Sunday, February 27

Louisville cheerleader gets a technical

Is cheerleading a sport? Legally, no. That issue was put to bed last year by the courts (and people who play real sports). But I had to chuckle when during the Louisville-Pitt basketball game, a Louisville cheerleader got all pumped after the Cardinals scored on a breakaway. He grabbed the ball off the court and threw it in the air, despite the fact that there was still time on the clock.

Hahaha I can understand him getting excited about the game and I don't know, cheering (maybe toss in a mid-air kick), but this dude took it to another level. He was probably venting the frustrations of getting cut from his high school basketball team (I can relate), and having to sit on the sidelines and rah rah rah all day. As if the emphatic dunk wasn't enough of an exclamation point on the game, my man had to waddle on to the court and hurl the ball to the rafters. I love his reaction right after he tossed it; "Oh boy, that was not a good idea. At all." He meekly back peddled to his rightful place, next to his trusty megaphone.


Don't get me wrong, if someone offered me a scholarship to cheer, I probably would take it and own it like a boss. I'd be doing eggrolls and cartwheels all over the place.  I'd make Cirque de Sole look like amateurs. "G-V-S-U, are you a Laker? #&%! YES!" People wouldn't leave after the men's game anymore, they would now go home after halftime, because the real show would be over. I'd set up a table for autographs, and hire a manager and security. I would put Louie the Laker out of a job. But this guy took it too far and just became the butt of all jokes, and the living stereotype that 99% of Americans have about male cheerleaders. Smooth move, meathead. You forever tarnished my cheerleading dreams.

By Aaron Brandt, who indeed passed gymnastics in high school P.E. with a rousing routine that featured the NBC Olympic theme music. Boss. 

Saturday, February 26

I am not proud to be a Detroit Pistons fan

The Detroit Pistons are disgusting. Friday night's regrettable performance against the 76ers is the lowest moment in this organization I have ever seen. Tayhaun Prince, Tracy McGrady, Ben Wallace and Rodney Stuckey did not start in the game after an alleged boycott of head coach John Keuster. Coach Keuster was ejected in the game, while the Pistons on the bench sat back and laughed. (Of course they claim it was about something else...) Despicable. During the shoot around before the game, Prince, McGrady, Wallace, Stuckey, Chris Wilcox, Rip Hamilton and Austin Daye were all missing. The organization of course spun an excuse for each of them, despite strong rumors of a protest against the coach.

Enough is enough. How many times do we have to see players on this team moan and complain about everything that happens, such as issues with the coach, fouls and playing time? These guys get paid millions of dollars to play a game, and they can't even show up for practice. Pathetic. In no other profession can you simply not show up to work if you don't like how things are going (Unless you are a Wisconsin politician). Most people get fired for pulling that kind of garbage. I don't care about the good memories of 2004 anymore. Send crybabies Prince and Hamilton packing. They are nothing but aging detriments to the team's future. Ben Wallace should follow close behind, along with anyone else who is not committed to playing hard every night. The team should not be laughing on the bench, when they are not the laughingstock of the league. Jokes on you, Pistons. The remaining three starters from that '04 team have forever tarnished their legacies, and will be most likely remembered for this immature stunt they pulled.

John Kuester needs to go as well, as no coach has lost control of a team in such spectacular fashion has he. Sure, he faced huge odds coming into a situation with the massive egos on his team, but to have players boycotting you? He is in over his head, and has lost this team for good. To top it off, he was ejected in the game, and his players laughed like he was a joke.  Buh bye.

Once Bill Davidson died, the franchise just stopped altogether. Whether it was Joe Dumars' inability to make a decent move, or he simply was not allowed to do anything; he was at the helm when the franshize hit rock bottom (hopefully this is rock bottom). He can't draft, and his recent acquisitions have been aged busts who couldn't defend my dad's freshman girl's basketball team. The players he has brought in are not the "Piston brand" of player Joe D used to gloss poetic about in the past. Instead we are left with hacks who focus more on their Twitter accounts than on the game itself (hello, Austin Daye). How about get in the gym and learn to D up a man? But that would mean putting your swag to the side and listening to a coach, right? T-Mac was brought in to be a leader on this team. Yet he disappears most of the time and now he is skipping shoot around and criticizing his coach. Looks like he will always be the star who couldn't get it done. Remember that series in 2003 when you were up 3-1 and lost? So does everyone else.

How dare this team disrespect the Pistons organization and fans this way. They play in Detroit, a city that has clearly fallen on hard times. People are working multiple jobs just to keep the lights on, and these so called professionals can't man up and play a game for millions of dollars? Detroit fans deserve a live apology for this selfish action from every single one of the players who were involved in this mess. To me, this is worse than the Palace brawl. Kuester, if he isn't fired, should pull a Norman Dale from Hoosiers and tell the refs that from now on, "My team is on the floor." I'd rather see six players who care, than watch a whole team who would rather complain on Twitter about their coach than play basketball.

I don't know these Pistons. Where are the "going to work every night" Pistons I remember? Where is Chauncey's never say die attitude? Where is McDyess's smile? Where is Lindsay Hunter's tenacity? Where is Sheed's bravado? Gone, along with the passion for basketball in Detroit. I don't care about this team anymore. I tried hard this season, but this is the last straw. To pull a page out of my old man's book, I am expunging the Pistons from my life. This isn't about wins and losses. If it was, I would have bailed last season. No, this is about my lack of passion for a bunch of babies who can't get it together enough to play a full game of basketball. I simply cannot get behind that kind of team. There are bad teams who are just bad (Cleveland), and then there are bad teams that are bad because they don't care. Hopefully the new owner comes in and cleans house. A new start. Get rid of the skeletons of 2004, the bad draft picks and the washed up UConn players. Give me a team that cares. That's all I ask.

EDIT: The six Pistons who did suit up and play deserve some serious recognition. Thank you Charlie V, Greg Monroe, Ben Gordon, DaJuan Summers, Jason Maxiel and especially Will Bynum who said, "I don't have any thoughts on anything that's going on. I just try to stay professional and positive throughout whatever's going on. You know, because it's still a business. It's still my job to be a professional basketball player, so that's what I'm trying to do."  They may not be the best players, but they showed some level of professionalism that the rest of the team apparently can't understand. 


By Aaron Brandt, who has a Rip Hamilton jersey for sale. 

Friday, February 25

GVSU abandons all hope at current library

Last winter, Grand Valley State University announced that they would be building a new, $70 million library called the Mary Idema Pew Library (MIP Library, lolz). It is set to open in 2013 (a year after I graduate), and will basically be the greatest library on earth. It features five floors, an automatic retrieval system for books, a genius bar (whatever that means), a tunnel to Kirkhof, a rooftop concourse, thirty study rooms and of course it is LEED Platinum Certified. Watch the slick little PR video below that manages to hit a record number of eduacation, diversity and GVSU buzzwords.





This is all great. We do need a new library. Since the current one was built, GVSU has added 19,000 students and computers have been invented. But it would seem that all this commotion about the MIP has taken a serious toll on the current library.

The Zumberge Library is nothing more than an ugly concrete bunker. It is easy to see why a new library is being built. However, that does not give GVSU reason to ignore it. If you have a paper to print, good luck with your arduous task. There are four floors on the library, with one printer per floor. There are about 16 computers per floor where you can log in and print. For a school of 24,000, having this few computers is unacceptable. Before class, there are traffic jams of people waiting for an open computer to print a research paper, while Suzy hogs those old Dells and watches Glee. These monstrosities are clearly outdated. Logging in should not take more than five minutes, and Word should not take more than two minutes to load.

Once you finally do get a computer and pull up your paper, you must find a working printer. The printer on the main floor, which is set up as an express printing station, is broken and has been almost the entire year. Recently, the second floor printer shut down as well. I have not ventured to the fourth floor, as the steep, narrow steps require mountain climbing gear to scale, but I'm sure they have had a fair share of problems. So that means almost all documents are sent to the poor third floor printer, creating a massive surge of papers, all mixed up. It becomes a game to try and grab your paper out of the printer while three other people jockey for position around you. I recently paid over $400 for one credit hour, yet they refuse to fix or replace two printers? Maybe they should have held off on the new flat screen TV that only plays CNN and saved that money for repair costs.

If you are in the library to study, bring a lawn chair and leave your laptop at home. There are virtually no open tables and chairs to sit in, and outlets for electricity are non-existent, save for a few Macgyvered surge protectors that only reach a few tables. There is no place for group work, which is ironic, considering the liberal arts education model relies so heavily on working in groups.

In today's world, students at GVSU use the library for three purposes; to print, to study and to do group work. The lack of working printers, seats, tables, outlets and open computers all make those tasks very difficult. And these problems could all be easily fixed. Add more tables.Toss in a few extension cords. Get new computers. Purchase a working printer. Just because a new library is eminent does not mean current students must be overlooked. We pay too much money to see "OUT OF ORDER" signs all over everything. All I ask for is a functioning library, not an exhibit on how the Detroit Public Schools operate.

By Aaron Brandt, who is undoubtedly paying for a library he will never use and a library that doesn't work. 

Tuesday, February 22

My first day of high school (a poem)

A lot of people like to put deep thoughts and poems on their blogs, so I decided to be just as cool and post one of my own masterpieces. This is 11/12 material here, folks. And that is coming from GVSU's poet in residence. I really got some issues off my chest with this one.

Day One.

It is eight o'clock in the morning.
This is my first day.
I am wearing my new white polo.
I open the front doors. The halls are crowded.
I can't squeeze through.
Everyone is looking at me.
I need to find the cafeteria.
Where is the cafeteria?

I can't read this map. Which way is north? Where am I?
I head down this hallway.
The people get bigger.
I am heading the wrong way.
There is no turning back.

The bell rings.
I drop my books.
I see my books get kicked like rocks in all directions.
Farewell, books.
Where is my first class?
What is my first class?
I head to the office.
I trip on my untied shoelace.
No one helps me off of the dusty ground.
I find my algebra book on the ground. I wish I hadn't.

I wander into algebra.
There are no seats in the room.
The teacher stops everything.
I am not on his roster.
I am not in this class.
What is calculus anyway?

I hurry to room 118.
I get a tardy.
Some girls in the back of the room snicker at me.
My fly is open.
I sit down and close the barn door. I think I fall asleep.
The class ends.
Three more classes. Three more tardys. One more tardy and I am suspended.

Lunchtime.
I search for a table.
Everyone looks so uninviting. I don't know a person in this room.
I take my tray to the far table. I am alone.
I eat in silence.
Even the administrators ignore me.
Everyone ignores me.

There is a hair in my spaghetti.
There are two hairs in my spaghetti.
My milk is expired.
I am too scared to take it back.
Did I really just spill the hairy spaghetti on my shirt?
I run to the bathroom.
They all laugh.

I can't get it out.
I only made it worse.
Tide to Go would have been useful.
The bell rings. Lunch is over.
The bathroom fills with girls.
This is the girls bathroom.

I run in terror. Girls scream.
P.E. class. I show up on time for once.
My uniform sits on my bed at home.
I borrow one from the teacher.
It smells like death.

Everyone else is coordinated.
I can't dribble a basketball.
This is a disaster.
They all laugh. They all can dunk.
They dunk in my face.
The class ends.
I forget my locker combination.

I have to wear this smelly uniform all day.
I look at the uniform.
It isn't on my body.
I am naked.
They all stare.

Am I dreaming?
This must be a dream!
My alarm goes off.
I am late for my first day of college.


By Aaron Brandt, who never forgot his locker combination. 16-34-8.

Monday, February 21

Blake Griffin's average dunk over a Kia

The Slam Dunk Contest at this year's NBA All-Star game was actually decent. Except one part. Blake Griffin. Everyone's favorite Sooner took home first place with the most boring, easy dunks of the night.



Seriously, this dude did the most basic dunks in the world and walked away champion. Did he jump over the free throw line? Rescue a stuffed animal? Dunk on two hoops? Dunk with three balls? No. He did a dunk that we see him perform about five times a week on SportsCenter, only he doesn't get paid to jump over a compact car every time.

Great idea by Kia to roll out their car and become the talk of the weekend, but it did not deserve a win. He didn't even jump over the actual car, just the hood. And he jumped from the middle of the lane. That's something Greg Monroe could do in his sleep. Just because Kia paid Griffin a bag of money to use a prop does not make it a good dunk. The chior had nothing to do with the dunk either. Its like if Michelle Kwan (the only figure skater I can think of off the top of my head) brought in some ice sculptures of the Vancouver skyline and won the Olympics because she was "creative." (The French judge would still hate it, but only because of the bribes she took earlier).

In order to spice up the contest a bit, and add some actual challenges, I propose some of my own ideas.

  1. Jump through rings of fire. Like Will Ferrell in Old School. The danger of smoldering on the hardwood adds at least four points to the total score.
  2. Set up a six foot deep pool and jump out of that to dunk. Anyone can grab rim, but from underwater? 
  3. Dunk wearing rollerblades. Shoes are overrated.
  4. Dunk a cat. If you kill the cat, you lose. If it lives, you might get 45 points. 
  5. Sign your name on the new collective bargaining agreement, located on the backboard. Impossible, I know.
  6. Jump over GraveDigger. Anyone can dunk over the hood of a clown car from Asia, but I fear the man who can dunk over the fan favorite of the Pontiac Silverdome. 
  7. Actually be a star in the league and actually enter the contest. Where is the NBA's best players in the contest? One semi-star enters and basically wins it before it begins. Imagine if LeBron, Howard, Kobe and D-Rose suited up and went at it. 
  8. Dunk Justin Bieber. I seriously have no problem with a kid making millions doing what he loves, but his two crossovers were so overrated. Maybe if it was in a 6th grade basketball game verses Trinity Utica, I would be impressed, but not from a 16 year old. Windmill his world 2.0 into the basket.
  9. Go up for a dunk and strip to your undies in midair before slamming it home. No one has the guts to pull this off...Oh wait, Walter Hermann already did? Nevermind.
By Aaron Brandt, who surprisingly, cannot dunk. 


Tuesday, February 15

Stupid computer doesn't take Jeopardy seriously

So an IBM computer named Watson went up against two of the best Jeopardy contestants of all time, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. This computer thinks he's all that because he takes up the size of a room and basically has the power of about 2,500 PCs. So he gets on the show and starts spouting off answers. Then good ol' Watson gives this gem. See video.

Watson on 'Jeopardy': "What Is Leg?" @ Yahoo! Video

What is leg? Are you kidding me bro? Nice answer. This isn't a Saturday Night Live skit, this is the real deal. This is the big leagues, and Watson goes all "what is leg" on everyone. Just another example of why computers and robots will never take over like in I-Robot and Eagle Eye.  And why is a computer like this playing game shows?  Can't he be curing cancer, stopping global warming (or cooling, depending on the current weather) or doing my stats homework? Watson eventually got it together and dominated everyone, but why wouldn't he? Give me Google and I will win Jeopardy too. Its like winning the mile at the Olympics because you had a bike. I'm unimpressed, Watson. Go on "Minute to Win It" or even "The Price is Right" and then we'll talk. Oh, you can't play Plinko, Watson? Useless. I'll take "s words" for $1000, Alex.


Monday, February 14

Major Bridge Card cuts coming to college students


Bridge Cards in Michigan are too easy to aquire. Basically if you have a pulse, you can apply to get up to $200 a month. Many college students have taken advantage of this program and are now on food assistance. But an article in the Detroit News revealed that the Department of Human Services is going to crack down on college students who are Bridge Card holders starting in April. The standards for having a card will be much more rigorous, basically only giving them to people in "very limited circumstances, such as caring for young children." If you work less than 20 hours a week, you automatically lose it.  As a conservative, I am all for the reduction of government handout programs. The Bridge Card should have stricter requirements, and I wouldn't even be opposed at all to major cuts in this program. But what ticks me off is the DHS's apparent attack on just college students.

There are 1.9 million Bridge Card holders in Michigan, and college students make up just 18,000 of that number. That is just less than one percent of total Bridge Card holders. Why is the DHS only targeting college students? (Or at least going public that they are making cuts just to college students) If they want to make cuts, then cut it across the board and have stricter requirements for everyone, not just students. Why take this away from Michigan residents furthering themselves through a college education (in Michigan), while the other 99% goes basically unchecked? They don't abuse the system? They "deserve" it more than college students? Give me a break.

I am fine with cuts, as long as everyone on the Bridge Card gets examined. I am 100% positive that not all the other 1.8 million people on the card deserve or need it. The whole food assistance program is a joke, but making college students the scapegoat is ridiculous. Cancel the whole program, I don't care. But don't just get all serious about stopping only college students from having the assistance or "abusing the system."

The main argument against the "abusers" is that kids are using their financial aid money, loan money and parent's money to buy booze and Virginia Slims, or whatever they please, since they don't have to pay for food. But what is stopping anyone else from doing the same "abuse?" Non-college students can use the bridge card money to buy food, while the money they get from the government or a job can be used to buy drugs. Abuse can happen, even if you are not in college. And there are plenty of college students who are not doing this.

Maura D. Corrigan and Michigan lawmakers are right to want to cut handout benefits. But they are wrong by stopping at just college students, who have massive loans thanks to the state universities. Not everyone in school has the luxury of mommy and daddy's pocketbook to dig into and pay for college, and not every college student can have a full time job and take a full class load (Unless they don't need sleep and don't mind getting C's). So why should we see cuts before the rest of the population? Why are college students seen as less deserving of a card, when people with no job and no attempt to gain a job can live off bridge cards and welfare all their lives? I get the whole argument that "if you can go to college, you can afford food." But the fact is, no one can afford college. You can work all you want and still have large debts when you leave. And going to college these days means more than just classes. If you want to get a leg up on your competition, then you have to join organizations, clubs and participate in events that are all unpaid and take up time. Having a full time job will hurt your grades, no questions asked. College is not affordable whatsoever.

Michigan has really treated its college students like garbage lately, by taking away scholarships mid-semester and this new cut only adds to the list of reasons young people are leaving the mitten state. Yes, these are all foofy liberal handout programs, but just focusing on less than one percent of the problem is a problem in itself. I would welcome stricter regulations for everyone, but the DHS's little PR/news cycle campaign that paints only students as thieves is accomplishes very little. The real problem is the wide open application process that allows everyone into the the program. Fix that for all Bridge Card holders before you blame students for abusing anything. Cut it all together or leave it alone, but don't start picking and choosing who deserves it more. 


By Aaron Brandt, who will probably be paying student loans and eating Ramen until he is 67. 

Sunday, February 13

RoboCop statue in downtown Detroit?

Cause I don't want no RoboCop
You movin' like a RoboCop
When did you become a RoboCop
No, I don't need no RoboCop
-Kanye West. RoboCop

The newest little Internet fad is a push to get an actual RoboCop statue in downtown Detroit. Some geeks who probably live in their mom's basement have started a fund to raise $50,000 in order to get a statue of the fictional half-man, half-robot, all cop's likeness in Detroit. Because "Robocop has become a very suitable icon to represent Detroit, and deserves a place in this city's history," according to the original Robocop Facebook post. "As Detroit continues to redefine itself into the 21st century — please help to truly make this the coolest city on earth." Here's the website.

Yeah, ok. This is another example of people's dim views of what is actually happening in Detroit. It just shows that the city is a joke to most. I'm sure most of the people who are pushing this don't actually live in the city, and don't realize what an unfortunate waste of money that this statue would be if built.  If you want to make Detroit the coolest city on earth, a stinking RoboCop statue is a worse idea than  windmill power and the Woodward monorail combined.

If you want to make it a "cool" city, how about fixing the 47% illiteracy rate in the city? That's right, almost half of the people in Detroit cannot read. Detroit has a horrendous school system that is should be ashamed to claim that it is in the business of education. People made Robert Bobb out to be a superhero when he took over as Emergency Financial Director the DPS, but the deficit has only gotten worse, schools have closed, jobs have been outsourced and shady deals have been struck. He clearly overstepped his bounds when it came to his job description. Maybe Detroit needs an Emergency Emergency Financial Director at this point. No sane person will move their family to Detroit knowing that they will get the worst education possible for their children. You can build all the bars, stadiums and monorails you want, but you will not have a vibrant city if people have no where to shop for apples so they can give to their teachers. (Both apples and teachers are hard to come by in the city). And let's not forget about the crime rate, which is something a RoboCop statue won's stop. In fact, I bet RoboCop will be dismantled and scrapped less than 24 hours after he is put up in the city.

I am glad to see that mayor Dave Bing said "There are not any plans to erect a statue of RoboCop, thank you for your suggestion," on Twitter. There's one positive action a Detroit politician has taken. On Twitter.

Eminem commercials and RoboCop statues will not change anything in Detroit. Electing good politicians who care about the city instead of their mansions (Hello Martha Reeves) and are not crazy (Hello JoAnn Watson). This is Detroit and this is what we do. We build statues of fictional crime fighting robots from bad 1980s movies.

By Aaron Brandt, who thinks Iron Man would destroy RoboCop.

Tuesday, February 1

DEATHSTORM 2011!!!!!!!

DUE TO THE IMPENDING STORM, ALL BLOGS AT SWIMMERS ITCH ARE CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. HERE IS THE VIEW FROM MY WINDOW BEFORE EVERYTHING IS DESTROYED. 
Could this be my last blog ever? 

By Aaron Brandt, who still has class at 4PM. Godspeed Aaron Brandt.