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A collection of things that have gotten me through the off-season, and through this horrible moment in history

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Basketball is gone and the world is falling apart, so here is a partial list of things that have helped me get through this off-season.

2017 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

My wife and I just bought our first home. After ten (11?) years living in the same neighborhood, we cut loose and moved two hours upstate, into a house with fruiting trees in the front yard, a big backyard, the sound of cicadas at night, and a troupe of bats that twirl in acrobatic wonder at each dimming of the day. It’s a far cry from our former busy Brooklyn street.

I’ve found myself waking every morning, making myself coffee, and settling into my favorite chair in the library we’ve built. Every morning, I read a few chapters of “The Lord of the Rings.” And I’m not talking about, like, one book at a time. Yes, I’ve read the whole trilogy before, but never front to back. Years ago, I found this giant, hardbound copy of the entire trilogy, complete with brilliant illustrations from Alan Lee every fifty or so pages, and I’m reading the whole thing in one long go.

Here, check it out. This is my new reality.

It’s a glorious, soul-calming way to start each morning. Otherwise, it’s twitter in the palm first thing, watching our great nation crumble. Listening as the hoofbeats of impending doom march down my door. Suffice to say, it’s a dark time out there right now. A very, very dark time.

Normally in times of darkness, sports can serve as a sort of conduit out and away from the madness. Sports typically unite us. Sports can drive away the fear, if only for a few passing moments. But being as the Giants are the worst team in the league, and the fact that basketball doesn’t return for another 60 days (oof), I figured I’d compile a list of things that have made me smile this off-season. A list of things with which I’ve battled my inner desire to run away from the steaming of pile of dung we call the nightly news, and run screaming into the woods (which, you might argue, I’ve successfully accomplished by finally moving upstate for good).

So, without further ado, here is some cool stuff:

[Note, some of this has been and will be covered in more detail on GSoM, just wanted to also link back to it]

Jordan Bell Highlights!

Dope. The warriors are so dope. I’m so happy they drafted this dude. Jordan Bell’s existence has definitely helped me forget that we are hurtling towards certain destruction.

Patrick McCaw worship!

Okay, yeah, yeah, it’s weak sauce to link to one of my own articles, but who is to say I didn’t write such a blastingly crazy article in the first place to escape the fact that this is the worst moment in history I’ve ever personally witnessed?

KEVIN DURANT!

Tamryn already had a lot more about this story today so I’ll hold off saying any other than that Durant is the man.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE!

Okay, yeah, whatever so this song is old. It just popped into my head right now and made me hella happy so don’t judge. Music and art and positive movements towards a greater good and whatnot are way more important now than ever before. Pusher Love remains an all-timer, so it definitely makes my list.

While we are on the subject, Grizzly Bear just dropped their new record today! I haven’t actually listened to it yet, but I saw them perform most of it at a dope venue that’s like a 15 minute drive through the woods from my new house.

Anyways, enjoy:

So, yeah, add Grizzly Bear to the list.

Hmm, let’s see ... what else?

Oh, you know what has been making me feel like life isn’t some incredibly overrated series of nightmares?

Watching the Cavaliers disintegrate!

Ahahaha, that one got me.

Also, Tom Ziller (from a GMiB titled, “LeBron is getting more political. Does that mean he's going to leave the Cavs?”) really put things in perspective on the LeBron end of the spectrum.

The first few paragraphs, from Ziller:

After tweeting about the President's comments about Nazi violence in Charlottesville over the weekend, LeBron James delved more deeply into the matter while speaking at his foundation's dinner Tuesday night. LeBron openly supported and campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the fall, so it's not exactly a surprise he opposes the President. (Most Americans do.)

The twist is that the man who cuts LeBron's checks, Dan Gilbert, is a Trump supporter. Gilbert's Quicken Loans gave $750,000 to the President's inauguration committee. Gilbert tagged along with the Cubs when they made their White House visit in June.

There are already rampant rumors that LeBron intends to leave the Cavaliers again next summer due to tumult within the franchise. James wasn't happy with David Griffin's dismissal, he's upset Cleveland hasn't pulled a single major move this summer after being run out by the Warriors. Would Gilbert's support of Trump play into it?

If LeBron James actively decides to leave Cleveland because of Gilbert, I will root so f’ing hard for him wherever he goes. Yup, even if he went to Lakers, although that would suck.

So, what else has made me smile? What else has temporarily lessoned this heavy burden of horse shit?

Ah, yes.

J. R. R. Tolkein

So, I’ve already covered this, but just wanted to reiterate: The man lived through two wars, was a full time professor at Oxford, and didn’t start writing The Lord of the Rings (as a sequel to The Hobbit) until 1937, when he was 45 years old. (Note: He did not finish the trilogy until 12 years later, in 1949, and it was not published until 1955, when Tolkein had reached the ripe age of 63. If ever there was a case to be made for, “keep going! Don’t stop! Your life isn’t over, it’s only just begun! Keep writing, keep it up!” this surely is it.)

This world — right here around us — may be falling apart, but at least I’m not being chased by black wraith riders on terrifying steeds. At least I’m not alone, hounded on all sides, trying in vain to throw a ring into a volcano.

What I’m saying is, Jordan Bell, Tolkein, Grizzly Bear, Pusher Love Girl, the disintegration of the Cleveland Cavaliers and a bunch of other things are good things. I like to remember good things, especially when it feels like there are so many more bad things out there.

Anyways, let me know in the comments what you’ve been checking out. Has it only been basketball? Any dope new records that I’ve missed?

Cheers,

Bram