Greatest Royal Rumble my ass

It took two sittings to watch it, because a five hour show is asking too much for anyone, much less anyone actually in attendance, but I just made it through watching the WWE’s Greatest Royal Rumble special out of Saudi Arabia.


It goes without saying that I did not have high hopes for this special, therefore it was of zero shock and surprise that it turned out to be the mediocre, glorified house show that I figured it would be.  The events of Greatest are for the most part non-canon to current storylines, but the performers still have to put forth the effort and the work to next to zero story advancement to the rest of the events that are happening in current WWE programming, which is about as zero-sum as it gets, considering the sheer amount of time, resources and physical effort necessary to hold what’s basically an unnecessary show.

The matches were almost all terrible, the performers were clearly jet-lagged, a step or more slow, and completely uninspired performing in front of a mostly confused and/or apathetic crowd.  Predictably, zero titles changed hands, and the only notable thing that occurred in the entire show was the crowning of Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt as winners of the vacant RAW Tag Team Championships.  The rest of the card was underwhelming and underperformed, and the 50-man Rumble match itself was loaded with jobbers, no-names and C-listers who would otherwise have no chance of performing regularly on the average North American tour rotation.

Not to mention the fact that due to the antiquated misogynistic Saudi culture, none of the WWE’s women were permitted to perform, much less any women really be present in King Abdullah Stadium without the supervision of a man, which is a little bit of egg on the company’s part, as they could have really made a global statement by refusing the show in the first place because of their cultural restrictions but whatever, that’s Saudi Arabia for you.

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Is this really happening?

Throughout my entire life, the Koreas have been at war.  The same can be said about just about all of my peers, friends and acquaintances.  Obviously, this doesn’t mean that there’s always been continuous combat for 36 years, but in the technical terms of the Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953, the fighting may have ceased, but the Korean War had never ended.  It’s safe to say that large chunks of the world’s populations have never known of a world where the Koreas have not been at war.

So it’s kind of surreal, almost strange, and definitely unbelievable the recent news of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un meeting with South Korean president Moon Jae-In, and coming to terms and signing a peace treaty declaring a formal end to the Korean War.  It’s treading into waters that most of the world has never seen before, and it’s kind of amazing to think that babies born beyond April 27, 2018 will be coming into a world where the Korean War was not technically happening.

Seeing as how I am American by birth, and as authentically Korean as a Hyundai assembled in Mexico, I’m a little surprised at how much the news of the Koreas ceasing the war affected me.  I’ve only been to Korea twice, and know a pathetically paltry amount of the history of my ancestors.  Yet, reading news and progressions of the peace summit at Panmunjom really made me feel genuine hope, positivity and a swelling of emotion from within that I think I can only really explain as a result of my Korean heritage.

I know there are tons of people who are skeptical and untrusting of North Korea, and I’m most certainly not without my own skepticism and conspiracy theories of what might actually be in the works.  There are allegations that North Korea really fucked up on a missile test and took down a mountain, destroyed a major developmental facility, nuclear fallout, or all of the above.  There are theories that the escalating trade tensions between the United States and China have unintentionally begun to choke out North Korea’s primary trade partners, thus making them suffer, forcing them to become desperate and take these measures.  Both are somewhat logical and justifiable to why seemingly out of the blue, North Korea has been open to meeting with South Korea.

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As the 2018 baseball season began to take shape, I had earmarked April 28th on the calendar.  Instead of jet-setting off to some other city to watch baseball somewhere else, or catching a Braves game at still-newish Racist ScumTrust Park, it was actually a minor-league game up in Lawrenceville that had my interest: The Gwinnett Braves Strippers Stripers versus the Durham Bulls, the triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

It was kind of the best option of all worlds; I’m a baseball hipster that prefers minor league baseball over the majors, I could check out the newly enshrined Stripers and possibly get a new baseball cap to add to my collection, and I could check out the future of the Braves in uber-prospect wunderkind Ronald Acuña, who laughably was held in triple-A for obvious financial and team-control purposes.

Above all else though, it was actually a guy on the other team that I was more interested in: Jonny Venters, he of the former Braves all-star relief corps with Craig Kimbrel, but with the ridiculous power sinker from the left side that I had the luxury of watching for three straight years as he made MLB look like his own personal playground whenever he took the mound.  That is, until he got hurt, blowing out his elbow not just once, not just twice, but three total times in his long and arduous journey back to baseball.

Now he’s in the Rays organization, and at the start of the season, he was assigned to triple-A, presumably to keep warm and ready for whenever the Rays would need to get some reinforcements, he would be high up on the list.

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I think I’m a Trevor Bauer fan

I don’t think I hide the fact that when it comes to baseball, as much as I like the broad stroke enjoyment of the game such as visiting new ballparks, seeing a power hitter clobber a home run, and seeing a walk off victory, I take a tremendous enjoyment in the smallest things as well.  Things that seem too small and insignificant that they hardly can be said to have occurred at all, but when you know what to look for and see it happen and know what might or might not happen as a result, it’s no less enjoyable.

In other words, there’s a tremendous amount of nerdy shit that I love about baseball that aren’t the flashy, most attractive things about the game like home runs, strikeouts and throwing 100 miles per hour.  That said, every now and then on the internet, there will be stories and articles about baseball that aren’t talking about the Boston Red Sox’s hot start, the home run potential of the New York Yankees, or the Los Angeles Angels of Orange County, Anaheim via Interstate 5 South’s Shohei Ohtani, but something more intricate and harder to comprehend for the casual baseball fan, and these are the ones that tend to pique my interest, or at least be reliable for a good 10-minute read.  Stories about like overlooked statistics and baseball skills, the intangible evidence of clubhouse chemistry, and some other real Moneyball Doctor Manhattan kind of shit.

Throughout the last few years, among the more interesting stories that have come and gone within the game of baseball, there’s been a name that I’d been seeing popping up sporadically: Trevor Bauer, a starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians.  I’m pretty sure it started when he was in a game where he passively mimicked the batting stances of several of his teammates in a game, which was noteworthy solely for the fact that he is an American League pitcher having some fun with his at-bats during Interleague playing in a National League ballpark.  Baseball sometimes tends to take itself too seriously sometimes, so I could appreciate a guy like Bauer who manages to find some way to have some fun and bring some laughs into the glorified kids’ game.

Then there was this story about how a baseball player helped a baseball fan with her math homework over Twitter, and lo and behold, it was Trevor Bauer.  It was here did I learn that Bauer went to UCLA and was pretty much a pretty smart nerd, and if there were ever a type of player that I tend to favor, it’s the brainy types that embrace knowledge and learning as opposed to just believing that god and their natural talent can carry their careers.  And the fact that Bauer took the time to do something so simple and meaningful to a young fan, it’s endearing in my opinion.

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The whitest, most privileged feud since Duke vs. Yale

Have your slave butler get the popcorn: the NRA is outraged with the YETI cooler company for deciding to cease their partnership as an NRA vendor, demands that their mindless, gun-crazy followers and underlings boycott

Is there anything more entertaining than two icons of things white people like feuding with each other?  In one corner, we have the YETI cooler company, the fairly young company that manufactures supposedly high-end coolers and drink receptacles that white people go gonzo over.  And in the other corner, we have the ageless and timeless National Rifle Association, the biggest punching bag save for the president himself for the left, rife with criticism for the fact that there’s a shooting almost every single day, primarily by white people, but that doesn’t change the fact that the alleged majority of NRA due-paying members are white.

And at first blush, it looks like the young white company has decided to distance its partnership with the company helmed primarily by old white people, and the old white people are none too happy about it.

Honestly, this does make YETI look a little more favorable in my eyes.  No, this isn’t going to make me drop what I’m doing and go drop $200 on a fucking cooler, when a $5 Styrofoam gas station box and 50¢ worth of ice accomplish the exact same thing, but it will take YETI out of my crosshairs as something to criticize because I for the life of me can’t comprehend why white people go so bonkers over a company that makes overpriced coolers and has the branding of all caps Arial Black on a black rectangle that makes me wonder what the fuck I’m doing with my career; yeah, it’ll prevent me from elaborating on that thought, with 700 more words.

But it doesn’t change the fact that seeing a good old fashioned white-on-white conflict makes me giddy with ironic anticipation at seeing two sissies getting into a slap fight.

Seriously, YETI vs. the NRA is the best white-on-white feud I’ve seen since Duke got paired up against Yale in the 2016 Men’s NCAA basketball tournament. 

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More skeptical than optimistic

When news breaks about how North Korea and South Korea are considering a peace treaty, there are a myriad of thoughts that swirl through my head.  Considering when I was born as well as the vast majority of the people I know, we have pretty much only known a world where the Koreas are at war.  Sometimes, I’m surprised how many people don’t actually know that the Korean War never technically ended, and that it’s only through the Armistice Agreement in the 50’s that they aren’t physically fighting to this day, but then again considering this isn’t information so readily available on Reddit, Facebook or Twitter, I can’t really say that I should be that surprised.

But although peace is ultimately a worthy end goal for warring nations, I can’t help but be skeptical about it instead of as optimistic as I probably should be, especially as a person with Korean blood running through my veins.  I attribute it to a lifetime raised by television, movies, video games, comic books and professional wrestling that I’m quicker to question the legitimacy of two parties willing to come to a truce, than be pleased to see the progression towards peace.

Frankly, the most dubious of factors is the fact that it wasn’t even a full year ago that tyrannical Kim Jong-Un was basically mouthing off about how he could blow up the United States any time he wanted to, successfully baiting the cheeto-in-chief into a childish Twitter war.  I have a hard time believing that a guy who is one, well known for his general instability, that must be genetic, considering who his dad was, and two, someone who has been vocal about his disdain for the United States, to be so suddenly willing and accommodating towards the progression towards a peace treaty with a South Korea that is pretty comfortable with their positive relationship with the United States.

I get that North is in a precarious position where they’re basically disliked by most other countries in the world, and would probably be a unanimous public enemy #1 if the Middle East didn’t exist.  And as a result, life is kind of difficult for them on a regular basis, what with the country routinely not having nearly enough food for their people, and a laughably inadequate distribution of resources between regular people and those controlled by the government.  From an outsider perspective, it looks like to me that North’s biggest reasons to strive for peace is so that they can possibly get in on the global trade market that might make life in North Korea not quite as hard as it seems to be on a routine basis.  As it stands now, it’s my understanding that the vast majority of their trade comes almost solely from China, and putting all their eggs into few baskets can’t possibly be as fruitful as putting them into more and bigger ones, in this instance.  Even if it means dismantling their nuclear program, a peace treaty would undoubtedly unlock many doors in order for them to start being able to get resources from South Korea as well as possibly even the United States.

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Well, that didn’t go as bad as it could have

I knew they were a bunch of pussies: the National Socialist Movement AKA a bunch of Neo-Nazis planned on holding a rally in Newnan, Georgia on April 21st, 2018, but word of their gathering seemed to have been revealed way too early, and facing massive opposition and counter-protesting, when April 21st rolled up, only like, 25 Neo-Nazis actually showed up.

I kind of wish I cared enough to seek out the message boards or the online chatter among the National Socialist Movement as April 21st approached.  I imagine at some point, it was decided that Atlanta would be a great target region to hold a rally, but obviously not too close to Atlanta, because Atlanta has a lot of black people and other minorities, and when it really comes down to it, they’re a bunch of pussies and don’t really want to go toe-to-toe with actual real life black people.

So they chose Newnan, a suburb nearly 40-50 miles south of Atlanta depending on where you decide to start or end.  Because it was close enough to Atlanta to draw the local media, but it was just far enough outside of the city to where they might be able to still attract country bigots and be far enough away from the blacks – or so they might have had second thoughts about, considering only like 25 people actually showed up.

I want to imagine that there were conversations about how Newnan wasn’t completely exactly like Charlottesville, and that Richmond and Atlanta, the two major cities they tried to troll, have a pretty big difference in number of scary black people in them.  And then be it through message boards or Facebook Live chat rooms or whatever means of communication the Neo-Nazis prefer using, they begin bickering and second-guessing each other about whether or not it’s a good idea to converge on Newnan or not.

After all, word of their gathering became news as soon as the very start of April, and three weeks is more than ample time for hostile counter-protestors to immobilize, organize and plan to meet them when they get there.

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