Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Five Minutes watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I don't watch a lot of movies. I don't really have time. And I go to the movies even less. Something about Sporty, but that's a whole other issue. So the rarity of which I go, means on average I've spent about five minutes watching every movie made. It's an existential thing, don't concentrate on it.

I don't usually do the most contemporary of movie reviews. I like to watch something three or four times before I try to wrap my whole brain around what the director was trying to say. This however is just shy of garbage so I don't really think any more money needs to be spent. I remember trying to talk some guy on twitter out of a tree over what he thought Cinema Sins was gonna have to say about this movie. I swore to him it was all in jest. To him I say: Dude, I was wrong. Cinema Sins is gonna have a field day. I mean shooting fish in a barrel. My god, the jokes write themselves.

[Spoilers from here on out. And some foul language too]

You ever get the impression you could write a better script than someone who got paid thousands of dollars to so? Post Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Marvel Cinematic Universe why the blue fuck are you shooting "cultural touch-point" film series without an overarching script already in place? Why are there so many holes in the plot? Why wasn't the whole nine hours of new trilogy shot at the same time? That last is particularly troubling. I mean, this is Star Wars, how do you not shoot the whole trilogy as a single movie then split it? And why are these fools proud that they don't know where the story is going? Jesus. And what they finally produce feels too much like an official bootleg  - as The Force Awakens was a reheated New Hope, now the Last Jedi comes off like a knock off Empire Strikes Back. I've already seen this movie. When I was twelve.   

But I digress.

So much, so much wasted.
Let's start at the beginning. First question: How many deck guns are on a Dreadnought? And how big are they? But let's not get into that now, so let's just say Poe is the man and BB8 is the droid and a single X-wing could take them all out. Snicker. You would think there would put extra protection on the vulnerable areas after the Death Star debacle and all that. But anyway.. um, why are the bombers so slow? Why are there even bombers? I realized watching it the idea was to invoke the idea of World War II bombing runs for tension, but in space the bombers should have been as fast as the X-wings. And it's space kids, not the German hinterlands. Why would the bombs fall into the minor gravity well caused by any of these ships? Ugh. This is just basic right here. After this they just kind of lost me. But I'd already paid for the ticket...

Completely on a different track, why 30 years after Vader and Palpatine go down is it the Rebels vs the First Order? Didn't the rebels win in Return of the Jedi? The crawl in The Force Awakens said the "resistance" had the backing of the Republic. And in film time, a few hours have passed since the first movie. I mean Rey was still holding out that light saber for god's sake. Maybe a few days. Now they're the last 400 people. WTF? I'm thinking wouldn't the series have been better served by making it the Republic vs some Radical order who wants to return to the old ways of the Empire? No so much the heroes are the underdog story, again, but the opposition as a kind of space terrorist organization. Here the bad guys have got Super Star Destroyers and the people with the backing of the Republic are using third hand space junk. 

Back to the film. Why was the Rebels ship not fully fueled? You're planning an escape and after the first jump they're already talking about fuel issues. Or was it? A ship that size should have been able to jump several times I would have thought. I mean they jumped to the middle of nowhere, a second jump had to be possible. And once they realized they could be tracked through hyperdrive, why didn't they scatter? That's like a basic escape the police tactic and yet this crew hung together long enough to get picked off until down to one ship.  I realize again this was an attempt to build some tension much like the reboot of Battlestar Galatica, but that was a series not a movie, they had time to explore build character. Not even gonna ask why this fleet is so small or why since the First Order just blew up some planets in the last movie their allies are on the Outer Rim and not closer.   

Now, I must have gone to the bathroom for this part, but how did Finn and Rose get off the ship? In a hyperspace capable ship? That apparently no one saw launch? I mean the bridge crew and all of them. Think on that for a minute.

I'm not even questioning how Leia made it back to the ship. The Force is the Force. It just is. Deal with it.

And now to Holdo, in her emergency battle gown. Far be it from me to mock her just because she's a woman, my problem is she is terrible at command but everyone wants to overlook it. Yeah, I'm serious. Let's go over it. She only has the job because the Resistance's entire leadership is wiped out by the bridge strike. She has a little reputation because Poe's kind of impressed and he decides to try to help. So, in their desperate situation does she even attempt to get buy-in from her subordinate? Nope, she belittles him. Because that's what people in charge should do.

But Poe was a hotheaded pilot who'd just got demoted, she didn't owe him anything her defenders exclaim. Only they're mistaken. Poe was a hotheaded HERO who'd just recently blown up the First Order's super Death Star who'd been just demoted by a even bigger HERO, General Organa for a mistake. He wasn't a nobody, he was a key part of the resistance who'd found the missing map to Luke Skywalker and who still held sway with the pilots even after the misguided dreadnought attack. He asked what the plan was and the Vice Admiral believing she had Leia's clout just went at him like it was personal. That should have been a pull his ass into a closet and tell him the plan to get him on to her side moment. She knew he was a hothead and just sneeringly said fuck you I'm in charge. That's just bad personnel management. Had she handled it properly it would have meant there would be no mutiny attempt and Leia's actual plan would have worked. Instead, the vice admiral's stubbornness and lack of ability to read the situation or her personnel are what caused the mutiny, the plan to get out and the deaths of many on the smaller ships. But yeah, she was a great. Ha.   

All that however does not diminish her kicking in the hyperdrive through another ship though. That was pretty cool.

The ending had too many issues for me as well, at once harking back to a New Hope with its out of nowhere Millennium Falcon appearance. And I'm confused, what exactly were the tiny little salt skimmers supposed to do against a cannon the size of a football field? How long was it supposed to be before help came? Hours? Days? Other than Luke's supreme fakeout the ending was just shy of pure grade-A bullshit. It setup nothing, it created no cliffhanger, it just kind of ended... huh?

While I think Abrams is an ass who doesn't understand how to make a hero movie, I'm not sure what to make of Rian Johnson, who apparently doesn't know how to make a hero movie either. Guys, let me explain it to you slow: We don't go to the movies to watch the heroes die, we go to see how they'll win. I may be in the minority, but a hero dying doesn't add weight or add character to the story. The noble sacrifice is just as much a cliche as the bulletproof good guy. It's a popcorn movie, not Shakespeare, make it a damned popcorn movie already. This was a lame attempt to give literary heft to cardboard characters. Hey, Hollywood, we like cardboard characters for popcorn movies!   

Let's hope the Lando movie is more like this.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The long road back

Ramblings Post #342
I toyed with the idea of putting some cryptic song lyrics here, but in reality I just was doing some other stuff. So I let this slide for a minute. Sorry. Well, not really. This is was always really more for me than for anything else and if my attention waned on a part of me I kinda always knew it would come back. And here it is.

I'm back,

Not that anyone missed me.

I've been working on a lot of personal projects as of late - wrote a book for NaNoWriMo about airship racing in an Alternate-1960s (and I am already tossing around the idea of sequel) while I was in the midst of writing another about a dimension hopping blues band. I got an actual job as opposed to contracting (well, I got an offer). I semi-restarted my epic diet of 2010 ( I write that with a bowl of ice cream on the desk by the keyboard). I signed up for some online classes for some stuff I'm interested in - time management, programming, some law.

I'm doing stuff. Yeah.

And I'm doing all this stuff because if I keep watching the news and seeing just how close we are to a twisted prologue of the movie Idiocracy, or worse, having to find some kids to serve as tribute, I don't know if I'm gonna make it. This is supposed to be America dammit, and the idea that the elected officials serve all Americans, NOT JUST THE ONES WHO VOTED FOR THEM, seems to have been lost somewhere. We live in interesting times. God help us all.

Maybe my memory isn't good, but under the last president I don't remember the country repeatedly stumbling from potential catastrophe to potential disaster on seemingly endless repeat. Or us purposely poking the hornets nests in the Middle East and North Korea because we swear we won't get stung. Or the government so blatantly ignoring the will of the people. And while I half expected the confederacy that we're seeing created before us since that morning I woke up and realized we'd elected an out of touch egocentric narcissistic as President, it's the rest of it that worries me the most.  It's all the change happening at the veritable speed of the internet (before deregulation) with no concern for casualty or consequence beyond a zealot's personal gratification that gives me pause.

A lot has been going on. A lot of it grey matter being treated as Vantablack or pure white. We've entered an age of no compromise and no forgiveness or rehabilitation. We're all suddenly absolutists in a world created by the sum of our parts, experiences, faults and fears

Except me. I'm just a guy. And I'm sitting over here judging you all. And fairly soon I'm gonna start talking about you too.

And I'm not that damn happy either.
Barkeep. Some of that Boone's. Yes, I am aware that it is $100 a bottle at this point. But sometimes it bees like that.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

One door closes, another opens...

Ramblings Post #341
I had to write something that wasn't political or about death, as it was getting pretty dark on here. There are so many "you've got to be kidding me" moments happening so fast as of late so often that you almost have to just turn off the news and go read a book or listen to soft classical music. And this would be the lick except I'm one of those people who is unable to put the idea it will all still be right there when I get back out of my head. I keep imagining that it's all a terrible dream, only it seems like I've brought you all with me. Sorry about that. 

I liked Survivor's Remorse, the showtime original series about basketball player Cam Calloway,  played by average sized Jessie T. Usher, getting his first really big NBA payday. It was original, it wasn't about drugs or the music industry, the usually stereotypical gritty black characters that would have infested a show like this stayed on the sidelines for the most part, nobody got murdered, it explored a lot of scenarios and situations not normally covered AND it was shot in Atlanta. All good things. It was television of a type, Black TV, which means every episode had a message or theme we were supposed to see and relate to as African Americans, and while the characters were making us laugh we were supposed to learn a lesson. It's a real thing, google it.
And that was all she wrote
Towards the end though, I began to enjoy Cam's sister M-Chuck (short for Mary Charles) and the his cousin Reggie  stories more. Partially because they seemed more fleshed out and covered more ground than did Cam's stories, but most because along the way Cam had become a bit of a too caught up in himself asshole. When we first met the him, he was happily tagging thots and telling folks he was happy his mom's didn't abort him. He and his cousin/manager slipped and slid out shoe deals, new contracts, setting up their own sports agency, ad campaigns and hilariously trying to give away a gun. But by the time we left him Cam had become a self righteous insufferable crusader for his own personal brand of goodness that included children's charities, retired basketball players and corporate divestment. In the last few episodes my favorite parts were the rants of truth given by side characters and not the star of the show.

But all the aside, because that is a writing issue that can be address, that the show was cancelled at the end of the fourth season unceremoniously leaving so many unanswered questions is the real problem. At the end Cam had just asked his girl Allison to marry him and she'd just found out what it meant to be a basketball wife professionally and personally. Reggie had just invested pretty much his whole nut in a opportunity Cam had expressly told him not to. And M-Chuck kept bringing up old skeletons.  So, did they actually get married after she really saw how he lived? Did Reggie's investment shit the bed? Can lesbian M-Chuck have a platonic relationship with a woman? Does his mom marry the billionaire? But, most importantly, how many lawsuits does Mikey C (played by a very funny DJ Khaled) end up causing?

By the way, I'm still mad they killed off Mike Epps' character.

But, where a door closes, another opens. Out goes Survivor's Remorse and in walks White Famous. Where in this case the lead character starts out a broke self righteous insufferable asshole who keeps trying kick himself down a well. Let's hope he gets better.
We shall see, see indeed.
The show, checking off the stereotypical boxes, is about a standup comedian in Hollywood with a beautiful ex-girlfriend who is the mother of his child trying to make it. He also has a overweight friend he claims is hilarious  but we haven's seen it yet, an smarmy agent he can't seem to fire, and the chance of a lifetime due to chance encounter with a slightly inebriated asshole Hollywood producer. No, not him, another one.

It's a new show so I'm still saying it has potential, but the early writing feels like whoever wrote put together doesn't think about how real people act. The lead, played by SNL alum Jay Pharoah, plays comedian Floyd Mooney not like a person who has a kid he needs to look out for or even possesses a burning hunger for success. He plays him more like a someone willing to starve to prove a point of blackness, which is not how you make it in Hollywood. He's a character with no give in a town that's all compromise. That's bad writing or directing I can't tell which. but what I do know is bad writing is the baby mother, a Cleopatra Coleman who needs no embellishment, who at the end of the first episode tells Floyd to take the opportunity then at the start of the second episode berating him for not seeing his son because he's busy with that same opportunity. That needs to be cleaned up, little things like that. If it can. Like I said, it has potential, it's not there yet. AND the lead character needs to stop acting like getting a shot is like applying at McDonalds or that he's going to make it strictly on his own terms. Talk about unrealistic television. 

I did however like the Black TV point it makes however in how popular media seems to want emasculate Black men by putting them in dresses. (See Martin, Tyler Perry, etc) Jamie Foxx playing himself was funny in what could have been a throwaway scene, Floyd refusing to dance to that tune was a twist for the good for the most part. But for this good we got the ending, which was a bit contrived.

Episode two was also uneven, but as I said, hopefully it gets better. We shall see. This reminds me why I don't watch as much television as I used to.


Barkeep, let me get a summer ale. What do you mean summer's over. Well damn, there goes my heating bill. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Las Vegas - Damn.

I've always meant to go to Las Vegas. I apparently don't travel much, even though as a child I used to dream of it nightly, planning trips to places around the globe, poring over resort layouts, scouring maps for points of interest. As an adult I've never even been to Las Vegas. It's not like they don't have flights, but there was always something else. And now I guess there is a Las Vegas Before...and a Las Vegas After.

What happened was...shocking. I didn't watch TV Sunday night confined myself to a fresh startup of an video strategy game I like - the Cowboys had lost, I was not in the mood for anything - and so I wasn't until Monday morning on the way to work listening to NPR that I heard. And I cursed out loud in shock. Not a quiet sentiment, but actual shock. It's surreal really. 

So when exactly is a good time to talk about gun control?

Normally, on like an average day, there is no urgency. You raise the question and your patriotism is questioned and you find out the Second Amendment is second to nothing and not just because THEY keep trying to punch holes in the first amendment. We're not talking about taking all guns away, just the really dangerous ones, and maybe checking to see whose buying them, but no. The NRA takes it's bag of money out of the trunk, the Congresspeople line up and later we all argue about the same things we've been yelling about for the past 50 years and nothing changes.

So apparently that's not the moment. 

On a day like today, which occurs far too often, where a tragic incident involving firearms designed for warfare is used for NOT warfare, we get admonished for attempting to politicize the event for our own ends. We must tend to the wounded, counsel the grief stricken, figure out what happened. After that we'll lionize the brave, donate blood or time, dramatize the events in the re-telling and then sell the movie rights - we can get Mark Wahlberg. And pray. And send our thoughts.

So apparently it's not now either.

As I understand it, one of the central arguments in favor of the Second Amendment is that limiting it deprives one of the right to defend themselves in case of being attacked. I hear this, but I always wonder do those who espouse this believe that shootouts are like the movies? Like video games? That they'll be able to unlimber their firearms, coolly assess the situation, and then spring into action John Wick style using only head shots? People who describe getting shot at use words like terror, shock and anger. And I'm talking about soldiers who are trained for it, not work day Joes. One of the people on the scene, formerly a major gun rights supporter, realized that night why that argument doesn't work. But had to happen to him. Why can't we learn from his insight. Sigh.

Las Vegas was horrific.

How many dead do we need before we act? We have as many dead from gun violence in the past six months as we've had from all the terrorist attacks ever in this country. I realize an incident like this is probably not the best way to evaluate how guns affect our lives, but when is? We've already figured out it's not when it's not happening. When do we get to defend America from itself?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Don't Protest Shame Me Bro

Ramblings Post #340
I am, in case this is your first time reading, a Dallas Cowboy fan. Long time fan. Die Hard. When the Cowboys lose don't talk to me the next day  type of fan (see Broncos game). Let Dez score a TD or Zeke break a big run and suddenly "We going to the Superbowl" type of fan. And I realize that the NFL is flawed. I am fully cognizant. Rich old guys own the teams, young black people play. Completely aware. But I grew up in the South. I grew up when one of the most popular shows on TV featured a car with a confederate battle flag on top. I grew up in a town where they had a moment to fallen to the fallen southern soldiers in the town square. And because I was raised bathed in an almost casual racism, I don't see quite the way many others do. It's doesn't mean I'm not mad, it just means I've learned to endure differently. And that's okay. 

Apparently if I'm not completely and totally outraged enough to sit-in, stand-in, go on a hunger strike, chew rocks and march on Washington because (fill in the racial issue of your choice), them I'm a collaborating appeasing self hating respectability politics believing motherfucker and I'm not woke or really down for the struggle. What. The. Fuck. Ever. Because what I am is a grown ass man and I'm of the opinion that if your answer to every injury is burn it all down then I think you're not REALLY listening to what's being said. So, let's clear this up. Am I upset about police brutality and do I want to end the policies where police officers are not being punished for overstepping their authority or committing crimes? Yes, of course I am. Do I think Colin Kaepernick not only had a right to protest, that he did it in a way that was highly visible but not especially disruptive? Yes, it was a brilliant concept. Am I also watching pro football this season? You goddamned right I am. Because while Colin Kaepernick is a stalwart man of purpose and vision who believes in standing up for what he believes in, his protest was to bring attention to his issue. At no point did he say he wasn't willing to play. 

Now, does Kaepernick deserve a shot in the NFL? Considering his QB rating last season, around 90, and the current ratings of some of the starting QBs playing in the league, around 70 or below, then the logic says yes, he should have gotten a shot. Considering the play so far, some GM SHOULD be digging through their trash can right now looking for his number.  

But then, this is football. And if you know how football works, it's not simply how the numbers stack up because if it was there is no way to explain how all those castoffs and rejects end up doing all that winning up in Foxboro. Football judgement is murky, a custom combination of those numbers, a GM or coaches gut feelings, some arcane magic, blind luck and a unwavering belief that a players primary interest in football and football only. Not to diminish Kaepernick's stance, but we're talking about a league that dinged an high potential player who expressed a desire to pursue his opportunity to be a Rhodes scholar in the off season. Kaepernick is a very upfront social activist. Asking a team to hire a player deeply concerned about a social issue that they can't exploit AND who angers a great deal of their most loyal customer base is asking a lot.  

But however, just a a few games into the new season, some of these teams are going to have to make a decision even Kaepernick doesn't have to make: Principle or winning. I don't know how to explain this to a non-fan. Winning fixes a lot. Winners get a great deal of leeway. There are dyed-in-the-wool-name-their-child-Robert-E-Lee-fill-in-their-last-name racists in the south who punch the local sheriff in the mouth if he even thought about arresting the local black star athlete who ensures that his team WINS GAMES for anything less than...well, that's a pretty wide slot right there. Hell, murder is not even a lock if a championship is on the line. But you have TO WIN. And although Kaepernick statistically is a better quarterback than more than few guys who have jobs at this point in the season, unless he's guaranteed to put W's on the board, thereby mitigating they social backlash from their socially unaware season ticket holders (and there are apparently a lot of them) it becomes a tricky question for the Owner and GM. Bring in a better QB (Kap), piss off the fan base and hope he wins games, Or stick to their asinine principle, continue to lose and lose the fan base anyway?    

Money is a powerful thing. But it has no conscience. And no memory. 

I'm of the opinion that a few more games in or the someone else gets hurt and somebody will be desperate enough to have to re-prioritize (see Bengals). The slump in TV ratings and the empty stadiums will only speed things along, provided that the league can package their capitulation properly. And then the rubber meets the road and Kap better win, or then we've got a whole new problem. Would we be just as outraged he couldn't find a job...if he was subpar? Now there is an interesting question. 

I'm not against protesting. And I damn sure don't think Kaepernick should have stuck to sports, after all nobody is telling J.J. Watt to stick to sports. (By the way, Watt is admirable for using his platform to help out hurricane victims - Just like Kap is trying to help his people. Kap started something there.) But protest fatigue is a very real thing. It's hard not to get overwhelmed when it seems like a never ending onslaught. This one, this particular protest, is just not for me. But, let's be clear, here. Should we protest when we as a people are injured by institutional racism and those whose ingrained biases distort their vision of our reality? Hell yes. Every single infraction? Bruh, there isn't that much time. 

Barkeep. I'll not need my protesting libations today. But keep them handy.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Realities in Government : A Critique

This is a political post. 

One of the problems with government running as a business is the business at it's core it is supposed to be designed to maximize and react quickly to changes in it's operational theater. By contrast professional government exists as a kind of national insurance policy - financial, medical, military - required in it's purpose to maintain reserves so that it can mitigate misfortune and disaster and is designed to change slowly. Lost in the shuffle of response, rescue and rebuild is the reality that just before Hurricane Harvey struck, the Republican led Congress was about to gut $900 million dollars out of the budget of country's national disaster response organization - FEMA - using that always prudent (at least to them) kind of thinking that "well, the money is just sitting there," and putting it towards The Wall, the new administration's idea of how border security is supposed to look. It's as though  to them the term "natural disaster" only appeared in CGI heavy movies full of split second escapes made by crazy directors. Then, Hurricane Harvey made that unexpected shift and devastated the city of Houston. And last weekend Irma made Disneyworld close for like the fifth time, ever. 

And our glorious Republican leaders have responded to this massive disruption of life, stability and loss of property, suggesting a tax cut?

Well color me surprised.

But then these are people who swore that government was so wasteful, but seemed determined to treat it like a unlimited charge card and free advertising platform while attempting to destroy so much of it we have no choice but to try something else. It's like the captain of the Titanic purposely ramming the iceberg because using lifeboats will prove who the real men are. This is who is running the country now.

I have long been of the opinion that business and government are fundamentally different, have diverging purposes, and the techniques of success in one cannot be applied wholesale to the other. And very soon we it will become evident to everyone but the most fervent of believers that the reduction in government oversight on a massive scale and the reduction of taxes, instead of a creating a capitalistic libertarian utopia, is almost certain to birth a national version of what happened in Kentucky, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. The less government/less taxes mantra has left a trail of busted budgets, reduction in basic services, and living for some a lot more harsh than even their grandparents remember from the Great Depression. And now we're going to try it on a national scale. My question is what would be enough for them to admit they made an error in judgement? How do you jibe a 50+ billion dollar increase in outflows (military spending) with a reduction in inflows (taxes)? Not one of the current ruling party seems to remember that the Great America they want to get back to, where rampant oppression for everyone not them was a common as kudzu, happened during the absolute highest levels of taxation ever. I'm not even going to get into the political realities of rights and changes in the social atmosphere since then.

And once the hard reality hits that these same people have redrawn the voting districts so that the scoundrels can't even be voted out? Even when they've turned on themselves. We won't even be a representative Republic anymore, much less a democracy. I mean, does anyone else find it interesting that the party in power is working harder to make sure people can't vote than it is to get folks to actually want to vote for them. Just me? Okay, just me.

In it's purest form, running a business is like managing a sports team. Management of the enterprise is a constantly shifting combination of practical experience and gut feeling resulting in a odd mix of proven entities and hoped for future production assets where additions and terminations are regular occurrences and expected by all participants.  Government has to run more like a family - in that a great of those things necessary for continued existence are fixed over time, additions are usually limited, depleted assets must be maintained because that's what you do. Moreover, it does and should takes a great deal of soul searching and agonizing before to committing to drastic action because the consequences cannot be avoided. We are America the family. Not America the sports team.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

And thus ends the road production of the Great White Hype

Ramblings Post #339
There is thing, this feeling that you've been somewhere before or done something before called Deja vu. I sometimes get it when I get invited to a thing and I'm a little nervous but when I pull up realize that not only have I been there before but I had a great time. That feeling that this isn't wholly original...

When it was announced, I was inclined to believe that MMA fighter in the heart of his career could beat a retired boxer. But then I didn't really pay attention to it because I don't really watch MMA and boxing stopped being exciting once the Eastern European man mountains got their hands on the heavyweight title. To me, MMA was always the sport of people who think waiting at red light means pickup your cell phone - people who expect to be entertained every second without having to think about it. Not that there isn't tremendous skill in MMA, it's just that the format doesn't lend itself to long form strategy - it's really an all-in sport every outing. In contrast, boxing requires "thinking long." And while I can appreciate the smaller weight classes and the talent within, for this kid of another age I've always viewed the heavyweights as the big draw - and the dominance out by the Klitschkos sucked the excitement out of the room.

shot by photographer Idris Elba for Mayweather Prod.
But back to this fight - Money Mayweather, a undefeated boxer of great skill, versus the human form of the Tasmanian Devil in the form of Connor McGregor. Mayweather a champion whose fights weren't quite the draw they used to be fighting a Irishman who had never boxed professionally before. And suddenly it struck me - I'd already seen this movie starring Samuel L. Jackson. And I'll be damned if that movie's scheme didn't work again - only this time in real life.

The Great White Hype (1996) is a film starring the aforementioned Sam Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Jamie Foxx and Damon Wayans as the heavyweight champion of the world. Only this champ is so good his fights are boring and no one wants to wants to watch anymore. His manager the Sultan, played by Sam Jackson, with his back against the wall recalls that the most profitable fight in history was Holmes v Cooney, even as he proclaims "Cooney's jab couldn't even break wind." Thus the Sultan promises the champ that he'll find him a white boxing opponent, and if he can't find one he'll create one. Thus is birthed Mayweather vs. McGregor, er, sorry Roper v. Conklin, where here Conklin is the last person the champ lost to in his amateur days. Sultan finagles a title shot for Conklin, nicknames him Irish Terry Conklin and before the dust can settle the seats and pay-per-view are selling like hot cakes.

Sound familiar, doesn't it?

Now, while Mayweather didn't show up for the fight overweight and smoking in the corner between rounds like the champ in the Great White Hype, in his own way he didn't take the fight seriously. Oh, he trained, but then training is what he does really, with the one night fight events really more interruptions. No, training is Mayweather's job and he's good at it. And I don't mean the pre-fight head massage because well, hell, I'd like a pre-anything head massage so more power to him. I say he didn't take the fight seriously because of something I heard on ESPN the next morning. As the announcers sat around one reported that the day of the fight - around 4pm - Mayweather visited a local casino and tried to place a bet on himself. This is not as crazy as it sounds. He thinks he's gonna win, he's going to try to win, the money is green, so why not? Only it wasn't a straight bet, Mayweather tried to place a bet that he'd win the fight in nine and half rounds.

Now,  when they called it,  McGregor is despite what he said later in the locker room interview, is clearly almost out on his feet. He's weaving, he can't really defend himself and he's about to take another almost two minutes of damage. In the NINTH round.The exact round Mayweather tried to place a bet on him winning. The announcer indicated that had the casino let him place it, Mayweather would have won the bet by about thirty seconds. This is why you don't normally let athletes bet on themselves.

Now, I'm not saying the fight was fixed. In the movie Conklin really thought he could win, and I'm certain McGregor was pretty sure he could pull off the upset was well. He is a proud, game fighter, who was winning the early rounds. But even before I knew what I know now I was of the opinion that the longer the fight lasted the better Mayweather's chances. MMA fights are intense but shorter, and I didn't think McGregor had enough time to build up his endurance, which is crucial to boxing. But it seems like Floyd has the sweet science down to well, a science.

And thus end's the road production of the Great White Hype. We applaud Floyd Mayweather in his deal roles of Sultan and champ. Tax problems goodbye.

Barkeep, I'll need a bottle of your cheapest champagne...and funnel. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

The White House and the KKK

This is a political post. 

I used to have conversations with Hardcore Black Progressives who were upset that Obama had not done more specifically for black people. They would say that he should do this, or he should have done that, as though they imagined the  election of the first black president should have made all blacks the elites of society and completely reversed racism. And I would pragmatically counter and remind them that Obama wasn't voted to be the President of Black people, but the President of the All Americans and he just happened to be black. He didn't really have the option of just being the President to his base, but then no President does. Once we give you the chair, you have to work for those who voted for you...and those who didn't. And I think that someone needs to inform the current guy sitting in the Oval Office of that reality.

Cheeto saying that there is blame on both sides  in Charlottesville is a little like saying the young coed in the horror movie had a bat, so the clown mask wearing axe murderer who just killed everyone in the summer camp is completely justified trying to decapitate her - she's just as at fault as she is. And that's about as flawed as argument as you can make. And no Cheeto, there were no "good people" out there with the Neo-nazis. By definition people who think Hitler not only did nothing wrong but idolize him are NOT good people. We, meaning the whole world, took a vote and the people with swastikas lost. AND...People who side or chose to associate with unashamed Neo-Nazis are also NOT "good people." They didn't end up over there by accident. They didn't miss seeing the Nazi flags or "protestors" who showed in body armor. They made a conscious decision to side with people who believe in genocide. Good? I don't think you're using that word right.   

Side note - Quick Question? Why is Jared still there? I mean, Jesus, his father in law supports people who want him to not exist. Jared, the man who Trump thinks can single-handedly replace the State Department, boost the economy and makes the world's best guacamole. Why hasn't he packed up and moved by New York? Where is his self respect? Without him, the whole thing falls apart, and Cheeto hasn't got his back? Wow.   

I am well aware that this would be Cheeto attacking his hardcore base. But when your hardcore base, those who would support him "even if he shot somebody on Broadway in broad daylight," turn out to people who follow the same ideology of people the rest of us fought a war against just a generation or so ago, you might want to take a long hard look at yourself. This is beyond conservative. Even the most conservatives of conservatives - McConnell and Romney disagree with you. I'm almost certain a large number of people who voted for him in November are trying not to watch the news right now, because denial is terrible thing. I don't know anyone who enjoys being wrong, and I think if that blaming both sides is his final answer, well, a lot of people got it wrong.

Getting rid of Bannon, a man who is a real life overweight Joker come to life, is a good first step. But since Cheeto is ultimately a self promoting narcissistic but ultimately under qualified person to hold the office the President, and entirely too full of himself to ever understand that, I'm not sure what the next step is. Impeachment? Resignation? I think not. Honestly Pence would be worse, because unlike his boss, he knows what he's doing. All those things we are terrified Cheeto might do, Pence would actually get done. This maybe a situation where, and I realize this is a weird idea, but you leave the incompetent demon in place just because he's so incompetent. I mean, he couldn't pass his healthcare rollback and his party owns the government.

With luck, by the midterms he'll have pissed off so many folks he loses his lock majority, and by the next election even outside interference won't be able to save him. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Nazis and the Old South

This is a political post 

We're here now? Seriously? What the actual fuck?

If you don't know, and you should by now, in Charlottesville VA people who consider themselves the oppressed, white males, gathered together and marched while, Nazi slogans and giving the salute that literally gets you jail time in Germany. In a supposed protest against the removal of a statue of a person who was an actual traitor to this country. We're living in one of those crackpot alternate word books right now, we have to be, and I think if we all get together and chant the right words we can get back to a place where common sense is in charge. I say that because what I just wrote is completely true but makes no actual sense.

And then, as if to add butter on the already burnt popcorn, the President's statement was the mealy mouthed political equivalent of the teacher handing out a reprimand for fighting to the both you and the bully who jumped you, because reasons. (This is also the political equivalent of the bully being the teacher's child, or at least nephew.) Someone tell the orange one there is not hate "on many sides," just the side that showed up a "peaceful" rally carrying torches, shouting slogans that give old men night sweats and toting weapons.
The new No Hoods option

I don't even want to get into why there were no police in riot gear on hand. Or why the cops just seemed to stand around and watch. When six black people get together to protest you get SWAT teams. In Ferguson MO, when black people tried to peacefully protest the failure to charge an officer with murder or even investigate the circumstances, the National Guard was called out and they were met with tanks. Because protesting unlawfulness by the people who are supposed to keep the law should be like a thing. But when white people stand in the streets protesting the removal of a statue of a traitor to the country, shouting the slogans of a group that wanted to destroy America, well, it's just something that happens, right? The cops just mull about, if they show up at all. In my opinion, it's this casualness that lead to the circumstances of Heather Heyer's death. But I'm gonna stop there, and I'll leave that to others to fight.

Are we seriously here? I used to think that Obama's presidency and the dawn of the true ascendancy of the black man (and woman) had just uncovered the long simmering and festering hatred from 1950s we'd been unable to eradicate through education, integration, civil rights laws and television. Well, if you're from the South, since last Tuesday, but you get the idea. But now I see it's much worse, because in the 1950s they may have been racist, but at least they hated Nazis. Now they want to be Nazis? Jesus, this is suddenly the 1930s but with internet.

I'm not sure where this going, but as a kid I wonder how those people who fought for my rights did it, how they found the courage and the strength. So, I guess I get to find out.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The New Office Odd Couple

Ramblings Post #338
Work. I want to say something profound and memorable, but all I can muster is "There must be more than this. Isn't there?" I realize you can't chase your dreams forever, but I'm of the opinion you can still walk slowly in their direction while you keep your eye on the important things. Depending on how you define important things.  

One of the things about being a freelance ranch hand is that you keep running into characters. I'm talking about fellow Ranch Hands who apparently ride the range because they're just a little too bronco to bust, they ride rough in a world with smooth edges, or they just don't fit in anywhere else. These are people who either make you happy or dread heading out onto the spread. It is from those people you get the best stories, who with you have the most interesting experiences, and who create those moments that make you consider the priesthood.

For the purposes of these recitations I shall call this pair Shotgun Minnie and Pecos Slim.

When I moved to the big new ranch, I didn't move alone. A few of us rode up north, and among them were these two. Both of them are like me, long time Ranch hands with lots of miles under the belt, and how they ended up out here freelancing like me I refuse to ask. I've seen Pecos Slim turn down a spot in a law practice and Shotgun Minne says she used to do work all over the state. I'm freelancing because this is just where I am right now. They apparently have other views. But the two of them couldn't be more opposite.

Pecos is a middle aged guy like me, maybe a little younger, who worked at big Ranch until he just decided he didn't want to do that anymore - something that happens but nobody talks about. He holds himself out as a GQ type, and a bit of a rake, and to my honest surprise seems to do okay with the ladies. Maybe he's more charming to people with nice thighs? He eats healthy and works out a lot, sometimes twice a day, so maybe that's it? But he's also very thin skinned, wanting things his way always, as evidenced by the time I pointed out to him he was thin skinned and he nearly went ballistic. That and his declaration that his latest gym sucks, not because the equipment is bad or being too crowded, but that he can't get a wifi signal and I should have know that's the most important part of working out.

Shotgun Minnie by contrast is a older white female and may actually be the text book definition of the term "piece of work." She openly admits she thinks the word 'budget' is how you say get your buddies together in French and may have seen every single local band to play Atlanta in the last two years. Every single band. I'm not kidding. She also once asked to take a day off because she read online that a local singer she saw ten years previously had died and she needed to process it. At the old spread she would find an excuse to leave early every single day, such a doctor's appointment or something she has to pickup or something she has to do, which is odd because she also disappeared for hours at a time when she claimed she was there. If it rained she went home for the day. She told me that she preferred to go grocery shopping at 3am the day we got paid and she once sold me a commemorative coaster to get gas money.

Both of these people are firm believers that they are God's gift to the world.

At the previous spread their interaction was limited. Back down south, myself and the "trail boss" worked with Shotgun Minnie on a daily basis, trading off who would help her when she called for assistance. For everything. The running under/over for calls for assistance was six, but I think Minne beat it everyday (we're cowhands, not bookies). Pecos Slim and I shared an office, but he would arrive and put on his headphones and pretend nobody else was there. Several times a day however, he would suddenly ask a question out of the blue, usually about a news article he'd just seen online or something existential. Then get peeved if we didn't understand.  

At the new Ranch however, well, then get on Abbot and Costello. Like Crosby and Hope. Like a mismatched Cheech and Chong. Pecos still puts on his headphones, but he seems to take joy in needling Shotgun Annie about her inability to stay at her desk so he has them off more often. We counted one day and were able to get to 14. Also, this new spot requires a full eight hours, something foreign to her, and Pecos Slim doesn't seem to want to let her forget that either. Then, he talks about popular urban culture to her as though she knows what he's talking about, and holding her own she talks to him about local bands and clubs she's trying to go to in the future like he's trying to tag along. The, um, long time local ranch hand who we've been paired with and who looks like she's always laser work focused told me that she thinks the two of them are a hoot.


I'm not sure how to take that.

Barkeep. Some of that old Snake Eyes and some ice water. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017, go Tennis?

Ramblings Post #337
The something about sport. It transcends a lot. People who can't stand each other will come together for sport. People who don't know each other will come together for THE game, whatever it maybe. As long as the common element - the home team- is winning. Winning hide flaws and quells fears. Losing however is the devil's tool shed.  

First, at the new "Ranch" they put Wimbledon up on the big screen around mid-day on Monday, so the whole office could watch. I've worked a lot of places, and I can't really think of any place else that ever did something like this. Normally a big game or event might be shown in the break area and if you were willing to catch the evil eye from your manager for thinking about something than barge lifting or bale toting, you could enjoy for few minutes. But this setup let people at their desks could literally stop and just watch for a while. We discussed rankings, shot selection, serve speeds. I'm not sure if this type of stuff is supposed to happen in a professional environment.

At some point I started rooting for Mueller, because the crowd kept cheering for Nadal.

When I broke for lunch, #4 Rafael Nadal was down two sets and I thought it over. Way underdog #16 Gilles Mueller was on his game and I figured even if Nadal surged late, the Luxembourger could weather it and close it out in short order. Your guy went to lunch, had a lovely custom made garden salad with roast chicken flavored with a able honey mustard dressing, and took a few moments to enjoy the afternoon breeze on the veranda. When I came back Nadal may as well have been running up the steps in Philadelphia while the Eye of the Tiger jamming though the speakers. As comebacks go, this one was shaping up to be epic, man versus man in the harsh and unforgiving English Savannah of the courts. Deuce after deuce, unforced error after unforced error. And seemingly the only people backing Mueller were his family and a the one guy in Leeds who put down a hundred quid. Every shot, every point by Nadal the crowd... well, it is Wimbledon, they respectfully clapped quietly. It's an English thing I guess. Without looking at the screen I knew when Mueller was doing good - I was at work after all - because the crowd would have been quiet for too long.

And they kept playing. Apparently on the English greens of legend there is no tie breaker, they are to just keep playing until someone wins by two. So it went first it was both 6, and then 8. I stopped watching to get some things done and a while later was surprised to realize they were still playing and it was 12 all. Had this been in the US no doubt both men would have been commended for their strength of character in the face of adversity, and if Nadal was able to complete the comeback it would become the stuff of legend. Wheaties commercials, an ESPN 30 for 30, maybe even a blurb on Buzzfeed....stolen from Reddit. At 13-all I was ready for someone to just stand there while the other served and watch it go by. They'd been playing for almost 5 hours, the final set at this point longer than other players complete matches, and quite frankly had more than earned a dramatic "Fuck it" as far as I was concerned.

When Muller finally was able to close out the deuce, an astonishing 15-13, I was almost certain they would both have to sit there court side for ten minutes or so getting their legs back. Or maybe I'm just that out of shape. It was good tennis...something you don't hear everyday.

They turned it back again today but the matches - Djokovic, Venus Williams match and one with a classically named Coco Vandeweghe (she lost poor dear) went pretty much as expected. They paled in comparison to the herculean effort of the previous day. Now, if Konta can beat Venus....well, then...well, it's still tennis. I just started really watching like Monday. 

Barkeep. We'll have tea and cucumber sandwiches in the garden. And by tea I mean the kind in the bourbon bottle. And by cucumber sandwiches, make mine honey-bbq and all drums. And by garden I mean hear at the bar. It's an English thing. Pip pip and all that.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Ramblings Post #336
I used to go to the best cookouts. Two hundred or so people, food that would run out in a half hour, a line for single bathroom, people drinking all the chaser for like no reason and girls who just needed someone to keep them occupied until the cute guys arrived. Ah, the memories. There really is something to growing up. 

The word fireworks doesn't quite cover it. The correct term is "munitions."

If there are any vets in my area who are suffering PTSD they have my deepest sympathies.

My neighbors really lit it up for the fourth. For a solid hour and a half they launched what must have been a lovely cross section of the entirety of the US military's impressive arsenal, the festivities sounding at times like a thunderstorm, then a volleys of gunfire (Steven Segal gunfire, not real gunfire), and having your position shelled.  Honest to god explosions. There is a scene in the movie Full Metal Jacket where the soldiers are resting in the bunker but the noise outside sounds funny, then suddenly they've grabbed their gear and are running as fast as they can for the slit trenches, preparing to lay down suppression fire. It was like that. My windows rattled.

When I wandered outside to see who was winning, the street was thick with the haze and smoke that comes from exploding a lot of things at the same time for a long time. And I think a few of the people had their displays set too low, as a few blooms went off while still below the tree line. Music was playing, in the dark children were granting them 'ooohs and aahhhs, and I could hear the yelling that comes from patriotic fervor, or too much alcohol  or a need for everyone to be impressed at their purchases. I went back into my house. I could still hear small explosions in the distance even after midnight as I tried to keep Vietnam movies from invading my dreams.

And I live in a pretty much all black neighborhood.

I've seen a lot of chatter online suggesting that the descendants of slaves (so, just to be simple - black people) shouldn't celebrate the 4th, because while the declaration did set off Brexit 1776, the notions espoused in it really didn't apply to everyone in that country yearning to be free. But then by that weird logic, the only people who should be celebrating it would be landowning white males, which would mean the way we celebrate would be the same - exploding things - but there would just be less demonstrations of patriotism.

Apparently women shouldn't celebrate, as they didn't get the basic benefits of being American, getting to own their own property or vote for 150 years after this grand declaration. And blacks faced  slavery and then legalized discrimination for the first 180 years since we pulled out of the BU, and things aren't so great now, so we have no reason to be happy either. In reality, when I think about it the words to "This land is my land, this land is your land" from my childhood, it really was more an expression of a idealized America, provided most of us stayed in our lane, than a realistic view of the United States. So, what exactly are we marginalized folks celebrating?

Well, for starters, I'm celebrating the country that I was born in, am a citizen of and that I live in. No, I'm not a closet nationalist or whatever term they're using these days (collaborator?), and although this country still has its many faults, problems and shortcomings* if you're not a landowning white male, it is still a fairly decent place to be in a world still rife with problems common sense should have handled years ago. I'm not necessarily celebrating America as it is today, but that idealized version of America I thought we'd have when I was a kid.

That I even have to explain this strikes me as odd now. Even those who are theoretically on the same side are so divided in their thinking.

Barkeep. A beer. Cold. No, it's just beer, it really doesn't matter.

*Faults and shortcomings being almost too many mention, including racism, sexism, injustice, poverty and the need to put cheese on everything. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

New Ranch

Ramblings Post #335
Ah summer 2017, and I'm home again, trying to get my situation right, as they say taking the time to do those things I need to do to get to where I'm going. The issue I have is, unless you're satisfied with where you are you always need to be working on the next thing. Which means I'm going to working for a long time, because satisfaction is a hard thing to pin down. 

After a bit too long a hitch at the old ranch, I've quite unexpectedly been moved onto a much better looking ranch just up north. Well, north Atlanta. North inside the perimeter Atlanta, not North northern Atlanta. It's complicated. And the transition has got me all twisted. But then, who is used to change?

To be honest, my old ranch was a place to do what I needed to do. Basically a stable, a pasture and the work. (Okay, I'm using metaphors off and on here, work with me - this ain't really no ranch but I'm keeping is nice and vague. For like, legal reasons.) But, I'd gotten used to the setup, as one does when one has been a place a touch too long. Traffic patterns for arrival, when the coffee was fresh, what time the bathroom was clear, you know, the basics. Then whoosh, just like that we get, um, the call to head north.

Now, let's be honest here, this new 'ranch' has all the amenities - free snacks, gourmet coffee, ergonomic chairs, A WINDOW, and more than the same four lunch restaurants which had fallen into a weird shifting rotation which could have me eating pasta three days in row. This place has an actual CHEF at the restaurant in the lobby. I stopped eating at the place near the old ranch because I just couldn't deal with 'guess today's price' style of running the joint. I will miss the brownies from that one spot though up the street though. Mind you this new place there is a Chipotle right there! But, the new ranch is however, as I said, further north...and therein lies the rub.

Not quite this, but for the Keurig machine the do have Stabucks cups. 

Atlanta traffic you may have heard, is a bit an odd duck. I'm fairly certain that the Marquis de Sade Traffic Commission was the principal architect of most of the city's thoroughfares. One fender bender can change a 10 minute drive into an hour wasted. The bit of I-285 between I-75 and I-85, which will eventually be known as Spaghetti Junction East and West, is commonly regarded as one of the worst stretches of roadway in the country. And all of that vehicular fever dream is directed towards or halfway funnels into and out of the area where I work now. It's a hot area. Which takes some of the shine off all the aforementioned niceties.

Given my druthers I'd much rather go in a little later and work a little later to avoid the peaks of rush hour traffic. Doing just that was an option at the old ranch, as the hours were flexible, but it isn't the case at the new one. Now that I have to deal with Atlanta traffic at its naturally occurring intersections of chaos, I have to have my track shoes on a lot earlier than I previously did, which is annoying to the say the least. It shifts my prep time and thus my whole evening schedule, which changes essentially my life. But change happens, so this is isn't the end of the world. The ride home however is a different story.

I used to have one of those unbelievable commutes, but I got deeply downgraded, to like steerage.  I live inside the perimeter, so my previous commute was 20 mins both ways. Seriously. People who live in Atlanta might scoff at the insanity of that, but from parking garage to driveway in medium just off peak traffic it was less than a half hour. I might get through five or six songs on a album. That five to ten minutes difference depended on one intersection and just how backed up the cross street was. That was the whole of my issue. Now, my commute home after a hard day of ranching is, well, unknown. I think it's 45 mins to an hour? Maybe more? All I know is that I get home at the same time or later than I used to, although I leave as much as an hour or more earlier.  

And while I get home around the same time, I now have to go to bed much, much earlier to get enough sleep. Which means my evenings just got smushed. My writing is suffering, my studying for the "cooking" school is suffering - metaphor people - and I just realized if I want to cook I need to start as soon as I walk in the door. I'm about to become one of those people who rushes to everything on Saturday because during the rest of the week I have no time.

So suddenly, I'm like normal people? What the hell?

Barkeep, I'm gonna need a tall drink of ...wait, I got to get early in the damn morning. Just an ice tea. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

And they done done it again...

Ramblings Post #334
There is something about sport. After games where my team won I've hugged people I don't know, bought drinks for people I can't stand and once got kissed by this girl who was in the moment. I felt used, but in a good way. Sport brings us together. But then I've also stopped speaking to people because I found out their Patriot fans. Or Steeler fans. Or one of those anybody versus the Cowboys fans. Grrrrr. And this is from people who don't even play. Imagine how the players feel. 

I didn't really watch much basketball this year, as my Lakers are still at the low end of their pendulum swing and the rise of the player initiated "super team" is upon us. Which is great when it gets to the very end, but really means the season is watching two wrecking balls slowly gravitate towards one another over 82 games. The storyline is straight from the old hero series style action novels I used to read, where it's not IF the hero will when but HOW? Will they when by 10 points or 30 points? Can the star get a triple double? Will they spend an entire quarter just shooting threes? It gets for lack of better way of putting it ...unexciting. 

Glad Golden State Warriors won it all though.

Not because I am necessarily a Curry fan, if you know anything by now with my persistent affection for the Cowboys, I am anything but a bandwagon fan. It's because I am not a fan of LeBron James, and the legend thereof. There, I said it. Although he is a good player, blessed with a deft touch, great shooting skill and a fantastic knowledge of the game, I think that he's not as good as his fan boys want to make him out to be. He's like an Apple product, in that if you listen to his fan club he's the greatest thing ever, but if you take him in context he's just very, very good. Now, keep in mind that when people start screaming that MJ is the GOAT I like to remind them that MJ couldn't even get out of the East until Bird's back caught up with him and Isiah Thomas (the first one) lost a step. My money is still on Magic Johnson, a point guard who could even play center at the championship level - and did when Kareem got hurt. LeBron is good, maybe the best playing right now, but still.
The current league is built from this matchup. Yet neither is in the GOAT convo?
What bugs me most about Bron-Bron is his incessant need to work the officials, as though they won't notice if something bad happens to him. Trust me, the league is looking out for him every moment of every game including halftime bathroom breaks. The way LeBron is always looking for something, if you took a shot every time he looked at the ref as if pleading for him to call the defensive player for looking at ole #23 too hard, you'd be drunk by the end of the first quarter. And it is this incessant need, this victim role, this...greed for even more, that cheapens his actual really good abilities, at least to me. He can shoot the three, knows tendencies, bang shoulders down low, so why is he looking for cheap fouls like he's playing 2K? Nobody like a whiner. And right now, he's a whiner. I wonder how many players aren't playing him tough, thus inflating his stats, because they know not is he getting that primo "Superstar foul leeway" he's also "crying for a call every time a stiff breeze ruffles his jersey?"

And for those who ask, NO, he doesn't stack up the old players. MJ, Barkely, Reggie Miller and others in their prime would dominate this current offensive minded league. No hand checks? All that space to shoot? The old school would have a field day every day. And going the other way, the current stars would be heavily hampered by the defensive allowances of old. I say this after just watching ESPN's documentary on the Lakers - Celtics where Kevin McHale literally clotheslines Kurt Rambis during a layup and wasn't even ejected. Today we're talking about throwing people out for flexing their are at the wrong moment and those guys were suplexing each other and giving up "and ones."
"Personal foul, two shots."
That and then, forgetting he left with Wade and Bosh to go play with Irving and Love, LeBron had the audacity to say he'd never played on a "super team." Even when he's the best there is, he pretends like he's some kind of victim, some kind of underdog. And so what if he is? it happens to all of us. Get over it. Go out, work harder. Geez.

I guess this really wasn't a article about Golden State, and how much Durant earned what he got. But I just had some things to say. And it is my blog.

Barkeep. I heard them Warriors ain't even thinking about going to DC. Get them a round on me. But beer only. Nothing imported!

Monday, June 5, 2017

But it's not...

This is a political post. 

Sometimes I envy those whose who work in meme. They're quick jabs of statement that get a point across. Quick jab, jab. Because of their brevity, they rarely do they possess nuance, but when they do, they are one hell of a statement.

I can't settle of how I would mine to look just yet, maybe caricatures of Cheeto and Spicer doing a convoluted "Whose on First" routine using the term "travel ban." Or maybe Spicer as a bad ventriloquist dummy. All I know is that I would not want to be a lawyer for this thing, as the courts have already indicated they're going to use what are considered contemporary statements to determine the intent behind this retread legislation. And Cheeto put them out there again Monday morning. He did not mince words.

The really weird part? He wants those listening to think the Department of Justice is undermining him, when what they're working with is the LEGISLATION HE SIGNED. After his first couple of tries got kicked back. 

And while the White House Communications office would have you believe he's just talking here (a NY concept), the idea that that what Cheeto tweets and what he means are two different things as an explanation is laughable. People have gotten fired for tweets. On more than one occasion. These contemporary statements  mean that while the actual legislation may be neutral on its face, the intent is discriminatory. And it it is, or it's execution is discriminatory, then the legislation is  unconstitutional, just as the lower courts have already determined. And let's be clear, no man - no administration - no President, is above the law.

Letting this legislation happen is us laughing in the faces of the founding fathers we supposedly revere and lays the groundwork for a return to monarchy.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Death of a Mr. Bond

Roger Moore was MY James Bond, in by that I mean he's the Bond I grew up with.

My introduction to the character James Bond was a suave, just on the high side of cool, just shy of silly gadget carrying world hopping spy who always had a bit of quick wit when the situation called for it. It wasn't until college that I really had a chance to get into the character and realize that Connery's more bare bones and ruthless Bond was closer to the how the character was written. But by then it was too late, because in my mind Bond had gone to space, jumped off a mountain and had car that turned into a submarine. Roger Moore's Bond was a character of it's time, although I'm hard pressed to look back at most it and think it's still cool. The submarine car though.

I realize now that the movie scene I wanted to shoot with all the Bond actors is now NEVER really going to happen for real. Although, they are doing wonderful things with CGI. But that would be cheating.

And although he soured a bit at the end, with the spurious reasoning as to why Idris Elba shouldn't play Bond, I liked him. Moore's spoofs of himself, both in Cannonball run and playing the bumbling Inspector Clouseau in Curse of the Pink Panther after Peter Sellers died, where quite funny, even for a kid from the sticks like me. I thought he made a good action hero in ffolkes ( also known as North Sea Hijack). I even liked him Boat Trip, a film which I'm still not sure why I watched, although I'm fairly certain Roselyn Sánchez had something to do with it.

To a degree I miss his Bond. Maybe that's what Daniel Craig is missing.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


I'm not quite sure how to voice how upset I was to hear about the bombing Manchester.

It maybe that the modern day terrorism we've experienced so far has hardened us, numbed us a bit to the reality that there are people out there who want to perform acts of violence and cause chaos to further their own ends. So when I first saw this on my twitter feed, I was like "damn, now what?"

But then I got the facts, starting watching the feeds, and to be honest something about this bothers me deeply. I'm no expert on Islam, but I think that even where it authorizes/directs/suggests(?) the use of force, it specifically prohibits its use against the innocent. So when young girls...children...are attacked, it feels over the already dim line we like to imagine is still there. Maybe this was an effort to push us back into a state of shock. A mental state where dangerous things happen. That part of the argument where we say things we regret later, even though we meant them at the time. A mental state someone hopes will trigger something.

The sad part is we've been down this road as well.

I'm not sure what to say here. Had it been an office or a subway I would still be angry, upset, outraged. But this has a special quality of anger about it.

Note: What's interesting is that this happened the day before hearings in the US Congress that are demonstrating that the Presidential Transition Team may have been in deeper with the Russians than we know AND the new budget is released which slashes Medicaid. And I don't hear a single peep out of the "conspiracy mad right wing" about a false flag operation. Because this wasn't. Some asshole with a holier than thou cause did this. Sometimes things we wish wouldn't happen just do. And they happen all around the same time.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Feels like 1973 All Over again

This is a political post. 

So, that happened.

I keep trying to figure out when this precariously balanced house of fraud is going fall apart. For a while I was upset the Democratic Party wasn't metaphorically setting fire to the place in protest, save Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Shumer and a few others. But surveying the situation at this point, by the time to the rest of the party gets it's shit together all of the groundwork needed to save democracy will have been done for them. Oddly enough, by the people who to the untrained eye look like they're trying to destroy democracy.

Let's review.

There is increasingly clear evidence that a foreign power "meddled" with our fair democratic election process.

The President seems miffed that the inquiry into this whole "meddling" situation just can't be over. 

If I remember correctly, we just spent a little over three years looking into an incident on the Northern Coast of Africa. Three whole years! And that inquiry uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing or treasonous activity at all, despite every effort, but was continually renewed and revisited. By contrast this new inquiry into the election shenanigans continually turns up questionable practices and actions as well as artful forgetfulness on the part of those being investigated. And it has been ongoing for less than six months!

Then the Head of the Federal Bureau of Investigations is fired by the President. This occurs in the midst of the Head of the FBI's investigation into the aforementioned claims of "meddling."

The method for the termination stunk of stagecraft and the reasons behind it are murky at best. Shortly after it was announced the White House Press Secretary literally hid in the bushes rather than talk to reporters. (Note: I'm sorry, that's since been corrected to "among the bushes," whatever that means.) First the official explanation was that the firing was on the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General, who balked at that accusation. Then the story became that the President wanted to fire the Head of the FBI since taking office. A rumor floated that the President only became angry after the Head of the FBI testified about his feelings concerning his actions during the election process, actions which at the time were completely out of sorts for a person in that position. Later still, the White House spokespeople claimed it was because the man had lost the respect of the rank and file under his command, a charge immediately refuted by the new Acting Head of the FBI. 

Then, and not joke, within 36 hours of the firing, the President meets with a representative from that same foreign power accused of meddling in the election in the White House, specifically the Oval Office. But because the President apparently hates anything but lackey media, the only press allowed in accompanies the guest. That particular press also just happens to work for the same foreign power suspected of the "meddling." Of the election.

This could very seriously mean that the Oval Office, one of the most secure rooms in the world, now might be bugged by a foreign power.

One would almost think this a synopsis of a an episode of the trashy night time soap Empire and not the goings on of the leadership of the most powerful nation in the world.

I am aware that a lot of people who voted for him did so because he was, and still is, an outsider. That he'd shake up the system. The problem is that we're not talking about the family hardware store, we're talking about the United States of America. And it turns out we've got a guy in office who doesn't understand the basics of life, much less the basics of government. And that bodes ill for us all.

I'm not sure where I want to go with this....

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Quick Restaurant Review - Little Trouble

I don't hang out much anymore for various reasons, the vast majority of which seem to always be in flux and so a return to that swinging nightlife could be just around the corner. But right this second, I'm bingeing on a bit of law in an effort to get this "ranching" career off the ground and video games I may have purchased as long a four years ago. For the uninformed I have a habit of purchasing games when I have a few spare coins and then playing then much later. It's not like they go bad. This time the game is only two years old, but I waited like a year after release to purchase it, so I've really only had it for like a year, but I digress.

When I do go out now it's in short bursts, meaning a few hours after work or to a single event. Atlanta's night life has changed so much in the few years I've been out of rotation that I'm no longer certain of anything, and the spots I used to frequent are either gone or just not hot anymore. And with the city bisected by the highway collapse, I'm either locked into to staying near home or have to pack an overnight bag just go get drinks. Yeesh. Which is how I ended up at Little Trouble on a Friday night.

I'm not quite sure how the spot operates, as it seems a little like a out of the way bar that shows in NY movies where the protagonist is in the basement of a building that looks condemned from the outside and then suddenly bam! - trendy nightclub. Little Trouble is kinda like that only the building is like a high end shopping destination by day that has one of the busiest Uber drop offs I've ever seen. After taking a risk that Serve, the taller of the hangout duo Spanky and Serve who I sometimes hang out when I do go out, was actually going to show up this time, we met around the corner at one my fav little spots, Ormsby's which is in what I guess is Westside Plaza(?). We had a drink, had some hummus and she learned to play Bocce on the bar's indoor court downstairs. But that stop was just a social amuse-bouche before we sauntered over to Little Trouble.

The spot is at the other end of the plaza from Ormsby's, which itself is a bit of beast to find, and then down a long dark tunnel where we were greeted with a neon logo that made me think of Blade Runner for some reason. This opened into cozy little bar with low seats and lots of mood lighting on one side of the room and more formal dining tables on the other. There is a quieter smaller space in the back but I only glimpsed it. The spot has a very hip vibe to it, which may be why the people with backpacks looking like they just got off the bus from Mississippi left a just a few moments. Full Disclosure: The second we walked in I thought that Sporty would have loved it.

The wall is like from a shipping container
Serve and I posted up at the bar, which in retrospect is set much lower than I realized, and perused the menu, a take on street food from Southeastern Asia - buns, bowls and meat on sticks. I should mention for those who like to imbibe that Little Trouble is really more a craft bar - in that they really seem to excel at crafted drinks. While I pursued the food stuffs offered, I got a Crane Kick (Japanese whiskey, rum, spice and lemon - the spice apparently ginger) and Serve ordered something I forget. But it looked really fruity. The bartenders take their time too, pouring a touch of this and a little of that to get it just right. More than once I saw him assemble something that made me want to order it too. That's a sign of a good, or at least entertaining, bartender.

Crane Kick and whatever it was Serve had....
Now, my original intention was to mix and match a few of the buns to see what it was all about and started with the Pork Belly, hoping to try some of the other items like the meat on a stick, Pork Rinds or Panda Cotta later. Serve got the Salmon Bowl and split it with me, since the sauce was too spicy for her (note - it's not spicy, she just sensitive). The bun is a soft white crust-less bread shell, think really cool Slider, topped with stuff I usually don't eat and a pretty fair size piece of grilled pork. It was a very good combination. And if they didn't melt the Gruyere on the French Dip bun I would have stuck to my 'try a little of everything' plan. Instead, having found something I really liked, I got a second Pork Belly Bun which was just as good as the first, so no drop off here.  The food is good, and the portions are just the right size for someone out trying to have a good time, not too small but not too big.   

We got there relatively early, around eight or so, but the place doesn't really pick up until nine or so. This is a change from back when I used to run the circuit, when there were days I'd leave the job on Friday at 5pm and be pulling up to the spot 20 minutes later...and still not be the first one out. Maybe we were just more desperate to have a good time back then. Be aware, the crowd is a mixed bag, but mostly younger folks and people who have jobs that let them afford the ridiculous ass rent in the surrounding apartment buildings.

If you're trying to get into a little trouble, I can suggest Little Trouble. Maybe it's easier to find at night, as it might be the only thing that has foot traffic that time of the evening over there. I do intend to go back though and find out.

Side Note : While it was still early we walked across the railroad bridge and ran into a line outside Jeni's Ice Cream. We had to get some because there was a long  line, at least according to Serve. I'm not sure about the logic, but who can turn down ice cream?  The selection was a little...esoteric, with flavors along to lines of Riesling Poached Pear and Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso, but it's good ice cream. And the place smelled like they were making the waffle cones fresh. I can say with authority, it was worth the wait.