The Definitive Sorting of NBA Players into Hogwarts Houses

It stands to reason that if NBA players attended Harry Potter-alma mater Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they would be sorted by a talking hat into one of the school’s four esteemed houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin.

Carmelo dons the Sorting Hat

Carmelo dons the Sorting Hat

I gazed into my Pensieve or whatever to determine where the Sorting Hat might place, or “draft,” some ballers from around the league. Here’s what I saw:

Stephen Curry… Gryffindor!

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You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart

The Warriors guard is a perfect fit for House Gryffindor, which values bravery and latent Christian fundamentalism. Curry, a rail-thin, pure shooting, MVP candidate who once declared, “I can do all things through Christ,” has both qualities in spades. He would play Seeker on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

Other notable NBA Gryffindors: Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, John Wall, Mark Jackson

Joakim Noah… Hufflepuff!

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You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true,
And unafraid of toil

Eccentric Bulls big man Joakim Noah is a surefire lock for House Hufflepuff, which advocates camaraderie, loyalty, and legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Noah has embraced his adopted city of Chicago—his Noah’s Arc Foundation works toward peace in the inner-city—and he sometimes tweets about Rastafarianism. He would play Keeper on the Quidditch team.

Other notable NBA Hufflepuffs: Magic Johnson, Robin Lopez, Brook Lopez, Phil Jackson

Shane Battier… Ravenclaw!

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Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind.

Though retired from professional basketball, Shane Battier remains the league’s consummate Ravenclaw, a house regarded for its cold, calculating intelligence. The former Dukie is a noted brainiac—he even has a subscription to Laptop magazine. Shane would probably receive an early acceptance letter to Ravenclaw. He would play Beater on their Quidditch team.

Other notable NBA Ravenclaws: Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Chris Bosh, Grant Hill, Matt Bonner, Dr. J, Daryl Morey (GM)

Dwyane Wade… Slytherin!

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Or perhaps in Slytherin,
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means,
To achieve their ends.

Dirty, conniving, gifted Dwyane Wade is such a fuckin’ Slytherin it’s crazy. The Heat guard is rumored to have colluded with LeBron and Chris Bosh to form their Super Team in Miami; he was once fined $5,000 for flopping; he has a penchant for kicking dudes in the dick. House Slytherin would welcome him with unhinged jaws. Dwyane would be play Chaser on the Quidditch team.

Other notable NBA Slytherins: Kevin Garnett, Reggie Evans, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, James Posey—always and forever


Notes from the Underground

I have been home for the holidays for little more than 24 hours. Things are happening. Here are some early observations:

  • My father has replaced watching minor college football bowl games with watching cooking shows. His favorite is Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (“3D”), but he is content to view any of these programs. Rachel Ray, who was raised by garbage disposals, now graces our home with her noises, much like a sitcom family’s eccentric cousin or nanny.
  • Mice burrowed into the laundry basket—naively abandoned atop the garage refrigerator—that holds the many makes and models of Christmas cookie my mother and sister produce for friends and family every year. The mices left droppings but were only able to chew into a bag of my mother’s famous “Rolo treats,” (pretzel circle bases that support melted Rolos with peanut M&Ms pressed into the melted Rolo tar pits) and a corner of a plastic bag containing a shortbread cookie. “Is the biscotti okay?” was the first question my father asked. How this issue will be resolved is still up for debate. I suspect an answer will come whence my mother awakes from her midday nap.
  • I have completed or assisted in completing three crossword puzzles.
  • This morning, in breach of the good faith accorded to me by my mother’s free guest pass, I beasted some high school basketballers at the Lake Zurich LA Fitness.
  • Last night my sister and I went for a drink in the nearby village of Libertyville. What a stupidly laid out “village.” Their three-block downtown is bisected by a four-lane highway with no speed limit in place. Pickup trucks with tractor-sized tires carom down the road in hopes that a child runs out into the street, so that they might squish her and be declared heroes of the open road. The Libertyville mayor has awarded many medals to such road warriors.
  • UPDATE: Mother has woken up. In response to Mousegate, she exclaims, “Shit! Darn those stupid mice!” My father then pronounces Rolo, “Rall-lo”.
  • I have drank two cans of Dr Pepper TEN and eaten three slices of poppyseed breadcake, brought over by my parents’ Polish repairman when he came to fix the toilet.
  • I have smoked three secret cigarettes.
  • UPDATE 2: Mother is now in the garage, yelling at the mice.
  • I lost a game of Scrabble to my sister but I couldn’t draw a vowel to save my life.
  • My mother regaled us with tales of attending a sex show in Patpong, where topless women with numbers painted on their chests walked around asking you to buy them drinks and performers on a stage accomplished lewd feats with ping pong balls, darts, and balloons. Mother read in “the paper” that you shouldn’t buy the numbered women alcoholic drinks, because they would just get Cokes and pocket the extra baht.
  • The family is currently debating whether we should get pizza, Italian beef, Italian beef pizza, or some otherworldly combination of the three for dinner. I am making my choice known (Italian beef sandwiches from Portillo’s) from the other room, using as few words as possible. Basically I’m just saying “Beefs!” every time there’s a lull in the conversation.
  • I will be here for three more days. More to come.

Fool? Me, Once

What’s good, Hellcats?

Me, I’m just hanging out, doing a load of laundry, cleaning up a bit. I also hung a poster I’ve been meaning to hang, and attempted to make some prints at Walgreens but forgot to bring my phone cord. The poster is a painting by Ed Paschke called Mid American that Megan got me as a justbecause gift. I hung it above my bed.

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work and picked up some veggies to stir fry, and I ate them in conjunction with the rest of the chicken breast I didn’t use making chicken tacos on Sunday. I stir fried the veggies (a green pepper, an orange pepper, about seven cloves of garlic, a small sweet onion, and a bundle of asparagus) with a couple strips of peppered turkey bacon. I dredged the chicken with allpurpose cooking flour and seasoning salt and cooked it in a separate pan, which Megan has instructed me to do from now on. In a medium sauce pan I boiled a Far East brand rice pilaf and herb blend. I made a bed of the rice pilaf on my plate and airdropped the veggies, bacon, and chicken on top, then sprinkled on feta cheese and firehosed the whole ensemble with Sriracha. I ate all this while listening to Bon Iver’s selftitled album play over a muted NBA game and drinking a Negro Modelo beer in the Bulls pint glass that Joe graciously stole for me from a bar as a housewarming present when he was drunk. After that I was still hungry so I ate some blue corn tortilla chips, plain, off a napkin.

I just checked on the laundry and, though the laundering cycle had concluded, my clothes were still wet. Warm, but wet. Knowing this outcome was a possibility, I’d arrived armed with four new quarters in my back pocket that I adroitly slipped into the drier. “Here we go again,” I was overheard muttering to myself.

Work from Home Haute Couture


Much has been written about the venerable Millennial tradition of working from home (WfH). Its merits and roadblocks have been duly catalogued, presumably by writers so tightly tucked into their beds that they need Extendo straws just to suck down their coffee. But I’m here today with a fresh new angle—one that just might save your productivity.

It starts with the lesser known 11th commandment, “Thou Shalt Dress to Impress.” When Moses trotted out his woodburning kit to smolder God’s decree into a corkboard tablet, he purposefully didn’t attach the parenthetical caveat (Only When You Have Company). No. Dress to Impress is a fulltime pursuit.

It’s doubly important to DtI when you’re WfH. Much like fashion’s more vulnerable cousin, love, you can only impress others once you’ve managed to impress yourself. Working from home is the perfect opportunity to try something new sartorially. For example, try mismatching vertical and horizontal stripes like in today’s look. I’m a very mistriped stripling, indeed.

And let me tell you, I’m killin’ it right now at work. I feel groovy, and that grooviness translates into work ethic. Because grooviness, when contained, fosters creativity. And I am contained—by my apartment, because it’s real cold out. But it’s not cold in here. In here, it’s fire.

Work Seat Freestyle

Whatup, world. It’s your main man Jon, chillin’ at work, bloggin’ a bit, endlessly refreshing a broken link to “Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles” fanfiction I found on Facebook, snackin’ on my mom’s nutella-based oatmeal chocolate chip cranberry cookies, one boot planted high on my desk. It’s a five o’clock world, you guys, but it’s feeling more like a three o’clock world today, if you catch my drift. Soon enough I’ll be strolling into the heart of the city towards the venerable Palace Grill diner, where I will meet mi gran amigo Joe M., who procured Bulls tickets for my birthday, because he is a radiant sapphire of a man, though no golden lockets could ever bind him. Hopefully Derrick Rose will play, and the Bulls will crush the Detroit Pistons into a tightly compacted cube of metal, frayed wires sticking out here and there like roots from a clump of earth, and leave them to rust in a Southside junkyard for all time. Such is the ceiling on tonight. High as a grand ballroom’s, and just as novelistic.

Name Day

Today is my birthday. 28 years ago, across the world, my mother jettisoned me from her body like so much ballast from a hot air balloon. I have been cold ever since.

That’s a bit unfair to her. I always feel guilty writing about bad moms, actually, because mine is a loving mother and a kind soul. Maybe she didn’t mind nine months of waddling all over the island.

This year my birthday feels completely meaningless, it must be said. Maybe that’s because it’s arrived in the wake of the bleak midterm elections, or because the sky turns to ash every day at the stroke of five, or because the weather man is forecasting wind chills in the teens for next week, or because I feel, for the first time since getting my own place, stagnant. The past few days I’ve been getting tired early, around 10:30, and I’m having trouble waking up on time the next day.

I’m not depressed, but I share that acute sense of wonder with the depressed about how some people manage to accomplish so much with their day. I honestly don’t understand the math of it all. In a perfect scenario, I’m up at 7 to go running before work. I get home around 6. I’ve made and eaten dinner by 7:30. And then I have three hours to be productive before I read and go to bed. Is that where the difference lies, then? In those three hours, and how other people use them? Do productive people not watch basketball or check Twitter or participate in funny text groups? Do they stay up later? Wake up earlier? It’s a riddle to me, and I often feel wasteful for how little gold I wring from my time.

Anyway, I wanted to write down some goals for the coming year. Goal making has always seemed lame to me, the kind of thing that student council members are fond of, but now that I’m old and not long for this world, I figure it couldn’t hurt to try. So, here are some things I’d like to accomplish in my life, take 28.

  • Start a magazine
  • Publish a story
  • Always listen—and defer—to my body
  • Run a marathon just kidding
  • Record family stories from aged relatives
  • Make a new friend
  • Think about things before agreeing to them; pause before answering; do not nod or shake my head mindlessly while someone is talking to me
  • Bulls championship
  • Be more aware of my surroundings and responsibilities 

That’s a heavy workload, but I am to knock it out. One three-hour chunk at a time.

A Change In Season

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks and the ole blog ‘n’ chain has been unfairly neglected. Some things that happened recently: I went running a couple times. I had a freelance project due. Halloween came and went. I bought a television. And the Chicago Bulls joined the rest of the NBA in beginning their regular season.

A quick note about the TV: it’s really fudging up my feng shui. Mere days ago, the apartment was colorful and cheerful and inward facing. The focal point was the bookshelf, maybe, or the artwork. Now all eyes are drawn to the television and its resolute blackness. Try as I might to look away, I know that all manner of depravity lurks in the corner over there, just below its still obsidian surface. The TV is eerie and unkind. And yet, it is my portal to Bulls basketball. So it shall remain.

The Bulls own deeds to not-insubstantial pieces of my mind and heart. If my mind and heart were Chicago, they would be in possession of, say, Lincoln Park. The neighborhood, not the park, mind you. I can’t help it! I think about them a lot. I think about strategic things, like how this team could achieve the Platonic ideal of basketball, and why they’re struggling to rebound right now, but I also think about what the players lives are like, and if we’d become friends if we were trapped in an elevator together. My answer is: we’d be great friends, me and the Bulls in the elevator! It would have to be spacious, however. Perhaps a freight lift.

Anyway, I’ll be writing a lot and feeling even more about the Bulls this season (they’re off to a 3-1 start!). Stay tuned, and #SeeRed, you guys.