Friday, January 29, 2010

Scott Meets Family Circus

Longtime readers of the Basement will know that I'm a huge fan of the Family Circus and an even bigger fan of anything that makes fun of the Family Circus. Apparently Scott Meets the Family Circus has been around for a while but I just saw it on HuffPost. Apparently it takes Family Circus cartoons and inserts a guy named Scott, or his buddy Dante, who get to say everything we'd like to say those half-witted pumpkin-headed brats. My favorite part is when he puts Billy in his place.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chris Matthews with some great SOTU analysis

I've been swamped with my grant writing stuff lately so I didn't get a chance to actually watch Obama's speech tonight and I still have something to say about Paul Shirley's second biggest meltdown (he wrote about #1 here in case you were curious what it was) at some point but I had to throw this video of Chris Matthews out there because it's too hilarious not to. Oh, Chris never fails to bring the awkward. Transcript via NY Times:
I was trying to think about who he was tonight. It’s interesting; he is post-racial, by all appearances. I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. He’s gone a long way to become a leader of this country and past so much history in just a year or two. I mean it’s something we don’t even think about. I was watching and I said, wait a minute, he’s an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people and there he is, president of the United States, and we’ve completely forgotten that tonight — completely forgotten it. I think it was in the scope of the discussion, it was so broad ranging, so in tune with so many problems and aspects and aspects of American life. That you don’t think in terms of the old tribalism and the old ethnicity. It was astounding in that regard, a very subtle fact. It’s so hard to even talk about it. Maybe I shouldn’t talk about it.
To sum it up:
I completely forgot that he was black for the entire hour so to show how much we've all moved on from focusing on his blackness I'm going to talk about nothing but the fact that he's black and not really mention anything he said because we're all clearly focused on that and definitely not noticing that it's a black guy up there talking. He's black.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bad signs

I was looking through my Google Reader feed tonight and decided to check out what brilliant writer Matt Taibbi was ranting about lately. The MA Senate election? Goldman Sachs robbing us blind? Nope, the Kansas City Royals signing Rick Ankiel.
Apologies to my non-sports-reading readers, but I just spotted this — what the hell is going on in Kansas City? Is Dayton Moore trying to collect every sub-.300 OBP player in baseball?

Last year the Royals drew 457 walks. There are currently about 450 Siberian tigers left in the wild. Anyone want to bet which ends up being more rare in 2010? This isn’t just wishful thinking, but I really think the Tiger is going to bounce back. Yuniesky Betancourt’s batting eye, not so much. Again, apologize for the non-political aside, but this stuff just makes me scratch my head.
When even Matt Taibbi is turning his acid pen on Dayton and the Royals you know things are bad. There really are some mind boggling stats out there. As Joe Posnanski helpfully points out there were 7 "every-day" players in all of baseball that had an adjusted on-base plus slugging of worse than 80. The Royals were on pace to start FIVE of those players. Jeebus.

I say they were because they just signed Ankiel to apparently start over Brian Anderson or Scott Podsednik, both of whom just signed a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, I'm confused too. Honestly, I think their outfield defense was so bad last year they are adopting the softball strategy of sticking four guys out there. I hope they announce that move at the same press conference they unveil their slogan for the season: "Hey, at least Greinke's pitching in thirtysome games this year!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

White Men Can't Jump (but they sure can make a two hand bounce pass)

Apparently there's a group trying to start a "whites-only" professional basketball league in the South (the South? really?). You can't make this stuff up.
The All-American Basketball Alliance announced in a news release Sunday evening that it intends to start its inaugural season in June and hopes Augusta will be one of 12 cities with a team.

"Only players that are natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league," the statement said.
Yeah, I know I'm definitely concerned with the fact that BOTH parents of the players I cheer for are of Caucasian descent.
Don "Moose" Lewis, the commissioner of the AABA, said the reasoning behind the league's roster restrictions is not racism.
No, of course not. Where would anyone get THAT idea?
"There's nothing hatred about what we're doing," he said. "I don't hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here's a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like."
Ah yes, fundamental basketball. This guy should be promoting the WNBA (uh, and that W is for "women's" not "white") or something. I'm pretty sure that if being white was all it took to play "fundamental basketball" my pick-up games at the Rec wouldn't consist mostly of people lobbing passes over the head of the guy that never managed to get back on defense or trying to drive in the middle of four defenders and losing the ball.
Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of "street-ball" played by "people of color." He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas' indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans' dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.

"Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?" he said. "That's the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction."
Don't even get me started on "street-ball" and what that usually means to people like this guy but if it's not about race then why is he limiting it to only white people? There are plenty of non-white players who are "fundamental" and during my time at Iowa State I saw two player flip off the crowd. One was Drew Gooden from KU and the other was Tim Heskett, a white guy from OU. He's clearly not made for this league with that no-fundamentals street-ball style of his, I don't care how pasty he is. Won't someone think of the children?

Either way it's pretty embarrassing that somebody is trying to do this in 2010. Can't he just cheer for Duke or something?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Coco Update

I think I've made my stance on Jay Leno pretty clear over the years so you can guess where I stand on Conan vs. Jay. The only positive I see out of this is that Conan is finally unleashed and has been pretty hilarious from what I've seen. Gawker compiled the relevant moments from tonight's broadcasts. If you love incredibly awkward moments involving people ripping on Jay Leno then may I recommend watching the clip of Jimmy Kimmel going on Jay's show tonight? Hilarious. I'm estimating that brings my total viewing time of his early show to 6 minutes and 5 seconds. Do people always rip on him to his face like that? Who knew it could be so comical?

Crises, Real and Imagined

Quarterlife crisis.
This phenomenon, known as the “Quarterlife Crisis,” is as ubiquitous as it is intangible. Unrelenting indecision, isolation, confusion and anxiety about working, relationships and direction is reported by people in their mid-twenties to early thirties who are usually urban, middle class and well-educated; those who should be able to capitalize on their youth, unparalleled freedom and free-for-all individuation. They can’t make any decisions, because they don’t know what they want, and they don’t know what they want because they don’t know who they are, and they don’t know who they are because they’re allowed to be anyone they want.

I can recognize some of that in my life and in the lives of others I know. I went to grad school, I guess. Does this have any validity? Some, I suppose, but I'm not sure it's an entirely new phenomenon even if it manifests itself in different ways.

Then there are people with real problems that don't involve whining about "life decisions." How ridiculous is it that after Haiti's 1804 slave revolt led to their independence from France they had to pay $150 million francs in reparations, a debt they didn't retire until 1947? "Yeah, see, here's the deal. We're no longer getting all of this money by enslaving your people and pillaging your land so you're really going to have to start paying us back for that. kthx." According to this Times of London article at the turn of the 20th century 80% of their budget was going to paying down the debt and they were the only slaves in the world that had to do so. It also details the exploitation, this time at the hands of American corporations among others, that continued until the 1970's and lays out a lot of the corruption and other issues that led to the crushing poverty that existed even pre-earthquake. Kind of puts Quarterlife "crisis" in perspective...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So, some stuff happened today

I was away from the internet for most of the day (horrors!) and came back to find out some stuff happened.

I knew about the earthquake in Haiti but didn't see pictures or coverage until now. Man, does Haiti get shit on or what? It's always been a pretty oppressively crappy place to live before they started getting slammed with hurricanes and the largest earthquake in centuries.

Arcade Fire has done a lot to raise the issues of Haiti among their crowd (portions of their Neon Bible tour proceeds went to charities there and they handed out fact cards or whatever at the show). They released a statement with a link to Partners in Health, a pretty cool charity that is already on the ground helping people there if you're into doing good deeds and whatnot. Also here's a list of places you can donate through text messaging if that's easier. Here's a link to their song "Haiti" if watching a video with footage of happier times is more your thing.

Of course the usual assholes (Limbaugh and Pat Robertson in particular) climbed out from their rocks to make sure everyone remembers they're complete assholes when it comes to stuff like this. I won't write what they said but I'm sure you can find it.

In other news my hometown police chief was charged with 14 counts of sex crimes against children. Scumbag. The locals made the usual "completely shocked" comments and even breaking out a cringeworthy "this never happens in small towns" to the Wichita and KC papers. Uhh, yeah, it does.

According to someone I know the last time this police force made the news they were firing an officer who posted youtube videos of himself in his underwear performing karate moves. No idea if that's true or not and I'm sure not going looking for that video.

I never thought I would say that a piece that briefly discusses Roger Ebert's sexual history would be an interesting read but, thanks to Erin GG, I found out that this one was pretty interesting. Check it out.

Jay Reatard died. I was never entirely on board with him but I generally liked what I heard.

Yikes, this is a depressing blogpost. Why did everything that happen today have to suck?

Finally, here's a story from ESPN on the "other" basketball team in Lawrence, Haskell Indian Nations University. It's long but worth a read.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Some stuff

It's a story that didn't get much mention here but the Togo national soccer team was ambushed by a local rebel group with machine guns on their way to a match in Angola as part of the African Cup of Nations tournament. Four people were killed including one player. I though Michael Cardillo had a good take on the issue saying that the entire tournament should be called off. It seems like there's a tendency to just shrug about stuff like this when it happens in Africa but it's pretty messed up.

On a better note here's a kind of cool stop motion video from 2 guys who walked 26 miles of Yonge Street in Toronto in 14 hours.

Genres

For whatever reason I've been having a lot of talk about genres the last few days. For some reason people want to classify everything into a little box so they can deal with it or dismiss it or whatever but it's kind of getting out of control. So much so that the NY Times is talking about it and Hipster Runoff is making shirts about it.

So, I hear that dubcore is a big trend this year and I have no idea what that means. In the course of reading about genres I find crabcore which might be one of the worst genres ever and is based on breakdowns and hardcore and dancing like a crab and I'm not really sure what else defines it. Apparently it came from this video because they look like crabs when they play. Brutal.

Tonight I went to see a few bands from Omaha and one from Lawrence play at the Replay. They played what I would consider to be punk music but they all dressed like indie hipster kids. Is this perhaps a new genre? Indiepunk? I have no idea because it's too damn exhausting to try to keep track.

I don't really have a point to all this besides amusement about the whole thing. I guess I'm going to try to create a new genre that's way hipper than anything you listen to.