November 22, 2011


Trompe l’oeil means ‘trick of the eye’ in French. Julian Beever is an English artist who specializes in creating trompe-l’œil chalk drawings. He uses a projection technique called anamorphosis to create the illusion of three dimensions when viewed from the correct angle. It’s often possible to position a person within the image as if they were interacting with the scene. The effect is so convincing, people will swerve to avoid potholes he’s drawn in the pavement!

September 29, 2011

5 Point Cafe - The Greatest Night in Baseball

1) The Natural - Prior to last night, Dan Johnson had arguably the most important home run in Tampa Bay baseball history off of the (then) unhittable Papelbon in 2008, which helped propel the "worst to first" Rays to the AL East title. That year Johnson was waived by the A's and spent most of the year in the minors before being an unlikely Setpember callup. 3 years later, Johnson spent most of the year as a disgruntled veteran minor leaguer, only to be called up in September as an extra bat off the bench, performing to the tune of a sub .400 OPS (not sub .400 OBP, a sub .400 OPS, which is really saying something). To call his homerun improbable doesn't do it justice. The fact that he repeated the "greatest homerun in franchise history" trick twice in 3 years is stupefying.

2) Carl Crawford, Double Agent - Just 3 innings later, Evan Longoria's walk-off pushed Johnson down to 2nd and 3rd on the historic franchise home run list. Longoria's HR was as shallow as McGwire's 62nd was, just squeezing over the wall near the left field foul pole, the same area of the field that Carl Crawford patrolled for 8 years before moving on to Boston. Just minutes earlier, Crawford completed an awful season patrolling left field for the Red Sox (his .289 OBP is particularly glaring) by making a diving attempt on Robert Andino's flyball to left. By diving, Crawford gave up any chance to throw out the slow footed Nolan Reimold, allowing the winning run to score without a play at the plate. After averaging over 3 wins above replacement during his time in Tampa, Crawford posted a big 0.0 in WAR this year. If you were to tell me the Rays sent Crawford to the Red Sox as some Cold War spy to submerge their playoff chances, I'd have a hard time disproving that theory, especially given his influence over the last play of the Red Sox season.

3) Fredi Got Fingered - It's been a running joke how badly Fredi Gonzalez has been abusing his young relief corps. Johnny Venters, Craig Kimbrel and Eric O'Flaherty all rank in the top 5 for relievers in the major leagues. Fredi simply went to the well too many times, and his bullpen imploded. Kimbrel had 4 blown saves down the stretch after being the best reliever in the majors for most of the season. The final game was like a case study for Fredi's inability to manage a baseball game - starting Matt Diaz over Jayson Heyward, batting Martin Prado (and his .302 OBP) second, allowing a SB attempt of third base by Michael Bourn with Dan Uggla at bat (the resulting home run would have been a 3 run shot instead of a 2 run shot had Bourn simply stayed put), not double switching to get a second inning out of Cristhian Martinez at the end of the game. I don't know how any Braves fans could have any faith in Fredi after this debacle.

4) Desmond Jennings Call Up - On August 31st, Desmond Jennings had a slash line of .333/.415/.611 with 8 HRs and 14 SBs in his first 37 games in the major leagues, resulting in the Rays getting criticized for blowing the wild card race by not bringing up Jennings sooner. Over the last month of the season, Jennings dipped to .167/.267/.255, and ended up with overall slash marks very much like what was expected of the talented rookie: .259/.356/.449. The Rays may have actually timed this call up perfectly, not only did they win the wild card and delay Jennings' service time, they also timed the callup for him to gain confidence against some low level competition (Royals, A's, Mariners) before facing some of the tougher pitching staffs in the league.

5) The Buck Stops Here - The Orioles went 11-6 to end the season winning facing playoff caliber competition (Rays, Angels, @Boston, @Detroit, Boston), winning 4 of those series' and tying one (2-2 against the Angels). Remember at the beginning of the season when Buck Showalter famously ripped Theo Epstein, saying "I'd like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll. You got Carl Crawford 'cause you paid more than anyone else, and that's what makes you smarter? That's why I like whipping their butt. It's great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, 'How the hell are they beating us?'" Holy crap was that a prophetic quote, there is probably nothing else in Theo Epstein's head right now other than that very thought.

September 8, 2011

"I Let You" - New Fleet Foxes Song (Paramount Theater, Seattle)

The Paramount Theater has quickly become a favorite venue here in Seattle. Getting to see the Walkmen open for Fleet Foxes there on back to back nights was radmobile. Here's video of the new Fleet Foxes song, "I Let You."

Fleet Foxes New Song, Paramount Theater, Seatte (9/7) from sportshui on Vimeo.

August 18, 2011

The Next Tony Hawk

I try not to repost links off of Kottke, but this video is pretty incredible. 

When Kilian Martin was 10 years old, he joined a gymnastics school in Madrid, Spain. At this same time, he also found a passion for surfing, however, with the ocean over 6 hours away, being able to practice everyday was a near impossibility. So,at the age of 16, he started to skate Mini-Ramps and Street. When he turned 21, he decided to move to California, where he set out on a journey to master his skateboarding abilities. Kilian grabbed many of his freestyle tricks and adapted them to street skateboarding. Since then, he has developed his own unique style, and a level of technicality that has set him in a class of his very own.

August 15, 2011

Antics Roadshow

Banksy is at it again, this time on your tele:

The program, which aired Saturday on TV sets across the UK, is a tongue-in-cheek look at the recent history of public pranks, and its inspiration was simple. Banksy admitted, "Basically I just thought it was a good name for a TV programme and I've been working back from there."

Click here for a link to watch the entire program.

August 14, 2011

Be a man

My favorite new comic:

Russell Peters is a Canadian comedian of Indian descent. He was estimated to earn $15 million last year. This is the first I've heard of him. Probably not the last. The bit below perfectly describes negotiating for goods in China.

July 17, 2011

Cool Video

Things are getting pretty sparse here on Sports Hui. Let's see if this cool video can liven things up a bit. TV on the Radio has always sounded like Radiohead to me, and this video reminds me of Paranoid Android.

June 28, 2011

Umami = Pleasure

Interesting article on why we enjoy foods high in calories. Umami is about to become foodie-speak for delicious.
"This is fascinating, no? We are so convinced that the tongue is the source of culinary joy — we eat too much ice cream because we want to make our mouth happy — but it’s not. Instead, we eat calorically dense foods because we are also trying to pleasure this secondary pathway, which responds not to the nuances of flavor but to the brute intake of energy. (On a more depressing note, this research also explains why the obesity epidemic is so hard to fix. Let’s imagine, for instance, that some genius invented a reduced calorie bacon product that tasted exactly like bacon, except it had 50 percent fewer calories. It would obviously be a great day for civilization. But this research suggests that such a pseudo-bacon product, even though it tasted identical to real bacon, would actually give us much less pleasure. Why? Because it made us less fat. Because energy is inherently delicious. Because we are programmed to enjoy calories.)" 

June 14, 2011

Tinariwen on the Radio

Tinariwen is a band of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali, founded by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, who as a child saw a western film in which a cowboy played a guitar. Ag Alhabib built his own guitar out of a tin can, a stick and bicycle brake wire. The band recorded their new album in the Algerian desert, where TV on the Radio co-leaders Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone joined them to play.

April 26, 2011

Good Dell Sir!

Roger Goodell's Op-Ed piece in today's WSJ seems like a farce - it's absolutely the wrong audience to try to sell this surface level fluff to given the legal and financial intricacies of the NFL lockout (or whatever the appropriate term is to call it at this point). It reads like it's written by a bully scrambling for reasons as to why he's losing a fight - maybe the NFL Union simply needed intelligent, well-trained leadership to put the owners in their place. Reading the op-ed after Joe Posnaski's rebuke, the only thing that comes to mind in Goodell's defense is if he wrote it not for the general readership of the Wall Street Journal, but for the NFL owners themselves. It's likely that every NFL owner reads the Journal (and certainly many times more likely than an NFL player or the average sports fan) - perhaps Goodell's attempt to promote these lame arguments might awaken the owners to their inability to sell their case to a court, let alone the general public. That's the one ploy I would give Goodell credit for, he's been getting beaten badly (and publicly) by NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith, who has done a fantastic job of winning legal battles while staying out of the media limelight. I suppose that shouldn't really be a surprise given all the success Smith has attained in both the private and public sector versus Goodell, whose only post-college job experience has been within the confines of the NFL home office.

For those not inclined to read Goodell's Op-ed, here's a video summary of his argument to the players:

April 25, 2011

New Fleet Foxes Streaming on NPR

Fleet Foxes: "Helplessness Blues" Over the past three years, the Fleet Foxes have gone from a sleepy Seattle folk band to having Pitchfork's #1 album. Who knew subdued gentle harmonizing could generate so much excitement? New album streaming now on NPR through May 3.

April 7, 2011

Vintage Soul: Fitz and the Tantrums

Fitz and the Tantrums might be best described as New American Soul Music. Go ahead and stream the first song, I guarantee you'll keep listening.

April 6, 2011

Baseball 2011 Season Review (Slogans & Promotions Edition)

Last year's review of major league baseball team slogans remains far and away Sports Hui's most popular contribution to the internet. Now that the 2011 edition is here, it's only a matter of time before AOL comes in with a big offer. Before that happens, here's a roundup of this year's team slogans and the best promotional giveaways, starting out with the AL. As in the past, teams are listed based on my personal predicted order of finish in their divisions.

Texas Rangers
Slogan: "My Texas. My Rangers." In an effort to distance themselves from any bandwagon fans that they picked up in their run to the world series last year, the Rangers have decided to remind everyone that they still play in the one state that will make you hate them. Either that or the marketing department has realized that there is really no reason for anyone not from Texas to visit Arlington.
Promotion: American League Championship Replica Ring. Anyone else picture Nolan Ryan seething over last year's world series loss and crushing one of these to dust with his bare hands? Ryan seems to be getting more ornery watching games in the Texas's only a matter of time before he puts a bow-tied Ken Rosenthal in a headlock and gives him a Robin Ventura beating after one too many awkward in-game interviews.

Oakland Athletics
Slogan: "Green Collar Baseball" In an effort to ensure that any articles written about the Oakland A's include the words "Billy Beane" and "Moneyball," the A's trot out the same tired slogan from last year. Extra points for only having green collars on the team's 2nd alternate road jersey this year. Well done.
Promotion: The MC Hammer Bobblehead giveaway on 80's Night sounds amazing, though sadly there are no pictures available. In fact, the only bobblehead pictured on the schedule is this one of Ricky Henderson, an admission by the A's front office that even they can no longer name actual players on their own team anymore.

The The Angels Angels of Anaheim
Slogan: "Angles Baseball 50th Anniversary." A team slogan to match the excitement of Anaheim (hint: there's none).  
Promotion: This Kendrys Morales bobblehead comes with both a right and left-handed batting stance to reflect Morales' abilities as a switch hitter. Nice touch. Natural Balance takes advantage of the advertising opportunity by making sure to plaster its brand all over Kendry's broken ankle. Shameless.

Seattle Mariners
Slogan: "Ready to Play." After last year's disastrous "Believe Big" ad campaign, the M's have scaled it down a notch. Part of me wonders if there is a typo with this year's slogan. With Milton Bradley, Jack Cust and Jack Wilson part of the everyday lineup, wouldn't it be more appropriate to replace the "l" with an "r" in that slogan?
Promotion: Ichiro Hit Counter Bobblehead. Love the fact that the Mariners put 4 digits on this one, so we can all count down Ichiro's chase for 3000 hits in the majors (at his current pace, this would happen sometime in 2014). That's a pretty special feat for someone that didn't swing a bat in the big leagues until age 27.


Chicago White Sox
Slogan: "All In." In an effort to capitalize on the soaring popularity of the poker boom, the White Sox are using the card games' most famous catchphrase as this year's slogan. In related news, team owner Jerry Reinsdorf is said to be curious about this new ipod invention, and has also mentioned to insiders that real estate still appears a fail safe investment.
Promotion: Leave it up to Chicago's Southside to have not one, but two Mullet Nights on the schedule. As anyone that has actually witnessed a game at the Cell can attest, mullet night on the Southside is known by the locals as "Friday."

Minnesota Twins
Slogan: "This is Twins Territory." If you were a professional baseball player for the Twins, wouldn't it be impossible to resist saying this slogan just before hooking up with road groupies? Don't pretend Michael Cuddyer hasn't already done this.
Promotion: Bike and Walk to Target Field. Given the health of the general Minneapolis region, this sounds like a terrible idea. I wonder if they'll be serving pork chop on a stick at Target Field on health day? Speaking of pork chop on a stick, if you were a Twins player, wouldn't it be impossible to resist saying this slogan just before...

Detroit Tigers
Slogan: "Who's Your Tiger?" This question is an easy one for the Tiger's star slugger, Miguel Cabrera. His Tiger has always been and always will be the Three Wise Men - Jim (Beam), Jack (Daniels) and Jose (Cuervo).
Promotion: Career Day. In case living in Detroit wasn't enough of a kick in the pants, the Tigers are hosting a Career Day offering students the chance to learn about careers in baseball. Given the horribly depressed economy in the D, this seems like a great idea...if only it weren't for a giant note plastered in the middle of the page that says "Note: This is NOT a job fair." Really, Tigers? It's not enough to take Detroiters money, now you gotta flaunt your fancy baseball jobs in their face? How about you drop Career Day, give people free breadstix and be done with this charade.

Kansas City Royals
Slogan: "Major League Moments." So nice of the Royals to remind their fans that their team is still a qualifying major league franchise, with real, bona-fide major league players on the field. You know, just in case there was any confusion.
Promotion: Ladies Tote Bag. My favorite part about this promotion is that it is given only to the first 10,000 "ladies" at the ballpark. Dressed like Lady Gaga? No tote bag for you, ma'am. You gotta be prim and proper to score one of these.

Cleveland Indians
Slogan: "Join the Tribe." I know what you're thinking, how insensitive of the Indians to continue to exploit this racial epiteth that should have ended long ago. But this is totally legit*, Cleveland is actually working with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and if you attend 15 home games this year you'll be an honorary member (*may not be true).
Promotion: Middle School Grad Night. You know how most cities celebrate and reward students for their high school or college graduations? Apparently Cleveland will take what it can get at this point.


Boston Red Sox
Slogan: "We Won't Rest." Apparently this slogan applies to everyone on the team other than Dennys Reyes, who from the looks of it, clearly doesn't mind a rest every now and always. 
Promotion: None.

New York Yankees
Slogan: None.
Promotion: W. B. Mason Truck Night. Is it just me or does anyone else think handing out 20,000 toy projectiles might be a bad idea in New York, especially if Bartolo Colon takes the mound that day. Did you know that there is a facebook page dedicated to Bartolo Colon looking like Andre the Giant? Somone needs to start up a "Bartolo Colon has a Possee" twitter account quick.

Tampa Bay Rays
Slogan: "Another Way." This slogan could refer to Tampa having to find another way to win the AL East after losing nearly entire bullpen and a number of key regulars. More likely, it's a slogan calling out Bud Selig to get the Rays the hell out of St. Pete and into a decent stadium.
Promotion: The Rays consistently have some of the best ballpark promotions in the game. This year they've got David Price arm sleeves, an Evan Longoria replica gold glove award, a bunch of free post-game concerts (we'll give 'em a pass on Darius Rucker...they are in St. Petersberg, Florida after all). But this DJ Kitty Puppet takes the cake. Backwards hat? Check. Gold cowbell chain? Check. Ability to challenge laser cats? No doubt.

Toronto Blue Jays
Slogan: Hustle and Heart (2.0). Apparently last year's slogan worked so well the Jays decided to bring it back for another round. To me, Hustle and Heart sounds like its two-thirds of the way to being Haggis.
Promotion: Roberto Alomar Hall of Fame bobblehead. The beauty of this bobblehead is that it doubles as a Pez dispenser, you insert the Pez in his helmet and Alomar spits it out his mouth in homage at umpires ala this career defining moment.

Baltimore Orioles
Slogan: "This is Birdland, Our Team is Birdshit.*" (*part of slogan may be embellished for effect).
Promotion: Apparently the Orioles spent all their money this offseason on Vlad Guerrero and Mark Reynolds, as their promotions are crap this year. I'm sure Ebay is eagerly anticipating a slew of rabid bids on those Buck Showalter bobbleheads they're giving out.