There Are 57,000 Hoops in Indiana, But Only One Hoosier Gym (The Loop / Golf Digest)

Welcome to Indiana basketball.

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The Loop / Golf Digest — To find baseball from before, the wool-clad, leather oil-smelling, faded-yellow version that predated whatever you feel corrupted it, you go to Cooperstown, and you lope through ice cream parlors and hand-painted memorabilia shops and maybe into Doubleday Field, where a sleepy game of aging locals may be living out unclaimed dreams. Doing it for basketball is a little easier: Drive to Knightstown, Ind., an hour east of Indianapolis, just three miles off the I-70 exit, where the price of basketball Americana is exactly zero dollars.

Knightstown houses the Hoosier Gym, built in 1921, polished up in 1936, shuttered in the 1966 and revived in 1985 for the filming of Hoosiers, where it played the home court of Miraculous State Champions Milan (renamed Hickory in the fictionalized version) and enshrined itself as an evocative hoops-tourism destination, once the cast and crew got over thinking they’d just shot an audienceless throwback bomb.

It wasn’t. Here’s what basketball is like inside the Hoosier Gym. 

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Who the Hell Are These 2018 NCAA Tournament Mascots? (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

Are those real puppies? Lord.

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The Loop / Golf Digest — Every spring, March Madness once again proves that it’s good at enabling three things: Getting paid for watching small schools lose on your phone, pointing at Louisville and laughing, and introducing you to a handful of historic, tradition-rich universities you have never heard of in your life. But did you know that in addition to students, degrees and decades upon decades of history, these schools also have their own mascots? Read on to learn the mysterious nicknames of some of the teams who are traveling thousands of miles to lose to North Carolina.

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Armageddon It: Which of These Movies Are Not Actually Disasters? (The Loop / Golf Digest)

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The Loop / Golf Digest — This weekend sees the release of the new movie “The Hurricane Heist,” which has the welcome manners to not go screwing around with some precociously clever English grad-student title. Oscar or no Oscar, no one here at The Loop is remotely going to the “The Shape of Water” or “Darkest Hour” without some CLARIFICATION, or at least someone telling us how and when Black Panther is involved.

Anyway, in addition to being this weekend’s No. 4 movie, “The Hurricane Heist” is something more: The latest and probably wettest entry in the field of Damp and/or Apocalyptic and/or Cattle-Flinging Meteorological Catastrophes, a genre that stretches back to the 1897 silent-film classic “Remarkable Day of Wind in Tulsa!” There have been so many of these films that Hollywood has physically run out of planet-splattering meteorological phenomena to base them on, which is why they’re just making “Avengers” movies and films described as “sea creature romances,” ugh, whatever.

As such, we decided to take over and write a few of our own: See if you can separate the four VERY REAL DISASTER MOVIES below from the ones that we invented by deep-diving into the clickbait suggestions on the Weather Channel site for like 10 minutes. (To make things fair, we’ve excluded the super-easy go-tos, like “Titanic” and “Deep Armageddon” and “Twister”. Everybody laughs when the cow goes soaring by, but I’m from Indiana, man, those are no joke. Airborne cows crash into the Mellencamp’s infinity pool like three times a spring, but you never hear about it because of how he controls the media.)

Anyway, find the fake ones!

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The Selfie Bunny is Here to Basically End Easter Forever (The Loop / Golf Digest)

The Loop / Golf Digest — Meet the Selfie Bunny,  a precious blue-eyed demogorgon who is wearing a umpire’s pink chest protector and snapping a snappy snap that says, “You thought you had issues before, The Pope?” It’s a festive holiday snackable that is sweet and vaguely blasphemous and easily the most 2018 way to celebrate Easter, unless they make a chocolate porn star who sues the actual president, which is actually not a bad idea, patent pending, you vultures. And it’s available at — well, I’m not really sure where it’s available, but I’m guessing Dollar Tree is a solid bet.

Say hi to your newest enemy.

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The Eighth-Grade Karaoke Party: A Horror Story, Obviously (via Fatherly)

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Fatherly — If there’s a more potentially socially-ruinous situation than Eighth-Grade Karaoke Night at the Middle School Cafeteria, I simply do not know of it. The phrase alone has caused visible reactions and exhumed latent formative-year terror in friends and family members. At my son’s age, I would have crawled into a cafeteria heating duct to escape singing karaoke. I would have burst through a wall, leaving a me-sized hole in the bricks.

This is not what my son did.

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Here’s Where “The Hamilton Polka” Fits Into Weird Al’s Rich Polka Catalogue (The Loop/Golf Digest)

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The Loop / Golf Digest — Rejoice, my friends, for though the world is dark and increasing Russian today there is cause for UNABASHED GLEE, because not only has “Weird Al” Yankovic released a new single BUT it’s also a polka medley AND the polka medley is all songs from “Hamilton,” and YES the ricochet-bang sound effect is used right when it should be in “My Shot” and then it’s used LIKE 20 MORE TIMES. God, it’s like my brain had forgotten which synapses turned on the joy. 

Fans of “Weird Al” know, of course, that the polka medley is generally one of the three high points of every album, although arguably it might be fourth on Dare to be Stupid, owing entirely to “I Want a New Duck.” (Only two albums lack them: his debut and “Even Worse,” which has “Stuck in a Closet With Vanna White” so it’s OK.) He also occasionally produces political ones. If you dig “The Hamilton Polka,” you might be wise to check out his other polka offerings, which can be found on his accordion-shaped box set Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of “Weird Al” Yankovic.

ALL OF THE POLKAS.

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The Best and Mostly Worst Nintendo Golf Games for the NES (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

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The Loop / Golf Digest — The classic Nintendo Entertainment System was great for games in which overdramatic and cliched Italians hurled turtle shells around subterranean drainpipes, but real bad for golf. Between the years of 1984 and 1992, the original NES spawned a handful of golf-oriented video games, all of which attempted to capture the majesty of the sport and none of which, to our memory, came within a country mile of Ninja Gaiden or Metroid or even Golgo 13, and yeah, I see you out there, my Golgo 13 people.

But was that memory false? Did the games hold up better than we remembered, in our decades-old Super Tecmo Bowl-themed fog? This week we set forth to find out, using a Raspberry Pi, a customizable and probably legal device on which you can basically play every video game released between 1860 and 1993. (Indeed, the entire vast breadth of your video-game childhood now fits on an SD card the approximate size of a Wheat Thin, although of course they taste entirely different.)

With that in mind, a revisiting of Nintendo’s Finest and Only Occasionally Racially Insensitive Golf Moments.

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The Slovak Olympic Bandwagon is Now Boarding (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

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The Loop / Golf Digest — I am flush with homeland pride because last night, or possibly tomorrow morning, I don’t really understand time zones, the Slovak Olympic hockey team upended the much-favored squad from the proud nation of Olympic Athletes of Russia, which has many citizens, four million conservative Twitter bots and is known to be pretty good at hockey. This is a very big win, akin to … OK well no other major Olympic Russian-related hockey upsets come to mind, but it’s a big deal. (As it happens, the non-NHL U.S. team lost to Slovenia, so basically Olympic hockey just got its bracket busted, or, as we say in Slovakia, bjysykd.)

The bandwagon is boarding, choo choo. 

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I Just Hope You Understand, Sometimes the Clothes Do Not Make the Man (via Success)

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Success — On the first day, at 8 a.m. in the kitchen, my wife asked, “What in the world are you wearing?” A good start.

An hour later, I opened the door to my usual caffeinated workplace with a noticeably increased sense of swagger, a confidence that had been absent from my previous 14,000 morning visits. But disappointingly, nobody seemed to give the slightest notice to my amplified handsomeness. Not the baristas. Not the other regulars. Not the personable veteran who runs the place.

“But LOOK,” I self-consciously tried to broadcast, ambling slowly to the croissant rack, “I am properly and handsomely attired for the day’s travails! I am a professional! I hath matched mine socks to mine own pants!” I did this for an hour. Nothing happened, except for somebody asking whether I wanted whipped cream on my salted caramel mocha. Of course I do. I am a professional.

What happened when I dressed for quote-fingers “success.”

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Snow Days are the Awful Worst and I Hate Them a Lot (via On Parenting at the Washington Post)

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On Parenting at the Washington Post — Not to sound like one of those tiresome “everything was better about X when I was a kid” people, but when I was a kid, everything was better about snow days. The phrase itself was a code word for hours of maniacal fun, for compulsory playtime, for a vacation day illogically deposited midweek, for a meteorologically blessed block of time in which you were compelled to do nothing at all because even if you had a destination, you probably couldn’t drive to it. One 5:45 a.m. ring of the phone meant the day had exploded into a rainbow of possibility. By startling contrast, when my children’s school last week buzzed my phone four times — twice to report an initial two-hour delay and twice to report “Never mind, it’s gross outside and we’re bailing” — my response was more like this: OhfortheloveofPete.

The full story at On Parenting at the Washington Post.

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