Friday, November 3, 2017

The letter

In which we put our life and laundry in a Gladstone bag

The Letter

A perfect letter to readers was supposed to accompany the first nights of The Second Arrangement, to explain cheerfully what you should expect to see in these pages each morning, how long things will be free for (not for long, with some exceptions), who I am and what the schedule was.

That didn’t turn out, not between all those boxscores to get behind, not with this giant, Irish head spinning the way it is. I’m champing at bits not only because I want to let loose with all of the things I want to toss into your inbox each morning, but because a guy like me has to chew through some pretty sturdy leather in order to march up the temerity it takes to ask for gas money after driving you two time zones over, let alone introduce a yearly subscription fee that I have to highlight in blue.

I drove to Bloomington, IN. on Thursday afternoon, taking off way earlier than I had to before arriving far later than I should have – autumn, windy off-roads with breezes running in the same style, all-wheel drive. I have to drive around sometimes, it settles me the hell down and I’ve found it necessary to keep my wit, such as it weren’t, about me while charging through all these games.

On the way back into Lafayette last night I clicked over 28,000 miles on a Subaru I’ve had since just before the start of 2017. That’s almost 100 miles a day on average, piled happily onto that hatchback.

I work from home, my wife rides her bike to her hair salon, our 15-year old is home schooled and her sister takes the bus to and from her freshman year of high school. That’s a fair amount of driving for a car that doesn’t have to leave the garage much, and I can’t stop.

You’ll benefit from this. I’m not laughing down my sleeve at the TNT games, viewed with club and cranberry* in hand from the bars I still want to go in, I’m still going to spy Pop and Kerr dropping F-bombs in the early game while safely making sure I can see Dame do what he does in the second game.

Today I’ll re-attach the cable, thank you early subscribers. On Friday night, while you’re deservedly away from all that, I’ll be back in it giving you a Behind the Boxscore to roll over to on Saturday morning. We’ll also share our talk with comedian and actress Alice Wetterlund, always on it, after the first night at her stretch in Bloomington’s Comedy Attic this weekend. All delivered easily, early, because our time is important.

That’s the point of this site, this newsletter, this approach. I’d have this acknowledgement tucked away even if some bigass site with banners and co-hosts talking over my day on unstoppable videos had hired me: I’m damned sick of having to work at keeping the internet from burdening me.

Everything wants to get in the way of what we literally used to dial in for, ad-driven noises and obstructions distract us from our initial, noble, goal – a fun and goofy distraction. Worse, buying a millionaire’s CD at Musicland in 1992 supplied a far, far clearer and more direct line toward supporting the artist than even repeatedly click-joying your favorite scribe’s work does today.

That’s ridiculous, but that’s how I ended up at the kitchen table instead of the desk, writing while the sun comes up instead of cramming some more words into the content churn just as it goes down. I’ve loved every gig but you don’t have a 9-to-5 life anymore and neither do I, every second of diversion is precious and that’s going to be the focus here. I used to be a very good bartender at some very, very busy bars.

Before having to give that a shot again, let me run this by you:

Monday: Weekly NBA column, NBA go-round.

Tuesday: Behind the Boxscore.

Wednesday: Behind the Boxscore.

Thursday: Behind the Boxscore.

Friday: Column, NBA go-round that will often include a Behind the Boxscore.

Saturday: Behind the Boxscore.

Sunday: Partial Behind the Boxscore (date night), the best of the week at The Second Arrangement, a web compendium.

(All the song discussion, after the band plays us over and as it plays us out? That’s in each of these. We will load these pages with as many Q & A sessions as our emerging list of contacts will allow, and podcasts will happen as soon as anyone has time. Interested in any of that? Read on before emailing me. Emerging pictures and embedded YouTube clips will be a daily staple.

You want a Slack channel, something a little smaller than Twitter to balance on your belly while games play, when shows are on, when shit happens? Let’s get one going. Are you aware that my father is this, like, legendary chef and storyteller? Have you noticed that all these nice tweets about me usually mention some sort of email I’ve written? I’m going to send you a giant email about basketball and music and comedy every morning.

Oh, and the summer? Me, in the summer? Come on. I am in for a penny, in for a pound.)

This is my lifestyle, I’m going to write about it and I’m going to prove to you, by 2018 and likely earlier, that it will become an indispensable part of your daily routine.

Partially because I hope to make so many other things in our lives dispensable, as I toss out what I INSIST will be light, disposable morning-to-morning content you can easily scroll through on your phone before you even put your contact lenses in. Bursts of fun that won’t feel like a take or breakdown you have to caffeinate for.

Mostly because it is nice out – wherever you live, whatever time of year it is – and the less time we spend indoors in front of flickering bullshit, the better off all of us will be. It shouldn’t take being cut from your favorite team to realize as much.

This approach was born out of desperation, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right one – if you subscribe to The Second Arrangement you will receive daily fun in your email inbox that will delay you from whatever your earliest internet routine is.

Consider that, then recall what you usually do with a phone right after turning the alarm off, the battles you’re immediately launched into, and tell me it isn’t time for a change.

Behind the Boxscores from the night before, published earlier and earlier in the morning as I get better at this. Quick-hit chats and talks with everyone associated with bringing me the things I love – actual basketball trades, slick and wiggy songs, comedy that reminds us why we’re all in a shared room – all done in a tone that befits my role as someone you’ve charged with informing and entertaining. That’s where the Sheer Midwestern Willpower comes in.

After a decade or more of hiding in my hovel I put myself and my rates out there for everyone to see and sneer at. I don’t want to bother the server for an extra cocktail napkin, and yet I just told you what this link has decided that 365 very long emails from me are worth.

That’s how confident I am in this. I’d be a fool not to be, seeing what I’ve seen, know what we have left to talk about. Steady on.

Morph the Cat

By the time this is over, I want to have each of the studio musicians that played on this track to have spoken with me, on record, about their time recording this or any other song. Not because of any particular meaning affixed to this song or its creation, but because it popped into my head earlier this morning when I was walking outside, and I want to do this with the players behind just about each and every song that comes into my head.

If you know any of them, have them email me: KDonhoops at yahoo dot com. Not just the players behind Donald Fagen’s “Morph the Cat,” here, I can find and be turned down by the representatives for each of those players on my own, thank you very much. It already happened with Toto.

No, I mean, any of them. If there is a session musician or artist that was prominent during the analog era, if he or she made records and may want to talk to a sympathetic ear on record, get in touch. Get in touch on Twitter. I want to talk about music on here, badly, but with little credibility beyond my Billboard love note to Walter Becker, the lines ran cold this summer.

I want to talk to studio musicians, please send them my way. I’m going to do everything I can to make your mornings a funkier place. The whole reason we got on the internet in the first place to seek out the story behind what moves us the most, before moving on to try to connect with hopeful friends with shared interests.

Thanks for sharing your time with me, and I hope to see you here tomorrow.

*the “club and cranberry” thing, from above:

I’ve been sober since July, 2016. My life has become better in ways I’d expected and so many other wonderful ways I’d never expected, in instances too numerous to count. If you want me to try, though, if you just want to talk about life along those lines or you just want to kvetch after an attempt at staying dry took an afternoon off, shoot me an email at KDonhoops at yahoo dot com, or hit me with a DM on Twitter. Drinking itself doesn’t even have to enter into the conversation, the only thing that matters is that we’re having one.