Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge
by Bryan Harvey

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

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by Bryan Harvey

A world of child soldiers & cowboys

A world of child soldiers & cowboys
by Bryan Harvey

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'
by Bryan Harvey

Dallas Mavericks Preview: "Gas"

October 11, 2009

In an effort to gear up for the NBA season, we will view the upcoming season through the eyes of Edward Hopper. Feel free to add your thoughts on the 2010 Mavericks in our comments section.The sound of Neil Young on the radio fades to static, leaving Jason to finish the final verses of "Old Man" a capella. He looks over to the passenger seat and sees that Dirk is still asleep, bringing a literal meaning to the phrase sleeping giant. As Jason sings "I'm a lot like you were" and then falls silent, the sound of the truck's engine and the lack of a radio signal remind Jason just how far way from a destination they are. For miles, all he can see are rolling plains; the set of Oklahoma but without the music.

Splat! Jason hears the sound of a palm slapping glass behind him. He turns his head to see Josh's red eyes resting on him and pressed into a blood stain, between Josh's skin and the cab's rear window, is what's left of a mosquito. Josh peels back his lips to reveal a yellow grin. He resembles a caricature from out of a Joseph Conrad novel, as if he hasn't yet realized how much depth lies behind every human face. Jason can't stand people like Josh. He doesn't understand how they can be so content just going along for the ride, never asking questions and never offering any strategies on how to get from point A to point B. Josh pulls his hand away from the glass and licks it, as if the squashed mosquito were only a dab of strawberry jelly.

The truck begins to rattle like an empty stomach. Jason eyes the fuel gauge; it says there's still half a tank, but the vehicle is clearly dragging to a halt. These are the laws of physics. Jason ponders whether he's witnessing the law of gravity, inertia, friction, or momentum. He's not sure which one it is and gives it up. Regardless of which law is in effect, the truck is out of gas.

"Dude, Dirk, wake up, man." Jason shoves Dirk, who lifts his head like a napping giraffe, "Huh? Are we there?"

"No, we're not there. We're out of gas, man."

"So we're stranded?"

"Yeah, looks like it."

Jason and Dirk each climb out of the cab and stand beside the truck, hands on their hips, disappointment on their faces. Josh dances in the back of the truck, doing his best to impersonate a young Laurence Fishburne, from Apocalypse Now, only Laurence danced to The Rolling Stones, while Josh dances to his own thoughts. Dirk and Jason stick out their thumbs, but their slouched shoulders and curved necks suggest they do not believe in the ritual, that it may be as fruitless as a rain dance, an offering of sacrifice, or a prayer before dinner. Time on the road has made them atheists. Traveling without reaching a desired destination can do that to a person. Of course, spirituality is often born out of learning to appreciate the journey that leads to one's goal.

Josh struts to the rhythm of his mind's guitar, until he stands next to Jason and Dirk. Then he waves his two arms in the air as if they were snakes. His right arm slithers down his stomach and into his pants. He pulls the zipper of his pants down with his left hand and out pokes his right thumb, through the crotch. Then he mimics the slouch of Jason and Dirk, except he appears to be headed toward Bethlehem, while they no longer buy into the significance of geographical locations that lends itself to pilgrimages. The three of them stand like this for hours, in silence, like statues of wise men, before Jason and Dirk return to the truck, dejected, leaving Josh alone with his phallic thumb.

A convertible speeds by. If Josh's eyes were open, then he might have been blinded by the dust and debris that the car's tires threw in his face. The car flies by the broke down truck by about thirty feet, screeches to a stop, and then backs up parallel to the truck, directly in front of Josh's thumb.

"Need a ride?" asks the driver. Josh just stands. It's quite possible he's asleep. "I said do yall need a ride."

Jason looks up from the driver's seat. He blinks and rubs his eyes. How does physics explain this random act of kindness? It doesn't matter. A solution has presented itself. Jason turns to Dirk, "our ride's here. Let's go." Jason and Dirk get out of the truck once again, walking like reborn Christians down to the river for baptism, heads held high. They each put a hand on Josh's shoulder, waking him from his slumber, or was it just meditation?

"What are yall's names?" asks their chauffeur.

"I'm Jason,"pointing to himself, "and this is Josh and Dirk."

"Cool, I'm Shawn."

"We're lucky you came along. We ran out of gas and thought we were done for."

Shawn laughs, like a rabbit in a briar patch, as if there's something obvious to be known under everyone's nose, but no one sees it, "Done for? You're only a half mile from Cuban's Gas 'n Stop. Done for? Seriously, you're joking, right?"

Jason's chin drops to his chest. He's not sure what's worse: the embarrassment he feels now or his insurmountable lack of faith?

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