Happy trails, Virgil

Lonely no more: Mike Jones, better known as former WWE wrestler, Virgil, passes away at the age of 61

I know it seems like every single wrestler from yesteryear that passes away was a favorite of mine in some way shape or fashion, and after twenty years of brogging, there’s no shortage of wrestler eulogies that I’ve written in my own way, at this point.

But Virgil, this guy, was truly a guy that I can’t say was necessarily a favorite of mine, but he was something of an icon in his own way, that I was fixated with, pretty much from the time I learned of his existence until the day he passed.

When I first got into wrestling, a lot of it had to do with the fact that I actually got into a WWF video game first, the arcade version of WWF Superstars, before I actually parlayed it into indulging in the real life variant of the game on television, into the life-long fandom that still maintain today. 

In the game, the final bosses were the tag team of “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant; but before you actually started playing against them, there’s like a 12-second cutscene prior to the match where you see “Mean Gene” Okerlund interviewing both DiBiase and Andre, but also standing with them was a jacked black guy in a shiny tuxedo counting money.

When I started watching wrestling, and the first time I laid eyes on the real-life Million Dollar Man, sure enough, there was the same jacked black guy accompanying him, holding the money, and that was when I first learned of the existence of the real-life Virgil.

Little did I know that he was named Virgil, as a personal attack from Vince McMahon to rival promoter/booker/wrestler Dusty Rhodes, whose real name was actually Virgil, and in only a manner that could come from Vince McMahon, he slapped basically a slave persona onto a black man and called him Virgil.

But throughout the years, it became quickly apparent that despite Virgil’s imposing stature and menacing scowl, he was tantamount to the WWF’s punching bag to the stars, and in just a few short years of getting into wrestling, I’d seen Virgil get his ass beat by Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, Macho Man Randy Savage, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan among others.  He was a jobber before I even knew what a jobber was, a term I wouldn’t learn until like 12 years later.

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Wendy’s surging real hard to alienate customers

Scorched earth: starting in 2025, Wendy’s to explore surge pricing, where food costs dynamically change based on varying conditions; time, weather, demand

The knee-jerk reactions of the collective internet are probably exactly what anyone with a sensible brain would expect; full of bile, resentment, disdain, and a whole lot of declarations of never going to Wendy’s again, among other hard statements most feel comfortable spouting off on the internet without.  And absolutely nothing positive or with any hint of praise because nobody is in the 1% of greedy fucks who make these kinds of choices.

And who can really blame anyone for being disappointed and furious over this kind of announcement?  Fast food exists because it’s supposed to be cheap, predictable, reliable to exist, and not something where anyone rolling up to a Wendy’s has to think about not knowing what prices they’re going to see on the menu.

It goes without saying that this is a 100% cash grab, because everyone knows consumers aren’t going to be seeing “the low end” of the pricing model beyond perhaps those weird 30-minute windows in between breakfast and lunch time and lunch time and dinner, and that’s only if the weather conditions aren’t remotely hazardous.  Store personnel probably won’t be seeing any sort of monetary benefit to financial fluctuation, and in fact when some locations actually start losing business due to this reckless idea, their jobs will be where the difference in earnings will be made up from.

Unsurprisingly, most everyone knows it, and those who do, all hate it.  It’s flagrant greed and complete disregard for consumers, whose stress levels are already ratcheted up to the moon due to the completely imbalanced escalations of inflation versus wages.

Now I like Wendy’s food, there’s a reason why they’re one of the few burger joints that still manages to thrive, at least in the Atlanta area.  Burger Kings a few and far between locations, McDonalds is widely regarded as somehow unhealthier than Wendy’s, and there just aren’t enough Dairy Queens to compete against Wendy’s it seems.  Five Guys are already branded being egregiously priced, but at least they don’t (yet) flex their prices based on time and weather conditions.

But the thing is, I go to Wendy’s as frequently as I go to McDonald’s, which is to say practically never.  At least where I am, all the Wendy’s are completely staffed with the dregs of the dregs of society, and they’re completely unreliable, drive-thru lines wrapped around the building, that is if they didn’t decide to close up shop at 8:30 pm when they’re supposed to be Open Late.™  And the last few times I’ve actually eaten their food, as tasty as it is, my body definitely regretted it when I’m waking up at 2-3 am because my digestive system is revolting.

So I’m not concerned with my conviction at being able to further avoid Wendy’s if and when this bullshit surging comes to my area, because I don’t like late night toilet runs that aren’t on my own terms, but I still understand all the salt and all the rage and all the resentment towards the company all the same upon this news coming to light.

Aside from the obvious cash grab that this is, it’s also an obvious phishing expedition; Wendy’s looking for markets where they can hike up costs, based on the markets whose numbers don’t seem to be affected in customer order numbers regardless of price surging.  So probably big cities full of people with deep pockets, where people already spend like they’re out of touch with the classes in a position lower than their own, will inevitably have their general costs raised permanently, because make no mistake, surge pricing will inevitably come to an end, once Wendy’s realizes the maximum price points every region could sustain while not losing too many customers.

So as much as I’d love to see this become the beginning of the end for the company as a whole, and we’ll see some Wendy’s burn to the ground as if there were a Black Lives Matter demonstration going tits up outside them, it’s unfortunately going to end up with a shitty fast food company getting all the information they need in order to jack up their costs and ultimately make even moar money, while the Americans that have no choice but to sustain themselves on fast food, suffer even more.


Feels like it’s starting earlier than usual: two South Fulton teenagers accepted into 63 and 50 colleges respectively, trying really hard to not humble brag about it

It’s apparently already started, that time of year, in which throughout the country there are overachieving high school seniors who begin announcing, as loudly as they can on social media, just how many colleges they have been accepted to.  Some aim for the stars and only go for the cream of the crop like just the Ivy Leagues, and usually upper echelon schools like MIT, Johns Hopkins and Stanford, and then there are others who just apply for every school under the sun, as if there were no such thing as application fees.

And once the acceptances start rolling in, if the number is impressive enough, then onto the internets they go, boasting-not-boasting and humble bragging about how many schools they’ve been accepted into, with the hopes that some media outlet catches wind of it and puts any sort of spotlight onto them at all.

Of course, it can’t be ignored the dollar amounts of all these scholarships love to be extrapolated and added together, so that there can be somewhat of a tangible number to implement a degree of success and value of their accomplishments as a whole, and regardless of if and when they inevitably choose to go to whichever school is giving a full ride, no matter how lesser-heralded it may be, doesn’t change the fact that they put themselves into a position where they could brag about how many schools, simply said yes, you may attend our prestigious institution of higher education if you are willing to pay our egregious costs for credit hours, books, boarding and other bullshit expenditures.

But let’s get #TRYHARDSZN2024 off with a bang, with these two teens in my old stomping grounds of South Fulton county, which is the area’s PC way of lumping together the hood sections of the Southwestern region of the Metro Atlanta area.  But despite the fact that when watching the video in the article, there appears to be a whole legion of tryhards that have been accepted into 10-15+ colleges, these two particular teens who have hit 63 and 50 acceptances get the spotlight as being the biggest tryhards of the tryhards.

Sure, most of the schools that I was able to catch in the article are mostly smaller school, HBCUs, and schools nobody has really ever heard of, there were some notable Power-5 schools that have shown interest in them like Michigan State, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon and Mississippi State to name a few. 

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Finally, a sponsor patch I can get behind

See ya next time: Kansas City Royals announce a partnership with QT gas stations, including a sponsorship patch on all team jerseys

Sponsorship patches seemed inevitable in MLB, seeing as how sponsorships on jerseys have been pretty commonplace pretty much in every sport in every other country across the globe.  But America being ‘Murica, it was unsurprising that once they started coming to fruition, all the sponsors were all of these boring, homogenized, multi-million dollar entities that nobody has ever heard of, cared for or generated any sort of emotion other than ambivalence, indifference, or the need to make fun of them.

The New York Mets, of course, were one of the first ones to really mess things up by introducing a hilariously oversized patch that nobody is going to convince me probably didn’t mess up the performance of players, since they had this giant square of weighty fabric hanging off of their left sleeves, that they had to finally swallow their pride, admit my bad, and fix it.

Of course, the Atlanta Braves got into the action as well, seeing as how Braves Corporate™ loves money and will do absolutely literally anything if it meant pleasing shareholders or improving their portfolio.  And despite how amazing it would’ve been if it were something truly iconic to Atlanta like Coca-Cola, Delta, The Home Depot, or my personal favorite thing I would’ve marked out for, Waffle House, nope, had to be a boring-as-fuck bag of concrete Kwikrete instead.

But today, we have news of a partnership that truly makes me smile, from the satisfaction of it being a team I don’t dislike, a company I don’t dislike, and all of the positive associations I get from said company, and knowing two parties that I don’t dislike coming together to make business.  It’s like when you have two friends from separate circles meet, and they gel together well.

But the Kansas City Royals partnering up with QuikTrip is something that does bring me joy.  The Royals are one of those teams I can’t ever bring myself to dislike, and who could forget the 2014 and 2015 seasons when the Royals came close, and then succeeded on their redo.  They’ve always had players that I’ve generally liked* and they so rarely ever cross paths with the Braves, so there’s almost never any chance that I’d ever feel the need to root against them.

*except Melky Cabrera, that fat worthless fuck who went to the Royals after his putrid stint with the Braves, where he played the season at like 304 lbs. before losing a hundo when he joined the Royals and put up an MVP-type season

And then there’s QuikTrip, which actually has a lot of Georgia ties, with their food distribution centers, I have a lot of positive connotation when I think about them.  Often times with the cheap fuel, always open, decent food as far as gas station grub is concerned, and always with expedient and mostly friendly staff.  I often tend to favor a QT when given choices, and when I think of QT, I hold them in a positive regard.

So the Royals joining forces with QT, makes me pleased.  Especially, with them hilariously slapping a giant red and black QT logo onto the Royals jerseys which are a hard blue and white identity, which really begs the question on the importance of branding.   Like, if the name of the game is for the sponsor to really stand out, they couldn’t have picked a better team to partner up with than the Royals.  If they partnered with the Cardinals, Braves, or even the Diamondbacks, which are all markets that have QTs, their logo would blend in with all the other reds that those teams employ.

I don’t travel much anymore these days, and my baseball journeys are long past complete.  But I’d totally be down to go to Kansas City if they ever did a free Royals jersey giveaway night sponsored by QT, where they were giving away jerseys with the QT logo on them, because to my knowledge replica jerseys made by Nike/Fanatics don’t include sponsorships on them, and I sure as fuck wouldn’t want to buy any of the shitty replicas made by them these days anyway.

Either way, Royals + QT, and a bigass sponsorship patch on their blue-ass jerseys definitely piqued my interest, and I look forward to seeing Royals highlights throughout the upcoming season.  This is definitely my favorite sponsorship partnering there is in baseball, without any question.

Of course it’ll be Duke that kills a tradition

Source: #8 Duke loses to unranked Wake Forest, students storm the court; Duke center Kyle Filipowski allegedly injured by fan during the mob, coach Jon Scheyer calls for an end to storming

The low-hanging fruit is that if Duke could just stop sucking and getting upset by lesser-heralded opponents, they wouldn’t have to deal with other schools’ fans storming the court on them.  Furthermore, we’re long past Coach K’s retirement and it’s apparent that Jon Scheyerface isn’t helming a perpetual national champion anymore, so if the NCAA could stop overrating the fuck out of Duke and having them in the AP Top-10 all the time, then maybe opponents will stop thinking they’re upsetting Goliath every time they eat another L, and fans won’t feel the need to storm the court.

Put me in the segment of sports fans that is particularly enjoying the new reality that Duke is far from the automatic win they used to be, and regardless of the diminishing importance of beating Duke is becoming, it’s always a pleasure to see them take a loss.

But here’s the thing, I can see where Jon Scheyerface is coming from, as well as all those who are in support of his remarks to plead with an end to court storming.  Just because it’s a long-standing tradition across the college athletics landscape, most notably in football and basketball, and just because it’s something that’s “always been done,” it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t ever been a potential risk to tons of student athletes and team and venue personnel, and it doesn’t mean it’s really ever been right.

It’s just that this particular season, there have now been two noteworthy incidents where players have gotten bodied by jubilant fans storming the court, where Iowa’s Caitlin Clark was trucked by a fan, and now Dook’s Kyle Filipowki* took a tumble and had to be helped off the court.  If there’ve been any other incidents in the past in hoops or football, none have really made the media such as these.

*which sounds about like the whitest name in the world, even for a Dook player

As traditional and exciting it is to see a court storming, it really is a recipe for disaster where it’s a miracle that things haven’t gotten worse than these isolated incidents throughout the years.  Hundreds to thousands of people, swept up in emotion and excitement of being on the right side of a victory, rushing towards a central point where there might still be opposition present, trying to process an L while going against the flow of human traffic; suddenly accessible when they typically aren’t, because a venue’s security has long since been physically overwhelmed.

The reality is that a court storming can happen at any point of a game, not just the finish, and there is literally nothing a venue could do about it.  There is nothing short of employing the Justice League to guard the access points to the court or field from being swarmed by hundreds to thousands of rushing human beings, and even the most imposing of security will get overwhelmed by a mass of people eventually.  Unless there is a ratio of security that is closer to 1:1 and not 1:500, court storming is literally impossible to prevent from happening.

It’s just that traditionally, there is an understood agreement and civility that saves court storming for upsets of heralded opponents.  Dook has done a good job historically, be it through their students, alumni, PR and brand management, of becoming the school that everyone loves to hate, and seemingly regardless of their rank or position in the NCAA rankings, has probably been the school to have to deal with the most number of court stormings against over the last 25 years or so, so in spite of my general disdain for the school, I actually do understand where the concerns over court storming come from.

Like I said, it’s easy to make the joke that maybe if they just stop losing, they wouldn’t have to deal with it, but the concerns and potential dangers are no less real when it comes to when it actually happens.  Frankly, I don’t think Filipowski was actually hurt as much as he was more trying to cushion his bruised ego for taking an L against Wake Forest, much like any player who gets rocked in any sport suddenly having an spontaneous injury announced afterward to try and salvage their ego.

But if court storming actually does have action taken against it, regardless of the fact that nobody can really stop it from happening, all eyes are going to be on Duke as the party responsible for attempting to kill a tradition that has been a part of college sports almost as long as the existence of college sports.  And as much as people who didn’t go to Dook generally revile Dook, this outcome would probably, undoubtedly make things much worse for them, and probably set up a situation where even more schools will feel the compulsion to storm on them if they ever lose in their houses.

Would be pretty impressive to be Kyle Filipowski, because it would most definitely put him up in the upper echelon of Hated White Duke Player history, with Christian Laettner, JJ Redick and Grayson Allen, but unlike them, it’s not because he was so good at basketball as much as he was trying to kill off a timeless tradition and change the general landscape of college sports.

Few things make me as entertained as professional athletes getting owned monetarily

In short: NBA player Tony Snell owned when nobody picked him up, denying him from hitting premium pension benefits; MLB player Blake Snell owned because nobody wants to sign him, among other notable free agents, despite being the reigning NL Cy Young winner

Man, there’s few things that are amusing to me than hearing stories about professional athletes who get owned, financially.  A bunch of out-of-touch grown-ass man-babies who didn’t learn how to manage their finances or don’t seem to realize the privileges they have getting paid egregious amounts of money for being exceptionally good at playing children’s intramural sports. 

And I love how the media feeds us these stories as if we should feel bad for these guys, as if we the regular people will be able to relate and agree that they’re getting screwed or something, by some evil employers and/or corporations.  Nuh-uh, doesn’t work that way, and I don’t think I’ll ever feel bad for any professional athlete not getting the six or seven figures-plus that they think they deserve, while short of me finding the recipe for instant money, I, or anyone like me, will never see seven figures at any point in our lives.

So let’s start with Tony Snell, the fringe basketball player, whom we’re supposed to feel bad for because no team in the NBA wanted to pick him up, and give him a 10th year of service, which would qualify him and his entire family for “premium” pension, which encapsulates lifetime medical for him, as well as his spouse and children.  It’s also pointed out how his sons are both on the spectrum, and made to sound like it’s a tragedy that no NBA team, especially a curated list of teams that had an available roster spot, would pick him up and let him ride the bench so that he could get full medical for his family.

Last time I checked, autism is not cancer, nor is something that is life-threatening, and isn’t something that only the offspring of professional athletes are subject to.  Millions of people across the planet are on the spectrum or deal with autism and they most certainly don’t have the safety net of insurance to help out with some of the nuisances that living with autism can cause, and Tony Snell having to deal with kids with autism doesn’t make him a tragedy, it just makes him like millions of other parents who have kids with it as well.

Furthermore, according to Spotrac, Tony Snell has made $52 million dollars in his career.  For playing basketball.  And that doesn’t include any endorsements or sponsorship dollars he might’ve made at various points in his career.  Even assuming that half of that was hoovered up by Uncle Sam, he’s still probably cleared $26M in his lifetime.  Most Americans won’t even see $1M in their lifetimes, and we’re supposed to feel bad that someone who’s cleared probably $26M isn’t going to get free healthcare from the NBA?  As the kids say, (get) the fuck out of here.

I also love the part where other like-minded snarks like me pointed out his wife’s lavish spending habits, showing where most likely the vast majority of his $26M+ fortune has gone throughout the last nine years, and why it’s likely that he’s reliant on premium healthcare in order to get some care for his kids.  I think it’s obvious where the problem really lies, and it’s not the cost of healthcare, it’s not awareness for autism, and it’s not the NBA’s current system that only allows the premium healthcare to those who can clear ten years of service.

Now on to Blake Snell, the pitcher, freshly removed from winning the NL Cy Young, which makes him one of the only pitchers in history to have won both an NL and an AL Cy Young, is still unemployed, even after Spring Training camps have opened across MLB.

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Catching up with Shoresy, saying farewell to Letterkenny

Recently, I’ve found myself able to catch up with season 2 of Shoresy, as well as the 12th and final season of Letterkenny, and seeing as I don’t think I really have a ton to say about either of them, and the fact that one is a spinoff of the other, it seemed appropriate to lump them into a single post and save myself the anxiety of making separate posts for every fucking show that I manage to catch up to.

So I’ll start with the final season of Letterkenny, and if I really had to boil it down to a singular statement, I would say that it’s about time that the series finally wrapped up, because honestly the series really could have ended in season 9 with the hockey story arc, which was probably the last time that the series really had any sort of centralized story, and wasn’t as randomly bouncing around like it were Canadian Seinfeld.

Season 10 was clearly designed solely to build up and soft launch the arrival of the Shoresy spinoff, but Season 11 had basically no point at all, and I’m pretty sure I compared it to Ocean’s Twelve, in the sense that it felt like it was a working vacation for all cast and crew, and they phoned in an entire season in the process.

Which brings us to Season 12, where little time was wasting in the cold open of the first episode that this was the end, which was about as appropriate as it could be, considering it was a series about small town Canada, so them literally running out of stories to tell seems about as appropriate as it could be.

It was a gallant effort to have at least some small stories, about Derry and the Degens, as well as a poignant reminder of small town living and feeling stuck in time, but at the same time, it felt like the show was trying to check off a list of characters to have some screen time in the final season, and considering every episode is just 22 minutes, it’s not a lot of screen time available to give, as well as tell a concurrent stories in the process.

The ending was chill and it did feel like there was some heart in it, but at the same time it felt very small and not necessarily fitting for a series that churned out 12 seasons.  For a series that had some really incredible culminations of storylines, this ending felt more like they ran out of gas as opposed to reaching a destination of a satisfying conclusion.

All the same, I look at the series with a general fondness, but it’s a lot like anime; really good when all cylinders are firing, but an ending that kind of feels lacking and unsatisfying.

Which brings us to Shoresy, because when talking about the shows together, I have this feeling that the decline of Letterkenny coincides with the arrival of Shoresy, because as Letterkenny limped their way through their final two seasons, the first two seasons of Shoresy were definitely above average in storytelling and general execution.

Upon the finish of season 2 of Shoresy, I’m left feeling wanting more, and looking forward to future episodes, because they’re telling a very linear and straightforward plot, and it feels to me that both Keeso and Tierney definitely shifted more and more of their eggs from Letterkenny’s basket to Shoresy, and with Letterkenny concluded, the sky’s the limit for the future of Shoresy now.

There’s definitely more heart and emotion put into a lot of the characters of Shoresy, and it’s like they have fewer spotlights of characters to really care about so all the focus really stays, or eventually returns to Shoresy himself, and no matter how wacky his teammates get, it always comes back to the captain, who drops the most meaningful anecdotes and quotes that touch the people around him as well as the viewer the most.  Must be nice being both the writer of the show as well as the star.

Either way, as appropriate it is about two shows about small towns and their small worlds, this post really doesn’t have much else substantial to be blathering on about.  Letterkenny was an entertaining ride when it was firing on all cylinders, but the ending left a lot to be desired.  It just felt like everyone involved with making the show was tired of it, but they felt the need to wrap it up.  But Shoresy feels like they took all of the people who were still all-in on making more Letterkenny and funneled them into a project in which they could give their all, and still create a show that feels like it’s being made by people who still care, and like I said, I’m looking forward to more of the show in the future.