FreeDarko: Class of 2006
In keeping with the unholy spirit of holiday excess, FreeDarko is excited to announce the appointment of four new bloggers to our already-bloated executive leadership. For months we've marveled at the abundance of talent and verve that lives within our comments' section; only recently did we figure out a way to exploit it. No doubt there are nay-sayers who will call the move reckless, even decadent. But if evolution has taught us anything its that big things eat little things. The new FreeDarko business model - making maximum writer-to-reader proportion our singular urge and purpose - takes that principle to its logical and physical limits. If you're the biggest, you can eat everything. Ours is a soteriology of size.
And so it is my great honor to introduce the four new members of the Freedarko family, and in my humble capacity of spiritual custodian, to tell briefly of how their destinies became our own.
Brickowski: We first met Brickowski outside Detroit's City Hall, on the occasion of the 1st annual FreeDarko solidarity rally in 2003. Prior to his arrival, the proceedings of that day seemed fated for disappointment. Turnout was not the issue - shoefly had managed to hack the Dean-for-America listserv, and an angry mob more than one thousand strong had gathered with us in protest by noon. the problem, we quickly discovered, was that few if any of these people knew the slightest thing of Darko's cause, and as the day wore on, it became increasingly difficult to stay on message. Soggy and defeated, we were just about to give up and go home when out in the crowd we spotted Brickowski: lodged between a giant paper-mache oil well a throng of LaRouche pamphleteers, the Serbian flag clenched in one hand and a molotov cocktail in the other, he looked like Menelaus on the battlefield, only shorter and in a Rip Hamilton jersey. "God save Auburn Hills!", he yelled. The skies began to clear to a New World awash in hope.
Emynd: We've known this fellow traveler almost as long as we've known ourselves. It is a relationship that predates Darko, the internet, even basketball itself, stretching all the way back to our years as labor organizers in the postbellum fur trade. Shoals and I first met Emynd at a river outpost in what is now South Dakota. We were mid-level players in the nascent International Fur Workers Union; he was a Trotskyite who trafficked in beaver pelts. The three of us hit it off immediately and for years were as thick as thieves. Then, sometime after 1917, we lost touch; Emynd left for Petrograd together with other of the movement's more radical elements, while the rest of us formed "Modern-Day Fur Traders", a millenarian splinter group largely inspired by Peter Weller. Then the 2003 draft happened and the rest, as you know, is history. Today's reunion is as joyous as it is overdue.
Rocco Chappelle: With what words can a plain man describe a legend? For as long as we can remember, Rocco has been on the vanguard of Euro-activism. Indeed, as the owl looks back on history, the point at which the Cold War ends and Rocco's begins can barely be distinguished. His work with Nenad-PAC in particular was a huge inspiration when FreeDarko was first coming up. Our paths finally crossed in late 2004 in Washington D.C: FreeDarko had been invited to speak at a Brookings Institute roundtable on NBA internationalism and Rocco, along with Richard Holbrooke and P.J. Carlesimo, was a fellow panelist. We were young and out of our depth, and had no intention of making trouble. Rocco, in contrast, was unafraid and unstoppable. Holbrooke, a believer that Euros should be grateful and not complain, was right in the middle of this laundry list of platitudes about American opportunity and freedom, when Rocco just straight up cut him off, saying loudly "I know a tall man in New Jersey who would likely disagree, sir". And when he said it the applause that followed was so loud I remember thinking that the entire Marriott must be clapping at once.
Forevers Burns: This man has no face, no history. The one clue we find on his profile - leather - is an abyss of mystery all unto itself. Yet with a single comment on November 10th, this faceless, nameless man turned the world of FreeDarko on its side. Not since White Teeth or even Appetite for Destruction has an opening salvo rang so loudly in our ears. His encore, though equally brilliant, was just icing on the cake. Burns, you had us at Snake Eyes.
So welcome brothers, and thank you for your toil. May our fortunes together be as plentiful as our now-terrifying number!
1) If you haven't already, be sure to read the Curtis Martin profile from last Sunday's Times. Its the story of how Martin as a teenager once spent a day in Dr. Dre's LA mansion, and was thereafter driven to excellence by his conviction that someday he too could afford to buy a 4000 square-foot tudor. The twist of course is that Martin lives in New York, perhaps the only city in the world with a housing market equal to his own meteoric will to power, and so even after his unprecedented 11 NFL seasons, he still can't afford his dream house. (the article implies but does not ask the ultimate question: that is, which will be first to bust - Martin or the housing bubble?). And then there's the digression on Martin's role as team counselor:
"I'm a great secret keeper." He is straight with his teammates. He tells them, "Things I've done are probably worse than anything you've probably ever come across, so I have no room to judge anybody."
(Oddly enough, my Srebrenician NA sponsor once told me this exact same thing)
2) Shoals and I were watching football on Sunday, and at some point during our half-time argument about Mike Alstott's likeness to Ben Affleck, something incredible caught our eye:
Then, just as were preparing to explain it away as some high-def hallucination - no way could such a man be both real and a quarterback - the announcer, as if on cue, tells us: "You really can't imagine how big this guy is until you've seen him play live and dressed completely in yellow" (real quote). But unless we score tickets to the SWAC Championship game or the guy gets drafted by the Lakers, chances are we'll never see him, and thus never be able to imagine. And this just makes his true dimensions all the more unsettling.
3) The blogger formerly known as TrentonHasslesCarmelo has asked me to announce that he is changing his moniker to "Dr. Lawyer IndianChief". With this new name he hopes to project a lifestyle of sobriety and personal reform. Please update your rolodexes accordingly.
Finally, I too have decided to shed my old skin and start anew. The present post will be my last (albeit only third) as Silverbird5000. Starting tomorrow, the world will know me as ShadowFax (lord of the horses).