Organized Sports: Anne B. Ape Layoff Predictions – The First Round

Not in Milwaukee.

Not in Milwaukee.

Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will.

To a number of teams in the NBA, the regular season this year was even more meaningless than it is normally. The Miami Heat coasted to a second seed in the piss-poor Eastern Conference, keeping Dwyane Wade rested up for the games that really matter, and allowing Lebron to coast through the first half of the season and still remain the best player in the league—though his coasting likely cost him another MVP. The Indiana Pacers, dominant throughout the season in the East, pooped to a halt in the season’s final month, but still have the number one seed because the Heat didn’t care to take it from them. And then there are the rest of the teams in the East, who jockeyed for least-mediocre and the chance to lose to the Heat and Pacers on their way to the Conference Finals.

Out west, it was different. The regular season mattered because there were actually more good teams than could fit into the playoffs. The Phoenix Suns made a huge comeback after last year and still fell short of the postseason—Jeff Hornacek may wind up coach of the year anyway. The Spurs were dominant as usual, even after last year’s heartbreaking Finals loss. And the Thunder coasted to the second seed even while missing Russell Westbrook for most of the year, because Kevin Durant cannot be stopped.

Now, the real games begin, though. Come with me after the jump as I make some predictions on how this first round will go. Shall we? Continue reading

Organized Sports: Stanley Cup Layoffs – Round One

Someone had already thought of my joke.

Someone had already thought of my joke.

Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will.

Organized Sports makes its long-awaited, triumphant return with everything you need to know about who will (possibly, maybe, probably not?) be victorious in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the best postseason in sports. Said playoffs begin tonight in earnest (well, they actually begin in the hockey hotbed of Tampa, Florida, but who’s counting?), so here are the Fully Reconditioned predictions.

This year is the debut of a new format, with divisional playoffs before the conference finals, with the top three teams in each division, and then two “Wild Card” teams making the playoffs rather than the top eight from each conference. It’s a slight return to the way things used to be, but with a modern twist, which also results in one of the divisions being named the Metropolitan Division. Said division contains such gleaming metropolises as Columbus and wherever the fuck the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils play. One day I will view their shimmering spires.

It also means that there was an actual incentive to win the divisions, keeping the regular season slightly more meaningful than it has been in the past. That being said, the real season begins here. Predictions and sour feelings about the author’s hometown St. Louis Blues after the jump.

Round 1 Predictions – Atlantic Division Continue reading

Videodrome: Short Term 12

Short Term 12 can be seen on Amazon Instant Video for $0.99. 

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.50.51 PMDestin Cretton’s second film, Short Term 12, which is based loosely on the director’s own experience working at a teen shelter for two years, opens and closes with the same scene: As Mason tells a group a story to his fellow workers at a shelter for at-risk youth, they know that one of their kids is out the door. Hellbent on escape, this teenager breaches the front door of the shelter, running with pure abandon for the outside world while being chased by his supervisors across the yard. It is a succinct and sad metaphor for the life of any foster child. When you are in the care of the state, you will have very little, if any, freedom until you turn 18 and age out of the system. A foster child may know this fact, but that won’t stop them from trying to break loose. They know they’ll get caught, but maybe those few fleeting moments, when you’re beyond the gates, free to choose where you might go (even if that choice is as limited as turning left or right as a means of escaping your pursuers), are worth it. Those moments can be stored away in your memory for when they are needed to bolster hope for the future. Continue reading

Videodrome: The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing is available to stream on Netflix. 

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 3.53.03 PMYou may already know what The Act of Killing is. If you don’t, here’s a handy description from IMDB.com. It tells us that The Act of Killing is, “A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.” That’s basically an accurate description of the film. There are standard talking head interviews and the crew also follows their subjects into the streets as they mix and mingle (and extort) common people. It’s not all showbiz. The Act of Killing doesn’t attempt to contextualize the anti-communist killings of ’65 and ’66 or the men behind them. It doesn’t need to either, because this is a film about the essence of something, not the particulars. Suffice it to say that that a lot of communists were killed in those two years. I don’t mean to be blithe, but this is a film concerned with ideas for today, not the events of 40 years ago. If you want to read more, go here. The film plays less like a cerebral expose on genocide and more like some sort of mad scientist’s experiment or an elaborate practical joke. But the documentary presumption that what we are seeing is real, not artifice, and not matter how much The Act of Killing taxes our suspension of disbelief, it’s important to remember that all of this is very real.  Continue reading

Organized Sports: Bro Canada, our Brome and Native Land

In the Bronze medal game, Finland had the better team...u.

In the Bronze medal game, Finland had the better team…u.

Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will. 

Last week I predicted that the USA would take the Silver Medal, Sweden Gold, and Finland Bronze in the Men’s Olympic Hockey Tournament. The only one of these I got correct was Finland’s Bronze Medal win, so even Meat Loaf would be disappointed in me. One out of three is bad.

Continue reading