Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Are there any Dr. Who fans out there?,00.html

Monday, November 28, 2005

B. Jones: Why Blame The Front Office?

Instead of talking about the game-to-game aspects of the Sonics, let's talk about something just as important, if a bit long-term by nature: The Front Office.

In the last B. Jones entry, I made mention of the front office, and their tendency to screw up a good thing. This has been happening every year, essentially, for a little under a decade. Usually, these developments would be excused under phrases like "we're rebuilding," or "suchandsuch just wanted to leave" (which is the PC way of saying the player has "ego problems", see current treatment of Vlade Radmanovich). This happens with any team, and usually, most are able to balance themselves out and still be contenders. The Sonics (first under Barry Ackerley, and now under Howard Schulz), have fallen prey to the snowball effect.

Starting with the Ackerley firing of Bob Whitsitt, and subsequent hiring of Wally "I Ain't Leaving Until We Suck Mightily Again" Walker, during the Sonics '94-'95 build to their run at the championship season, things haven't been right. As previously stated, I could go on and on about this, so let me keep it to the seminal instance of things getting fucked up: Frank Brickowski.

In the summer of '95, Shawn Kemp had a couple of years left in his contract with the Supes. He was generally happy to be with the team, as they signed him straight out of high school (topic for another entry) in 1989. He had developed well during this time, particularly under George Karl. With Gary Payton at his side, he was half of a particularly energetic and dangerous combination.

Things were looking up, for both Kemp and the Sonics, the summer before things fell apart.

Then two things happened: 1) Walker essentially snubbed Kemp, and 2) he then signed unproven rookie Brickowski to a ridiculous multi-million dollar, multi-year contract.

That second bit really stung Kemp, considering how well he was doing. Though he knew the Sonics couldn't really start talking to him about his contract until the following summer, all he was looking for, essentially, was a confirmation of the work he was doing, and to be assured that when the time came, he'd be taken care of (nudge, wink). Instead, it was later reported, he was told that the Sonics "would see." Not exactly an encouraging tone, especially considering that the Brickowski deal would put the Sonics right up against the salary cap for a few years to come.

As the season wore on, and the Sonics excelled, Kemp was left alone, rarely encouraged, and barely acknowledged by the front office. This, coupled with Kemp's lack of maturity (due to being taken straight out of high school), led to his downfall. He allegedly started drinking excessively, and doing coke, including some nights before greatly important games.

That season ('95 - '96), the Sonics went to the championships against the Bulls. (Brickowski's contribution to the season? Absolutely nothing. Due to injuries and general lack of drive and enthusiasm, this would remain true for however long he lasted in the NBA.) Michael Jordan named Shawn Kemp his greatest fear and a dangerous opponent. The Sonics' two victories in that series were decisive (and the biggest beatings the Bulls ever received in the playoffs), and showed huge potential in the Kemp-Payton duo.

The summer of '96, Kemp is once again given the "we'll see" treatment, he gets upset, and demands to be traded. Walker gets Vince Carter for him. Karl (winningest Sonics coach) can't work with lazy recalcitrant Carter, gets vocal about it, and is fired two seasons later. In preposterous coaching shuffling (Paul Westphal?), Sonics lose momentum and decent, if aging, players.

Years pass, they decide to give Nate McMillan (aka, Mr. Sonic, for his loyalty to the team. He'd played and stayed with the team since going pro, unheard of in modern times) a shot at coaching the now young and inexperienced team. They get rid of Carter, gaining some promising talent, then a couple of years later, they get rid of Gary Payton ("we'll see") along with some defensive talent. This did, however, bring Ray Allen to the team, who shows some chemistry with Rashard Lewis, along with leadership skills. The Sonics make a couple of first round appearances in the playoffs under McMillan.

(So much for not going on and on about this.)

And then came the '04 - '05 season.

McMillan, in the summer of '04, is told "we'll see" by the front office before the last year of his contract. McMillan, who's been around this dance long enough to know, decides to make his last year, with what has been his home for nearly 16 years, shine (and says "fuck you" to management at the same time). He takes a decidedly youthful, energetic if inexperienced team and makes them work. The Sonics go the furthest they've gone in the playoffs since '96.

Now the front office tries to woo him, but the damage had already been done. McMillan leaves, and takes his unique brand of coaching to NW rivals, the Portland Trailblazers.

I've already posted copiously about the after-effects of this move.

Today, I read on that Rashard Lewis is talking about free-agency, and his possibilities. Note to Sonics front office: In dealing with Lewis and his agent, "we'll see" just won't cut it, assholes.

Special to Seahawks fans: Great game yesterday, but way too close for comfort. If the Giants have figured out how to make the offense ineffective...Holgrem needs to come up with something, is all I'm saying.--tbo

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Not That You Asked Me...

I used to think Larry King was something before the USA Today column, and the softball question strategy.

Item: Comcast Cable's OnDemand has karaoke options. Thrill to badly sung Bad Company in the comfort of your pjs.

What is it about the Canadians that makes the Staters so resentful? I wish I knew, but Canadian girls, real or imaginary, are HOT, people.

And she was laughing; she was laughing her head off. And I said, "Hey! Gimme that pen!"

Trying to figure out a way to tackle an entry can kill said entry...I still have my trip to NYC to blog about, as well as last weekend's writer's retreat along with my gracious hosts...gotta keep those bloody things alive.

I finally saw footage of Bjork losing it on some paparazzi, and somehow it made her even sexier in my book. Imagine that energy turned loose between the sheets. Hmmm, Icelandic salty goodness.

When I say boom boom boom you say bam bam bam, no pause in between, come on let's jam.

Idea for bumper sticker: I'm naked, I have a gun, and I know you're following me.

Folks, we only have two years to effectively impeach W. We're running out of time!

I don't care what anyone says, roller derby girls are the good kind of trouble.

Baby, when I think about you, I think about love.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Well, Didn't You Read It?

Okay, look: I know attention spans are a hell of a lot shorter than what they used to be...Actually, no, I don't know that. There are times when I think that last sentence is used to disguise general laziness when it comes to paying attention.

I liken this to the complaints I hear from people these days about the length of a movie/play. You know, not even fifteen years ago, the average play was two and a half hours long. Can you imagine? The Godfather was over three hours long. If it came out now, people would leave the theater bitching: "Jesus, three hours? Why couldn't they cut out that one bit?"

This shit pisses me off to no end. If you're engaged in something, what the fuck are you thinking about how long it is? I mean, if it's that good, and you're fidgeting because you want to leave, you're a fucking cow in my book. Suck it up, bitch, get to the end.

I am, by no means, defending bloat. I hate bloat, because it gives people the reason to behave like this. I prefer my entertainments lean and to the point, so if you're going to spend, say, 20 pages describing a character's history or an event, then it better be pertinent to the story, as well as being entertaining.

Or, in the case of the world of letters, germane and possessing a point.

And, despite the fact that my writings seem to come out of my ass, I like to think that I don't waste time writing whatever it is I'm writing; whether it's an email, an entry for the underpants, notes for my actors or a script.

So, you can imagine how irritating it is to hear/read a question regarding something I've written and have to explain something that's already in the original missive to begin with. I will soon get to the point where I'm just going to say, "read it again," because HELLO?!? That's why I went to the trouble of writing it out, so your questions were answered. At least do me the favor of reading the whole fucking thing through, dumbass!

Now, if it's not in there, that's one thing. If one is wondering what happened after a certain event, that's cool. Or, even if the details are murky, that's okay too.

But, if it's right there, in plain text, know that you're playing with fire, whatever your excuse is.

Friday, November 18, 2005

B. Jones: Sonics Follow Up

Interesting road trip for the boys in green and gold.

They have managed to net two wins out of the six game road trip. They barely beat the struggling and winless Toronto Raptors in overtime; this after having an 18-point lead going into the fourth. The second win was over the hapless Celtics, who gave away their team, essentially, over the summer to the Miami Heat. They were 2-5 before the game.

Things aren't as hopeless as they once were though, as the Sonics finally started showing signs of life after being creamed by the Washington Wizards 137-96.

I think that game was as important and pivotal as last season's 30+ point loss to the Clippers on opening night. Simply because it served as a wake up call, then and now. Both games reminded the Sonics that they couldn't afford to be lazy on defense (they allowed 71 points in the first half against the Wizards). Both games reminded the Sonics that they really need to produce on offense.

Look at the Sonics' style of play since last Friday. They finally started getting intense about the game.

I think the best indication we've had that things are on an upswing was this quote from Rashard Lewis (after the win against Toronto): "We can't really be satisfied just because of this win. We've got to go out there and beat a legit team...When we get to beating good teams, then we can start feeling good about ourselves."

For another indication, look at Tuesday's loss against the New Jersey Nets. The score was 109-99. It was much closer than it looks.

The defense looked and felt as close to last year's smothering style as it has all season. Players who'd been having scoring droughts were actually connecting. The game was close well into the fourth quarter (the Nets started pulling away with about 2:30 minutes left to play), which really hasn't happened yet this season. This is one of those cases where the loss was much closer to a victory, even when compared to the actual wins they've had.

Still and all, not everything is blooming under the sun, and the Sonics still have a few things to fix.

I don't have a lot of criticism for the players, because of their renewed sense of purpose. However, this purpose can't be allowed to get stale. Yes, you can tell they're working hard, it's just that they don't have anywhere to flow this energy into. This, though, is a coaching thing.

A note to Vlade: It'd be easier to take your criticisms seriously if you produced while out on the floor.

Now then.

Last time, I intimated that the time to call for Coach Weiss' head was nigh; now I believe that the problem is much more deeply rooted than that.

(At this point, I'd like to thank the Sonics' front office for screwing up a good thing...yet again.* [In this sentence, one could substitute the Sonics with the name of any other Seattle sports franchise, and still have it be relevant.--tbo])

The thing is this, Weiss isn't the only new factor involved. We've got Jack "In Wally's Pocket" Sikma as Asst. Coach, and faceless offensive and defensive coordinators to contend with. Here I'd like to offer some simple points of focus.


A simple acronym: ABM, Always Be Moving. Or as Larry the bartender likes to scream, "move off the fucking ball!"

I can't tell you how frustrating it is to watch Allen dribble the ball at the top of the key, while the other players do nothing. This isn't an effective offense, guys. Fix it.


Yes, your defense has improved a bit during the past week, but:

Pick any playoff gametape from last year, especially any win against the Spurs, watch it and then watch the NJNets game from last Tuesday. Discuss.

That's it...not much further right now. There are still 70+ games left in the season, so let these be the early building blocks for right now.

Just make it hard for me to refuse...

*Don't get me started on this topic. I can go back to the Ackerley's firing of Bob Whittsit.--tbo

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Stage Production Follies

[TBOs note: This is in response to fuckwad's post regarding ad libbing/general production foibles.]


1) One of the first shows in Seattle I was cast in was this abomination creatively called Apocalypse Rome (Nero is jailed along with some early jesus followers. They escape. Conceptually sound, ehhh execution.)

2) Being the big, tall, beige-colored Puerto Rican I am, I was, of course, cast as a Roman Centurion. Centurions wear those little skirt thingies with the sandals.

3) I'd just taken a needless Method workshop, and I had been more than a little disappointed in it. (In retrospect, I keep thinking of Olivier's comment to Hoffman, during Marathon Man: "My dear boy, why don't you try acting?")

4) You've heard of shoestring budgets? This was a one-of-those-plastic-things-at-the-end-of-shoestrings budget. The roman columns were made out of painted Castrol Motor Oil boxes.

Incident #1

I am thrown on-stage for my first entrace, which ends with a shoulder roll. In a fit of wanting to make my $150 workshop worth something, I decide to try some method shit with the role.

"Did centurions wear underwear?" began the brilliant line of thinking. "No," I correctly, if foolishly, answered myself.

I practice the roll commando-style through tech and dress rehearsals, nary a nether made an appearance.

Opening night: Entrance, roll, skirt thingy around my waist. A woman in a wheelchair sitting front row center gasps and utters: "Oh, my!"

No more method bullshit for TBO. Ever.

Incident #2

Towards the end of the run: Entrance, roll. My foot brushes a "column" and causes it to fall down.

Calamity and laughter, particularly amongst the onstage cast. I have the next line, and the plot/show can't move forward until I utter it.

I try to say the line a few times, but amidst the raucous laughter in the crowd and the giggling castmates, it's a lost cause.

So, instead, I decide to do something about the column, thinking that putting it away will take it out of everyone's mind.

Well, the column is held together by scotch tape, so it all disintegrates as I try to pick it up.

More laughter, the cast is weeping onstage. And this time, I prep myself for the opening.

As the crowd starts collecting itself, I utter "you're right, this is funny."

I use the ensuing laughter as cover while I pick up the individual boxes and carry them off stage.

The show goes on.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Yes, I Would Mind Not Smoking

I mentioned last week that the monorail initiative failed to pass, and in that entry's comments, Rob mentioned the smoking initiative passing...

I am a smoker. Have been for just over 15 years now. I do plan on quitting someday, but that day hasn't arrived, assuming it will.

So, yes, the lungers won out. Personally, I saw the writing on the wall around the time NYC changed its laws.

What does stick in my craw about all of this, is the fact that the new law is being put into effect exactly a month after it was voted in. The bastards could've waited until New Year's at least, but no. No, the lungers want their change and they want it noooow, and so on December 8th the last cigarette will be ground on the ashtray and let the healthy living begin.

I'm not going to waste a lot of breath on the various lunger arguments, because these almost always are from petulant little pink lungers, and invariably begin or end with the statement "it's not fair!!!"
  • "I'm allergic to smoke, and I--" so don't go to smoking establishments.
  • "But my friends all go to bars and place--" your friends smoke and you want to force them to go outside so that you'll be happy?
  • "But if I want to see a band I like, I can only go to places where--" You know, find a non-smoking establishment you like to hang out in, and bitch to the owners/promoters that you'd like to see a band there. The bands probably won't mind playing there, why the fuck punish us for our lifestyle choice?

Not to say that all of the arguments are baseless...I know most workers would prefer not to work in smoking bars/restaurants. I know that businesses in NYC and Cali have thrived since passing the ban, etc. etc. etc.

It's just that I mind having my choice taken away from me. I'm not looking forward to having to step into the windy/drizzly Seattle cold so I could have my nicofix (yeah yeah, I won't smoke as much, which is healthier, yadda; let me jerk off some more).

Ultimately, the question becomes "why isn't it the establishment owner's choice?"

But, again, whatever. It's done, and there's nothing I can currently do about it, so I'll deal.

Besides, I know that with this ban a bunch of smoking speakeasies will open up, and the cool shit will be brought there, along with the smokers. Just like prohibition. So, I still end up winning.

I just have one thing to say to the lungers: Leave Las Vegas Fucking Alone, You Fucking Assholes. I am willing to kill over this. Don't fuck with me.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

It's Official

Seattle citizens are too spineless to keep demanding the smart choice ("I like monorail, but it's too late?!?!?!?" Wotta bunch of pissant shit). Seattle City Council are a bunch of pablum spouting chickenshits. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels extremely two-faced.

Seattle is more comfortable being some two-bit backwater with pretensions at being an actual city, instead of facing reality and stepping up to the plate.

My patience is non-existent.


Monday, November 07, 2005

B. Jones: Sonics Early Report

It's obviously too early to truly cast aspersions and worries to the wind all are niggles.

These are the early signs of possible problems for the Sonics, these are the seeds for refusing to believe at this point in the season.

1) Coaching

After only two games, I can't really call for Coach Weiss' head on a platter, but I fear that time will come this season. Why? Well, let's say his team looks kinda scattered.

I mean, despite Nate McMillan's current record, one thing that could always be said about his style was that the Sonics were tight during his reign. Defensively above average, and when the pistons were running full gear, their style of offense was fast, fun and unpredictable. (Though, let's be honest, it wasn't until last season that his style really gelled with the players, and the players had the will to stick with his plan.)

Even at their worst, though, you could tell that Nate had more than a good notion of what he was doing.

So far, the Sonics have only played two games; they lost to the Clippers in a close one, and won against the T'wolves, in another tight one. They should've won both and handily...

There are many reasons why I believe this, but I'm just going to stick to the main points:

2) Defense

Gone are the days of fierce unrelenting trapping and the pressure that McMillan specialized in (which, in turn, he emulated from Coach Karl). Instead, what I've seen so far, is something of a sloppy rotation, where, typically, a man would be left open that really shouldn't be. For example, Sam Cassell of the Clippers, and Wally Szerbiak of the T'wolves.

Not that these guys will kill you every time they touch the ball, but their outside shooting percentage and history makes them worthy of more than a little worry.

I mean, yes, this defense kept Kevin Garnett to 23 points, and made the role players do the bulk of the work, but it's not like the T'Wolves are the Suns, the Spurs or the Mavericks.

Also, the number of defensive naturals on this team dwindled over the summer (Antonio Daniels, hope you enjoyed your stay). Now it's down to Evans, Collison, Wilkins and Fortson, though Cleaves made an impression on Friday (Petro also shows some promise). Allen, Lewis, Radmanovic and Ridnour aren't exactly known for their defensive fierceness. Though McM & Casey had them looking fierce last season, indeed.

This could be a matter of stressing the importance of defense, or simply people not being familiar enough with Weiss' defensive scheme, but so far, nothing he's laid down looks remotely like a scheme. McMillan was adamant about his defense, and maybe adopting his credo would be of some help: Defense leads to offensive opportunities for the Sonics.

Which is important because the Sonics'

3) Offense

really thrives when the defense is going crazy. The team seems to live for the fast break, and barring that, a half court offense that is in perpetual motion; people moving off the ball, using the pick and roll to create mismatches, and passing passing passing.

You watch the Sonics today, and will find none of that. Watch the Sonics after a timeout, and it's like watching kindergardeners playing soccer for the first time. Are there set plays for players?

And beyond this, you still have Luke "The Paperboy" Ridnour trying to find confidence in the pro league (buddy, do you need a magic feather? Man, why do I have more faith in you than you do? Re-fucking-lax, man. I remember you from your college years, you can do this). You have Petro getting used to the NBA's style of play. You also have Flip Murray still figuring the game out.

What I'm trying to get at here is that the elements are there, but it's gonna take some putting together to make this team thrum.

It's all reasonably possible, but I refuse to believe until I see it happen on a game to game basis.

All I'm saying is that it's gonna take more resolve and thinking than Weiss seems to possess at this moment. Take a look at this quote:

"How did we win a game with 23 turnovers and shooting 16 percent on 3-pointers?" Weiss wondered. "We must be doing something right."


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Jones X, Basketball


The Sonics' season opener is tonight, I'm going to Friday's game, and I'm so fucking glad basketball season is here again.

First things first, I'm rescucitating JJ's motto: SOS-RTB, bitches!

This season holds a lot of promise and risks for the boys in green'n'gold. New coach, who's getting the support from the team, most of the team from last year coming back. Of which, there are a number of young players poised to break out this year.

Could be good, and it'd be just like this franchise to have a great season when so little is expected from them. After losing McMillan, this team has absolutely no resemblance to the Sonics of the mid-90s, under George Karl. I've done my mourning quietly, now it's time to create new memories.

Come on, Sonics, let's go.