Chemistry lesson …

If better living can be achieved through chemistry then, ah, um, from the look of the Kings‘ new starting lineup, Sactown oughta be livin’ large by April. Mmm-hmm—take White Chocolate at the 1, C-Webb at the 4 and Vlade at the 5, add newcomer Doug Christie at 2-guard and move budding NBA superstar Peja Stojakovic into the 3 spot, put ’em on the hardwood with the Utah Jazz and press “detonate.” Yep, kaboom—as in Wile E. Coyote meets Acme dynamite. Dunno if the NBA’s most bizarrely named franchise even bothered to show up Oct. 10, but if they did, well, by the half, Rick Adelman and company had put their funny underwear in a twist all the way back to Salt Lake. Boingg! Nice scowl on the Worm‘s face, too—and Malone looked real happy. Polynice? Boooo! As for the Bench Mob, lookin’ good—newcomers Bobby Jackson and Hidayet Turkoglu showed the Jazz what’s what with some intense physicality and bangin’ inside moves, and Jon Barry is always tha bomb. And, hey—'sup with Scot Pollard and his new look? Akira Kurosawa‘s dead, so he can’t be fixing to try out for Seven Samurai 2. Too bad about Tony Delk going to Phoenix, though: The Kings could use an on-fire backup at the 1. The nutshell is that, although the conventional wisdom sez that everyone in the NBA West improved in the off-season but the Kings, my money’s on Sactown. Now, if the NBA’d make Shaq put a heavy-equipment beeper on his ass for his post-up game, and if the brothers Maloof would add pot stickers to the menu at ARCO, all would be good.

… and a Civil War tutorial

If you’re looking for quality entertainment, open-mike nights can be a real roll of the dice. Nevertheless, some of us like to gamble. Too bad it was snake eyes, double ducks and boxcars last Monday night at the Fox & Goose, the granddaddy of local open mikes. Sure, you can show up with power tools and experiment with sonic textures at any other open mike in town, but you’d better know the words to “John Barleycorn” before you show your face at the Fox & Goose. When we walked in, some guy in an open flannel shirt gave us the evil eye; guess we didn’t look like folk-music types. Turns out it was the open mike’s host, Bill Harper.

The vibe was strictly ssssh-ville as a hippie with a Bing Crosby hat was finishing a song. “This next one was written by Woody Guthrie,” he intoned. His third tune was an original, a strident minor-key ditty about life under the heel of the U.S. Cavalry from a Native American perspective. Ouch.

Next up was Women With Arrows—two women with acoustic guitars and nice voices. Their first number sounded like Indigo Girls on a Joni Mitchell bender; the second was a Lucinda Williams cover, and their third a song by a long-lost songwriter pal named Tristan something.

The next act was a real show-stopper. Imagine a hippie woman playing flute behind a pot-bellied hippie bellowing spoken-word iambic quadrameter (is there such a thing?) about the Civil War. In other words, vamoose—on the double!

Scene & heard was reported by Jacques Strapón, America’s dumbest sportswriter. Additional reporting by Jackson Griffith.