Sunday, December 29, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 12/28/19: College Hoops, Abby at The Lounge, Daniel Craig Festival is Underway

1. This morning I settled in for what I hoped would be a couple of pretty good basketball games. For starters, Tennessee squared off against Wisconsin. I didn't realize, though, that the Vols' point guard, LaMonte Turner was unable to play thanks to a bum shoulder. The Vols struggled in Turner's absence. Wisconsin played a disciplined game and had a terrific game shooting from the outside. The Badgers triumphed, 68-48.  I lost interest in this game soon after half time.

For a while, it looked like the intense rivalry game between Kentucky and Louisville might also be a blow out. Kentucky charged to a twelve point lead, were playing at home, and Louisville was reeling, largely because their best player, Jordan Nwora was off his game, forcing the Cardinals to look elsewhere for scoring.

Dwayne Sutton, Lamarr Kimble, and Steven Enoch picked up much of Nwora's slack and the Cardinals clawed their way back into the game and in the second half both teams staged a melodramatic, back and forth tilt. Kentucky was the flashier team (in a good way), at times, especially Tyrese Maxey, and their center, Nick Richards, was a tower of strength, both on defense and offense, even though he was playing with four fouls.

In a sporting sense, it only seemed just that these two sides who played so intensely and were so entertaining would have to go into overtime to determine the winner. In the end, though, the contest between these two hard-nosed, speedy, high-flying, muscular, often gritty teams was determined by that most pedestrian of factors: free throws. Louisville shot a miserable 9-20 from the charity stripe, including momentous misses in the OT. Missed free throws cost the Cardinals the game.

The final score: Kentucky over Louisville, 78-70 in OT.

2. When his many, many friends gathered at the Elks on June 1 to memorialize Kirk "Goose" Hoskins, I saw Abby across the crowded room, but I didn't see him afterward nor did I see him the entire summer or fall.

It turns out that Abby (Terry Absec) lived in his new house on Lake Coeur d'Alene during the summer and fall, but is now living back in his Kellogg home.

When I walked into The Lounge late this afternoon, I felt a surge of joy seeing Abby seated at the bar, sipping on a can of Oly. We shook hands and I sat next to him, and, along with Cas, we yakked for quite a while about times in the neighborhood when we were little kids, our days in Little League, eating nuts and bolts, and other fun things. In addition, Abby and Cas regaled me with tales from the 1980s. They were part of a group of guys who hung out at Dirty Ernie's.  I was away, working in Spokane some of those years and studying and teaching in Eugene the others. Even though I missed out on being a part of their hijinx and so have no stories to tell, every time I hear their stories about men's league basketball games, road trips, and escapades at Dirty Ernie's, I enjoy long and lasting belly laughs.

3. I'm not sure, but I think back in about 1973, Ed Bailey and I went to a James Bond movie at a drive-in somewhere. If we did, that would be the only James Bond movie I've ever seen.

I bring this up because I recently read a New Yorker profile of Adam Driver and learned that in the movie, Logan Lucky, Driver plays a character who lost half his arm at war in Iraq and now works as a one-handed bartender. I went online to and watch a clip of Driver's character mixing a Stoli martini; the movie clip also featured Daniel Craig playing a West Virginian convict named Joe Bang and I was very impressed with Craig's southern accent and with how funny he was.

Last week, Mary, Kathy, and I went to the movie, Knives Out, and Daniel Craig plays a private detective, again with a thick southern accent; I loved the movie and was intrigued -- I mean, I figured Craig's portrayal of Joe Bang and of the detective, Benoit Blanc, had to be vastly different than his portrayal of James Bond. How vast, I wondered, is Daniel Craig's range as an actor?

I have decided it's time to find out and so, this evening, I decided to start watching some Daniel Craig movies.

I watched Logan Lucky.

It was a blast.

Was the story ludicrous? YES! I don't know if all heist movies have juicy, junk food, ludicrous plots, but the two or three I've seen in the last fifteen years did and it's the core of what makes them, for me, a delight.

This movie plays out a plan to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway of a ton of money.

I'll leave it at that -- except to say that I completely gave myself over to the whole enterprise and its aftermath and had a blast -- and that I found it invigorating to watch Daniel Craig play a good old boy convict with a Purex-bleached blonde buzz cut who has a preternatural understanding of the chemistry of explosives. Ludicrous? You bet! A ton of fun? It was for me!

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