Garry Shandling hosted secret pickup basketball games at his home for 25 years

Nearly every Sunday for 25 years, Garry Shandling held a secret pickup basketball game for his friends, including celebrities like Sarah Silverman, David Duchovny, Sacha Baron Cohen, Will Ferrell, Kevin Nealon, and Judd Apatow. ESPN writes, "Those Sundays yielded friendships that are responsible for some of the best television and film of the past 20 years. As director Alex Richanbach says, 'This group of people found a little family in Los Angeles because we all have the same comedy dad.'"

Shandling passed away in 2016 but the stories of what the scene was like are coming out now.

There are way too many to include here and they build on each other, so head to ESPN to read the game's oral history by the people who were there: 'Fight Club' with better jokes: Inside Garry Shandling's secret pickup game

One last thing: As a tribute to Shandling, his friends gathered to play one last game of basketball at his house just three days after his death.

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One last game of basketball at Garry's house to say goodbye.

A post shared by Judd Apatow (@juddapatow) on Mar 27, 2016 at 10:49pm PDT

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Beastie Boys' 'Sabotage' was about the band's frustration with their sound engineer

The Beastie Boys Book, a meaty memoir penned by the band's Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, was released this week.

Via the books' press junket, some of the stories within its pages are coming out.

In particular, Rolling Stone shared an excerpt from the audiobook. Ad-Rock writes how the song "Sabotage" was inspired by the band's sound engineer Mario (who was known to "blow a fuse"), "I decided it would be funny to write a song about how Mario was holding us all down, how he was trying to mess it all up, sabotaging our great works of art..."

...Saturday Night Live alum Tim Meadows tells the story of 1994’s “Sabotage,” reading from both Diamond’s and Horovitz’s perspectives as they recall how engineer Mario Caldato Jr. inspired the classic rage-out. Yes, that’s right: When Ad-Rock screams “IIIIIIIIIIIIII can’t stand it/I know you planned it,” the person he’s so pissed at in that moment is the Beastie Boys’ own good friend and recording partner...

Listen:

The book is available for $49.99 from the band's merch site, or $30 from Amazon.

photo via Beastie Boys blog

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Dopey, a podcast on the 'dark comedy of drug addiction'

A few years back I wrote about Dave, one of the hosts of Dopey podcast. It was before Dopey though. Back then, he was working on another project that caught my fancy. It was good but can't tell you about it because he's gone anonymous for this one.

I can tell you about Dopey though, in Dave's words:

The show is about all things addiction related; using, crazy stories, consequences, and of course recovery. The format is basically a hang out between me, and my podcasting partner Chris. Between the two of us we’ve been to a million detoxes, rehabs and jail as well as used every substance under the sun besides angel dust. Our show is the first ever media platform to deal with addiction in a new way, a funny way, a way that doesn’t shame addicts for destroying their lives. Instead, Dopey celebrates the absurd life of an addict, the horrible mistakes, and the crushing defeats. We also champion recovery and sobriety without pandering or ever being overly sanctimonious.

Since they started just two years ago, they've gained a dedicated audience (known as "Dopey Nation") who downloads their show 40K times a month.

Dave writes, "Many of our listeners who have gotten clean have offered some gratitude to Dopey, saying it helped point them in the right direction. Others have said if two idiots like you guys could get clean, then anyone can."

Dr. Drew Pinsky will be a guest on their show this Saturday to talk about the opioid epidemic "raging through our country." Read the rest

Ad agencies tell classic fairy tales in the form of six-second commercials

The Greatest Stories Retold is a project that presents classic fairy tales, like "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," in the form of commercials ranging from six seconds to over three minutes. Above, a six-second version of "The Ugly Duckling." Read the rest

Starlings: razor-sharp stories and poems from Jo Walton

Stephen King once wrote that "a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger" -- that is, sudden, pleasant, mysterious, dangerous and exiting, and the collected short fiction of Jo Walton, contained between covers in the newly published Starlings, is exemplary of the principle. Walton, after all, is one of science fiction's major talents, and despite her protests that she "doesn't really know how to write stories," all the evidence is to the contrary.

Uncanny Japan: a podcast highlighting "all that is weird from old Japan"

Thersa Matsuura was born and raised in the USA but spent the past 25 years -- more than half her life -- living in a small Japanese fishing village with her husband and son. Read the rest

Benjamin Button reviews the new MacBook Pro

Apple's just-announced 2016 MacBook Pro hasn't gone down well, particularly among developers. Maciej Ceglowski's review of the previous model, from the perspective of a man traveling backwards through time, is the best of the complaints. Read the rest

If women wrote men the way men write women

Drew Mackie's video above, remixing the homoerotic glory of 80's anime Saint Seiya, is your shot. Meg Elison's short story at McSweeney's, "If women wrote men the way men write women", is your chaser. (Previously) Read the rest

The evolution of the "baseball game equality" meme

Craig Froehle tracks the odd convolutions of his famous illustration of how conservatives and liberals view the notion of equality. It's been simplified, expanded, twisted, tucked in and turned inside-out—and even redrawn by professional artists.

Are the worst versions the ones that bury the simple point in condescending explanation?

Or the ones that seek to subvert it entirely, in as much as stamping "THIS IS FUCKING STUPID" over it counts as subversion?

The cannier mutations contextualize it for local audiences:

I am giddy that my little graphic has helped so many people think about the issue of equity and has spawned so many conversations in just the past few years. I’m not upset by the many way it’s been reimagined. In fact, I’m delighted, because the modifications just make it that much more useful to people.

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Enormous Smallness – Work hard and you can become a poet (not a message kids often hear)

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Enormous Smallness: The Story of E.E. Cummings

by Matthew Burgess

Enchanted Lion Books

2015, 64 pages, 8.4 x 11.5 x 0.7 inches

$12 Buy a copy on Amazon

Enormous Smallness, written by Matthew Burgess and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo, details the life of poet E.E. Cummings for fans of all ages. From Cummings’s fairly ordinary childhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to his adventures in Europe and New York City, the book spans the decades of writing, working, and experiencing the world that made Cummings an extraordinary artist.

The story that emerges is one of a boy who loved observing the world as much as he did participating in it — a boy who said “yes” to everything. As Burgess writes, “Yes to the heart and the roundness of the moon, to birds, elephants, trees, and everything he loved.” But the story doesn’t shy away from the good or the bad, including both the praise and support young Cummings got from his parents and teachers, as well as the negative criticism his first book of poems received.

The message to kids is twofold and clear: one, making art is hard work that requires the same dedication and persistence that any other job does for success. And two, so long as you put in the work, you can be a poet or an artist, too. It’s not a message kids hear often but it’s important. As Cummings said in his Harvard graduation speech, we need artists to challenge the way we see and think. Read the rest

The "dark tales" spoken by an amazingly prolific sleep-talker

Dion McGregor talked in his sleep. But he did more than just that: he narrated tales so dark his roommates began recording them for the world to hear.

Normally, we can only catch a few shards of the shattered dreamscape; as much as we may try to cling onto the fragments of thoughts, feelings and sensations, they soon evaporate in the glare of our waking consciousness.

In contrast, McGregor’s tapes offer hundreds of hours of one man’s slumbers narrated in astonishing detail. The stories are full of eccentric characters like Edwina; they occupy a sinister place where a simple Lazy Susan can suddenly inspire a dangerous game of Russian roulette.

One intriguing finding from a study of the transcripts: his stories are less bizarre than "average" dreams. [via @greatdismal] Read the rest

Top creepypasta stories to read before bed

Creepypasta, for those somehow unawares, are short, shonky, mutated ghost and horror tales, nth-generation copies of something dimly-remembered. Gizmodo's Kiona Smith-Strickland collects some of the best.

Children are creepy, and the poster who shared “Bad Dream” knows it. Of course, the thing sleeping on the other side of the bed is even creepier.

Psychosis” is one of the classics of the creepypasta canon, and it’s a piece of psychological horror that would have been right at home on The Twilight Zone. One poster’s creepy encounter with a stranger in another classic,

Smiling Man” will make you think twice about walking alone at night.

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A true science horror story

In which a graduate student in cancer genetics regales us all with a tale of the disgustingly horrific things that can end up growing in a cell culture plate if you aren't careful. Do not read while eating. Read the rest

Two great long reads about fire, science, and the human lives caught in between

At Outside, Kyle Dickman interviews the lone survivor of the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting team and tells the story of the decisions that lead to the deaths of 19 men. Read it, and then head over to The New York Times Magazine, which has an amazing piece by Paul Tullis about the scientists, fire fighters, and forest rangers who are trying to get a better handle on how wildfires behave ... and how best to control and limit the damage they cause. That's no small task when you're talking about a force of nature capable of creating its own weather systems. Read the rest

True tales of a laboratory safety officer

Science journalist John Rennie is an amazing story teller. In this recording from Story Collider, he explains how he became the lab safety officer in his post-undergrad biology laboratory in the early 1980s (it involves being the only person who was concerned when other people started scooping up mercury with their bare hands). The peak of his experience: The day he stuck his arm, up past the elbow, into a barrel of liquid nitrogen. Good times.

Audio link Read the rest

Powerful writing on miscarriage and the decisions women face when pregnancy goes wrong

At the Context and Variation blog (one of the best sources around for solid information on the science of ladybusiness, btw), an anonymous guest post recounts the story of a woman's recent miscarriage, how she ended up deciding to end the pregnancy with surgical dilation and curettage, and what that experience and its aftermath were like. It's powerful, moving, and very much worth reading. (For context, I wrote about my own miscarriage here at BoingBoing last year, and that post is referenced in this article.) Read the rest

"I faxed Carl Sagan"

Here's a great story from the science storytelling project Story Collider and physicist David Morgan. Morgan starts telling a story about how Sagan influenced him to become a scientist and how the beginning of that career was tied up with an attempt to get in touch with Sagan — pre-ubiquitous e-mail — in the year 1995. Read the rest

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