From Then Til Now, Don’t Ask Me How

From Then Til Now, Don’t Ask Me How

It’s 11:35pm on a cool Thursday night in April, 2015. Hustle Bankroll, the opening act for the night has just completed his second set, having been asked to fill time. The headliner, nearly three hours late, is Earl Simmons, the now late DMX. The Vogue theater on the north side neighborhood of Broad Ripple is packed full of people. Near the sound booth is a contingent from a sorority, a pack of AKA women dressed in their unmistakable pink and green. By the bar, a group of twenty-something men in tieless dress shirts and jackets. On stage, a man in an oversized Pelle Pelle jacket starts to make an announcement and is stopped by a tall man in a long Ruff Ryders t-shirt. “What?!” He exclaims, pulling the mic away. He’s shocked. Both men rush off stage. Despite reassurance from promoters that he’s coming, DMX is nowhere to be seen. A man two rows from the stage says to his friend, “how much you wanna bet his ass got arrested?”

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Baseball, Art out of Time: The King’s Gambit

Baseball, Art out of Time: The King’s Gambit

It’s a clear, cool night in Anaheim. The season is not yet a week old, and trends from the prior year linger like cirrocumulus clouds dotting the sky just west of the ballpark. The Seattle Mariners have lost four of their first five games. They’ll lose this one too, despite beginning the game with a pair of runs off of Angels’ pitcher Ricky Nolasco. It’s April 8th, 2017. The Mariners’ starter is Felix Hernandez, King Felix to the Seattle faithful. He’s in the twilight of a career that included a Cy Young award, a perfect game, and not a single start in the postseason. Hernandez gets Angel hitters Yunel Escobar and Kole Calhoun to ground out to start the bottom half of the first inning. Into the box steps the best player on Earth. His name is Michael Nelson Trout, Mike for short, and he’s the reason many people are watching this game.

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Back Home Again: Your Guide to Picking a Team in the All-Indiana NCAA Tournament

Back Home Again: Your Guide to Picking a Team in the All-Indiana NCAA Tournament

When I say that I love basketball, I say it with all of the conviction that Senator Sheev Palpatine claims to love democracy. Basketball, most basketball played, is just a means to an end. That end being the NBA, where the game is played at its highest level. Still, there is an undeniable charm and magic to the amateur game, especially here in Indiana. For the better part of the 20th Century, Indiana held a massive, all-inclusive high school tournament called Hoosier Hysteria. It meant that teams from around Indianapolis, Terre Haute, and Chicago burbs (aka The Region) could play against teams from towns with populations smaller than the aforementioned schools’ graduation classes. It was something special, but for the last quarter-century it has been absent, reformed as tournaments for each separate class of schools. This year, all 67 games of the NCAA’s signature event will be played in the state of Indiana. In some way, for at least one year, the Hysteria has returned.

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And All That Jazz: the Style and Grace of Andre Drummond

And All That Jazz: the Style and Grace of Andre Drummond

If you’re not super-familiar with the NBA or basketball in general, or maybe you’re just a casual fan, you may be inclined to think that professional players should be great at most aspects of the game. Then you really watch a game and notice that some players are just not suited for some specific jobs on the court. Take for instance the job of the Center. He’s basically there to grab rebounds, win tipoffs, and get high percentage shots like dunks and put-backs after misses. So when a play collapses and the Center is out there on an island, what is he to do? Andre Drummond, two-time all star of the Cleveland Cavaliers, answered for us. What transpired was a thing of beauty.

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Farewell to The Office on Netflix: the Union that Changed The Way We Watch TV

Farewell to The Office on Netflix: the Union that Changed The Way We Watch TV

When Netflix began, it was a novel concept. You request DVDs, you watch them, you mail them back, and then the next movie in your queue gets mailed to you. Kelly Kapoor actually explains this in an episode of The Office in which the employees of Dunder Mifflin gamble on various prop bets in the office. Netflix gets name-dropped a few times on the show, all during its primarily mail-only era. Once the service moved to streaming, it was super weird. For a time, there was softcore porn and DIY home repair videos. It was a brave, new, strange world. The only way I could watch at that time was through an app on my Nintendo Wii. The pickup of The Office, among many other 2000s sitcoms was, surprisingly, the best thing that the service could have done for itself. In doing so, it changed the trajectory of careers, made the show a second-hand success, and jumpstarted the endless, mindless binge. On January 1st, The Office leaves Netflix for NBC’s own streaming service, ending one of the most important unions in TV history.

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Ranking the Songs of ‘The Muppets Christmas Carol’

Ranking the Songs of ‘The Muppets Christmas Carol’

Today is Christmas Eve, just one more sleep ’til Christmas as Kermit sings in The Muppets Christmas Carol. There are many, perhaps too many, film versions of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday novella. In my opinion, the only opinion that matters in this column, the Brian Henson-directed, Sir Michael Caine-starring, Muppet-filled musical version from 1992 is the only one that stands the test of time. It combines childhood nostalgia with legitimate humor and tender tugs at heartstrings with legitimate terror. It’s a tradition in my family to watch it while putting up the Christmas tree, so I have decades of experience in annually singing along. I insist on you watching the movie before reading, but if you want to do the reverse, how could I possibly stop you? So here is the definitive, objective ranking of the songs in The Muppets Christmas Carol.

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2021 NBA Preview: 30 Guys To Watch

2021 NBA Preview: 30 Guys To Watch

Imagine being a Bulls fan in your 30s. The glory days came and went long before Hi-Def TV, DVR, and handheld-miracle supercomputers. The name Derrick Rose probably elicits more trauma than fondness, and that’s it. That’s all you know since childhood. Pain. But what if you could appreciate the league from a different perspective? Instead of basketball being a causeway between football pain and baseball pain, why not enjoy the beauty of the game through the players that make any night something special? I’m here to help. This isn’t going to be a list of stars. You know who LeBron James and Kevin Durant are. You know they’re worth watching. This is a list of 30 players, one per team, that deserve some attention this season.

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Can We Get Much Higher: Kanye West’s Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy Ten Years Later

Can We Get Much Higher: Kanye West’s Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy Ten Years Later

I fantasized ’bout this back in Chicago…”

Long before Kanye West was a pop pariah / media megalomaniac / Christian contrarian, he was merely a polarizing figure who would interrupt Taylor Swift and liken himself to Michael Jackson repeatedly. Two albums later, he would make a whole song about how he loves himself. But at some point, Kanye was a true artist, the kind that calls himself a genius and for all its worth… is right. There is an apex to all ability, however, and it’s nearly always noticed in hindsight. When MBDTF dropped a decade ago, an artist had his most quintessential work- an endlessly quote-able, often repugnant, undeniably gorgeous, sonically diverse, musically challenging album. It was an artist reaching a zenith so shortly after his emotional nadir, and a masterpiece that has aged well in spite of its creator.

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The FBC live blog of the MLB’s Hell Day

The FBC live blog of the MLB’s Hell Day

I have been looking forward to this day since it was announced. I wasn’t sure it would happen, but here we are. EIGHT PLAYOFF GAMES. It may never happen again, folks. So today, we’re going to do something stupid. A live blog from first pitch to last pitch of the eight game slate. Four teams, including two of our World Series champion picks… are on the chopping block. So, here is the plan, according to Indianapolis Coastal Time (aka Eastern time).

Game 1- Reds @ Braves 12pm
Game 2- Astros @ Twins 1pm
Game 1- Marlins @ Cubs 2pm
Game 2- White Sox @ Athletics 3pm
Game 2- Blue Jays @ Rays 4pm
Game 1- Cardinals @ Padres 5pm
Game 2- Yankees @ Indians 7pm
Game 1- Brewers @ Dodgers 10pm

And here… we… go…

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The Fancy Boys Predict the 2020 MLB Playoffs

The Fancy Boys Predict the 2020 MLB Playoffs

Alright so that was something, right? About an hour after my fourth installment of predictions were posted, the league expanded this year’s playoffs to 16 teams. I kinda just tossed my arms in the air about it. Then it felt like the season would be canceled every day for about three weeks. Somehow, almost everyone played 60 games. So here we are, the field is set, and the chaos of a best-of-three first round series is ready for Tuesday. Who will survive all the way through the most bonkers MLB playoffs ever? Well, some of us got together in a digital way and tried to guess at it for your amusement.

Play Ball