How to make the Facebook Messenger basketball game less frustrating to play

Photo via Facebook
Photo via Facebook

Okay, this is more of “how to cheat at the Facebook Messenger basketball game.”

Facebook added their hidden basketball game (called “Messenger Madness,” an appropriate nod to March) to the Messenger app one week ago, and has already logged 300 million plays. To be totally fair, though, the game is not easy to do well in right away, and gets harder every 10 points you score.

Because doing well on this game is essential to life, there already are many videos and tutorials on how to “hack” the game:


Photo via
Photo via
Photo via Digital Spy
Photo via Digital Spy

(Side note: how old is the kid talking in that last video? Is he allowed to be on Youtube?)

The overlying theme of the game “cheats” seems to be the presence of a straight edge guiding the way you “throw” the ball. While the tutorials call for rulers and thicker items, a piece of paper works almost just as well.

To start a game, just send a basketball emoji to your friend over Messenger, then tap the ball. You can play the way Facebook intended—index finger and eyes alone—or pick up some hints from the Internet. Either way, get ready to spend way too much time trying to raise your score.

‘The Breakfast Club’ cast reports for detention this day in 1984

It might not be Saturday, but it’s still the 31st anniversary of the day a criminal, a princess, an athlete, a basketcase and a brain showed up to school for all-day detention in Chicago.

On March 24, 1984, the five students who make up the angst-ridden characters in John Hughes’ “The Breakfast Club” reported to school as part of their punishment for a variety of reasons. Last year, the film celebrated its 30th anniversary at South By Southwest by screening at the Paramount featuring a Q&A with actors Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy.

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.

When Ringwald was asked why the movie still resonates with audiences, she said it’s because “We are all outsiders…that everyone feels alone…But people find out in the end that they’re not alone.”

So where are the stars now that they have nowhere to report?

Ringwald, who played princess Claire, has been on the road since she released her debut jazz album, “Except Sometimes,” in 2013. There was no mention of detention on her social media today, but she did commit another act of nostalgia by sharing an old photo of herself on Facebook that resembles Gwen Stefani.

At this year’s SXSW, Sheedy, a.k.a basketcase Allison, debuted her new film, “Little Sister,” on Austin screens. The sad comedy is about a young nun who avoids contact with her family in which Sheedy plays an estranged mother named Joan.

Brian the brain, better known as Anthony Michael Hall, is set to co-star with Brad Pitt in Netflix’s forthcoming new feature “War Machine.” The film, which will be released later this year, is a satire about the U.S.-Afghanistan war.

A little more off the grid than his co-stars, Judd Nelson’s whereabouts are a bit harder to peg down. The actor, who starred as the film’s young criminal, John, has four movies in post-production, including a biographical drama piece called “Billionaire Boys Club,” co-starring Taron Egerton, Kevin Spacey and Ansel Elgort.

Lastly, there is Emilio Estevez, who took on the role of Andrew the jock. He’s made his name not only as an actor, but a director, having worked on television shows like “The Guardian,” “Cold Case” and his film “The Way.” He recently attended this year’s Sundance Film Festival where he declared his love for Cincinnati and his hopes of moving there.

In honor of the day, pop a copy of “The Breakfast Club” into the DVD player, jam out to the Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” and remember: “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.”

5 Lunchtime Links: David Letterman debuts new look

A picture of David Letterman hangs outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. After 33 years and 6,028 broadcasts of his late-night show, David Letterman is retiring. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A picture of David Letterman hangs outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. After 33 years and 6,028 broadcasts of his late-night show, David Letterman is retiring. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

1. Have you seen David Letterman?

David Letterman isn’t looking like himself. Or at least not like the clean-cut, suit-and-tie, bespectacled, late-night show host we’ve come to know. Some pictures showing Letterman on vacation in St. Barts have gone viral. A very bearded, but totally bald, Letterman jogging on the beach have spawned a lot of comments likening the comedian, who has reportedly kept a low profile since passing over his hosting gig to Stephen Colbert, to Santa Clause.

2. Vice reviews forgotten mixtapes that litter the streets during SXSW.

Sure you want to know what critics think of big SXSW acts like Santigold or Drake. But what about the hundreds of mixtapes by unheard artists trying to get there name out that litter the streets come the end of the festival? One Vice writer brought new meaning to “underground” when he made it his mission to review a few of the forgotten dreams he picked up off the streets of downtown. Find out what he thinks of Moneybagg Yo’s “Federal Reloaded,” or Big Runts, in this piece by the American-Statesman’s Jackie Wang.

3. Uber Eats to now offer all-day delivery.

What started with a few restaurants during lunch hours on the weekends, food delivery service Uber Eats announced Thursday its largest expansion move yet, the American-Statesman’s Matthew Odam reports. The service, which has recently extended its geographical reach, will now deliver meals everyday from some 100 restaurants between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight. Some of the new restaurants you’ll be able to order from include include Hillside Farmacy, Unit-D Pizzeria, Freedmen’s Barbecue and Krispy Kreme. The instant delivery from a select menu will still only be available during lunch hours.

4. X Games announce lineup featuring Blink-182, G-Eazy and more.

The X Games are looking to take you back to the days when Hot Topic meant something to you with its announcement of a musical lineup Thursday. The Games will feature performances by not just Blink-182 (although it’d be enough), but also All Time Low and Logic. And also G-Eazy. Although a strange mix, G-Eazy is bound to meet your mainstream hip-hop needs. But he is no Kanye in 2014. Tickets for the Games, which will be held at Circuit of the Americas June 2- 5, are available at Or you can enter this giveaway and win tickets to the Games for free!

5. Where to eat for Easter brunch.

If you’re not planning on going all-out this coming weekend and baking yourself a proper Easter ham, consider having brunch at one of the many spots in Austin that will serve Easter-themed meals this Sunday. The American-Statesman’s Matthew Odam has compiled a list featuring plates like a barbecue Benedict at Freedmen’s and a huevos rancheros bar at Tacos and Tequila.

Want to be in ‘Hamilton’? Then don’t throw away this shot

Attention, “Hamilton” nation. Much like your young, scrappy and hungry founding father hero, you have a big opportunity.

Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton in "Hamilton." (Joan Marcus)
Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton in “Hamilton.” (Joan Marcus)

According to Playbill, producers for Broadway mega-hit “Hamilton” have announced that they are holding open auditions for the New York production and upcoming national tours, looking for singers who can rap. The production seeks “non-white men and women, ages 20s to 30s,” according to the announcement. And good news: no acting experience necessary. But also, bad news: auditions are in New York City on May 3.

Playbill also reports that “Hamilton” will hold open calls in Los Angeles and San Francisco in April. For more information, visit To make your day better, watch stars Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jonathan Groff rapping below.

And to save yourself some time, here’s the “Hamilton” soundtrack you were immediately going to search for:

The best-selling jersey in Texas belongs to this former Houston Rocket

Jersey collecting is a big business in America. Some throwback jerseys go for as much as $300 at Mitchell and Ness, a sporting clothes store that specializes in nostalgic items.

Mitchell & Ness
Mitchell & Ness

Recently, the store released its numbers for the best-selling jersey from each state, and the results aren’t too surprising.

Former Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon was the best-seller in Texas, beating last year’s reigning champ, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman. You can buy an Olajuwon jersey from the site for a cool $250.

Other states had similarly predictable results. Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway is still No. 1 in the hearts of Coloradoans, while former Orioles third baseman and shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. naturally holds a best-selling streak in Maryland.

The best-selling jersey for the nation, though, goes to former Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird, who edged out L.A. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant from 2014’s top spot. Bird was also the top-seller in Massachusetts (naturally). The price of both of those jerseys? $250 and $260, respectively.

Check out the rest of the results and a full breakdown of the map here.

This superhero-themed Alamo Drafthouse menu will be your kryptonite

“Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” finally arrives in theaters this weekend. DC Comics’ first big response to Marvel’s “Avengers” franchise will no doubt divide fans—some will root for The Dark Knight while others will support the Man of Steel. However, both factions will be eating off of the same superhero-themed menu at Alamo Drafthouse.

Photo Credit: Heather Kennedy
Photo Credit: Heather Kennedy

Austin chef and self-proclaimed “avid Batman fan” Brad Sorenson created the exclusive menu for the movie theater chain, which will be available for a limited time only.

The menu, according to a news release, has something for everyone, in the tradition of Alamo Drafthouse’s previous film-themed foods.

There’s the Versus Wings, which feature aspects of both characters on the same plate.

“Both Gotham and Metropolis are located in the North East and have a heavy Italian influence, as you can see in their respective comics,” Sorenson wrote in the news release. “This led me to using Italian flavors as the inspiration for these fried chicken wings. Batman’s is a deep dark reduction of balsamic to represent the Dark Knight. For Superman, I liked the term “Heat Vision” and so i approached it as an Italian influenced spicy sauce with a base of roasted red peppers and tomato. Black Vs Red. Dark Vs Light.”

For more of a down-home feel, Superman fans can try Ma Kent’s Meatloaf Sandwich, which features corn and potatoes and a family recipe chili glaze.

If you’re seeing the film for its supervillain, don’t worry! Sorenson didn’t forget about you. The menu also features the Doomsday Pizza, with a blue cheese base, mushrooms, torn potatoes and arugula.

And for dessert? Kryptonite Cheesecake is what you want. “The color green made me lean towards a mint dessert before I came up with scooping balls of free form cheesecake and dusting it with dark cookie crumbs to give it a more rugged real feel,” Sorenson said.

Oh, and drinks? Viewers can chose from Batman’s Utility Belt beer or the Superman’s Punch cocktail. (We think Alfred would approve.)

Forget about Batman or Superman. The real winner here is the viewer.


5 Lunchtime Links: Eat a burger with ‘Sad Grandpa’

Photo: @kelssseyharmon via Twitter
Photo: @kelssseyharmon via Twitter

1. ‘Sad Grandpa’ planning cookout and everyone’s invited

The grandfather who gained Internet fame after cooking 12 burgers for six grandchildren only to have just one show up is planning a cookout, according to Buzzfeed. You’re invited, by the way. The party is planned for Saturday at a flea market that “Pawpaw’s” family owns in Purcell, Okla.. Burgers are priced at $2, and you can also snag an “I had a burger with Papaw” T-shirt for $25.

2. Paul Qui arrested.

Austin “Top Chef” winner Paul Qui was arrested Saturday morning and accused of assaulting his girlfriend, KXAN reports. Police responded to the restaurateur’s apartment early Saturday after Qui’s friend called and said “his friend and girlfriend were fighting.”

The woman inside the apartment was crying, holding a small child, and Qui had “blood all over his face, arms, legs and clothing” when he opened the door, police said. Qui currently owns and operates Qui restaurant on East Sixth Street, and he won Season 9 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

3. Two charged in killing of man accused in Ferris wheel sex.

Houston police have charged two men in the fatal shooting of Phillip Frank Panzica, who himself was arrested Feb 5. for committing sex acts in public on a Las Vegas Ferris wheel, the Associated Press reports. Police said they think Panzica and the two other men left an adult entertainment club with Panzica’s fiancee early Saturday when one of the men shot Panzica and then drove away. Police are still looking for a motive.

4. We found a lot of bands that we loved at #SXSW this year.

Now that the festival has come to a close, we have a bit of a hangover from all the great bands we saw. From Anderson.Paak’s jazz-infused rap to the Avett Brothers’ reliable Americana to PWR BTTM’s drag-influenced rock, there was a lot to love about the music portion of this year’s fest. Be sure to get ready for next year’s SXSW, and catch up on all the coverage you may have missed right here.

5. You wanted a tiny iPhone? Well, here’s a tiny iPhone.  

Apple revealed its plans for a new, 4-inch iPhone SE during its live Apple Event today, to the delight of people with tiny hands everywhere, 512tech’s Omar Gallaga reports. The new phone will be as powerful as an iPhone 6S and will be available for order on Thursday with a ship date of March 31. It costs $399 off contract for a 16 GB model.

The tech giant also unveiled a new 10-inch iPad Pro, starting at $599 with the same order and shipment dates as the new iPhone.

6. Are you a millennial who wants to give up Facebook?

American-Statesman editorial assistant Katharine Powell chronicled her experience of giving up Facebook at age 23 in an article this weekend. For Powell, the social media service had “put me through a portal of superficiality by creating distraction, and, ultimately, dissatisfaction.” And she’s not alone — Business Insider said young adults counted for just 38 percent of Facebook’s users in 2014, down from 52 percent in 2008.

Stars, they’re just like us: Elijah Wood loves Via 313 Pizza

Actor Elijah Wood, mythical Austin celebrity and all around cool guy, might split a Detroiter with you someday.

(Suzanne Cordeiro/For American-Statesman)
(Suzanne Cordeiro/For American-Statesman)

The actor, whose Twitter timeline consists mostly of retweets of other accounts, tweeted at Austin pizza joint Via 313 on Sunday to express his devotion to their Motor City-style pies:

The pizza place tweeted back at the “Sin City” star, asking which location was his preferred ‘za zone. Wood replied:

But he’s open to trying new things, too. Wood, who recently popped up on the South by Southwest red carpet, also said he’s “excited” about Via 313’s new UT-area location. (He said West Campus, but it’s really more North Campus.)

(Matthew Odam/American-Statesman)
(Matthew Odam/American-Statesman)

What’s likely driving Wood wild? Well, according to American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam (and our own late-night dining habits), the pies are just plain delicious:

“The signature Detroiter ($13) buries savory smoked pepperoni under a protective layer of cheese with small cups of natural-cased pepperoni on top. Sauce is added like a rivulet of lava after the pizzas leave the oven, giving a bright, acidic burst to the bite. The pizzas are divided into four squares — meaning each slice is a coveted corner piece — and can feed one very hungry person or two people with tamer appetites.”

In addition to trailers at Violet Crown Social Club and Craft Pride, as well as the Guadalupe store, Via 313 also operated a brick-and-mortar in Oak Hill. The mini-empire began in December 2011, when Zane and Brandon Hunt opened the Violet Crown trailer. If you’d rather live the celebrity life at home, we know how you can make your own deep-dish using a brownie pan.

Find more pizza places in town (celebrities not guaranteed) in our dining guide.

Ted Cruz plays Candy Crush and once skipped school to play foosball

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas revealed some interesting facts about himself to Us Weekly in an interview published Wednesday. He didn’t reveal what the mysterious substance was that he ate during a debate earlier this month, but he did tell the tabloid some fascinating tidbits from his personal life.

Ted Cruz addresses the crowd during his election night party at the Redneck Country Club in Stafford. He is flanked by his wife Heidi Cruz with their daughter and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. DEBORAH CANNON/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Ted Cruz addresses the crowd during his election night party at the Redneck Country Club in Stafford. He is flanked by his wife Heidi Cruz with their daughter and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

In “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me,” Cruz gave us the information we’ve been clamoring for, such as his favorite movie (“The Princess Bride”) and favorite food (cheese).

Some fun facts were more poignant than fun, though. For instance, Cruz recalled how he had to take out loans and work two jobs to pay for college because his parents’ business went bankrupt, and how his favorite meal in D.C. while away from his family is a can of soup.

Other facts were just downright strange. Cruz hates avocados (the monster!) and once got suspended from school because he skipped and played foosball instead. He’s also on level 350 of Candy Crush.

Read the full list here.

Ahead of Michelle Obama’s SXSW visit, we ask what it means to find your passion

By Cody McCrary – Special to American-Statesman

The hustle and bustle of downtown Austin has been amplified the past few days with the arrival of the annual South by Southwest Festival.

It will only get busier Wednesday when first lady Michelle Obama will lead a keynote Music panel that focuses on education for girls, music and finding passion in life.

We went downtown on Tuesday and asked SXSW attendees what it means to them to find their passion and act on it.



High school seniors from the Houston area, Shalroz Charania and Rabia are volunteering at SXSW this week. They have had fun learning how things work behind the scenes and are hoping to get a chance to see Michelle Obama speak.


Robert Dawson is a Web developer who was in town from the San Francisco area. Dawson said he is enjoying the festival and Austin nightlife and is planning on seeing Michelle Obama’s talk.


Niyanta Spelman feels passionately about climate change and environmental awareness. Spelman is the executive director of Rainforest Sponsorship, a nonprofit located in Austin that helps protect tropical rainforests.


On her first visit to Austin, Melanie Morgan got to experience some hot spring weather – a little different from Centennial, Colorado, where she works for the city. Morgan was at SXSW getting some ideas for the innovation team to which she was just appointed.




Meredith Frost (top) and Michelle Romano said that the MashBash party put on by Mashable that showcased the future of the Internet was their favorite SXSW event. The two work for ManpowerGroup, a human resource consulting firm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Gustav Borgefalk, who came all the way to SXSW from Sweden, is the co-founder and head of business development for Sqore, a competition-based recruitment platform.