Thursday, June 09, 2016

The NBA Finals, Fixed? Kind Of.

Look, I know, there’s nothing worse than a bad conspiracy theory. For example, I know of actual real human beings who think that the United States Federal Government actually want to ‘take away’ all the guns, and their 2nd amendment rights with them. Think about that for a second, what would President Obama do, start driving around in a pickup and collect them all? It’s beyond asinine. Anyway, you probably know a few sloppy conspiracy theories yourself. You definitely have a friend or two that are into them, I know I do.

However! These NBA Finals, am I right?  I’m not saying they are fixed to a particular outcome, but I think it is perfectly reasonable to hypothesize that the league is trying to extend to a six or seven game series.

Why? That should be blatantly obvious, money. Imagine the difference in overall dollar revenue for the NBA between a four game sweep and a dramatic seven game series. A game seven alone must be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising revenue alone to the NBA. It is absolutely in their interest to ensure this series doesn’t slink off into the off-season off the back of a four to five game affair.

Imagine how easy it would be for the NBA to quietly instruct its referees to achieve this? So easy. Just over-officiate the home games in favor of the home teams, and very few will notice. The vocal home crowds will be baying for the calls anyway, and the TV audience doesn’t really get a say, apart from some fart like noises on the social networks.

We’re seeing exactly that in these finals, the zebras officiating heavily in favor of the home teams, and, I write this as someone who’s rooting for the Warriors and Curry.

Games one and two, LeBron and the Cavs were not only beaten to a pulp by Golden State, they were smothered heavily by the men in charge. Watching Twitter react to LeBron repeatedly being called for travelling was a treat. Watching LeBron react to being continuously called for travelling was the cherry on top. LeBron doesn’t get called for travelling, be it 5 steps or the 7 steps he was taking in games one and two. It wasn’t just that, everything even close to a 50/50 went Golden State’s way.
Then last night, in Cleveland, the mirror opposite happened. Curry, Thompson and crew couldn’t buy a call. The horrific moving pick that Mosgov set on Thompson should have been investigated by Cleveland Homicide, it was that bad, yet amazingly the zebras kept their whistles quiet. The entire game they called anything close in Cleveland’s favor.

Keep an eye on this on Friday during game four. If a lot of calls seem to go Cleveland’s way, well, don’t say I didn’t tell ya!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Would The Top DiCaprio Movies Be Better As Matt Damon Movies?

Say what you want about former ESPN writer Bill Simmons, but, he’s not afraid to make pretty outlandish claims. In a press release to highlight his forthcoming HBO series, Simmons said that, and I quote;

''I believe every DiCaprio movie would be just a little better as a Matt Damon movie.''

That’s a pretty astonishing comment right there, and for many, a little too crazy to even give pause for thought. I however have always enjoyed all three elements of this sentence. He's not everyone's cup of tea, but I'm still a Simmons fan. He's still an entertaining read. DiCaprio and Damon are two of my favorite actors, both definitely top 5, with ease. Therefore, Simmons’s seemingly bonkers suggestion still made me think, ‘Could he be right? Could the movies of Leonardo DiCaprio be better with Matt Damon in the leading role instead?

Well, let’s take DiCaprio’s ten biggest movies and find out! Naturally we’ll then flip it over and partake in the same exercise but with DiCaprio in Damon’s place, but for now, let’s focus on the DiCaprio question.

To the movies!

Number 10 – The Aviator

We’re off to a good start! The Aviator is a movie that you could conceivably argue might be better with Matt Damon in the lead role, instead of wily old Leo DiCaprio. This is by no means a slight in any shape or form on DiCaprio’s at times majestic performance, it’s more of a knock on us, the audience. The Aviator is loved by critics and put forth as a sample of DiCaprio’s greatest work. The audience, by and large, liked it, but didn’t love it. It’s a sweeping epic with great attention to period detail, and sometimes that just doesn’t resonate so well with the average cinema goer. What does Damon bring to a movie? One major element is a kind of lighthearted, guy next door ‘feel’ that in turn lightens the movie a little. The Aviator could have lightened up a little with Damon in the lead role. Again, I’m being careful here as DiCaprio was superb, but for the sake of this overall argument, let’s give this one to Damon on the basis he would have brought some levity to the project.

1-0 Matt Damon.

Number 9 – The Wolf Of Wall Street

Wumph. That’s the sound of Simmons’s hypothesis splatting into the ground from up on high. DiCaprio completely owned this role, and turned it into seventy billion memes that we can never un-see. DiCaprio very much made The Wolf his own, and it is unimaginable to place any other actor at all in this role.

1-1 tied.

Number 8 - Shutter Island

Wait, what? Shutter Island is DiCaprio’s eighth highest grossing movie? Seriously? Yes, it’s true. Hard to believe, indeed, but true. To understand that you just have to know that Shutter was Leo’s second highest grossing opening movie ever, yes, ahead of Titanic and just behind Inception. I think it’s safe to say there was not much going on the weekend Shutter opened, otherwise there’s no way to understand a $41 million opening box office for such a movie. Shutter is entirely joyless. It’s technically brilliant, and quite chilling, but there isn’t a single element of joyful type entertainment to be had within. Again I had to double check in astonishment that this was DiCaprio’s eighth highest all time box office entry. You can probably see where this is going. Damn right Damon might have had some impact towards the positive if magically placed in DiCaprio’s place herein. There’s no reason to say he couldn’t improve a little on the role, and perhaps bring a bit of toothy charm to the lead role. He would definitely have played the shock and surprise as it all unraveled. That’s something he does well. Let’s move on, but let’s all agree, Damon could have done something positive here.

2-1 Damon.

Number 7 – The Departed

Boom! That’s right, Damon as Billy Costigan, DiCaprio as Colin Sullivan. I am going to go ahead and call this one a potential win for Damon straight off the bat. There’s no doubt at all Damon could have pulled off Billy Costigan’s tormented good-guy. Imagine the look of shock on his face as Mark Wahlberg tore into him in Martin Sheen’s office? You would entirely believe Damon as Costigan, a conflicted good-guy undercover, trying to do right, while trying to prove to the bad guys he belonged. On the flip side, you could equally argue DiCaprio would have absolutely torn into the role of Colin Sullivan, and might have brought some extra menace to that character. That I believe is called a win-win situation. In this context, that’s another win for Damon.

3-1 Damon.

Number 6 – The Great Gatsby

There’s a moment in Gatsby where DiCaprio mutters ‘This, this is a terrible mistake’. Well, the critics agreed, and box office aside, Gatsby is viewed as something whilst not completely in the flop category, definitely in that general area. By very definition therefore, Damon might have done something positive here. You can’t argue with that considering the critical panning this flick got. There’s no reason to say Damon might not have put on the tux and brought something extra to Gatsby, elevating it higher than it’s very low current critical rating. Simmons is starting to look like he might have been on to something.

4-1 Damon.

Number 5 – Django Unchained

In short, no. Damon could not have bettered DiCaprio when it comes to Calvin Candie. There’s no argument to be made here, at all. DiCaprio in a landslide.

4-2 Damon

Number 4 – Catch Me If You Can

Central to the success of the brilliant, entertaining and most of all, heart wrenching, Catch Me is the relationship between Tom Hanks and DiCaprio. It matters. It just matters that Hanks both wants to capture DiCaprio and ‘fix’ him. The father figure like status Hanks has over DiCaprio in Catch Me is what makes it such a vital movie, it’s what gives it it’s pulse. Whilst Damon and Hanks could easily cook up some chemistry, as evidenced so easily in Saving Private Ryan, you’d have to go out on a very lengthy limb to suggest it would ultimately better the work that DiCaprio and Hanks did here. Sometimes you just can’t improve on something so fundamentally good.

4-3 Damon

Number 3 – The Revenant

Just, no. No. Not happening. Sure, Damon might have got a few more laughs out of the up-to-that-point terrified audience, but let’s face it, The Revenant is not about laughing or levity in any shape or form. The Revenant is a slap in the face of a movie, and DiCaprio nailed it. The bear incident, the horse incident, the overall struggle, no way in any shape or form Damon improves on DiCaprio’s Oscar winning outing. Looks like it’s going to be a tight finish, for Simmons’ hypothesis.

4-4 tie.

Number 2 – Inception

What did DiCaprio bring to Inception? He exuded this edgy, sweaty, vital tension to the role, pushing and driving to find his way home whilst literally haunted by ghosts and dreams, and indeed dreams of ghosts. It’s a psychologically gifted performance that’s as brilliant as it is unnerving. Damon in that role? Even the biggest Damon fan can’t go there with any authority. Sure, you might have rooted for Dom Cobb a little harder with Damon playing him, but that would have defeated the purpose. DiCaprio’s incarnation was always on the edge, both in the movie and for the audience. Damon in that role? Simply not the same.

5-4 DiCaprio takes a late lead.

Number 1 – Titanic

Ugh. I wonder if, when his God or his Gods come calling, as he passes away peacefully and happily amongst his family and friends, will Leo DiCaprio think to himself ‘I can’t frickin’ believe that was my most popular movie’? Perhaps he embraces it fully, but once you strip everything away, Titanic is a pretty basic movie about a big disaster. Take the big ass sinking ship out of the equation, and you have a pretty vanilla love story. I like Damon as a romantic. He does it well in The Adjustment Bureau with Emily Blunt, and I would suggest Damon could do something different with Jack and add a thing or two here and there to the character. There’s no reason to think this would be beyond his capability, particularly when it’s such a fundamentally threadbare movie.

5-5. A tie.

In summary, does this 5-5 tie come anywhere close to proving Simmons’ somewhat outrageous comment? Not really, no. Not really, for two reasons. First, Damon only barely got the nod for most of his 5 wins. DiCaprio absolutely annihilated the suggestion with most of his 5 wins. For example, going back to The Wolf, there’s no way Damon improves on that performance, in any imaginary scenario possible. So, the 5-5 tie is at best a precarious position for Damon.

The second reason? Simmons’ original hypothesis can only be fully fleshed out be visiting the same topic upon Damon’s movies. Could DiCaprio have made Damon’s top 10 movies ‘better’?

Stay tuned, we’ll find out together.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sunderland Pull Off Great Escape Version 4.0

It has been an astonishing comeback by Sunderland. I am in the top 5% optimistic people in the World but even I had resigned myself to Sunderland playing in relative anonymity in the Championship next year, and subsequently missing out on next season’s 100 million euro EPL extra payment bonanza.

Kone blasts home from close in to push Sunderland 2-0 up

The beautiful part of the Great Escape Version 4.0 was that it was done in style. Just a few tweaks, and Sunderland are suddenly a decent side again. A feisty, savvy and contextually aware manager in Big Sam. Four or five well judged signings and, everyone buying into the plan together. Manager, players and fans. The way the fans and players bought collectively into this was really uplifting and enjoyable.

Defoe gets all the attention with his incredibly clutch goals, but Kone, Khazri, Kirschoff and indeed Borini were all crucial to the Great Escape, and all look right at home in Sunderland.
Khazri is literally exactly the type of player Sunderland have been crying out for, for seemingly years and years. A playmaker, who can also score goals himself. An added bonus, he likes a tackle! Perfect for the North East.

Two other players in particular deserve a big shout out, first Vito Mannone, who has his reward with a call up to the Italian Euro Championship squad. Mannone was nothing short of superb these last 2 months, and it’s great to see the big man get his dues after patiently working hard in training and waiting for his chance. A big shout out also to DeAndre Yedlin, who has gone from looking lost in January, to being a huge, impact player by May. Once again the future looks bright for that young man.

You could see this escape coming in the last few weeks, as the crowd got more and more behind the players, who responded in kind with better and better outings.

The Great Escape version 4.0 was epitomized, to me, by a simple moment in the Chelsea game. With Sunderland up 3-2 and trying to play out the last 10 minutes, Borini chased down a Chelsea defender in possession, waving his arms to get the crowd loud again. They responded with a massive roar and Sunderland, led by the literally heroic Lee Cattemole, tore into Chelsea for the final ten like their lives depended on it.

Without totally losing my mind I want to suggest that Sunderland stayed up because a group of very well paid young man forgot their egos and wages for a moment and tapped into the incredible energy created by the massive, throbbing, roaring crowds at The Stadium Of Light, and played like their lives depended on it.

That, in this day of mercenary players and million dollar contracts, is pretty fucking cool.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Leicester City Cheated

Just so we’re all clear about this, Leicester City cheated to win the Premier League. 

''Think anybody will notice?''

It’s not up for debate either. In full context it’s glaringly obvious what they did. What’s not clear is why only a couple of publications are tackling this. I suspect it’s due to threats of litigation. 

However, yes, Leicester achieved Premier League glory by cheating. What level of cheating are we talking about here?

In short, Leicester are paying their group of players much more than they are bringing in as legitimate revenue. They are hiding this fact behind fake loans, fake sponsorship of advertising space they have already sold and other financial theatricality and deception. 

Again, none of this is up for debate. They aren’t even denying it. These are facts. 

Let this sink in for a second. Leicester flat out cheated to win the league, and basically no one, or at least very few people,  are calling them to task for this.

Digging a little deeper to illustrate, the Foxes shirts are sponsored by their owner's company (don’t you love where this is going already?!), but of course not directly. Instead, that company buys the sponsorship through a marketing company, with the end effect being increasing Leicester's sponsorship income significantly. The point of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules are that clubs should not be spending money they are not actually earning or creating themselves. The wheeling and dealing with the sponsorship alone increased Leicester's sponsorship revenues from £5.2 million to £16 million. This money directly built their current squad. 

All of this information is freely available in the public domain. There is nothing convoluted or tweaked to make Leicester look bad. This is what they did, they cheated the game in order to build a squad which could win the Premier League. Sure, they then went out and did the harder part, actually winning the thing, but they flat out cheated to put themselves in position to do same.

The Guardian had covered this extensively in this article however they, nor anyone else, has brought out much on this lately. Again, I would highly suspect this is due to the threat of litigation. Perhaps we’ll see more in the coming weeks, but for now, it is what it is.

The natural reaction to this is 'Well, everyone is doing it', and that's just false. The Premier League is in flux right now, open up to clubs like Leicester winning it, because of the very fact the clubs are adhering to FPP. With the exception of Leicester. Arsenal are a great example of a well run club that only spends what they legitimately bring in. Arsenal could easily manufacture the cash to bring in a couple more players to push them over the edge. However, they don't, and it comes back to bite them when their own fans turn on them. 

Personally I was brought up to root for the Under Dog, and I will do so most of the time. Not, however, when that dog cheats to win its prize. 

Leicester City cheated to win the Premier League.

Monday, April 25, 2016

On Brady, The NFL And Reaching A Tipping Point

Deflategate, am I right? You know, this has been building and building, and this, to me, could be the tipping point for the NFL and I. I have a strong feeling I am not alone in that sentiment. The simple question is, what’s the point, at this stage? The NFL has really become the theater of the absurd.

Where to start?

Greg Hardy walks free, free to play sports and make inappropriate jokes about other player’s wives. Peyton Manning has his two potentially serious alleged transgressions wiped under the carpet faster than you can say ‘Protect Pappa John’s meal-ticket’. Roger Goodell earns $40 million a year doing, well, what, exactly?

It's not just the tangible elements that outrage, it’s the overall context that the NFL is forcing on its fan-base at this point. They appear to be saying;

‘’Hey, NFL fan, look we’re building an enormous, billion zillion dollar empire and what we’d really like you to do, as a pawn in all of this, is root passionately for your team, sure, that’s a given, but most of all, can you empty your wallets for us? And, we mean, really empty those wallets. We want you to soak up every little thing we throw at you, and when we’re done, we’ll color it pink and ask you to buy it again. We’re going to allow several really nasty people to play in this sport, by the way, but don’t worry about that, they still produce a lot of cash so we know you’re going to be on board. Along the way we might punish a few guys completely disproportionately however you’ll understand, we can’t have anyone potentially unmasking this venture for what it is. A gigantic money grab with no soul anymore.’’

So now we’re supposed to be OK with the NFL banning a player for 4 games for allegedly knowing some other guys let a bit of air out of a ball, despite the fact Aaron Rodgers and the smaller, squeakier Manning have openly admitted to doing same and not being punished for it.

We’re supposed to be OK with this despite the fact this is clearly not about the incident and more about the power struggle around it?

I’m not OK with this, and the worst part for me, after being all fired up about this last season, this time round, I don’t even care. Have it your way, NFL, let the misogynists, women beaters and HGH cheaters play. Ban the guys who work their butts off and do incredible things in their community. Yeah, that makes sense, NFL. Let’s go with that.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Boo! The Negativity Around Red Sox Opening Day

I dropped about six followers on Twitter these last few days (probably another six or seven after this!), and looking at them I understand immediately why. I am an outspoken defender of Pablo Sandoval, and to a lesser extent, Hanley Ramirez too. I find their treatment among a large, angry, disrespectful and noisy group of Red Sox fans on the social networks to be at best ugly, at worst, disgusting. Yes, everyone loves a bit or sarcastic humor, sure. But, the sheer level of vitriol leveled at Sandoval and also Ramirez is, at this point, nauseating.

It really doesn’t matter who the players are involved here. My concern, for the psychological well-being of the people involved is, what on earth are you doing loudly booing a home team player on opening day? If you saw the footage of the Red Sox players being introduced to the home team crowd today, what stood out was a negative aspect. What stood out was thousands of buffoons booing Pablo Sandoval. A Red Sox player, a home team player.

Now, if a player was guilty of something bad, I would understand to some extent. Harming another human, cheating at his sport, something along those lines, sure, knock yourself out, boo away to your little heart’s content. But Sandoval is guilty of nothing of the sort. He’s a bit overweight, and he isn’t performing to the levels we would expect for a player on his salary.  That’s the crux of it. If you are a Red Sox fan, one would assume you want your team to do well. Part of that would surely be supporting players in a slump to do better, right? Is booing going to fix anything? Is your ugly, negative projection on to this player going to do anything positive at all?

I have so many questions for these people, those who stand up at a home opener and lustily boo a home town player.

What’s wrong in your life that you have to boo loudly a home player on opening day?  I hate to go there but, are you taking your own over-eating and weight issues out on someone who is earning more than you, but suffering the same issues physically? That’s one thing I’d like to ask some of the overweight people I saw on twitter, Facebook and also from the feed of the home opener, booing Sandoval. Sure, you’re not paid millions, and I am guessing that’s at least of part of where your anger comes from, but really I am curious, what do you think the Booing is going to achieve?

Of course, it’s never going to end. Some lurk is always going to boo. It happens everywhere, in every sport. It is undeniably louder than it used be, however. This angry, negative behavior is a snapshot of our current state of society, where someone as ugly as Trump can come to the fore, riding a wave of tangible anger right to the top.

Make no mistake, fellow Boston fans, supporters of other teams are watching us and mocking us for this behavior. It’s getting louder and louder, and, it’s a really ugly look for a fan-base. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Thirty Years Of Star Wars And Here We Go Again

This will give you an idea how old you had to be to go to the original Cinema showings of the first Star Wars. I was looking for pictures of the Forum Cinema, in Dun Laoghaire, now closed down, and most of the returned images in Google were in black and white. I am not kidding. Look for yourself.

It didn't look like much from the outside, but the Forum Cinema was gorgeous on the inside.
Understanding why Star Wars means to much to people my age is simple really. We just didn’t stand a chance. There was nothing like it back then, it blew the lid off for my age group, starting with Star Wars, all the way through Empire and on to Return. It is no exaggeration to say that Star Wars, and the subsequent sequels, acted as a background narrative to many of my peers and I in the 70s and 80s. The simple tale of good versus evil resonated for a variety of reasons and dragged us with it through the years, through the mixed-bag second batch of movies and all the way through to today and the JJ Abrams re-boot.

There’s was just nothing like it.

I want to talk a little about actually physically going to see the trilogy, but first, how it manifested itself through my life. I know many of you my age will nod and hopefully smile at some of the references.

I’m going to be honest, I don’t remember much about Star Wars before actually going to it. I don’t remember the hype. However, I do remember the day I went, as clear as if it was yesterday. Well, two weeks ago, maybe. I also remember various little moments through my youth that all came from the Star Wars experience.

The vociferous argument with my parents around my communion name. I wanted Luke. For obvious enough reasons. I was vetoed. I remember where I was standing as I moaned ‘You never let me do anything!’. 

''Mum, Dad, I'm going to school''

I remember coming down the stairs at home, dressed up as a Rebel soldier on Hoth for a school Halloween party. The outfit was lovingly put together using anything and everything I could get my hands on, but as I stood in front of the mirror in my room, about to go down stairs, I steeled myself for the inevitable ribbing from my family, or, worse, apathy. To this day I remember which step of the stairs I was on when my Dad looked at me, shrugged, and said, ‘’You know what, I actually know what look you’re going for, and that’s not bad.’’

The action figures. Who my age hasn’t thought to themselves ‘Why didn’t I leave just one or two of them in their box?! Why?!’ If you had the foresight to keep a few of those figures in their original packaging, I salute you. You are most likely either very rich, or about to be very rich. Those things go for thousands, each!

Why?! Why didn't I buy ten of them and leave them unwrapped?!

I got one pound pocket money, and I saved basically only for Star Wars figures. I can picture myself as clear as day standing in front of the packages in one of the few stores that sold them in Dun Laoghaire, 2-3 weeks’ pocket money saved in my clammy hand, trying to figure out what figure to get this time. Princess Lea on Hoth? Chewie? Han Solo, in any number of cool outfits (if you don’t think Han Solo is cool, you may as well stop reading now, in fact I am astonished you got this far).

I remember one day after school standing beside my poor mother as she made dinner, giving her a long, detailed explanation of why X-Wings, and all the other craft in the Star Wars galaxy, look so old, worn and beaten up. Realism. Yes, I was evangelizing the merits of realism in the craft design of Star Wars, to my mother, as she made dinner. She gave me some money to go buy something she didn’t need, but I bounded down the street happy that I had clearly recruited another believer.

Have I ever tried to move something using The Force? Yes, I have, and no doubt a few of you have also. Pencils, rulers, that kind of thing, while day dreaming in class Yes, I did that. Sure.

Star Wars formed a background to much of what my friends and I did way back when. Aaron Wilson (I wonder where he is now…) had pretty much all the toys, including a majestic, enormous AT-AT, and if you were invited to his house you got there early to make sure you got in on the action early. The figures, any other merchandise, they were all high value currency. We occasionally traded figures and other bits but generally you just horded what you had and treasured it as if it were solid gold.

The Star Wars universe found its way into everything else, for us, back then. I remember when we first started playing Dungeons and Dragons, my first few characters were all based on someone you might hear about in the Star Wars world. Jed Jorfu was one of my favourite creations. Used that one a few times.

Star Wars was always there, hovering over us, binding my friends and I together. We were not what you would class as super obsessed, we didn’t join any of the uniform groups (at least not that I know of), there were no Rebel Alliance tattoos (yet) and none of us successfully had our names changed to Luke, Han or Lando (kudos to my friend Paul for naming one of his sons Luke). However, Star Wars was an incredibly profound constant in our lives.

In our minds we were always on Tatooine, staring up at the moons (yes, plural), dreaming of fighting the evil Empire, and falling in love with Princess Lea. Apart from Barry Colleary, he wanted to fight for the Empire. I guess the uniforms got to him.

It all started and ended though, with those first viewings. The first time we snuck off to the cinema and saw the original three movies. In my case it was literally snuck, as my parents barred me from seeing it, fearing it was violent escapism. I remember the walk to the cinema, with Barry, who was about to be sucked into the glory of the Empire and their fancy outfits, and Roghan Kinlay, a free spirit about as close to a real life Luke Skywalker as I would ever meet. We walked down from Barry’s house, with Barry clutching a 5 pound note that his Dad had given him to buy our snacks with. This 5 pounds ensured we could buy anything we wanted. I had two sodas, a bag of popcorn and a big red box of malteesers. The guys got similar, and we still got change. Maybe it is a statement of how bad other movies were at the time, but when the big red velvet curtains pulled back and the music blared and that opening, shining, golden text rolled down the screen, we sat with our jaws dropped down to our knees, having never seen or heard anything like this before.

The movie itself was a rolling, pounding, thrilling and indeed romantic ride. We were hooked and we wanted more. The wait for Empire was painful, but I remember sitting back in the seat in the same cinema, a couple of years later, thinking, ‘’Well, here we go again, God I hope Luke and Lea get together properly, enough with this messing around!’’

You can imagine my face after that was over.

Empire led to Return, at which point I was finally growing up and building a pretty strong sense of skepticism. Return still resonated, and the ending, although a little clumsy, let’s face it, still felt like closure. I even excused Return for those stupid Ewoks. Who cares, Speeder Bikes!

Is there any point in mentioning the second batch of movies? Let’s just forget those, other than, I enjoyed the second two, and saw the third one a couple of times, including one time after a morning Irish World cup match where I’d had a couple of drinks, and went to a 2 pm showing. I fell asleep in the cinema and was woken by an attendant, cycled home, found out I was locked out, and fell asleep in the front garden, until my roommate came home, woke me up and brought me inside. That’s probably my strongest memory of that batch.

And with that, here we go again.

Look, I know, it’s probably best not to get too attached to a Science Fiction movie. I get that. And, I do draw the line. Like I said, I haven’t enlisted in a fake Rebel Alliance costume group (although I did research them, a few years ago). That said, going to see the Force Awakens is a pretty damn big deal for my peers and I.

Having read the above, it should be pretty clear why.

May the Force be with you.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

A Day In The Life Of Atlanta Radio Host Mike Bell

Mike Bell is the Atlanta area radio jock who, last night, made several derogatory comments on Twitter about 2 time Olympic Medalist and ESPN baseball commentator, Jessica Mendoza. He has since been suspended from his job for 2 weeks, and has issued an apologetic statement.

Why do we bring this up? Well, this blog is delighted to exclusively reveal a page from his daily diary, just for you!

The greatest country in the World - unless you consider how deeply embedded sexism is in its sports. But hey, whatever.

Whilst the timing of this diary excerpt is perhaps manufactured somewhat, the content is 100% accurate. The details are all actual things. In many cases, I wish I was making them up, however, they are all real.

7:00 am - What you got, Thursday?! Start the day with some Lucky Charms and the highlights from last night's game. By game I mean, last night's Lingerie football. That's right, Im'ma start my day with some women in lingerie playing football. Depressing? Bite your tongue no! This is America, this is wonderful. I am eating cereal in my boxers watching scantily clad women embarrass themselves on National TV because I can.

7:27 am - So this is great, I'm reading some article about something serious on the CBS website, and, you know those little click-bait 'articles' down at the bottom of the page, well there's a picture of a babe in a bikini and the article is titled;  Most NFL Players have Hot Wives - Here are the top 27. It's a slideshow! Bingo! This is going to be a great 7 minutes.

7:34 am - Better do some research for today's show. Where to start. How about one of the most popular sports sites in the USA, Barstool Sports? The great thing about BS is that they have sports, sure, but they also have a quick-link to their 'Girls' area. This is home to 'Smokeshow of the day', basically a daily woman, normally in little or no clothing. 'Guess that underboob' is a fun recurring article but my favorite is 'Guess that ass'. You just aren't living if you're not staring at a part of a woman's body trying to figure out who owns it. On a sports website. That's advertised on many mainstream sites, and is very popular among young American men. BS is just the best! Actual 'articles' about women use any picture of that woman in next to nothing. The comments section on these 'articles' are the really great part. If you want to take a little peek into the empty, darkest areas of the human race, checkout the comments section on a Barstool 'article'. Barstool Sports, molding the minds of our brightest and finest!

10:00 am - Slow day at work. We're running a competition where the prize is an NFL jersey of a prominent player. We talked about it for a while in the office and came up with the following list of awesome NFL players, being paid to play football right now as we speak.

Ray McDonald and Chris Cook, Tony McDaniel and Kevin Williams, Brandon Marshall and Santonio Holmes, Greg Hardy, Dez Bryant, Erik Walden , Donte Whitner, Randy Starks and Frostee Rucker (oddly enough, these guys have all been arrested for domestic violence or related charges since 2005).

I have the deciding vote, and I select Greg Hardy. You might remember Hardy from the 2 month long NFL investigation that found that there was "sufficient credible evidence" that Hardy had engaged in conduct which "violated NFL policies in multiple respects and with aggravating circumstances." The league's investigation had concluded that Hardy used physical force in at least four instances, including placing his hands around the victim's neck with enough pressure to leave visible marks.

He's playing for the Dallas Cowboys this weekend. He's being paid by them to play football, and represent them on National TV.

12:00 pm - Lunch time! Where better to have my lunch than your local Hooters. The same Hooters that's advertised on prime time shows, complete with those ladies walking around in skin-tight outfits. America truly is the greatest country in the World, where else can you drool over your chicken wings while you simultaneously drool over a college student in extremely sexist clothing who has to be nice to you so you give her a decent tip, as she's only being paid minimum wage by the restaurant, who are making millions annually because cretins like you enjoy the demeaning act of being waited on by women in idiotic costumes. Makes you feel like a Big Man. Yeah, gimme those chicken wings, baby, and make sure you smile at me while you do it. Hooters!! It's a real thing! I'm not making it up. It's a real thing.

2:00 pm - Back to work. Well, when I say work, I mean Googling the words 'NFL Cheerleader'. By accident I press 'web' instead of 'images' after typing those words in, and I end up wanting to scratch my own eye out after reading this overly PC article by some stuffy clown!

NFL cheerleading? Nothing short of sexist.

The constant battering ram of 'Hottest cheerleader!' slide shows on the openly sexist, rape-cajoling 'sports' websites aimed at American youth is mind bendingly disturbing. If you are in doubt that NFL cheerleading is sexist, just do yourself a favour. Do some due-diligence and have a little look at how NFL cheerleaders are presented to us by sports websites. Sports Illustrated take the stoic approach, their Hugh Heffner like styling is pathetic but, mostly, at least not overtly pornographic or aggressive. 

Onto the 'harder' stuff. Have a look at the following if you think NFL cheerleading isn't a pursuit hijacked by sexism in the USA. Websites cajole us to marvel at their own slideshow of the NFL's 'hottest' cheerleader. It's absolute stone cold sexism and it has become so embedded in US society that we don't even see it for what it is any more.

I hate myself and I want to die! I wanted to see NFL cheerleaders in demeaning costumes, I didn't want a lecture! 

4:00 pm - Like I said, slow day. Some chick at work accuses the sports sites in America of being sexist. She challenges us that we can't get 10 clicks into any of the top 10 US sports websites without seeing something sexist. No way! Just to shut Tits McGee up we accept the challenge.

  1. Yahoo sports - 1 click, Front page.  A link to the 'hottest female cosplay costumes'.
  2. ESPN - 10 clicks, nothing sexist! 
  3. Bleacher Report - I am as shocked as you are. 10 clicks, and, nothing! 
  4. CBS sports - 2 clicks. Extremely sexist click-bait articles in a major article.
  5. Sports Illustrated - 1 click. Front page. Lots of boobies here! Awesome!
  6. NBC Sports - 10 clicks, nothing at all. Clean as a whistle.
  7. SB Nation - 7 clicks, took a while, but we found some cheesecake after 7 clicks.
  8. Fox Sports - 10 clicks, and, what the hell, nothing?! I am as stunned as you.
  9. Rant Sports - 4 clicks, standard sexist click-bait articles. 
  10. Deadspin - 10 clicks, and nothing. Whatever.

5:00 pm - Yawn. Really, just a slow day here in the heart of the USA. Time to go home, but Im'ma gonna stop at Hooters and ogle some more women in tight clothing serving me beer, before hitting the sofa to watch some Lingerie Football, and I'll end my night surfing NFL cheerleader slide shows on any one of our great American sports websites. Because this is America. The greatest country in the World.

Not demeaning at all. Gosh, no.

Ireland Croatia

Ireland Croatia
The Irish Team in Croatia 2000

Heroes and villains on Fox Sports

Heroes and villains on Fox Sports

'I didn't know..' gets a mention on Fox Sports


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