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Category: Video

Former Uni / UIUC grad Sindha Agha just published a work of brilliance in the New York Times

File this one under "Former Urbana residents who are showcasing their genius". 

Sindha Agha, who graduated from University Laboratory High School, and then the University of Illinois, and who has gone on to work for the likes of Hampton Creek Foods, and now the Sundance Institute, amongst others, just penned an Op-Doc for the NY Times and it is absolutely fucking magnificent

The video doc, which she produced and directed, is nothing short of brilliant. See it here:

The article itself is gut-wrenching, sardonic, painful, important, and more. As a male, I cannot speak to it further than that, but her words resonate, that is for sure. 

Full disclosure: Sindha is a dear friend. She interned for The Pygmalion Festival when she was still just in high school, and then continued to work for us as a promotions coordinator, and well, sometimes you just know when someone is destined for big big big things. 

So, I am not surprised by any of this. Sindha has always helped define intelligence and candor to me. My wife and I would consistently say things to each other such as, "I hope our kids turn out like that one!" and "Sheesh, what can't this person do?" and other weird shit like that. 

We were right; at least about what she can't do. Remains to be seen on the rest, I suppose. But our oldest son really likes gymnastics and TMNT so far, so that's something! 

Keep up with her on Twitter at @SindhaAgha and expect to hear more and more about her as time goes on. 


Cruel and Unusual: Who keeps putting Rodney Davis on national television?

If you've cut the cord and no longer watch the 24-hour news networks; 1. you made the right choice, and 2. You've probably missed Congressman Rodney Davis embarrassing himself on various news programs the past few months. Here's his latest:

I'm honestly not sure what the strategy is here. Who keeps putting Davis up to this? Is this some sort of hazing ritual that, once completed, means Davis will finally get invited to Mike Pence's sleep-overs? Is this a trial by fire to help Davis get comfortable speaking on camera, or some sort of attempt at media training? When 2018 rolls around he'll have been in office for 5 years. He's been in politics almost his entire adult life. The guy is almost 50. How much more training/practice does he need? At this point trotting him out time and again only to be tripped up by the most basic questions seems cruel to Davis, and embarrassing for the people being represented by him. 

It's clear from these appearances that Rep. Davis' command of the issues extends almost exclusively to the one or two talking points he's able to memorize in the few minutes before he goes on air. From taxes, to healthcare, to the Russian investigation, it seems there's nothing Davis cares enough about to make sure he's able to answer simple questions on. That's troubling, because these are not inconsequential matters. We need someone representing us in Congress that treats these issues with the seriousness they deserve. It's painfully and embarrassingly obvious that Rep. Davis is not that person, and explains why Rep. Davis has to lie so often about the legislation he supports.


Remembering that time Kowabunga! Kid saved Christmas

As we settle up for New Year's Weekend (I'm totally making that a thing) let's not forget that Kowabunga! Kid saved Christmas this year. Here is an epic retelling of how they managed such a feat.
From the band
Kowabunga! Kid presents a new Christmas classic called "Kowabunga! Kid Saves Christmas." The donut loving punk-pop trio has to figure out the mystery of who stole the spirit of Christmas (aka - the new Star Wars movie). Will they be successful and restore Christmas cheer to all of the boys and girls? Find out now with "Kowabunga! Kid Saves Christmas."
check out the video bellow

Central grad Abbey DiGregorio (née McBride) stars in new Honey Baked Ham commercial

Evidently, Honey Baked Ham hasn't run a national commercial advertisement on televison for a very very long time. And its reentry stars former Central thespian and my dear friend, Abbey DiGregario (née McBride). 

It's funny, in that very American way, and Abbey's facial expressions are just as she was when we were kids: goofy, serious, concerned, loving, all of it. 

Here, watch it: 


As former Illini hoops star Brian Randle retires, here are some dunking videos

Former Illini post player Brian Randle has retired from competative basketball at the age of 32. Randle played for Illinois from 2003-2008.

While Randle was a fantastic player in a lot of ways, and not so much in other ways, but he was fairly dominant at times throughout his tenure at Illinois. Check out some thunderous dunks from his career:

And for fun — here he is with a monster rejection:


Check out this awesome archival footage of U of I from the 1930’s

In celebration of U of I's 150th year, the University has started up the Mapping History of Illinois project to show the founding and builiding of the Unviersity. Courtesy of the project, U of I archives has released an amazing video showing aerial shots of campus circa 1934:


The footage shows campus from rooftops and showcases buldings such as Foellinger Auditorium, the now demolished University Hall, and more. 

Some screenshots from the footage:

For more information on the video and to read more about the project as a whole, check out the project site. 


We tend to not like Rodney Davis, but facts matter

According to some journalists, Rodney Davis said this:

What he actually said was this:

At Smile Politely, we don't make a secret of our general dislike for Hot Rod, but when we have something to say, it's grounded in reality, and it's not reality-adjacent. That Davis's staffers are concerned that some men in Washington are so depraved that they actually can't stop sexually harassing women and instead would just avoid hiring them paints a pretty bleak picture of how prolific the problem really is. 


The Suede Chain reunite; play Cowboy Monkey on January 6

If you never saw The Suede Chain live, you missed out on the precursor to bands like Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire shoving a few too many on stage in the post-Nirvana era, and actually pulling it off. 

Good news: they have reunited and are performing at Cowboy Monkey on January 6, 2018. Make plans now. I suspect that the 120 tickets available will go fast. 

Back in the day, they were one of my favorite bands in town, and I still listen to Ripplemark, their 1994 album with the one-two punch of the songs "Mississippi" and "Daisy Dawn" to start the record. Those two are so good that the rest of the album (also good) has a hard time playing catch up, in my opinion, anyhow. 

I can't find "Mississippi" on YouTube, and I can't embed from iTunes for some reason, so you will have to just settle for "Daisy Dawn" which is a banger. 

Regardless, the first week of January is absolutely for shit. I mean, is there anyone in the world that enjoys this week outside of sociopaths and deranged Christians celebrating 12th Night? 

This reunion show on January 6 will give you something fun to do. Plus, it gets violinist Mary Weingartner on stage, who was absolutely one of the best artists to hear perform in that era. She totally crushed it back then.