Thursday, June 23, 2016

This Is What a Cunt Looks Like


What’s similar to tuning into a soap opera after a long absence? | GroundUp


(Incidentally, it rhymes with 'stunt'. Which is certainly appropriate.)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Give It Up for Cleveland

As a Bulls fan, the 2016 NBA Finals presented me with several potentially troubling scenarios. 

A Golden State win would anoint the Warriors as the greatest team of all-time, displacing the 1995/96 Bulls in the process.

Ouch.

And a Cleveland win would add weight to the argument that LeBron James is the most singular player of all-time, kicking Michael Jordan to the curb in the process. 

Yikes.

So you see? Not easy.

My lifelong predilection of rooting for the underdog eventually won out, aided by a nifty bounce pass from geography.

Tasked with the titanic challenge of defeating a team with a 73-9 regular-season record, even a 57-win team like the Cavaliers were decided underdogs. Plus, Cleveland is a tad closer to the Midwest than San Francisco, so the geography component is, if you'll excuse me, a slam dunk. 

Check.

So what happened? The Cavs promptly fell behind three games to one. When you consistently root for the underdog, you expect this. It is part and parcel of the whole rooting-for-the-underdog dynamic.

But then things took a hard left turn.

Draymond Green, Golden State's remarkable power forward, had his Achilles heel exposed: he has a penchant for letting opponents get under his skin. And as it is in the NBA, the player who retaliates is not only the one who gets caught, but who pays the price.

And after grabbing LeBron James' crotch near the end of game 4, Green sat out game 5.That is the price for amassing four flagrant fouls in the post-season. It was a break, pure and simple. And the Cavs were smart-enough and good-enough to take advantage of it. That is what champions do.

They won game 5. They won game 6. And with momentum on their side and Golden State clearly rattled, they won a tightly-contested game 7.

And as luck would have it, James not only made a critical block late in the game, swooping in from nowhere to deny a sure-fire lay-up, he effectively put the game out of reach via a free-throw with just seconds left.

The Browns, Indians and previous editions of the Cavaliers all gave the city ample reason to reach for Prilosec. And this year's Cavs had two great excuses for providing Cleveland another. 

The visitors had compiled a sparkling 3-15 record in NBA Finals game sevens, in addition to the fact no one had ever come back from a three-games-to-one deficit to win the Finals.

But the Cavaliers did.

With the elusive championship finally arrived, Cleveland can celebrate a hands-in-the-air doozy. It will be an unusually happy Monday morning in Ohio, methinks. 



Sunday, June 12, 2016

Finding the Silver Lining

For those of you too dim to suss it out on your own, what follows is parody. Satire. Adopting the voice of people you despise and making fun of them and their perceptions. If you are in doubt, click any of the tags beneath this post for proof of how I really feel. 

   
C'mon guys.

So 50 faggots are dead. Is that really a big deal? They probably would have died of AIDS, anyway. You're missing the big picture here.

And the big picture is this: Omar Mateen was able to go into a gun shop, buy an assault weapon and use it wherever and however he deemed appropriate.

In other words, in contrast to all those dead gay boys and the horror and grief suffered by their survivors and the cost of the law enforcement response and treating the dozens of dead and wounded, the Second Amendment is alive and well.

We still have the right to keep and bear arms in case we need to organize a militia, even though we already have an extravagantly well-funded one.

Is that a win-win or what?


Friday, June 10, 2016

I'd Rather Die Than...

What an election. Passions continue to roil out of all proportion to the difference either of the two nominated candidates would attempt to make in our lives.

On the Democratic side, we have the polished, corporate-approved candidate Hillary Clinton, who is sure not to upset the apple cart. Granted, her campaign swung left, but only because Bernie Sanders was nipping at her heels.

However bitter and cynical my posts make me appear, there is absolutely no way I could ever vote for Donald Trump and continue to sleep at night. Hillary's staff is likely aware of this, which is reason to wonder how far left she will continue to lean freed of Sanders' influence.

On the Republican side, we have Donald Trump, the reality TV star and billionaire real estate developer. Donald is in love with two things: power and Donald Trump.

His calculations led him to the Republican party, where he has proven all that is required to be that party's nominee is to be the most obnoxious drunk in the bar. Pushing white America's buttons is a time-tested strategy that a sizeable segment of the population will fall for over and over again.

With a platform as devoid of ideas as reality TV is of Proust, his campaign is an agonizing exercise whose sole success is peeling the scabs off America's wounds. I have never been darker nor more cynical than when I say Donald Trump would be the perfect President for twenty-first century America.

In a full-body embrace of the neutral-to-nuclear dynamic, we are collectively shrugging our shoulders at these two when we aren't slinging the verbal equivalent of rotten produce at them. No presidential election has ever featured two more widely-despised (or apathy-inducing) candidates.

Which is why the following was such a breath of fresh air. It is the obituary of a Virginia woman who passed in the middle of last month.

Enjoy.

Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016 at the age of 68.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Plotting Our Obsolesence

The BBC reports that Chinese electronics supplier Foxconn has allegedly eliminated 60,000 jobs through the use of automation, which I think is just great. To grow a consumer-based economy, isn't it clear that eliminating potential consumers is the best path forward? 

While we're applauding, we should also acknowledge that this also protects at-risk executives from starvation.

Genius!

After swallowing my morning bowl of corporate propaganda, I wonder how much less your next iPad will set you back as a result of this cost-reduction. Or your next Samsung Galaxy phone. Or your kid's next Sony PlayStation. I mean, isn't that why companies use automation? To lower costs?

(And while I'm asking questions, when do corporate press releases get their own version of the Comedy Channel?)

One-hundred years ago, automation was touted as an expressway to affordable consumer goods, the most famous exponent of which was the Ford Model T. The economies of scale made formerly unavailable products available to the working man, which in addition to creating the middle class, exponentially increased the depth and breadth of America's collective wealth.

In the twenty-first century, automation seemingly serves another purpose: to cull people from their jobs. Automation is a tool, a merciless efficiency intended to swell profit margins while it removes enormous swaths of the population from consideration of anything but the barest, most marginal existence.

Again, let me know how much less your next iPAD costs, OK?

Corporate spokesmen will argue that as opportunities close at one end, they open at another. Which is only a self-serving repeat of Alexander Graham Bell's famous quote. Like the Reagan administration's fantastical explanation of trickle-down economics, it sounds wonderful and entirely plausible on paper.

But with opportunities for higher education diminishing every year, this is more public relations swill than reality.

Instead of these new profit margins being shared by a wide demographic (i.e. workers), the resulting wealth is concentrated into an ever-shrinking sliver of the population (i.e. CEOs and shareholders), giving them power and control not seen since the sixteenth-century heyday of the Catholic church.

As corporate titans seek to marginalize the human being, perhaps now would be a good time to take this to its logical extreme and ponder the development of robots who consume. We've already replaced the worker with technology. Why not replace the consumer, too?

In a short-sighted world whose unthinking embrace of technology is best described as we should because we can, it would be entirely appropriate.

Feudalism is a growth stock. Invest now.