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 classic whose name fits right into Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

Whitney's 6-Pack: The Jayhawks

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.

Monday, March 05, 2018

House Money

I didn't think the Tribe was going to win last night. Towson had beaten us in five of our previous six meetings, both times this season, and did it by getting in our faces, pushing us around, and bullying us. For as talented as the Tribe obviously is on offense, I didn't see us taking a punch and responding.

I failed to reckon with David Cohn's stones, nor did I expect us to play rock-solid defense, or out-rebound the Tigers. And for all of that, I apologize.

This evening, W&M takes on the CAA's clear best team, regular season tie with Northeastern notwithstanding. Charleston has two first-team all-league players in Grant Riller and Joe Chealey, and a second-teamer in Jarelle Brantley. The Cougars finished 14-4 in league play, led the conference in defensive points/game, defensive shooting percentage, and turnover margin. They're the anti-Tribe.

And a week ago, the Tribe hung 114 on them in Williamsburg.

Earlier in the season, Riller dropped 37 on W&M in Charleston, as the Cougars beat the Tribe, 82-77.

My point, I guess, is that tonight's a crapshoot, and we're playing with house money. And we've got David Cohn. So, out in a blaze of glory it is.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Whitney's 6-Pack: Fountains of Wayne

Okay, people, it's Friday afternoon.  It's that time.  Again.

As you're picking up a six-pack of this or that to round out the week, here's another.  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.

We're kicking this off with a band that references New Jersey.  Since it's Dave's birthday and all.

Whitney's 6-Pack: Fountains of Wayne

Where: New York City
When: 1995-2013
Who: Chris Collingwood, Adam Schlesinger, Jody Porter, Brian Young

Most know them from their biggest hit, the titillating "Stacy's Mom." Not a bad song, and I've included herein, but they've done plenty more worth a listen.  Enjoy.

"Radiation Vibe," Fountains of Wayne, 1996

"Someone to Love," Traffic and Weather, 2007

"Hackensack," Welcome Interstate Managers, 2003

"Someone's Gonna Break Your Heart," Sky Full of Holes, 2011

"Sink to the Bottom," Fountains of Wayne, 1996

"Stacy's Mom," Welcome Interstate Managers, 2003

Thursday, March 01, 2018

This Week in Wrenball: "This is William & Mary's Year" (!) (?) (!)

In the early years of this blog, long-lost internet friend Wheelhouse Jerry dubbed us Futile Superfans for our quixotic obsession with William & Mary basketball. We proudly wore that moniker, a marker of our hope in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence.

Justin Pierce, next year's CAA POY
Sometime around 2008, a tiny fissure opened in the clouds, and the futility was washed away by the smallest glimpse of real possibility. W&M first made a CAA Tournament final in an absurdly improbable way, then made another, and still two more, the latter pair in line with growing expectations.

We chronicled the evolution of those expectations in this space as the Tribe backed up its 2008 trip to the tournament final with a more confident run in 2010. That team fell short against regular season champions ODU, but scored an NIT bid, and nearly beat North Carolina. Then, in 2014, those expectations led to perhaps the most gutting loss we superfans have ever experienced.

I wrote this at the end of our story about that last-second loss to Delaware:

"It's a simple game.

So why does it hurt so much?"

Just one year later, FOG:TB Jerry Beach had occasion to ask a similar question after W&M won one of the most entertaining sporting contests I've ever seen live, defeating Hofstra on a double-overtime buzzer beater to advance to the finals. That W&M lost its fourth title game in eight seasons was a bitter pill covered with the spoonful of sugar that remains that semifinal.

I was prepared, as the Tribe closed out a surprisingly successful regular season with an 11-7 conference record (18-11 overall), to be satisfied. In quarterfinal opponent Towson, we face a team that's physically tougher and far more athletic, and used those attributes to drub the Tribe twice this season. In the unlikely event we win that game, we'd likely face top-seeded Charleston. With Nathan Knight, Justin Pierce, and Matt Milon all just sophomores, I was ready to mentally close the book on 2017-18, accept our tournament fate, and retire to blogfight another day.

That's when this happened:

Ken Pomeroy, the guru of modern collegiate hoops statistical analysis, ground up his pile of bones and entrails, added a dash of SAS-based voodoo, decided W&M was a 7% longshot to win the CAA Tournament...and saw the future.

The same W&M that's last in the CAA (and 343rd nationally) in defensive efficiency. That can't stop my mother from getting to the rim. That allows opponents to shoot 48.9% from the field (55.6% from inside the arc). Those guys.

I don't exactly know what KenPom's divinations revealed to him. Was it David Cohn's school-record assist total, or down-the-stretch efficiency. Was it the fact that five different W&M rotation players shoot better than 40% from three, that the only one that doesn't is Nathan Knight, who leads the squad in scoring and offensive efficiency, that Connor Burchfield's .522 long-ball percentage led the nation, that all five W&M starters average double figures in scoring, and each of them is capable of dropping 20 on any given evening? Was it the Tribe's best in America three-point and free throw shooting, or Justin Pierce's emergence as That Guy?

Or was it just fucking karma?

Either way, if Ken Pomeroy is in, then, well, maybe we shouldn't argue.

W&M versus Towson at 2:30 on Sunday for a quarter of the marbles. KenPom knows what time it is.