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Welcome back to another edition of Left on Read, this time with 33% less COVID-19 content. Consider this coronavirus content curve #Flattened.

The Spectrum of Autumnal Sad Music, As Drugs

Taylor Swift, folklor: CBD
The National, I Am Easy to Find: Marijuana
Sun Kil Moon, Benji: Heroin
Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz: Ecstasy
Father John Misty, Fear Fun: Cocaine
Phoebe Bridgers, Punisher: LSD purchased from your neighborhood feminist co-op
Counting Crows, August and Everything After: Ibuprofen and white wine
American Football, American Football: Weed dust that’s been emptied onto a Pavement CD while you sit in your mom’s Corolla. 
Cannonball Adderley, Somethin’ Else: Methadone 
Elliott Smith, Either/Or: Ketamine
Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Bon Iver: Mushrooms
Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: Revolution Anti-Hero IPA
Van Morrison, Astral Weeks: Sandalwood-scented incense candle

Five Reasons The NHL Postseason Already Slaps

The NHL is now a week and a half into its modified 24-team postseason, and not only is it an exemplary model of how to bring back a sport during a pandemic without showing your entire ass, it is also absolutely banging. In characteristic NHL playoff form, there have been unbelievable endings, unimaginable upsets, and, of course, Matthew Tkachuk being a gaping dickhole. Here are five things that we’ve already loved about the NHL postseason.

1. The Boston Bruins Are 0–3
There is no pleasure more timeless and, I’ll say it, pelvic than watching Boston sports teams eat shit. The Bruins were far and away the best team in the regular season, boasting the league’s top goal-scorer and arguably the best goalie. In the round robin, they’ve been dunked on by the Flyers, Lightning, and Capitals, and now they are sitting at the 4th seed, staring down the barrel of a Best-of-Seven series against the extremely hot Carolina Hurricanes. 

2. The Avs Scored A Game-Winning-Goal With Less Than 1/20th of a Second Left
In hockey, a buzzer beater is typically a tying or winning goal scored with less than 10 seconds left. That would look like weak shit compared to Nazem Kadri’s game-winning goal against the Blues, which crossed the goal line with less than 0.1 seconds on the clock. To put that into perspective: the Avalanche won a game having not held a lead for the first 99.9995% of the game. Hockey is good!!!

3. Upsets Galore
The NHL, in all its streaky glory, is notorious for unpredictable playoffs. Last year, both 1 seeds fell to 8 seeds in the first round, including a 4–0 clean sweep of the Lightning, who had had a historically good regular season. This year, we’ve seen both 12-seeds knock out their 5-seed opponents in four games. The Canadiens, who finished 24th overall in the regular season, upset the perennially strong Penguins, while the Blackhawks, who were dead last in their eight-team division, took down the Oilers, who had the top two league leaders in points on their squad. 

4. The Blue Jackets Executed One Of The Greatest Chokes in History
Up 2–1 in the best-of-five series, the Jackets had a 3–0 lead over the Maple Leafs with four minutes left in the third period. Somehow, they coughed up three goals in four minutes—which is fucking outrageous—then lost in overtime. For Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins, it was one of the most consummate bed-shittings in the annals of NHL playoff history.

5. Baseball is going to be over soon anyway
Throw some support to a league that didn’t trip on its dick throughout every phase of planning its return. For that matter, throw some support to the country that didn’t trip on its dick throughout every phase of its disaster response, too.

Twelve Things Less Cute Five Months into Quarantine

Do you remember mid-March? Oh, those were the days. Stockpiling two weeks of toilet paper like we’d only be trapped inside for AT MOST three weeks, and posting photos of our medicare bread. What a time. Now, five months into what is either definitely the home stretch or the beginning of our lives hermetically sealed in our apartments for the rest of forever, this whole experience has become a little less novel. Here are twelve things that are way less cute five months into the endless quarantine. 
  1. Sourdough Starter: The sourdough starter may have died, but something in there is alive, purple, and growing. I don’t think it would be happy if I tried to bake it. 
  2. Avoiding People on the Sidewalk: I would trade my big toe to casually bump into a stranger without fear.
  3. Zoom Backgrounds: No amount of pretending to be on the Death Star during video conferences will suppress the desire to force-choke anyone who requires cameras to be on for every meeting.
  4. Drinking Alone: FaceTime happy hour turns into private sad five-hour and it is ~not chill~ anymore.
  5. Baking as Therapy: Eating your feelings is not sustainable for this much time with this many feelings to eat. I have gout. 
  6. Donald Trump being President: lol remember when Republicans were like, “OMG shut up it’s not like he’s going to kill everyone. Remember when Obama wore a tan suit?” Well I hate to say we told you so but 163,000 people are dead and this is not a joke and it never was a joke jesus christ. Get this man into a retirement home where he can spend time with his favorite person, woman, man, camera, and TV.
  7. Retail Therapy: The only thing less fun than getting fat and sad is getting fat, sad, and poor. 
  8. Not Being in Crowds: I will pay you to graze my ass like we’re in a cramped space just so I can feel something, anything.
  9. Cutting Your Own Hair: U-G-L-Y you ain’t got no alibi YOUR HAIR IS FUCKED UP.
  10. Working on the Couch: BRB Googling, “Can you develop scoliosis by sitting hunched forever?” 
  11. Living in a State of Perpetual Panic: Hahah is this literally ever going to end? No, seriously. Someone tell me. This was cute when it was all like, “We’re all in this together, let’s all applaud for the working poor being forced to risk their health or starve.” (Editor’s note: This was not cute.) Now though, I’m about one more stalled relief bill from flying to DC and spitting directly into Mitch McConnell’s mouth to finally get results on whether I have COVID on a reasonable timeline. Remember when you would debate with your friends on who would last longest in a zombie apocalypse? Well it’s not me, and it would be pretty nifty if we don’t have to put those theories to the test. 
  12. Not Going into the Office: JK this one still rules. You fuckers will never see me in-person again if I have anything to say about it. Deuces. 

Was the Angels' victory over the 1994 Chicago White Sox in Angels in the Outfield the most improbable sports victory in movie history?

I’ll come out and say it: The most improbable aspect of Disney’s Angels in the Outfield isn’t the fact that Christopher Lloyd somehow skirted the player’s union to get on the field or that Joseph Gordon-Levitt wouldn’t be adopted. Instead, what really grinds my gears is that the lowly California Angels—despite not receiving any assistance from AL the Angel—somehow beat the 1994 Chicago White Sox to clinch the division title and the pennant at the end of the movie.

How could this have happened? How could that year’s Angels squad, a team so bad that Gordon-Levitt’s father bet that he wouldn’t have to regain custody of his child until they won the pennant, pull off a victory against a White Sox team that clearly would have won its first World Series championship in 77 years had the 1994 season not been stopped short by a player’s strike? It’s a mystery that grows ever more perplexing when you compare the team’s rosters: 

First Base
White Sox: Frank Thomas. Frank Thomas losing out on the full 1994 season is one of the worst travesties in American sports. The Big Hurt posted a shocking 1.217 OPS in 1994, the 18th best single-season OPS of all time. The guy was in the midst of a Ted Williams–caliber streak, and he was well on his way to earning his second straight AL MVP award and my everlasting love and affection. The Angel Gabriel couldn’t have stopped Frank from winning this game. Post-playing career boosted by Nugenix. 
Angels: Mitchell Page. Second place AL Rookie of the Year in 1977. Career batting average of .266, but he couldn’t make the roster for the Athletics' 1981 postseason campaign. Post-playing career cut short by alcoholism. 
Advantage: White Sox, and it’s not even close. 

Second Base
White Sox: Joey Cora.
Survived a stabbing, one-time All Star, and won a ring as the third base coach for the 2005 White Sox. Brother of Rob Manfred–patsy Alex Cora.
Angels: Israel Juarbe. Played Freddy Fernandez in The Karate Kid, a role for which he has been referred to as a “bitch motherf*cker” in at least one MMA-themed forum
Advantage: White Sox.

Short Stop
White Sox: Ozzie Guillén.
There’s a lot that can be said about Ozzie. The spitfire-spewing third baseman-turned-Fidel-Castro-praising-and-gay-slur-using manager who we let things kind of slide with. The man invented Ozzieball (grind out a single, bunt him over to second, then smash a two-run home run) and managed the best Sox team of the 21st century. DM me for a 2006 clip of Ozzie in TNA's IMPACT! Wrestling.
Angels: Albert Garcia. Dude doesn’t even have a wikipedia. 
Advantage: White Sox.

Third Base
White Sox: Robin Ventura.
A two-time all star, six-time gold glove third baseman, and by all accounts a nice guy who was never as good of a manager as he was as a player.
Angels: Stoney Jackson. Appeared in the “Beat It” music video. Doesn't seem to have heard of a “Drake LaRoche.” 
Advantage: Angels. As far as I know, Jackson never got his ass whooped by a 65-year-old Nolan Ryan. 

Left Field
White Sox: Tim Raines.
A 10th-ballot hall of famer and arguably on the Mt. Rushmore of Montreal Expos players (I assume that this is a statue made out of chewing gum and used kilts outside a Montreal punk venue). 
Angels: Mark Cole. Actors without their own wikipedia pages are the theater equivalent of kids getting stuck playing left-center field. 
Advantage: White Sox.

Center Field
White Sox: Lance Johnson.
Most famous for the fact that I somehow confuse his name with Larry Walker’s. Wikipedia tells me he’s the only person to lead both the AL and the NL in bats, hits, and triples, which is cool if that's the sort of thing you're into. 
Angels: Matthew McConaughey. With McConaughey, you get power and longevity. The McConaissance was still decades away when McConaughey made this spectacular catch in center field. Dude had range, and no I’m not talking about going from Dallas Buyers Club to Wolf of Wall Street to True Detective to Interstellar in a calendar year.  Just imagine the 30–30 potential he would have deep into his Magic Mike era as a ballplayer. 
Advantage: Alright, alright, alright. Angels. 

Right Field
White Sox: Darrin Jackson.
Jackson’s most notable career achievement to date has been the fact that he (mostly) stayed awake alongside Ed Farmer’s radio calls (RIP to a real one, Farmio). That fact alone is far more impressive than beating out Nicolas Cage for a bullshit Oscar for The Pianist.
Angels: Adrien Brody. We never see him playing his position, but given his Mookie Betts–esque stature and Italian American–ass quaff, he must be a right fielder. 
Advantage: Angels, I guess. 

Designated Hitter
White Sox: Kit “Hit or Die” Kesey.
In real life, this position would probably be filled by Julio Franco, who slashed .319/.406/.510 in 112 games. But one of the few White Sox players we actually get to see in the movie is good old “Hit or Die,” which doesn’t even come close to the worst nickname for a White Sox player. 
Angels: O.B. Babbs. He’s listed as only an “Angels Player” on Wikipedia, so I guess he gets slotted in at DH. 
Advantage: White Sox. You don’t cross a guy with a nickname like “Hit or Die,” especially when he’s allegedly the league RBI leader.

Pitcher
White Sox: Jack McDowell.
Played in a band that once opened for The Smithereens. Also pulled off a goatee for most of his career and won the Cy Young in the year before Anaheim started receiving angelbolic steroids. 
Angels: Tony Danza. Angels wasn’t Danza’s first or best role as a washed-up MLB player. In real life, Danza went 9–3 as a professional boxer, but in Angels it is revealed that he’s about to die because of his lifelong smoking (womp womp).
Advantage: White Sox.

Catcher: 
White Sox: Ron Karkovice.
Daddy. The only thing Ron Karkovice looked like he enjoyed more than performing an unconstitutional traffic stop is drinking a Miller High Life after mowing the lawn. 
Angels: Tony Longo. Daddier
Advantage: Nobody’s out-thiccing Longo. 

Manager
White Sox: Gene Lamont.
Fresh off a 1993 Manager of the Year Campaign. Survived more than 15 years of working in Detroit and Pittsburgh. 
Angels: Danny Glover. Keeps referring to a mysterious, ill-fated “stint in Cincinnati” throughout the movie. But he won’t come clean about working with Mel Gibson? Also, google keeps thinking I’m trying to do half-assed research about Donald Glover. 
Advantage: White Sox. Say what you will, but Lamont never threw his players on the bus by suggesting that they needed angels to win a game.

Secret Weapon
White Sox: Michael Jordan.
Performed surprisingly well at AA Birmingham while he was riding out the storm after retiring from the NBA under suspicious circumstances. Would probably choke out Ozzie during a practice. Remember, even angels buy shoes. 
Angels: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. College dropout. Shoehorns the female lead into a “manic pixie dream girl" persona in (500) Days of Summer. Had better chemistry with Tony Danza in Don Jon. As if that wasn’t bad enough, JGL gets savagely dunked on during one of the worst (among many) screenwriting of this film: 
  • [having just given up custody of Roger, JGL’s character, forever] 
  • Mr. Bomman (JGL’s character’s father): I'm sorry, boy. 
  • [he exits the courtroom]
Advantage: White Sox. And you know Jordan is betting on this game too. 

Owner
White Sox:
Jerry Reinsdorf.
Angels: Ben Johnson.
Advantage: TBH both of these owners seem pretty anti-player and determined to lose rather than spend an extra dollar. This one’s a toss-up. 

Overall: If this game had actually occurred in real life, I had known about sports gambling, and the internet existed to the point where I could place a bet with an offshore sportsbook whose servers are located in modern-day Yugoslavia, this would have been a traumatic gambling loss for me. That is to say, it is patently absurd that the White Sox didn’t win this fictional game, and I hope that Disney deep-sixes Angels in the Outfield from Disney+ like it did to Song of the South and Star Wars: Ewoks
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