The America we live in

Typically, I try not to write things that are remotely political in nature, but ultimately the point of my brog is to have a space in which I write out my thoughts, and whether six people read my words or zero people read them, it’s still an exercise in putting my thoughts into words and occasionally seeing if I can get any further clarity out of expressing them.

It’s hard to ignore and remain silent on the topic of gun control, considering the latest episode of American Massacre involved a bunch of high school students and faculty getting gunned down by a mentally unstable person who somehow had possession of an AR-15 automatic assault rifle.  I don’t mean to sound ignorant and uneducated in all the facts, but the truth is that I have not gone out of my way to learn more than the surface facts of the whole tragedy because frankly I don’t want to get too detailed in what I already know is a horrific incident that could probably have been prevented if not for the simple fact that firearms, and extremely deadly firearms, are just way too fucking accessible in America.

Ultimately, I’m fine with handguns and the general guidelines of the Second Amendment.  Believe me, I thought long and hard about acquiring a gun after some stupid shitheads kicked in my front door with the intent to rob my house, except that I was home when it happened, and they ran instead of seeing if I were packing or not when I came running down my hallway.  However, my thoughts were always a handgun, or a shotgun at most, and only one.  Not a weapon that a Taliban fighter would be carrying on their person at all time, or any weapon that would be available by default in first-person horde shooter.

I don’t think assault weaponry needs to be available to the public in any capacity, yet here we stand, in an America where quite literally, anyone can somehow manage to get their hands on one, regardless of their mental capacity, or existing rap sheets with law enforcement.  If someone has enough murderous intent, they’re more than capable of acquiring an instrument of mass death.

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It’s busy season at work.  Life itself has been pretty busy too.  Ironically, as busy life has been transpiring, things have been happening all around that have made me feel like writing, but I simply haven’t really had any time to sit down and do any writing.  There’s no downtime at work for me to slop together some words, and by the time I get home, I’m usually burnt out and not wanting to look at any screen other than my phone for my routine-like playing of Fire Emblem: Heroes.

Typically, whenever things seem brog-worthy, I jot down a quick blurb or note in a Google document for me to revisit whenever I have more time to write about them.  However, due to the busy, I simply haven’t had the time to revisit anything, but the list continued to grow and grow, leaving me feeling anxious about the passage of time to brogging dynamic that I’ve been feeling has been slipping out of my grasp lately.

So now that for the first time, I’ve found that I have a moment to do some writing, I thought I’d save myself as well as my 0 readers the trouble of doing a little consolidation, so that I don’t feel like I should be dumping 1,000 words per topic, but instead go for some quick hits that I’ll do my best to get the point across while covering all of the topics that have piqued my interest over the last week and change. 

This makes even more sense, considering that this particular conglomeration of topics all conveniently happen to be sports related, and since pretty much nobody I know except for me actually cares about sports, it’s a win-win for me, that I get to do some writing, and for the zero who will inevitably glaze over this when it’s eventually published for realsies.

And so we start off with the most notable of events, with the boys in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech taking down yet another ranked ACC powerhouse in men’s basketball, defeating the unholy and reviled #5 Duke.

For those keeping track, this marks the fourth ranked ACC opponent that Tech has defeated this year, with wins against (at the times) #10 North Carolina, #15 Clemson, #2 Virginia.  Now as much as I would much, much, much rather see a football season in which the Hokes took down Clemson, UVA, UNC and Duke, I’m genuinely pleased with the basketball program which has pretty much guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Tournament; where they will get likely get bounced in the first round, but making it to the dance is always important.


I guess Atlanta can kiss Amazon HQ2 goodbye now

If you’d have asked me any time prior to today what I thought were the chances that Atlanta would have landed Amazon’s prized HQ2, I would have said somewhere in the realm of, 100%.

And I wouldn’t be saying it solely because I live here, and I’d love the idea of HQ2 taking root in my city; in fact, I’m actually quite skeptical of if Atlanta were to be the selected holy land to secure HQ2.  As much as people believe that the arrival of Amazon into the State of Georgia would magically turn the entire state into millionaires, there’s quite a substantial amount of proof that quite the opposite could occur, from one corporate entity holding way too much leverage over the place they chose to call home.

But I think when all the dust has settled, I think there’s more room for benefit and good to come out of HQ2 being in Atlanta than would be if it didn’t.  And realistically speaking, I genuinely feel like Atlanta has a very good shot and getting HQ2, mostly because it’s a city that offers just about everything that they’re looking for: an EST time zone, mild climate that rarely has to worry about snowstorms derailing everything, a major travel vein both domestically and internationally, major hubs for both UPS and FedEx, and a pipeline into a prominent tech incubator that Georgia Tech would be for them. 

Most importantly, Georgia is a state that has proven to be more than willing to play ball with big businesses, and have been willing to bend over backwards for prominent names and businesses, such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and the entire film industry.  Without question, Georgia and the City of Atlanta would have done absolutely whatever it took to make Amazon pick them for HQ2, even if it meant royally screwing every single Georgian in the process, just to be able to say tomorrow will be better than today.  Shit, one entire town has declared willingness to rename their entire populous Amazon, if they were chosen to house HQ2.

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I’d vote for that

So it’s been a little bit of time since the rise and fall of Renaissance, Georgia, ironically before it even got to be risen officially.  It’s actually been quiet since then, which means the twisted local government is either plotting their next attempt to deceive the people and roll something out without any of their representation, or perhaps they’re busy watching Netflix instead.  Either way, with the failure that was Renaissance, the name of the area remains the cold and callous sounding “South Fulton.”

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, Black Panther-mania has taken over the world for this hot second, and few people in the world can actually say anything bad about the ground and record-breaking film.  Needless to say, all things Black Panther has been on the tips of everyone’s tongues this week, as just about everyone in the world is still seeking out tickets and trying to go see the film for the first, or third times.

I saw this “joke” pop up on my old neighborhood’s Nextdoor account, and my first thought was “too easy.”  A city in the Metro area that’s like ~80% black wanting to call themselves “Wakanda?”  You don’t say!

But then I thought about how alternatives would have been shit like “Renaissance” or “Atlanta Heights” or something else shitty, and suddenly Wakanda doesn’t seem like such a bad option.  Not only is it ironically funny if it were officially in place, I have to imagine that just about every person who’s seen Black Panther at this point would be completely on board with it, thus eliminating the whole “you can’t change shit without us the people” conflict would be out of the equation.

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Racist, decency or revenue?

Impetus: South Carolina proposes new bill that would punish people who sag their pants too low with fines and/or community service

At first blush, my knee-jerk reaction is applause.  But the more time I think about it, the more I anticipate the inevitable debates about how this is racist because as the myth goes, only black people are the only ones who sag their pants anymore these days.  But then I think about that, how back in like the 90s, every single male teenager in my high school sagged their pants, and it didn’t matter if they were black, white, Korean, Vietnamese, Afghan, Salvadorian or Honduran, it was just the thing.

Sure, it’s a little too obviously targeting the black community, since black folks are pretty much the only ones out there that still carries on with sagging pants, but let’s also be real here: people don’t really want to see the drawers of other dudes, at all.  It was gross back then, even if we were too dumb to realize it, and it’s most certainly gross now.  Nobody, wants to see the Huggies of another grown ass man.  Does not matter if they’re black, white, Korean, Vietnamese, Afghan, Salvadorian, Honduran, or any other demographic, sagging pants is just stupid across the board.

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Imagine if I actually got paid to share baseball ideas*

Not that anyone but me, or any other baseball geek that’s remotely interested in baseball statistics and the Moneyball game of salary management within the sport, would care, but Eric Hosmer just signed a free agent deal with the San Diego Padres.

This is not really major news, even by baseball standards.  Hosmer seems like a pretty good guy, and I’ll always remember how synonymous he was for the leadership he exhibited in 2015, leading the woeful Kansas City Royals to their first World Series championship in like an entire generation.  The team he signed with, the San Diego Padres, haven’t been good nor remotely relevant since Ray Kroc owned the team.  The bottom line is, Eric Hosmer is a pretty low-key baseball star, and the Padres are a very low-key existing baseball team, so the union of them isn’t particularly groundbreaking news, even despite the fact that sheer lack of free agent signings has been a somewhat notable topic throughout this baseball offseason.

However, the thing that’s the most interesting to me is the structure of Hosmer’s deal with the Padres.  The bare bones summary of the contract is that it’s an eight-year deal for $144 million dollars; but it’s not as simple as saying Hosmer will be getting exactly $18 million a year, because rarely will there ever be a long-term deal where a player simply gets the average number between the total amount divided by the length of the contract.

Typically, baseball contracts are often structured in a manner in which a player makes a pretty reasonable amount the first year, but then the annual salary of ensuing years typically ramps upward, and usually the last 2-3 years of a contract are where they peak, and you’ll see players making ludicrous Oprah-rich numbers of like $20-30 million dollars during those later years.

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Thoughts on Black Panther

When mythical gf and I got to the theater and took our seats, they happened to be like in the third row and way off to the left.  Granted, theaters have come a long way to where it’s not nearly as bad closer up front than it used to be, and we had seats angled to face the screen that also reclined, so it could easily have been way worse, but there was a brief moment where I thought that it might’ve been preferable had we waited just a little bit and gotten more direct facing seats.

However, the following morning, I kept hearing from every interested movie goer that they couldn’t find a single theater that had any available tickets left for any reasonable showtime of Black Panther.  Showings were being shown as sold out just about everywhere across the Metro Atlanta area, and suddenly getting to see the movie when we saw the movie didn’t seem like such a bad thing after all.

Anyway, I have a lot of thoughts about Black Panther, and to cut to the chase, none of them are at all bad.  Full disclosure, I’ve never really been a fan of the comic book, and I’ve always held Black Panther on the tier of Marvel superheroes like Thor and Daredevil but still above shit like Iron Fist or Quasar, as properties that I knew existed, I knew their place in the Marvel Universe, but I just didn’t really give a shit about.  I liked X-Men the most, enjoyed singular properties like Iron Man and Spider-Man, and I’d been on and off with properties like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. 

Needless to say, the prospect of a Black Panther film wasn’t something that excited me much when I heard about it, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe had made me capable of enjoying properties I was lukewarm about like Thor and Ant-Man, so it was also safe to be optimistic about a stand-alone Black Panther, especially with the exciting manner in which he was introduced in Captain America: Civil War.

I think it goes without saying that no single Marvel film has had the magnitude of hype that Black Panther has had, and there’s very obvious reasons of why such was the case, given the tumultuous social climate we live in today in the 2010s.  One of the challenges that I had during the hype, arrival, viewing and post-thinking of the film was creating separation between the film itself and everything that the film stood for in modern society.

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