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Pre-Season Hijinks, Episode 3: The View from Sacramento

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I was in a pretty pissy mood Thursday night until one of David Stern's employees made me happy. But first, I must digress…

I had just got home from work and opened a little white box that contained a really swell book I had ordered: David Howell's British Workers and the Independent Labour Party, 1888-1906, published by Manchester University Press..

Direct hit on my battleship, baby. I've been engrossed in early British Marxism over the last month or so, writing Wikipedia pages and the whole works — and this book was sweet. You can tell at a glance, anybody who spouts the old platitude "you can't tell a book by the cover" pretty clearly doesn't know jack about books... Great dust jacket, a smart, tight periodization (origins to the establishment of the parliamentary Labour Party), a good academic publisher, a volume as fat as a walrus stowed away in the hold of a salmon trawler...

What a book! Beautiful! Lovely! An esoteric masterpiece! Thirty-five bucks well spent, or whatever it ran me. I ripped off to my Book Room and grabbed a 10XL mylar dust jacket protector and two minutes later it was looking sharp.

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I eagerly opened up the newest of my 10,000 babies to get a first peek and — hey, what's this?!?! There was a little tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic down the margin of the first page of the introduction, where the previous owner had highlighted in pencil what he had thought pivotal for future reference. Well, that's gotta go... I whipped out my trusty nub of a Pink Pearl eraser and scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch in 10 seconds it was gone.

I flipped the page and….. tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic… tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic… Yep, those pages of the introduction had material deemed completely utterly decisive for future reference by the book's previous owner as well. I groaned and started my eraser doing the big scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch, scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch, and in 20 seconds those pages were as good as new, too.

Then it hit me, a sudden sick feeling in the pit of my stomach — "What kind of a dunce would mark the first three pages of a book's introduction?" I quickly ran my thumb over the edge of the book, flipping pages like Allen Iverson fans stacks of hundreds and.......................

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!

Click through for the rest of this inane story if you want to, because I feel an uncontrollable urge to go pottymouth here and I don't want The Boss or Mister Manager making frowny faces at me for skunking up the front page…

Fuuuuuuuuuuck me!

Almost every single page had the itty-bitty little graphite mouse droppings down the margin: tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic... tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic...

I began to answer in kind, rubbing my venerable Pink Pearl furiously, my intense displeasure becoming rage becoming a boiling cauldron of murderous hate as I screamed foul invective at "Pencil Boy," his family, friends, educators: scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch... YOU STUPID RETARD!!! scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch... WHAT KIND OF A GOD-DAMNED IDIOT WOULD MARK EVERY PAGE OF A BOOK?!? scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch... LIKE THAT'S REALLY FUCKING SMART, EINSTEIN!!! scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch... I'LL BET YOU MOVE YOUR LIPS WHEN YOU READ, TOO!!! scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch... scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch... I'M SURE THAT'LL HELP YOU FIND STUFF NEXT TIME IF YOU MARK EVERY SINGLE PAGE, YOU SPIT-DROOLING MORON!!! scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch... scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch... YOU SUCK!!! scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch... BASTARD!!! (blank page) HEY, YA MISSED ONE, FUCK-FACE!!!

This obscene channeling of Satan's Librarian continued unabated for half an hour as the bread I was going to eat for dinner burned in my stove, the Dallas Mavericks clubbed the hell out of the hapless Detroit Pistons with the glorious High Definition unwatched on my TV, and poor Bingo Billy sat outdoors peeking through the bay window with a mournful look on his face, absolutely certain that he would never eat again.

Nothing else mattered. Nothing! On and on for about 250 brutal pages of erasures. I used all of my words, most of them multiple times, on that little pencil-tagging twit. Even "quim."

Then I gave it up for the evening, content to save half the joy for another day.

Thus my rotten mood.

Anyhow, I did hear though my red rage a couple promos newly airing on NBA-TV. The ads had me perking my ears. It seems our friendly friends at the NBA are now soliciting our purchase of their League Pass(tm)® and League Pass Broadband(tm)® products. Lemme tell you, brothers and sisters, LPBB is one of the good things in life for the mainlining hoops junkie. It is well worth $100, I can't emphasize that enough.

I filed that info for future use, but time was a-wastin', the Laker game was already well underway. I snagged my laptop, hoping that somebody would have a link for a TV feed of the KCAL broadcast. I dropped by Justin TV to find NOTHING running, with a banner ad proclaiming the domain name was for sale for "$500,00 FIRM, no dickering."

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrright!  Trust me, if I had half a million bucks stuffed down the front of my pants like a codpiece, I wouldn't be dishing it out to some delusional geek for a frickin' domain name. Don't get me wrong, I like getting sued by multibillion dollar entertainment conglomerates as much as the next guy, but if I'm packin' that much green, that's not the way I'd be losing it.

A little frantic, I hit the SS&R Game Day Open Thread in hopes that somebody had a viable link. It was looking grim until my Main Man, Brittney, hooked me up with a dime bag of gorgeous — if KCAL ever starts doing legal feeds of their gamecasts, they should look so good. One of the best, ummmm, non-standard internet feeds I have seen, nothing the least bit Albanian about it. I felt the urge to patronize Jack-In-The-Box and to kiss Stu Lantz on the lips in gratitude.

That feeling lasted about five minutes. Then I realized that watching the Lakers play the Kings in preseason was about as much fun as watching Canadian "fishermen" whack harp seals with picks and clubs. Kobe did this, Kobe did that, Sacramento had no answer for Bynum, ho-hum, ho-hum. It got to be a 21 point lead or something, then Adam Morrison came in and the lead evaporated but it still wasn't exciting because Adam Morrison was playing and therefore I no longer gave a crap about who won or lost.

You see, playing Adam Morrison is a little bit like adding two ounces of Drano to your 24 ounce beer mug full of gin and tonic — you know it's going to be a painful death if you drink it and it's only gonna get worse the more you inbibe.

PJ likes Drāno, it would seem... Either that or he likes the thrill of cheating death.. (I sure hope his kids don't let their kids ride in the car when Grandpa's driving...)

Mercifully, the SBN server went down, causing me to turn my attention elsewhere. HUZZAH! LEAGUE PASS BROADBAND IS FOR SALE AGAIN! I had almost forgotten... So I toodled over to NBA.com to give 'em their $100 for another year of their fine NBA League Pass Broadband product. LPBB is swell, y'know, well worth $100 — I can't emphasize that enough.

'Cept this year it costs $150 — or $135 if you pull the trigger up front.

Well, fuck.

Time to rationalize: this season LPBB is going to have a complete archive of games for the year, so it won't be a race to watch stuff before it vanishes from the menu like it was last year. But still — that's a 50% increase, in a recession?!?!

Well, fuck.

I steeled myself. "It's only chips," I told myself, "135 chips, 100 chips, 85 chips, whatever..." I got out my credit card, signed in to All Access, clicked SUBSCRIBE and........

 


Existing Subscription Detected

We have detected you have at least one current subscription.

Please review your subscriptions before continuing your purchase.

 

Your Active Subscriptions:

* League Pass Broadband Recurring Full Season Pass - Early Bird Pricing Subscription.

 

 

I hit the ceiling. It had been a bad night, see... First the Pencil Prick had mutilated my new book. Then PJ had given Adam Morrison extended run in a Lakers game and expected me to care about its subsequent outcome. And the SBN server had gone down. Now the NBA had me under contract for something that I was going to pay for anyway but which I had made a point of canceling at the end of last season.

(David Stern is a tricky little shit, see, when you click OK on the legal mumbo-jumbo you agree to AUTOMATICALLY SUBSCRIBE to LPBB for not only this season and but also for next season and for the season after that, on into infinity until David Stern has all of your money, unless you specifically cancel the service by some arbitrary date. They've got your credit card and your okay to use it. I didn't want David Stern to have all my money, so I quit when the quitting was good at the end of the regular season last year...)

So was I still enrolled, against my explicit instructions, even though I now wanted to be? Should I be mad about this if I was?

Or did I need to pay again? Or would that be paying twice? (Because they don't give refunds, that's part of trickster David Stern's subscription mumbo-jumbo, too.)

Or would the phantom subscription abruptly terminate at some future date, leaving me to pay the full 150 chips instead of the 135 chip tab for shoveling greenbacks during Happy Hour?

I didn't know, I wanted to know, and I was pissed.

So I tip-tap-typed out a little service "ticket" to the LPBB office, explaining my issue and asking "What gives?"

And five minutes later I had an email, written by a human being who works for the sneaky little New York lawyer guy that wants all my money, detailing the situation. Yes, I had quit the automatic enrollment program, she explained, but for the purposes of their record-keeping, I was still a subscriber until my calendar year was up. To get the service for the coming year, I needed to subscribe again.

A fast answer — simple and on point.

And then I noticed that the service staff for LPBB has the following 8 hour working day: 4 pm to Midnight.

And that made me happy, too.

David Stern may be a sneaky little bastard, but he's smart.

Okay, let's have some Sacramento links for that pre-season game, shall we???

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(1)

Bynum Takes Center Stage in Lake Show

by Sam Amick, Sacramento Bee

LAS VEGAS - Ron Artest grabbed the microphone, something he likes to do whether in a Kings uniform or otherwise.

But he was the master of ce remonies of the Lake show instead of a Sacramento sideshow this time, looking proud in his new purple and gold digs at midcourt and welcoming an announced crowd of 14,741 to UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center just before tipoff Thursday.

"On behalf of the Lakers and SacTown Kings, enjoy the game," the former Kings small forward and newest Laker declared. "And remember, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

That wasn't the case for the Kings, though, as they gathered up their latest lessons learned and brought them back home after their 98-92 exhibition loss. * * *

Lakers center Andrew Bynum had 20 of his 24 points by halftime, compiling a highlight reel of alley-oops and showcasing sharpened moves in the low post that qualify as the less-talked-about addition to the defending champs' squad this season. * * *

Bynum has the look of a potentially dangerous and dominant fourth option on offense for the Lakers.

"They made a concerted effort to go to him," Hawes said. "That's maybe where they've changed the last few years, where they go to guys like Bynum and (Pau) Gasol who they need in all parts of the game. But when you incorporate the big guy, he can get into the grand scheme of things and really be successful at it.

"For me, there's not a whole lot of guys I'm going up against who are a) taller than me and b) taller and longer. And the Lakers are about the only team with two guys you can say that about." * * *

 

(2)

Preseason game No. 3 - Lakers-Kings - in the Vegas books

by Sam Amick, Sacramento Bee Kings Blog

* * *
[Head Coach Paul Westphal]:

"[The Lakers] are miles ahead of us, but I thought we had spurts of really good basketball, and we had spurts of getting schooled. It's all good. We can learn from them, learn from our mistakes, and learn from the good things we did. I thought the first half we were horrible at transition defense, horrible at pick and roll defense, and horrible at controlling our defensive boards, and they had a big lead. In the second half, we did better at both of those things. I like the way we responded." * * *

I spoke briefly with Mitch Kupchak before the game, and the Lakers GM detailed how the Francisco Garcia injury was a wake-up call for his organization. Kupchak — who was clearly on the long list of folks who feel awful for Garcia — had all the team's exercise balls checked for holes or wear and tear or overinflation. They're not alone, as San Antonio has responded similarly as well. * * * [What What What?!?!]

 

(3)

No Pygmy Goats Harmed As Lakers Beat Kings 98-92 in Vegas

by Ziller, Sactown Royalty (SBN)

I won't lie: this preseason has been rough.

With no visual evidence to help mold the game experience, my information soaking is so ... weird. I'm not the type to watch a choppy illicit feed, so I didn't see a second of the game. Didn't see Spencer Hawes's blown oop. Or Andrew Bynum beasting it up. Or how Desmond Mason looked. * * *

Observation #1. Source: box score. Data: Jason Thompson had 19 points, 14 rebounds (6 offensive). Observation: Jason Thompson is a beast!

Observation #2. Source: box score. Data: Tyreke Evans had nine assists and three turnovers on a night in which his teammates shot 44 percent. Observation: Tyreke Evans can pass! * * *

Observation #7. Source: box score. Data: Omri Casspi scored six points on seven shot attempts (2-6 floor, 2-2 FTAs). Observation: Even angels lose at billiards.

Observation #8. Source: box score. Data: Donte Greene played zero minutes. Observation: Donte's bandwagon can be found sliding down Donner Summit. * * *

 

(4)

The Complete Review of the Preseason Game against the Lakers

as published by Cowbell Kingdom (True Hoop)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5)

Garcia Discusses Injury

by Andrew Nicholson, Kings.com/Full Court Press blog

With nearly his entire right arm encased in a cast, Kings forward Francisco Garcia spoke for the first time about the injury that will keep him sidelined for a minimum of four months at the team's practice facility on Tuesday.

"It's tough," Garcia, who indicated Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin witnessed the accident, said. "The team and I were working so hard for this season. It's tough because I wasn't doing basketball or anything. It's just tough it had to happen like that.

"It was just a regular day lifting weights," Garcia continued. "I was (in the weight room) and we were doing the physioball. We understood that it was a good exercise... I had 90-pound dumbbells I was bench pressing. It just exploded. I didn't have time to react or anything. It was crazy. I just keep reflecting on it in my head."

Garcia went on to say he knew from the pain and sight of his bone being out of place, though not breaking the skin, it was broken and "bad." * * *

 

The Bottom Line:

1. Lakers great, Kings not so much.

2. Our Kings have some young guys that can play, but it's looking like a long season.

3. Don't bench press weights when you're laying on a beach ball.