Friday, March 24, 2017

Have Fun, Go Nuts

One for all and all for one/We salute our champions/Hail to the Flying Squirrels/Who stand for you and me

So begins 'Hail to the Flying Squirrels', the brand new anthem for Richmond's AA Eastern League franchise, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. As you might imagine, we're predisposed to like all things Flying Squirrel, but minor league baseball ain't exactly renowned for its highbrow cultural institutions. And as a result, we received the news that the Squirrels had released an anthem with appropriate caution.

As it turns out, it's a catchy little ditty. The songwriters from Richmond-based production company Black Iris, obviously listen to their share of the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, to name just a few.

I can't figure out how to embed an mp3 file into this newfangled blogging interface, so you'll have to go here to listen to the song (and download it, 'cause I know you'll dig it and want to have it at your fingertips).

As the chorus exhorts us all, have fun, go nuts.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Laughing with Tears in My Eyes

For a while there, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and the rest of Team Trump rode a wave of hagiography that cast them as paradigm-destroying, swamp-draining geniuses. The left added 'evil' to that description, but in general, a credulous media gave the new administration a great deal of credit for a systematic approach to dismantling the foundations of the modern American state.

That edifice crumbled pretty quickly, no? From a disastrous ban on foreign travel from Muslim-heavy countries, to a nearly-as-disastrous attempt to resuscitate it, to support of a widely panned healthcare bill, to a budget proposal that would be crippling in its breadth  if it weren't literally illegal to pass, the Trump brain trust seems to resemble nothing so much as the Really Rottens of Laff-a-Lympics fame. Their cruelty and bad intent is routinely scuttled by their incompetence.

It would be laughable, if it weren't so consequential.

It's still laughable, actually. Case in point, last week, the White House either completely failed to understand obvious satire and mockery, or never read past the headline of an article by Washington Post writer Alexandria Petri. That headline, "Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why", was followed by an obvious and over the top (so, really, quite Trumpy) sendup of the folks that are running our country at the moment, including such gems as:

The piece continued on to describe in ridiculous detail some of the specific cuts President* Trump's budget proposal (which, as I may have mentioned, is cruel and incompetent) suggests:

 Petri closes with a flourish, and a literal LOL line to boot:

The article was amusing, an obvious (to most) cathartic salve to the liberal soul. To at least one person who works in the White House (it's Trump, isn't it?), it was something different entirely.

Here's a screenshot of the White House Daily Newsletter from March 16, which includes the President's daily schedule, as well as links to a couple of articles the White House thinks are important for the public to read. One's a Politico piece about Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny's visit to Washington. The other, Petri's budget-praising snarkfest.

As Petri herself put it in a follow-up article/facepalm explaining how it feels to become part of the story, "This is 2017 in a nutshell: You start with what you think is obviously a joke, and then a few days later it is being sent out from the White House."

The stock market's just started to figure out that maybe Trump is full of shit and genuinely incapable of understanding or keeping his campaign promises. FBI Director Jim Comey (Go Tribe! If we're claiming him. Given the fact that there's a strong argument all of this is his fault, maybe we shouldn't.) confirmed D.C.'s worst-kept secret, telling Congress that the Bureau is investigating the Trump campaign's ties to the Russian government. We're basically all fucked.

At least we'll die laughing.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Madness, Day Four

You've almost made it, boys and girls. One more day to go in the first weekend of the tournament, and I know we're all feeling a little bit melancholy. Except for Danimal, who's been wearing the green in Savannah for the past few days, and might not remember his own name. It's Danimal.

But we're here for you. A little pick me up to get you ready.

Chuck Berry passed away yesterday, and while his personal legacy is a bit justifiably tarnished, his musical influence is undeniable. In a terrific 2016 New York Times Magazine piece, Chuck Klosterman argues that, "Chuck Berry may very well become the artist society selects when rock music is retroactively reconsidered by the grandchildren of your grandchildren."

I think Przemek Karnowski is my favorite player in the tournament, with Deonte Burton a close second. In the big Pole's honor, here's cut by Riverside, the Krakow Post's selection as the Best Polish Rock Band of 2015.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Musical Madness, Day 3

The on-court action hasn't been all that mad yet, so we fully expect today to be bonkers. And if it's not, all the better for the pool I filled out solely based on KenPom ratings. Go Zags! We're in the business of slapping together barely related musings this week, so here's a little more.

Both this fine blog and Sentence of Dave have posted about the legendary Tuareg band Tinariwen in the past few weeks. I'll be damned if you can't hear their influence in the first part of this excellent, multi-faceted (and wicked chill) new single from English indie group Alt-J.

Run the Jewels rolled into DC last month for a couple of shows at Echostage. While they were in our little town, they played one of the cooler NPR Tiny Desk Concert sets I've seen (and there have been some amazing Tiny Desk shows - you could do worse than spend an evening sipping a beverage of your choice and binge-watching on YouTube). The chemistry between Killer Mike and El-P is amazing in such a small space - their ad-libbing is effortless. Make sure you watch to the very end for a message from Mike.

As always, this is but a vehicle for your commenting genius. Go get 'em, champ.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Madness Open Thread, Day 2

Hey you. Don't watch that. Watch this.

Your commenting paradise awaits.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Madness Open Thread

On the best sports day of the year, our traditional* filler post, complete with my earliest/best childhood NCAA Tournament memory. I even remember the Bryant Gumbel cut-in:

*It's not, but I'm ticked I didn't think about it earlier. Go Seahawks.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Better Know Your Asshole Politician

Steve King (R-IA) just saw a black person on Capitol Hill
It's been a while since we dropped one of our signature 'Better Know' posts. Historically, we focus on minor league baseball mascots and the occasional Canadian Football League franchise. Today, a bit of a departure. I hope it's temporary, but there are lots and lots of potential entries in this particular category. Just wait until we get to Gohmert.

Name: Steve King

District: 4th District of Iowa

Tenure: 2003 - 2017, though technically he served the 5th District from 2003-2013, then didn't get the hint when the 5th was abolished and won election to the 4th in 2013.

Major Policy Issues: Healthcare, Agriculture, Immigration, Economy & Federal Spending, Unvarnished Racism

Legislative Accomplishments: Near as I can tell, based on a review of, King's accomplished fuck all in 14 years in Washington other than conclusively proving that he's soulless racist asshole. Maybe you can figure out where I've missed something.

Achievements in Jackassery: King made news this week for retweeting nationalist Dutch politician Geert Wilders, adding his own enlightened commentary.

David Duke quickly endorsed King's viewpoint, saying, "sanity reigns supreme in Iowa's 4th congressional district". By day's end, even Republicans were going on record to say that, "Hey, y'know, maybe that's a littttttle bit racist, bro. And we prefer our racism a bit more subtle." Paul Ryan said that King had maybe misspoken, but King clarified that he meant exactly what he said. It's refreshing, I guess, that racists are cool with coming out of the closet. Means we can see them coming.

So America got woke to Steve King's gross worldview this week, but this dude's been a fucking asshole for a long time.

He's compared immigrants to dogs, and suggested that America select them as if we were choosing the pick of the litter.

Predictably, he made an issue of Barack Obama's middle name during the 2008 Presidential campaign.

In 2010, he took to the floor of the House and insisted that racial profiling was an important part of police procedure.

He was one of 11 Representatives to vote against providing Federal aid to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Because, blacks, I'm guessing.

I could go on. I won't because I'm becoming even more disgusted than I was when I picked up this pen* and started writing.

Fuck Steve King, and fuck a party that countenances people like him.