Dad Brog (#122): the endlessly scary world we live in

I got an email from my kids’ preschool, stating that due to current events happening in Israel, the school would be taking measures to increase the presence of security on site.  You see, my children attend a preschool at a Jewish temple, not because we have any modicum of interest in religion, but solely based on the fact that it’s a well-rated preschool with a proven track record of taking fantastic care of children.

Sure enough, the next time I had the opportunity to drop the girls off myself, there were extra security vehicles in the parking lot, and although I knew this was coming, it still pained me to the heart to see the entire temple feel the need for increased security due to happenings halfway across the planet.

Don’t get me wrong, I know Jews have had perhaps the rawest deal in human history.  I’ve been doing a little side project which basically entails reading up on the events and happenings of every single date, and I’m not kidding when I can say that sparingly, does a day go by, where at some point in history, I don’t come across an event there weren’t a number of Jewish people who were killed, primarily just for the fact that they were Jewish.  And I’m not talking about just World War II, all throughout history, basically since the Judaism was invented, at some point in time on every single day, Jews have been persecuted and/or killed just for being Jewish.

But back to my tiny little world here, it’s absolutely mortifying to think that there would be people so radicalized, so hateful or so just plain misguided, that they’d take action against a freaking preschool, full of children ranging from ages 1-5.  A bunch of kids who are all yet still so pure and innocent and don’t even understand that horrific things are happening in Israel.  Not that anyone is deserving of being attacked with the intention to kill, especially these kids should not be targeted and I’m not just saying it because my kids are also students there.  They’re all just kids, and it takes a real sick fuck to go after them.

It’s just really, really scary to think that my kids’ school even feels the need to shore up their security, and I don’t blame them at all.  It wasn’t even a year ago where another Jewish temple not that far from where I am, had bigots demonstrating right outside their property, brandishing actual Nazi swastikas, with absolutely no fear of doing so without needing to protect their identities.  I know the Jewish community has had it bad historically, and I don’t question one bit when they feel the need to beef up.

I don’t follow the news because my plate is always so full without the feeling of needing to be up-to-date in current events, not to mention that the news is always just so god damn depressing as it is, that I don’t want to hear of such shit in my life, so I’m actually quite uneducated on the specifics on what’s happening out in Israel.  But from what bits and pieces I hear from my friends’ groups chatter, it doesn’t really seem more of anything outside the ordinary from how Jews have had it historically, which is, always a sad thing to hear.  And it’s absolutely frightening to think that it’s why my kids’ school thousands of miles and a continent away, still feels concerned about their safety.  😞

Straight up Nazis

Over the weekend, I gave blood.  Little did I realize that the bloodmobile I was giving blood at, was like a block away from where there was a straight up Nazi demonstration in front of a synagogue.

Like, I don’t really have much reason to posted about this at all, other than to condemn and hope that some very internet-ty consequences come to those straight up Nazis who participated in this demonstration.  I guess there’s a proximity thing that makes me feel like I dodged some sort of metaphorical bullet that makes me feel like addressing it.

But really, straight up Nazis.  I firmly believe that there are tons of actual racists and antisemites, but most of these bigots are smart enough to know to keep their bigotry on the downlow, so that they can, exist in modern civilized society, and not be ostracized for their misguided hatred.

However, what we had here, was an actual group of people, who were unapologetically, full disclosure, no attempt to hide their identity, straight up Nazis.  I’m actually a little bit surprised at it, because even the oft-criticized American public school curriculum teaches us that Nazis are some bad people.

And yet, we have a group of people who are completely at peace with their choice to be sympathizers and willing agitators of such extreme hatred, and I’m just kind of like wow.

Also, there’s an easy connection to make with where this happened and the old controversy of Wolfenstein Elementary AKA East Side Elementary and their once, a-little-too-much-like-the-Nazi-eagle logo, but from what I understand this group is like a traveling group of Nazis that just kind of go around to harass synagogues with their surprising Nazism.

Either way, like I said, I don’t really know why I felt the compulsion to write about this.  I guess it was so flagrant and surprisingly shock value, that I just felt like I should share my two cents about the topic.  Obviously there’s something to be said about even acknowledging it at all which isn’t really helping the greater good, but like I said, with all the open identities there, I hope these shitheads are spread out, identified, and get doxed or lose some jobs, because people like this have no business being able to coexist among more civilized people in this country.

Never thought I’d ever see NBA Champion Denver Nuggets

Originally, when I thought about writing about the Denver Nuggets, it was contingent that they actually won the NBA Championship before anything would be written about them.  I was going to write about being a millennial and seeing the strange sensation of seeing certain teams in major sports break through the wall of success and win a championship. 

But the more I did some cursory research on the history books, at least as far as being a millennial goes, MLB and the NFL doesn’t have nearly the parity as the NBA has had throughout, at least my lifetime.  Which is really strange to say about the NBA having parity, considering the seeming dynasties that have run rampant throughout my own lifetime, with the Bulls, Lakers, Spurs and Warriors all winning a ton of championships, but at the same time, the NBA has had more teams squirt through the cracks of history and win a championship, and break streaks of franchises to never be champions before.

Growing up, the NBA really was my first love as far as sports fandom went.  I was a big Knicks fan, but also a supporter of the Washington Bullets, and whenever the Knicks were bounced by the Chicago Bulls, I’d typically prefer to see them win over whoever emerged from the West.

That being said, during my own upbringing as an NBA fan, there were always certain teams that were always the doormats and/or the laughing stocks of the NBA.  The teams we never, ever wanted to play in a video game, the teams we always went ballistic whenever our favorite teams ever lost to them, if it ever happened, and the teams that were always forgotten about whenever talking about the league in general.

During this time, some of those teams were the Warriors, the Bucks, the Mavs, Cavs and of course, the Denver Nuggets.  Sure, at various points, some of those teams had some fairly successful seasons as far as win percentages go, but they were still never serious threats to win championships, usually being fodder for the Bulls, Lakers, Pistons and the Rockets.

I remember how weird it seemed when the Spurs broke through the glass ceiling and won their first championship.  I was resentful because I was a Knicks fan, and I chalked up the Spurs’ win to being a lockout shortened year, and how it shouldn’t really count.  But then they’d go on to win several more championships over the next decade, and truly cementing themselves as one of the all-time great teams.

The same could be said of when the Miami Heat broke into the upper echelon, even before LeBron James took his talents to South Beach and won two more championships, and the same was said when the Golden State Warriors not only reached the top of the mountain, they built a house on top of it, winning four championships and basically living in the NBA Finals for the better part of a decade.

However, aside from the teams that grew into dynasties, regardless of my casual, and only during the playoffs interest in the NBA, I’m always fascinated by the teams that sneak out a championship, seemingly, to me, out of nowhere.  Especially when they’re one of the teams that I grew up thinking would never, ever, in a million years, see a championship ascension, regardless that on a long enough timeline, everyone eventually has to win one of these days.

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Yet another losing faith in humanity scenarios

In one of my friends group chats, one of my bros posted a picture of himself with a book, attempting to be funny; it’s okay because he’s black obviously.  Now of course there’s a part of me that did think it was funny, but more than that, I had more questions than I thought it was amusing the whole irony of black guy perusing book with inflammatorily racist title.  Namely, the curiosity on if it really were a book with 328 pages with nothing but the N-word in it, or if it were just an attention-grabbing title, with the contents of the book actually being something substantial.

Nope, it was the exact polar opposite in the sense that it actually had absolutely nothing at all inside of it, as in zero text whatsoever, between the header and footer of every page.  And according to Amazon, it’s not even actually 328 pages, so it’s more like 242 blank sheets of paper sandwiched into a book form, and it’s somehow $14.99 on Amazon, and shocking to absolutely nobody is that it’s been purchased enough to have a slew of verified purchasing reviewers doing their best jobs of being internet comics and failing predictably with “reviews” of it.

All the same, what we have here is another classic example of people out there in the world who knowingly put out means for people to spend actual currency that are useless, pointless, known wastes of said currency; and then to no surprise, people go out and actually do it, because they think it’s funny and/or they really are that stupid to where they’re completely at ease with dumping their cash for goods or services that serve no purpose whatsoever, instead of, possibly putting it to any good use at all.  Not for themselves, not for charity, not for anyone at all, but basically the equivalent of knowingly setting their own personal cash on fire.

It’s like the idiots who raised $50,000+ for some clown’s GoFundMe trying to make a potato salad, or that time where Cards Against Humanity had a live-streaming sale where people paid in real-time to keep an excavator operating digging holes for absolutely no reason, or when Cards Against Humanity literally sold nothing for $5 a pop and still raised tons of money.

People just, love to throw their money away, when they think in doing so, they’re in on some clever joke.  And it’s instances like this where it’s apparent that some people have too much money or too little intelligence or both, and it just turns into scenarios where the end result is just a nihilistic feeling of disappointment and losing faith in the species to where people would rather spend $5 on nothing than putting it to absolutely any form of productivity instead.

I know this is rich coming from a person who has spend an inordinate amount of money on replica wrestling belts, but at least those purchases are going to businesses or individuals, or parties where amassing money is some sort of objective, and not knowingly throwing it into a barrel fire.

And here’s the worst part; while looking up the particular book, just to get my facts straight, it turns out that it’s not alone.  I wish I could say I were surprised by this, but of course I’m not surprised, that there are basically two other alternatives, with one of them literally changing out one word and adding “Fun” into it, while the other is just fewer alleged pages.  And that’s just on Amazon alone, I can only imagine how many other copycat “publications” of this same title are floating out there.

Naturally, people are buying them, and aside from disgust, I’m also a little envious in the fact that these clowns are also getting a cut of the purchases of their bad jokes, while I’m struggling to make ends meet every single month and always looking for ways to try and make some extra money in order to have some breathing room.  I can’t say that I wouldn’t be above trying to capitalize on bullshit to make money, but there’d probably be a part of me that wouldn’t want to be a flagrant hypocrite in order to try it out.

Dad Brog (#111): An offense so grand

The nightly routine goes as follows: 6:30pm, it’s upstairs for bath time.  Then comes the night routine of lotions and pajamas, and then it’s story time and then bed time for both the girls.

Tonight however, things took a turn for the explosive worst, when the pajamas I selected for #1 were the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings pajamas that mythical wife picked up on clearance because my kids are toddlers and girls have a way easier time getting away with wearing boys-designated clothing than the other way around.

When she saw the pajamas that I was about to put on her, I might as well have declared war on the Jews, bombed Pearl Harbor, and released the Bubonic plague all at the same time.  She went absolutely ballistic and outright refused to wear the pajamas.  I tried to coax them onto her, and was met with a fucking Liu Kang bicycle kick for my troubles. 

I did eventually get them onto her, hoping that she’d chill out and resign to the clothes that she would just be sleeping in, and changing out of in the morning, but no, it was screaming and snot and tears and waterworks, and I’m trying my hardest not to die laughing over the fact that it was just a pair of fucking Shang-Chi pajamas that was triggering this meltdown.

Eventually, it became apparent that she wasn’t going to lose this argument.  We went into her room for story time and lights out and the meltdown was still on.  And because my house is kept cold through the night, I didn’t want her to strip down as soon as I left the room, so I acquiesced and changed her pajamas to something that wasn’t as offensive as screaming the N-word at the top of my lungs in College Park.

Lesson learned today: #1 most definitely isn’t a fan of Shang-Chi.  Better avoid that one when eventually going through the Marvel movies timeline in the future.

A billion-dollar arena in Forsyth County LOL

The skinny: Forsyth County, Tennessee Georgia plans to build a mixed-use commercial zone anchored by an arena with low-key hopes of potentially luring an NHL squad back to Georgia in the event of a future expansion

It’s bad enough that Atlanta went through this crazy, stadium-happy building spree throughout the last decade that saw the Braves and Falcons both get new homes, Atlanta United getting a new training facility, and the Hawks’ developmental team getting a new arena, it looks like the bug managed to bite someone with influence way the fuck up north of the city up in Forsyth County, who now wants to build their version of The Battery, up in probably Cumming.

In all fairness, as much as I loathed the way the Braves swindled the state into getting The Battery, I do admit that The Battery is really a fine place.  It’s the polar opposite of what Turner Field and surrounding area was, with a bustling mini-town right outside the ballpark, full of bars, restaurants, shopping, hotels, social venues and a movie theater.  I’ve still never paid a dime of my own money to park there or go to a Braves game yet, but the Braves do make up a notable chunk of the taxes I pay on the regular.

The Battery works, because beyond all of its positive attributes, the location is primo, being easily accessible from all cardinal directions on the highways via I-75 or I-285.  Obviously pending traffic conditions, but the point is, The Battery is accessible.

Such cannot be said about a potential Battery clone up in Forsyth County, because Forsyth County is practically Tennessee, and is about as relatable to the Metro Atlanta area as people in Fredericksburg claiming to be in Northern Virginia, or people who live in New Jersey claiming to live in New York.  Even if this Battery clone were actually the Battery, plucked up out of the ground and plopped into Cumming like it were Sim City, it would still fail colossally, because Forsyth County just isn’t accessible.

Forsyth County is almost literally solely accessible from one direction – from the south.  Drivers, because fuck if there’s going to be any sort of rail access, literally have to drive on GA-400 until it officially ends, and is just US-19, and ride up some country-ass roads until they get to Cumming.  Which is kind of smack dab in between I-575 and I-985, and not really easily accessible from either from lateral directions.

The idea that a Battery in Forsyth would actually succeed on its own, much less actually attract a professional sports franchise is absolutely hilarious.  The county is as red as the planet Mars, and the Klan still operates all throughout the hills and mountains shortly in north of the county.  Yeah, I’m sure hockey fans, much less more sane people from Alpharetta, Gainesville, Flowery Branch or Canton are going to trek into Forsyth County to spend their money when there are way more logical and closer options available to them.

But hey, if Forsyth County wants to bilk a billion dollars from their taxpayers, more power to them.  For once, it would be nice to know that some other county will be seen as the schmucks to get taken advantage for a really, really bad idea for a change.  I’d say I’d feel bad if and when there’s an NHL expansion in the future, and Forsyth County is turned down, because Georgia’s already had their shot at the NHL, and those of us who lived here when the Thrashers were here, saw just how well that debacle turned out.

Beef: Great show, hits a little too hard for me

When I saw a trailer for Netflix’s Beef, I didn’t know much else about the plot other than the fact that the general introduction to the plot was two people having a chance road rage encounter, and it supposedly escalating to comedic hijinks.  But now that I’m finished with the show, yes, the general boiled down plot of it does remain similar to the early perception of what the show could’ve been, but it was also way more complex, way more substantial, way more important for Asian representation on camera, and most notably, way more relatable to Asians, to admittedly uncomfortable levels at times.

Don’t get me wrong, as a whole, I loved Beef.  It was a fantastic show.  But at the same time, it dove into some topics and had dialogue and situations where it kind of mind-fucked me at just how targeted this felt, beyond the fact that the male lead’s name is Danny and he’s Korean, but obviously I know I’m far from the only person much less Asian person who probably deals with a lot of these thoughts, emotions and struggles to where a plot like this can probably impact a lot of people out there.

Aside from the praise for the strong writing and the strong performing of all actors in the show, one thing that I appreciated the most about the show is just how casually but impactfully demolishes the door of Asian stereotypes in film and television, on a global basis.  Koreans in media in both Korea and America are often set to a lot of unwritten rules and guidelines, like when it comes to physical intimacy, sex and dialogue.  When I was growing up and seeing Korean shows or dramas that my mom or grandma would watch, and seeing any sort of meaningful relationships much less physical intimacy just didn’t happen.

As countless American articles have called out, Asian representation in American media is even worse, and Asian men get it the worst, being emasculated left and right, causing generations of Americans to see Asian men as a bunch of auto-cuckold wimps by default.

Beef just goes on like none of the old rules or bars ever existed, and it’s a breath of fresh air to see people, regardless of race, acting like the people of today would conduct themselves.  Danny is allowed to be emotional, introspective and have flaws.  Amy is allowed to be a breadwinner, the alpha in her marriage and stand up to men fearlessly.  Paul is allowed to be sexy and naïve, and I’m glad to see him fight the good fight to hopefully paint Korean men as anything other than either overweight comic sidekick, or a plastic-molded K-pop boy band member.

AND THERE’S FUCKING SEX in the show, involving Asian people, and it’s not like a sensual love making scene to IU singing in the background.  It’s emotional and raw and actual fucking like you’d see in real American media between non-Asian people.  I’m not writing this fact to try and be funny and make this post memorable or anything, it’s that such occurrences really are so rare, that I feel the need to really hammer it out and make sure it’s known.

And in spite of all the heavy swings the show does to break a lot of molds of Asian representation, the show still takes plenty of time to really tell the stories of the Asian sides of all the characters.  The importance of church to Korean-Americans.  The fetishization of Japanese culture when it comes to affluent white people.  And the sheer lack of communication between generations of Asian children with their own parents, which is an unfortunate trope that just about every second-generation Asian child deals with, with their respective parents.

I really enjoyed Beef as a whole.  But I’d be remiss to ignore the fact that on multiple occasions, I found the show really kind of difficult watch and digest at times, just because of the sheer relatability I felt with it.  It was like getting emotionally mind-fucked a few times, and I really wonder if any of my non-Asian friends and extended family that might watch it, will feel the same way I did when watching it.

I’m amazed I managed to write a post about this without resorting to any spoilers, but for what it’s worth to the zero people that read my swill, Beef is something that I highly recommend if you’re in the mood for a dark comedy that relies heavily on dialogue, but is full of substance, humor, and thought-provoking situations.