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Five days later, his parting words still scrape on the eardrum.
Did Paul George really say that the Clippers’ 2019-20 season wasn’t a matter of “championship or bust?”
Technically, he is correct. There is no record of either George or Kawhi Leonard promising that the Clippers would be this year’s champions.
Practically, it is one of the all-time cop-outs, since it came a few minutes after Leonard and George combined to miss 28 of 38 shots at the end of the Clippers’ listless Game 7 farewell.
The events of last summer certainly weren’t billed as the beginning of a two-year plan. The other Clippers did not spend nearly every day of that summer scrimmaging among themselves because they were shooting for 2022.
Indeed, the Clippers admitted they were liquidating their long future when they got Lennie and George, but you know what they say about mice, men and best-laid plans.
Their season of promise was just that, a constant plea for patience that finally cratered in Games 5-6-7, when they were immobilized by Denver’s refusal to surrender.
Contrast them with the Lakers in Game 1 Friday night. Granted, the Lakers are better built to handle the Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic, but they made sure they saddled him with fouls, and as the game progressed they contested not just shots but passes and dribbles. They made every possession a problem until the Nuggets cracked.
That doesn’t guarantee anything for the rest of the series, but it was the first time in a week and a half that Denver was made to feel uncomfortable.
The coldest and best epitaph for the Clippers was pronounced by ESPN’s Mark Jackson in Tuesday’s superfluous fourth quarter: “They say pressure produces diamonds and busts pipes. I see the Clippers and I see a lot of busted pipes.”
And so here come the rumors. The same Internet that tells you COVID-19 is a hoax also tells you the Clippers are considering trading George to Miami for Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Andre Iguodala, Kendrick Nunn and two first-round picks. Or that Gordon Hayward and three first-rounders are shipping in from Boston in exchange for PG-13.
Since the Clippers’ Official Reason for the loss is they haven’t spent enough time together, this is all garbage until proven otherwise.
Meanwhile, the Lakers plead guilty to a sense of urgency, and why not? You can’t replace seasons. Ask the Dodgers if there is any real space between championship and bust. Ask the Seattle Mariners, who went through Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. and, after all of them had gone, won 116 regular-season games in 2001. They still haven’t made a World Series.
The Lakers envision only one true outcome. That’s why they got Anthony Davis with no guarantees past this year, and it’s why they reeled back the years and picked up the forgotten Rajon Rondo and the damaged Dwight Howard.
They did not see Rondo as a ball-usurping threat to LeBron James but as a championship playmaker whenever James had to sit. Once they explained their terms to Howard, they saw him as a luxurious big man on a team that already had two, and thus were equipped to punish a league that thought the future lay in transistorized lineups.
The Lakers are 5-1 once Rondo got healthy in Orlando. Howard, a former MVP, was terrific in the parts of Game 1 that mattered. So was Markieff Morris, who arrived at the trade deadline.
The Lakers were supposed to be hurting without Avery Bradley’s out-front defense, but coach Frank Vogel’s teams have generally demonstrated that defense is a mentality, not an innate gift. They held Jamal Murray to 21 points, permitted him only 12 shots and hassled him into three turnovers.
Afterward, James was asked whether he agreed with the MVP voters who anointed Giannis Antetokounmpo for the second consecutive year. James made it clear he did not, especially when only 16 of the 101 voters favored him.Related Articles
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This was reminiscent of Wayne Gretzky becoming gloriously offended when Toronto journalists said he had a “piano on his back” in the 1993 conference finals, or Jack Nicklaus clipping an Atlanta writer’s dismissal of his chances to win the 1986 Masters and putting it on his refrigerator. Michael Jordan made a career of lining up real and imagined straw men and sweeping them into the dustbin.
The great ones think every season is a championship season and love to bust the critics. The Clippers may yet borrow that mindset, but it seems odd that they weren’t as driven to reach their first conference final as the Lakers are to win their 17th NBA championship.
Q. Before the pandemic, I was a physically active grandmother to three young grandchildren. Currently, I am extremely compliant with the CDC recommendations because of my husband’s compromised immune system. Some of my family members and friends are less cautious. Because I am not physically present, I feel passed over for those grandmotherly activities in favor of those who are less cautious. I’ve become the absent grandmother which is having a negative effect on my mental health. I feel I have lost my role. Grandparents are so important as is my mental health, particularly in this period of uncertainty. Your thoughts? E.N.
Grandparents indeed play a major role in families. That role is so important that in 1978, President Jimmy Carter designated the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.
There is a reason we deeply care for our grandchildren. It began a million years ago in the plains of Africa, writes geriatrician Dr. William Thomas in his book “What are Old People for? How Elders Will Save the World”: “A mother gave birth to a hominid child after a long and exhausting labor. She barely had enough energy to nurse her baby and not enough energy to feed or care for her other children.”
“A miracle occurred,” writes Thomas. The maternal grandmother came to the rescue and intentionally shared her food with her grandchildren. It was a defining moment that created a new pattern of support that carried over to other families. Humans have the distinction of being the only species with grandparents who deliberately help raise their grandchildren.
So, caring for grandchildren has a long history. There are ways to continue that relationship during a pandemic. Consider having a conversation with the parents of your grandchildren: Yes, that means your sons or daughters. Tell them how much you miss the children and share with them what grandparents do.
We are a confidant and companion. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, that relationship was found to encourage better behavior and social skills among grandchildren. We teach children new skills. These may be everyday skills such as sewing on a button, setting the table or pumping air into a bicycle tire. It might be how to knit or crochet, fold towels, throw a baseball or tighten screws.
We pass on family history. An Emory University study reports that children who know about their ancestors are better adjusted than those who haven’t been told about their past.
We teach respect for traditions. We also can create new ones while keeping the old ones.
We help increase each other’s knowledge. We can teach life lessons while our grandchildren keep us up-to-date and how to use technology.
We provide a sense of security. This may be the most important during this pandemic. We offer an extra ear when kids need someone to talk to, which sometimes is easier than talking to their parents.
We teach grandchildren not to sweat the small stuff. We have lived long enough to know that fretting over every obstacle or missed opportunity is a waste of energy. We assure our grandchildren that everything will work out in the end.
We impact the lives of our grandchildren. Studies show that as many as 9 out of 10 adult grandchildren feel that their grandparents influenced their beliefs and values.
Since many relationships need to be expressed remotely, here are just a few suggested by romper.com.
Read bedtime stories: This can be done with Skype or FaceTime.
Play games online: An example is Words with Friends. Classic games can be played online such as Uno with Facebook and Tabletopia for virtual chess and checkers.
Ask 20 questions: One person writes down the name of an object or topic. The other person asks up to 20 questions to figure out what the other person had in mind. For younger children, use categories such as animals or foods.
Guess how many: Have your grandchild fill a jar with coins, dry bean, M&Ms or marshmallows. Have them send you the picture. The grandparent guesses the number and the child empties the jar to count the item. Then take turns.
Show and tell: The child picks an item and shows and tells about it, via Facetime or Zoom, just like in school. Then the grandparent does the same.
Create and use flashcards: Help them learn numbers, colors, shapes, math facts and more.
And of course, use the telephone, Facebook and video conferencing: Keep the communication going. Also consider sending notes, jokes or stories by mail.
Thank you, E.N for your important question. Reassert your position; technology is our friend. Best wishes in making that ongoing reconnection. Stay safe and be well.
Helen Dennis is a nationally recognized leader on issues of aging, employment and the new retirement with academic, corporate and nonprofit experience. Contact Helen with your questions and comments at [email protected] Visit Helen at HelenMdennis.com and follow her on facebook.com/SuccessfulagingCommunity
Breezy conditions are expected in the San Bernardino Mountains as firefighters attempt to hold the flames of the El Dorado fire outside of Angelus Oaks along Highway 38.
Winds from the west and southwest at 10 mph, gusting to 20 mph, are forecast, along with low humidity and high temperatures of 85 degrees.
The fire had burned 22,071 acres as of Saturday, Sept. 19. The containment percentage was reduced from 66 to 59. The fire remained south and east of Highway 38.
“Fire growth continues to the northeast and has slowed as it moves into the old Valley and Lake fire burn scars,” officials said.
Evacuation orders remain in effect for Angelus Oaks and Seven Oaks. Residents may return to Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls by presenting proof of residency, but they need to be ready to evacuate if necessary.
No evacuation advisories are in effect for Big Bear.
Highway 38 is closed between Bryant Street and Onyx Summit.
One person, a firefighter, has died in the blaze that has injured 12 others, destroyed four homes and damaged two others.
The El Dorado fire has been burning in the San Bernardino National Forest since Sept. 5, when, authorities say, the pyrotechnic was set off during a gender-reveal photoshoot at El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa. No one has been arrested or charged.Related Articles
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After a devastating day that saw the Bobcat fire make wind-driven runs and damage homes in the Antelope Valley as it grew by 31,000 acres over the last 24 hours, fire crews continued to focus on the northern edge, hoping to slow its spread Saturday, authorities said.
The fire, which started Sept. 6, grew significantly overnight, reaching 91,017 acres by 7 a.m. Saturday. The fire remained 15% contained, mostly on the southern edge.
Containment is the percentage of the perimeter where the fire won’t expand beyond.
Strong winds, gusting as high as 55 miles per hour, pushed the fire north into Juniper Hills Friday, where structures were threatened and impacted, forest officials said.
The number of homes damaged or destroyed was not immediately available Friday night, officials said.
Evacuation orders were expanded in the Antelope Valley and were held in place Saturday. Some residents described a chaotic scene Friday in a community comprised of mostly seniors and plenty of residents with horses and other livestock.
Emilia Mavrolas, 24, had stayed at her Juniper Hills home Thursday night despite mandatory evacuation orders, but as the fire approached her community Friday afternoon, she and her family knew they had to leave.
“As the hours passed, we saw the embers and glows along the ridge,” Mavrolas said. “It seemed like everything was fine, but within a few hours it was my friends calling and telling me that their homes were on fire.
“Watching the news, their homes are literally on fire,” she added. “That’s when we just started packing everything.”
Her father and uncles had tried to wet down the property and water the roof in hopes it might help spare the home, she said, adding she’s lived in Juniper Hills for 15 years.
Mavrolas stayed at a cousin’s house in Lancaster Friday night and had taken her dog, a Maltese, with her, she said.
The family also has seven desert tortoises, but during the scramble to pack and leave, they were only able to find six, she said.
“Hopefully the fire goes away or slows down, so we can find him,” Mavrolas said.
Friday was surreal, she said. The family could see the flames in the hills Thursday, but the winds whipped the fire across the ridge and down to Juniper Hills. She said by the time her family left, it was at the range by their home.
She said a voluntary evacuation order in 2008 was the closest the family had been to leaving prior to Friday.
“It’s just so crazy this fire can tear down my entire hometown,” she said.
To the west, fire crews planned to continue to protect Mt. Wilson and Chilao. Strategic firing operations helped secure a fire line between the Ranch 2 fire scar and Highway 39 to the east after a second evacuation order was issued near the San Gabriel Reservoir Friday afternoon, officials said.
The communities of Big Pines and Wrightwood could be impacted soon, despite being 5 and 8 miles away, officials said.
Southerly winds will again make the firefight challenging Saturday, especially at higher elevations, officials said, though they anticipate wind speeds should gradually diminish through Saturday afternoon. Temperatures were expected to be slightly cooler, but humidity was expected to remain low.
More than 1,650 firefighters have joined in the firefight.
Evacuation orders remained in place for the following areas:
- north of Avenue X, south of Pearblossom Highway, east of 155th Street East and west of 165th Street East
- south of Pearblossom Highway, north of Big Pines Highway, west of Largo Vista Road and east of 165th Street East
- south of East Avenue V, north of Fort Tejon Road, west of 121st Street East and east of 87th Street East
- south of East Avenue U-12, north of East Avenue W-14, west of 165th Street East, and east of 121st Street East
- south of Fort Tejon Road, west of Longview Road, north of Colley Place, east of 89th Street, as well as south of East Avenue W- 14, west of 165th Street East, north of Tumpleweed Road and east of Longview Road
- east of Highway 39, south of East Fork Road, west of Glendora Mountain Road and north of Glendora Ridge Road.
An evacuation center has been set up for Antelope Valley residents at Palmdale High School, 2137 East Avenue R.
Evacuation warnings remained in place for parts of Monrovia, Duarte, Arcadia, Sierra Madre, Bradbury, Pasadena, Altadena, Big Pines and Wrightwood.
A South Coast Air Quality Management District smoke advisory remained in effect Saturday.
City News Service contributed to this report.Related Articles
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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of millions of Americans, and reshaped our vocabulary along the way. Here are a few words and phrases you may not have known before the outbreak arrived in Southern California in March, but have become part of daily conversation since:This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 novel coronavirus. (CDC via AP)
Coronavirus: It’s not just the disease that we first caught wind of in news reports from China’s Yunnan province last year. It’s actually a variety of viruses, which is why we called this one “novel” or “new” early on. Some, clearly, can make people sick. The “corona” is the glow or halo than can be seen around the virus when it’s viewed with a high-powered microscope.
COVID-19: Perhaps because “2019 novel coronavirus,” at 11 syllables, doesn’t exactly waltz off the tongue, experts adopted this abbreviation. Many picked it up without even knowing what the acronym stands for — “CO” for corona, “VI” for virus, “D” for disease and “19” for 2019, the year of its discovery.
SARS-CoV-2: That other abbreviation for COVID-19 that didn’t become part of daily dialogue.
Flattening the curve: What may have passed for skateboard lingo in February became a familiar phrase in March. While we all watched the daily numbers of coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations climb, public health officials laid out guidelines for stemming the spread and driving that trend line down.
Underlying conditions: Certain existing physical conditions or co-morbidities, doctors learned, increased the chance of getting very sick or dying after contracting coronavirus. Among them, according to the CDC: obesity, cancer, kidney disease, chronic respiratory ailments, heart disease.
Transmission: Early on, confusion reigned over just how the virus was passed along. Experts arrived at a consensus, that the tiny droplets that result from our coughs and sneezes were the most common form of transmission. Some experts maintained that the virus can remain on an object and that someone can move the virus from his or her hands to the mouth, nose or eyes — though most came to believe this wasn’t nearly as common as breathing in the tiny spray from a cough.
Pandemic: An epidemic is simply a large increase in cases of a disease. To be a pandemic, it must grow to infect people over multiple countries.
Social distancing: It’s something of an oxymoron, because preventing social proximity is entirely the point. The CDC arrived at “at least 6 feet away” from one another because it’s thought to be out of range of a fierce sneeze.
Physical distancing: The phrase wasn’t as widely applied as “social distancing,” despite being a more accurate description of the recommended practice.Ventilators built at Virgin Orbit in Long Beach, used to treat patients suffering from COVID-19. (Courtesy Virgin Orbit)
Ventilator: Most Americans knew the devices had something to do with breathing. They learned soon that they were considered vital to the survival of people most severely stricken with the virus. And we learned that many markets didn’t have nearly enough of them, at least for a while. Now, most of us know that the device mechanically pumps air into the lungs, sometimes enhanced with oxygen, of people who cannot breathe effectively on their own.
ICU: The phrase “intensive care unit” was far from obscure for anyone who’d endured a serious family ailment (or watched hours of network TV medical dramas). But ICUs became a daily statistic as public health departments nationwide monitored the rate of hospitalizations in their communities.
Quarantine: Think you’ve been exposed? Stay home, by yourself (or in an isolation unit or ward) — generally, as directed by your doctor. The common period of quarantine, according to the CDC, became 14 days.
Self-quarantine: Think you’ve been exposed? Stay home, by yourself — generally at your own direction.
Isolation: Like quarantine, only different. Isolation keeps sick people away from those who are not.
PPE: Personal protective equipment — such as face shields, N95 surgical masks and gloves made from latex or neoprene — protect the wearer from virus transmission. COVID-19 intensified demand for PPEs, and international shortages resulted. While they are more readily available now, many experts believe a greater stockpile is needed to fend off a resurgence in the coronavirus — or the arrival of any new ailment.
Fabric mask: This hotly debated face covering became, like it or not, a political standoff. Early on in the pandemic, as handy people learned to stitch together T-shirt fabric with elastic straplets by the dozens, their anti-viral value was widely debated. But the common thought now is that they do more to prevent you from giving someone the disease than they do to keep you from getting it from someone else. As President Donald Trump spurned their use, they became something of a political statement, whether intentional or not.
N95 mask: To be a true N95 mask, it must be cleared by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It’s the mask of choice for medical professionals because it’s considered effective at filtering 95% of airborne particles.Graduate Andee Choi cheers for a classmate during a drive-thru graduation at Valencia High School in Placentia on June 11, 2020. The school graduated 620 students during a two-day drive-thru graduation due to COVID-19 concerns. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Drive-thru (fill in the blank): As we worked toward “touch free” experiences to keep from transmitting the virus, drive-thru testing centers dotted the landscape, including at such high-profile venues as Inglewood’s Forum and Dodger Stadium. Refusing to give up on such conventions as weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties and graduations, we also forged ways to drive thru those celebrations. And for many folks, the drive-thru at the local “essential” eatery became a three-meal-a-day trek. Is trick-or-treating next?
Essential: To stem the virus’ spread, public health leaders defined some businesses, government practices or public gatherings as “essential,” others as, well, not. Hospitals? Supermarkets? Service stations? Hardware stores? Essential. Bars? Tattoo parlors? NFL football games? Not. From the start, fierce debate erupted over what made the list and what didn’t — and they rage on today as businesses and schools lobby to reopen.
Contact tracing: The process of investigating who a person exposed to a disease came into contact with -— so they can be quarantined and/or tested to slow the disease’s spread. Public health departments have employed armies of “tracers.”
CDC and WHO: In the U.S., our national health institute is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Directives for how to treat, prevent and respond to the coronavirus came from this agency. Internationally, the World Health Organization is an arm of the United Nations that aims to improve and maintain the health of the nations of the planet.
Symptomatic: Someone is sick — and they’ve got the symptoms to prove it, such as a cough, fever or trouble breathing.
Asymptomatic: Someone is sick — but without symptoms. Experts now appear to agree that asymptomatic people can indeed spread COVID-19.
Vaccine: Actually, we knew that word quite well before March. And we hope to know it better in the months ahead.
Cure: See “vaccine.”
The car was packed. Lark’s kitty carrier, stashed with treats and her favorite Woody Woodpecker toy, was parked by the front door ready for a getaway should someone with a bullhorn go up and down the block ordering us to leave immediately.
The Bobcat fire had us in its sights.
Having checked off most of the items on my evacuation list, I stopped by the kitchen to get one of the brownies I’d baked earlier and packed in a to-go container. Who doesn’t need brownies in stressful times?
I doubted that I could sleep, but I was definitely ready to sink into my favorite pillow for a little comfort. Only I didn’t sink; it was more like a bounce. Then I remembered I had packed my pillow at the advice of someone’s “important things to take when you evacuate” list that I had read online.
The feather-like pillow for the allergy impaired was on the back seat of my car covering the wooden frame that held the flag from my late husband’s coffin. I had wrapped it in the lavender-hued quilt his mother made for us as a wedding present. I loved the thought of these three nestled together.Related Articles
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Larkie, smelling of smoke, jumped up on the bed and stared at me with sad green eyes. When I didn’t move, she jumped off and tried leading me to the closed hallway door. I tried to explain that we had to keep the front of the house sealed off to protect us from the unhealthy air created by the smoke from the fires.
And then something prompted me to dig out an old jewelry box to see if there was anything I might want to take. A pin I had made for my mother in my brownie troop twinkled at me. It was a small white seashell with lavender and pink stones glued on the top and a safety pin affixed to the back. Mom had saved it for years and returned it to me before she died. I pinned it to my bathrobe.
Next was a dime store wooden ring, a memento given to George by one of his directors. I slipped it on my thumb, the only finger it wouldn’t fall off. And finally, wrapped in a plastic baggie tied with a red ribbon, was my daughter’s first tooth. I tucked it under my pillow. Maybe the tooth fairy would come again. We are living in strange times.
At the time of this writing, Lark and I still at home, but the evacuation warning remains in place.
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1. A little extra effort on your citrus trees now will make a wonderful difference at harvest time. Prune out the upright-growing new sprouts ASAP if you haven’t already gotten around to it. Then apply Citrus Grower Blend Micronutrients, according to the instructions on the label, but don’t delay. These micronutrients will help your oranges especially, and other citrus, to develop extra sweetness – a taste you’ll notice and love at harvest time.
2. Did you know that you can get your crape myrtles to bloom again this fall? Simply cut off the dead flower clusters a little below the lowest flowering stem in each cluster and feed your plants with rose food. Then water them. That will stimulate one more flush of new flowers before the plants go dormant. It works with both the bush and the tree forms of crape myrtles. (And keep watering all your plants, whether they are in containers or in the ground, as long as the weather remains warm.)
3. Plant beet seeds an inch apart and a quarter-inch deep. After germination, thin seedlings to two inches apart before the roots begin to swell. The thinnings are completely edible, both tops and roots, so plan to use them, too; for instance, you can add them to salads (after you wash them, of course). Harvest mature beets when they are one to three inches across.Related Articles
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4. Plant onion sets now, or as soon as you can get them. Plan to plant more every month or two. That way you can harvest green onions as they are ready all throughout the winter and spring. Be sure to let some grow on to become bulbs. They will be ready for digging next summer.
5. Plant early-ripening tomatoes now, too, for holiday harvests before nighttime frosts stop them in December or January. Choose varieties with short-maturation times, such as Early Girl or Sweet 100 cherry tomato. Some garden centers also offer special cool-season tomato varieties developed in Oregon in recent years. And for the rest of your summer garden, well, just dig it up and start planting winter crops.