When the Rockets lost to the Western Conference worst Minnesota Timberwolves at home a few games before the All-Star break, it isn’t hard to imagine Les Alexander and the powers that be saying “Trade for Carmelo or blow up the season.”
And here we are. Carmelo went for the bright lights and the contract in NYC. A Rockets defense that sucks mightily (ranked 24th overall) just traded their defensive stopper for a project center and a draft pick. That Shane Battier’s contract was up at the end of the year and the Rox may have ended up with nothing if they had held onto to him until then is small consoliation. Best of luck to a class act, wish he would have went to a contender.
Brooks was toast as soon as he chose to walk off the court that day, and his contract was expiring as well. Perhaps with these two contracts, Yao’s and the draft picks, there will be something exciting in Rocket’s basketball next year.
The Rockets had an outside (okay, I’m being optimistic) shot at reaching the 8th seed in the playoffs, mainly due to Utah and Denver submarining themselves with trades. But they are four games out with Phoenix and Memphis also between them and the playoffs. And by throwing the towel in, they save me from the humilation of watching my ex-hometown Spurs annihilate them (the Spurs were my team when I was there, with the Ice Man, Larry Kenon, Artis Gilmore, the Whopper, etc….but not after I drank from the fountain of The Dream!). The remainder of the team is not Clutch City, they would stand little chance against the rejuvenated Spurs.
So, thanks in large part to Yao Ming’s feet not being built like Shaq’s (how does Shaq survive for so long?), I’ll just be glad that the San Jose Sharks rebounded from a poor first half, just in time for another wild ride at the playoffs.
Dan Simmons is one of that select group. Drood is an enjoyable read, that intersperses factual references about Dickens and Wilkie Collins (a lesser known author of the time) with a character either real or imagined named Drood. Whether the Drood character is truly real or is a figment of Collins’ opium delusions (or some other reason which I won’t spoil here) is a large part of the enjoyment of this novel. This novel succeeds on multiple levels, introducing or reminding one of Dickens’ works and life, introducing the works of Collins, and blending historical fact with fiction in a smooth fashion, quite similar to Simmons’ previous tome, The Terror.
I read the traditional Little, Brown and Co. version, but I also most point out the magnificent cover (see picture) that graces the limited edition from Subterranean Press, designed by fellow San Antonian and Northside School District veteran (although my high school was better than his) John Picacio; another excellent cover, John!
The novel covers the last five years of Dickens’ life, told from the perspective of his sometime friend, rival and collaborator, Wilkie Collins. (more…)