I was relating the story of the Cleveland Indians trying to change their name to the Guardians to The Wife the other day. She didn’t believe that they could have been so stupid as to not determine that there was a team named Guardians in Cleveland before changing their name:
That’s shaping the two teams up for a fight. The Guardians roller derby team has filed a trademark application for the rights to the name. The MLB team did the same four days prior, but trademarks often go to the first entity to use the name, rather than the first to file for it.
I don’t know why someone who hates watching sports as much as she and I do can sit down and repeatedly watch movies about the business of sports over and over again like she does. But she does, and this movie is just one among many that she has rewatched repeatedly over the years including movies likeDraft Day, Field of Dreams, Tin Cup, Jerry Maguire and several others. Major League is a film that I also like. I like it for the comedy and the comeback spirit that is the theme of the movie. What I was reminded of when I wandered through and watched a few scenes of the film with her, was the similarity of that movie’s theme to the theme of:
There is very little comedy in Moneyball. But that line from Brad Pitt “There are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there’s fifty feet of crap, and then there is us.” It is the theme of Major League, but Moneyball is a movie about events that actually took place in baseball history and not a comedy spoof about underdogs who beat the system. The manager of the Oakland A’s at the time, Billy Beane, and a character named Peter Brand, an amalgamation of several people who worked with Beane to implement the Moneyball algorithms into the selection process for new players, changed the way baseball has been run ever since the season that is documented in the movie. It is truly a movie about the underdogs taking what has been given to them, and making something better out of it.
Major League is a funny, heartwarming movie. Moneyball is a down to brass tacks gritty-assed film about the choices that go into putting together a winning team. Both movies tell a similar story. Don’t blame me if I like the story of a real underdog succeeding over the fiction. It took me forever to even get the Wife to watch Moneyball. The fact that math was somehow involved in the movie was enough to leave her cold. After having watched it once, she’s now put that movie into rotation, too.
Here’s hoping the Cleveland Indians get to change their name. I doubt a name change will be enough to change their baseball future, but anything is possible. Any move away from using native Americans as sports mascots is a move in the right direction. Time to leave that past behind us.
I have no use for any of the games that come under the name football. Not the game we call Soccer here in the US, and not the game they call Football here, either. The only reason this blog entry exists is so that I can record comedy sketch material that has been apparently lost to time.
Soccer is the real football, because it is played almost exclusively with the feet. That makes it the game that should be called Football. If the players can’t use their hands, except for the goalie, then that game is a football game. Plain and simple.
American football is Rugby played with helmets and shoulder pads. The only time the players use their feet, other than for running, is when they kick the ball, and those are special instances and usually special players that are set out in the rules of the game. Otherwise you use your hands to manipulate the ball. But you hold the ball, not smack it around with your hands, so the game isn’t Handball either.
Rugby fans know that they have to give their favorite sport a different name than Football, because in the places where they play Rugby, the sport called football is the sport that requires players to use their feet. Rugby and American football share some common sports ancestry with soccer/football.
If I was more interested in sports I’d probably be motivated to go look up some more stuff on the subject in order to make this blog entry longer and more interesting. Let its brevity reveal my true feelings about all sports. Can we talk about something interesting now?
I’ve watched one football game since I stopped sharing an apartment with a football fan. That game was Superbowl 40. Football fans will know which game that was, and because of that, where this post is going.
The last roommate I had before getting married was a Dallas Cowboys fan. He loved those Cowboys. Since the TV was his, and it was in the living room, we watched the Cowboys play every week, and I would be the devil’s advocate every week. “Who are the Cowboys playing this week? Yeah, I love those guys.” It led to some good natured rivalry, especially since I really didn’t give two shits about the game in the first place.
When I was living at home with my parents, back in the stone age of the 70’s, my dad would never miss a game that was being broadcast. Football. Basketball. Baseball. Hockey. If it was a sport and it was being broadcast, my dad was watching it. He lamented that I was too small for football myself because he wanted me to play like he played in high school. He did get me to try out for basketball. I didn’t make the cut, which was no surprise to me or Mitch, my wingman in that foray into sports.
I wrestled for a few seasons, and I had a perfect record. I was pinned every time I got on the mat. I even played baseball for a few seasons. I have my jersey around here somewhere to prove it because mom saved it for me. I have no idea why she saved it, I was visibly terrified of being hit by the baseball every time they’d send me out onto the field.
…And with good reason. I have the worst hand-eye coordination, come to find out. Dad played softball every summer until his health degraded to the point he couldn’t play, and his participation in that game lead me to try playing softball myself on one of my employer’s teams. For one season. During warmup one afternoon I was holding the mitt too low and the ball tipped the top of the mitt and plastered me right on the lip. I can feel the tingle where the lip split on the inside of my mouth to this very day. Between that and the gravel raspberry I got all up and down my left leg sliding into base one time, I decided that sports really just weren’t my thing. I’d be better off sticking to video games. The finger and wrist sprains are more easily dealt with.
We watch so few sports in this house that we joke that the TV is broken, sports-wise. We tell guests “Nope. It won’t tune sports. No idea what’s wrong with it.” The one time we had a guest insist on watching her game we banished the fans into another room so that they wouldn’t interrupt our movie watching. I will admit to occasionally keeping half an eye on baseball scores. I like baseball, even if I can’t play it. Baseball is the real American game, not football. American football is rugby played with helmets and pads.
But the Wife always liked the Seattle Seahawks. She didn’t know anything about football, the game, but she had studied statistics for some fantasy football league that she was part of one year, and Seattle had the best all-around players at the time. She won a lot of matchups that year because the individual players all did really well, so she never forgot them. Years later when the Seahawks made it to the Superbowl for the very first time and she decided she had to watch that game because her boys were in it. Consequently I spent the next two hours explaining what a fourth down was. What the ten yard line meant. I mean, I knew all the mechanics of game play because dad had drilled all this crap into my head, so I can watch and follow a game even though I consider the games just slightly more interesting than watching paint dry.
There is one thing that I do care about. Injustice. Bad calls by referees. Players cheating and getting away with it. Teams that don’t deserve to lose, but end up losing anyway. That is what happened to the Seahawks in the one game we had ever bothered to watch together in thirty years of marriage. The Seahawks lost because of a bad call. The Wife was pissed, I was pissed, and we’ve never turned on a football game since. It was Super bowl Sunday yesterday, and I did notice that cheatin’ Tom Brady won again this year. That makes this just another game I’m glad I didn’t watch.
The SGU skeptics start episode #605 (February 11th, 2017) gushing all over the Super bowl game and how it was such a great game, even though they thought it sucked for the first three quarters. Then the underdogs come from behind with an amazing drive to a successful finish in the last quarter.
Here’s my question. If this was such a great game it makes being a football fan worthwhile, how many Superbowl 40’s do I have to watch in between each Superbowl 49? How many crappy ass games do I have to watch before I get a good game? From my perspective the answer is “too many,” no matter how many games it is.
I was trying to think about the last time American history seemed to matter as much as it seems to right now. We’re minding our past in debates over monuments and standing or kneeling during our national anthem, aren’t we essentially asking ourselves over and over what it means to be an American? We’re testing our arguments, our old ones and new ones, we’re staking claims for ourselves and our families and whatever comes of this place we call home. Yeah, we can think of this as a fight I guess, or we can think of this as part of our natural destiny. We claim to be founded on ideas, well maybe this is how an enlightenment nation grows. How we settle the great divide will be the stuff our grandchildren will be reading about. And I suppose we do have this much in common; surely we want to make them proud.
I have no use for football. I realize that I’m committing a cardinal Texas sin by saying that, but it is the truth. I don’t play it, I don’t watch it, I don’t care about it at all. I don’t know who won the Superbowl last year. I have no idea who is doing well or poorly or has done well or poorly since I moved out of my dad’s house as a teenager and stopped having to endure football viewing in order to watch anything on TV with him. However, I do know a thing or two about football because of those years of enforced viewing with my father. I also know a thing or two about how to properly treat a flag because of him and his desire that I spend time in the Boy Scouts as child.
The attending audiences in these giant government-funded sports arenas are shocked. Shocked! I say. How dare these players protest the treatment of black people by racially biased police departments? How dare they protest in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick who was excluded from playing in the 2017 season after he started staging political protests during the national anthem in the 2016 season? These players are disrespecting the flag! They can’t be allowed to protest like this! the outraged fans insist. Except it isn’t about flags or soldiers or any of the other things the fans, lead by their stormtrumper-in-chief, object to.
In the week since I wrote the original post about Colin Kaepernick on Facebook I’ve received literally tens of thousands of responses. The overwhelming majority are positive, notes of encouragement and understanding, enthusiastic and even reluctant agreement. It makes me proud to note many of those responses came from veterans, from cops, and from Americans who put their asses on line for their fellows every day without expectation of reward or thanks. They may not agree with Kaepernick, but they stand with him nonetheless as true Americans do. A number came from non-Americans, those on foreign shores who look to America with equal parts fear and fascination and wonder at that shining city on the hill and it makes me proud that they can still admire this nation for what it is supposed to represent.
But in that same week I’ve daily posted a roster of those who don’t get it. Those who wrote me, many who claim to be veterans, who called me traitor and called Kaepernick nigger and who have daily sent me death threats and seething hate simply because I spoke of honor and duty and respect. It is these people, these haters, these dimwitted goons, who prove with their own words the validity and necessity of Kaepernick’s protest and why I stand with him.
These protesters, these professional football players, aren’t disrespecting the flag. They are disrespecting the outrage of the fans who demand that their sport be free of politics. Free of politics that the votes of the fans have brought directly into conflict with the players on the field. The people who are booing? They are fans of Donald Trump as well as football, and I say this because only people dumb enough to believe that a con artist like Trump wouldn’t line his own pockets at their expense would believe that you can isolate a sport and keep it from reflecting the world around it.
So let’s talk about respecting the flag and the nation, since I don’t care about football and really wouldn’t be writing this post if it was really all about football or the fans of football. Here is an example image of the kinds of daily disrespect an American flag is subjected to in this day and age. Study the image carefully. You see the flag, right? The flag bunched up around the ring of the field in the foreground, an American flag laying right on the dirt of the field. Do you see it now?
The US flag is not to touch the ground. US flags should not be bunched up or crumpled. How do I know this? It’s right there in the flag code. I hear a question from the audience. What was the question? there’s a flag code? Yes. Yes there is a flag code, as the most rudimentary search of the internet should reveal. Here is a link to the text on wikipedia. This should be common knowledge for anyone interested in seeing the flag of your nation treated with respect. Follow the code and you are respecting the flag, don’t follow the code and you run the risk of making a mockery of the flag.
Most national flags and battle flags are not to be allowed to lay on the ground. It is one of the highest forms of disrespect to treat a flag the way this flag is being treated, whether this is common practice or not at your average sports event. I don’t think this fact, spelled out in the flag code, can be said loudly enough to not be ignored by the politically blind in today’s United States. They know what they want to believe, emotionally. Your words will not carry meaning for them unless those words agree with the things they already believe. But the president of the United States is lying to the people who are booing from the stands at these sports events, and he’s doing it because it makes him look better agreeing with their outrage at being disrespected.
How many people know that the US flag was never worn as clothing until the 60’s? When Abbie Hoffman wore it in protest and was arrested and tried for doing so? I’d wager that not many of the MAGA do. The way we treat the flag these days in almost all venues is disrespectful. It should not be allowed to fly in the rain. It should not be left hanging on the flagpole after dark unless spotlit. It should not be allowed to touch the ground, with various theories as to what you should do with the flag after it has been allowed to touch the ground (the wiki article addresses this urban legend) the answer being, get it off the ground when you see it touching the ground. That flag on the ground is being disrespected by every fan in the stadium because they do not rush out onto the field and see that it is lifted from the ground immediately.
So those guys taking a knee in protest? That is the least of the flag code offenses currently occurring in football stadiums, and the players’ failure to assume the accepted position of obeisance before the attending audience should be understood as a protest against those self-same people. Maybe these audiences should worry about some of the other violations of the flag code first. The violations of law and common decency running rampant amongst the #MAGA, the Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans who are the ones destroying the fabric of American society. Destroying it by calling for an end to political speech by professional football players. It might fix the players need to protest in the process.
A few days after I had written the above, On The Media riffed on the same subject. This is the benefit of just sitting down and banging out some text when you have something to say. When I hit publish, the work is done. A podcast has to write and edit, then interview, then re-edit and narrate connective segments, then do a final review and edit before publishing. Once a week for a podcast is an almost breakneck pace, when you understand how much work goes into one.
On The Media understands that the outrage is not really about flags or football either. It’s really about controlling speech, limiting the speech of unpopular speakers. They also have more resources so they can dig deep on subjects that deserve to be revealed to the light of day.
That’s right. The Star-Spangled Banner was based on earlier works. It was part of a valued tradition of protest and counter-protests set to song. On The Media also touches on the important story that isn’t being discussed while Donald Trump rants on about football players and tearing up the first amendment.
Trump did go to Puerto Rico several days after I wrote the original article. I guess the island finally had an air conditioned room they could put him up in for his required stay there. This allowed him to be seen being presidential at the site of the hurricane’s destruction. I’m betting the people of Puerto Rico would have preferred he stayed in Washington D.C. and actually got to work doing the job he was elected to do. Instead he did his usual insane media op, in this case tossing rolls of paper towels into the crowd that showed up waiting to hear what their president was planning on doing for them. Tossing towels into the crowd as if the people there were at a sports event and were there by choice; not because they were homeless, hungry, thirsty and desperate. They went away without reassurances. So much for being presidential.
There are three other segments in the episode of On The Media (Insult to Injury) in addition to the three that I embedded directly in this post. On The Media is one of the few podcasts that I am sure to listen to when it shows up in my podcast queue. It is one of the few that I take extra time to listen to closely. Brooke’s editing is a masterwork. She wastes no time on filler. Facts and more facts are ladled on in rapid succession. Pay attention because there will be a test later.
In the For What It’s Worth department I have the evidence that the idea to take a knee came from a US veteran who saw Colin Kaepernick sitting during his first protest. The video below is an excellent little montage that explains the reason why taking a knee is not disrespecting the flag as much as calling for an end to protests is.
With this addendum I moved the post up to August 26, 2018. This is something I don’t feel the need to do very often, but then these aren’t normal times. Who would have thought that we’d still be arguing about this bullshit three football seasons later? We are though, and that means it’s still news. What makes it news is that the fans still can’t get it through their heads that they cannot command respect from the players no matter how many times they scream about it. No matter how many times they grill candidates for public office about curtailing the rights of people to protest at public events.
If the players cannot protest, even when those players are protesting respectfully and peacefully, then none of us are allowed to air our grievances in public. Like Beto O’Rourke I can think of few other things less American than telling people to stop protesting and to fall in line. The few times this attitude has been taken and enforced historically (and it has happened) the results were not what the authorities of that time expected or wanted. Those decisions have also been overturned in court. The people screaming about this behavior are also the people screaming about asylum seekers and funds spent on hurricane recovery. If we are too broke as a country to pay for caring for the harborless and homeless, we are certainly too broke to be imprisoning football players for unwanted speech and then having to defend those actions in court.
This Texan really hopes that the video goes viral. Beto O’Rourke is a shining example of intelligence in Texas. I’m hoping there are enough intelligent people in Texas to fix the problems Texas faces rather than continuing to allow the stupid to make more problems for Texas to deal with. I’ll see you all at the polls November 6th.
Nike’s latest ad campaign, Sept. 5, 2018, features Colin Kaepernick as a spokesman. In the distance you could hear the sound of a million conservative heads exploding in outrage.
In the immediate backlash against the campaign, announced on Monday, Nike shares fell nearly 4 percent at one point on Tuesday and closed down 3.2 percent.
Calls for a boycott fed social media buzz about the campaign. There were 2.7 million mentions of Nike over the previous 24 hours, the social media analysis firm Talkwalker said at midday, an increase of 135 percent over the previous week.
This article was originally written for the blogspot URL in September of 2017. I updated it several times as the dumpster fire continued to re-ignite every new football season until the coronavirus ended sports as we had known it previously. An out of control pandemic is what you get when you elect people to government that fundamentally believe that government doesn’t work. Congratulations, you broke the government. In October of 2020 I re-edited the article again for the new URL and I softened the language in the article so as to not drive off the people I wrote it for. You are welcome.
The featured image is an example of violations of flag codes and the mockery of our flag that is commonplace in modern America. I pulled it off some website or other that was advertising July 4th party supplies. Putting the flag on things that you wipe your hands on and then throw in the trash. No mockery there at all, is there? The image is used in a similar fashion by a few dozen websites now. No surprise there.
It was that focus on young Muslim girls that sparked the idea for the sorority’s first annual event: the Young Muslimahs Summit. Back in April, the sorority held a conference in Dallas for around 200 young Muslim women, offering workshops tackling topics such as body image, bullying and education. And it brought prominent speakers, like Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, the Muslim-American basketball player who was banned from playing with her hijab by the International Basketball Federation. She fought the ban, and, just this year, she won.
My first thoughts ran along the lines of “so what?” or “about time”. My next thought went along the lines of “Why is the Hijab even considered a religious observance?” I get why Muslims claim it. I get that they should be allowed to cover their hair if (and that’s a big if) that’s what they really want to do.
But really, women wear scarves all the time. Women have been covering their hair for probably about as long as long hair has been considered sexually normative female behavior. Why is covering your hair considered something only Muslims do? …and why can’t a woman cover their hair while engaging in a sport? Why did this have to go to court in order for her to win the right to cover her hair if she wanted?
In the end, it is just another reason that I am thankful I don’t watch sports in the first place. I don’t have to spend time worrying about crap like this.
This is the most common question I’ve been asked for as long as I can remember. From high school through to the last argument I had “Why are you so angry?” pops up again and again. Everyone I talk to on almost any given subject is convinced that there is some one thing in my life that is bugging me, and that if they can just fix that one thing I’ll be happy.
I’m not angry, I’m intense. This would be my explanation. I’m focused on whatever it is that I’m talking about, writing about, thinking about. It comes across in nearly every conversation, in nearly any documentation, in almost any interaction. I’m pretty sure it freaks most people out and I have no idea how to turn it off.
The quickest way to get me to feel actual anger is to ask me why are you so angry? when I’m simply responding with emphasis. This tendency to fly off the handle has gotten me sent to many headshrinkers over the years. Thoughtful types who purse their lips and want to dig through all the detritus in my head to find out what makes me tick. They would press me to get past the anger masking the real emotion so that they could help me.
Let’s say I’m angry, just to admit a point for debate. Why would I be angry?
I have always been a smartass. My father made sure that I knew this at a very young age, informing me “you really are a smartass, aren’t you?” throughout most of my youth. The internet age has given me a synonym for smartass. Troll. I apparently trolled my parents and teachers pretty frequently. I was sent on mysterious errands in Sunday school for asking things like “who made god?” or “where did the extra loaves and fishes come from?” I had no idea I was being a smartass. The questions occurred, and questions need answers. There were always more questions than there ever were answers, and I’d bet one of my limbs that the first time I was labeled a smartass was when I observed this fact to an adult. Why couldn’t they answer my questions? I thought adults knew everything.
Standing apart and observing others with a clinical eye when most people are too busy, too caught up in the rough and tumble to notice the larger picture. Disturbing the peace with my questions, my unwelcome observations. Daring to call down the wrath of adults and spending more hours sitting in a corner than I probably ever did on the playground, just to gain an insight into behaviors that puzzled me, patterns and habits that baffled me.
Stuck in the middle of Kansas surrounded by people that I could just barely relate to, forced to participate in rituals that I had no interest in. Church? Football? Rodeo? That last one is the kicker I will never understand. What purpose is served by rodeo? In the medieval guilds you would call what rodeo does a demonstration of skill. A demonstration that a journeyman attempts in order to be hired on somewhere as a master. I guess if I had a need for horse riders or cattlemen, I’d go to a rodeo to find them. Luckily for me, I don’t need any of those so don’t need to go to the rodeo. The inscrutability of rodeo is tangential, though. It is a speed bump in the middle of nowhere that makes you ask, why? The speed bump is irrelevant, the question is important.
Why am I so angry? Well, there is a start right there. If I’m angry at all. Am I really angry?
I was first clued in on the synonym for smartass while in a Compuserve chat group way back at the dawn of the internet. They called me a troll. In hindsight this label was indeed accurate. I was trolling then. Internet trolls do seem angry about something, although what they are angry about is open to question. The wife insists I’m not a troll because in her eye trolls are evil creatures. Trolls are not evil, trolls are misanthropes; and all of us are misanthropes outside of our comfort zone. I was called a troll because I didn’t understand and wanted to know. Wanted to know about being other kinds of people than I appeared to be. I appeared to be, still appear to be, a white guy who appreciates his guns, cars and the company of women. I understand that. That is life for the average male in the midwest. It’s not enough for me, but it appears to be enough for most men.
I wanted to know, so I went outside my comfort zone which is the only way to learn anything and started asking questions, making observations. As I have always done. As I will probably always do. I asked, I read, I listened and I learned. Because I learned I became sensitive to the misuse of various words, which I have even wrote about in the hopes of educating others.
If you don’t listen to the answers to your questions, if you don’t learn anything from asking questions, you are worse than a troll. You are wasting everyone’s time asking questions that you have no intention of internalizing the answers for. You are tormenting others just to hear yourself talk. You are engaging in casual conversation, conversation without feeling. Conversation without meaning.
I loathe casual conversation.
If I am angry, a point which I do not concede, then the demand to engage in meaningless banter on a near constant basis is probably the biggest reason why. I do not speak to hear myself talk. I’m not quick on the uptake and most wit goes right over my head on first pass. It is only later that I will piece together the joke and then facepalm over the stupidity of not getting the point while the conversation is occurring, when it would have done me some good.
It takes mental energy to engage in small talk effectively. To be witty in a casual fashion. Far more energy than I care to devote to a brief conversation with a stranger whom I will probably never meet again. I have always had goals that were far more important to me than witty banter. Goals which consumed most of my mental energy. When the adults around me failed to produce answers to my questions, I turned to the only source available in 1970’s Kansas. I went to the local library. For most of my life I have wandered around with my nose stuck in books. Books were the only place where answers could be found, where stories that interested me were being told.
What was real? Where are we going? Where did we come from? Every question answered produced at least two new questions that needed answers. A never-ending task of education which now extends out beyond my mortal existence. Another good excuse to be angry. Frustrated by the limitations of life itself. I will die still needing answers to questions that will never be answered. If that doesn’t piss you off, you aren’t thinking about the problem.
Thinking. Thinking about thinking. Thinking about thinking about thinking. The philosopher’s dilemma. Is this me thinking or is this an outside influence causing me to come to a particular conclusion? Am I angry or does my thinking make you angry which you then reflect on me? I’m thinking the latter. Of course I would think that. You would think that in my place.
I’m thinking that most people hate thinking so much they’ll pay to undergo pain in order to stop themselves from thinking. I’m thinking I’m not angry but that you wish I’d stop troubling you with my thinking, my desire to make you think. You are angry because I’m thinking and thinking makes you angry. I apologize for not having electric probes for you to blank those thoughts with. Is it sadism to make people think knowing that they would rather endure pain than think? Am I the jackass whisperer? If I’m not, am I the jackass? It’s probably best to leave the jackasses to their electric shocks and not taint myself with their pain.
“Casual conversations, how they bore me. Yeah, they go on and on endlessly. No matter what I say you’ll ignore me anyway. I might as well talk in my sleep, I could weep.”
Editor’s note. This narrative was originally interwoven with the narrative contained in The Unappreciated Art of the Troll when I first wrote it. I set it aside and then left it out of the second draft. Still, enough of my own experience is in this narrative that I thought I ought to at least publish it on the date it was written. So here it is.
Given that the last show I noticed him on was titled Californication, the f-bombs don’t surprise me. What does surprise me is that 40+ years after George Carlin’s 7 deadly words we are still bleeping expletives on television.
Which is a sad observation on the state of intellect in the US today.
I even googled fucking as Stephen suggested (in an incognito window, of course) and discovered that the closest thing to actual fucking on the top of the list was a wikipedia entry for Fucking, Austria. Not one image in the top third of the image search page featured intercourse. So googling the word actually will not enlighten you as to the meaning of the word in the way googling other english words will. Try googling any word other than that one. Even other members of the seven deadlies list.
Seriously, America. Can we just grow up and admit that sex and coarse language exists?
I have read the book. I can’t really say too many nice things about it because it’s not the kind of book that generally appeals to me. There were parts I liked and parts I simply listened at (book on tape) while doing laundry. Pick it up and read it if it intrigues you. It’s not a long read and so consequently won’t be taking up that much of your time. Aside from which, you learn more about David Duchovny, who is probably a better writer than actor, based on my experiences with him. I’m sorry, but The X-Files was never my kind of show, either. Too many people ended up treating it like it was a documentary for me to ever go back and watch it now.
I haven’t mentioned this on the blog, but I’ve been watching The Walking Dead since 3rd season rolled around. I dismissed the concept when it was bandied about before production started, because I didn’t think you could do a television series that could be kept interesting throughout its run based on the the general idea of a post-apocalyptic setting.
The Wife has worked on zombie films in the past. Our garage has been turned into an effects studio and art studio more than once when the demands for getting effects completed for the films she has worked on grew larger than could be completed on set; if the film even actually had an official set they were shooting on.
So when The Walking Deadwas proposed as a TV series, it crossed the radar here at the house simply because of the subject matter. When the series failed to disappear as I predicted, I decided to give it a viewing just to see what it was about. I binged-watched the first two seasons on Netflix, paid for the few of the third season episodes I had missed on Amazon, and started watching the show live after that.
I’d say I love the show, but really I’m just there for the characters and for Greg Nicotero‘s excellent effects work. The storyline has been inconsistent over the seasons and really could do with some long-term plotting in advance of shooting, in my completely amatuer opinion. If there is storyline plotting across seasons, it isn’t apparent in the progression of the story. However, it is one of the few things I do watch on television these days, my tastes ranging to the truly eclectic corners of rarely watched channels available on cable television.
I used to watch a lot of programming on BBCA, having a long-term love of a wide range of BBC programming including the recently relaunched series of Doctor Who and the even more recently canceled Top Gear. I was forced to give up BBCA last year because of costs increases phased in by my local cable provider. That and the Science channel (which I wish had more actual science on it) and several other channels I watched more than the more normal fare available on basic cable were priced out of my reach in the latest price increases rolled out by US cable providers.
Rather perversely, most of the cost that I pay for my cable subscription goes to fund the incredible price tag placed on live broadcast of sporting events. The last time I ever watched a sporting event of any kind on television was the first Superbowl that the Seattle Seahawks qualified for, because the Wife loved the Seahawks when fantasy football first appeared back in the 1980’s. She never watched a game in her life before that Super bowl, and I had to explain the most basic facts about gameplay (4th and ten? What is that?) to her in order for us to get through the game. That was also the game that was stolen from the Seahawks with a bad call by a referee, reminding me precisely why I hated sports in the first place. Reminded me that arbitrary interference by non-players on the field can alter the outcomes of games in ways that are patently unfair. So that was the first and last game ever watched in this household, and the common joke that my TV is broken it won’t display sporting events has held sway ever since.
We are in the midst of yet anther cable war, with the various parties attempting to get more of the piece of the pie than they are currently getting, and I really don’t have time for any of them. I am unconcerned about the profits of the various corporations who want to prove to their shareholders that they have the clout to get what they want, so buy our stock. All I want is to be able to watch the programming that I am interested in, however that content is delivered. KeepAMC or TV on my side(one of the worst programmed sites on the internet, hands down) a pox on both your houses.
I have been threatening to cut my cable and get all my entertainment directly from the internet for a couple of years now. If my cable company really was on my side as their website claims, I would be able to watch the shows I wanted to watch without having to pay extra for programming I don’t watch. The cost of providing me access to old and independent films and even well-produced television series runs about $8 for Netflix, why do I have to pay upwards of $100 dollars to my cable company for virtually the same menu of items? If AMC really wanted me to watch their programming, they’d make it available directly from their website and not force me to subscribe to a cable provider.
Those are the facts of the case, not the crap that they offer as excuses through their proxies. If AMC is priced out of my ability to pay for it as the rest of their network currently is, I will be cutting the cord like so many other Americans have done. I have no use whatsoever for continuing to pay for cable access that is limited to programming that I don’t watch anyway. Paying too much for that already.
I cut the cable right after TWD made itself not worth watching anymore. Haven’t looked back. The Wife’s prediction about the future of entertainment has proved out, though. She said that subscription services would spring up for each and every company that had content it thought it could draw viewers to their websites for, and that is what has happened.
Every single content library on the planet now is largely restricted; you have to pay the rights holders for access to that content directly, and you have to keep paying for it if you ever want to see it again. Netflix has been gutted, requiring them to keep making content of their own in order to have new content to show. Ditto for Amazon, who only has a larger library because, hey, it’s Amazon, everyone goes there to shop. I can’t say I like this new arrangement any more than I did cable services, but at least I don’t have to be fucked for over a hundred dollars a month just to watch something at all.
Having to manage subscriptions is a pain, though. It is easy to forget just who you are paying what to, causing you to waste money for access to content you no longer watch, or want to watch. This development makes the purchase and maintenance of your own digital library a defensible act. Pay once, have the content always at your fingertips. I’ll take option C, please.
David Dewhurst should be run out of town on a rail after this fiasco.
“I pushed this important legislation through the Legislature because I knew it would deter our young people from wrecking their bodies and putting their lives at risk by using illegal steroids,” Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said in Tuesday’s editions of the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News.
3 million dollars later, and we have nothing to show for it. Two positives out of 10,000 tests administered. That’s a statistical equivalent of ZERO atheletes on steroids in Texas.
[Never mind that if I wanted to do steroids as an athelete, I’d be sure that it was documented that I had sinus allergies; the treatment for which is generally steroids. Whatever]
The OLS host repeats it frequently “The Largest Steriod Testing Program in the Nation”. Drug testing is an invasion of privacy. If you want to test your own children, knock yourselves out. Leave my children alone.
…and fire David Dewhurst. Even if you think testing is OK, how is this program not a complete waste of funds?
“Our children’s health is in jeopardy,” said state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville. “We cannot allow an entire generation of Texans to grow up and live a shorter life than previous generations.”
Maybe we should stop discouraging them from engaging in extra-curricular activities. Discouragement like testing them for drugs if they want to play sports, for example. Or maybe you should just turn off the TV and take the kid for a walk.
When a Representative of the State mentions children and jeopardy, watch your wallets. There’s going to be additional theft-by-taxes proposed shortly following those words.
… Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions – everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses
(Juvenal, Satire 10.77-81)
Early this week came the news that the NFL network and Time Warner (alternate story) couldn’t come to an agreement concerning the airing of football games on Time Warner cable. This lead to several long discussions of bread and circuses; the NFL being the modern day equivalent of Roman gladiator games when it comes to distracting the masses. Politicians at the state house are assuring the voters that they will get their football, even if it takes legislation to achieve this goal.
Strange, but the government was no where in sight when Paramount yanked my (at the time) favorite entertainment off of the syndication market and insisted that a local affiliate for their national network had to step forward in order for Austin to be able to see the next season of Voyager.
Obviously, one man’s entertainment is another man’s waste of time.
On Friday, as I’m listening to the same talk program, the subject seems to revolve around the latest farm bill, the billions wasted on farm subsidies so far, and the billions more that our beneficent DC politicians are willing flush down the toilet next year.
[Ostensibly to aid in ethanol production. An ill founded idea, to say the least. There isn’t enough arable land in the US to grow sufficient corn to meet the requirements for a real ethanol fuel economy]
As I’m listening to self-proclaimed farmers stand and deliver on why their handouts are better than those demanded by everybody else, the phrase bread and circuses floats through my mind, once again. This is their bread, they’ve sold their votes, their very existence, to the government in exchange for a few measly handouts from the government.
But, more than that, the whole basis of cheap, plentiful food and cheap mindless entertainment (bread and circuses) revolves around government subsidies to agriculture and government interference in the media.
No one believes that we will starve to death if agriculture subsidies were ended; just as the availability of the NFL network on Time Warner cable by itself does not affect the quality of life of the average citizen. But the lack of cheap food and entertainment will eventually lead people to question what it is we need all this government for; and that is a question that those in power would rather we didn’t ponder.
Rest assured, the Bread and Circuses will continue for as long as Caesar has the means to fund them.