Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Pacific as Our Witness

Current Mood |

"Never My Love" | Association | Insight Out

You ask me if there'll come a time 
When I grow tired of you
Never my love
Never my love

You wonder if this heart of mine 
Will lose its desire for you
Never my love
Never my love

What makes you think love will end
When you know that my whole life depends
On you (on you)

Never my love
Never my love

You say you fear I'll change my mind
And I won't require you
Never my love
Never my love

How can you think love will end 
When I've asked you to spend your whole life 
With me (with me, with me)

     - Don & Dick Addrisi


Friday, January 25, 2019

Brew Detective: Powder Hound | Big Sky

When winter sets in and the days seem a little less sunny I tend to reach for a cold ale. If you too are in search of a winter ale that is not overly malty but stills strikes the proper notes, might I suggest Powder Hound by Big Sky Brewing. This has long been one of my favorite winter offerings and now that I'm in the NW, it's far easier to find.

Powder Hound possesses great carbonation and an aroma that cannot be missed, one part winter and two parts IPA. Amarillo and Centennial hops were used in this year's batch and damn it tastes good. The mandarin orange-like glow foreshadows the tasty bounty that awaits. There is a collage of flowery citrus that is both present and subdued. It's amazing how balanced this IPA is especially when considering its alcohol by volume. Powder Hound can be found October through March. Big Sky is absolutely crushing this ale and you should too. Enjoy responsibly.

Powder Hound | 7.2%


Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Current Mood |

"Helpless" | Buffy Sainte-Marie | She Used to Wanna Be a Ballerina

There is a town in north Ontario 
With dream comfort memory to spare
And in my mind I still need a place to go
All my changes were there
     - Neil Young


Thursday, January 17, 2019

NBA | Hot Takes

The NBA is just too good. It feels so much different, so much better than the No Fun League. Pace in the NBA destroys MLB, I know, apples to oranges and I do love playoff baseball. Yet our collective attention seems destined to gravitate toward basketball, soccer, or even hockey. The constant movement in those sports is magical. It's captivating. And that's the point, the greatest target for consumption and consumerism is our attention, our eyes. The Association has had mine since the 80's. Below are a handful of takes from around the NBA. Beginning with the last question I posed over a week ago. Who would you trade Luka for?

 Luka Dončić
Honestly, who would you trade Luka for? He's already a seasoned rookie who can pass and see angles that 15 year veteran point guards will never make, plus he can launch deep step-back 3's or drive to the hoop without fear of the moment. He's the real deal and he's on a rookie contract with an owner who has shown to be loyal (Dirk). Really, who would you trade him for? Luka's perhaps the best rookie since LeBron. 

To be honest, I'll say, Giannis or Anthony Davis, maybe. If you knew you were getting them for their entire prime starting now, sure. It would still be difficult to make that trade. You could argue LeBron or Kevin Durant with their stratospheric apexes. But they're both in their 30's and would demand serious coin, as well as other team-wide concessions and considerations. If a trade involving those two occurred it would be shortsighted. That leaves James Harden, Curry, Kawhi and Paul George. All amazing talents, who combined to the four mentioned above, comprise eight of the top ten talents in the NBA. And I probably wouldn't trade for any one of them straight up. It's beyond perplexing, I know. 

His legend is growing and he's certainly made Dallas both competitive and relevant. Regardless of recent injuries or trade talks, Luka may be so good that Carlisle and Cuban are lured into making the playoffs. A lot of us would like to see the Mavericks make a move before the deadline. I also understand if they don't want to risk future cap flexibility or roster construction. Dončić's capabilities, coupled to his limitless ceiling and playing style, make him one of the most desirable young stars to play alongside. He is the future, as well as the Maverick's biggest asset in recruiting future free agents to Dallas. The Luka star shines bright in the Lone Star State.

You know who Atlanta would trade Luka for? Trae Young, yikes. I know it's unfair, but those two will be linked in perpetuity. Even if the Hawks got an additional pick, I don't care, have they taken notice of Luka? Let's make this quick. What is the front office doing in Atlanta? And how long do they get?

Minnesota Timberwolves
I want the Wolves to be good, I really do. Please Minnesota find a way to fully utilize Karl-Anthony Towns. He is a transcendent talent of offense. I've even watched him handle the Warriors. He cannot be stopped if you unleash the beast. I just railed on the Atlanta front office, is Minnesota's any better? Their situation might beam some light at the end of the tunnel, but that's only because they have Towns. Even with last year's playoff appearance the Timberwolves have been a mess since KG was traded to Boston. 

I'm totally behind Saunders as the interim coach, it's perfectly fine. With that said, if Minnesota is to have a heart beating identity, they need to look for their next leader in a more progressive way. My short list of most desirable would look like this: Shaka Smart, Jay Wright, Chauncey Billups, everyone else. The thorniest issue for the next leader of the wolf pack will be what to do with Wiggins?

I'm going to go to the dark side for a minute. The Timberwolves owner is of the old guard so to speak. His NBA investment is worth about a billion dollars. If the team and the city of Minneapolis aren't careful, the Wolves could just as easily be relocated to Seattle. The Pelicans aren't the only small market team with a young talented big man and empty seats. I feel bummed to type this, but those are the two most likely teams to relocate. Who are the other possibilities? I've been to Sacramento, their new arena is the best in the NBA. Milwaukee just unveil their modern arena which will keep them put. Detroit's not going anywhere, plus they have multiple titles. Maybe the Magic, but they too have a recent, big money arena. The Target Center is not the greatest regardless of the renovations. I'm not sure of Minnesota's attendance numbers over time, but it's probably ranks near the bottom. Their best draw is the training, practice and health facilities they recently built with Mayo Clinic. Taylor could cash in his NBA chips and further stockpile for his heirs, at his age he may want out. I for one want the Timberwolves to always be in the Twin Cities. 

Rocket Fuel
James Harden is unREAL
Harden is in really rare air. His current ballistics performance is only rivaled by Kobe's selfish 2006 campaign in which he played one against five and MJ's ridiculous year in '88. Those are three of the best offensive showings ever by shooting guards. What's crazier is that Harden is doing it at the most efficient rate of all time. He has the two highest efficiency ratings for players with a +30 usage rate. He's led the NBA in free throws for five straight years. During his last two intergalactic rocket shows, where he scored 57 and 58, not one of those baskets came via assist. Think on that.

James Harden is the best offensive player in the Association right now. What he's doing is unreal. I normally don't dig the super iso heavy play, but I find myself cheering for Harden. He single handily beat the Warriors a few games back, even with the refs spotting them 15 feet out of bounds. It's been fun to watch him blast off on opponents. It doesn't matter who guards him or what type of defense is thrown his way. Fun fact; he's run more iso plays than any other team, not player, team. Whoa. I want him to silence his playoff critics. After all, Atlas shouldered the world, he's only shouldering the Rockets. Keep on keep'n on. Take note other solo superstars. 

The Field or GSW?
The teams and the talent in the western conference is stupid. At the top of the heap is the Death Star in Golden State. It doesn't matter that Draymond gets to bark, curse and stomp at officials. It won't stop this year's parade if KD leaves. Who cares if Klay loves his hand too much. I won't be less persuaded when they show off Cousins. Plus they have that guy named Curry. THEY ARE STILL THE FAVORITES. If someone asks me the field or Golden State, I'm taking the Warriors, even if they're not my team. Like the Death Star, they destroy worlds. Amidst all the fresh buzz in the NBA, and rightfully so, the Finals will have the same conclusion. Case study number one, the beat down they gave the Nuggets in Denver (51 in the first quarter, c'mon). Unless I just reverse jinxed them. Nah, that's not even possible, because in the not too distant future they will open their money factory on the water in San Francisco. The present is the future.

Only in the NBA,

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Brew Detective: Luponic Distortion #11 | Firestone Walker

The eleventh iteration of Firestone Walker's Luponic Distortion has reached my local grocery store (the batch I brought home was brewed Dec. 7th). Early observations were obvious; it possessed good carbonation and effervescence with a long lasting foaminess, plus it's super clean and really clear. I like it!

Initially, a subtle hop-driven bitterness gives way to notes of guava and slight lemon, I did not taste pineapple as suggested by Firestone Walker. Luponic #11 is super easygoing, almost too drinkable if ya know what I'm say'n. This would be a great beer for someone who doesn't prefer IPA's but wants to try some. I was stoked to get a taste of California's central coast up in the wintry lands of Portland. Drink responsibly.

Luponic Distortion #11 | 5.9%


Monday, January 14, 2019

I Will Go To War

Best New Music |

"I Will Go To War" | Tessa Thompson | Creed II

I don't know if I can take it
I can't take it, I can't take it anymore
I don't know if I can do it
If it wasn't for who I do it for
     - Tessa Thompson


Friday, January 11, 2019

Brew Detective: Suicide Squeeze IPA | Fort George

Suicide Squeeze is a "special edition" IPA from Fort George in collaboration with Suicide Squeeze Records. Music and beer go well together and this unfiltered IPA does not disappoint. There is an earthiness to the nose and once poured you will notice some serious particulates. The foamy head that forms early fades with each drink, leaving its legs along the pint glass. There is a slight bitterness up front that transitions into a more balanced IPA taste late. There's a lingering difference that makes me wish this India pale ale was available year round. Oh well, at least I got my paws on it. 

This special edition IPA was brewed in late November and could be hard to find. Fort George is only distributed in the Pacific Northwest. Happy hunting and enjoy Responsibly.

Suicide Squeeze IPA | 7.2%


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

NBA | What 2 Watch 4

The NBA's regular season is nearly half over or close enough for most teams to assess the action fairly. The western 9 and 10 seeds would be 6th and 7th in the east. There are 12 teams out west with a plus point differential, only seven eastern squads can claim that. However, the east's top five teams do possess high end talent. As the year progresses I'll try to keep hitting on some hot topics. In the meantime, here's what to watch for in the NBA.

LeBron & The Lakers
All things in the NBA seem to begin or end with LeBron and even if they don't, they somehow do. His injury has zapped the buzz in LA, they're 2-5 in his absence. The Lakers played the Maverick's last night and a big second half helped them to take down Luka (more on him later). A couple of quick takes on the Lakers. Their defensive metrics are good and yet I'd like to see them utilize their youth, speed and length even more. Rebounding on defense is an aspect of concern with or without LeBron. KCP is their best catch and shoot guy for better or worse. They look good when they can get out and run. In the half court they should look to penetrate and kick more, it helps to set up the hockey assist swing pass if the initial catch and shoot option isn't there. Lastly, they're a poor free throw shooting team, hopefully that remedies itself. 

With all those topics and swirling trade rumors the Lakers were fourth in the west at 20-14 when LeBron had his Christmas day setback. Not too shabby when James is leading the way as the Lakers have had to also deal with injuries before his own. I'm left to believe this roster is not the one we will see after the trade deadline or once the buyout market rounds into form. One thing's for certain, LeBron and the Lakers will dominate the headlines no matter who's on the floor. Bradley Beal, Kemba Walker and AD are great stars to stir the drink with.

Atlantic Division (TOR, PHI, BOS)
With all due respect to Brooklyn and New York this is a three team division. Make no mistake the eastern finals could easily showcase an all Atlantic battle. I'm not totally sold on the fit in Philadelphia. Butler needs to get over himself which would probably help everyone. The other easy observation is the lack of team shooting, exacerbated by Simmons own inability to shoot. He is not the ideal fit for The Process and let's not kid ourselves, Embiid is the guy in The City of Brotherly Love. Markelle Fultz anyone? We'll have to wait and see what happens with the 76ers.

Which leads to Boston, what's wrong with the Celtics? I can't bring myself to fully throw Brad Stevens under the bus, but is some of this his fault? Could a couple of guys be playing better? Maybe Tatum shouldn't have worked out with Kobe to refine the long two (aka the worst shot in basketball). Maybe Jaylen Brown does feel isolated as a chess playing intellectual who always hears his name in trade rumors. Perhaps Kyrie will go James Harden or maybe he won't. What if he can't? Ah Boston, the team that had the post-LeBron puzzle solved. Perhaps it's them who needs the solving.

North of the wall has never looked so good. Kawhi may be a rental or he may take the Raptors to The Finals. Whichever story unfolds Toronto did what was best for the team. Kyle Lowry's injury is definitely a concern but the Dino's have looked good for the most part regardless of the lineup. They have depth, they know there systems on both sides of the ball and they have a potential MVP candidate. And yet our judgement of them, as well as their fate, will only come into focus once the playoffs have commenced.

Antetokounmpo is otherworldly in his talents and intensity—he is both the high tech updated version and the old school. Can't shoot, who cares? He pretty much goes wherever he wants. When he is thwarted it just creates an even nastier highlight of him dunking on someone who tried. There's a tenacity to his game that makes me believe he will do anything to win when the chips are truly down. With the Bucks ascending hopefully his team will make a deep run in the playoffs so we can see him perform under heavy pressure. Milwaukee is currently atop the standings in the east. Giannis is obviously responsible for their success, but Coach Bud's new schemes have accelerated their play as well. Welcome to Giannis' world, it's party time, excellent.

AD in NOP ?
New Orleans slump to kick off another year with AD has been a surprise. I just figured they had figured something out at the end of last season and would further morph toward that type of team we saw against Portland in the playoffs. They have not been able to win enough games or stay healthy, a voodoo curse perhaps. There are few paths to fully righting this ship. One is if Davis can replicate his performance from the end of last year times two to the second power. Another could be the emergence, or more likely the arrival of, a third star to fill the scoring void if Holiday under performs or Davis simply plays human. The West is brutal 1 through 14 and unfortunately for the Pelicans they're on the outside looking in. Which leads all conversations to, "will he stay or will he go?" 

LUKA !!!
One question pretty much sums up how spectacular this young basketball Jedi has been:

Only in the NBA,

Monday, January 7, 2019

Chopin: Etude Op.25 No.11

Current Mood | "Winter Wind" | A minor


Saturday, January 5, 2019


There are not five players in the NBA playing better basketball than Paul George right now. I saw the Thunder take on the Trailblazers at the Moda Center last night and I walked away with an easy assessment; George was the best player on the court and it wasn't even close. Let me go off on a tangent and list the handful of players that are at the top of their game who could be debated as playing the best right now as of January 5th (not who is the best).

Harden is obviously a cheat code on offense what he's doing is crazy. The Beard is creating roughly 70 plus points on his own during his recent, blistering stretch. On the flip side he's not close to emulating PG's defensive presence. Giannis and Kawhi are similar in their two-way abilities. However, Antetokounmpo doesn't have a jumper and Leonard doesn't seem that fun to play with even when he does wreak havoc. LeBron is LeBron and in the playoffs we've seen how he reaches other levels not capable of basic humans. He's currently rehabbing and the Lakers have gone 1-4 in his absence. That leaves Anthony Davis who is playing out of his gourd and yet the Pelicans sit at the 13th spot three games under five hundred. Sure Durant deserves to be on the list but he's not playing that great right now and his attitude is suspect. I don't doubt his talents, he's probably the second best player on the planet, but you wouldn't know it by watching his team (which happens to also have Steph, Klay and Draymond). So I'm left with the idea that Paul George and Anthony Davis are perhaps the hottest and most talented two-way players in the Association right now. Of course I would build my team around Giannis or AD long term and I would choose LeBron or KD if it was one guy to take me to The Finals, but I'll ride with this Paul George anytime.

Now back to George... he's the best two-way player I've seen this year. He's so good and plays so hard while making it look so smooth. He's always in the right spot and intellectually he's reading plays before they unfold. Paul George would be so fun to play with and seems like a great teammate. Not only is he unselfish, he's also willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win, he has all the tools on both sides of the floor. It was a treat to see him display his talents in person. Through the years I have been wowed by a few players live—Giannis, Gobert and LeBron come to mind. George has now entered that list and not because of his physical size or alien-like gifts. Instead it's due to his fluid and poetic basketball style, he can do it all and does so with class. The Thunder won for the first time in Portland since 2014. The final score was 111-109. As a result the Blazers fell to seventh in the west and OKC rose up to the second spot. Only in the NBA.

Paul George @ Portland Jan. 4th - 37 pts (10-23 fg, 5-9 3pt, 12-14 ft) | 8 rbs | 2 ast | 1 stl 


Friday, January 4, 2019

Brew Detective: Stay West IPA | Breakside

Breakside is not mess'n 'round, they brew good beer. Stay West IPA is kind of magical, the clarity is A-plus. Often we get caught up in the hype of what's new, it's nice to appreciate west coast IPA's as a standard-bearer within the brewing industry. 

Some breweries get it done without any gimmicks crafting beautiful, lush and taste-driven IPA's that are clearly filtered. A mixture of stone fruit and slightly tropical flavors pop from the bottle. Stay West is also delicate, the carbonation is subtle creating nice mouth feel. All of the nuances are clean and yet noticeable. If you happen to see this delectable India pale ale on the shelf I suggest grabbing some. Enjoy responsibly. 

Stay West IPA | 7% | 63 IBU