Sunday, September 27, 2020

Pandemic Journal, June 5, 2020

 Pandemic Diary June 5, 2020

 Logan again. It appears that we’re going to Disney World the end of July to finish the season. Maybe. Sort of. At least, that’s what the rumors are. God knows what’s gonna actually happen. The protocols for dealing with all eventualities are eating up time and IQ points like mad. The team wants me to join the discussions just to get exposure to this stuff. Maybe I’ll be lucky and develop immunity. I had my first session today, and by the time I was out I wondered why we didn’t just administer the Law School Admissions Test at birth and smother everyone who passed.

 We fixed the issue of trading off nights for making dinner. I’ll make dinner from now on. If I can’t, we’ll order delivery. Should have done that from the beginning. Tommy tells me it’s expensive to order in all the time, and he’s probably right. And that’s OK, because the restaurant staffs and delivery guys have to make a living, too. We could afford to eat delivery every night, but why should we? I don’t mind cooking, and some times it helps just to go on autopilot and relax while doing mindless shit. Like cooking.

 Anyway, I made one observation today, that we ought to have a statement that in case of dispute we  will default to the assumption that all of us are adults, reasonable and prudent, who are making a shit ton of money by playing a game. Some junior member of the League Counsel’s office asked me to send that to him in writing, he’d like to think about it. Whatever.

 The team told me and Tommy that we were going to Orlando. All the teams are taking their reserves just in case. If you had a guy get the virus, and spread it to his roommate, and between them they infected half the team, everybody needed the reserves close by. As long as we were in reserve status, we drew 15% of league minimum, which is a whole lotta money. If we’re told to travel with the team in our reserve capacity, it goes to half of league minimum, which is more money than most people make in five years. If we’re activated, it goes to league minimum or whatever we’ve negotiated higher. That’s more money than I can imagine.

 I still need to translate at the clinic, so I called the Illinois nurses’ association. Many were furloughed because they worked at surgical centers that couldn’t see patients during the lockdown. I asked for them to put out the word that I needed two to function as a medical translator at a free clinic, the nurses would be contractors making a thousand a day. Within half an hour I had interviewed four and hired three. The first two would get two days a week each, and the third would get $500 a week to be available. The fourth one couldn’t speak Spanish. My first clue was when she asked me “How are you-o today-o?” I told her “Good-bye-o” and hung up.

 This is exciting. We might actually get to suit up for a real NBA game. Even if we don’t, Tommy will be doing the training work he’s good at, and I’ll be working with the guys. 



Friday, September 25, 2020

What I've been reading


What I’ve been reading over the past two months.

 I’m on a thrill ride, reading adventure-thrillers and a few mysteries. I had read all of John Sanford’s Prey Series to date in 1999, and dropped it. Over the past few months, I’ve read Silken Prey, Extreme Prey, Gathering Prey, Field of Prey, Golden Prey and Invisible Prey. I’m currently reading Twisted Prey. Sandford’s writing is excellent, his ability to describe a scene in a few words is among the best I’ve encountered.

 I’ve been trying out a few new (to me) authors. From Nolon King I’ve read No Justice and No Escape, the first two books in a series about a female detective and a clairvoyant who helps her anonymously. I believe I’ll read the remainder of the series, but I’m undecided about it. The same applies to Wayne Zurl’s Paradise series, about a small-town police chief in East Tennessee. I will probably read the rest of the series, but it won’t be a high priority.

 I’ve read most of James Harper’s ten novels about Evan Buckley, a private investigator. The books were of high quality through about book five, the began dropping. There was increasing reliance on shadowy organizations, mysterious groups of nefarious wrong-doers, to create the tension attendant to a thriller. Frankly, this is often a gimmick, easier to do than to keep developing the character of the villain, to make her or him less one-dimensional. I’ve now read the tenth book in the series, and there was no attention to detail in the villains’ characters. The mention of one of the multiple “bad guys” groups was supposed to take the place of the author’s hard work. I shall not be reading any more of them.

If you’re counting, you probably noticed that I’m reading about one book every day and a half. The average length of a book that I read is about 360 pages, so I’m reading about 240 pages per day. This is considerably slower than I used to read until about age thirty, but it does fill the hour and teaches me about how successful and unsuccessful authors write.




Thursday, September 17, 2020

Pandemic Diaries, May 29, 2000


The Pandemic Diaries May 29, 2020


It’s Tommy, and I’m back. Holy Shit! Here I thought things couldn’t get worse. I’ve never been so wrong in my life.


This dude in Minneapolis was killed by Minneapolis police. That shouldn’t have happened. The police officer who knelt on the dude’s neck should be tried for murder. I don’t know a single person who isn’t outraged, and it seems everyone in the country is in agreement that this was a tragedy and police brutality involving African-Americans needs to be stopped. The victim, George Floyd, deserves justice.


Here’s where things get fucked up. We’re all in agreement, right? So, who are the protesters trying to convince? YES, LOGAN, I HEAR YOU, IT’S WHOM. NOW SHUT UP. Sorry about that, my husband corrects me about once a day, which is once too often. No, we’re not having a crisis in our marriage, I’m just satisfied with the state of my grammar. Logan isn’t, which I think is his problem.


So, we all agree this was a bad thing. I don’t need convincing. The mob is angry about police targeting unarmed black men for death. My brother, Antoine, looked into it and found a database that listed every police-caused fatality from last year. He found nine unarmed black men killed by police the whole last year. That’s nine too many, but it doesn’t sound like there’s unlimited racist brutality among the police.


In Minneapolis, a police station was burned down, and the Mayor ordered the police not to stop the mob. This is crazy. I wonder what half-baked ideas Mayor Lightbrain is going to come up with. There are crowds roaming the streets, despite lockdown orders because of the virus. The city ordered police to disperse crowds protesting the lockdown, and Lightbrain has ordered police not to use force to disperse people protesting this dude’s death. I stopped believing there was much science behind most of what our city and state are doing some time ago. This is just the cherry on top of the Sundae.


People are complaining about inequality for African-Americans, and I agree. We’ve tried to fix it for nearly sixty years now, just throwing money at it. It isn’t working. I’m not smart enough to know what we should be doing. I am, though, smart enough to know that if what you’re doing isn’t working, you should stop it and try something else. One of our black team members sent an e-mail to everyone on the team complaining about being oppressed. I answered it asking if being forced to take $8 million a year was part of the oppression. I hit reply all. Probably time to lay low for a while.


The shooting has started already in Chicago. This isn’t going to be good at all. There are protests all over the country about this. I agree that the inequality should be addressed, and that police brutality should be wiped out. I’ll be happy to march and carry a sign for that. But we’ve now got the clinic open four days a week to the public because of people getting trampled, hit by thrown rocks, and one poor guy caught fire when protesters threw some sort of fireworks at him. How does that help bring equality?


It’s my turn to make dinner, so I gotta go. I have forty-seven recipes that I’ve mastered. Creamy peanut butter and jelly on white bread, crunchy peanut butter and jelly on white bread, and forty-five variations. I’m adding pickles and potato chips to be sure it’s a balanced meal. See you in two weeks.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Pandemic Diary, May 22, 2020


Surprise, it’s me, Tree Murphy. They let Antoine host one of the broadcasts, so I told them I got to do the same. They tried arguing with me, of course, but I reminded them they had never won an argument with a six-foot-ten-inch two hundred-forty-pound NBA center in the past. What made them think they were going to win this time?

Antoine talked a lot about what we’re doing to help others deal with the pandemic. I’m the prototypical dumb jock on the team, and have played that role since I was a freshman in high school. When the team broke up for our first year of college, I dropped the act. Then, when the Minotaurs pulled off a magic act and reunited us, I took it up again. I have to admit, it’s partly true. I’m not a genius like Antoine or Logan, I can’t do therapy and training like Tommy, I can’t even read minds on the court, the way Ralph seems to. But I’m a pretty decent average guy who’s playing for the best team in the NBA, and I can do stuff.

Like, I can drive. Suhail usually drives the clinic van, but I have a crossover and great spatial awareness. That means I know where I am in relation to other things at all times. It’s one of the few things an average male seems to do better than an average female. So, the clinic’s phone rings in my apartment at night. Most nights I do two to three runs taking somebody to a hospital or urgent clinic. Most weeks I go out to break up a fight that gets called in. Usually it’s not a fight, but a beating or gang rape.

Dena’s taught me enough first aid that I can usually make sure the scumbags don’t die that night. I’ll give them a warning before getting out of my car, but gangs all just laugh. They stop when I get out of the car with a baseball bat and almost seven feet tall. If they don’t run away, I take them down. Some idiots pull out their guns, which is why my girlfriend, Tonya, rides with me. She was on the Army Marksmanship Team, and if someone points a gun, he loses a knee. If he gets a shot off, he loses a head. Nobody yet has been quick enough to lose a head.

Giving back to the community feels good. Marginalized people have been hit hardest with the pandemic and the recession. I don’t know how much more they can take. I’m healthy, so is everybody on the team, we’ve got the best jobs in the world, and we’re all rich. I got nothing to complain about. I’m tired of self-righteous politicians putting down poor people who can’t work from home. The ones doing it are the same people who accuse others of blaming the poor for their plight. Pisses me off.

Don’t know if we’ll ever have a season. It’s a sad day for the game; Jerry Sloan died. Yeah, I know, some PR flack wrote the statement for the commissioner, but that doesn’t make it any less valid.

Jerry Sloan was among the NBA’s most respected and admired legends. After an All-Star playing career in which his relentless style shaped the Chicago Minotaurs in their early years, he became one of the all-time greatest head coaches during 23 seasons with the Utah Jazz – the second-longest tenure in league history. 

He was the first coach to win 1,000 games with the same organization, which came to embody the qualities that made Jerry a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer: persistence, discipline, drive and selflessness. His more than 40 years in the NBA also paralleled a period of tremendous growth in the league, a time when we benefited greatly from his humility, kindness, dignity and class. Our thoughts are with Jerry’s wife, Tammy, and their family, as well as his former players, colleagues and the Minotaurs and Jazz organizations.

RIP, Jerry