Jeff Stewart was thrilled that the University of Connecticut Huskies won the Men’s NCAA basketball championship this year, beating back the surging University of Kentucky Wildcats. But he’ll be damned if he can remember why he even gave a flying fuck. “I mean, nothing of consequence hinged on who won the game,” says Stewart, 34, “so it’s just so weird how I read newspaper articles on the teams leading up to the game and otherwise devoted countless hours of my life to who would win—hours that I’l never get back.”
The South Bend, Ind., resident never played basketball in school, although he used to shoot baskets with friends at a park not far from his house. Basketball is big in Indiana, especially at the college level, and people talk about it a lot. But Stewart says it’s kind of boring to watch on TV. “Guys go one direction, shoot the ball, guys go the other direction, shoot the ball … it’s just not that flippin’ exciting,” he says.
But even more important is why he should even care. “I don’t know any of the players or the coaches, and in fact I don’t think ant of the players or the coaches are actually from the area whose school they represent,” he says. “So, you’re not really rooting for a school; you’re rooting for a collection of talent that’s been assembled by the coaching staff to play basketball for a season.”
Stewart says that the dozens of hours he’s spent watching college basketball on TV would have been better spent on something consequential to his life, like learning a new job skill or taking a second language or, even better, understanding tough public policy issues like Obamacare. “It’s kind of pathetic,” he says, “Here I’ve been slamming Obamacare for destroying our country and yet I’ve never really looked into it to see what it’s about,” he says. “Maybe before I started heaping all this scorn on it, I should have spent a few hours trying to understand how it works and whether it really does represent a socialist takeover of our country. But, I never did that. Instead, I spent hours upon hours watching basketball games that, in the end, I really couldn’t care less about.”
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos (modified): bba-tp (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
LONDON—Some of the world’s top women tennis players say their game has struggled as they try to keep their new Nike tennis dress from interfering with their shots, but they also love the way the dress doubles as lingerie for later that night. “Anytime I can pack one dress instead of two while I’m on the road I’m happy,” says Ivana Sveltka, the top-ranked Moldovan player gearing up for the second round at Wimbledon this week. “Being able to play in the dress during the day and then slip it on at night as a comfortable nightie is just wonderful.” The dress, which Nike-sponsored players are required to wear under their sponsorship agreements with the company, breaks the mold in tennis attire by replacing the standard skirt and top design with a single, loose fitting dress that’s notable for its high cut and willowy fabric. More.
Calling clowns creepy and not funny, lawmkers in both houses of Congress today passed legislation outlawing entertainers who wear makeup, big red noses, and floppy shoes in a belief that people find them funny. “I know there’s a tradition, dating back to the days of court jesters, of entertaining audiences by wearing costumes and makeup in goofy ways while engaging in antics, often with balls or bicycles,” says Rep. Snowden Baxter (R-Texas), principal sponsor the legislation. “But not all traditions are destined to survive in perpetuity, and clowns are one of those traditions whose time should come to an end.” Baxter pointed to overwhelming support from members of both parties for his bill and cited it as an example of the kinds of things Congress can get done when the need is clear and compelling. More.
OTTOWA—An international task force has released a report showing Canada is a lot like the United States only with thinner people and fewer minorities. “Far more than the United States, the people in Canada have kept their waistlines at a reasonable size and, although they’re welcoming to minorities, they haven’t had a sizable influx of blacks and Hispanics, probably because of the cold weather,” says the report, released today. Canada: More America Than America was commissioned by the United Nations Task Force on North America to provide a detailed assessment of the country. It’s findings: More.
Allan Harper just did some stretching, a sit-up, a couple of push-ups, and jogged around the block in his first workout in almost a decade, but unfortunately there’s not the slightest improvement in his body—as far as he can see. “It’s not that I expected to look like Charles Atlas or anything, but I thought I’d look a little tighter or something,” says Harper a 39-year-old policy analyst in Washington. Harper’s been meaning to get back into workout mode for years, especially since several of his friends have taken up running and his girlfriend is starting to make snide remarks about his weight. But it’s hard to get started. “I don’t want to just start doing some sit-ups, you know? I want to build it into my lifestyle.” More.
Fresh off its controversy for allegedly using under-inflated footballs to win its AFC championship game two weeks ago, the New England Patriots are again under an ethical spotlight for allegedly using over-inflated footballs to beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in last weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX matchup. “We have very clear visual evidence that the New England Patriots used footballs that were inflated far above the regulation level of 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch (psi) in their game last Sunday, so we are officially investigating this potential violation of National Football League rules,” says NFL Executive Vice President Jay Pesh. Over-inflated balls are considered easier to see, a potential advantage for a team like the Patriots, which relies heavily on its passing game. More.
The widely reported “deflate-gate” scandal in which the New England Patriots allegedly used under-inflated footballs to gain an edge in their AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts last week was conceived and executed by scientists as a way to “make physics sexy” and “get the country talking about physics,” according to a memo that’s surfaced during the NFL’s investigation of the Patriots’ ball-handling practices. “We’re still looking into this, but if it’s true, it’s shocking news to say the least,” says NFL Executive Vice President Jay Pesh. “I want to caution that we are still in the middle of our investigation, which we promise will be thorough and fair. What we’re doing now is looking at the source of this memo, talking with people who are familiar with this memo, so that we can determine what the appropriate next steps will be.” More.
Now that the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) has stripped the Redskins football team of trademark protection because the term is considered a racial slur, scores of businesses have grabbed the famous name. “I know it’s a terrible word and I myself don’t harbor a racist bone in my body, but because I own a business that turns your skin orange, I knew I needed the Redskins name as soon as it became available,” says Graham Little, owner of Redskins Tanning Salon in Dallas. “Get your orange skin at Redskins. As you can see, the marketing potential is enormous, especially here in Dallas, where orange skin is the mark of a wealthy woman.” Redskins Radiation Partners is the new name of Culver Radiation Partners in Orlando, a switch managing partner Jeff Reed made after hearing the trademark news. More.
Saying it’s impossible to be mad when you skip, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for leaders around the world to take up skipping, the “hippity-hoppity” gait that comes so naturally to children. “If you remember the last time you skipped, you will no doubt remember feeling frisky and carefree,” Ban said in a statement released today. The U.N. last week passed a referendum declaring the week of Dec. 18-25 World Skipping Week, which the international organization hopes will inspire people everywhere to skip rather than fight. More.