The world is undergoing big changes right now. The proliferation of technology not only in the United States and the Western World, but also throughout developing nations, is leading to wild shifts in society. In the West the technology is a tad meretricious. I love my Ipod, but is it really necessary to survive? As hard as it is to admit-it is not required for my survival. Technology-cell phones, wireless internet, solar power, wind power-is going to make life easier for the poorer nations to compete with the wealthier nations.
While in Tanzania and Ethiopia this summer I saw these changes first hand. None of the people there have land-line telephones. They’ve all got cell phones. Africa is the fastest, largest growing market in the world for cell phones. Imagine how the political and economic landscape will change now that people can communicate with ease. In, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, which is their New York City equivalent, there is no electricity during the week from 7 in the morning to 7 at night. Remember when New York City experienced that black out a few years ago? Try making that a daily occurrence. New York probably wouldn’t be the financial center of the world. With this against Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania stands no chance of competing with other nations. If they were able to operate with electricity every day, would they be able to escape their crushing poverty? Just like going from no phones to cell phones, the country might be able to go from limited energy to unlimited energy through solar energy.
I saw solar panels in Tanzania. Solar panels have been floating around as a quixotic technology in this nation for years. They’ve been seen as concept, something that would be neat, but aren’t really necessary thanks to the copious amounts of energy we enjoy. In Tanzania solar panels could radically alter life. They’ve got more sun than they know what to do with in Tanzania. I saw many adults walking around with premature wrinkles at the corners of their eyes. Young men and women, not even thirty with crow’s feet thanks entirely to the strength of the African sun. That is why I started my non-profit Shades for Squirts. I collect sunglasses and distribute them to children throughout Africa. “Together we can beat crows feet.”
Imagine if the sun was no longer their enemy? What if the sun suddenly was a powerful ally for Tanzania, like one of the many many powerful allies we have in Iraq? If the solar technology dream could become a reality, Tanzania could live life in an electric bliss. They could use computers all the time. They’d be able to I.M. friends at anytime they want, masturbate whenever, learn about the AFBL-the uses of a computer are infinite. Furthermore they might even be able to save the electricity and sell it to other nations, sun deprived nations, like England. Or they might be able to entice other nation’s industries to move to Tanzania with a cheap energy supply. It seems like the continent is going to experience seismic shifts in technology that will improve life and level the international playing field. A level playing field, the failed dream of globalism, could assist everyone in the world.
When President Freeborn started the AFBL with a paintbrush, a basketball and a dream he wanted to level the playing field of basketball. President Freeborn had spent years searching for courts where he could play. His slow play, circus shots, lack of defense and chucking were not welcomed anywhere. The trooper that he is, he drew inspiration from a hero, Joseph Smith, and formed his own league. The AFBL was intended as a place to allow all levels of play to come together and play. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly were welcome in the sanctuary know as McCall school. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. There were still sharp divisions between players. Mostly between the President and the rest of the league. Instead of being Joseph Smith, President Freeborn was Dr. Frankenstein. He created a monster. Hmmm, maybe he is Joseph Smith. Anyway, the monster, a league filled with people that could actually play took over, and left the master behind.
John Freeborn’s AFBL stock fell through the years as his tendency to chuck became legendary. Players refused to pass to him. He would wait thirty feet away from the basket, hands open begging for the basketball, but nothing would come to him. Nobody would pass to him because they knew they wouldn’t see the ball again. He is not the type of player that swings the ball; he is the type of player that shoots the ball. Our President didn’t know what to do, how could he regain his footing in the league? How could he become relevant? How could he level the playing field and live his own dream, his own version of globalism? The version where the unskilled balers get as many touches as the skilled?
He drew inspiration from yours truly. Friday night I was at the ICA. President Freeborn and his lovely wife were sitting in front of what the President refers to as art, though everyone else would call it a bunch of milkcrates. I’m sure Andy Warhol is very happy up in heaven.
I have a strict policy of only talking trash on the basketball court. I have an equally strict policy of never talking to President Freeborn outside of basketball. As a result, I only talk trash to the President. On Friday, I broke one of my policies, I talked to the President away from McCall.
He asked me what I thought of Africa, it was his first chance to ask me away from the court. He knows about my on court policies. I told him the little story I related earlier. As I explained the way technology, which is essentially innovation, was altering the way of life in Africa and the opportunity for change in economics and globalism, I saw a light bulb explode above the President’s head. Figuratively. I thought little of it at the time.
This past Saturday, the day after our chat, I walked into McCall’s hallowed gym to find a radical change in the court. I saw something that will lead to a complete reconfiguration of the entire way of AFBLife I’ve known. And you’ve known. The floor of McCall was taped off with a three-point line. A variety of very trust worthy anonymous league officials told me that the president stayed up all night measuring and taping off a three-point line. He wore himself out taping off the line and was unable to attend last Saturday’s game. Plus, by not attending the game he managed to avoid looking like he made the three-point line.
Now that there is a three-point line, the AFBL is a totally different league. A standard shot is worth 1 point and a three pointer is now worth 2. The shot from behind the line is worth twice as much. I spent the entire day waiting behind the line salivating at the opportunity to make a shot worth twice as much while doing even less work. By the fourth game I manged to make two shots. 2 for 20 from behind the arc-not bad, huh? Every time I stepped inside the line I felt guilty and dumb. What’s the point in shooting a 10 footer when I could move 8 feet back and get twice as many points? On my bike ride home, I understood why President Freeborn, at the very least, approved, and more likely, installed the three line.
Freeborn is infamous for heaving shots from deep. Now those points are worth twice as much. He misses twice as many shot as everyone else. They take shots from a normal range. Now the misses are less of a factor. Freeborn’s teammates are now less likely to view him as a liability. Sure he’s missing a lot, but when he makes it, it means so much more than it ever did before.
Like solar power has the potential to make Tanzania compete on a global level, the three point line makes it possible for a poor player like John Freeborn to compete with the rich players like Tony Larson. It’s a whole new world; technological innovations are changing things right before our eyes.
HOUSER WATCH: Week 11, Ladies Choice
I always think of Houser as our own version of Gilbert Arenas. Houser is no Agent Zero as far as skills are concerned, but as far as crazy is concerned they are one and the same.
Arenas pressurized his house to make the air thinner so he’d be a stronger basketball player. Houser seals himself in his house, only leaving when absolutely necessary, and then usually remaining sealed in his car. If he could walk his dogs by driving his car, he would. Instead of pressurizing his house, Jimmy, as a very struggling artist inhales paint fumes, hoping that inhaling normal air at McCall will allow him to play better.
The past Saturday when Houser walked into McCall and saw the three point line he seemed unimpressed. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe he even attempted a single three pointer all day long. He looked at the line and called it the ladies distance. The three-line is not NBA regulation distance. Remember, John Freeborn installed it. You think he wants to mitigate the leg up he is giving himself by adding a long distance three line? Of course not.
Like Gilbert Arenas shouting about Swag or calling out “Hibachi” or “Quality Shot,” Jim Houser began yelling, “Ladies Choice,” every time anyone took a three pointer. Next week if Houser shows up and his President Freeborn is there, you can expect to hear the phrase, “ladies choice” over and over. Now you dumb bastards have no excuse to look confused about another of Houser’s idiosyncrasies. You are welcome.