Peak America

I read this story about how health care in America is so fucked up, that it creates a perfect scenario for billionaire Mark Cuban to swoop in and get to play hero to the country.  In short, Mark Cuban launched an internet pharmacy that offers more than 100 generic drugs at reasonable cost, which is a bigger deal than it might sound, because American pharmacists have been notorious for gauging the fuck out of the American people over the last decade or so.

Naturally, Cuban is being lauded with acclaim, in addition to people being refueled for their disdain for the pharmaceutical industry for being greedy and valuing profit over human lives.  The thing is, Cuban embarking on this endeavor is about as low-hanging fruit as they come; there are a number of billionaires, corporations, conglomerates or any other entities in the world that could have done this, a long time ago.  The fact that of all the random rich entities in there are, Mark Cuban is the guy that grasps the low bar, and is not only going to look like a modern saint, but make no mistake, he’s going to profit, massively.

I have no qualms with Mark Cuban, in fact I respect the guy tremendously, in spite of the fact that us pleebs are supposed to hate the wealthy.  He’s one of the guys that actually understands the need to give some shit away in order to make money, and such is the core strategy of how he basically transformed the Dallas Mavericks from perennial laughing stocks into eventual champions.

In fact, he’s basically doing the same thing all over again, but instead of basketball tickets, it’s common, necessary medicine.  Just because he’ll be selling generic medicine at a little over 15% over at-cost, he’s undoubtedly going to be raking in massive amounts of money on account of the likely million people who will all be shopping his online pharmacy; all while gaining their adulation at providing such a compassionate service.

It’s basic Wolf of Wall Street math here, sell cheap necessities to the lower classes, and there’s ridiculous amounts of money to be made.  And as much as I too think what Cuban is doing is a very good thing for the world, the sad reality is that he probably shouldn’t have been the party to have had the opportunity to do this; when it really should’ve been the responsibility of, fucking America, to do this for its own people instead.

But I guess without stories like this, America really wouldn’t be America.

I saw my first GCW show and it was pretty good

As much as I like to pretend like I’m some wrestling mark hipster, and know every single indy wrestler out there, I’m not even close.  I don’t even know where half of AEW’s roster originated from, and when guys like Daniel Garcia or Wheeler Yuta show up, I have no fucking clue who they are.  I went to an indy show back in November and saw names like Effy and Marti Belle and had no idea who they were, much less aware that both were title holders in other promotions.

Honestly, up until the episode of Vice’s Dark Side of the Ring about Nick Gage, I had no idea what Game Changers Wrestling was.  And based on the episode, where Nick Gage basically repeatedly killed himself in all sorts of deathmatches, I frankly wasn’t enthralled with GCW, and came away with an impression that they were a promotion that was determined to one-up ECW in terms of violence.

But then after Zack Ryder was fired from the WWE, and Matt Cardona eventually showed up at GCW after a masterful troll job, impersonating Jon Moxley who had been bouncing anywhere and everywhere he wanted, I began to see GCW showing up on the general internet radar of professional wrestling, beyond the exposure they got on Dark Side.  Eventually, Cardona would dethrone Nick Gage as the promotion’s World title, and whether they want to admit it or not, it was off to the races for GCW.

Eventually, the actual Jon Moxley would really show up, and beat Cardona for their World title, which brings us to present time, where thanks to a lot of cross-promotion with talents from AEW, Impact, Ring of Honor and whomever else, GCW had drummed up enough exposure and attention to where a filthy casual like me was very intrigued and interested in their supposed major biggest show ever, The Wrld pay-per-view event.  The card looked intriguing, and I was genuinely interested, and excited to catch my first ever GCW show.

Continue reading “I saw my first GCW show and it was pretty good”

I like everything but the name, part 2

I’ve casually been looking at cars over the last few months, because I have this idea that I’ll be able to trade in my current car for way more than the amount I owe on it, because of this mythical shortage of cars on the market leading to this mythical demand of cars, where dealerships are paying premiums for, and I’ll be able to upgrade to a larger dad-mobile instead of a Fairlady Z.

Somewhere along the lines, I saw this car that I found to be pretty attractive, clearly a Toyota.  At first, I thought it was a Highlander, because I didn’t think there was any reason for them to make something within their own umbrella to compete with the iconic RAV-4, but it did look a little small.  But then I found out the name of this vehicle: the Corolla Cross.

As much as I liked what I saw, this wasn’t a viable option for my future, because it’s no bigger than my current car, and with just a 2.0 liter engine pushing 160 horsies, I really have skepticism over this car’s power to weight ratio, and that Toyota’s obsession with fuel economy might be hurting cars like this that will probably drive like a Ford Fiesta if the motor can’t, well motor enough, to move the vehicle.

But I can still appreciate the design of the vehicle, the general interior and exterior aesthetics that I find pleasing.  Honestly, if this were 2019, there’s a very good chance that I might’ve considered this car when I was in the market for a new one then.

…Except the fact that I would probably taken a pass on it, because of, the name.

Why the fuck does Toyota keep making new, logically pleasant vehicles, but then calling them Corollas?  First, they had the Corolla Hatch, which I thought looked really good and seemed like a great bang for buck starter vehicle/fuel sipper, and now they release this perfectly decent seeming CUV, but then slap Corolla on this one too.

As I stated in the link right above, the name Corolla is indeed synonymous with reliability, fuel economy and being outstanding vehicles, but they’re also synonymous with being boring, vanilla and giving up on life.  Corollas are what you get your kids as their first-ever vehicle, because they’re safe, fuel economic, reliable and cheap, so when they inevitably destroy them, they’ll likely live and you won’t be out a billion dollars.  But they’re also the vehicle you get when you’ve lost everything and you need a car period, but don’t want to go used, because they’re unsafe and unreliable, and then realize that a Corolla is in the exact same budget.

And by slapping Corolla onto a hot hatch or a logical CUV, they’re sandbagging their potential, by associating such unfortunate perceptions onto them, thinking that they’ll be of more benefit than detriment.

Like I said, I have a 0% chance of getting one of these in the first place at my current juncture, but if it were 2019, I most definitely would have passed on the Corolla Cross solely because of the lameness of the name.  I wouldn’t want to tell people that I drove a Corolla Cross, because all they would ever hear is “Corolla” and assume that I’ve given up on the rest of my life seeing as how I am middle aged and not a first-time driver.

I would wish Toyota well with this endeavor, but it does not appear they’re interested in doing the Cross any favors by slapping Corolla on it in the first place.  Poor form.

Oh, Georgia #488

It’s been a while since I bust out this series but I also haven’t really been keeping my eye out for ridiculous Atlanta and/or Georgia-centric stories to criticize.  I’m sure they’ve been happening in all the time that I haven’t been looking, but for whatever reason, theFacebook’s algorithm decided to show me this news story, and I’m beginning to get very freaked out at just how well it appears to know me and seems to post shit in my newsfeed that feels like it’s reading my mind sometimes.

But long story short, a community just outside of the Metro Atlanta area which is why this gets an Oh, Georgia and not an Oh, Atlanta headline, Stonecrest, has decided that they’re going to print their own currency for some reason.

The loosest justification that comes close to being a viable reason, being that it will help keep the money of Stonecrest inside of Stonecrest, which kind of sounds to me that they’re concerned the people of Stonecrest are absconding with their money to nearby Conyers or Decatur.

Somewhere within this, there’s kind of an arrogance in the act of it, that the people of Stonecrest seem to believe that those outside of Stonecrest actually give a shit about Stonecrest to where they feel the need to have their own currency as not to have their wealth poached and taken away from their community.

For the record, Stonecrest is like, this remote patch of boonies that sits just outside of the eastern city limits of Decatur, which kind of marks the end of Metro Atlanta on the east end, and where people tend to panic at wondering if they’ve lost their opportunity to gas up, or grab some fast food, before they hit the long stretch of I-20 eastbound where there’s a whole lot of nothing until they get to Augusta.  Conyers, is really that last bastion of civilization before going full Autobahn eastbound, but Stonecrest sits in between Conyers and Decatur.

My two knee-jerk reaction is that one, who the fuck even uses cash anymore?  I literally, never use cash, at all.  The cafeteria at my old job was the last place I regularly used cash, and since I stopped going into the office, my last real reason for carrying any cash at all dried up, and I genuinely do not use cash period, so that I can put everything on my Amex or Visa card to get SkyMiles or cash back.

Stonecrest might have their own currency, but if there are civilized people who have abandoned cash, and don’t like the germy touch points and spread of currency, who the fuck is actually going to use it?  There are all sorts of politically incorrect assertions and assumptions that go with this, but I’m going to let this dog remain sleeping.

Second, my initial thought is that even after it’s printed, it’s going to end up like that episode of Simpsons where the family goes to Itchy & Scratchy Land, and Homer gets suckered into purchasing a ton of Itchy & Scratchy Bucks, only to immediately discover that all the shops in the park don’t take it.  I bet the few mom ‘n pop shops of Stonecrest might accept whatever funny money they end up printing, but when it comes to anything that’s a chain, like the local Bojangles, AMC theater, Kroger or Publix, I can imagine some proud resident placing some goofy looking Monopoly money on the counter during a transaction, and then promptly getting security called on them for attempted use of counterfeit money.

The real question is, if this money actually comes to fruition, how long does it actually last before they realize it was a waste of real money, and they abandon the whole idea outright?  I say by 2013, Stonecrest’s Itchy & Scratchy money is already a thing of the past.

My boy isn’t well

Today, I found out that my dog basically has cancer.  I kind of knew this was going to be the case, because when things like a hard lump that kind of grew out of nowhere are in play, the conclusion seems kind of forgone, but it doesn’t make it suck any less when the vet tells you it’s a tumor, and the real question really being just how bad of a cancer we’re dealing with here.

It’s funny, because I had the new vet at my clinic, the one with the least tenure there, which explains why she has the Saturday afternoon shift, but I was just glad that I was able to take my dog in at all today to get checked out in the first place.  But she’s pretty young, I imagine she doesn’t have the experience as some of the other doctors at the clinic do, so when she’s explaining things to me, she’s using a lot of technical and medical terminology, and seemingly avoiding use of the dreaded C-word.

It isn’t until I explain to her that a lot of the terminology is going over my head, and I couldn’t help but notice the seemingly deliberate avoidance of using the word “cancer,” and that I would really appreciate a little more dumbed down explanation of what’s going on.  The tech leaves the room at this point for some reason, and the doc is a little more clearer with the explanation, and I feel like I have a little more understanding of the situation to where I can at least brog about it.

The lump is definitely a tumor, but the clinic doesn’t have the on-site resources to do anything beyond a cursory examination, and sending out slides is really the only way we’re all going to get some more accurate clarity to what we’re dealing with.  Given the circumstances of how it appeared to have appeared and grown fairly rapidly over the span of the last two months, things don’t appear to be very optimistic, but again, never going to know until we get some more concrete evidence.

It doesn’t help the fact that my boy is anywhere from 15-17 years old, which is well at or past life expectancy for his general breed, and the fact that he also has a grade-4 heart murmur.  Adding cancer on top of it is like a fucked up cherry on top, but him being the goodest boy on the face of the planet, is still acting fairly normal, his behavior and temperament are still his usual cheerful self, and he’s eating, drinking, pooping and peeing as a normal dog would.  Even the girl doing clean-up in the lobby was astounded to hear that he’s (estimated) 16 years old.

But that’s where we’re at right now.  My good boy is not doing well, in spite of the pep he continues to exhibit.  Regardless of what the full diagnosis is going to be, the options are not many, nor are they even likely to work, if they’re even possible at all.  At his age, it’s not lost on me that we’re definitely in the final act of his expected lifespan, but it never doesn’t suck for pet owners to come to grips with the mortality of their companions, and all I can really think about are all the things I feel guilty to him about not being a better owner; like an asshole, thinking about myself, when he’s the one dealing with fucking cancer, and no-selling it like Hercules vs. Sid because he’s the best dog there is and he’s showing way more strength than I am, and doesn’t even realize it.

But he’s not gone yet, and hopefully my life can get its shit together enough to make the even more likely limited time I have with him somewhat better and rewarding.  Two years ago, I had concerns on whether or not he’d last long enough to get a picture with my first daughter with a shirt that had a dog that looked a lot like him on it.  Not only did we get a good picture, there’s now second daughter in the equation, and here’s hoping that we can repeat that history with her.

What I feared might happen, happened

I’m sad.  One of my former reports from my old job texted me to let me know that they, and numerous other members of my old newsprint team from my old job were all being laid off.

This is something that I figured could eventually show up on the table, but seeing as how over the last six years I was there, I never saw, or heard of anywhere in the company that did any sort of laying off, I didn’t think that it would actually happen.

It’s funny, when I had planned on leaving the company, my ego and I had hoped that it would get a modicum of respect and acknowledgment.  I’m not saying I was ever the most important cog in the machine that was my team, but I did design the work process that kept us afloat throughout the transition into the Ford Pinto of software we were forced to use.  However, when I had announced my notice of resignation, we were already in the first week of a two-week notice from one of my production counterparts, and unbeknownst to me, my other production counterpart was a week away from announcing their two-week notice.

Suddenly, I was the Stephanie Tanner middle child of resignations, doomed to be unnoticed, and worse off, I begun feeling concerned that this power vacuum that was forming due to the departure of 3 out of 4 managers on the team was going to no longer put the team in a defensive mode until they could staff back up, but now put them at risk of being potentially liquidated, and the work outsourced.

Ever since the pandemic rose and my team specifically took some lumps throughout the last two years because the print medium isn’t as agile and adaptable as digital ones, there was concern throughout the team about the security of their jobs.  I had, honestly opined that I felt that everyone was safe, solely because of the ironic fact that we all had knowledge of the aforementioned Ford Pinto of graphic design software, so it’s not like any joe-schmoe could be hired off the street to do our jobs.  And for the last two years, in spite of how much of a pain in the ass it’s been, our team had navigated the bumpy waters of pandemic retail, and come out no worse for wear at the end of it.

But now, with the Great Resignation™ hitting our team specifically and creating such gaps in the team, I can’t say that I’m surprised to see that liquidation and outsourcing has begun.  The company as a whole clearly soured on the print medium, which was my impetus for starting to look for a new job, aside from the fact that I hated the fuck out of my boss, but none of it changed the fact that I still cared about my team and that all these talented designers all deserved better than they’ve been dealt.

I do feel a little bit of guilt that there is the possibility that my departure, along with the departure of the other managers made this happen, although I have no clue to whether or not this was always on the table in the first place regardless of if we were there or not.  But when the day is over, I still have to, and I did, put myself and my family above all else, and it turns out that I dodged an extremely close bullet.

It’s just that as an empathetic person, it kills me that people that I cared about are put in this unfortunate position.  The saving grace is that they still have nearly nine weeks notice, which gives them fairly sufficient time to begin looking for new jobs, and with the cards all out on the table, it’s not like anyone has to be discreet about it.  In fact, as long as they’re not insubordinate shitbags, all my old team that’s on the block doesn’t even really have to put up the front of being friendly or overly professional anymore, because the company is still going to rely on them to put out all the scheduled advertisements all the way up to Memorial Day.

And then they get a severance package, and fortunately the timing of it will still allow all of them to partake in the company’s semi-annual profit sharing bonuses which usually take place in March.

At this point, what I’m most curious about are the future statuses of other individuals on my old team, namely my old boss.  I don’t get the impression that they’re on the block like my old reports are, and I have this pessimistic suspicion that they probably didn’t fight very hard, nor are they remotely anything close to the type who would go down with the ship.  They have another channel under their umbrella, and I’ve long known that that one was their true passion, while my team was kind of the bastard they had to manage in order to have their role.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they in fact initiated this liquidation, because often said that their life would be peaches if they could get rid of newsprint, and could focus solely on catalog.  But these are things that I’ll never know, but the result of it all is still feeling terrible for a lot of talented designers who will soon be out of a job, and not help feeling a little bit guilty for helping push the boulder over the edge.  I don’t regret anything I’ve done in regards to seeking greener pastures before the shots were fired, but I’m still allowed to feel empathy for those I used to work with who were saddled by this unfortunate development.

For once, does Billy Corgan not suck?

When I went out to the mailbox with one of my kids, I figured it would be more of the same junk mail.  Bullshit about mortgage insurance, solicitations for donations, a random piece of mail offering me a ridiculous amount of money for my home regardless of the fact that I would never be able to parlay that into getting something else remotely close to where I’m living now, etc.

But today, there was an unexpected tube in the box.  I figured it was something mythical wife had ordered because she’s always ordering shit for the kids, but it turns out that it was addressed to me.  A return address from Florida from someone I didn’t know, because it was only signed by initials.  I thought it might’ve been a friend of mine from Virginia whom had similar initials, and I wondered, did they move to Florida?  What did I do to deserve such a considerate friend who sends me random mail even though we hardly speak?

Turns out that it wasn’t this specific friend I had in mind.  Instead, upon opening the tube, was a small 10 x 16 poster from the NWA show that I had missed out on due to the rise of omicron.  And it appeared to be autographed by, presumably all of the performers from the show.

Back in December, I had tickets to the NWA pay-per-view, Hard Times 2.  I had long wanted to go to another live wrestling event, and the card actually looked like it was going to be pretty good.  In fact, I was stoked because I learned that the NWA taped their shows from Atlanta, and I had made a point to try and go to a show, but then coronavirus happened, and those hopes were dashed.  But back to December, the doors were open once again to live NWA wrestling, and I had purchased tickets to Hard Times 2, anticipating a fun night of decent live wrestling. 

The night before the event, I got an email that stated that my tickets were cancelled and I was being issued a full refund.  I thought WTF, and DM’d and emailed the NWA’s twitter account and public email address, but not long afterward, a mass email was sent out.  It turns out that due to the rise of omicron, Hard Times 2 was putting a cap on the attendance, and me being past the cutoff point of tickets that were going to be honored, was instead getting a refund again.

I was quite disappointed.  I understood the circumstances, and frankly respected the venue for making the call, but I was sad that I was going to miss out on a live show, because I was really looking forward to it.

In the email, was also a message that stated responding with mailing addresses, so that the show could send all of us a small gift of appreciation and apology.  I didn’t think much of it, so I sent them my info and didn’t really anything of it.

It should also be mentioned that the NWA is owned now by Billy Corgan, the same Billy Corgan who was the front man for the Smashing Pumpkins.  Turns out he’s a big wrestling mark, and leapt on the opportunity to purchase the NWA when had deteriorated to basically the fifth most prominent organization in the industry.

Getting this signed poster is actually really cool as shit, and definitely softens the blow of not getting to go to the show.  There are lots of guys in the NWA that I do like, but if I had to pick the most notable talent that might have signed it, it would have to be Paola Blaze, whom I’m most familiar with as being THE Paola from 90 Day Fiancé, who somewhere on the road, parlayed her TLC fame into a professional wrestling career and now moonlights for the NWA.

Somewhere on this poster is Paola’s autograph.  And as a fan of professional wrestling and 90 Day Fiancé, that’s the crown jewel of this entire poster.  And I kind of have to credit Billy Corgan for keeping the lights on in the NWA to allow for this to happen, so is this where I actually have to admit that he doesn’t suck, for once?

Nah.  No way this was his idea.  The guy who runs the NWA’s gmail account (lol) seems to be the guy that’s shadow puppeting the promotion, probably.  That guy most definitely doesn’t suck.  But Billy Corgan still does.  Let’s not kid ourselves.