Thursday, March 08, 2007

Of Elbows, Madness, and Megadeath (Countdown to Extinction)

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Republicans!

The early stages of madnesss have now set in. In honor of the beginning of the ACC Tournament today, Harrogate posts this awesome magazine cover featuring the incomparable Tyler Hansbrough, upon whose back North Carolina gloriously overachieved last year: and largely because of whom North Carolina this years stands poised as one of several legit contenders to win the whole enchilada.

But let us get something straight, Oh Readers. The Hansbrough image is up here for another, darker, more metaphysically challenging reason. And Harrogate thinks many of you already know what he's talking about. That's right. The elbow. Henderson's elbow at the end of Carolina's sweep of the dreaded Dook Blue Devils. Harrogate would have produced the video of that horrendous, bloody incident, but then he's seen the damned thing what seems like a thousand times by now, and just doesn't wanna look at it anymore.

Now, people are going to say what they're going to say. There's a lot of internet chatter, especially from the usually-noble pro-Carolina legions, to the effect that Henderson hit Hansbrough in the nose on purpose. Harrogate cannot emphasize enough how much he disagrees with that position. While it is impossible to get inside someone's head, Harrogate from the moment it happened gave Henderson the benefit of the doubt as far as intent. That's just the kind of guy Harrogate is. Was it a stupid reckless igorant irresponsible play? Absolutely. Should both teams have eased up at that point in the game? Of course. But sayeth Harrogate: as in life, in basketball attributing malicious intent is a serious thing, a thing to be done only when confronted with concrete evidence. And for what it's worth, Hansbrough himself has spoken out in his belief that the elbow was accidental.

Moving on, briefly. Every March, on Tournament-Opening Thursdays, Harrogate takes care to listen, and listen very closely, to Megadeath's "Countdown to Extinction," the titular song from what is by far their greatest album.

This performance here kicks ass. Harrogate is so delighted to have located it that he could just spit. Damn it's a good song. That opening bass just knocks you on your butt. And the lyrics, so wonderfully pretentious, and yet so authentically troubled all at the same time. And the song, it must be admitted, captures the spirit of what is at stake in these games. Of course, at this stage many teams who lose will still live to fight another day. But most, like Clemson, had better win today at noon (Eastern Time) or it is indeed a matter of going home.

Next weekend the big spectacle will be upon us in full force, beginning Thursday in what is the greatest four day weekend of the year. At that point all will fully feel the true effects of the Megadeath song which Harrogate now brings into your living rooms, offices, and dens. But for now, let us soak in Tournament rivalries, the bad blood of it all, the contempt bred of familiarity.

To paraphrase Mark Wahlberg, Harrogate takes college basketball seriously because it deserves to be taken seriously.

Enjoy the games, Oh Readers. Enjoy the games.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Fight Global Warming: Be a Vegetarian

The United Nations reports that meat production generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. Accordingly, they argue that a vegetarian diet goes further to combat Global Warming than does purchasing and driving a Toyota Prius.

The smug over Southpark is getting worse...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Madness Appetite Whetter, Gene Hackman Style

Everytime ESPN or any other major sports outlet has a poll to determine the greatest sports movie, Hoosiers seems to win. There are of course a lot of great sports movies out there, and Harrogate would like to know what others prefer.

Rocky has been treated at length on this blog, but for the purposes of giving other movies a chance Harrogate suggests that we leave that one out of the mix. There is after all no way to perfect perfection. Not counting the incomparable Rocky, then, Harrogate's money would ultimately have to fall on a three-way tie between Hoosiers, Bull Durham, and Field of Dreams. Depending on Harrogate's mood, one of these always seems to come out on top. But tis the season for basketball and the sweet nectar of youth, ans so Harrogate provides this famous clip from Hoosiers, a movie based on a true story.

A movie, moreover, that now stands as a primary cultural artifact, a memento of what was once the greatest high school spectacle in the nation--Indiana's Winner-Take-All Basketball Tournament. In recent years that state finally sold out and did the same thing every other state does, breaking things apart into divisional categories, 1-A through 5-A ad nauseum. Which means the Hoosiers story will never happen again.

Problems abound in this fairy tale scene, of course. The bootstrap narrative is something Harrogate has dedicated hmself to combating at every turn. Not because it is inherently bad but because it is like all stories at bottom a lie, and not only that but it is this nation's dominant lie, the one that has always worked to hold down the poor, the obscure, the helpless, those who slip through the cracks and who never had a Gene Hackman figure to inspire or believe in them.

Nevertheless the movie is beautiful also, and this scene is no exception. Notice Dennis Hopper jumping on the hospital bed.