Thursday, 25 March 2021

The Letters' Scent

V. was the first to send the seed that characterized I might not want what I think I want. She planted it on purple paper in a purple envelope and posted it to the box in which I'd get the same scent and shade a lot of days marked out of sequence, a lot of days so far after what was being replied to, my mind marked by the number of consecutive checks of an empty box, and then a day broken by the liberated logjam.
 
I saved each letter then, as one does in depictions of suchlike. Each was purple, each the same specific smell, solely how they're saved still. I don't know the name of the aroma but it's saved so well I'm sure I would know it again.

This is near opposite to how I think of my memory of personal happenings in general, and now that I really think about it, I'm not so sure that claims about olfactory memory aren't overblown. Like my feelings toward V., as she wrote to me then.
 
We had the song in common. At least we were in the same room when it played at successive dawnings, on which neither of us commented. I recall the silence except for the song. I didn't know the name of the artist but had that specific sense that I'd know the song again.
 
Concurrent to the germinating affair, saving the correspondence had practical reasons germane to the etymology. Coherence was nigh impossible sans reference to some corresponding question mark, what with multitudes being piloted post to post rapidly enough to take flight but too sluggishly to recollect specifics on arrival. Of no help was they were sent and came in clusters, whose inspiration in turn was fancy, but with no potential name.

This is just me of course. It's always just me. On the day the seed was planted, purple and perfumed, V. let me know how our undoing would be my doing, albeit indirect, and on an honest question. If I'd minded that lyric, and'd not just been assured of the sound, I might've sought to swap what we were thinking truly, instead of identifying alone with my own escape trigger.

The next plant bloomed soon enough, this time locally if far away from here and there. L. is a memory as vague as well as a mosaic too clustered. Still if I tried hard enough I could conjure visions with lyrics she showed me using her voice and roman letters in her spiral bound notebook.
 
L. had not been any real reason behind the previous alibi, but she offered the same out. This go round presented extra senses from beginning to end, easy to hear how our interests corresponded. Hers behind telling me how I couldn't be serious, mine sussing stronger this time I'd be wasting it. Eventually. The will had grown strong in such a short time.
 
Then the third. More years between us than had elapsed since the last, ours was the well-defined disparity accord. Not that her half's habitually apt to set my lot straight, howbeit off I'd be sent. Looking back, it was good sense.
 
But the source is the first, the fruit of V., the least ripe at the time and still now, what flagrantly fragrant throughout lingers most distinct in a cloud.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Whenever Two or Three

Paige Bueckers. More on that in a bit.

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On an night when two top tier NBA teams shot 28 of 85 from three — which included their best players James Harden (Brooklyn) going 0 for 7 and Damien Lillard & CJ McCollum (Portland), who some argue, in spite of the existence of Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson, are the best backcourt tandem in the game's history, combining for 7 of 26 — there are people who think the NBA needs a four-point line because the three-pointer has become too easy.

Despite my innuendo, the analytics argument stands; at 32.9 percent, that's right on the cusp of the proportion needed to have made chucking up all those shots preferable to taking the same shot from just inside the line. The point being, if you're going to shoot from about that distance, it is better to slip your toes behind the line and make a third of them than to take a shot a few inches nearer for fewer than half.

What this doesn't take into account is how ball movement and wide open looks, not to mention ones far closer to the basket, are the common element in the league's most efficient offenses. Then there's the defense that leads to the same.

I don't wanna short shrift the analytics, which in proper context takes these things into consideration. Except when it doesn't. For example: the winning team in that game was outshot from three-point land 34.5 to 30 percent. What gives? So much.

That the loser was able to take 55 three-pointers to the winner's 30? That's twenty-five more shots, and at a 4.5 percentage point clip higher. The simpleton's analytics would look at that in a vacuum and conclude that all those extra shots are a good thing, and conclude that having sunk them at the higher rate would mean they'd had a pretty good chance at winning the game. And they'd be right. Except, when one includes all field goals and not just threes, Portland took only three more shots, 90 to 87, at 40 versus 49.4 percent.

Think of that. That's a big swing. Those extra threes really drag Portland's efficiency in the dirt. If you subtract the 3-pt shots, Portland shot 17-35 (.486), Brooklyn 34-57 (.597). Yet, for Portland's three-point shooting to have overcome this discrepancy to win the game, all they had to do was make a measly two more of those three pointers. So bombs away, I guess.

And that's not all. Portland lost, as well, in spite of having three more offensive rebounds, the same number of turnovers, and the all important advantage at the freethrow line, 91 to 78 percent, with each team sinking exactly 21 of those.

Ah, but Brooklyn got to the line four more times. Might even this paltry difference in foul calls made a difference in the game? Well, yeah, when you consider that Portland's Robert Covington, who is known mostly for his superior defensive skill, played seven fewer minutes than his season average, sitting on the bench in foul trouble. As well, for the night he just happened to have been their most efficient starter on both sides of the court, minus the foul thingy.

In other NBA news:
ESPN: "What are the odds? Russ has two dunk attempts fly out of bounds." Me: "Likely... at some point." And I'd be right.

Still to come: How the league's best player, LeBron James, is an efficiency hog.
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In a sequel to Monday's White Bread's Burden, your opinion is not your own and freshman guard Paige Bueckers is the real deal. Don't look at ESPN for finer details, though. Unlike on their men's pages for both college and pros, they don't make the effort to aggregate individual or team stats from their box scores. If they do, they don't link to them.

There is a version of the free market argument - goes that if there were more money to be made with the WNBA and women's college hoops, then it would be. Their product on the other hand is far inferior. Sure, there's relative talent, they're just not as fun to watch and not worth of extra investment in promotion.

The free market lives off this circular reasoning because it effectively undercuts the competition it alleges to encourage and undermines the culture they pretend to be in awe of. This translates to the potential fanbase as "Nobody wants to watch. I don't watch. Therefore it's clearly boring."
 
The intended result, as far as I can reckon, is to keep more for fewer instead of risking a more for more, which would mean less for the fewer. Mixing metaphors, it amounts to maintaining more eggs of interest on one basket of goods, lest their attention hatch and wander off to untold half-a-dozens of the other.
 
I can't speak to anyone else's experience, but what I can tell you from recent observation is that not just Paige Bueckers, but that whole University of Connecticut women's team is at least as much fun to watch as what I've seen from the men's march through madness over the years, the latter weary watching of which could contend, relative to the professional game, too frequently features teams that can't seem to make a layup no matter how many offensive boards they grab in succession. Doh! Doh! Doh! Doh!
 
Anyway, least of all, maybe, are your mind's eyeballs free from the attempt at market control. No matter what they say, the big money doesn't want to spread itself thin.

Monday, 22 March 2021

White Bread's Burden

No, the Image Nation is not a bastardization of the imagination. The pun-spewing derelict's monologue near the end of the relevant script encompassed an array of such language so as to indicate this poor person's having succumb to the deception that the nation of images is the result of the free mind, i.e. an ostensibly willing imagination, i.e. not just yours or mine, but yours and mine entirely uncoerced. The reality of your inner realty is quite different. 
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(At bottom) pictured's an interjection. A chain's refrain. A Ruddy Kipper's-worthy affirmation of belly bedding bepackaged fit for a king.
 
Remember Colonial bread? Today labeled good Bread, should you confuse them with the bad guys, what I remember best is an hourlong session with its gooey moistness in my mouth making me gag while the other kids had already gone out to play.
 
The first grade greatly aped an axiom applied to us by Miss Winzenried, the gist of which was that if you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. I'll sub American cheese & mayonnaise for the meat of this memory, and though I might have had a cup of pudding in my bag that day (or any first grader might find the deferral of recess the more rotten application), it was the gross texture at the time applied to the roof of my mouth that was both my crime and punishment.
 
What could be a more befitting burden than eating Colonial bread on orders of an anglicized Winzenried in accordance with a dictum brought to us one way or another by the greater grunt force?
 
Note the German branding. American Sandwich (pronounced zendwich for you un-accosted (a reverse Winzenried!)). So this is what they think of me. Or maybe it's grains of Carthaginian peace. Or a mutual appreciation for Bismarck's Africa. Whatever. Just know that I don't know the cost. The depicted was purchased by someone else.
 
Pfft, Europeans.