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The Madhouse: Joe Fulks, Tiger King, Animal Crossing, NBA postseason

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Shut down the NBA season and make the Netflix docs even weirder.

Joe Fulks Action Portrait Photo by NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images

Well friends, it took awhile, but I have finally hit my stride with regard to entertainment consumption in our new sports-less world.

But first, the latest stat my brother sent me:

From 1946-1949 Joe Fulks of the Philadelphia Warriors led the league with 28 FGA/game.

For those three seasons combined he shot 29% from the field.

And averaged less than 1 assist/game

In the ‘47-48 season, he shot 25% on 29 FGA/game.

Joe Fulks was named to the NBA’s 25th Anniversary Team in 1971. He also holds the ninth-worst field goal percentage in league history. Don’t stop shooting.

What I’m Watching

I binged Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness last weekend.

If you’re unfamiliar, or even if you ARE familiar, I am wholly unable to describe what this is about. So we’ll take the first couple of sentences from Wikipedia:

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, titled onscreen as simply Tiger King, is a 2020 true crime documentary miniseries about the life of Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, popularly known as Joe Exotic. It was released on Netflix on March 20, 2020.[2] The series focuses on the small but deeply interconnected society of big cat conservationists like Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue, and collectors such as Exotic, who Baskin accuses of abusing and exploiting wild animals.

Ok that’s a good start. Allow me to edit:

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, titled onscreen as simply Tiger King, is a 2020 true crime documentary miniseries about the life of Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, popularly known as Joe Exotic.[1] It was released on Netflix on March 20, 2020.[2] The series focuses on the small but deeply interconnected society of big cat conservationists like Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue, and collectors such as Exotic, who Baskin accuses of abusing and exploiting wild animals. Unlike Blackfish, this doc meets at the intersection of conservationism, murder, maybe murder, probably murder, drug use, politics, polygamy, money laundering, arson, embezzlement, gay people, straight people, straight people acting like they’re gay to get assault weapons and four-wheelers, and country music.

And Shaquille O’Neal.

I’ve never seen anything like this. This is peak “truth is stranger than fiction” territory.

To put into context how bizarre the story is, consider Mario Tabraue. His story is but a blip on the radar of this doc. Here is how Men’s Health described him last week:

In the late 1970s, Tabraue was reportedly distributing the drug money to Miami police officers. By then he had also opened an exotic animal store and ranch. He kept everything from cheetahs to cobras and was later charged with illegally acquiring endangered animals.

Throughout the 1980s, Tabraue, according to federal prosecutors, served as “chairman of the board” of the drug trafficking operation. He allegedly stored 10,000 pounds of marijuana in “Parrot Jungle,” a Miami tourist attraction. His drug network was worth some $75 million at its height.

During that time, ATF agent Larry Nash was murdered by Tabraue’s henchmen. (Tabraue was not charged later in connection to the killing.) Nash’s body was later set on fire after being dismembered by a chainsaw.

If you think that’s a story, Tabraue definitely comes off as normal compared to others in Tiger King.

So watch it. You’re going to throw up your hands several times shocked that this story could take another completely unseen turn.

What most intrigued me is that there are more stories out there, like this, that we have no idea about. The tigers are merely the vehicle to introduce you to this clown show of characters. Who else is out there with a similarly f***ed up story? Collectors of Dr. J rookie cards? Zamboni drivers? Veterinary acupuncturists? I don’t know. But find them. Learn their story. And give me more.

What I’m Playing

I’m 38 years old. And I’m playing Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch.

I followed the hype, pre-release. I played the original on the GameCube with friends when I was in college. Emphasis on when I was in college.

Didn’t play any of the releases until New Horizons this year. The newest release makes nine, granted some of those are mobile games or the like. But I didn’t play any of them since 2002, because again, I was growing into adulthood.

But here we are, in this bizarre time in the world, and I was ultimately unable to ignore the countless reviews praising the relaxing nature of the game.

The reviews are right.

You’re a dude. Living on an island. There are animals. And trees. And water.

You get a tent. You can build a house. Or not. Or fish. Or not. Or plant trees, or catch bugs, or build furniture.

Or not.

For me at least, the pace is ideal. Virtually all of my gaming tastes these days lean towards “pick up and play.” I don’t have time for loading screens, and if I want to watch a movie, I’ll watch a movie. Stop making me watch movies, video games.

Jennifer Scheurle, who writes over at Polygon, perfectly summarized what I’m talking about. Polygon is a Vox property, so good for me.

The most crucial aspect of any gentle-progression game is its pacing. Or maybe more accurately, I should say: the lack of pacing.

Removing strong time pressure from tasks, quests, collections, or other systems is key to making the game work for people. Gentle-progression games allow you to play whenever you want, and more importantly, to walk away whenever you want. The ability to play at your own pace, while still feeling like you’re in control of the experience, is essential. Gentle progression ceases to be gentle once games begin to apply pressure to keep you around, or to get you to do certain things quickly.

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can easily engage with the game for 10 minutes at a time, or you can play for three hours straight. There’s no right answer. Supporting a player’s own time management decisions, and allowing for both short-term and long-term tasks, is a great way of respecting the player’s personal time and making them feel comfortable in engaging with the game.

The rest of the world imposes time limits, deadlines, and stress. A game that focuses on gentle progression should not, or at least should do so very rarely. It sounds simple, but motivating players without rushing them is anything but.

Being able to play in handheld mode makes it all the better. I like to crash on the couch and fire up a late 80s early 90s NBA game while I go fishing.

The release of Animal Crossing on the same day as DOOM Eternal is not ideal for your checkbook. If you can find your checkbook. But the price of DOOM Eternal will plummet this year. If you know anything about Nintendo’s pricing, Animal Crossing will not.

What I’m Thinking

Lets say Summer approaches and we have the opportunity to play ball, somehow, somewhere, in some capacity.

Should we?

I’ve heard a lot of stories about truncated postseasons scattered around the country, perhaps in places where no NBA team exists for hundreds or thousands of miles.

I’ve also heard that Las Vegas may be a location to host an NBA something to cap off the 2019-20 season. And I live in Las Vegas. So that would be cool for me.

But do we have to have a formal end to this campaign?

I’m not a fan of the Big Bang Theory. I don’t hate it, I just don’t watch it. But I have seen a couple episodes. Probably because I was watching something that came before it and the remote was too far away. Maybe a re-run of The Office. I don’t know, who cares?

Anyway, I do recall an episode where Sheldon’s girlfriend is trying to help him get over his issues regarding closure. I even found a clip for you.

I can understand that it would feel very unsatisfying to not have crowned a champion. I get it. But that feeling is going to fade — and quick.

Maybe it’s easy for me to say that because my team is not a championship team. But I genuinely think that most fans of teams that do have a shot at a title can reconcile missing out on a basketball tournament due to a global pandemic.

I say shut this thing down. Just do it. We’ll live. Ball ain’t life. Also we lost 5 of 7 before the season was paused. So, you know, draft position. Don’t want to jeopardize that.

Be safe.