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The Madhouse: Week of 3/13 - F*** you, coronavirus

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No sports. There are no sports. What do I do?

NBA: Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The coronavirus scare has flattened the NBA indefinitely. So we can talk about whatever you want. It’s like an offseason in the middle of the season. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Well it’s not going to be. It’s not going to be fun. There will be no fun. That is what the coronavirus has decreed.

This is your friendly reminder that the mass hysteria surrounding the coronavirus ABSOLUTELY has the potential to be more damaging than the illness itself.

Here’s how I’ll be spending the time:

What I’m Reading

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson. I can’t recommend this one enough. I’ll have finished it by the time you read this, so spoil away.

Basically, Bryan Stevenson is this super decent dude who uses his law brain to fire up the Equal Justice Initiative. The EJI is a non-profit organization in Montgomery, Alabama. Straight from the website:

“The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.”

Just Mercy details the story of Stevenson and others putting in a lot of work to free Walter McMillian who was put on death row for a crime he didn’t commit.

And it’s a lot of work. The injustices McMillian faced when sentenced to death are the same hurdles Stevenson had to clear to right the abhorrent wrong.

It’ll get you thinking. And if this is the sort of thing you think about anyway, it’ll get you thinking even more. I learned today that this one has been made into a movie starring Jamie Foxx. That will probably be my next watch.

Companion Read: Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance

What I’m Playing

I’m a Steam guy now. Did I tell you I was a Steam guy? I’m a Steam guy now.

For the uninformed, Steam is PC gaming. Steam as a platform has existed since 2003. So I’m getting in a little late. Just a little.

I already have more games and gaming consoles than I can play in a lifetime. So why Steam?

The lowly shoot ‘em up.

That’s different than the first-person shooter, see? I ain’t talkin’ about your Call of Duty or Fortnite, or whatever the kids are playing these days. No sir. I’m talking about real skill. Like this:

Or its moderately more advanced cousin, the bullet hell.

If there’s a shoot ‘em up worth playing on the Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo, I’ve played it. And that’s a genre I cannot get enough of. So obviously the only logical step is to spend hundreds of dollars on a machine so that I can play games that cost hundreds of pennies.

I’m still working through Steam’s immense catalog, but off the bat I love the stuff being produced by the Astro Port team.

Wolflame

Satazius

Armed Seven

Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser

These are tremendous. As ‘pick up and play’ as they come. I picked them up on sale for about $3 apiece. I think they’re regularly $6.

Dump your AAA $60 titles, friends. We’re going back to gaming’s roots in this scary, new, coronavirus-led world.

What I’m Listening To

I may have shared this one with you before. A close friend of mine turned me on to a Swedish heavy metal band named Sabaton.

Specifically, he directed me towards their album Carolus Rex. From the Wiki:

Carolus Rex is the sixth studio album by Swedish power metal band Sabaton. It is a concept album based on the rise and fall of the Swedish Empire, whose monarch Charles XII gives it its title. It was released with both English and Swedish vocals. It is the last album to feature guitarists Oskar Montelius and Rikard Sundén, drummer Daniel Mullback and keyboardist Daniel Mÿhr. It was produced by Peter Tägtgren in Abyss Studios.[3] The album received critical acclaim and commercial success, achieving gold certification in Poland and quadruple platinum in Sweden.

I know exactly one thing about Sweden. And that is that Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson is from Sweden. Wait. And Peter Forsberg. Right? Yeah I checked. Peter Forsberg is from Sweden. I know two things about Sweden.

The album is 45 minutes long and features 10 themes. Here are those 10 themes:

Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden

The 1631 battle of Breitenfeld

The misery caused by the Thirty Years’ War

The 1648 battle of Prague

The Caroleans

The crowning of Charles XII of Sweden, his belief in the Divine Right of Kings and the Great Northern War

The battle of Fraustadt

The defeat in the battle of Poltava

The death and funeral procession of Charles XII

The Carolean Death March and the fall of the Swedish Empire

Again, I don’t know a thing about Sweden. But man, this album makes me want to fight for Sweden. Or against Sweden. I don’t know. Sometimes I don’t follow. But man it gets you fired up.

What I’m Watching

Nothing. This is the hardest part.

We are the family who puts sports on when there is nothing in particular we want to watch. I mean, we put sports on when there is a game we do want to watch, but also for no reason at all. While we’re making dinner. While we’re doing our chores. Whatever.

So what do families put on when they’re putting on nothing at all. THERE ARE NO SPORTS. PLEASE HELP.

I asked my wife. She said HGTV. I said no. She asked me. I said Cartoon Network. She said no.

I suggested something in the Nick at Nite universe. Like Green Acres. Or Dragnet. Or Alfred Hitchcock. She seemed agreeable to that.

Then we learned that’s not really a thing anymore.

We’re trying to figure out this new world. Brainstorm with me. And please help.

Good luck, friends.