The Kim Anderson Post-Mortem

What else can you say other than “I am glad that this nightmare experiment is over”? That’s really all I have, other than the roughly 800 words that are going to come after this sentence.

I hated the Kim Anderson hire from the start. Absolutely hated it. I couldn’t help but smile during his press conference, though. He was charming, charismatic and funny. Plus, it’s every alum’s dream to take the helm of one of your alma mater’s sports programs. I was watching a man live out his lifelong dream, and then it all fell apart the minute we said “go.”

Kim was a lackluster recruiter, ran off any good player who he inherited from Frank Haith (and even several of his own), made atrocious late game decisions and non-decisions, made excuse after excuse in press conferences and overall ran what should be a perennial top 25 program into the ground.

The mess he inherited from Frank Haith’s hasty departure seemed to be the go-to excuse for KA fanboys. It holds water. Haith left the program an absolute mess, but he also left behind a pretty decent incoming recruiting class (Teki Gill-Caesar and Jakeenan Gant were top 100 players). There was something that could be built upon. Every player in that class was gone before the end of Kim’s second season. The NCAA was breathing down Haith’s neck by the end of his tenure, and like the rat he is, he jumped ship before having to face the music, leaving Mizzou holding the bag on impermissible benefits violations. 23 vacated wins, scholarship limits and one postseason ban later, blah blah blah. Kim inherited a bad situation, sure. Mike Anderson came into a very similar situation in 2006 and had the Tigers within a few missed free throws of their first ever Final Four in his third year. Goddamn Kemba Walker.

There were never any signs of improvement under KA. None. He never had a top 25 recruiting class, never won a conference road game (do you know how utterly impossible that is at a school like Mizzou in a league like the SEC?), couldn’t close on Michael Porter, Jr., never beat a ranked team. His resume reads like an Alcorn State interim coach.

The shame of it all is that this could very well happen to one of my friends in 30 years. Kim was brought in as the old guard’s white knight. Norm’s boy. Norm Stewart is one of my 10 favorite people in the world, but Kim hadn’t been near a major college basketball program in nearly two decades. I can imagine that this massive failure is hard to swallow for those who boldly stood behind the hire. Kim represented a return to the glory days of Hearnes Center and cutting down the nets at Kemper Arena. Norm’s boy. What wasn’t to love?

I wanted like hell for Kim to work out, but the end of his colorless tenure needs to be a step towards firebombing the hell out of the sheer bumfuckery that has plaged Mizzou’s campus for the last two years. The stretch of horrid decision making and sheer absence of ideological and actual, appointed leadership on Mizzou’s campus recently has left True Sons like myself absolutely exhausted.

The Mizzou job is a good-if-not-great job. Always has been. Kansas City, St. Louis and Mid-Missouri produce top 100 caliber talent every. single. year. Millions of people live within a two hour drive to the arena. The facilities on campus are among the best in the SEC. Mizzou Arena should/can be the toughest place to play in the SEC. Rabid fanbase. Drop dead gorgeous campus. Great people. It’s everything you could want from a job with such medium expectations.

Mizzou fans aren’t hard to please. I wouldn’t say they are easy to please either, but the point remains, I don’t think I’m asking for much when I ask for a top 25 basketball program in a basketball crazy state that occasionally competes for conference titles and regularly makes it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Mizzou basketball used to be a major point of pride in the Show-Me State. I don’t have to give the history lesson. There’s no more time for half-measures. I want a full freaking measure.

Give me Cuonzo Martin, who has the connections to lock down the wellspring of NBA talent that has consistently slipped through Mizzou’s fingers in St. Louis.

Give me Scott Drew, the most underappreciated coach in the nation, who took a program that was the center of a murder investigation and subsequent murder cover up and turned them into one of the 10 best programs in the country.

Give me Gregg Marshall, who has owned the Missouri Valley conference and has taken WICHITA STATE to a Final Four.

Give me someone. For the love of god, give me someone who can take the wheel of this wayward ghost ship of a program and steer it back in the right direction.

I don’t ask for much. Gary Pinkel never won a conference championship and he will have a statue built outside of Faurot Field (soon to be Faurot Field at Pinkel Stadium) in the next five years. Norm Stewart never made a Final Four and they named the court at Mizzou Arena after him. There’s not much of a precedent in Columbia other than “don’t suck.”

There’s not much left to say. Get it right. Don’t screw this up again. Go get the guy. It’s been too long. I want to feel good again.

Diary of a Middle Management Sellout: Beefing Up In Q4

Diary,

My man! How long has it been? Saturdays are for the boys! Ha ha! Classic. I know it’s not Saturday, but I’ve been getting tons of laughs from my subordinates/lesserthans whenever I say that at the new job. I gotta fill you in. I finally made it, Diary. Made it to the big show. I am finally management. After doing some part-time consulting in the field for Uber, your boy got his first big time job offer. Oh yes, I’m a manager. It says so on my card. I have three employees reporting DIRECTLY to me and it’s really great to have people I can blame when shit goes wrong. Shit rolls downhill, and I’m squatting bare assed at the top of a mountain.

I’ve checked off an item on my professional bucket list. I’m finally making six figures. My salary starts with a 6, so I’m counting it. So what the hell have I been doing for the last year and a half? Man. Things have been such a whirlwind. I tried getting Steak & Scotch off the ground a few times, but none of my rich friends felt like investing in what my buddy Troy called “Red Lobster for Mark Cuban.” Okay, idiot. You know who would invest in a restaurant like that? Mark fucking Cuban. It was a once in a generation opportunity, and the water under the Golden Gate is freezing cold. Man, can’t wait for that JT Netflix deal.

So, what else has been going on? Oh I don’t know, upgraded to a sick downtown loft. Well, it’s not downtown, but I can see some of downtown from my bedroom. I scrubbed the roommate since I’m hauling down six figgies and I started ordering Blue Apron five nights a week. I have a bunch of rotten food in my fridge now, but my neighbor has seen me getting it delivered at least three times, so she might think Gilbert T. is a man who has his ducks in a row.

Work is actually pretty tough, Diary. I have actual responsibilities. It’s hard to get my work done with all the Westworld subreddits I have to read, so I’m having trouble keeping up. These are the sacrifices one must make if you want to be able to afford both Amazon Prime AND Brazzers accounts. Some may call that “being in over your head”, but I choose to think that my sacrifice is worth it. The good news about being management is that you can buy yourself all sorts of time by going back and forth between “trying a new strategy” and “getting back to basics,” which really just means sitting around until someone emails me and tells me what to do.

I just don’t have any time for anything, Di. My friends are all settled down now. Literally everyone I know got married in the same year. It was insane. You can only wear the same navy suit/brown shoe combo so many times before people start thinking you’re poor. Three of them alone were in Mexico. Had to stay in a Best Western and fly Frontier one time. So embarrassing. I used up all my Southwest Rapid Rewards points to go meet a chick from Chicago I met on Bumble one weekend. She was pretty upset when she found out I wasn’t a “Medical Professional.” My matches have taken a total nosedive ever since I decided to be honest in my pursuits.

What does the future hold for me? I don’t know. Maybe love, maybe Steak & Scotch. Maybe nothing. Maybe I just fade into irrelevance and collapse in on myself like a Chilean mine. Put on some weight, marry a 4, pray to god I never get downsized, buy a split level three bedroom in the suburbs, start wearing Sketchers. But that’s not me. That’s not who I am. I’m a fighter. I’m out here in the trenches fighting every day. But I’ll be around, that’s for sure. I’m not going down without a fight, and Gilbert T. Humplestead fights dirty. So watch me grab this handful of sawdust and throw it right in life’s face, Diary. Watch me.

They have no idea how high I can fly.

Gil

Sunday Night Talkdown: 9/11/16

It has been a while.

Don’t mind me, though. Just pretend I’ve been here the whole time. Not at all writing to relieve the absurd Sunday night low-grade anxiety that is buzzing all over my body right now. Not in the slightest.

What I’m Watching:

Sunday Night Football. Pats @ Cardinals. Nothing makes the scaries go away quite like watching 300 pound men latently murder each other. Jimmy Garoppolo should continue to be a thing so I can watch from a distance as the east coast media sets itself ablaze in nuclear takes in an effort to move the needle even further than it needs to go.

Weekend Revisionist Memory That is Going To Haunt Me Forever:

Almost dousing section 509 at T. Boone Pickens Stadium (South Club. NBD but KBD) in a Jack and Coke and vodka water during the third quarter of Saturday’s bananas OSU/Central Michigan game. I am going to blame this one on shoddy construction and new surroundings. I was wearing my gameday boots. They run a touch large, so they throw my balance off, alright? This is important. I take one step down and clip my heel on the step, which then led to my sunglasses toppling off my head and me pulling off an incredibly athletic move of not spilling the drinks while also not becoming a Deadspin headline at the same time. I should be proud of myself for pulling off what should be an astoundingly athletic move by a fat 30 year old, but I cannot keep replaying the scenario in my head where I douse a 75 year old oil billionaire in $20 worth of cocktails and dignity and find myself banished from Oklahoma. If that were the situation that had actually happened, there’s no way I can ever step foot in Stillwater again. Done. Cross it off the list. Brian: banned.

However, I can neither confirm nor deny that this would be my first banishment from a Big 12 town. Let’s just say my picture is probably on a wall behind a bar somewhere in Lincoln.

What I’m Listening To:

The sweet symphony of crickets outside of my window. Fall, baby. It’s here. White girls go crazy.

Unread Text Messages:

43. Group texts: good in theory, bad in practice.

YouTube Wormhole du jour:

Sting vs. NWO. An endless treasure trove of ’90s fake violence.

Takeaway:

Football is good. True Son Big Deal Barry Odom got his first win as Mizzou head football coach in a 61-21 SEC-on-MACtion MURDERFEST. Drew Lock might be the only 20 year old on the planet that I don’t currently absolutely hate (How’s college? Oh, it’s fun? Cool). The Chiefs threw up the greatest comeback in team history and I’m sitting on a 30 point lead in fantasy with two players playing on Monday night. We’re back. Football is back. The Talkdown is back (forever, maybe?). Brian is back.

See you in the trenches.

I’m Starting The War On Onions

Recently started going on a health kick. More fruits, more veggies, not as many microwaveable lasagnas (still the worst type of Italian food btw) and definitely not as much booze. I don’t know what’s worse, not having a cocktail or two each night before bed or shoving my face full of God’s greenest rabbit food. My diet was a free-for-all from ages 14-28. I had more Papa John’s points than Southwest Rapid Rewards points up until mid-2014. My Taco Bell orders would average somewhere north of $11.50. I used to eat two Chipotle burritos by myself after hockey practice. I was the goalie, so I pretty much talked myself into deserving it. I grew up with Greg Goldberg, not Henrik Lundqvist. Cut a little slack on the line.

Even through all those years of Double Quarter Pounders, stuffed crust pizzas, tacos of all types, etc., there was one food that I still refuse to eat: ONIONS. Yeah. Those round, white demon spheres that taste like they have been marinating in trash for three days.

Now, before you start throwing shit at your computer in protest, let me elaborate. Raw onions — white, green or yellow — have no place in this world. NONE. Red onions? Delicious. Chop them up and throw them on a salad, into my guac, or whatever. Raw onions have ruined my life on several occasions. There’s really nothing worse than getting ready to take a big juicy bite of a $12 burger and then sinking your teeth into that disgusting, gutwrenching, abomination of a vegetable. It tastes like garbage. It ruins everything. It smells like an armpit, albeit a bit sweet, and tastes just as bad. These types of foods are not meant to be consumed raw. It’s basically a potato, but worse. Don’t get me started on the texture of an onion. It’s like if sand was edible. I want to grab the onion and go wave it in the face of the culinary amateur who decided that this was okay to put on food and scream at the top of my lungs in his face so he can smell what this devil vegetable has done to my breath.

How about yellow onions? Delicious when they’re slow cooked in butter or caked in delicious wet batter and deep fried on top of a brisket sandwich slathered in barbecue sauce (feels good to be back in KC). Raw, though? The sheer barbarity of that is enough to make me question the very origin of onions. Who thought to pull this bulbous thing out of the ground and eat it like an apple without cooking it first? Who’s that guy? Some neanderthal who decided it was good to keep these around for the lean days of winter, I bet. Then one day he accidentally dropped them in the fire, let some animal grease drip all over them and then all of the sudden they were absolutely delicious. That’s the guy who is the real hero in this story.

Is this rambling? You bet your next paycheck it is. I caught a stray green onion in my lunch and just about lost my mind, which is why I’m here now. Which brings me to green onions. So easily mistakeable as an actually delicious food/herb like basil or cilantro or I don’t know, chopped spinach. Sneaking right into your mouth and unwelcomingly filling your mouth with what basically amounts to an onion-flavored blade of grass.

Onions, man. Throw them in the skillet, deep fry them, put them in a slow cooking sauce or stew, use them in the crock pot. Don’t feed them to me raw. Don’t raw dog my onions.

Is this insane? I don’t think so. I think it’s a noble cause. I’m sick of this. Stop pretending like you don’t hate onions.

EDIT: Also, Buzzfeed, stop putting so many damn onions into those “Tasty” viral videos on Facebook. Buffalo Chicken puff pastries do not require any onions whatsoever. Tell the lazy culinary school dropout who makes those videos to get it together and cut it out.

Perfect Champions

“Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It’s not about winning. It’s about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything you could. There wasn’t one more thing you could’ve done. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, and love in your heart, with joy in your heart? If you can do that, gentlemen, then you’re perfect.”

-Coach Gary Gaines, ‘Friday Night Lights’

Winning is, in fact, everything. However, winning every single time is not the everything. There’s beauty in the struggle. Losses happen. That was no more apparent than when Matt Harvey took the mound for the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series Sunday night in Queens, with the Kansas City Royals on the ropes.

Harvey had dominated KC through eight innings. But still, the Royals had earned every last scrap of benefit of the doubt. That’s when everything clicked. The moment FOX showed footage of Matt Harvey huffing and puffing around the Mets dugout, shouting “Not coming out” at his pitching coach and his manager. In that moment, I knew the Royals were going to win that game. Sure enough, Harvey walks Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer doubles and then ends up tying the game on a “this is me daring you to win the game for your team, pussy” dash to home plate. Five runs in the 12th, it was over. From the worst team I have ever seen play, to champions of the world. In 10 years. Harvey couldn’t control his emotions nor his pride and it cost his team a championship.

So how did the Royals do it?

On the surface, it was unrelenting contact hitting, lights out bullpen, mistake-free defense and good enough starting pitching. But it just seemed like there was more to it. Teams like the Royals don’t just go wire-to-wire, dominate an entire league and march their way to a title. They’re not supposed to. I always figured they’d piece it together for a nice 3-5 year run where they made the playoffs two or three times and always came up short to a bigger, badder, richer team like Boston, New York or Anaheim. That would have been enough. Trust me. It would have been. Show me an ALCS win in my lifetime and I’ll show you a happy Brian who would have been fine spending the rest of his days replaying old YouTube clips of said ALCS until I was dead and buried.

That wasn’t enough for Dayton Moore. The stories are seeping out of every corner of the internet. He originally didn’t even want the Royals GM job because the upper management of the team was such a disaster. But he took the job on the stipulation that the Glass family acknowledge they had no idea what in God’s name they were doing. So he hired people he trusted. He drafted kids who LOVED baseball and weren’t malcontent Little League burnouts with the mission of turning Kansas City into a Midwestern winner factory that only churned out champions and gave every kid from Lenexa to Lee’s Summit the hope that they too could one day be great. He hired people with values and conviction with the mission of firebombing the myth that Kansas City is a shitty cowtown with bad food and worse sports teams. He hired some gosh darn champions with the mission of eradicating Kansas City of every last memory of wasted springs and summers.

I’m not one for revisionist history, so let me acknowledge that Dayton Moore was in fact one of the worst GMs in sports from 2006-2012. He missed on free agents, he never put together a complete team, he likened finishing with 86 wins to winning the World Series. But he never wavered from the plan. He never panicked.

While Dayton Moore was doing this, I was steadily developing a knack for snark and cynicism. It is, after all, easy to go through life thinking everything and everyone sucks and should be fired from their job. I could not begin to tell you how many times I said Dayton Moore should have been fired. It’s probably over 50. While I was bitching and moaning, Dayton was building. He was watching his kingdom be built from the foundation up. Patience, he preached.

Then they almost did it. Then they actually did it.

If anyone knows me, I love theatrics for the sake of theatrics, but I’m not one for being dramatic (there’s a difference), but I would be lying to you if I didn’t say that the 2015 Kansas City Royals have changed my outlook on life. Sure, the lessons of “never give up!” and “it ain’t over til it’s over!” are the most prevalent, but the off-the-field lessons are the ones that will truly stick with me forever. Get everyone on the same page, believe in the mission, embrace the struggle, actually give a damn.

Dayton Moore knew he wouldn’t be able to hire the smartest, the most talented or the most experienced staff. What he did know was that in order to become champions, everyone had to be on the same page. Everyone had to be rowing the boat in the same direction. Everyone had to believe in the mission.

10 years later, Dayton’s vision and his plan came true. He remained steadfast and unflinching in his commitment to a complete turnaround of a franchise that was so irreparably broken when he took over. It’s stunning, really.

In a word, it was perfect.

The Rampant Problem of Content Theft Finally Sees the Light of Day

The thrill of going viral is that of a hard narcotic. When millions upon millions of people see something you have created, the surge of excitement pulses throughout your body and synapses fire in your brain. It’s vanity at its boiling point. Where the line gets blurred is when you start blatantly stealing things from other people for your own benefit. I’ve had my content stolen before. It happens. People don’t think there are consequences on the internet. There are.

You’ve probably seen the name “The Fat Jew” (Josh Ostrovsky) in the news lately. While it may sound like a surly Tarantino character, he’s actually one of the most infamous Instagram “celebrities” in the game. Justin Beiber loves him, which should be enough reason for you to hate him on prejudice alone. He’s gotten busted for stealing/posting jokes without attribution to the comedians who came up with them. The AV Club has a good, succinct write-up on it if you’re out of the loop.

While this sheds light on one of the most popular joke thieves on the internet, the problem still runs wild. Instagram account “fuckjerry” has 5.7 million followers (600k more than Ostrovsky). Go look at his account. I’m not going to link to his garbage, but just go look at it. It’s pretty much just screencaps of unattributed tweets and memes ripped from Reddit and 4chan.

“So what’s the big deal, Bri Guy? Why should I, Joe Internet, care?”

I’m not asking you to care. I’m asking you to have a conscience. Tall order, I know.

While it may seem like internet comedians are just a bunch of whiners just wanting credit for their joke, I get the outcry, but it’s not just The Fat Jew who’s ripping off your shit. It’s every godforsaken “parody” account that exists on twitter. You know those Fake Will Ferrell accounts? Every single joke on those accounts is stolen. Not a single one of them comes up with original content and they get away with it by classifying themselves as “parody” and “aggregation” accounts, which if you have ever read a dictionary or a book, know that neither of those words are associated with theft.

When you’re one tweet away from a book deal or a series pilot, there’s good reason for these writers and comedians to go all Krakatoa on guys like Ostrovsky and fuckjerry. They’re taking food off of the table and stuffing it into their own faces.

It’s not just limited to Instagram and Twitter. It’s Vine stars (who rank behind balloon artists and brunch DJs in terms of respectability as entertainers) who post blatant, word-for-word ripoffs of other material on Vine and Instagram. Hell, even theCHIVE has been accused of it. Yeah, what is generally considered the gold standard of web entertainment is often accused of content “aggregation,” which is really just a nicer term for “taking popular stuff off of reddit and tumblr, repackaging it as our own and making it even MORE popular.” What’s admirable though is that theCHIVE corrects their mistakes and gives proper attribution if/when they get called out.

Hell, I’ve probably been guilty of it. A quick Google image search for something as a featured photo and just slap it on a piece of content without realizing I was violating about a half dozen different copyright laws. Sure, it’s not blatant joke stealing, but it’s still a gray area of web morality.

Sourcing isn’t cool. Pretending you came up with something to get clicks is cooler. Creativity is so watered down on the internet now. Originality is no longer praised and comedy has degenerated to a point where “TFW”-quality reaction memes are now more popular than good, quality, original content.

Maybe that’s just the way it is for now. Tastes change and I’m hoping this is the beginning of a shift away from Instacelebs, Vine stars and Twitter fame whores. I’m hoping I’m right.

Joke stealing ruined Carlos Mencia’s career, although it can be argued that Carlos Mencia ruined Carlos Mencia’s career. Now it looks like it’s about to ruin the career of one Josh Ostrovsky and for damn good reason.

Don’t steal anything ever.

Featured image via who cares

Sunday Night Talk Down

Currently in the throes of an unforgiving hangover. Jitters, anxiety, smoker’s cough, lethargy, never ending hunger, the shakes, but most inconveniently, the crushing realization that tomorrow comes another week.

I don’t even know why I’m writing this. I should probably be eating something or maybe finally taking that three-day old load of laundry out of the dryer. Odds are, you’re right where I am too. It’s time to fight back against the dying of your will and forcefully reclaim the little freedom you have left.

What follows is a step-by-step combination of meditation, entertainment, introspection and food. Follow me into the light. Hold my hand and never fall victim to the foul beast known as Sunday night.

I’m Watching:

National Treasure: Book of Secrets, 8:30pm, ABC Family. I often wait until Monday night to watch TD since most episodes of that show send me spiraling into a pit of despair and paranoia that I can’t recover from until one or two in the morning. I am going with something light this evening. Nothing like a popcorn historical fiction masterpiece starring Nic Cage. The National Treasure franchise doesn’t get enough credit, especially as a soothing, take-my-brain-out-of-my-head, easy-to-follow thriller. There are barely any guns, there’s American “history” and the criminally underrated Diane Kruger. Love her.

Alternate programming: The 2000s: A New Reality (NatGeo)

I’m Listening To:

“Stepping Out” by Joe Jackson. They used to play this song at my family pool during the summer. Nothing gets rid of my Sunday night anxiety like reminders of my youth and how disappointed my 12-year-old self would be in how badly I’ve sold out. Still puts me at ease.

Food:

Chipotle.

Godspeed.