Now you can sing Christmas songs whenever you want to!
Then it went from there:
The Blazers are for real this year, at long last.
It's not technically called "The Rose Garden" anymore, but it's where the Blazers play, so it's still the Rose Garden at heart. And whether it's because of the general community spirit of the Pacific Northwest, the lack of other major sports league options in the region, the legacy of the great teams coached by Jack Ramsay and Rick Adelman, or the mystical influence of the Sasquatch, Portland's home crowd generates more adrenaline per square inch than almost any other arena.
This might be silly, but it seems like there's something about the building that lends itself to a specific kind of exciting basketball, fast-breaking, unselfish and 3-pointer-heavy, distinct even from the rest of the country's great hoops stages. If Los Angeles is about flash, New York about folk heroes, Boston about epic drama, Indiana about face-smashing defense and Golden State about running/gunning underdogs, Portland is about the collective frenzy of a 20-0 run by the home team during which everyone on the floor makes a 3-pointer or a breakaway dunk.
instagram.com / Via Gramfeed
It's been twelve seasons and counting since the Blazers won a playoff series. The team hasn't won 50 games — i.e. the simplest sign of being an NBA title contender — since 2009-2010, and finished under .500 the last two years. Their rank among NBA teams in attendance in the years since 2010? Second, second, and fourth. That's hardcore.
Bill Baptist / NBA / Getty
The most historically relevant moments in the last three decades of Blazers franchise history are 1) Michael Jordan shrugging as he was demolishing the Blazers in the 1992 Finals and 2) the Kobe-to-Shaq alley oop that propelled the Lakers past the Blazers in the 2000 Western Conference playoffs — in other words, bad things happening TO the Blazers. The nine most-viewed YouTube clips that come up when you search for "Trail Blazers" are highlights of other players scoring against them.
Stephen Dunn / Getty
Above: ESPN basketball writers' predictions about who would win the Western Conference Northwest Division. You'll notice something about that chart: no one picked the Blazers. But guess who's in first place right now? THE BLAZERS ARE, YO! Yep. Projected for 41 wins by ESPN's generally accurate SCHOENE system (acronyms = credibility), they're off to a 22-4 start with victories over Oklahoma City, Indiana and San Antonio.
Around the world, 211 journalists are in jail because of their work, making 2013 the second worst year on record, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Committee to Protect Journalists / Via cpj.org
There are 211 journalists imprisoned worldwide, with Turkey, Iran, and China leading the repression pack, according to a study by the Committee to Protect Journalists released on Wednesday. Last year, CPJ recorded a record high of 232 imprisoned journalists. The latest numbers present a significant increase from the previous record, set in 1996, of 185 jailed journalists.
The 2013 report found that online journalists accounted for half of the imprisoned, while 79 of the jailed journalists worked in print. About a third of those jailed were freelancers. Worldwide, 124 journalists were jailed for "anti-state" crimes, like subversion or terrorism. In 45 cases, no charges at all were disclosed.
CPJ has tracked the number of jailed journalists annually since 1990. But they add this caveat: "CPJ's list is a snapshot of those incarcerated at 12:01 a.m. on December 1, 2013. It does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year….Journalists who either disappear or are abducted by nonstate entities such as criminal gangs or militant groups are not included on the prison census."
Here are the 10 countries that are the worst perpetrators:
While the number of journalists in Turkish jails declined to 40 from 49 in 2012, Turkey still tops the list for the second year in a row. Among the journalists detained are dozens of Kurdish journalists on terror and anti-government related charges. The Gezi Park protests in May were also a turning point, as the government tried to strong arm many journalists into silence.
Murad Sezer / Reuters
The number of jailed journalists in Iran fell from 45 in 2012 to 35 in 2013. In particular, the government released several high-profile journalists and political activists in the lea- up to the interim nuclear deal. Nonetheless, new arrests continue. In the picture above, activists from Reporters Without Borders demonstrate in front of the Iran Air airline company in Paris to condemn the jailing of journalists.
Jacky Naegelen / Reuters