I've been working in music and music technology since I was a teenager. In my free time, I enjoy making soul food in my Tennessee kitchen. I'm a Ubuntu enthusiast, enjoy a good weight lifting session, and I'm probably the best Axis and Allies player ever.
I tend to take the side of Ghostface Nahmean when it comes to Drake, and the myriad of R&B acts who have spun off from his style. Drake brings to hip-hop and R&B what Nickelback and Staind brought to rock music; horribly repeated generic lyrics, and unintended humor. Sure, Chad Kroeger sold millions of albums, but that doesn’t mean his music really transformed a genre. In fact, I would argue that it was acts like Nickelback that led to the decline in modern alternative rock music. In my mind, when I think about Nickelback, I envision Affliction long sleeve thermals, bedazzled denim, and poorly maintained chinstrap beards and goatees.
Similarly, Drake is “The Wizard of Pause.” This isn’t to say that I’m trying to buy into the hyper-thug, overtly masculine stereotypes of hip-hop and R&B; rather I’m just trying to establish that just listening to Drake is perhaps the most emasculating thing I have ever done. Yes. It’s even worse than “doing the tuck” and going all pervy on Snapchat just to make your friends feel ill. 1 I can’t take Drake seriously, nor would I ever want to, and that’s precisely the problem. R&B should be authentic, 2 organic, 3 and accessible to everyone.
Initially, PBR&B was meant to be a portmanteau for “Pabst Blue Ribbon + R&B,” and then it became synonymous for a genre of music that hipsters 4 listened to. This negative connotation dismissed what is actually an inventive and unique sub-genre of a sub-genre. PBR&B is about as niche as it gets, but for what it’s worth, it fits the name.
Pabst Blue Ribbon is my beer of choice, no matter where I am. If I’m at a bar that doesn’t serve PBR, I just assume they’re not serious about my business. Pabst Blue Ribbon isn’t overbearing, nor is it trying to really do too much. If you want a beer with strong flavors, get something else. PBR is meant to mellow the room, and be comfortable in any situation. Simplicity is something you can’t really replace, and that’s what PBR does well–simple beauty in a can.
Similarly, PBR&B is the minimal, slowed down, airy, and light side of electronic music. PBR&B is where you go when you’re tired of listening to maximal EDM bullshit like Avicii. In this analogy, we’ll say that Avicii is the musical equivalent of 4Loko–the original recipe, loaded with caffeine, guaranteed to give you a headache. It’s not that all EDM is total bullshit–it just caters to an “entry audience” in electronic music. When you get a little older, you stop drinking 4Loko, doing keg stands, and “raging hard.” When this happens, you start going to smaller parties, where people have shirts with sleeves. This is where PBR&B begins making sense.
I can’t take modern R&B seriously, but I also don’t want to listen to repeatable, kitschy, maximal, electronic garbage. I want music I can dance to, drive to, fuck to, or just chill out and smoke a blunt to; because goddammit, I’m in my late 20s now, and PBR&B fits where I am in life, and I’m not ashamed to say it. Let’s avoid throwing around other terms like “post-trap” and “witch house,” because it doesn’t accurately describe what is really just a screwed down, minimal version of something that didn’t exist before. Additionally, every artist puts their own spin on it – which is what actually gives it legs. Unlike the recent surge in “trap” music, 5 PBR&B has a ton of different directions, with unique styles. Let’s go over some of my favorites.
This is what DJ Screw originally was to Houston’s “chopped and screwed” side, but with the added balance of massive ethereal expanses. I happen to think Shlohmo’s strength is in taking songs that should not have been modern R&B, and making them into ’90s-esque, West Coast style dance grooves. The sub bass lines are all voltage-regulated VST’s, moving with the vocals, and then adding in drums slowly, before everything builds to an anti-climax, going silent.
Blue Sky Black Death
The duo by The Bay, by way of Seattle, better known as BSBD, churn out some truly gripping music. Their style is almost impossible to describe, because it’s really all over the place. Older rock influences are clear, alongside substituted classic alternative rock builds, but everything happens more slowly. Their most recent album Glaciers features songs that are over 10 minutes in length, without feeling overly long. I try to avoid references to jam bands whenever possible, but BSBD’s new album cements their place as the Grateful Dead of PBR&B. It’s music clearly designed with marijuana inhalation in mind.
What really sets BSBD apart from everyone else is the sheer volume of their instrumental work. BSBD is perhaps the most prolific within the genre, releasing a new album almost every three months, with various hip-hop collaborators.
At some point in the past two years, oOoOO switched from making witch house, and went full bore into the mellower sister of fuzz-electronic. It’s not that there was anything wrong with witch, but you can only make so much fuzzy, hot analog music before you want something more. I suspect that’s what happened here, with the hard beats, vocal reworks, and softer, more minimal sounds. The best I can figure, the direction shift happened around two years ago with the Marina & The Diamonds remix, and then moved into originals from there. The end product features codeine-slow beats, simple vocal repetitions, and the slow addition of more elements echoing off each other.
My first thought when listening to Balam Acab for the first time was, “Wow, this is really beautiful music.” The drums are an afterthought, barely even noticeable at points, because the smooth sound effects blend themselves into the ether. When the sub bass finally establishes itself, it has more impact because everything in the song has context. The layers all work perfectly, the nuances balance each other out, and you’re just pulling another drag off the blunt.
This shouldn’t be news to anyone really, but Clams Casino isn’t really a hip-hop producer. He’s better than that. Yes, rappers like Lil B the Based God, ASAP Rocky, and XV have graced his instrumentals, but that’s really not what made his music great. Like BSBD, Clams Casino makes expansive, minimal, hip-hop inspired, rock-sample driven, Pabst Blue Rhythm and Blues. Damnit. Listening to the instrumentals on their own, you realize the simple beauty in how the songs themselves are crafted, even if it takes a maximal G Tom Mac sample, and go for a ride, it’s still mellow.
Lastly, the mysterious FRXXMASONS. Their five track EP found its way to my inbox a few months ago, and since then I’ve been blasting their “’90s skating rink” brand of modern PBR&B. Only one song is on their Soundcloud page, and I’m pretty sure leaking the remainder would land me in hot water–sort of like if I posted their NSFW video here. Check it out when you’re not around your boss.
Since I began using computers in the mid-1990s, personal computing really only came down to one choice: Apple or Microsoft. It was the age old debate of chocolate versus vanilla. Republican or Democrat. Team Edward or Team Jacob. Cowboys or Steelers. Paper or plastic. As a society, we’re used to dichotomy, and the division of a coin flip. Presenting a third option is when things get a little weird, and no one quite knows what to do, especially when the third option isn’t completely understood.
Three years ago, I was faced with the prospect of buying a new computer, and for the first time, I didn’t like my options. Spending $1,500 on a MacBook just seemed insane, but I also couldn’t bear using another Windows computer, even if the price point was lower. My computing needs are probably much like your computing needs; I do office tasks, listen to music, do some light programming, and once in a blue moon I’ll edit a short video or audio clip. I don’t do much gaming, and if I do, it’s on a gaming console. Microsoft products had failed me too often, but using a pricey Apple product for what amounted to “light computing” just seemed like overkill.
Growing up in a “computer forward household,” 1 I had seen one or two computers running Linux, but I never really knew what to make of it. My earliest experience with any Linux operating system was on a computer owned by Phil First, a physics professor at Georgia Tech. His son Jacob was my childhood friend, and I remember using it probably as early as 1994.
For the next decade and change, I basically just forgot Linux existed, because it seemed sort of “tech geeky.” Guys using Linux were all hackers in their mom’s basement. Then I came to the aforementioned fork in the road regarding a computer purchase, and started to do some research above and beyond what a normal consumer usually does. That’s when I discovered Ubuntu. All my computing needs were easy to meet with Ubuntu, and as an upside–Ubuntu is 100 percent free.
Chrome and Firefox are both there, along with easy access to Google Drive, with its plethora of office programs. Ubuntu also comes with Libre Office, if you want something offline that functions like the usual Microsoft Office bundle.
GIMP is a great alternative to Adobe Photoshop. The biggest upside is that GIMP is free, and Photoshop costs $700. If you’re just casually editing some photos, it’s a great solution.
Lightworks is probably the most robust video editor outside of Premiere Elements, and once again, the price point is “free,” versus “$100.”
If I want to watch a movie, I can use the media player it comes with, or go with VLC–which is probably familiar to many Windows and Apple users.
Need a place to put all your music? Banshee and RhythmBox are both great options, and they come with Ubuntu.
Perhaps I need to perform some updates here on BroJackson? Well, Filezilla is a great FTP client, and it’s the same one familiar to many Windows and Apple users.
Cloud storage? Dropbox is always on standby, or you can try Ubuntu One.
Obviously, everyone has different computing needs, but for most people, I have covered the basics. If you wanted to switch over to Ubuntu today, you’d experience no drop in productivity. Ubuntu can perform most if not all of your computing needs, and doesn’t cost a dime. Most of the software you’ll want is free, and if you need something really specific, it’s usually pretty inexpensive. Installing Ubuntu on an existing computer takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your level of computing knowledge. Once it’s up and running, it’s smooth, doesn’t crash, doesn’t get viruses, and works flawlessly–even on machines with limited resources. Ubuntu is so reliable, Dell and Alienware are now selling computers right from the factory with Ubuntu as the default operating system.
So what makes it so different than Windows and Apple, and why would Windows and Apple be worried about about an operating system that does everything they already do? Ubuntu really isn’t like them, at all. Unlike Apple and Microsoft, everything about Ubuntu is Open Source, GPL, and “free,” meaning “share it for free.” Where Windows and Apple want to copyright everything, Linux and Ubuntu are known as “copyleft.” The community of inspired minds is what allows people to take someone else’s code, and make it better. The constant growth is a more natural process, and it has resulted in some truly astounding gains in personal computing, which leads me to . . .
The way we think about computers is about to fundamentally change, and Ubuntu, backed by Canonical, is going to spearhead that process. Just a few years ago, the Androids and iPhones in our pockets would have been just as powerful as a desktop computer. Now, we’re looking at taking the powerful devices in our pockets and changing how they operate in our environment. Any phone running Ubuntu Mobile can run every Android application, and when docked, the phone turns into the Ubuntu Desktop interface. Yes, you read that correctly–the phone is a computer too. The Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding campaign fell a bit short, but it boasted a list of specifications more than capable of being the only device many consumers would ever need.
Apple and Microsoft are firmly entrenched in the hardware business–Apple directly, and Microsoft indirectly. Apple makes a nice chunk of change selling desktop computers, laptop computers, iPhones, iPads, and various iPod models. Microsoft gets a check every time an OEM supplier sells a computer running Windows. Their business model is predicated upon selling “stuff,” rather than promoting concepts. Ubuntu and Canonical aren’t trying to sell more stuff, and don’t really care who installs their software on any device. Because they aren’t solely profit driven, and aren’t beholden to stockholders, Ubuntu/Canonical can develop technology not designed to make a profit this quarter.
This means Ubuntu can pursue a natural and linear progression of technology, which has led to leaps forward such as . . .
Picking up where open source XBMC left off, Ubuntu TV takes open source home theater, and simply integrates it into your mobile device. Simply plug your phone into a TV, and it becomes an interface for movies, television, and streaming online content. Just to recap: Your mobile device is now a TV platform, home computing platform, and smartphone. This is what convergence is capable of, and it’s only happening because Ubuntu doesn’t have any need to sell you devices. When open source, free technology moves on its own, this is where it arrives. Logically, we don’t need a separate device for everything, and Ubuntu just follows that rationale to its pragmatic conclusion.
What does this all mean? Well, Ubuntu Mobile isn’t a finished product quite yet. It does work, and it works on a ton of devices, but since it’s all open source, Ubuntu Mobile isn’t being solely developed by the people at Canonical. There is an entire community of people who use Ubuntu, believe in it, and give their time for free to develop Ubuntu Mobile platform–so soon, everyone can experience what convergence computing is really all about. Because Ubuntu is based upon Linux, the Android family of devices is firmly in the lead for the future of computing. This isn’t meant to disparage Apple’s iOS family of devices–it’s just that iOS isn’t designed to compete with Apple’s family of desktops and laptops. Additionally, if Apple pursued this line of progress, their stockholders would revolt.
Microsoft is just on the wrong end of destiny here. The smartphone marketplace is firmly dominated by Android and Apple, and that won’t change any time soon. Microsoft will exist for a long time into the future as convergence computing slowly takes over, but I suspect their new business will be in servers, rather than personal computing.
Consumers want freedom, and they also want stability and reliability. In the future, consumers will want a seamless transition between mobile, home, television, and other computing. As far as I can tell, Ubuntu is the future of personal computing, because they’re the only company actively moving away from the personal computer, and toward the convergence of all computing devices as one, seamless experience.
If you want to see it in action to have it all click in your head, check out the video below from Marques Brownlee, who explains it in a way everyone can understand.
Normally, it isn’t like me to put my personal life on the Internet, especially as it relates to my relationship with my girlfriend Erin. But things recently reached a breaking point. You see, Erin is what is commonly known as a “cat person.” Our home is a veritable cat fortress, and her wardrobe is fully decked out in cats–from cat shirts and socks, to cat shoes, jackets, sweaters, and hats. She even has underwear with the words “PET MY PUSSY” 1 on them. I put up with a lot of cat shenanigans, but every man has to draw a line in the sand somewhere. Erin is now demanding our cats receive regular veterinary care. For me, that was just a bridge I could not cross.
I never wanted to say this, because I love our cats, but it needs to be said: I’m tired of them being total freeloaders. When I’m taking the trash out, I see feral cats running round, keeping mice out of the neighborhood, hunting birds, and fending for themselves. Then, I return to my home office to see my two cats stretched out, napping, just waiting for their next meal. I already subsidize their lazy ways, paying for their laser pointers, dry food, wet food, catnip, litter, and even those little puffy balls they whack under the couch. I don’t see why I need to pay for even more.
Erin and I had a long conversation about it, and I explained to her that I wasn’t willing to spend more money on the cats–especially not vet bills. Vet bills are expensive, and if the cats need to go to the vet, they should earn it themselves. I see cats on YouTube all the time, getting famous, getting paid big bucks from monetized Google advertisements, and my cats aren’t even making the effort to learn a skill that might be useful for Internet cat videos. I was clear with Erin on what I wanted, but she just wouldn’t respect my decision.
Instead of encouraging our cats to start earning their keep, she talked to her mom, friends, and co-workers. Some of them took my side, but most of them didn’t. I wasn’t surprised, because we’ve bred a cat-loving culture. When my grandparents and parents were my age, cats would go outside, kill mice, and take care of themselves. Nowadays, cats just expect to be pampered, and get everything for free. There is no such thing as a “pull yourself up by your own barn mice” cat mentality anymore, and that makes me sad.
To make things worse, Erin started talking to the neighbors about this whole vet issue. As it turns out, the neighbors are cat lovers too–and they let their cats go to the vet whenever they get so much as a little cough or sniffle. Now, I’m not trying to bad-mouth our neighbors or anything, but I don’t want to be like them. They talk funny, and keep inviting me over to smoke weed, or watch hockey games. I don’t have anything against smoking a little pot every now and then, and hockey is OK I suppose–but it’s just not my thing. If they want to let their cats go to the vet for free, that’s their decision, but they shouldn’t be dragging Erin down with them. They’re going to spend all their money on vet bills, and when it comes time to buy a new propane grill, they won’t have the money.
We live on a limited budget here, and we just can’t afford everything. I warned Erin that if she so much as tried to charge any vet bills to one of our credit or bank cards, I’d call the bank and cancel them all, but she just thought I was bluffing. Well, I’m just here to let you all know I stood my ground. We’re not paying the rent, the power bill, the cable bill, buying any food, paying our cell phone bills, or anything else until Erin decides to at least put off sending the cats to the vet for a year. She says they need their shots, but they seem fine to me right now, so I think it can wait.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, when I cancelled all of our credit cards, Erin started going around bad-mouthing me to everyone saying that I was being a total asshole about the whole thing. You know what, I don’t care if everyone else on our street pays to send their cats to the vet. We’re not like everyone else on the street. I don’t care what all her friends and family say. I know what’s right, and all my friends think I’m right–so I can’t possibly be wrong on this issue.
The whole problem is being exacerbated by just how illogical Erin is about the neighborhood we live in. Last night she even had the audacity to confront me about my gun collection, and how much money I spend on guns and ammunition. Leave it to a cat person to completely disregard the importance of a massive, high tech, high caliber gun collection. You never know when things will go completely nuts in this neighborhood, and when the shit hits the fan, she’ll be glad I stockpiled all of these weapons.
Case in point: A couple months ago, we had some Muslim people move in at the end of the street. Of course, they seem like nice people and all, but I’ve been spying in their backyard lately, and I’m not totally sure they’re being honest about who they are. A couple days ago I banged on their door and confronted them about how the propane tanks they had in their back yard. I said to Muhammad (or whatever his name is), “It’s pretty suspicious that you’ve got all those propane tanks out there, and no grill.” So he said, “We put the grill in the garage for the winter so it wouldn’t rust.” Likely story. But he didn’t fool me. Since then, I’ve been knocking on his door every day, just to let him know I’m not letting my guard down. Everyone else in the neighborhood can call me an “aggressive, racist asshole” all they want to, but when it turns out I’m right about Muhammad, they’re going to thank me for my gun collection.
The trouble is, Erin won’t even negotiate with me. She keeps saying the same thing, “Shane, we already decided upon this. Even though you don’t like it, and your friends don’t like it, our cats are going to the vet when they get sick. You just look like an asshole for cancelling all of our credit cards. Now, if you wouldn’t mind, please call the banks at have them issue us new cards so we can get on with our lives.”
As you can clearly see, this is all Erin’s fault. We’re entering Day 9 of Cat Shutdown 2013, and we’re still not making any progress. I’m sitting here at my desk, just waiting for Erin to come and look at the budget with me, but she refuses to. I’m not going to just roll over and let the “cat people” win the biggest victory they’ve ever gotten. She thinks this is about the cats going to the vet, and it’s not. This is about letting the cat people win, every time. First it’s cats wanting to go the vet, then it’s cats getting fresh salmon instead of dry cat food. Then they’re asking for Fiji water instead of tap water. Eventually, we’ll be spending more on cats than we are on ourselves–and that’s the slippery slope I’m trying to avoid. We just can’t afford to let the cat people keep winning. So yeah, keep calling me an asshole, but know that I’m not going to lift the shutdown anytime soon.
After bruising his way through the 2012 season, Jadeveon Clowney was the undisputed heavyweight champion of college football before he even lined up against North Carolina for his 2013 debut. Any NFL general manager would have to be stupid not to select Clowney with the first overall pick. To hear Mark Richt tell it, Clowney isn’t just the best in the SEC, or college football–Clowney is perhaps the best football player in all of organized football, period.
Clowney’s value as an NFL prospect is such a poorly hidden secret, even the NFL media machine couldn’t help but oblige nudging his draft stock upward. Blaine Gabbert was spotted at his crafting group, gluing tiny red and pink paper hearts around a picture of Clowney. Browns GM Mike Lombardi could be found late nights in his office, frantically pacing, wondering just which defensive coordinator he could hire in order to minimize all of Clowney’s skills, and make him look like a bust as quickly as possible. Even recently, conspiracy theories have floated across the Internet about the Giants tanking an entire season, just to draft the most franchise-transformative defensive player this side of Deion Sanders and Lawrence Taylor.
Is Clowney that good? In short: Fuck yes. Everything I have read by every single scout I respect is clear on one thing: Clowney is a monster. Entire defensive schemes are built around his skill set, for weeks on end, just as an attempt to contain his freakish athletic abilities. Game planning for Clowney is akin to game planning for J.J. Watt, if Watt had six arms, and weighed 400 pounds. Transcendent players like Clowney come along perhaps once in a decade. In the days of Deion Sanders, teams made peace with not throwing to his side of the field, and punters were stupid to kick anywhere near him. The same went for Lawrence Taylor; dedicate three, perhaps four players to him, and hope for the best. It takes a truly special player to shut down one third of the field, and Clowney has demonstrated he can do that.
Herein lies the problem: Clowney is currently scheduled to play another eight games, 1 and he has little financial incentive to do so. The NCAA doesn’t allow players to make money, won’t pay them, and as far as I can tell – they don’t want to. Last season, Clowney watched his teammate Marcus Lattimore collapse in a heap on the field, taking a multi-round tumble in the draft, perhaps also taking years off his career. Statistically, he’s well out of the Heisman race, because college football is flush with quarterbacks putting up eye-popping lines. 2 This means his top three-to-five draft pick can only go down from here.
Steve “The Old Ball Coach” Spurrier is understandably upset about Clowney’s recent decision to sit out Saturday’s game against Kentucky. He never saw it coming, because Clowney said on Saturday morning that he was injured–despite the fact that all the coaches and team doctors thought he was physically capable of performing. Clowney didn’t even bother suiting up for the game, because he had no intention of even considering being a game-time decision. Pundits on ESPN, Bleacher Report, etc. have waxed poetic about Clowney’s “will to win,” or “how much he wants to be a champion.” This is silly. Various writers have posed the (inane) question about whether or not Clowney is tough enough to play football. To hear other people tell it, Clowney doesn’t understand how physical the NFL game is.
“Jadeveon Clowney’s junior season at South Carolina is becoming more of a soap opera by the week.” – The Associated Press/FoxSports
Now there is speculation as to whether Clowney will play against Arkansas. Spurrier stated in his post-game news conference that he wasn’t sure whether South Carolina would have Clowney back in the coming week–and that’s a totally fair assessment. South Carolina fans may feel cheated, but I suspect every reasonable mind advising Jadeveon Clowney is whispering in his ear to continue having nagging injuries. We all know they aren’t real injuries, because Clowney has stated he’s had bone spurs in his foot since high school. These are “Pro Bowl injuries” we’re talking about here. Every player wants to be selected to a Pro Bowl, showing how elite they are, but, “Well, you know, I was mopping my kitchen, and you know my dog, he’s such a crazy little guy. So, my dog runs by me, and the floor was soaking wet from the mop, and he threw me off balance, and I slipped and fell. I’m sure I’ll be fine in a few weeks, but I’m still going to Hawaii to support my teammates.”
The only reason Clowney is still playing in Columbia is because of the three-year rule. The same can be said for USC’s Marqise Lee, who recently injured his knee in a meaningless game, for a coach on his way out the door, on a team that won’t be contending for a BCS National Championship. College football itself is in a state of flux, because there are a handful of players capable of playing at a professional level after two years, and they get stuck playing a third year that can only serve to damage them. Players like Clowney and Lee can either mail it in, and be lambasted by the media, or they can play all-out, and risk potentially career-ending injuries. There is no upside for Clowney right now, and the narrative is now out of his control.
It might be time for Clowney to step in front of this story, and be honest with everyone about what’s happening, because NFL GM’s will only see maturity in his decision. If he’s smart, Clowney will call a press conference and tell the truth. Chris Low and ESPN can sell their narrative and make Clowney look like an asshole for “tainting his South Carolina legacy,” or Clowney can call out every moron college football writer and tell them what’s really happening.
Here’s how I imagine the press conference going . . .
“Hello everyone. I asked you all to come here today because I have decided to sit out the remainder of the season, choosing instead to mentor young defensive linemen at the University of South Carolina. We all know the truth here, so I wanted you all to know that I am trying to avoid getting injured. My potential future employers need to know I took every step to stay healthy and preserve my body for my future, and the prospect of playing more than 16 games per year for perhaps the next decade. Additionally, I’m taking up space in the depth chart that doesn’t belong to me. I would rather coach our players here at South Carolina, so for the remainder of this season, and moving forward, they can have the tools they need to keep South Carolina contending for national championships. I would like to thank Coach Spurrier and the University of South Carolina for two and a half seasons of incredible football, and a wonderful experience. Lastly, I’d like to thank God, because I’m a professional athlete, and that’s just who we thank at the end of all speeches like this.”
The only thing Clowney needs to worry about moving forward is being drafted by the Jaguars.
I’m assuming South Carolina will play a bowl game. ↩
Speaking of “eye-popping lines,” insert Lawrence Taylor joke here. ↩
I suppose the best way to begin this would be to thank everyone who felt compelled to share what I wrote three weeks ago about the relationship between Molly and the culture of EDM music. Over the past three weeks, I’ve thought a great deal about what I wrote, but also what many of you wrote. Believe it or not, I read all the comments, responded to as many as possible, and then even read comments on other websites and message boards where my essay was posted. At this point, I’m relatively sure the “EDM bros” 1 of the world have called me every euphemism for “homosexual” there is in the dictionary. The only thing I can do is grin and shake my head at the various assaults on my character; I’m not a “salty former drug dealer,” or “a washed up manager of some no names.” Thanks for all the kind words anyway.
After reading all the emails, messages, comments, tweets, etc., I have observed three recurring arguments against my original essay.
Bro Jackson’s “Breaking Bad” commentary comes from David Kallison, but since he’s knee deep in a move, Shane steps in to take over Season 5′s 13th episode, “To’hajiilee.”
As a quick recap, here’s what went down: Using some theater tricks, Hank led Huell to believe Walter had killed Jesse, and Huell was somehow next in line. Fearing for his life, and being out of contact with Saul, Huell spilled the beans on the rental truck and money barrels. With his new found leverage, Hank set up a second piece of theater, with Jesse playing the part of “the guy who had found the money after he located the hiding spot using the rental van’s GPS”. Walt should have been totally fucked, but that doesn’t take into account all the variables. By “all the variables,” what I really mean is “unhinged, meth slinging white supremacists.”
In the wake of Electric Zoo being canceled on its final day due to some unfortunate drug overdoses, I thought it was time someone from within the music business spoke up. Unfortunately, most people in the music business are devoid of swirling, spherical sacks of awesome, tucked between their legs. However, since I officially left the music business last Tuesday, I have no qualms about airing my former dirty laundry. The business of Electronic Dance Music, colloquially known as EDM, has a huge problem. People are dropping dead like flies. The following essay isn’t a smoking gun; it’s a fucking nuclear onslaught.
First things first: MDMA and “Molly” are two different things. I know what MDMA is, because I can use Wikipedia. Molly is something wholly different – because the person consuming it never really knows what they are taking. In my lifetime, I have done Molly more times than I can count, and I have never taken the same drug twice. It’s not like marijuana, cocaine, or psilocybin mushrooms, where you know what you’re getting. At least if my blow has been stomped on by more Mexican drug dealers than the entire cast of “Breaking Bad,” I’ll know the worst I’m putting in my nose is baby formula, some Bayer, and then maybe a tiny bit of cocaine. We’ve all had a bag of shitty weed – and yeah, it might give you a headache, but it’s not going to kill you.
Here at Bro Jackson, we have a stable of perhaps the best fantasy football writers and analysts in the country. I am not one of those people. After going 5-0 to start the season in last year’s “Grantland Fantasy Island,” I began to slip. Metaphorically, I was the Al Davis of my league; mostly senile, saying the wrong things, making the wrong moves, and inspiring my league to shun me. This is my year to win it all, and I’m not going to let Moskal and his assless chaps stop me.
Tip 1: Team name is extremely important. You can draft “high value” players, or you can do what I do–rely on the strength of your name. This year, I’m Hernandez’s Pistol Offense. Crude, topical, and altogether bad. This also allows me to write horrible jokes later in the season, should Hernandez somehow miraculously not spend the remainder of his life being a dick hotel for Neo Nazis.
Tip 2: Always draft Tim Tebow early. This year especially. If you watch preseason football as religiously as I do, you’ll notice Tebow has really shaped up into the terrible quarterback he has always been. However, in the unfortunate event Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett are both sidelined with injuries, you’ll be able to watch Tebow take the helm, and drive all the way to the 45 yard line before punting. Yet, despite his failings, you’ll feel like you’re winning. Tebow’s throwing motion reminds me a bit of Bryon Leftwich’s throwing motion, sprinkled with Xanax. Xanax is always about winning.
Tip 3: Pick players from bad teams. If you never get the chance to watch Jacksonville or Cleveland, drafting someone like Maurice Jones-Drew gives you a reason to observe what a nightmare some franchises really are. As a Cowboys fan, I can always look at a franchise like Cleveland and feel great about myself. Come to think of it, I just got a half boner thinking about bubble screens to Trent Richardson.
Tip 4: Draft criminals in late rounds.Titus Young is basically one mood swing away from being the next Rae Carruth, or perhaps Donte Stallworth. The common thread among criminals is that they’re high upside, and usually still around later in the draft. Remember when Cedric Benson had his breakout year? Right after he attended the Dwayne Goodrich School of Driving. Felonies tend to make athletes better–just look at Michael Vick. I’m predicting he’ll have a breakout year with the Eagles, because he’s a guy who was skilled at working quickly. If you can electrocute a dog in 15 seconds, you can surely run Chip Kelly’s offense in 15 seconds or less.
Tip 5: Have your significant other help you pick your team. For instance, my league drafts tonight–and my girlfriend knows nothing about football. If I told her the Oregon Ducks were playing the Houston Astros, she would just assume they are both football teams. Like I said, she’s a hardcore fan . . . of cats . . . on Pinterest. So, let’s say it’s the sixth round, and I have to choose between Miles Austin and T.Y. Hilton. I’ll pull my girlfriend over to the computer, and ask her which player is more likely to have a pet cat. Whoever she thinks is a cat person gets picked. It’s foolproof.
Now that Aaron Hernandez is a superstar on Twitter, Deadspin, ESPN, and every other media outlet, I think it’s time we made some jokes about this situation. Let’s just face it: He probably did it. So let’s make some jokes about it.
Grant Hill was never supposed to succeed in the NBA.
Early on, the basketball gods placed him with a decrepit Detroit franchise, destined to be steamrolled by Jordan and the Bulls. Once upon a time, the Eastern Conference was simply a race for second place, and Hill was just another name tossed into the hat with everyone else. Those were the dark days of the Eastern Conference, unless you happened to have season tickets to the United Center. When Hill arrived from Duke, pundits immediately wanted to name him the heir-apparent to Jordan’s throne. After dominating at Duke, Calvin Hill’s son entered the NBA 1 with Jason Kidd, sharing Rookie of the Year honors.
Perhaps I don’t have the same rose-colored glasses everyone else does, because I have always considered Hill to be a slightly above average player. Injuries aside, Hill put up some compelling numbers, but did so on teams without many scoring options. Detroit was a bad team with Hill, and would have been abysmal without him. The 1999-2000 Detroit Pistons finished 42-40, with a dynamic duo of Hill and Jerry Stackhouse running the floor, and then got swept out of the playoffs in three straight games by the Miami Heat. 1999 was statistically Hill’s best year, with him averaging 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. However, statistics do not make a team great–and it was 1996-97 when Detroit had its best chance of making a run. Even after finishing 54-28, Detroit was bounced in the first round by fellow Duke alumni Christian Laettner and the Atlanta Hawks.
It’s no wonder then, after continually faltering in Detroit, Hill chose to take his talents to Disney, and landed in Orlando with Tracy McGrady. The Magic were going to plow through everyone in the Eastern Conference with their pair of young superstars. McGrady had just escaped the great white north and landed in Florida in order to show that he wasn’t just Vince Carter‘s distant cousin. If you asked anyone before the 2000 season what team had the best chance to win a championship, it was Orlando. Unfortunately, it was in Orlando that we all discovered Hill’s ankles were not made of the usual “ankle material,” 2 but instead had been crafted of wet coffee filters. While McGrady was busy breaking ankles with the best isolation game this side of Carmelo Anthony, Hill was busy breaking his own ankles, because it was really just his “thing.”
From just a few days after his 27th birthday, until just a couple days before his 32nd birthday, Hill played in 47 NBA games. For impact, let’s just go over that fact again, because it’s integral to understanding why Hill is one of the most overrated players to ever play in the NBA. In four seasons, Hill played roughly half a season of basketball, representing one of the worst valued contracts to ever be penned in the history of the league. The Orlando Magic never had a chance of contending during his time with the team. His prime years were spent in designer suits, observing perhaps the greatest isolation scorer of all time. In some small way, McGrady’s ridiculous numbers are due in part to him playing first, second, and sometimes even third fiddle.
Over the course of seven seasons with Orlando, Hill only twice played more than 30 games in a season.
This is where the crux of my debate really has its fulcrum: A player is not great if injuries prevent greatness from ever happening. For analogous purposes only, let’s just pretend Hill pursued a career in porn instead of basketball. Let’s assume Hill breaks into porn and everyone is simply amazed with his 14-inch God cock. People gasp and whisper at how amazing he is, and begin comparing his greatness to Ron Jeremy. Then, before he can assume the title of “Greatest Dick To Ever Tear That Ass Up,” he gets a rare form of erectile dysfunction, and his dick only works for two days a week, and you’ll never know which two days. He is surrounded by the most beautiful women in porn, but his God cock just won’t function–and while it’s sad, porn fans are mostly just disappointed. A 14-inch cock isn’t really a 14-inch cock if you can never get it hard. It’s simply a sad reminder of a gift gone awry.
Hill is the 14-inch flaccid penis of professional basketball. 3
There is no point is even mentioning the “what ifs” about Hill’s career, because that’s exactly what makes his career. His twilight in Phoenix is the ultimate “who cares” of professional sports, along with the “intangibles” and “leadership” he brought to his teams. The funny thing about leadership is that it usually happens by example. So if we’re talking about his “leadership” capabilities, I hope it involves looking bemused whilst sipping Gatorade from a paper cup on the sidelines. I hope “leadership” somehow translates into his ability to drive a hard bargain on Italian suits. I hope we’re talking about his ability to consistently get knocked out of the first round of the playoffs. Maybe it’s his ability to “lead” a second unit in Phoenix that was never capable of getting past Los Angeles when it mattered? I’m not sure what everyone sees in Hill.
When I was watching Hill next to Shaq and Sir Charles a few nights ago during halftime of the Heat v. Pacers, I could only think, “Wow, what a load of horseshit these guys are spewing.” They kept using terms like, “class act” and “integrity” when referencing Hill’s career. That’s what people do when they can’t call you “great,” or “a winner”–because he was neither great, nor a winner. His high-water mark was being a triple double machine on a team that couldn’t get past Tim Hardaway and Alonzo Mourning, or the fourth-best player on a Phoenix team that mostly regarded him as a second-tier wing defender . . . on a team that really didn’t play defense anyway.
When I Google great players, the fine people at Google usually suggest terms I might be looking for. When I type “LeBron James” or “Michael Jordan” into Google, the gears turn and I get suggestions like, “shoes,” “highlights,” and “rings.” When I type “Grant Hill” into Google, I come up with suggestions like “ankle” and “Christian Laettner.” So I think it’s about time we were all honest with ourselves about Hill and his long, injury-marred career. His finest moment came with 2.1 seconds left, and a baseball pass to Laettner.