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Archive for the ‘Cheech and Chong’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: CHEECH & CHONG-“Basketball Jones featuring Tyrone Shoelaces” (1974).

When I was a kid this was a favorite song on the Cheech & Chong’s Greatest Hit album (although not quite as good as “Earache My Eye”).  Anyone who grew up in the 70s and early 80s should know the teeny tiny voice singing “bassetball jones, I gotta bassetball jones…i got a bassetball jones oh baby ooooo.”

This song is pretty simple and straightforward–a young boy gets a basketball and he loves it and keeps it with him everywhere he goes.  And he becomes the best basketball player ever.  There’s more or less one or two verses and then an ever-increasing choir of voices sings the chorus.  The joke is about 30 seconds long but the song last for over three minutes, growing bigger and more epic.  Tyrone brags about his awesome skills (I can dunk with my nose) all the way through. There’s also a pretty great guitar solo from George Harrison!

I never knew that there was a cartoon for the song–it was made to promote the album Los Cochinos, and was shown before films in the theater! and was included in a Robert Altman film!!.  The cartoon was created by Paul Gruwell, and now you can watch it here:

[READ: August 20, 2012] “The Art of a Basketball”

The last story I read in Grantland was okay, but I didn’t have very high hopes for another one.  And when Mullen described a room as “like the lair of some mad villain from a Spiderman movie” I didn’t think I’d be enjoying this one much either.  But this story proved to be pretty interesting.

The premise is that the main character has his degree in art and he make a living touching up paintings that have eroded over the years.  As the story opens he is restoring the color to chipped sections of a $12 million Cezanne (is that even a job?).  Anyhow, he messes up the Cezanne (d’oh) and is fired.  He messed it up because he was unfocused–he just broke up with his girlfriend and that was all he could think about.  She is an artist (she says so at every opportunity) and he found her pretentious and really not very good.  And she found him very negative–they should have broken up ages ago, clearly.  Anyhow, he is fired and gets a job in Providence at CAMP.  He’s now working on Contemporary art which he doesn’t respect at all (some serious art bashing in this section!).

His first assignment is to fix up Jay Winthrop’s Water Ball from 1981 (not a real installation).  The piece of art is a basketball floating in water.  It had developed black gunk on the ball and his job was to clean it (I of course wondered how the water stayed in there for 30 years).  He created his own solvent which removed the black, bit also some of the coloring of the ball.  Now he was in deep shit. His only choice was to replace the ball without anyone knowing.  But it turns out the ball was not just a regular old 1981 championship ball (on ebay for $500) but a 1981 Championship ball with Dr. J’s signature on it (they weren’t in the playoffs that year)–a factory error valued at $5,000.  The narrator is already in huge debt, but he needs the job.  What is he going to do? (more…)

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