Sunday, April 22, 2018

Weed Week - Politics You Can Use

We didn't plan it this way*, but sometimes things just come together and feel right.

(*As you know, we don't plan anything, any way.)

There's a ton of political momentum surrounding the legalization of marijuana, so - just as the Waldos would wish it - here's a brief roundup.

In the New York gubernatorial election, political neophyte (and former Sex in the City co-star) Cynthia Nixon seems to have rattled incumbent Andrew Cuomo's comfortable cage, hitting him hard from the left. While Cuomo still enjoys sizable working margins in the polls, he's already responded to pressure from Nixon by enfranchising New Yorkers with felony convictions who've completed the terms of their sentences.

Nixon's been outspoken on the topic of legal marijuana, as well. This week, she spoke the truth as most of us know it, saying, "There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana, but for me, it comes down to this: We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity."

She continued with this, "The simple truth is, for white people, the use of marijuana has effectively been legal for a long time. Isn’t it time we legalize it for everybody else?"

The logic here is hard to assail. 80% of New Yorkers arrested for marijuana-related crimes are black or Latino. Those minority groups are 4.5 times more likely to get arrested for weed than whites, though most studies agree that they use marijuana at the same rates. Drug enforcement is one in a long litany of insidious little ways the purported equality of our society is eroded.

Another way relates to how the rich keep getting richer. And we've got a weed story in that category, too, one that doubles as a lesson in hypocrisy.

I see you, Congressman
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner once said (while in office, of course) that he was "unalterably opposed" to legalizing marijuana. Words, in our current through-the-looking-glass world, have no meaning. Or, perhaps, we shouldn't value anything said by an active politician any more than the carbon dioxide expressed by the breath it takes to say it.

Last week, Boehner announced that he'd joined the board of directors of Acreage Holdings, one of the nation's largest cannabis companies. Directly from the company's website, we learned that Acreage is building vertically integrated cannabis operations (cultivating, processing, and dispensing) to serve the 11 states where it's legal to do so today, and capitalize on a potential $40b market. For what it's worth, I think that market sizing is probably too conservative.

Acreage's website also boasts a distinguished management team. Of nine white dudes. The entire organization, based on the same site, has a total of two people of color among the 24 employees. John Boehner's gonna cash in on a product that his fellow Republicans once used to generate revenue for the Corrections Corporation of America. And that's some fucked up shit, right there.

I really hope they're successful commercially. And I really, really, really fucking hope someone starts a competitor with a diverse team that kicks their ass down the road.

And finally, to tie a dank, green bow on this topic, the 2018 election is shaping up as a referendum on legalization. As we've seen lately, stuff that we think is impossible politically remains impossible, right up until it isn't. The legalization of same sex marriage is a great example. As recently as Barack Obama's first term, even he was lukewarm on the idea. Then, society dragged him, his party, and the Supreme Court with it.

I think that's going to happen with weed, and soon.

Corey Booker and Kristin Gillibrand, senators who both happen to have Presidential aspirations, both came out recently in support of Federal legislation to legalize recreational pot use. That's both aligned with the party (72% of Democrats support legalization) and a decent read of the political winds.

Chuck Schumer just filed a bill make legalization Federal law. It won't happen under the current Congress, but it's a marker. Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Maryland and Wisconsin are running on legalization, as is Nixon in New York. Dozens of congressional candidates are making it an issue - it kills with the 18-29 demo, and it's common sense.

Mark this, friends. I predict that I'll smoke a joint together with my now 16 year-old daughter before she turns 25. And I'll do it legally, where I live today.

In these shitty times, that's something to look forward to.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Who's Waldo

We all know at this point that April 20, or 4/20, is linked inextricably to the pursuit of herbal-aided relaxation. By 'all', I might include my 16 year-old daughter, who came downstairs this morning and asked me if I knew what today was. It's fairly culturally universal here in the U.S. of A. I won't comment on whether we're all getting stoned because we know the world is going to shit. I'll leave that analysis to Sentence of Dave, the proprietor of which is apparently in a bit of a blue phase.

The origin of the 420 link to weed is a bit less well understood. Some claim it's related to a police code for marijuana infractions, for example. It's not.

Let's let the fathers of 420 tell the story:



As for me, I plan to celebrate.

Legally, of course. By purchasing a couple of sixers of Lagunitas' Waldos Special Ale and get my couch on. You, obviously, should celebrate in your own way.

Return of zman Bouillabaise

Here are a few things I've seen or heard or thought about that I didn't have time to turn into a post or weren't really big enough to turn into a post.

1. Ghost & Meth & Comey?

Ghostface Killah and Method Man somehow or other met James Comey. I'll make like Zuckerberg and let you create the content in the comments. Just no homey/Comey jokes please.



2. I figured out what to get Mark for Christmas

zmother gets her Christmas shopping done around August, certainly no later than September. She hates Christmas shopping so she gets it done early. Holidays are always fun in zhome! I'm less of a Scrooge and don't get started until December, unless I see something that screams out to be gifted to someone in particular. Like these socks for Mark.


Or these for Whit. Or maybe these for TR. Or these for Squeaky. Or these for Teedge. Even rob.

Feel free to get me these. There are lots of other bizarre/amazing Stance socks too.

3. Check out Caroline Rose's new album LONER

Sometimes it sounds like Foster the People.





Other times it sounds like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.



Still others it sounds kinda like the Killers.



4. Watch "The Americans"

We're very late to the party on this one, but if you haven't watched The Americans you should. It's all available on Amazon Prime and it's all good.

One of the interesting aspects of The Sopranos was the idea that a murderous gangster comes home from work and has to deal with all the same mundane and difficult stuff as everyone else--his son gets bad grades and acts a fool, his wife spends too much money, his mother breaks his balls, his sister is out of control, and so on. The Sopranos made this dynamic clear right from the start of episode 1 and carried it through to the end.

The Americans spins this theme. Every marriage has difficulties, or at least things happen in any marriage that make things difficult. For Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, they not only have to deal with their kids' undesirable behaviors, they sometimes have to figure out how to dispose of dead bodies or weaponized bacteria because they're Russian spies. The tension between them as partners-in-crime serving their Motherland and as husband and wife is set out from the start and makes the show engaging throughout.

For example, we don't do dentistry like this in zhome.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

This One's for Rootsy


This post is dedicated to our resident trail walker, who appears to prescribe to the "band is only as strong as its weakest link" argument. Would we have to reconsider the Beatles under that scenario? (sorry Ringo)

In the picture above, and in the videos below, you can get a look at "JD and the Straight Shot," the "band" put together by the bloated trust fund billionaire and walking punchline, James Dolan. You may remember him as the worst owner in the NBA this side of Donald Sterling.

Watching the videos, you can see the souls of the session players slowly dying. Fat Jim must pay the shit out of them to suck it up and pretend to not be miserable. The first video is my favorite, for obvious reasons. Go to the 25 second mark for the fun to start. The other videos highlight the absurdly high production value of the videos, which overshadow the banal mediocrity of the music. And if you've been paying attention over the years, the band has pivoted from blues to Americana. Good luck with that dude.









A recurrent text string on YouTube for this "band's" videos: "Comments are disabled for this video"

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

GheorgheStarter

If you've paid close attention here over the past ten years or so, or if you've ever listened to me and Whitney yammer on over a few drinks, you're aware that one of our mutual life goals is to stumble upon a stupid amount of money and buy a compound for our homies and their loved ones. We'd while away our time in pursuit of pointless yet life-affirming joys.

Gheorghe: The Compound
At various times, we've decided we'd locate the compound on Cape Cod, or in Williamsburg, or on the Outer Banks. We're not generally picky, though it does seem that we've got a bit of an East Coast bias.

We were wrong, as it turns out. Our search is over. For the location of the compound, anyway. The money part is still a bit elusive. And that's where you come in.

On May 12, Cal Ripken's Reisterstown, MD estate goes up for auction, to be sold to the highest bidder. The kicker, in the sense that it matters to us, is that there's no reserve. Says so in big bold letters on the auction house's website.

The 25-acre property features a 21,900 square foot home with six bedrooms, 10 full baths, and five half-baths, a media room, an eight-car garage, and a pool with poolhouse. Way more importantly to this audience, it also features Cal's legendary 7,000 square foot gym, with a full basketball court, batting cages, enough fitness equipment to keep us all in fine fettle, and a 300-gallon steel tub from Baltimore's old Memorial Stadium for post-workout soaks. There's also a regulation baseball field, hydroponic heating (don't know what that is), and scenic pond.



Cal originally listed the place for $12.5 million, then dropped it to $9.7m before pulling it off the market. My sources tell me the winning bid will come in somewhere around $6 million large.

I submit to you that such a figure is in our wheelhouse, my friends, especially if we can figure out how to generate some income from the compound. Start hammering out the business plan. I'll make an appointment with the broker, but we're gonna need to figure out which of us looks the most like he/she might be worth enough money to seem legit when we go on the property tour.

And start pulling together your loose change. Our dream has never been closer to reality.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ranking Topps 1980's Baseball Cards: #2 - 1989


85  months after we revealed our #3 ranking, we cave to the cacophony from the ones of you out there seeking finality and attempt to finish this project. Or at least plod one step closer to completion.  

So please accept my apologies. With a moment of free time no job, I would like to get this baby back on the tracks. Or better said at this point, get this rusty project over the finish line.

To recap, here are the rankings to date:

#10 - 1986
#9 - 1988
#8 - 1982
#7 - 1980
#6 - 1985
#5 - 1987
#4 - 1981

#3 - 1984


The 1989 season evokes mixed memories. It was the apex of the juiced-up Athletics teams of the late 1980's, with LaRussa's squad coming back from a defeat in the 1988 World Series to sweep their neighbor in the Bay Area the night of Game 1. However, the World Series was a bit of an afterthought to the destructive earthquake that shook the whole area. Surprisingly, Canseco and McGwire combined for only 50 HRs that year. But strong contributions from Dave Parker and Dave Henderson helped (37 combined HRs), and a very deep starting rotation (Stewart, Moore, Welch and Davis each had 17 or more wins) mattered. As did Dennis Eckersley's mustache, which proved too much for hitters to handle.

While only two other teams won 90 games (Cubs, Giants), Bo Jackson had his MLB peak this year, winning All-Star Game MVP. Robin Yount won his second MVP, Kevin Mitchell won his only MVP, Rickey stole 77 bases, Bret Saberhagen took the AL Cy Young and somebody called Mark Davis from the Padres (44 saves) won the NL Cy Young. Name does not ring a bell at all. He had 96 total saves in a 15-yr career. That name was as much as a surprise as Moose Stubing (pictured at the top of this post), who I'm guessing was Merrill's cousin.


As for the cards themselves, they were strong aesthetically, given the Body Glove era of the late 80's set a low bar for style. Script and wavy banners and gold cups all make for a good card. They stood out from prior years as Topps began fighting more intense competition from Donruss, Fleer and upstarts like Upper Deck.


So who will be #1? There is no way for you all to figure it out. You'll have to wait for the next post, which should come before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Or after. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Shitty Sunday Filler

The weather here in the National Capital region is, in a word, dismal. Rain, wind, high 40s/low 50s. And I'm getting on a plane at 6:15 tomorrow morning to fly to Minneapolis for three days, where the forecast highs don't get out of the 30s, and another snowstorm is predicted for Wednesday.

I spent the early afternoon on the sidelines, coaching soccer in a driving rainstorm, and so I'm thoroughly chilled.

But all is well, because I got to listen to a big chunk of Annie Clark's Coachella set on the way home after the match. And she fucking brought it.

So enjoy Masseduction here, and see if you can find the full set. She's amazing, and I now have a bucket list goal to see her live. Let me know if you wanna go with.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Go Home UCL, You're Drunk

This morning, UEFA will draw the matchups for the semifinals of this year's UEFA Champions League. Usual suspects Real Madrid (two-time defending champions) and Bayern Munich are joined by a lively Liverpool side and a most unlikely participant in Roma.

We know, man
Liverpool buried favored Manchester City under a sea of red (and a questionably overturned goal), winning 5-1 on aggregate across two legs in what was perhaps less of an upset than has been portrayed. Jurgen Klopp's men have now beaten the Citizens three straight times.

Roma, though, came out of of nowhere. Drubbed and left for dead by Barcelona in the first leg of the tie, the Italian side came home trailing by a 4-1 count. That lone away goal turned out to be decisive, though nobody asked before the game would've given I Giallorossi a tosser's chance.

The American-owned Romans gave their fans early hope on a sixth-minute goal by Edin Dzeko, but went into the half up only 1-0, and down 4-2 on aggregate. Captain Daniele De Rossi buried a penalty in the 58th minute to bring the crowd to the edge of its collective seats.

And then, in the 82nd minute, this happened:


It's gonna be hard for the final legs to top this week. Not only did Roma deliver a comeback for the ages, Juventus came from three goals down to tie Real Madrid on the road before that bastard Cristiano Ronaldo scored a penalty kick in stoppage time to rescue the holders. 

We're hoping Liverpool draw Roma so we're guaranteed one of those two clubs in the final. But we'll take anything at this point. Sports!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Andre, Pro Wrestling and Me - Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing/Lower Middle Class Wrestling Fan


As some of you may know, I grew up w/ a very small pot to piss in. I had two parents with Masters' degrees, but their chosen fields and a nasty divorce left very little money around, and led to yours truly being forced into an Army ROTC scholarship to pay for college. That went...less than optimally.


But I did have cable TV, at least when mom paid the bill. And I had pro wrestling. From third grade to tenth grade, I was a FREAKISHLY huge fan of pro wrestling. I watched everything available on the telly. WWF would air a few times a week. WCCW would air late Saturday night, from 10-11, which my dad would let me stay up and watch. AWA would air Saturday morning. NWA would air early Saturday evening. And don't get me started on stumbling into WWF's Saturday Night Main Event specials that occasionally aired in place of SNL. Holy shit, that blew my mind. I remember that as the time that they rolled out King Kong Bundy as a world class heel.


I mean to say that I was INTO it. I ordered back issues of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. I bought a VCR copy of Lords of the Ring: Superstars and Superbouts (which somehow made it down to William & Mary). I bought fake blood and used it on my three WWF figures (Sheik, Volkoff and Hogan, which I kept and handed down to my kids). And I also played some weird dice game with wrestling, where you had a sheet for each wrestler and would roll to do "moves" to take down your opponent. We all loved having the Great Kabuki, b/c if you rolled 12, he would spit his colorful spray and you would win. So yeah, I was into it. Once I started liking girl's boobies more than Dusty Rhodes' boobies, or at least started getting opportunities to touch girl's boobies, my passion faded. But it was a big run for this guy.


I also made it to my share of pro wrestling events. My dad could not afford premier pro sports events frequently. We would cut coupons off of quarts of Tuscan milk boxes to get cheap Nets or Devils seats. But pro wrestling was more affordable. My first Yankees game in the Bronx wasn't until June 1990 and my first Knicks game at MSG wasn't until early 1991, but wrestling options were around, and generally more affordable.

The first wrestling event I ever saw was at Freehold High School. I think I was in the third grade. The headliner was Pat Patterson, who I didn't know at the time. I think there were 1-2 more "stars" there too. I remember liking it a lot. My second show was at Convention Hall in Asbury Park. There was a decent showing of stars there. The Iron Sheik was there, and my Iranian dad (who I realized in retrospect was a sneaky fan of celeb sightings) worked it hard to get me and him (but mostly him) backstage to meet the Sheik, who was from Tehran, like my dad. Security would not let us go backstage, but did legitimately go to look for the Sheik. While the Sheik did not come out, Salvatore Bellomo did. That was my childhood in a nutshell. It's like the Christmas when I wanted Mike Tyson's Punchout, and my mom got me Ring King.

But I digress. The main event of the evening that night was Greg Valentine vs. Andre the Giant. My dad let me run to the area where the wrestlers come out so I could get close. Valentine came out first. He was smug as hell, a classic heel in a fancy gown. And then Andre came out. The crowd went wild.  This was back when he still had the wild afro and wore the trunks w/o the shoulder strap. I got up to the barrier and he walked right in front of me, from right to left. The flashes illuminated his body as he stoically ambled to the ring. I touched his back as he passed me, patting him once. I still remember it. He was a real live superhero to me.

The third wrestling show of my life was when the AWA and NWA did some joint tour. I remember little b/c my dad bought the very worst seats in the Brendan Byrne arena. I remember that Ric Martel and Magnum TA both won separate matches. I brought my Kodak Disc to take pics. That went about as well as my tenure as an ROTC cadet.


So you can see why I am so pumped for this Andre doc. He was a legend I got to see up close and personal one time. As a famous football player once said: CAN'T WAIT.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Jose I Lost My Ball!

Yessir! Should you have the time, patience, and inclination, one may be able to find the image below on the tellie, perhaps YouTube. Haven't looked yet b/c...I have none of the above.

The man that looks as if he's attempting to place an extremity in his mouth, is one Buckles, and though he probably wishes he could perform such an act, he is actually looking under his chair. Why? To see the ball that Justin Thomas just placed there with a slightly errant shot. The person to his left with white cap would be yours.

Seven Green, Friday afternoon, Augusta, GA. No fun was had btw.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Self-Shame Saturday

I am a man of many ideas. They flow continuously from my braintap, roaming free-range across the fields of my mind.

I am also, it must be said, a man of very little demonstrated ability to follow through on my ideas.

And so, because I really would like to execute on this one idea, I'm putting it in front of you in hopes that the community of Gheorghies will hold me to it. I set myself up for ridicule in order to pay off my notion.

The image above is a stylized rendering of a voiceprint of my daughters' saying "It is what it is." I used Soundviz.com to turn an audio file into imagery.

As some of you know, I wear a bracelet engraved with that phrase in memory of my father. That was his stock answer when someone asked him how he was doing during his battle with cancer.

And I'm ready to turn that image into a tattoo, preferably on my inner right forearm.

That's the idea I want to execute. I've created the image. I've identified a studio in my town that does pretty decent work. Now I just have to actually do it.

Help a brother out, Gheorghies.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Gheorghe's 6-Pack: Portugal. The Man

Well, the Gheorghe silence has been deafening.  Spring Break and other goings-on. It's really not time right now to drink a six-pack, unless you're retired or a raging alcoholic. Or in college.


Actually, college spring break was a month ago... and I never quite understood why it was so early.  15 of our fratres trucked it down to Daytona in 1992 and walked around in long-sleeved shirts.  And doing things most of our fortysomething selves still either chuckle or blanche at when mentioned.  Anyway, for those of you who go a bit beyond the domestic debauchery of Daytona, here's a more exotic destination. Portugal.

In the interest of spreading the love of good music, we will throw out six suggested songs by certain bands you may or may not know much about. Not much of a time commitment, just a little something to get the flavor and get you going.

Gheorghe's 6-Pack: Portugal. The Man

Vitals
Where: from Wasilla, Alaska, currently residing in Portland, Oregon
When: 2004 - Present
Who: John Gourley, Zachary Carothers, Kyle O'Quin, Eric Howk, Jason Sechrist, Zoe Manville

You probably heard them last year more than once, as their song "Feel It Still" permeated the airwaves (and the streamwaves) as a summer/fall hit. Perhaps you heard them before that on ORF Rock, as we broke that song in March. That's right.

Perhaps you heard Portugal. The Man before that, because they've been making music for over a decade.  They've had a handful of songs I have dug over that time, so enjoy.


"My Mind," Church Mouth, 2007


"People Say," The Satanic Satanist, 2009


"Got It All (This Can't Be Living Now)," In the Mountain In the Cloud, 2011


"Purple Yellow Red and Bluw," Evil Friends, 2013


"Modern Jesus," Evil Friends, 2013

"Feel It Still," Woodstock, 2017



Monday, April 02, 2018

National Championship Open Thread

I head off this morning to Minneapolis, where the forecast for the next few days is snow and cold. It's fucking April. I'll be watching tonight's National Championship game from a hotel bar. A good hotel bar, with Surly on offer, but a hotel bar nonetheless. I trust that the good people of Gheorghe will have better accommodations.


I'm very torn with respect to rooting interest this evening. Villanova is so well-coached, and so entertaining, and Jay Wright seems like a really good dude. Our friends from Hofstra consider the guy a prince, even though he left there 15 years ago. On the other hand, now that Bo Ryan has retired (and been found out to be kinnnnd of a scumbag), John Beilein is my favorite college hoops coach, non-Tony Shaver division. (Yesterday, Beilein was asked who would play him and Jay Wright in a movie about the game, to which he responded, "At the end of the game, he’ll still look like George Clooney and I will look like Columbo".) Moe Wagner is a nice mix of skill and borderline insanity.

All I need, I guess, is entertaining hoops. And some tasty waves and a cool buzz.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Gheorghasbord: April Madness Edition

Be forewarned, my good Gheorghies. My April is a shitshow of work- and kid-related travel that'll find me scattered across our great nation, from Myrtle Beach (16 hours of driving for eight minutes of cheerleading routines by my daughter) to Minneapolis to Springfield, MA (where I'll be presenting an award to the Springfield Police Department) to Scottsdale, AZ (where I'll be making a presentation to a group of state Attorneys General - Marls and zman, I'll need some lawyer jokes).

As such, I cannot commit to doing my part to maintain our blistering (or, as I prefer to think about it, inevitable age-related settling) pace of one post every two days until we get somewhere near Mother's Day. Just setting expectations.

Even today, after a trip across our fair Commonwealth visiting colleges, all I can muster for you is a few random observations and ephemeral thoughts.

I hope you saw the Walter Mitty story that played out in Chicago two nights ago. The lede from this AP story gives you the Cliff's Notes version: "Scott Foster thought it was going to be just another night. Then the 36-year-old accountant from Oak Park signed a contract, put on his goaltender gear and waited in Chicago's locker room. Then he got into the game."

The Blackhawks lost both of their goalies to injury during their game against the Winnipeg Jets. It's customary for NHL teams to have an emergency third goalie available, but it's exceedingly rare for that break-glass-when-needed dude to see the ice. So rare, in fact, that it had only happened once before, and then only for seconds.

Foster played 14 minutes, and made seven saves while shutting out the Jets. Life is cool, on occasion



Stereotypes exist for a reason. They can be useful shorthand, when they don't lead us to take the easy way out in assessing people. In the case of the two schools we visited with my daughter this week, the typecasting was on point. Our tour guide at William & Mary was a poly-lingual International Relations major who'd spent her Spring Break doing sociology research in the Dominican Republic and participated in Ultimate Frisbee and the Cheese Club. At VCU, the student guide had purple hair and a wicked caffeine habit.

My daughter liked VCU better.

I mentioned in the comments of a thread a few days ago that I'd enjoyed a beer called whitemiata from Richmond's The Veil Brewing Company. What I didn't really get into was the fact that our state capital has developed a killer beer scene. Sure, Stone Brewing gets a ton of pub for locating its East Coast plant on the James River, but breweries like Ardent, Hardywood, Lickinghole Creek, The Veil, Center of the Universe, Three Notch'd, Legend, and a bunch of others are putting out killer product. Vinepair named RVA the #1 Beer Destination in the World for 2018.

My daughter might be on to something.

I had an opportunity to reference the movie PCU earlier this week on Twitter. I relish such opportunities. Someday, when I have the time and inclination (so, likely after I've retired), I'll write a lengthy Gheorghepost on the genius of that film. It's stupid, and generally predictable, but buried in and amongst the filmmakers' obvious hope to be the Animal House for the 90s lies some wisdom. For example, we learned in PCU not to wear the t-shirt of the band we're going to see. That protest for protest's sake is both pointless and poseurish. And, most importantly, that parties serve a valuable social purpose.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The 12th Day of Gheorghemas

On the twelfth day of Gheorghemas
Big Gheorghe gave to me

A belated Gheorghemas Miracle. 

It was recently announced that Lefty Driesell was finally going to get his rightful place in the Basketball Hall of Fame.   Some might argue that Lefty got in because of lobbying by Jerry Colangelo, John Thompson & Coach K. I, on the other hand, like to think it was a belated Gheorghemas miracle prompted by Fo:GTB Dave Fairbank’s Gheorghemas Post from back in 2016 presented below without further comment other than the Tiny Dictator’s intro. 

The season of guest surprises continues today, as FOGTB Dave Fairbank wandered off the beach, swigged a Red Stripe at Tortuga's, and continued one of the quests he embarked upon years ago in his days as a mild-mannered ink-stained wretch. Our JMU readership will dig it.

He was born on Dec. 25 in humble surroundings to parents of modest means. His life’s work was a calling that took him to homes and venues far and wide. His message and success brought him great recognition and many followers. His methods weren’t embraced by everyone, and he had plenty of detractors. He was a larger than life figure known by one name.

I speak, of course, of Charles Grice Driesell – coach, character, showman, raconteur, pioneer. Lefty, who turns 85 on Christmas Day, is again a finalist for the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. This often evokes the response: You mean he’s not already in?

Nope. Lefty has been passed over by the Springfield selectors for years, despite one of the mountainous careers in college basketball history. In my prior life as a keyboard jockey at a daily newspaper, it became kind of a small ‘c’ cause of mine to stump for Lefty. I fear that as the years pass, his accomplishments and stature will fade into old photos and dry numbers on a ledger, which is the polar opposite of the man.

Lefty was a presence, a big man whose steely determination was offset by a southern drawl and manners that charmed young and old. A Norfolk, Va., native, he was blunt and funny and combative and maddening. He was generous and big-hearted, but not above calling reporters who he didn’t think were fair to him. In an era of buttoned-down coaches with carefully crafted images, he is a throwback we are unlikely to see again.

I have my suspicions about why Lefty has been rejected by the voters, but his resume’ and contributions to the game speak for themselves – or should, anyway. Start with the numbers: In 41 years, Lefty’s teams went 786-394. He is the only coach in history to win at least 100 games at four different schools. He took all four of those schools to the NCAA tournament, one of only two coaches to do so (the other is Eddie Sutton).

When he retired in 2003, he stood fourth in career victories, behind only Bob Knight, Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp. He is still ninth on the all-time list, as coaches such as Krzyzewski, Boeheim and Roy Williams passed him in recent years.

More remarkable, Lefty never walked into a situation with a stacked deck. He carved out wins and made basketball matter at schools where that wasn’t the case: Davidson, Maryland, James Madison, Georgia State. Davidson hadn’t had a winning season in the 11 years before Lefty arrived in 1960. Maryland won just eight games each of the two years before he came to College Park in 1969. At JMU, then school prez Dr. Ron Carrier saw a chance to elevate the program’s, and the school’s, profile with a big-name coach a couple of years removed from his tenure at Maryland. He more than delivered, elevating not only JMU, but the entire CAA. His four predecessors at Georgia State had a combined .295 winning percentage. Lefty more than doubled that, going 103-59 at a downtown Atlanta commuter school that was barely on the local sporting radar.

Lefty invented Midnight Madness, which ought to be worth at least a plaque in Springfield by itself. College basketball practice traditionally started Oct. 15. Lefty usually had his teams run a timed mile on the track to begin the first practice. But because many of the players were gassed, they often weren’t sharp afterward. To begin his third season at Maryland, he decided to have the players run their mile just after midnight on Oct. 15. Hundreds of students lined up around the track to watch. Lefty saw an opportunity, and he and other coaches eventually turned midnight practices on opening day into parties and spectacles.

Full disclosure: I’m a Maryland native and College Park grad (Class of 1980) who spent many hours in the Terps’ great old barn of a gym, Cole Field House, watching Lefty’s teams. The joint buzzed and Maryland games were a hot ticket. Later, I covered a bunch of his games when he was at JMU, and the Convocation Center rocked.

Terry Holland, Lefty’s first recruit at Davidson and later a coaching rival at Virginia, was emphatic that his former college coach and mentor belonged in Springfield.

“There are many coaches with lesser credentials who are in the Hall,” Holland wrote to me in an email, “but I am not sure there are ANY with his credentials who are not in the Hall.”

For all of his success, some people thought that Lefty should have won more. His rep was as a terrific recruiter and assembler of talent, but an inferior tactician. Duke students held up photos of Lefty with a gas gauge superimposed on his bald noggin and the needle pointing to E. He won only one ACC tournament title and one CAA tournament championship. His JMU teams were often the kings of January, but flamed out in March.

The hole in Lefty’s resume’ for Springfield appears to be a national championship, though there are other coaches enshrined who didn’t win titles. Lefty didn’t make good on his vow to make Maryland “the UCLA of the East.” He never even got to a Final Four, though as Holland pointed out, the system denied some of Lefty’s best teams at Davidson and Maryland the chance to compete for a championship. Before the NCAA field expanded, only conference tournament winners were invited. Lefty’s famously talented 1974 Maryland team (Tom McMillen, John Lucas, Len Elmore) stayed home after losing to David Thompson and eventual NCAA champ N.C. State 103-100 in the ACC title game in what many folks in these parts still consider the greatest college game ever played.

I suspect that Lefty isn’t in Springfield due to perception and poor exits. He was forced to resign at Maryland in the aftermath of All-American Len Bias’ death from a cocaine overdose in 1986. At JMU, he announced following the 1996 season that he intended to coach just one more year. He was fired less than 24 hours later. He stepped down at Georgia State, and for good, in Dec. 2003, when he couldn’t shake a cold that sapped his energy and stamina. One of the giant careers in college coaching history ended with a quiet, mid-season departure. No farewell tours, no victory laps, no testimonials.

Maryland announced that it planned to honor him with a banner in the rafters of its arena during a ceremony in February. Georgia State named its court after him. Worthy gestures. But the game’s greatest honor inexplicably eludes him. The man ought to be in Springfield. Here’s hoping that the award isn’t posthumous.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Win or Else

Son Heung-Min is having a fabulous season. In the shadow of England's own Harry Kane, Son has scored 18 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions for Tottenham Hotspur. His pace and skill are world-class, and his jubilant goal-scoring celebrations and on-field exuberance make him one of the globe's most entertaining, and in a word, Gheorgie footballers.



While he plies his trade in England, Son is a South Korean citizen. And by law in that nation that's still technically at war with its northern neighbor, all males must begin a mandatory 21-month military stint before their 28th birthday. Son turns 26 in July. And so, like Ted Williams and dozens of others like him, the effervescent striker faces the prospect of losing two full seasons of top-level soccer at the prime of his career. (His military service will almost certainly be satisfied by playing for the South Korean Army's team, Sangju Sangmu, so he won't exactly be flying fighter jets like the Splendid Splinter, but he won't be playing in the Champions League, either.)

There's a way for Son to get out of his mandatory service, though. The 2018 Asian Games take place in Jakarta in late August, right at the beginning of the 2018-19 Premier League season. By custom, South Korean gold-medalists in the Asian games are exempted from military service. In 2014, Son's then-club, Bayer Leverkeusen, refused to allow him to participate on the national team during the Asian Games, so he watched from afar while his countrymen won the Games' soccer tournament and were released from their service obligation.

Son will certainly be tabbed by the national team for the 2018 games, which will leave Tottenham with a choice. And assuming they let their striker go, it'll leave Son with a hell of a burden. Win it all, and continue his career at the top level of the sport. Lose, and don a Sangju Sangmu jersey for two season.

No pressure, that.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Why We March

I don't want to take your guns. I just want common sense to prevail.

I don't honestly believe that any meaningful progress on sensible gun regulation will be made anytime soon.

I'm not really sure my presence will make much of a difference.

And my 16 year-old daughter is kinda nervous about what could happen.

But we're still going to the March for Our Lives today in D.C.

Because hope is better than fear.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Russell Crowe is really Dave Dogfoot?

I have determined that we have an impostor in our midst. The man we know to be Dave Dogfoot is really a famous actor with a different name of animal origin--he's Russell Crowe. This shouldn't come as a suprise given that he name-checked Crowe in song at least once before.

Here's a picture of Helen Hunt and Russell Crowe circa 1992, before Crowe hit it big. They were doing a summer stock revival of Grease in the metro Camden area. This photo was taken back stage. If you look closely through the eyeliner, you can see a striking resemblance to Dave.


Here's a much more recent photo of Dave juggling a ball at one of his myriad youth soccer events.


If you look closely through Dave's flab, you can see that he's the spitting image of Russell Crowe. This explains why he's playing soccer with a football--Australians take the whole "soccer is really football" conceit way too seriously. And who takes things a serious step too far more than Dave?

Not convinced? Fine. I have more facts, alternate facts if you will. Russell Crowe and his wife Danielle Spencer are divorcing. To make the division of assets easier, Crowe is auctioning off a bunch of stuff he "collected" over the years and will split the proceeds with his former wife. The auction is called "Russell Crowe: The Art of Divorce" and it's preposterous in so many ways that Dave has to be involved. In fact the whole thing is so insane that only Dave could gin up this fever dream of collectibles. Here's the cover photo for the catalog:


Sweet toupee Dave! Things get increasingly Dave as you dig through the catalog. For example, he's auctioning off a mosasaur skull that he received as a gift from Leonardo DiCaprio. Dave/Crowe notes that "The fossil relative of the monitor lizard family, which includes the Komodo Drago, the Mosasaur was a giant, serpentine marine reptile, which was prevalent during the Late Cretaceous Period, approximately 65 million years ago. Mosasaurs were formidable hunters, with a double-hinged jaw and a flexible skull enabling them to eat their prey whole. The Niobrara Formation is a geologic formation located in North America that was deposited between 87 and 82 million years ago." Dave totally wrote that--it's taxonomically perfect (mosasaurs were marine reptiles, not dinosaurs) and right on the line between interestingly informative and smarmily pedantic.


And who other than Dave would keep a dead lizard head in his home?

Another Dave-only gem is this antique leather athletic supporter. Who else would wear a used leather jock strap (read the comments)? In fact, on the night of the Tonka truck incident zwoman saw Dave staggering around the house, looking for the bathroom, wearing nothing but this very same cup. zwoman said "Dave wears a codpiece? I guess he really does teach Shakespeare."


Also up for auction: nineteen (19!) guitars. I have no idea why anyone needs nine guitars, let alone nineteen guitars, but a collection of nineteen guitars sounds like something Dave would amass. Some are acoustic while others are electric. I won't link to them all, and they all look more or less the same to (except for the colors). The most expensive is a limited edition Gibson Elvis Presley "The King" J-200 black acoustic guitar. According to Dave/Crowe "In 2000 I took a road trip from Texas to New York, via West Virginia, for the filming of A Beautiful Mind (2001). I took a detour via Memphis to visit Graceland and I bought this guitar from the shop there. It is no. 90 of 250 produced for 1997." Seems like it would've been easier to fly from Texas to New York but despite all his professed love of and advocacy for all things green and eco-friendly, Dave loves to burn inordinate amounts of fossil fuels by driving SUVs back-and-forth across the country so this is a very Dave story.


Dave's interest in oddball Euro sports like soccer and darts is well documented. As is his interest in cricket. Dave/Crowe's auction contains a batshit crazy volume of cricket memorabilia, including five signed and framed cricket batting gloves, ten game-worn sweater-vests, seven cricket bats, seven signed and framed cricket shirts, two bronze sculptures of Donald Bradman playing cricket (one of which is life-sized), and three framed cricket caps (one of which was apparently worn by W.A.S. "Bert" Oldfield and will allegedly sell for $50,000 to $60,000). Here's the pricey cap:


According to Dave/Crowe's catalog entry, this cap is:

green wool, embroidered with the Australian coat-of-arms worked in gold and silver wire and coloured silk, the series date below '1932-33', with a 'Farmers Sydney' label inscribed in ink 'W.A.Oldfield', framed with a black and white photograph of Oldfield, together with a copy of The Larwood Story: A Cricketer's Biography, (the dust jacket framed separately), opened at the page describing the infamous encounter between Oldfield and the English fast bowler, Harold Larwood, on 17 January 1933, when Oldfield was struck in the head off Larwood's delivery, suffering a fractured skull. An area of separation to one of the seams in the cap where Oldfield was struck, is a further reminder of the incident.

Sounds like a really pleasant piece of cricketing history to display in one's home--the hat hat Oldfield was wearing when he broke his skull, ripped seams and all!

I won't even get into the 1873 Sunbury Cup Australian silver trophy for greyhound coursing, attributed to Edward Fischer (1828-1911) for $10,000-$15,000.

Perhaps the most damning piece of evidence proving that Dogfoot is Crowe is Lot No. 5, a two-piece double-breasted purple suit worn by Russell Crowe in the movie Virtuosity.


Who would wear such an atrocity? This guy:


If you think this "slob with a football" ensemble is a one-off look you're mistaken. Historically, Dave looks like hell even when he's dressed up.


Pleated khakis, unzipped fly, rumpled shirt, oversized paisley print tie tied to a Trumpian length? Hell, this purple suit was probably the crown jewel of Dave/Crowe's wardrobe back in the 90's!

I think I can safely rest my case. Now that we know Dave is a wealthy movie star we should encourage him to pay for lunch at Tortuga's one day. All the more reason to attend OBFT XXV.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

On the topic of the Mike's Murder Soundtrack...

I did not know there was a movie called Mike's Murder, or that Joe Jackson did the soundtrack. But I did know all about the Joe Jackson moment in pop music about 35 years ago.

A few months ago, I coincidentally found myself googling Joe Jackson's Steppin' Out video. It almost made my head explode. His pasty face that was better-suited for radio, the bizarre video, the song that still holds up, etc. There's a lot to unpack.

But my favorite discovery from listening to that song again might be that when Joe comes in for certain vocals, his inflection sounds a lot like Will Ferrell's when he's doing his Harry Caray impersonation. Am I crazy, or is there something to that?




Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Won't You Be My Neighbor

"Love is at the root of everything...or the lack of it." -- Fred Rogers

In these roiled, sordid times, we're waiting for a hero. For now, we'll have to make do with the memory of one.

Today, on the 90th anniversary of the birth of Fred Rogers, Focus Features released a trailer for 'Won't You Be My Neighbor', a documentary about Rogers and his landmark television show.



The film is scheduled for release on June 8, so you can take me to see it as a birthday gift. I'll be your neighbor.

Friday, March 16, 2018

NCAA Saturday & UVA Lost to UMBC Open Thread

No analysis. No commentary. Just Al McGuire dancing after the 1996 west regional final.  Why?   Because, Al McGuire.


Whitney's 6-Pack: The Jayhawks

Okay, people, it's Friday morning of the NCAA tournament.  It's that time.  Again.


Tournament time is an excellent time to hit Vegas, or have a vasectomy, or just be alive.  It's beer drinking, wing-eating time.  So belly up somewhere on the clock and have a pint of this (no discernible scent; lower ABV), or hit the Total Wine and grab a case of this (Norfolk, VA).

In the interest of spreading the love of good music, we will throw out six suggested songs by certain bands you may or may not know much about. Not much of a time commitment, just a little something to get the flavor and get you going.

In the spirit of the NCAA hoopsters, the next band up is an alt.country classic whose name fits right into Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

Whitney's 6-Pack: The Jayhawks

Vitals
Where: Twin Cities of Minnesota
When: 1989 - Present, with some haituses (hiati?) in there
Who: Gary Louris, Marc Olson (he's left and returned more than once), Marc Perlman, Tim O'Reagan

Never any big hits, but great harmonies and jangly guitar. A nice backdrop to a Friday morning. Enjoy.

"Waiting for the Sun," Hollywood Town Hall, 1992

"Blue," Tomorrow the Green Grass, 1995


"I'd Run Away," Tomorrow the Green Grass, 1995

"Smile," Smile, 2000


"I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," Smile, 2000


"Tiny Arrows," Mockingbird Time, 2011



Thursday, March 15, 2018

NCAA Thursday Open Thread

Until this collective group sacks up and schedules a maxi-summit in Vegas for the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, I guess we will just have to congregate in this little corner of cyberspace to track the rise and fall of the hopes of college basketball players, fans, and bettors across the country.

Just to get you in the mood and for the specific enjoyment of mid-major fans and Mark, here is the 2006 “One Shining Moment”.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Judge Nathan Is Still Dope, Likes to Party and Bullshit

Judge Alison Nathan is staking a claim to the title of most hiphop jurist. Much like MC Shan she is down by law. The last time G:TB checked in with Judge Nathan was when she let the Beastie Boys off the hook on a copyright infringement claim. Once again (back is the incredible!) Judge Nathan decided a case involving a hiphop legend arising under 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq.

Abiodun Oyewole wrote a song called "When the Revolution Comes" in 1968 and released it as a member of the group The Last Poets.



Around 2:10 the song goes "But until then you know and I know n****s will party and bullshit and party and bullshit and party and bullshit and party and bullshit and party ...." Fans of hiphop might recognize this from Biggie Smalls's song "Party and Bullshit."



Even if you don't recognize it, Mr. Oyewole did and he sued Biggie's estate. Mo money mo problems indeed! While he was at it he sued Rita Ora too because her song "How We Do (Party") also starts with the lines "party and bullshit."



Mr. Oyewole is aggrieved by both songs's use of the phrase "party and bullshit" from an IP perspective but also from a political perspective. According to his complaint, Biggie and Rita Ora used the phrase "party and bullshit" "in contravention" of Mr. Oyewole's original purpose, which was to "encourage[e] people to NOT waste time with 'party and bullshit."

Unfortunately for Mr. Oyewole, he hired what appears to be the worst lawyer admitted to the Southern District of New York. Seriously--she spelled her name wrong at least once in her online bio. If your lawyer can't spell her name correctly you can't expect her to lawyer correctly. Predictably, Biggie and Rita Ora (and the other big-time defendants including EMI and a Sony affiliate) won. In some cases, brutally.

For example, Kobalt Music and Downtown Music won under FRCP 12(b)(5), which is insufficient service of process. I've never seen this before. To prevent your case from being dismissed under Rule 12(b)(5), you just have to download the summons form and serve it with your complaint on the defendant. The form includes blanks for the name of the court, the names of the plaintiffs and defedants, the name and address of the plaintiff's attorney, and a place where you get the clerk of the court to sign it when you file the complaint. Somehow or other, Mr. Oyewale's attorney didn't fill out the blanks for some of the summonses. She also used some jackass process server who didn't serve the summonses on people authorized to receive service, like an officer or director of the company or their registered agent. It is stunning. Yet another reason why you shouldn't use a lawyer with a gmail address.

Judge Nathan dismissed the claims against the other defendants as fair use, turning the complaint against Mr. Oyewole because it alleged that Biggie and Rita Ora used the phrase "party and bullshit" "in contravention" of Mr. Oyewole's original purpose, which was to "encourage[e] people to NOT waste time with 'party and bullshit." Thus he admitted that their use was transformative and therefore constituted fair use. Again, really bad lawyering.

More remarkably, the 21 page opinion uses the word "bullshit" 60 times. That's almost three bullshits per page! It also uses the N word three times, exclusively while quoting lyrics, and with the final letters of the word replaced with asterisks. I think this shows good judgment--failure to do so would've been bullshit. Puns!

Monday, March 12, 2018

NCAA Tournament Open Post

Throwing it back to the days when we celebrated March Madness with Peeps. And not the Peeps Oreo kind.


Since nobody cares about your tournament pool, or mine, here's our one-time-only open thread for talking about our picks.

For what it's worth, Virginia, Michigan, Duke, and Villanova are heading to San Antonio, and UVA is winning it all. Which will make those preppy fuckers even more insufferable.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The SEC is The Best At College Athletics (Guest Post)

A young, inspired writer who appears to have the first name "Name" (based on what he put at the top of his story) is contributing a piece he wrote that shows how well he has absorbed his nerdy father's sports rants over the relatively few years in his life. Sit back and enjoy. P.S. Go get some souvenirs.



Friday, March 09, 2018

Mark Your Calendars

Or, as the case may be, Mark, your calendar. Z, you too. Anyone that's looking for little cultural edification really.

Washington D.C.'s cultural hub, the Kennedy Center (which, honestly, features adventurous and eclectic programming) kicked off its inaugural Hip Hip Culture series last year. Helmed by Artistic Director and Artist at Large Q-Tip, the series is guided by the Center's Hip Hop Council, which features such luminaries as Questlove, Common, Fab Five Freddy, Grant Hill, MC Lyte, and Black Thought.


Of interest from a cross-cultural perspective, the Council also includes sneakerhead, DJ, director and cultural maven Bobbito Garcia. On June 22, the series hosts the U.S. premiere of Garcia's film Rock Rubber 45s, "a cinematic odyssey exploring the connectivity and community surrounding the global basketball, sneaker, and music lifestyle". And if you're coming for the screening, you might as well stay for the after party, which features guest DJs Rich Medina, Stretch Armstrong, DJ Spinna, and Garcia himself.

There are a bunch of events this spring and summer that look to be worth attending. In late March, August Greene (including Common, pianist Robert Glasper, and percussionist/producer Karriem Riggins) takes the stage. A week later, the KenCen celebrates Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me with a multi-media performance based on the book.

If any of our readers are up for hitting the Kennedy Center, holler at me. I'm always down for some culture.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Fashion is...I mean, I don't know what the f*ck this is

Enough of the economics talk...

What the hell is happening here?

Plastic condom hats are SOOOO in

Please do not pee in this pool, R Kelly

A still from the new season of "American Horror Story: Boobies!"

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Economics and the Second Amendment

DJ Trump recently announced that he will impose tariffs of 25% and 10% on imported steel and aluminum, respectively. The Dow dropped 350 points in response. Naturally, I plan to sue the President.

This isn't my idea--he had it first. Back in December 2017, Trump twat the following in response to a 350 point drop in the Dow:



I'm not sure what the exact cause of action against the President would be. Surely not negligence. If the President can't be guilty of obstructing justice how should I expect to be made whole for acts of mere Executive stupidity?

I think my best claim is infringement of my Second Amendment rights. Let me explain.

I went to arguably the most conservative law school in the country. Before classes started I was encouraged to read "Principles of Economics" by N. Gregory Mankiw, an economics professor at Harvard who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush. I actually enjoyed the book and I dredged it up for this post.

Here's how Mankiw explains tariffs:


The increased price of foreign goods under the tariff allows domestic firms to increase their price, thus resulting in overproduction. The increased price also results in underconsumption. Consumers (i.e., everyone who isn't involved with the manufacture of steel and who isn't the government) loses the benefit of quandrangle C, D, E, and F. This because the government reaps rectangle E and manufacturers take trapezoid C. If your eyes haven't glazed over at this point, you realize that the entire market--everyone involved in this situation--loses the benefit of triangles D and F. Thus triangles D and F are a deadweight loss--absent the tariff, D and F would have been consumer surplus. Instead no one had D and F. Thus the tariff acts as a tax. And these triangles are the direct result of the aforementioned overproduction/underconsumption. This jumped out at me 15 years ago. Seriously, look at my notes in the margin.


This is important because conservatives abhor deadweight loss--when Kudlow, Laffer and Moore are against an economic policy you know it isn't conservative. And if that doesn't convince you, the fact that Democrats and unions support the tariffs should.

I personally dislike the tariffs because as Mankiw explains "When a country allows trade and becomes an importer of a good, domestic consumers of the good are better off, and domestic producers of the good are worse off. Trade raises the economic well-being of a nation in the sense that the gains of the winners exceed the losses of the losses of the losers."

Does that last sentence sound familiar? It probably does. Conservatives always say that the government shouldn't pick winners and losers. Here's what Paul Ryan has to say about this:



Of course, Ryan also applauded Trump's move that helped keep Carrier's plant in Wisconsin. Cronyism indeed!

Anyway, the upshot of this tariff is that it will cost more to manufacture things that are made out of steel (and aluminum). This added cost will, of course, be passed along to the consumer. So expect to see an increase in the price of appliances, silverware, steel-belted radial tires, beer cans, cans of beer, cars and car parts, BBQ grills, BBQ grilling utensils, wire, pots and pans, foil, golf clubs, patio furniture, fencing, fencing swords, plumbing supplies, building supplies, nails, screws, brads, tacks, nuts, bolts, washers, garbage cans, bicycles, ladders, window frames, and mattress springs.

And things like guns and bullet shells. The President's steel tariff is really a tax on guns and bullets, making it more expensive for me to exercise my god-given Second Amendment right to bear arms. "Shall not be infringed" goddammit! I'm suing! And while I'm at it I'm going to claw back the money I lost in my 401(k) just like Trump said I should three months ago.