Monday, January 23, 2006


The Wind's a factor . . .

Greetings and salutations from Los Angeles, where the high today was 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Sunny and beautiful all around. You know, we Angelinos (and Our Man in LA in particular) don't complain about the weather much, unless we're someplace else. Hard to bitch about the endless summer we have out here, but if you take a couple of SoCal transplants like the Wielands, drop them in a cold climate (like, say, any of the places they used to live), and you're in for an hour of ranting and raving about windchill, dewpoint, and overall moisture.

Hell, it's in the mid 50s most nights around here, and Our Man in LA has taken to wearing fleece every night to bed (and complaining about how cold it's gotten).

We California Wielands realize it's stupid. We know we've lost our toughness (which is fine, honestly - who really wants to be tough?). We've been lulled into a complacency that makes the slightest weather blip shock us.

Like last night, when the Santa Ana winds started up, big time. Like 35 to 40 MPH big time.

How big? Our Woman in LA and I thought a traffic helicopter might be right over our house. Those wind chimes we have on the porch, usually so soothing? Noisy last night.

And we didn't even get the worst of it. One friend of Our Man in LA saw her family's outdoor kitchen destroyed by wind damage and falling palm fronds. No joke. I know, I know, it sounds like a joke. It sounds so ridiculous anywhere in the world where they have snow. I get it.

These Santa Anas can make a man do crazy, crazy things. It's true. They can commit murders and gruesome crimes. They can stay at home and watch too many hours of football.

Or if they're pro athletes, they can score 81 points and become the leading scorer in Laker history.

Anyway, that's what Kobe Bryant did last night, against the hapless Toronto Raptors (currently ranked #11 on the list of "Stupidest names for a sports franchise"). That's right. Kobe, smug wild child of the NBA scored more than 80 points (second only to Wilt Chamberlin's legendary 100-point game in Hershey, Pennsylvania about a million years before I was born).

I'm convinced the wind had something to do with it. Perhaps dust and palm fronds got in the eyes of the Raptor players. Maybe the raw power of the Santa Anas gave Kobe a little extra push. You know, like maybe when those winds blow, he gets a temporary super power - like when Superman got exposed to red kryptonite. You know. Maybe he channels something extra.

Of course, nobody denies that Kobe, smug and disgusting though he might be, is a great player. He's in the same league as the biggies of all time - Jordan, Bird, Johnson, O'Neal, Chamberlin, Robinson and so on.

But super powers or no, there is one, extremely mysterious question about last night's game that hasn't been answered yet. Namely this:

"Did you realize that the Lakers needed a ridiculous game out of Kobe to beat the Raptors? The Raptors The ones who have won just 14 games all year?"

Nobody's asking that? Well, maybe they are. It's hard to hear over all this wind.

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