to get in his usual Burkean dander over the pointless jazzing up of a painting that needs no help.)

Hondurans Ignore Fake Election in Droves

Al has a picture worth a thousand... whachamacallems...