Friday, February 23, 2007

Goodbye D.J.: Former Celtics Guard Dead at 52

I heard the news last night, one of those moments that bring instant nostalgia mixed with sadness.

Dennis “D.J.”, Johnson, dead at the so very young age of 52.

Now, many are more qualified to write about his stats as player and coach, but I know as a Boston Celtics fan from the ruling days of the mid 1980s, I am just as qualified to write about what #3 meant to me and the rest of the NBA. You see there was this extraordinary group of players, way back then, who worked parquet chemistry that has rarely been replicated since.

I never followed professional sports much before or after those glory days, but to me the band of brothers known as Ainge, D.J., The Chief, McHale, Bird; these men absolutely defined ‘Dream Team’, even before the ’92 Olympics. And now the dream has been diminished as if there was a funky rift in a sports version of the space-time continuum.

Of course, Dennis Johnson was not a cancer researcher or on his way to be canonized for selfless work in the name of humanity, he was just an average guy from Compton, but he developed into an outstanding ball player, an outstanding team player. One of the best moments of Celtics lore (and memorably called by the iconic Johnny Most) was during game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference finals. Larry Bird stole a pass from the Detroit Pistons’ Isiah Thomas and whipped it to DJ, who laid the ball in the net for a one point lead in the final seconds of the game.

“…Oh MY, this place is going crazy…”

I remember that moment so vividly – but now the overall image of those days has just had a significant piece ripped away.

Dennis Johnson leaves his wife Donna; and three children Dwayne, Daniel and Denise.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Cancellation of The OC: Ryan, I hardly Knew Ye

Yeah, there was this show, not sure what network – but it sure generated some buzz among generation – what is now, Y? Z? OK, anyway, the kids liked it. Being the sort of person who at least pretends to be up on all things current, I had an inkling, a whisper, a gauzy bit of cognizance that this was some new show, starring some young hot things, and that sort of handsome guy with the eyebrows, Peter Gallagher. Mischa Barton was another name that floating in and out of my awareness, either for her achievements in being thinner than an 8 ½ by 11 sheet of copy paper or for the fetching purse she carried to some happening Hollywood fĂȘte. Other than that, I paid little attention to the show.

Now I hear it’s being canceled, and strangely the news gives me a little pang.

Why? I won’t exactly miss it. Now, please don’t get up in arms about this statement. I barely watched it – so I can really not miss something I didn’t see. And, it should be made clear at this juncture that I had no pretensions or snobbish intent. I wasn’t above watching it – I just didn’t feel I should make time for too many extra shows. I already have a few favorites that I feel I have already ‘committed to’ and it’d just be a bit too much to add one more show to my schedule.

But here’s the thing, one night a week or two ago, I watched nearly a whole episode. It was especially freaky, because two of the characters were yakking about alternative universes, or something equally nutty. I kept checking the ‘info’ button on my remote control. Yes, this was The O.C. No, this wasn’t Charmed. Nor was this an old episode of Sliders, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Quantum Leap where those kinds of popping in and out of ‘multiverse’ situations are common occurrences. And it certainly wasn’t The One with the wonderful Jet Li and the delicious Jason Stratham.

So, there were those two young-uns, typical privileged California types carrying on as if they were stuck in one of the above-mentioned Sci-Fi classics. Not that I minded either way, just trying to get my bearings. Thankfully, because of a much needed scene change, I realized that these two kids were actually lying in hospital beds, each in some state of coma type non-awareness.


Hey, this was neat, if not a little – or a lot – contrived. I knew that because of the extra monkey wrench of the whole parallel world deal that I may not actually figure out who was who, or why they cared or hated one another. But in that short 40 minutes or so, I found that I actually had begun to care about those bright shiny kids and their parents and assorted other peeps, alternative or not.

So, though I’m not greatly saddened by the cancellation, I’m hoping that some version of The O.C. will live on in television’s answer to the multiverse – the re-run.