Tuesday, August 11, 2020

What Time Is It?

DAME TIME LXI
There are many thoughts that race around as I gleefully watch The NBA bubble at The Magic Kingdom, aka the Association's campus. Ah, campus life. NBA fans can only hope that this North American sports bubble will continue to showcase success, so far the protocols have been stellar.

Sadly I now expect more from the NBA than I do our federal leaders. The NBA is global, worth billions of dollars, and is operated by smart and sensitive professionals. As tricky as this restart has been, or will continue to be, the resources and diligence of the NBA has shown a path to coherent plans and policies. Those planning tactics and implementations are something our nation does not yet possess, nor do they seem to be stressing.

There are other topics and ideas swirling as it relates to basketball. I'll focus some attention to the on-court product. The who, what, where and why moments will always matter when the post season is looming. Storylines will continue to be written. Below are some thoughts on the intrigue of the NBA.

Who? There's only one who. Dame, that's who. He served up 51 and 61 in consecutive games, a 112 points in 81 minutes on 55% shooting from the field and 45% shooting from three. He's literally on fire, consuming flames and then emitting them. A human flamethrower who walks the walk and can talk the talk. He's an assassin who keeps it real, respects opponents, and remains humble. He's a Capital G Gamer. Lillard joins Wilt Chamberlain as the second player to register multiple 60 point games in a season. Damian has three such games this season. Dame time all the time!

Every game matters to the Blazers. Lillard epitomizes their workman-like mantra while also wielding incredibly fiery talents. This team is on a mission. They didn't come to the bubble to play for nothing. By competing as if every game were do or die, Portland is priming themselves for a run. Dame time is ticking, the Association is on watch.

THROW'N MONEY AT THE RIM


Devin Booker deserves a little love too. Make no mistake, Booker is a shot maker. The Suns have shown up looking interested and prepared. They know their roles and their schemes. Phoenix has surprised, proving they belong. Good job Suns.

Both the Blazers and Suns have been playing for something more. Are there two hotter teams inside the bubble? Portland Phoenix would be fire. I mentioned above who may or may not consume and emit flames. Please, more Dame Time.

What happened to the Lakers offense? Are they rope-a-doping their competition? Are they just not good at scoring the ball right now? Will they continue to be the worst team offensively once the playoffs begin? What's up with AD? LeBron? Their collective talent hasn't matched the output from early March. They're not manufacturing many buckets and the rest of the team hasn't been shooting the lights out either. Maybe it won't matter if the two superstars do what they're capable of.

Where do the top teams rank now? The Bucks and Lakers are trending down. The Clippers are even keeled. And the Raptor are trending up. Which team prefers which matchup? Sometimes the Raptors look amazing. The Clippers are trying to prove that the regular season doesn't matter. Milwaukee fans probably have some cause for concern. Will the Bucks represent the east? Boston, Miami, and Toronto could burst Milwaukee's bubble. I've already noted the Lakers lack of production. Maybe the playoffs will show us something different.

Thursday is When we'll know who qualifies for the play-in game. The Blazers control their own destiny after Dame's relentless 61. A win on Thursday earns Portland the 8-seed. Then the Trailblazers would need one win over the 9-seed to advance into the playoffs, where they would face the Lakers. DAME! BRON! DAVIS! NURK! MELO! CJ! GT Jr.! Gimme some of that series. I might spontaneously combust. We all know who's on fire.

Why does basketball feel so good? Thank you NBA. Why does the Western Conference feel like Beyond Thunderdome? Why does the Eastern Conference feel weak outside of Toronto? Who will advance? Who knows? Only time will tell. Only in the NBA.

80choices

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Feel The Way I Want

Best New Music |

Caroline Rose | Superstar | "Feel the Way I Want" |

80choices

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Killing What Keeps Us Alive

Best New Music |

Margaret Glaspy | Devotion | "Killing What Keeps Us Alive" |

80choices

Friday, July 24, 2020

Born at the Beach


Pelican Brewing was born at the beach. Tasty beer and outlandish scenery await those fortunate enough to frequent Pacific City. A sandy beach, Cape Kiwanda, tame sets of waves, coastal breeze and warm sun, all triggering the senses as the day drifts away. A different level of ease washes over me at the ocean. It's the type of setting that allows my mind freedom, somehow affording me the chance to not be consumed by all that is going on. I actually decompress and feel unencumbered by thoughts.

On a recent voyage to the ocean, celebrating another trip around the sun, I remembered why I love the Pacific coast so much. It changes me, influencing me in ways I wish were more the norm. Pelican was merely a variable in the equation for what it was I was trying to obtain; relaxation and the ability to calm my mind. The unquestionable supremacy of nature is wonderful and constant, reminding us we're part of something bigger.

A huge thanks to the person who loves me the most. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am. Hello four oh — Yikes! Any reason to be at the beach is a good one. After enjoying the Pacific it was time to knock back some cold-ones. My first pint was the summery and crushable Updrift IPA. Illuminated by the sun, the hay-yellow body held brilliant color. A noticeable yet light head covering the top was aided by carbonation that had been dialed-in just right. Updrift IPA is a worthy summer beer.

Pelicano Extra Lager is a Mexican-style cerveza with eye-catching clarity. This ale is a summer's best contender. Bubbles stream continuously as wafts of Germanic lager mix with aromas often associated with Mexican lagers. Great beers are the ones you never tire of, those that you can have more than one of. Pelicano hits that sweet spot.


Next up was Our Dankest Hour IPA, which was being brewed again now that patrons could enjoy it. Originally brewed in March, this IPA is not playing around. Dank is in the name, but resinous is its game. The bold amber glow doesn't hide the punch this beer packs. Malt be damned, too many of these and your afternoon or early evening is askew. Strong color and a lingering head cannot mask the bold aromas and flavor. Think of Our Dankest Hour as a big fish story, fun to tell, just not all the time. Enjoy craft beer responsibly with fish and chips. 

Cheers,
80choices

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Ache of Victory

Best New Music |

Zsela | Ache of Victory EP | "Drinking" |

80choices

Monday, July 13, 2020

Brew Detective: Returning to the Fold | Ex Novo


Ex Novo is a ritual at this point, they're my go-to, thanks Ex Novo. On my last visit to Flint Street they rewarded me with a newly canned single hop hazy IPA, sorry that was a mouthful. Anyhow, this hazy was good, better than most of the hazy's out there. I prefer west coast-style IPA's, but this offering was a nice surprise. Nelson hops run alone in Returning to the Fold.

Muted guava moves across the nose as quality carbonation feeds the doughy head, lasting longer than is typical. The mouthfeel was earthy yet light enough to gulp. Dank golden hues illuminated the glass. Aromas opened into notes of early orchard blooms. Returning to the Fold (7.2%) is a single hop IPA originally canned on 06.16.20, I enjoyed mine a few days later. Drink craft beer respectfully.

Cheers,
80choices

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Simon Says

Mood Music |

Carly Simon | "You're So Vain" | No Secrets |

80choices

Monday, July 6, 2020

Brew Detective: ALL TOGETHER | Ex Novo


I find great solace in the care, craft and kindness exhibited by the good people at Ex Novo, who routinely achieve no matter the obstacle. I will remain loyal to them for as long as we can coexist. The worst year ever is causing now, more than ever, to be a crucial time to support local businesses. I reward myself with tasty libations. That's where Ex Novo comes in.

ALL TOGETHER is an IPA reg'n at 6.5% — the best thing about buying ALL TOGETHER is that the money from sales goes to staff. Awesome. Because the people at Ex Novo are good people. I'm so thankful to share a neighborhood with them. 

A mix of bitterness and pineapple juice swirled as I popped open a pint. Substantial head forms over the opaque juice-like ale, there's an almost green tint to the glow. The mouth feel was much lighter than expected, it assuaged some of the bitterness which resurfaces late in tasting. Fruit characteristics that were present early faded once poured. Visible carbonation helps to move the nectar. Support local brewers if you're able to. Enjoy craft beer respectfully.

80choices

Friday, July 3, 2020

Stir It Up

MOOD MUSIC |

Bob Marley and The Wailers | "Stir It Up" | Catch A Fire |

The funkiest stank, so smooth, deep, rough, clean, one-in-a-zillion, raw, elemental, off this rock, outer space, Planet Earth, planet Jamaica, planet Marley, planet Tosh, Catch A Fire, Fire, Stir It Up ...

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Brew Detective: Cult Classic Pale Ale | Ex Novo


Hollywood theatre is, er was, and will be again, the place to observe cinema in all it's splendor and excess. Ex Novo has brewed Cult Classic Pale Ale for Hollywood theatre much prior to this review, but recently I scored a four pack of pint cans, which supports both my favorite brewery and the best cinematic palace this side of the Williamette (honorable mention Bagdad Theater). Hopefully we'll get to satiate our souls through the small joys of interactive and participatory arts and activities.

Strong hop aroma is a bit biting and spicy. Beautiful amounts of carbonation drive upward, replenishing the fluffy head. Subtle bitterness is apparent early. The amber-gold pale ale glimmers with agricultural bounty. It's liquid art in honor of "Movie Madness." Rated 5.6% / Cult Classic Pale Ale is an easy choice indoors or out. Enjoy craft beer respectfully.

80choices

Friday, June 19, 2020

Big Thief

Mood Music |

Big Thief | Masterpiece | "Masterpiece, Paul, Lorraine" |

Paul   /   4:49...
...
And then he showed me what is love

I'll be your morning bright goodnight shadow machine

I'll be record player baby if ya know what I mean
I'll be a real tough cookie with the whiskey breath
I'll be a killer and a thriller and the cause of our death
...
     
     - Adrianne Lenker


80choices.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Take Me Home

Best New Music |

Whitney feat. Waxahatchee | "Take Me Home, Country Roads" |

80choices

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Boxer

Mood Music |

Paul Simon | "The Boxer" | Bridge Over Troubled Water |

I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told
I have squandered my resistance for a pocket full of mumbles
Such are promises, all lies and jest,
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest, hmmm

...

In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him
'Til he cried out in his anger and his shame
I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter stills remains

80choices

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Burlap String

Best New Music |

Courtney Marie Andrews | Old Flowers | "Burlap String" |

80choices

Friday, May 22, 2020

Brew Detective: Volatile Substance | Von Ebert


Another Portland brewery doing their best to maintain business during such otherworldly times is Von Ebert, makers of tasty beer. My Partner in crime swooped in for curbside pickup. Our order included fried chicken and potatoes, a bottle of Bouquet Blanc (review coming when I crack that rarity), and a four pack of Volatile Substance. It's nice to remember how lucky I am.

Volatile Substance is a NW IPA brewed with Mosaic and Simcoe hops (65 IBU | 6.9%). Prior to scoring these pint cans I'd only had it on draught. The can experience does not disappoint. As is our routine when the weather's nice Agent M and I took an extended neighborhood walk. We sipped a Volatile Substance while admiring the tree lined streets and beautiful homes.

Good bounce occurred when cracking open the pint. Notes of pineapple and grapefruit hit early and disappear from there. This IPA has some bite to it. Agent M noted that it was bitter and tingly, not for beginners. She also mentioned piney characteristics, hoppy and strong. I couldn't be more proud and stoked to take walks with someone.

Be safe during this time of physical distancing and try to support local businesses whenever possible. Keep on keeping on. Enjoy independent beer responsibly.

80choices

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Real Love

Mood Music | 

Big Thief | Masterpiece | "Real Love"

Having a bad week
Let me touch your cheek
I will always love you


Real love, real love
Real love makes your lungs black
Real love is a heart attack


     - Adrianne Lenker


80choices

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Skull Crusher

Best New Music |

Skull Crusher | "Places/Plans" |

80choices

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Brew Detective: Ex Novo | Panacea Pale


Ex Novo has us Jones'n for fresh cans. My partner in crime and I have been stoked on the heady releases we're able to still enjoy while physically distancing. Hitting up Ex Novo for Detroit-style pizza and some oat sodas is rewarding. We're all about the delicious Panacea Pale Ale (6%). Recently we enjoyed a cold pint and recorded our tasting notes at the community garden as we strolled with the sun as our guide. 

A bubbly carnival with light fruity indulgence kicked off Agent M's senses. She noted how drinkable it was without being too hoppy. "Delicious" and "new spring favorite," high praise from a formidable beer fan.

Whiffs of apricot and subtle malt hit my nose first. Good foam rises to the top creating lasting legs drink after drink. A slipperiness mingles with the effervescent body. Slight bitterness registers late in tasting, however it's absent in the aroma. Panacea Pale Ale goes beyond taste, it involves all of your senses.

This single hop pale ale is brewed with HBC 692, an experimental hop that the brewer calls, "pretty awesome." I'd have to agree, this beer is too legit to quit. Ex Novo will deliver craft beer to your door if you live in Portland, how cool is that? We could all use some good libations. Support local brewers during these difficult times if possible. Helping independent businesses is more important than ever. Enjoy craft beer respectfully.

Be safe,
80choices

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Kaash Paige | "Frank Ocean"

Best New Music |

Kaash Paige | "Frank Ocean" |

80choices

Sunday, May 3, 2020

NBA Resurrection ???

Feelings of being unsure and worrying about unknowns is becoming all too common, it's hard with so many cultural norms having shifted. Uncertainty is bubbling up everywhere — public health and health care systems are shattering, financial markets nearing collapse and federal government appearing useless — there's so much heavy in the world right now. I need to remember to take a breath, to not be in a hurry.

Maybe this write-up can act as a brief escape from the news, statistics and daily press briefings. Creativity, reading, good music, puzzles, long walks, nature, delicious food, loving your loved ones, and preparing for whatever comes next will help us to focus on what truly matters. Because as O-Ren Ishii so boldly stated, "now's the fxcking time!"

Sports may not be the answer but it can be an elixir, even if we're all watching from home. I miss my favorite soap opera. Will basketball exist in 2020? Plenty of rumors swirl about the NBA returning. I hope there's a way to safely bring games back to life. Below are my thoughts on regular season awards and such. Thanks for checking in. Be safe and do your best.


All NBA
1st Team: Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, James Harden

2nd Team: Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Bam Adebayo, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul

3rd Team: Pascal Siakam, Jayson Tatum, Domantas Sabonis, Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry

The NBA stipulates that each team be comprised of two forwards, a center, and two guards. Thus my selections may not reflect the 15 "best" guys, but it does reward deserving players while assuaging the positional hooey. Prerequisites aside I favored winning over stats. For instance, a case could be made for Bradley Beal on third team with his robust numbers. I chose leadership and winning by selecting Kyle Lowry for the last guard spot. Lowry's numbers are solid on a Raptor's team with the third most wins. Another close call was whether or not to select Jimmy Butler (20.2pts 6.6rbs 6.1ast). I went with Jayson Tatum (23.6pts 7.1rbs 2.9ast). Tatum played in five more games than Butler plus the Celtics were ahead of the Heat in the standings. Gobert could easily be one of the centers; I rewarded Bam and Sabonis, assuming I can slot Sabonis in at center. I also think it's refreshing to see new names on this list.

COY
1. Nurse (TOR) 2. Donovan (OKC) 3. Jenkins (MEM) 4. Spoelstra (MIA) 5. Vogel (LAL)

This category was tough. My initial notes had eight viable choices. The five above plus Carlisle, Snyder and Stevens. Honestly a case could be made for any of these tacticians. I believe my top two coaches did the most with their rosters, especially when factoring in outside expectations versus on-court results. There was some masterful coaching this year and the talent of those calling the shots goes deeper than my list.

ROY
1. Ja Morant 2. Kendrick Nunn 3. Zion Williamson

Ja Morant as Rookie of the Year was the easiest award to give out. Memphis had the eighth spot out west. Morant draws most of the opposition's attention and Memphis relies on him to produce. I enjoy watching him attack, he's fearless. As amazing as he is athletically he also dissects defenses with his IQ. Ja's ability to make the right reads allows him to hunt opportunities and facilitate simultaneously. Speaking of playoffs, I put Nunn ahead of Zion because he started in 62 games for a Heat team that would have had home court in the first round.

6th Man
1. Dennis Schroder 2. Montrezl Harrell 3. Lou Williams

Schroder played in 63 games this year but started only once. He was on the closing unit that was clutch as hell. The Thunder had five winning basketball players and three of them were point guards. Their crunch-time lineup was winning games, OKC held the five seed. Schroder's numbers are equally impressive to that of the two Clippers and the Thunder have a lot less to work with. Hell, the Clipper's bench could probably grab a playoff spot in the east. This award goes to Dennis Schroder among a deserving list of elite reserves. 

MIP
1. Bam Adebayo 2. Brandon Ingram 3. Luka Doncic 4. Pascal Siakam 5. Malcolm Brogdon

Any one of the top four could win this award. I lean toward Bam and Ingram mostly due to the dramatic leap they took. Not to say that Luka didn't grow by leaps and bounds, he's an MVP threat. Siakam continues to grow his game year after year. How many times can a player win this award? Bam gets most improved in my book. Who had him on an all-NBA team at the start of the year? Adebayo took charge of his own destiny and in doing so he may have become Draymond 2.0. Should anyone doubt Bam's motor, defensive versatility, or play making skills, he'll be the first to shut that shit down. He's a glimpse into the future of the five.


DPOY
1. Anthony Davis (2.4b 1.5s) 2. Giannis 3. Gobert

Davis was the best defender I watched this season. He's a defensive cheat code who excels at erasing mishaps on that side of the ball. Not only is he athletically gifted with size, speed and strength, his instincts are uncanny as well. The economy of motion with which he wreaks havoc is unprecedented at his position. Steals, blocks, rebounds, clamping fools straight up, deterring shots, or being a help defender, the Brow is as good as anyone on the gritty side of the floor. Somehow Davis makes it look pretty.

MVP 
In my mind there were eight worthy candidates for MVP

Giannis - 29.6pts 13.7rbs 5.8ast 31.71 PER (1)

Harden - *34.4pts 6.4rbs 7.4ast 28.39 PER (2)

Davis - 26.7pts 9.4rbs 3.1ast 28.25 PER (3)

Luka - 28.7pts 9.3rbs 8.7ast 27.75 PER (4)

Kawhi - 26.9pts 7.3rbs 5.0ast 26.76 PER (5)

Dame - 28.9pts 4.3rbs 7.8ast 26.25 PER (6)

LeBron - 25.7pts 7.9rbs *10.6ast 26.08 PER (7)

Jokic - 20.2pts 10.2rbs 6.9ast 25.08 PER (8)

You may have noticed these players have the eight highest PER's (a cool coincidence realized after compiling stats). Harden led the NBA in *scoring, LeBron in *assists. I can safely say that these were/are the eight best players this year. Opinions will vary. Valuable became the key word in trimming my list down to five. The five players on my MVP ballot: LeBron, Giannis, Luka, Jokic, Dame.

There's an obvious and valid WTF no Harden argument to be made. His numbers continue to be video game-like. But is his team still his team? Kawhi's omission is due to two factors. First, he played in too few games (51). And second, the Clippers have perhaps the deepest roster and are really good even without him. Leaving Davis off was also difficult. AD leads the Lakers in every major statistical category except assists and is their leader on defense. LeBron's the engine that makes LA go — maybe they poach votes from each other — I went with LeBron.

MVP 
Let's examine the finalists.

LeBron, Giannis, Luka, Jokic & Dame 

Luka's the most unassailable choice other than the top two guys on everyone's list. His numbers are insane as the linchpin of the most potent offense (28.7pts 9.3rbs 8.7ast 27.75 PER). At 21 he's already proven himself to be a gift from the basketball gods. Face it Luka's an assassin, there's no telling how deadly Lone-star will become.

Jokic and the Nuggets had the third best record in the west. Who else takes Denver to these heights, the list would be small? Their roster is nice but it doesn't wow. The Nuggets without Jokic don't make the playoffs, period. That counts for something in my book.

Dame was on fire, as in, he was a human flamethrower unable to be extinguished by opponents. Lillard is probably the single most valuable guy to his team. The Blazers were mired by injuries all season and yet he kept them afloat and only three games out in the win column from the eighth seed. I relish watching Dame unload 35 footers in the face of his defender. He's a leader on and off the court, a good example for youngsters and adults. I was hoping he'd will this team into the playoffs. The Blazers could be mean next year when fully healthy.


Let's be real, the battle for MVP is a two man race. Giannis and LeBron are the only options. Giannis  is a deserving recipient, he had the best numbers on the winningest team.

How many less wins would Milwaukee have if they played in the west? A few things would happen; Milwaukee's point differential would go down, as would their winning percentage, and Giannis would play more minutes to account for a tougher schedule. His numbers could potentially go up in that scenario. It's perfectly fine if Antetokounmpo wins his second straight MVP.

How many more wins would the Lakers have in the east? LeBron's already doing what Giannis is trying to grow into. James controls entire games facilitating offense with maestro-like precision. The Lakers suffer far more when James is on the bench than when Giannis sits for the Bucks. LeBron had the Lakers in prime position to advance through the west. Maybe they'll meet in The Finals. Or maybe not. We might already have all that the NBA is capable of giving us this year. Crown the king. LeBron deserves MVP.

80choices

Friday, May 1, 2020

Devotion

Best New Music |

Margaret Glaspy | Devotion | "Devotion" |


80choices

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Dynamic Duo | Ex Novo


Ex Novo is adapting during these crazy times. I'm thankful to neighbor such a business, keep on keep'n on. Independent businesses make Portland cool and I'm pulling for you. We support our local brewers, comic shop, and of course grocer, as much as is reasonable. We recently walked home with Ex Novo's  Perle Haggard Pils and Dynamic Duo, an imperial IPA (7.6%).

First of all the artwork is awesome. Freshness pops as you crack open a pint. Warm weather fruit pushes through to create aromas of nectarine and mango, carbonation races upward. The clarity is next level, showing off its soft golden hues. I like the interaction between smell and taste; contrasting traits work to enhance the senses. Bitterness is noticeable but well rounded, reminiscent of Pliny.

If you live in Portland and are interested in supporting Ex Novo, they're open for business and also deliver! It doesn't get much better than that considering what we're all going through. Enjoy craft beer responsibly.

Be safe,
80choices

Monday, April 27, 2020

Loud Is Not Enough

Best New Music |

Enemy Radio | Loud Is Not Enough | "Lock Your Wheels" |


80choices

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Ode To George Carlin | National Poetry Month

Ode to George Carlin |

Value?
Value's been destabilized.
Value's become Orwellian.

Value?
Who's getting good value?
Wealthy elites lacking elite qualities, wall street hacks, new tech industries, old dirty energy, outdated mass-passenger transportation, unneeded military-industrial complexes and DC politicians, that's who. Silver spoons getting repeatedly bailed out by tax money for financial failures and environmental atrocities is also good value.

This capitalism is false, a false god.
More, more, more, growth, growth, growth...
survival of the richest.
So rich. Too rich to fail.
Rich inheritance, but no inherent risk.

Money is not math.
Money is generated, printed and unequally distributed. 
Money hoards and monopolizes.
Math is proven.
Math has truth.
Values are being pummeled by profit.
Real hustle is losing to getting hustled.

Values?
What do you value?
Do you care?
Care? Who cares?
Do you do good work?
Work?
Is there give and take?
Or do you only take?

Value?
Value's not Salary.
Salary's just a figure.
A byproduct.
A finished product.
Finished.
Clock in. Clocked out.
Time.
Out of time.
Collecting a paycheck —
Check.

Where's the value in that?

- J.J.H.

Monday, April 20, 2020

John Prine | Sweet Revenge

Rest In Peace |

John Prine | Sweet Revenge | "Sweet Revenge" |

I got kicked off Noah's Ark
I turned my cheek to unkind remarks
There was two of everything but one of me
And when the rains came tumbling down
I held my breath and I stood my ground
And I watched that ship go sailing out to sea

Take it back, take it back, oh no, you can't say that

- John Prine


80choices

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Stay With Me

Best New Music |

Margaret Glaspy | Devotion | "Stay With Me" |


80choices

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Confluence Lite IPA | Baerlic & Fort George


To celebrate the anniversaries of Bridge & Tunnel and Bridgetown Beerhouse, two area taprooms/bottle shops, Baerlic Brewing and Fort George collaborated to create Confluence Lite IPA. Brewed with Comet, El Dorado and Sultana hops this unique offering registers in at 4.6%. Portland and Astoria are sharing the the love with this beer.

Soft fruity notes liven your nose before a hoppy bitterness is revealed. These subtleties make it very drinkable, hence the Lite. Slight murkiness dances in an otherwise transparent body as bubbly action triggers a noticeable effervescence. If able to, try and support local breweries during this challenging time. If you live in the PNW, might I recommend Confluence Lite IPA. Enjoy craft beer responsibly.

Be well, 
80choices

Monday, April 13, 2020

Bill Withers | Use Me

Rest In Peace |

Bill Withers | Still Bill | "Use Me" |


80choices

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Food As A Machine Gun

Best New Music |

Enemy Radio | Loud Is Not Enough | "Food As A Machine Gun" |


80choices

Thursday, April 9, 2020

John Prine | Spanish Pipedream

Rest In Peace |

John Prine | Self Titled | "Spanish Pipedream" |

Blow up your TV
Throw away your paper
Go to the country
Build you a home
Plant a little garden
Eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus
On your own

- John Prine


80choices

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

PRECIOUS METTLE | National Poetry Month

Precious Mettle

That silver piece,

polished sun,
gleaming and pretty.
A gray light.

Dandelion linen.
Blue roses
red, black and blue.

Pink white mountain
distant and glowing.
The moon never larger.

Bare
and barley hanging on.
210
remember this number.

St. John 
gone for the weekend.

Great blue herons,
wood ducks, egrets,
a brown heron atop the docks.
The hawk puffing its chest;
my admiration.

Warm afternoon sun
and the wind quick.
Long Beach
Giant kites
Another life

Colors,
precious and noble.
Blue moon eyes.

A river town (near the mouth)
Bridges
blue and gray.


- J.J.H.





Saturday, April 4, 2020

HARP | National Poetry Month


Harp

Curious youth, delicate, soft, nonviolent.

Setting up, caring for, and placing books -- rearranging.

Lanky and longhaired. Polite. Thoughtful. Curious.

Old Adidas sneakers, laces tied tightly.
Van Halen hoody, skinny jeans.
Placing items; books, dice... arranging.

Youth and curiosity.
A digital Timex watch. Silver.
Curious.

My first time here. I'll be back.

He, "found the crown."
The reply, "not kids books."
Curious.


- J.J.H.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

La Perdida (The Loss)

Best New Music |

Rubio | La Perdida | "Nudo" |


80choices


Friday, March 27, 2020

Brew Detective: Astoria


On March 7th the world felt different. Maybe because it was. I'm glad we took the opportunity to enjoy Astoria. The Norblad supplied us with some much needed R&R. Our corner room captured beautiful light, dappling the cozy apartment-like setting. Minimalism and comfort softly drapes the energy of where you are over you. The Norblad is also located across the street from Fort George's barreling and bottling warehouse. Did I mention how much I dig Astoria?

We settled in at Buoy Beer Co., lucking in to the best window seat. Sunlight was beaming through big puffy clouds. Marine life casting energetic sounds into the air.

Possessing traits of bitterness and slightly resinous, my first pint was brewed solely with Eureka hops. A light amber hue lit the glass. Damn it was good.

My partner in crime had the Growler Guys IPA (6.6% | 58IBU) — a local taproom collaboration. This flashlight yellow ale resembled the outer edges of a daffodil. Its summery nose accentuated by a bubbly finish; unlike any IPA I've tasted. A collection of hops were generously used during the boil and again in dry hopping. After fermentation an array of citrus was added, melding with the hop profiles. I'm not exactly sure how to describe it, but I liked it. Craft beer pairs superbly with fresh fish and chips.

With our appetites satiated we reconvened at The Norblad for a little NBA and some BIG napping. The Blazers were still playing at the start of March. Damn I miss basketball. After powering up on rest and round-ball we moved through the cool, moist night over to Fort George. I fancy being at one of my favorite breweries.


I started with a Fanzine IPA (6.7%). This delicious nectar had recently hit shelves in PDX, but I'd been waiting to get it fresh from the source. As soon as you smell this IPA you want to drink it. Awesome aroma pushes through a cloud-like head. Below lies a crisp ale with resounding clarity. 

First course: corn and potato chowder with chicken and bacon, locally sourced, with a side of focaccia. A tasty combo for sure. As the slow night drifted along we devoured deliciousness. M had the rock fish sandwich with jalapeño jam and a mixed green salad. I went total glutton and took down the Fort George burger with Tillamook cheddar and a side of pickled garden vegetables. The pickled cauliflower in particular was amazing. 

We closed the night by spiraling upstairs to take down our favorite cast iron, chocolate chip cookie with vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream. This dessert is a must have. The up-stairs portion of Fort George serves an entirely different menu focused on their brick oven. I washed down the baked goodness with a 12oz. Positive Contact IPA (7.4%).

The cool night turned cold as we breathed in a mixture of river and sea air. After a brisk walk we ambled to our room, ready to swallow us in until morning. We nestled in to a warm and inviting bed. Morning slowly unwound, eventually landing us in Street 14 Café down the block. Post brunch we scored a woven basket at Chariot Home and M grabbed up a Zine from Short Wave. Later we stocked up at Fort George and Blue Scorcher Bakery. We had an adventure in mind.


Making our way across the Columbia to explore various hamlets along the southern Washington coast was a great diversion. There were some pretty cute hideouts. As we drove back through Astoria we made sure to support Astoria Co-op, which is in an awesome new building on the east side of town. With fresh made burritos and munchies we made our way home, relishing in a wonderful weekend getaway.

Cheers to the good times,
80choices

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Power Zone

Best New Music |

Ben Seretan | Youth Pastoral | "Power Zone"

...
Praying to the Breeze
With asphalt in his knees

You will always be hungry
For something you can't hold
...


80choices

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

NBA 2020 ?

NBA Season Suspended...

This break in the action has already impacted the season. What about seedings? The Playoffs? I feel for the teams that had legitimate shots at winning the title. Meaningless questions really, when there's so much more to worry about. I hope everyone is as precautious as possible. We should all do our best to be safe. I realize sports is just one of many entities undergoing drastic measures to promote well being. With so much on our minds, sometimes a little escapism is okay. The NBA season is suspended yet my mind still gravitates toward hoops. Now the rest of the story.

East: * Bucks, * Raptors , * Celtics, Heat, Pacers, Sixers, (Nets, Magic)
West: * Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets, Jazz, Thunder, Rockets, Mavericks, (Grizzlies)
* clinched playoff spot | (losing record) | Standings when the season was suspended

Milwaukee was first in the east, but Giannis did suffer a minor knee sprain in the loss to the Lakers? Additional time away would obviously assist his recovery. Any extended break, especially one set to last at least thirty days, or longer, will surely disrupt team flow and continuity. Not just for the Bucks, but for all teams that were vying for the playoffs.

Toronto was second in the east. They, along with the Celtics and Heat, looked primed to challenge for eastern supremacy. Do the Sixers still matter? Sadly, injuries are again derailing success in Philly. Maybe this break will help them heal too. But will any of this even matter? Will the season be restored?

The west was still best. The top seven teams all had at least 40 wins. Two through seven would've been jockeying for position down the stretch. Only four games separated the six teams behind the Lakers in the win column. The six and seven seeds would be Houston and Dallas. Who wants to play either of them in the first round? No one, that's who. That Texas two-step could easily kickstart the playoffs with an upset. Some franchises will be extremely disappointed with first round exits. If there is a first round?

LA looked legit, especially when locked in. They're so physical and long. LeBron's orchestration of the offense bordered near unstoppable, while Davis anchored the defense. Their economy of movement has been fully weaponized. The Lakers had won 13 of their past 17 games. During that stretch they beat Denver, Boston, New Orleans twice, Philly, Milwaukee and Los Angeles. AD exploded for 97 points to go along with 29 rebound in consecutive wins over the Sixers, Bucks and Clippers. LeBron put up 87 and dropped 31 dimes in those same victories, outplaying both Giannis and Kawhi.

Davis and James were gathering some serious steam. Damn. Hopefully this break doesn't break up more than the action. I'm truly bummed for this team considering all that they've endured. They'd proven themselves to be true favorites for the title. How many more years does LeBron have to be the linchpin in pursuing a championship? The Lakers may have been robbed of this season mored than anyone else. As LeBron battles opponents and father time, I believe he has fuel to feed his flames.


LeBron also has a knack for racking up wins against other number one picks. He added two more this year when facing Zion. This generation should savor cutting their teeth against the crown. James is the planetary force of the NBA, the rest are whirring in his orbit. Zion could be next, he's definitely been impressive. But let me be clear, Ja Morant is the Rookie of the Year. He's been an energetic force, fearless and competitive, over a longer stretch of time. He even swiped a win from LeBron. If you come at the king, you best not miss.

Here's to hoping that the king and his men, and all the king's opponents, get their chance on the court. It would be a considerable disappointment if the season were lost entirely. Current circumstances may force us all into missing out on something special. As large social gatherings become forbidden and social distancing is expected, I'm not sure what to expect. But one thing's for sure, I miss basketball.

Be safe,
80choices

Friday, March 13, 2020

Fog (Again)


Radiohead | "Fog (Again)" | Thom Yorke

There's a little child runnin' 'round his house
And he never leaves, he will never leave
And the fog comes up from the sewers
And glows -- in -- the dark

Baby alligators in the sewers 
Grow up fast, grow up fast
Anything you want it can be done now
How -- did you go bad?

Did you go bad? Did you go bad?
Some things will never wash away
Did you go bad? Did you go bad?


80choices

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Collective


Alex Hall | Athlete |


Mountains Streets Winter
Cityscapes Landscapes Winter
Outside Cold Air Escape Winter 

- 80choices

Monday, March 9, 2020

Pliny the Younger | 2020 | Apex

February 15th ...
My second straight year sipping Pliny the Younger in Portland was much like the first; no lines, bring your own food, just an average Saturday at Apex. Sounds nice doesn't it? Because it was. We munched sandos while leisurely enjoying the elusive Younger — later migrating to Blind Pig.

Younger 2020 produced subtle aromas and a bit more fruit in the initial taste. It was by no means too fruity. Added bitterness won out as tasting continued. This Younger really announced its freshness. A thin yet substantial foam lifted to a head in this super clean IPA.

Deli Sandwiches, kettle chips, dill pickle spears, Blind Pig and Pliny the Younger makes for a good Saturday luncheon. We enjoyed our local, hassle-free pilgrimage for Younger. Hopefully you did too.

Cheers,
80choices

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Maiden West IPA | Little Beast Brewing


Little Beast Brewing creatively crafts beer — fruited sours, barrel aged ales, and west coast IPA's are some of the elixirs you can expect. Certain offerings are available in single bottles, while select others can be found in four packs. I recommend hanging out in their (hopefully sun-soaked) yard on SE Division with a fresh pint.

The delicious Maiden West is beautifully done in the spirit of west coast IPA's. Early aromas lean toward white peach and yellow nectarine. Carbonation moves about with glowing clarity. Those notes of stone fruit fade into pleasant bitterness. Contrast in smell and taste can really add to the complexity of an IPA. Maiden West accomplishes this in both a surprising and respectful way; nothing seems out of the ordinary, ingredients and methodology work in tandem to achieve such distinct aromas, flavor and nuance. Little Beast crafts with care in order to create quality beer. Enjoy responsibly.

Cheers,
80choices

Monday, February 17, 2020

NBA | FANtastic ALL-STAR Break


All-Star weekend is a reminder of the immense talent the NBA possesses. The break allows us to assess the Association. The events and game itself showcased how basketball is both fun and exciting, perhaps like no other major sport in America. I thought the ELAM ending was good. I also liked how each quarter felt like a mini game, bringing more of a competitive edge. Third quarter intensity ramped up near the horn as teams jockeyed for point totals leading into the fourth. Big ups to both squads for bringing more to the All Star game.

Los Angeles 
I'll begin in the City of Angels due to the star power of both Staples Center teams, and an unfathomable tragedy (I'll briefly address this at the end). The center of the NBA universe seems to be LA. The Lakers stood pat while the Clippers made a move at the deadline. I thought it was okay, and in some way spiritual right, that the Lakers didn't make a move. They were probably doing their due diligence behind the scenes, and yet it may have felt inappropriate to overhaul the roster. Whether or not they should have is for the talking heads to debate. 

The Forum Blue and Gold destroys teams they're suppose to, and although they have a winning record against plus .500 teams, they don't always look as great against superior competition. The primary teams to be concerned with in this regard are Milwaukee, Toronto, and the Clippers. 

It's no secret that the Lakers offense looks pedestrian when LeBron is off the court. Do Davis and James have to do more? Perhaps in the playoffs, which they are capable of. The ball is almost always in LeBron's hands, but when he does turn it over, I want him to hustle back. On botched possessions he rarely crosses half court before the opponents trigger a shot. I'm not expecting game seven of the Finals, chase-down LeBron, but more effort to invigorate his teammates wouldn't hurt. His "free safety" role on defense sometimes confuses his help-side defenders who are trying to rotate and recover. I want him to be more engaged on defense. Also, too often he settles for that mid-post fade away. He should attack the rim to score or facilitate. Ultimately I'm just nitpicking my favorite player because I want his squad to shine. Maybe he's angling for the playoffs.  

Davis could use a jolt of assertiveness. I'm wondering if he'll play as though this team is his. It's no secret he's a beast on both sides of the ball, the best two-way Laker. Davis leads the team in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks. His PER is more than 3 points higher than LeBron's and he hits free throws. AD's a machine sent to earth to wreak havoc on basketball opposition, and LeBron's his running mate. So why doesn't he consistently get touches when it's crunch time? Again, I'm nitpicking an all-time talent. I just want him to excel.

The Clippers traded for a ball-stopping Morris twin. They appear to be the ultimate Dr. Jeckyll Mr. Hyde, lacking consistency and chemistry. PG and especially Kawhi have powers to summon once postseason begins. Regardless of the talent, chemistry and health play major roles in the march toward a Finals. Will the Clippers have enough court time together to build cohesion?


Dame Time ? !!!
How severely did he strain his groin? Why did he even attend All Star weekend, especially if he had to move around in skinny jeans? There were more than enough rappers in Chicago to fill in, however none as slick as Dame. Can he and the Blazers catch the Grizzlies? They can if he plays in most of the 26 games that remain.

Gary Trent Jr. is making the leap. GT's play has been a revelation. He plays with confidence and physicality. If he continues to shine his value to the team will only grow moving forward. He's earned his increased minutes, especially in the fourth quarter. Trent's proven he has the onions to take shots and make them. He's an NBA scorer. Good on him for continuing to work hard.

Ariza's been a helpful surprise. His veteran smarts, long limbs, and ability to shoot the deep ball has increased the Blazers ceiling. Swanigan may be a bull in a china shop, but he plays hard and brings a bit of nasty onto the court. Simons needs to recapture his swagger and that ability to be lightening in a bottle on offense. He showed flashes of it just before the all star break. Little is getting little to no run, yet the new guys acquired from Sacramento are, what gives? If Dame misses prolonged time, McCollum better pick it up. CJ where have you gone?

Minnesota or Golden State?
Who won the trade? Which key player is better? Who's contract is more of an albatross? Will Russell help the Wolves out of dysfunction, or just lighten the load for Towns? Can Wiggins excel as the Warriors fourth best player? Which guy lasts longer on their new team? The answers to these questions won't be known until next year. Only one team will continue to stink; hint, it's not the one from the Bay area.  

Houston Skill Ball
Unleash the beast...Westbrook that is. I'm all for a front office and coaching staff that go for it. Why not play your best guys? Size be damned. If this version of the Rockets fully gels heading into the playoffs, Harden and Westbrook will not be fun to defend. In the meantime it sure is fun to watch.

Milwaukee Finals bound?
A scenario does exist that could prove to be worrisome. If Milwaukee has to play Miami in the second round and Toronto in the conference finals I'm not sure they advance. Each team stands in their way with 28 games remaining. Giannis is beyond superlatives, but the rosters and coaches for Miami and Toronto are decidedly better in my opinion. I for one want those matchups to unfold. If the Bucks only have to play one of either the Heat or Raptors, they'll gallop into the Finals. Oh, and if you're wondering about Philly, they stink.

2 * 8 * 24
Considering the heavy hearts that are obvious in all of us, this year will be remembered for a deeply sad reason. A note of positivity I have taken from this tragedy is to make each day count. A super hero-like star taught me to honor that which you love and to always try your hardest to do your best. 

Rest in Peace

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Space Danger


Danger, danger, danger Will Robinson. Er, I mean, Space Danger, a real west coast IPA. This beer is not a hazy juice bomb, thank you Fremont Brewing. A great interplay takes place between the hops and malt in this fantastic beer. The malt helps to produce a fluffy head as bubbles loft upward from perfected carbonation. Space Danger is so clean and transparent. If you see this beer, buy it.

Space Danger livens my taste buds like fresh garden greens, think escarole, arugula, even parsley. Those notes of bitterness meld perfectly with malted barley. Space Danger's complexity gives it an actually voice against the muted homogeneity of hazy IPA's. Another tasting note worth mentioning is that of moist tree bark. Mirabelle Plum comes to mind. If you've ever pruned that particular tree you know exactly what I'm talking about. I could smell that one-of-a-kind smell when I wrote this. This ale is a new favorite of mine. I will gladly seek it out between now and April 1st. 

Space Danger is one of the best IPA's I've had in quite some time. It's truly memorable. Hops include Centennial, Simcoe, and Sabro. The grain bill consists of 2-row pale malt, rolled oats, and white wheat. Find this IPA and drink it responsibly. 

Space Danger IPA | 7% | 61 IBU

Cheers,
80choices

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Heaven Help Us All

Stevie Wonder

"Heaven Help Us All"

Heaven help the child who never had a home 

Heaven help the girl who walks the streets alone
Heaven help the roses if the bombs begin to fall
Heaven help us all

...

Now I lay me down before I go to sleep
In a trouble world I pray the Lord to keep
Keep hatred from the mighty
And the mighty from the small
Heaven help us all


80choices

Friday, February 7, 2020

The Collective


Antti Ollila | Athlete


City streets, urban beats
Mountains, big air
Winter everywhere
Cityscapes, landscapes
Outside to escape
Sculptures, kickers, transfers, cold air
Winter everywhere

- 80choices

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

C-Side

Khruangbin & Leon Bridges

"C-Side" | Texas Sun | EP


80choices

Monday, February 3, 2020

Magnanimous IPA | Fort George

Fort George may just be my favorite Oregon brewery. Their Magnanimous IPA is another benchmark in creativity, it can also be called a west coast IPA. This particular nectar is brewed with Grand Doug Fir. In our neck of the woods this delicious offering is available on draft and in four packs. I was lucky enough to score the latter. 

An absolutely awesome glow of marigold illuminates the glass. Streaming carbonation livens the liquid. Outstanding clarity heightens the senses as you take in the resounding taste—west coast style yo. The Grand Fir is subtle, acting as more of an enhancer. If you're in search for a new to you IPA, look no further than Magnanimous. Enjoy craft beer responsibly.

Magnanimous IPA | 7%

Cheers,
80choices

Friday, January 31, 2020

I Want None of This

Radiohead

"I Want None of This"

...
Take a lesson from me
Don't get stuck on a dream

80choices

Monday, January 27, 2020

Yesterday

Stevie Wonder

"Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday"

What happened to, the world we knew
When we would dream and scheme
And while the time away
Yester-me, yester-you, yesterday

Where did it go, that yester-glow
When we could feel 
The wheel of life turn our way
Yester-me, yester-you, yesterday

...


#2 #8 #24 Forever

Saturday, January 25, 2020

BIG 61 & WTF in Rip CIty


Dame dropped 61 BIG ones on the Warriors inside Moda Center on MLK day (Jan. 20). Absurd! He literally willed them to victory. It was impressive and clutch. Lillard was flame-throwing threes. Some were deep, others were really deep. Some were dribble up, pull-ups. And a couple were game saving step backs. The degree of difficulty on his final three of regulation was incredibly high to say the least. Also, he didn't miss a free throw.

Lillard played so hard that you could visibly see his fatigue. Regardless, he did what his team needed him to do. It was an unselfish 61, if that even makes sense. Just saying that 61 points can be got, in an unselfish manner, is as impressive as the raw point total is. It was a show of true leadership.

Stat line: 61 pts, 17/37 fg, 16/16 ft, 11/20 3fg, 10 rb, 7 ast, 45 min, only 2 to's


°°°°°°°°°°°
Three nights later against Dallas, at home (Jan. 23), Dame lit it up again. This night however would be different. Stotts made some highly questionable coaching calls. He gave too many minutes to the new guys. Even if Ariza was hitting shots. Swanigan should not have been playing (23 minutes!). He looked lost on both ends of the floor, sometimes even running in circles on defense. Yikes. What happened to Nasir Little? Why can't he get run? During the game against Golden State Simons and Trent Jr. each played over 40 minutes in a victory. Now they get their run shortened, what gives?

Stotts even rolled out a lineup featuring Whiteside and Swanigan. That poor decision led to clustered spacing for the Blazers. Boxing out was problematic, offensive rebounds neuter teams. The pairing of two bigs was a questionable tactic, and frankly it didn't work. Overall the Trailblazers lacked organization on both sides of the ball, often looking jumbled on offense. There was poor spacing through most of the first three quarters, further hampered by the lack of flow and on court chemistry. These decisions lay at the feet of the coach!


Lillard looked pissed. Peeps were out of position as Dame found himself in tough situations, it was too unfamiliar for everybody. He couldn't rely on continuity (again, because Stotts wasn't doing him any favors with the lineups). Damian battled through it, skillfully making the right play against double teams that occurred as high as half court. Keeping in mind that CJ was out with an ankle sprain. I couldn't help but feel for Dame. 

The Blazers began the second half lethargically. Lillard hit from deep, as if to say, 'fxck it, I got to do this myself.' Then he canned another from way downtown. It was necessity at that point. Two non-calls, one on a three and another on a crafty drive, stymied his inferno. 

Dame yam'd on Porzingis in the fourth. Unfortunately, Swanigan couldn't even imagine how to guard Kristaps on the other end, which resulted in a put-back dunk and a long three. Why was the new undersized center guarding the 7'3" guy down the stretch? Ask Stotts. Dallas' bench put the game away as Portland was running on fumes.

Lillard scored 40 on an effort drive that should've drawn a whistle. He somehow summoned the will to attack and scored again. Two free throws and his last driving layup gave him 47. Dame subbed out after receiving a tech. He was visibly frustrated, rightfully so, and the refs weren't doing him any favors. A reoccurring theme on the night. 

Look, Dame's a beast. He's one of the toughest covers in the NBA, as is his opponent. Luka's a BOSS. He's gifted, crafty, intelligent and bigger than most primary ball handlers not named LeBron. I root for Dončić, he's humble and he's the future. I just wish Dame had a coach like Carlisle—adaptive, creative, and able to make in-game adjustments. Dame needs help badly! I mean, 108 points in 87 minutes, c'mon!

Statline: 47 pts, 16/28 fg, 7/7 ft, 8/15 3fg, 6 rb, 8 ast, 42 min


Only in the NBA,

80choices

Friday, January 24, 2020

Dawn Chorus

Thom Yorke

"Dawn Chorus" | Anima

Back up the cul-de-sac
Come on, do your worst
You quit your job again
And your train of thought
If you could do it all again
A little fairy dust
A thousand tiny birds singing
If you must, you must
Please let me know
When you've had enough
...


80choices.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Brew Detective: Celebration Fresh Hop IPA 2019


First Brewed in 1981, Celebration Ale uses fresh hops from the harvest season, delicately balancing the notes of pine and citrus. The malt character is not too sweet, revealing itself visually through an amber hue. Celebration Ale is a bold wintertime classic with recognizable quality. Sometimes I wish this delicious offering was available year round, but that would defeat the purpose. Freshness is reflected through the seasonal celebration of hops each year. Thanks Sierra Nevada for being a pioneer. Craft beer lovers everywhere should raise a glass to the institution from Chico.

Sierra Nevada | Celebration Ale | 6.8% | 65 IBU

Cheers,
80choices

Sunday, January 19, 2020

In My Room

Frank Ocean

"In My Room" | Blonded 

...
Fxck it I'm pretty still
In a pit of snakes
While serpent shakes some brand new scales
I need a new face
I'm tired of these weirdos acting familiar
Took all the rock
And turned it to pop
He think that he Elvis
And he ungrateful
They don't say thank you
They don't say grace not even for meals
Not even for millions
Fxck it I'm pretty still
... 


80choices

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

NBA 2020 (Visions)


A) Memphis has the best young core in the NBA. Give me Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, and duck duck Brooks, over any other youth-filled roster. Their front office is not only drafting talented players, but assembling a roster that works in orchestra together. If given the opportunity, this is the team with the most long-term upside. Hell, they're a playoff contending team  right now, albeit in a weaker than expected battle for the West's final playoff spot. Still, the Grizzlies play a Western Conference schedule.

Memphis has a nice pace to their offense, while also fitting it to their talent. The youngsters also go hard at opposition. Coach Taylor Jenkins is both taking advantage of his own opportunity, and installing a competent brand of philosophies on both sides of the ball. Utilizing young player's gifts and skills is no easy task. They've assembled a roster that fits, while also creating units that showcase versatility on defense. The new Grizz have begun sharpening their claws. (Side note: Outlets backed by Disney or HBO may have beat me to this, but I swear this has been in my draft folder for over a week. I know, bad on me. I am but one man. A man who loves hoops.) 

B) For as good as OKC and Indiana are, both owners of winning records, I don't see either pushing their way into The Finals. Billy Donovan's a good coach who's finally able to showcase his ideas. The Thunder play smart, especially down the stretch of games in large part due to Chris Paul. OKC plays hard, team-first basketball, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is legit.

McMillan's another coach putting in work. Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis have really grown this year as players, both are performing at all star levels. These two teams play the right way. Maybe they do have a shot. Which leads me to this, are we sure we know who will make The Finals?

Most eyes are on LA. Milwaukee's path is still easier. What about Denver? Can Houston pull a rocket out of their ass? What if Utah's the dark horse we thought they were coming into the season? Can't Dallas represent the West with a top five player? Is Boston a David in plain sight? Why can't Toronto once fully healthy return to The Finals? Is Philly really this bad, or can the Sixers flip the switch? Why not Miami? That's what 82 games and three playoff rounds are for.


C) Is Erik Spoelstra the best coach in the NBA and the most underrated? Sure he has Pat Riley in the background pulling strings and dropping rings. But the two of them seem to work in concert with one another. They draft properly (Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro), spot diamonds in the rough (Kendrick Nunn), and target the correct high-end talent (Jimmy Butler). All players who mesh well within the culture of working hard and doing it the Heat way. Miami holds multi-million dollar athletes accountable. They also sometimes fleece teams. Getting rid of Whiteside and bringing in Meyers Leonard, another hard working, team-first player, helped to facilitate the acquisition of Butler. From the front office down to the bench, this team knows who they are.

The Heat do many things well; they play team ball, they buy-in on offense and defense, and more importantly, they play hard while playing to their strengths. Miami has guys who will go to war on the basketball court, guys with fire in their bellies—with the exception of Dion Waiters, who's a total imbecile. I'm intrigued to see how far this group can go in the playoffs.

D) Will there be any major trades made? Does a contender make a splash or wait for the buyout market? Does a team like Portland, who had extremely high expectations go all in, or just play out the season? What about the three-way battle between the Blazers, Spurs, and Grizzlies for the eighth spot? Memphis still has Iguodala to use as bait. Which really bad team, if any, will sell its parts? I'm looking at you Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, NY, Minnesota, Phoenix, Sacramento, and possibly Orlando. Whether or not trades will be made, they certainly spice things up. Only in the NBA!

80choices