Tuesday, April 29

Paul George Gets Heckled By Fan, Insults Are Crystal Clear

Paul George is the best player on the Indiana Pacers, but that really doesn't matter, as the team is one loss away from perhaps the biggest meltdown ever in NBA history. They haven't won back to back games in over a month, and now have to win two or else they'll bow out in the first round against the Hawks, who finished this season at 37-45. That's eight games below .500, for those of you scoring at home.

One Pacer fan in particular thought George could be doing better. He had a point; the team was down 21 at home in the second quarter. And, thanks to the fan being somewhat close to the NBATV microphones, his heckling of the All-Star was picked up quite clearly. And it's a beauty. Enjoy.

Note: Paul George's house also got robbed during the game. Rough night all around.

Monday, April 28

Relays by SOL REPUBLIC Giveaway!

If you're anything like me, you absolutely love listening to music. And, chances are that a lot of that music listening happens via headphones, especially at the gym. That's why SOL REPUBLIC's Relays headphones are great--they provide a crystal clear sound while staying in your ear during a workout. 

The folks at SOL REPUBLIC were kind enough to offer a pair for me to give to one of you awesome readers. For your chance to win, simply shoot an email over to ahotcupofjoey@gmail.com with your favorite song to play during a workout. I can always use a few extra jams on the playlist.

In the meantime, check out this track by RUN DMT, who's featured in the video above, and enjoy this infographic about just how much millennials love music below.

Blue Chair Bay Rum Launches 25-City Spring into Summer Sampling Tour

Blue Chair Bay Rum recently announced the ‘Nowhere to Be But Here Tour,’ visiting over 25 US cities from April through August.  Starting in Texas, Blue Chair Bay is offering consumers of legal drinking age prime opportunities to experience the rums that multi-platinum singer-songwriter Kenny Chesney created to celebrate the anywhere, anytime spirit of the islands. 
Blue Chair Bay’s three premium rum flavors – White, Coconut and Coconut Spice – are all 100% beach made, mellowed in casks at one of the oldest, most storied distilleries in the Caribbean, located literally one hundred yards from the beach.  Blue Chair Bay White Rum recently earned one of the industry’s highest honors: a four-star, Highly Recommended rating from leading spirits arbiter F. Paul Pacult.  
“This tour is part ‘thank you’ to our great fans who made Blue Chair Bay Rum the fastest growing new company launch in the history of wine and spirits, and part ‘welcome’ to those ready to discover what made it so,” said Mark Montgomery, CEO of Fishbowl Sprits, parent company of Blue Chair Bay Rum.  “With spring heating up and summer on the horizon, it’s about time to give people that toes-in-the-sand feeling our rums have a way of bringing on,” said Montgomery.
After visiting Dallas last week, the tour continues throughout the country. Fans can check out the Rum Locator to find out...well, where the rum will be. Dates are below, and are subject to change:

April 29-30               San Antonio/Austin, TX

May 1-3                  Houston, TX

May 7-8                  Tampa, FL

May 9-10                Orlando, FL

May 14                   Destin/Panama City, FL

May15-16                Pensacola, FL

May 16-17               Gulf Shores, FL

June 4-7                  Nashville, TN

June 10-11              Champaign, IL

June 13-14              Chicago, IL

June 17-18              Angola/Ft. Wayne, IN

June 20-21              Indianapolis, IN

June 24-45              Buffalo/Rochester, NY

June 27                   Syracuse, NY

June 28                   Albany, NY

July 1-2                   Boston, MA

July 3-5                   Cape Cod, MA

July 8-9                   Hoboken/Point Pleasant, NJ

July 11-12                Wildwood, NJ

July 15-16                Annapolis/Baltimore, MD

July 18-19                Ocean City, MD

August 5-7               Sacramento, CA

August 8-9               San Francisco, CA (at Outside Lands Festival)

August 12-13           Fresno, CA

August 15-17           San Diego, CA (at Tiki Fest) 

Fans visiting sampling tour stops can enter for a chance to win a flyway trip to the first show on Chesney’s next tour along with picking up a variety of exclusive BCB swag. And I'm all about swag. Fans not in a tour town can enter the promotion through the Blue Chair Bay Rum Facebook page starting today. 

Saturday, April 26

Elderly Women Flying For The First Time Is Incredible

Meet An and Ria, two women from the Netherlands who have never flown on an airplane before. The folks over at Firsts.com gave them their first flight, and they ended up in Barcelona, so it's a win win.

As someone who flies pretty often, it's easy to take it for granted. But the ability to travel the world in under a day is really remarkable when you stop to think about it. The actual flight in this video takes place around six minutes in, but the whole thing is worth watching. The final 40 seconds especially are some of the most precious things I've ever seen.

Now let's go on vacation.

Tuesday, April 22

Brian Williams Raps "Gin and Juice"

This is not the first time Jimmy Fallon and crew have made a "rappin' Brian Williams" video, but that doesn't make it any less delightful. Watch as the NBC anchor channels his inner Snoop Dogg/Lion and sets the world on fire.

Monday, April 21

Young Paul Rudd Was A Nintendo Fan

Paul Rudd might still be a Nintendo fan, for all I know. But in the early 90s, he appeared in this old commercial for the SNES. Pretty great awed acting, I must say.

Friday, April 18

Chatting With Music Industry All-Star Bruce Duff

Vinyl record sales are on the upswing, and with Record Store Day right around the corner (April 19), A Hot Cup of Joey sat down with music pioneer Bruce Duff to chat about the success of vinyl and his upcoming projects. Bruce has done it all in the industry: he was an indie-label executive at Triple X Records, has played with and produced for all sorts of rock legends, including Adz, Circle, Thor and Simon Stokes, and written as a rock journalist for outlets like LA Weekly, Billboard and CREEM. He recently released his rock biography, "The Smell of Death," about life on the road with Jeff Dahl.

A Hot Cup Of Joey:
Why do you think vinyl sales are increasing even though digital sales are dropping?
Bruce Duff: I think it's a shift in the attitude of the fanbase. Vinyl is just a better way for fans to engage with the artist. The record is a big piece of art, with the cover and liner notes, and then there's the record itself. You have to maintain it and you're actually involved with the listening of it. 

Playback systems have changed, too. Rather than these big, extravagant players, things are more futuristic and little. You look at some of the MP3 players that are so tiny. I think the fanbase wants to get back to how it was in the past, with that whole album experience. With digital downloads you lose a lot of that. Of course, it's a ping pong effect. Albums are in now, but who knows if that will still be the case in 10 years?

AHCJ: What makes for a great album experience?
BD: Good mastering, great liner notes, eye-popping artwork are all a big part of how an album is experienced. It's very fan driven, too. Soul and indie rock are big advocates of vinyl, and hip-hop 12 inches are always in. But those are very different genres so a great album cover might look different based on the kind of music the artist plays.

AHCJ: How does the collectibility of vinyl help its appeal?
BD: A lot of people my age had parents who probably had a vinyl collection around the house. So growing up, you'd get a sense of that album experience. Sitting down, putting an album on, and getting to enjoy the artwork, liner notes, and all that. Now, stores have started carrying used vinyl albums, and the quality and price of those albums have gone up. There's really high volume nowadays, and it's costly, but I think amassing a quality collection is something to take pride in.

AHCJ: Why is National Record Day so special to you?
BD: This has been an explosive year for me on vinyl. We just reissued the Jesters of Destiny "Fun at the Funeral" album, and I have two new singles coming out this year, which is something I haven't done on vinyl in a really long time. 

AHCJ: Talk a little bit about your book, The Smell of Death.
BD: Well, first of all, I learned books aren't like records. You know how records are always released on one Tuesday, and then they're out everywhere? Books aren't like that. You'll have an early release, then a North American release, then a worldwide release, then an online only release. All sorts of different things, but it's out in the world now, so I'm happy.

I went on tour with Jeff Dahl and some other musicians--11 countries, low pay venues. I just kept a journal of the whole thing and kept a lot of photos. And looking at them a few months later, I realized I had a story here. Being a music journalist, I had some of my connections read it. And they all said the same thing: "It's good, but it's not about anything anyone cares about." Twenty years later, my wife, unbeknownst to me, sent the book out to the publisher (Rare Bird Books). And they loved it. Now, it's almost like a nostalgic look back at how things used to be.

AHCJ: You also have a weekly DJ residency in Los Angeles. How'd that come about?
BD: It's at El Chavo Restaurant, which is actually where the book deal went down behind my back. A few of us just spin all these old records. It's all vinyl, and we'll share collections and just hang out. For me, it's more therapeutical than anything else. And it doesn't hurt that the food is great, too.

AHCJ: What's the most memorable show you've ever been to?
BD: We had a show in Finland one time, that was just a magic night, everything was perfect. And recently we (the Street Walkin Cheetahs) just played a show with Cheetah Chrome at The Whiskey. As a kid, playing there was like you made it. And Cheetah Chrome is just amazing. Hearing his guitar, I'm like "that's what a legend sounds like." It was just fantastic.

But it's funny, I get asked about shows all the time. I'll tell you something people don't realize: it's an absolute bore backstage. People always try to get backstage and hang out, but it's just boring. If I'm seeing someone play and they ask if I want to come backstage, I'm just like "I'd rather stay at the bar."

Bruce Duff of Knitting Factory Management/Entertainment is the author of "The Smell of Death" and recently reissued his vinyl-only "Fun at the Funeral" album by his band Jesters of Destiny.

Ranking the Pokemon: #45- Flareon

Flareon, like Ninetales, is a Pokemon who I think would make a good pet. But of course, as I typed that sentence, my dog came to stand on my chest and lick my face, so maybe I don't know anything.

Regardless, Flareon's little ascot of fur is quite adorable, and the little fella packs an enormous punch. Attack is out of this world, and Special is very strong as well. The other moves are lacking, but hey, you've got some options.

Flamethrower is a must to get that STAB bonus, and Reflect and Double Team are the way to go to shore up the poor Defense and cover for the lackluster HP, respectively. For the final move, use Hyper Beam for its tremendous attack power, or Double-Edge so you don't have to wait a turn to charge, or Body Slam so you don't take recoil damage. The possibilities are endless. Well, I guess the possibilities are just those three (or you could go further annoyance and put Toxic or Fire Spin in there. I think the Toxic/Fire Spin combo was actually viable in Generation I, but I never did it, because I don't like not having control of my Pokemon for 3-5 turns. Some people might like that, though, so more power to them.

Battling Grade: B

Previously: #46- Weezing

Wednesday, April 16

Ranking the Pokemon: #46- Weezing

Weezing is a TANK. It also looks like the saddest sack of crap ever, and I guess it is, since it's litchrally two bags of toxic air (a.k.a. crap). But with outrageously high Defense and solid Attack and Special, Weezing can take a few hits and then Explode when the HP is low.

I pretty much just summed up the moveset you should put on Weezing: Explosion, which will obviously kill the Weezer but will also most likely make your opponent faint. Also, Weezing looks silly in Pokemon Stadium when it faints.

Outside of Explosion, Weezing doesn't have a lot of options. Thunderbolt is a nice little change of pace from the norm, and can give Weezing a fighting chance against Water and Flying types. Double Team is good as well for annoyance. Then maybe...Hyper Beam? Haze? I didn't realize Weezing's movepool was so limited, otherwise I might have dropped it a little bit. But aesthetically it cracks me up, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt here.

Battling Grade: B-

Tuesday, April 15

Ranking the Pokemon: #47- Ninetales

Look at this: it's my 900th post here on A Hot Cup Of Joey, and it's for Ninetales, or as you might say in tweet speak: 9Tailz. Fantastic symmetry!

Ninetales was one of the first Pokemon I ever learned about, so there's definitely a nostalgia factor going on. But it also looks like a Pokemon that would actually be reasonable to have as a pet. The actual petting aspect is tremendous, the wagging would be adorable, and cooking would be a breeze. No more waiting for your oven to get up to 400 degrees, just let Ninetales breath on those fish sticks and you'll be chowing down in no time. Also, now that I've been a dog owner for like nine months, I can safely say it's the best decision I've made in my life. Dogs are the best. Ninetales is a dog, and therefore, is the best.

So why is Ninetales not #1? Because, sadly, I cannot actually own a Ninetales, and I just have to battle with it. Because Fire types are pretty haggard, Ninety can't do much, but it's got some fairly solid stats and moves to give it a fighting chance: Speed and Special are both great, and the other stats are all around average. Move-wise, A Tale Of Nine Cities can pick up Confuse Ray and Flamethrower, which are both VERY solid moves. If you want to be real annoying (which might actually be the way to go with Ninetales), toss on Reflect and Double Team. That way, your opponent will be confused, you'll be harder to hit, and when they DO connect, if it's a physical move, the damage will be diminished. Sounds like a wonderful way to lose friends to me.

Battling Grade: B+

Celebrate Jackie Robinson Day With A Book By His Good Friend

“I don’t know if you can understand what it’s like to be on the outside looking in,” young Tania Grossinger said to her new friend, legendary Dodger Jackie Robinson. Of course, Jackie could understand. He was the first African American to play Major League Baseball, and was known for his bravery in the face of racism and exclusion.

Jackie and Me: A Very Special Friendship (Sky Pony Press, ages 5–8) has been hailed by critics, parents, and children. At the time she met Jackie, Tania was only 13 years old, and though she brushed arms with celebrities frequently at her cousins' resort, they often made promises they couldn't keep.

That's why Tania was so stunned when Jackie kept his promise and met her for a game of ping-pong. As a fellow table tennis player myself, I'd like to think Jackie had a mean serve. Either way, this is a fantastic story of just how cool he was, and has a great message of believing in yourself to overcome any obstacles in your way.

As baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day, everyone should celebrate being kind to others. After all, Jackie would have done the same. 

Sunday, April 13

This Girl Scout Broke The Record For Most Cookies Sold

Katie Francis is a 12-year-old girl scout that knows how to GET THINGS DONE. She set the record for most cookies sold, with nearly 22,000 boxes, and now she wants to share her business acumen with her. Yes, this is a parody, and yes, it is fantastic. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 9

There's A Parody of The Movie "Her" Out There, Featuring "Seth Rogen"

Apparently this has been around since the movie was released, but I only just saw it until now. I'm nothing if not timely. The laugh from "Seth Rogen" really cracks me up, and there are some good one-liners in here. Well played.

Tuesday, April 8

An April Fool's Prank For The Ages

Little Aquinas College in Michigan was home to probably one of the best April Fool's pranks in recent memory. If you want to read more on the story (which was brilliantly executed), check out this post from MLive.com. But if you haven't seen the video yet, check it out, and then read about the brilliance. Enjoy!

Friday, April 4

Adreian Payne: Dunker, Celebrator Extraordinaire

Earlier this week, the college all-star shenanigans took place. It's basically a way for players who aren't still in the NCAA Tournament to take advantage of a little extra time in the spotlight. One of those players was Michigan State senior Adreian Payne, who dropped an incredibly impressive dunk.

But he wasn't done there.

Payne then picks up his basketball and executes a fairly complex and well thought out celebration. It involves at least seven other people from what I can see, and I really hope there was no forewarning it was coming at all. Either way, well worth the quick watch.

New Items, Characters and Tracks Make for Head-Over-Heels Fun in Mario Kart 8

Nintendo today revealed new information about Mario Kart 8, the latest installment in the fan-favorite racing series launching exclusively for the Wii U console on May 30 in stores and in the Nintendo eShop. For the first time in HD, Mario Kart 8 introduces original track designs that highlight the game’s new anti-gravity feature, which allows players to race upside down or up vertical surfaces. Racers will also enjoy a variety of series-favorite features, including the return of 12-player online competitive play*, four-player local multiplayer, hang gliders, underwater racing and motorbikes.
New features in Mario Kart 8 include:
  • Spin Boost: While racing upside down or on walls, players can bump into other racers or certain track obstacles to get a speed boost. The Spin Boost fundamentally redefines the way that players compete, and makes anti-gravity racing even more exhilarating.
  • Returning Characters: In Mario Kart 8, players can race with returning characters Metal Mario, Lakitu and Shy Guy. These newly revealed returning characters join a host of previously announced favorites, including all seven of Bowser’s Koopalings, who are playable for the first time in video game history.
  • New Items: Two new items join the fray in Mario Kart 8. First, the Piranha Plant attaches to the front of the player’s kart and chomps at other characters, banana peels on the track or even shells thrown by other characters. Each time the Piranha Plant lunges forward to bite, the player receives a brief boost of speed. The second new item is the Boomerang Flower. After acquiring it, racers can throw a Boomerang at opponents to stun them, and its arc allows players to strike multiple opponents with a single toss. The Boomerang can be thrown three times – forward or backward.
  • New Courses: Remixed classic courses make a return in Mario Kart 8, with favorites such as Moo Moo Meadows from Mario Kart Wii, Toad’s Turnpike from Mario Kart 64 and Donut Plains from Super Mario Kart, among others. The graphics and layout of these courses have been redesigned and re-imagined. For example, Toad’s Turnpike now allows players to drive up certain walls in anti-gravity mode. Mario Kart 8 will include 16 new courses and 16 remixed classic courses.
  • Live Recorded Music: For the first time in the Mario Kart series, select courses in Mario Kart 8 feature music recorded by live performers.
  • Control Scheme: Mario Kart 8 will support a variety of control schemes, including the Wii U GamePad, the Wii U Pro Controller, the Wii Wheel and the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The game can also be played in off-TV mode using just the Wii U GamePad.
Mario Kart 8 is now available for pre-order at major retailers throughout North America. A deposit may be required for pre-orders. See individual retailers for details. For more information about the game, visit http://mariokart8.nintendo.com/. A new Mario Kart 8 game trailer can be found at Nintendo’s YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/nintendo. And it looks like the chaos will be out of control.

One Of These Players Doesn't Belong

During Wednesday night's blowout against the Celtics, Wizards center Marcin Gortat decided he'd join the Boston huddle after a foul. It's especially entertaining because Gortat just looks so enthusiastic being in the huddle, and absolutely no one on the Celtics tries to get him out of there. When you're down by that much, you'll take all the extra help you can get.

Gortat later broke down his huddle shenanigans for Wizards Magazine, furthering his cause for "Goofiest Player in the NBA." Fantastic.

Tuesday, April 1

Google Maps Is Looking For Pokemon Masters

In an act that can at best be describes as a cruel, cruel joke, Google announced that it was looking for Pokemon Masters. The Pokemon Challenge, running now through April 2 at 2PM PST, encourages "strong-willed" Pokefans to find 150 Pokemon strewn about its Google Maps. 

Qualified participants will do one final round of testing at the Googleplex. The winning candidate will being as a Pokemon Master at Google on September 1. I just hope I have enough Rare Candy to last me through the week.

Ranking the Pokemon: #48- Raichu

It sickens me having Raichu this high. Anything associated with Pikachu shouldn't be that good, and the utter annoyance of that rat should limit Raichu's prowess.

But alas, Raichu somehow does have a lot going for it. Sure, its HP and Defense is pretty weak, but Attack and Special are both strong, and as an electric type, it's got solid Speed. Its tail is also an actual lightning bolt, which actually adds to the coolness factor. Granted, whatever it calls those ear things and the yellow clown face paint takes away any coolness points Raichu earned, but I digress.

The real reason Raichu is this high up on the list is because of its moveset. As it evolves from the Thunder Stone, it'll only naturally learn whatever Pikachu already knew, but via TM and Pokemon Stadium, you can give Raichu an incredibly well-rounded quartet of moves. Thunderbolt and Thunder Wave should be on any electric type anyway, and Body Slam/Double-Edge/Hyper Beam/Submission can take advantage of Raichu's surprisingly high Attack. Or you can go the extreme annoyance route and toss Double Team on there (which personally I like doing, because I'm a douche when it comes to battling).

But the cherry on top comes from Pokemon Stadium: If you win each cup (I think) and then the highest cup on Round 2 difficulty while having Pikachu in your team of three in each battle, that Pikachu will learn the move Surf. Electric types are often crucial members of really successful teams, simply because they're only weak against one type: Ground. You know what completely demolishes Ground-types? Water moves. And now that your Raichu can catch some waves, any Ground-type that tries to take you out is gon' be slower, and soon they gon' be fainted.

Battling Grade: B

Previously: #49- Clefable