behold Itzpapalotltotec’s divine power

Belichick: “Yes Itzpapalotltotec. Yes! We shall decorate my basement with the blood of our foes. You shall have your fill. Praise!”  [draws ceremonial knife]

Kick Video

“Yes, yes, praise your evil name!”

Kick Video

“Yes, oh yes, I give thanks for your divine blessing.”

Kick Video

“Yes, yes, please give me your powers!”

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“Yes, yes, your darkness knows no boundaries!”

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Wrigley Field – temple of the baseball gods

Most of the time work can force you to do unpleasant things.  Sometimes work can force you to do awesome things.  And so I found myself directed to Wrigley Field for some work team building thing while on travel to my remote location.

I’ve only ever been to one ballpark and that’s my home team.  Wrigley was number two.  I had no skin in the game but my remote colleagues from Chicago were mostly Cubs fan.

The Reds beat the Cubs though which bummed them immensely.  Though the Cubs won the division again this year, so we’ll see if they can mount a repeat.  I don’t think so, but we shall see.

Wrigley is an interesting place.  It’s kind of a dump, but I love that about it.  It’s a wonderful place that it’s still in the old neighborhood and isn’t a super faceless corporate behemoth of a stadium.  I hope they never replace it.

But, the Toyota logo is on the classic Wrigley sign.  And there’s construction across the street from the stadium that will likely house luxury apartments and such.  So not even Wrigley can escape the Giant Octopus.

Still, it was a good time, and there’s so much history in the stadium you can feel it.  Oh man, think of the near one hundred years of games in that stadium.  Entire generations of fans.  All without a pennant.  Now they have one again.  Will they have two, we shall see.

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Update:

I realized after writing this, the folly of one of my above rants against the Giant Octopus.  For you see, Wrigley’s name in itself is the tool of said Giant Octopus.  Wrigley bought the name rights to the stadium long before this was even a common sports thing.  The field itself was wrapped up in corporate sponsorship almost from the beginning.

However, we, and I mean I too, don’t tend to think of it this way.  Wrigley is just called Wrigley and we don’t tend to think of the connection to the chewing gum.  It’s weird like that.  If you walked up to me and said “Wrigley” I’d automatically assume you meant the ball field and not the gum.

 

 

we ask the most charismatic quarterback of all time for his opinion on the issues of the day

TAP: “Smokin’ Jay, what’s your take on Trump, whether player x, y, or z has sat, knelt, or bent during the national anthem, whether vegemite is fit for human consumption, the current internal body temperature of Colin Kaepernick, elves, the latest on how NFL players are the only humans to ever get concussions, Kardashians, or Roger Goodell’s love of fine wine and cheese?”

Smokin’ Jay: “DOOONNN’T CAAARE!”

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the problem of dominance

If the allure of sports is a great competitive game, then it’s going to be a strange NFL season. In a league built for parity the year begins with probably the most lopsided situation in perhaps all of league history. The defending champs were 14-1 last year when starting Tom “The Quack” Brady.

In the offseason they put the pedal down by adding a bunch of no name scrubs like Brandin Cooks, Stephon Gilmore, and Dwayne Allen. They managed to lose almost nobody except their battering ram in LeGarrette Blount. They will miss him, but it’s not fatal. Nobody else added enough talent to match this let alone catch up. Bill Belichick still sacrifices to the Aztec demon god Itzpapalotltotec every night before bedtime. So you know his genius will still be in play each and every week.

Who’s going to compete with all this? The Raiders are distracted by slot machines, the Chiefs are led by a guy who will never (still) win a Super Bowl, and the Steelers are just a few bad games away from complete self destruction. On the other side of the house I suppose you could argue that the Giants, Cowboys, Seahawks, or Packers could keep up? But each of these teams has deep flaws.

The Giants have no running game and a lunatic star wide receiver. The Cowboys don’t have a defense, their paramount offensive line lost two key dudes, and 1/3 of their team is currently incarcerated. The Packers are led by Mike McCarthy. The Seahawks still have no offensive line to protect Russell Wilson’s brittle bones and allow Marshawn Lynch’s seventh replacement to gain yards.

Everybody wants to know if the Patriots can go 16-0 again. I truly think they can. So it might be a boring season. That’s the problem with dominance. It’s boring. It’s for this reason that NFL parity is supposed to exist, that and to keep the cap low so owners can buy their eight boat.

This is why I find the NBA or women’s college basketball so boring. You have to admire Connecticut and the Warriors for their raw talent, but it’s just so darn boring because you know nobody can beat them.

Well, I suppose we’ll just have to admire it. Because I’ll guarantee you this, you’ll never see this again. Never again in NFL history will one team, one coach, one quarterback dominate in so clear a manner. The planets will never align like this again. So, I guess, enjoy the show. While you still can.

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“Yes Itzpapalotltotec. Yes! We shall decorate my basement with the blood of our foes. You shall have your fill. Praise!”  [draws ceremonial knife]

on Russians, sharks, bears, swimming, and who to trust

You, the average normal human, require a new hammer. You use it to fix up your house, apartment, hovel, or yurt. You have several options to choose from. But recommendations tell you that you can have the hammer made by a partially competent American maker at a reasonable price, or the cheap one made by a former KGB assassin. Which do you choose?

Well, I suppose if you lived in Russia you would pick the KGB guy. Or be made to pick the KGB guy. But if you’re not Russian why would you, or anybody else, choose the KGB guy? This question has always been on my brain as folks and organizations have chosen Kaspersky Labs to handle their internet security to the tune of half-a-billion active users.

I mean I somewhat get it, Norton, McAfee, and the many other generic Western firms are only above average at best. But what do you expect when the Internets sandbox is an inherently flawed security nightmare. That doesn’t mean you go running for help with Ivan, aka the guys who are directly responsible for much of the security nightmare. Unless you desire to make the counterargument that because Kaspersky is KGB, that it’s good business to ask the devil to guard your church because he knows how to mix it up, barstool style. But I don’t buy that argument. Eventually the devil will rob you and use your pilfered cash to buy cinnamon whiskey, his drink of choice.

Kaspersky is somehow considered respectable, which further proves the marketing goons of the planet can put a shine on anything and twist people’s brains with glorious abandon. Kaspersky advertises on NPR! So he must be legit, right? And since the beginning Kaspersky has tried to always prove they have an independent hand. Their claim is that Russian they are, doesn’t mean you can’t trust them. They’re separate and distinct from the functioning arms of the Russian state, honest. Eh, if they say so.

As far as my take, I think this Washington Post article sums it up pretty nicely. In particular:

“James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said ‘it’s difficult, if not impossible’ for a company like Kaspersky to be headquartered in Moscow ‘if you don’t cooperate with the government and the intelligence services.’”

Yeah, no kidding. So if you or your business has put your trust in Kaspersky, well, you deserve what you get.

Hey speaking of failed trust, apparently a whole bunch of people actually thought Discovery Channel was going to get Michael Phelps to race a shark. Instead they just computer simulated it and Phelps lost. Because Phelps is a human, as in, a creature not meant to inherently swim in the water. Kind of like how a shark is. But I digress.

Did folks actually think they’d put Phelps in the water alongside a shark and race them in lanes? Do folks understand that humans can’t order sharks around like that? Gee I sure hope so. How did people logistically think this would occur? Why are they angry with Discovery Channel? How did they trust that this would actually happen?

The only thing I can think of is they’d capture the shark and chain it up like some kind of angry Star Wars arena beast. They’d have him in a lane in the ocean contained by two sheets of transparent aluminum. And Phelps would be on the other side. Then they’d fire the gun and release the shark. Only, but what if the shark didn’t swim forward and instead tried to turn around and attack the folks behind him? As in, the folks who’d just chained him up. Or what if the shark swam for a bit and then stopped? Or what if the shark busted through the transparent aluminum and swallowed Michael Phelps whole in an orgy of chum related violence? Or what if we get Kaspersky to race a 700 pound grizzly bear? Maybe his KGB training, Russian bear familiarity, and Vlad inspired judo can save him? But I doubt it.

Who not to trust? Well for starters Russians who say they’re here to help. And folks who claim a human can race a shark. Along with all other kinds of lunacy that just don’t seem to make sense. Kind of like most of the nonsense written on this degenerate blog.

You could adopt the tact of: trust no one. But instead, just use your common sense. We’ve all got it. It’s pretty neat. Go with that.

fun time

four creatures enter; one creature leaves

chasing cash off a cliff

One of the best metaphors ever created since sliced bread was invented is the idea of dangling a shiny object in front a cat. As in, showing a plate of sliced meat to Ralph the Butcher is like dangling a shiny object in front of cat.

If you’ve ever actually seen this behavior in our feline friends, it’s hilarious. I don’t have cats, but both my brothers do. Some people use laser pointers, but I prefer the shiny object because it doesn’t require a computer chip.

You take said shiny object and journey it around the room and the cat literally becomes unhinged from reality. If I offer a dental chew to my doggies they’ll go insane and depart from reality while they eat it. But if I scream or drop a hand grenade next to them, they’ll put down the chew for a moment if for no other reason than to determine what’s going on and assess potential dangers. The cat isn’t like that, they’ll just uncheck from the universe. My unfamiliar with cats brain attributes this to the singular possessive mindset they must have had when hunting live animals.

Anyways, it would seem lately that NFL owners have had Los Angeles dangled in front of them like a shiny object. Dean Spanos has decided that after fifty years of San Diego football he’s going to chase the cat toy up the road to LA. The NFL is a business first and a sport second. And so it’s of course all about the level of Spanos’ international gold reserves. But you have to get past the initial figures to determine what’s actually going on.

The whole reason San Diego apparently wasn’t in the Chargers’ future was that taxpayers wouldn’t subsidize a man worth north of $2B in building a stadium. But, in order to relocate the Chargers to LA, Spanos has to fork over a relocation fee of $650M to the league. When you combine that with the essentially free $300M that the NFL offered him to stay in San Diego, one comes up just a few bucks short of a pretty sweet billion dollar stadium in San Diego. And yet he moved anyways. Why?

Because he thinks LA is a shiny cat toy.  Spanos, alongside former Mr Universe contestant, breaker of thumbs, and jai-li extraordinaire Stan Kroenke are betting that LA will give them substantially more long term gold than San Diego or Saint Louis ever could. Well, I’m going to speak to the future here and say that both of them have made terrible mistakes. It’s not going to work.

1) This has been tried before

Once upon a time the Rams and the Raiders occupied LA. They both left within a few years of each other. Why? See (2) and (3).

2) These teams suck

If you were to journey into the ancient Chinese wilderness, you’ll eventually encounter (after 13,437 years of mystical travel) the ghosts of Confucius and Sun Tzu who will be getting messed up on baijiu in a tent. Among their many limitless levels of knowledge will be a stone table with the Chinese character for mediocre on it. Beneath this character will be chiseled in stone the team logos for the Rams and Chargers. This is a team that gave Jeff Fisher a contract extension. Fisher is the man who can throw a six sided die and land on the number 8, 50% of the time. Then there’s the Chargers who have wasted one of the more talented quarterbacks in history with Philip Rivers. When they acquired Rivers, Spanos might as well have hired an assassin to break his legs, it’s the same thing.

3) You might care about LA, but LA doesn’t care about you

Do folks care about Jennifer Lawrence or Lord Leo? Good for them, but guess what, they don’t care. Does Spanos care about LA? Good for him, but guess what, LA doesn’t care. LA cares about LA. LA cares about LA things. I don’t know what people in LA do all day? Maybe they shop or get their hair done or go hang out at the beach or whatever. But I’m pretty sure it’s not getting passionate about football. They probably think it’s a game for people less cool than they are. Like folks who would eat McDonalds over In-N-Out. There’s probably a bunch of people in LA who love football. But enough to fulfill the financial obligations of two separate teams? I think not. A delicious stat from this 2016 regular season was that NFL ratings within LA actually went down. Even with the Rams in town, less LA citizens watched football this year.

4) History matters

The Cleveland Browns are less talented than a few college football teams. But their fan base cares and is dedicated to the team in a way that makes it a perpetual ongoing Greek tragedy. It’s not called the Factory of Sadness for nothing. Yeah, there’s less to do in Cleveland, but also the team’s been there forever. It has a history associated with Cleveland. The Chargers have no history in LA. The Rams do, but it’s not that much after all those years in Saint Louis. It’s for this reason that at this very second, there are likely more Raiders fans in LA than Chargers and Rams fans combined. When the Raiders move to Las Vegas, it’s going to stay that way. Football crazy LA citizens will be happy to commute to Vegas to drink, gamble, and actually watch a competent team. They’ll not be interested in an equivalent journey time sitting in traffic to watch a terrible LA team.

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You’re in trouble Dean.

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PS, this is the worst sports team logo since the 1337 Manchester Alley Rats, which was nothing more than a charcoal picture of dead plague rat.

I might not watch one frame of these Olympics

I actually gave this some relatively serious thought this weekend. It was essentially my first full weekend home in two months, so I had the time. But my television is not typically hooked up to receive the necessary signal (don’t ask). Connecting the television so I could watch the Games would have required about two minutes of hardware work, plus about ten minutes of boot time. I had so little zest about watching that I decided twelve minutes wasn’t worth it. So my box remains unconnected, and I haven’t watched one second of these Olympics. We’re a few days in and I’m wondering if I’ll watch any of it.

1) NBC: I see from the online reactions that NBC is up to their usual tone deaf arrogance with this year’s go. Sadly, the usual shallow outrage trolls seem to be having the same issues with NBC (or anybody) over fake ‘…ism’ or ‘…ist’ type stuff. Whatever. Eh, my beef with NBC is more along the lines of poor pacing, incessant commercials, lack of live content, hack fraud interviews, and Bob Costas. I can’t begin to describe to you how badly I think they broadcast this event. This is what lack of competition does to quality. NBC owns the product in America, they paid handsomely for it, but without CBS or ABC/ESPN to challenge them, why should they bother to deliver a decent broadcast when they can simply count their money?

2) Supermen / Superwomen: There is something vaguely and disturbingly fascist about the basic intent that, “our Superman will beat your Superman by 0.86 seconds on this event”. These people train for four years to win some race by less than a second. Can you mentally comprehend that margin of error against the number of pushups these dudes have to crank out in four years? I can’t. It’s just weird. Unless your last name is Phelps or Ledecky, it seems it’s actually a competition not between athletes, but between National Olympic programs. As in, which National Olympic committee can machine engineer their athlete better than the other one. It’s creepy. Do you doubt this? Name me one gold medal swimmer or track & field winner from a non-rich and/or non-former Communist country.

3) Retread / Weird Sports: Some parts of the Olympics are appealing in that I don’t typically get to watch fencing or wrestling or whatever. But when golf or soccer or basketball is already everywhere, why should I care? I’ve heard the point made in the last month or two and I wholeheartedly agree that basketball already has their pinnacle of competition in the NBA. Soccer has the World Cup. So why is this stuff there? It takes broadcast time away from the more obscure but no less difficult sports that I couldn’t typically see. Then on the other end of the spectrum you’ve got questionable sports like badminton or table tennis. Games I would typically only play while drunk are not exciting to me.

4) Brazil: Normally I don’t want to go down this road of social guilt / whining. As in, well, we can’t enjoy anything because the world is total shit. But in Brazil, I somewhat make an exception as I did for Sochi with Russia. Brazil is essentially in an economic depression, the president’s under impeachment proceedings, half of Rio is a dystopian wasteland, the country while essentially bankrupt has had to hand over billions it doesn’t have, mosquitos are going around giving people the plague, half completed Olympic venues are populated by aggressive zombies, etc, etc, etc. I have a hard enough time watching a football game hosted by Chicago (ps Bears suck). Rio is just too much. Just as Sochi was too much.

5) Sacks w/ $ On It: Oh, 84% of Russia’s athletes were doping? What planet must somebody have lived on to not understand that was already happening for decades? And in any case, it’s been well documented that the International Olympic Committee has been taking sacks with a $ on it for years. And now these corrupt goons are going to judge some poor Russian automaton on what they put into their body? The IOC isn’t exactly as corrupt as FIFA, but it’s certainly not the totem of athletic morality. I think if we all lived in 584 BC, that the religious handlers would put all the IOC ruling body members to death for pollution of Zeus’ divine pure will. Then when you add in all the ongoing Brazilian corruption investigations to include Lula himself, it’s pretty clear that Brazil probably bought these games. Just like Vlad bought Sochi. It gives the Games a very mafia-like feeling, like you’re watching the proceedings of an ongoing criminal enterprise. It’s the last in a long list of straws, and I just don’t have the motivation to tune in. Maybe I will, but at least not for today.

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Not feeling that good ole spirit.