Liv Morgan and what I still enjoy about wrestling

For the first time in my life, I went to an Impact! Wrestling show, as they had dates in Atlanta, and were also taping out of Center Stage, which is a fantastic venue to watch wrestling, and has a lot of history within the industry.  The tickets were cheap, and I was able to get seats basically three rows behind the ring, so it was a no-brainer to go see what is basically the #3 promotion in America.

And it was a pretty decent show, all things considered.  I got to see a lot of guys I’d mostly just heard of or seen just clips of, like Josh Alexander, Mike “Speedball” Bailey, Chris Bey and Ace Austin, and there was no shortage of names that I already knew from their days in old TNA or former WWE talents, like the Motor City Machine Guns, Mike Bennett, Eric Young, the Good Brothers and Mickie James.  Despite the general lack of respect Impact! gets, the promotion has a degree of polish that is missing from a lot of the lesser-known indy shows I’d been getting into over the last few years, and when the night was over, I was very pleased with my evening and money well spent.

I came home that evening and remembered that the WWE had a, well, pay-per-view event the same night, and considering the ease of being able to watch a replay on Peacock, I figured I’d try and watch at least the Money in the Bank ladder matches, while I still had no idea who won them yet, and before the internet would spoil the fuck out of them if I went on any social media channel.

Despite the feeling that I had a prediction that she would win, like my old Wrestling Oracle™ days, I was still very pleased to see that Liv Morgan won the women’s ladder match.  Admittedly, I bought into the Liv Morgan story of the diminutive underdog who has persevered throughout the years, and in spite of the support of the fans, just couldn’t quite reach the top of the mountain.  And by virtue of winning the Money in the Bank briefcase, Morgan was basically a shoo-in to eventually become a women’s champion, as the women’s short history of the briefcase has yet to have a single failure.

A little surprising to me, was the fact that WWE Creative didn’t wait long with Liv, and had her cashing in immediately, the same night.  I say I was surprised, because just the way Morgan had been established, I didn’t think there would be any real hope for her to have any chance of beating either Bianca Belair or Ronda Rousey, seeing as how she’s undersized and overwhelmingly out-powered by both of them.  But I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, seeing as how women’s MITB winners have held the contract collectively maybe a total of like, three days over the last four winners.  And despite my skepticism of how Liv Morgan would topple either champion, I was still very pleased and happy to see her pin Ronda Rousey and become the new Smackdown Women’s champion.

And thinking about this moment, and some other isolated moments within the last year, made me come to the realization of why I still enjoy watching wrestling, even though it probably seems like I have an endless amount of criticism and complaining to do about the business: I really enjoy seeing when wrestlers I respect, and have admiration for their work ethic, actually succeed and get the hard-earned spotlight.

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I think this takes the cake

The ad on the left is the July 4th ad that my former team and I produced for the 2021 year.  The ad on the right is the July 4th ad that was produced by my former employer for the 2022 year.

Now I understand that there’s little sexy and glamorous about newsprint, especially considering the world has such a collective boner about digital-this, omnichannel-that, social, influencers and other forms of marketing approaches that constant insists that the print medium is dying or already dead, but I will fight you if you tell me this to my face.

What good is your digital medium if the internet goes down?  Or you can’t connect to the wi-fi and your 5G can’t make it through the concrete and medal coliseums of the stores you’re in, needing to access the internet?  Or you catch me on a bad day and I slap your phone out of your hand and break your phone for telling me that my occupation is obsolete?  Alright then

I’ll be the first to admit that the 2021 ad isn’t necessarily mind-blowing, or remotely close to the best work that my team has ever produced.  We were still amidst pandemic-this and supply chain-that, not to mention that my team was forced to work in a program that was the equivalent of a Chevy Cavalier trying to compete with NASCARs on the track.  But compared to the ad on the right?  Suddenly the 2021 Cavalier looks like a spaceship compared to the stone and chisel produced ad in 2022.

In short, my old team was completely gutted, laid off and the company’s newsprint was outsourced to an agency in Austin, Texas; literally a week after I had my final day with the company.  I was pretty upset about it despite having dodged a massive bullet, because I still had and have a tremendous amount of care and shits to give about all the people on my old team, because there’s a ton of talent and good people there who were put into a horrible situation.

Fortunately, almost all of them have landed on their feet since, but the point remains that the old newsprint team was effectively killed, with our primary task being outsourced; in my opinion, one of the biggest professional insults to anyone who’s ever taken pride in what they do for a living.

I blame my old boss for all of this.  I’ve made no secret of the disdain, contempt and general hate I have for her, and how they were easily the #1 factor for why I decided to leave the company.  I could list of numerous things I hated about being under their thumb, but I’d be better off saving those 50,000 words for November and completing NaNoWriMo with them instead.  However, of all of the horrible shit she said, did and behaved to me that made her a horrible Bronn of a boss, I genuinely think this is the worst thing she ever did; as the title of this post says, I think this takes the cake.

This piece of outsourced shit,  the July 4th ad for 2022, is a goddamn joke.  The photo does no justice to how poor the entire ad is, because all throughout the circular are errors, alignment and consistency issues, bad crops, obviously distorted images, and zero quality control.  A hundred things I caught in a hundred seconds of scanning through it, that would never have made it past mine or any of my team’s eyes on our numerous proofing rounds.  Ancient Egyptians pounding hieroglyphics on reeds had better brand standards than this sad circular.

She killed our medium.  No matter how hard my team pushed back against evolving trends and proved our positive ROI year after year, she came in and killed us, because no team in the world can survive in the league when their own coach is deliberately and determined to kill them.

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The best day of the year

For Bobby Bonilla, that is.  The day in which the New York Mets pay him his annual installment of $1.2M dollars, as part of a legendary deferment plan back established in 2000, where the Mets would be absolved of paying $5.9M then, but agreed to pay $1.2M every single year for twenty-five years starting in 2011.  Obviously it doesn’t take a math genius to know that $1.2M x 25 is substantially larger than $5.9M, and that baseball organizations clearly play by a different set of rules to where somehow this is a justifiable and acceptable alternative to paying money owed in the present.

I’ve posted about this day numerous times on my brog or social media, so I’ll save myself the trouble of re-writing something I’ve taken amusement for a day of every summer since 2011, and just cut to the chase to really the impetus of this post coming to fruition in the first place: the collision of fandoms, where pondering the coming of this year’s Bobby Bonilla Day, as well as recently watching wrestling where Miro, formerly known as Rusev, and thinking about his old gimmick that he miraculously got over with the fans, Happy Rusev Day, and merging it with Bobby Bonilla, and how to him, Bobby Bonilla Day must be the greatest day of his year, every year.

The idea to remake the old Happy Rusev Day in the image of Bobby Bonilla took off pretty quickly to the point where I actually expended a little bit of energy and time to make the above graphic; obviously it is fake, but I bet I could manage to move a few of these if I actually produced and sold them, but I don’t feel like dealing with any C&Ds from the Mets or the WWE.

But here we have it, the graphic, on the shirt, of the greatest day of the year, for Bobby Bonilla.  I like to imagine that he’s one of those degenerate former professional athletes who has no idea how to use or manage his money, and is basically broke by October, and is counting down the days until the next July, to when his next $1.2M paycheck will be coming from the Mets.

For the record, despite not having played a game in like 15-16 years, Bobby Bonilla is getting paid more than eight current active players on the Mets, and countless other players in Major League Baseball who are on league-minimum deals or anything resulting in under $1.2M bones.

And this is going to continue to be the case for 13 more years.  God bless the Mets and their silly business practices, and Happy Bobby Bonilla Day for another year!

Imagine if your existence was to one day become a chip?

I saw this bag of effectively, chicken chips at Sprouts, and I had to stop and examine the bag.  10 grams of protein from chips?  Servings per bag, two?  So I could effectively get 20g’s of protein by crushing this bag of chips made from chickens? 

But then I was like mehhhhhhh because I had no idea what to expect from a taste and consistency standpoint of chips made out of chickens.

But then I had to pass by the display again on the way to the register and they were 2/$7 and next thing I knew, I had bought two bags.  The other one is chili lime.

Honestly, they’re not that bad.  Crunchy like a potato chip, and frankly they taste kind of like Pringles.  And I get 20g’s of protein, which is always important to people who exercise and lift weights.

Really though, what I really thought about, and what served as the impetus for this post, was the sheer thought that a chicken, a living, bleeding bird, was somehow reduced to becoming, a chip.  Not a potato, not corn, not some other vegetable.  A chicken.

And then I got to thinking about what humans would feel like if we were ever overtaken by a more intelligent species that also was higher on the food chain than we were, and decided to one day reduce humans as a food source to not just any food, but chips.  Like I imagine a person getting one of those cheese slicers taken to them to carve out thin, malleable slices of their flesh, and they’re deep fried to become chips for creatures who eat people want to eat.

Fucked up to think about sure, but this is what my mind wandered off to while I was indulging in chips made out of chicken.  Better them than us, I suppose.

There are no winners in the Freddie Freeman saga

Man, despite the fact that it’s pretty well known that Freddie Freeman is about the most likeable human being to ever play the game of Major League Baseball, I wouldn’t ever have imagined him being the center of one of the more dramatic baseball storylines to have occurred in, well, this generation, so to say.

To quickly summarize, as quickly as a wordy blabbermouth like myself can do: 2021 was the last season of Freddie Freeman’s contract with the Atlanta Braves.  Inexplicably, the Braves win the World Series, everyone is on cloud nine, Freeman is all but expected to re-sign with the team.  Over the winter, baseball actually goes into a labor-centric lockout, where teams are prohibited  from negotiating contracts with players.  Lockout ends, everyone maintains that Freeman is guaranteed to re-sign with the Braves.  Somewhere along the path, negotiations don’t seem to materialize and suddenly news breaks that the Braves have made a trade for Matt Olson, the all-star first baseman from the Oakland A’s, effectively dropping the mic and saying that they are moving on from Freddie Freeman, sending shockwaves throughout Braves Country™.

It was reported that Freddie Freeman and the Braves were unable to come to terms of a deal, citing that Freeman wanted a six-year deal, but the Braves were only willing to offer a five.  It wasn’t long afterward that the Los Angeles Dodgers would sign Freeman for six years, and in terms of business, the saga was complete.

However, in the media, the saga continued as after all the involved teams started buttoning up their rosters, words would emerge from the Braves’ camp, and Freddie Freeman himself, and a very sad and almost tangible sense of hurt feelings from both parties would continue on.  The Braves blathering on about how they’re a business and that no one person is above the team, Freeman insinuating that he felt slighted that the Braves didn’t pursue him hard enough, and all over the place, be it other baseball peers, fans, legends, everyone’s taking sides on who they backed in this surprisingly public beef between the Braves and the former face of the team.

Regardless, the dust would settle fairly quickly because Freddie Freeman is better than everyone else and allowed it to resolve and said all the right things, because he’s just such a good fucking human being, and the 2022 season would begin with the Braves embarking on a life post-Freddie, and Freddie suiting up for the goddamn Dodgers of all other teams out there.

Needless to say, the weekend of June 24th was earmarked heavily by the Braves and their marketing department, because it would mark the one and only visit of the Dodgers to Atlanta on the season, and the first-ever visit of Freddie Freeman as an opponent.  As the date drew nearer, I heard that the team was resorting to standing-room tickets because the demand was so high.  And as the team had been doing all through the year, which is something that I thought was pretty cool, was doing individualized ring ceremonies for any contributors from the 2021 squad who had moved on to other teams.

So the weekend came and went, with the Dodgers taking the series 2-1, in three fairly heavily contested games.  As expected, Freddie Freeman’s return was an emotional event for pretty much everyone, as he was given a hero’s welcome and all the respect in the world, numerous standing ovations and cheers no matter that he was a Dodger.  Freeman cried at least 57 times throughout the weekend, basically every time he was behind a microphone while he was presented his World Series ring, and any time he had a moment with a former teammate.

It’s clear that there was and always will be a tremendous amount of mutual love between the Braves and the city of Atlanta and Freddie Freeman, and the games themselves were kind of an afterthought compared to the giant lovefest of Freeman’s return.

But then just a day later, news broke that seemingly out of nowhere, Freddie Freeman had fired his agent, Casey Close of Excel Sports Management.  The timing of it happening right after the visit to Atlanta raised eyebrows everywhere and next thing we know, the book of the Freddie Freeman saga is being reopened.

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Dad Brog (#090): 27 Months

Let the record show that it is month 27 in the life of #1, my eldest child, and we have embarked on a journey where the roles have reversed with my kids.  #2 is now the low-maintenance chill kid, easy-going, amicable and easy to please throughout the day.  Which means #1 has transformed into an emotionally volatile goblin, incapable of knowing what it is they want with life from second to second, resulting in more often than not, nuclear meltdowns.

Not just whining, but full-on tears and dribbling snot, shrieking, sometimes going down to the ground to throw tantrums kind of meltdowns.  Things that placate on Monday are ineffective on Tuesday, and things they liked at 11 am are declarations of war by 4 pm.  Almost every suggestion of activity, food or book is responded with a shrill NO [noun] and then ensuing whining.

Despite the fact that mythical wife doesn’t want to believe in them, I think these are what we might have to classify as an introduction into, the terrible twos.

We’re trying our best to keep our cool, and I think we genuinely are doing well at not caving into her outbursts, but it is most definitely tiring and more exhausting than younger times dealing with a perpetually irate toddler.  Admittedly, I meet a lot of her tantrums with laughter, because it really is kind of hilarious to see how she’s evolved, and mixing all of her accumulated learned intelligence with the vocabulary she’s amassed. 

Like we’ve read to her several books about dealing with emotions and how when one gets mad, they should take a deep breath.  Sometimes we the parents get agitated from so much of her bullshit, and if she sniffs out our frustration, she’ll immediately tell us to take a deep breath, like really??

Obviously we know that this is a phase and it shall eventually pass, but whooowee, is it testing of our patience.  Suddenly gone is the sweet and agreeable daughter of mine whom I could read pretty much any book I wanted to before bed time without any argument, but in her place now is a psychotic little goblin the demands the same two Sesame Street stories, except she goes ballistic when I start them and insists on being the one who turns the pages but then loses her shit when I can’t keep up with how fast she’s turning them.

And of course, the possibility of by the time she works through this phase, #2 could very well be on her heels and embarking on the emotional path of destrucity herself, leading to mythical wife and I to ponder just how much time is left before they’re old enough to be independent.

Oh, Atlanta #577

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these but obviously, it’s the same old song and dance that I just don’t have the time.  Honestly I feel like if I ever wanted to do one of these every day, I’m sure I could find a story absurd enough to warrant a post.  But there are days like today where the story came to me for a change of pace, and upon seeing it, I knew it was inevitable that I had to write about it:

Deadly shooting occurs at a Subway; over too much mayonnaise being put on a sandwich.  I really can’t make this shit up, even if I tried.  But to expound on the unfortunate situation, basically a Subway employee put too much mayo on a customer’s sandwich, they became irate, and then words began being exchanged, and the next thing you know, they’re opening fire into the restaurant and killing the employee.  The manager on duty promptly returns fire because of course they’re packing too, and the whole thing ends with the shooter arrested, an employee dead, with the employee’s sister who also worked there, also shot and in critical condition.

Also, the 5-year old kid of one of the women struck was there and watched their mom get shot.

Typically, these kinds of posts are dripping in sarcasm and are more of a you’ve got to be kidding me in an ironically judgmental funny way, and I’ll be honest that this is how I felt when I started writing about it.  But honestly, it’s nothing really funny about it is as much as it’s just fucked up and sad that there are people out there that genuinely felt that the best course of action to resolve the dissatisfaction at getting too much mayo on their fucking Subway sandwich is to pull out a gun and start shooting like Yosemite Sam.

I know this particular Subway, and where it is, and it is very much not in a particularly good part of town.  It’s riding a line where everything east of it is touched by the magic gentrification fairy, and are in a period of where there are people hoping to cash in on rising property values and get paid, but on the west side of the thoroughfare is basically still the Jurassic Park of ghettos.  So it’s not really any surprise that this kind of incident happened at this part of town, but it’s still tragic and fucked up that there’s literally a person dead over mayonnaise on a sandwich.

Guess all that’s really left for me to say is that I’m sure glad I don’t work or really have any business being in the city proper anymore, because I’d sure hate to get in the crossfire of any sort of altercation over shitty fast food.