The Professional Troll Versus The Cowardly Lion

From Album 6

OK, one less freak for tonight’s train wreck, assuming neither side backs down or blinks…aw…and here’s hoping the hissy fit continues. If your enemy is sinking, throw them an anvil.

Meanwhile, the GOP base continues to demonstrate that a generation’s worth of boorish rhetoric/propaganda produces…a generation that believes in boorish rhetoric and propaganda. A base that actually believes a peanut gallery clown like the Trump Troll possesses “testicular fortitude.” To cite a technical term, that’s, um, fucked up, dude.

More seriously, while difficult to imagine, think about what sort of reaction we’d see, especially from the corporate media if the situation were reversed. What if a Democratic Candidate who’s only experience was some form of celebrity managed to bully their way to at least a plurality of support heading into a national presidential election? Crazy/completely nuts would be the most charitable description…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Nightfall

David Goodis was an underrated purveyor of hard boiled crime fiction in the 1940’s and 1950’s. His best-known novel, Dark Passage,was turned into a movie starring Bogie, Bacall, and Agnes Moorehead. Agnes walks away with the movie: it’s grand fucking larceny.

In many ways, Nightfall is a better book and movie adaptation than Dark Passage. Let’s begin with the original paperback and hard cover editions side-by-side:

Nightfall_Covers

If you’ve never seen the 1957 movie, seek it out immediately. It was directed by Jacques Tourneur of Cat People and Out of the Past fame. The cast is excellent and the movie is chock-full-o-thrills:

Nightfall-poster

Here’s the trailer:

Blake Griffin Gets Testy With Trainer Named Testi

I’m neither a sports reporter nor a L.A. Clippers fan: I’ll leave that to Billy Crystal. Clippers star and mega-asshole Blake Griffin had a barroom altercation with the team’s Equipment manager, Matias Testi. Nice name, dude. His surname, in fact, is the whole reason for this post.

I realize that Testi is not the trainer but that scans so much better. I guess that makes me a tabloid blogger for the day. I can live with that: I am the Pulp Fiction guy, after all. Plus, I was a fan of the badass Madden/Stabler Oakland Raiders as a kid. This sort of thing happened all the time then. Beats the hell out of a sports money story any day.

That is all.

Tweets Of The Week: Mopping Up Edition

Yeah, that’s right, tweets. Plural. An alternate title for the post could be Chris Christie meets Krewe du Vieux. We begin with the funniest response tweeted about Governor Asshole’s mop gaffe:

Even Governor Kramden realized he’d gone too far and issued a pro forma apology. He did, however, prove that he’s a bigger dickhead than David Vitter, which is saying a great deal.

Speaking of dickheads, it’s time to mop up Krewe du Vieux season. My old pal and ex-work wife Liprap is a member of the sub-krewe Seeds of Decline. She tweeted out some awesome pre-parade pictures of KdV floats many of which are satirically phallocentric. We begin with two rather tumescent floats, one of which deals with the monuments controversy but transforms the Robert E. Lee statue into Mayor Landrieu’s, uh, column:

One of my favorite KdV peeps is the Captain of Comatose, Lee Mullikin. His krewe’s theme was Mitch & Marlin Make A Porno. The M and M in question are our Mayor and Sheriff. They loathe, despise, and detest one another. They’ve been at war for years over OPP (Orleans Parish Prison.) Since it was KdV’s XXX Anniversary, some of the sub-krewes went even bawdier than usual. Comatose was one of them:

They also projected an R-rated reel of cheesy porn clips. It was the cleaned up version: they threatened do go XXX but opted not to. In my opinion, they won Krewe du Vieux this year. Hail, Comatose.

Our float was more sedate, but we try to be subtler than the other krewes. One of our unofficial mottos is: Spank Doesn’t Do Dick. Someone once suggested: Dickless and Damn Proud Of It. But that didn’t go down very well with our male members. I was proud of our hyper-local take on Carnival culture and Liprap took a swell picture of the float before King Humbert and Queen Lolita,uh, mounted it:

Now that I’ve mopped up, it’s probably time to squeeze it, get the glitter off, and wait until next year.

Hail, Krewe du Vieux. Hail, Spank. Hail, Krewe of Chad.

That is all.

 

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: R. Crumb

Noted cartoonist Robert Crumb has done a passel of album covers over the years. I’ve already posted his most famous cover, Cheap Thrills, in this space, here are a few more:

crumb_rcrum_rcrumbthe_103b

il_570xN.810054977_in0w

R-Crumb-The-Complete-Record-Cover2015-01-05_160041_musicneverstoppedgiclee2

kyaf

Dear All of Journalism: This is Steve. Be Like Steve.

STEEEEEVE: 

If you do your reporting deeply enough, you can write/speak with authority – that’s objectivity, because the facts are incontrovertible. Some people mistake that, though, for subjectivity.

When a local magazine editor told me once “In magazine writing, you can have an opinion, that’s what I teach my students,” as if I’d never heard that before, I blanched. No, it’s not about having an opinion! It’s about reporting deeply enough to state the truth!

In newspaper writing, the problem is of a slightly different sort – without the time or resources to report deeply enough, reporters (and their editors) fall back on the formulas of objectivity that aren’t objective at all, but instead just catalog the unvetted claims and outright lies of everyone quoted in a story. That’s probably worse than simply writing an opinion because it’s disguised as truth when it’s the least truthy version of journalism of all.

The lack of time and resources is not an excuse, either; it can be done nonetheless. It just takes skill, hard work and a certain mindset. (It’s even easier in the digital world than in print, with the ease of search, the availability of video and the tool of linking.)

*

That magazine editor, by the way, didn’t so much as want me to have an opinion, but to have his opinion, which, typical for him, wasn’t a very good one. I stopped working for him, and I don’t mean my old boss at Chicago magazine.

*

I use to call my version of magazine writing a “reported conclusion,” which my old boss liked very much. The only problem was getting an assignment with a pre-determined conclusion, which invalidates the whole premise of the job, and which is hugely common in the newspaper world as well. It’s never served my career to come to an independent, reporting-based conclusion instead of the one an editor has dreamed up ahead of time. They tend not to like when you bring them real-world results different than what they dreamed up in their head. In other words, it’s hazardous to do your job the way it’s supposed to be done in this business.

Now, having a notion, an angle, a thesis going into a story is fine. Sometimes that’s how you start. Sometimes you have a basis for such a thing. But that doesn’t mean that’s how you have to end.

I can’t tell you the number of stories that died on the table for me. Like I started working on it and it just fell apart, and I’m banging on it yelling LIVE GOD DAMN IT LIVE FOR ME, and nope, the particulars just didn’t work. You or more often your editor has to pull you back and be like, “Buddy, you did all you could. Don’t prolong it.”

Get rid of the editors, tell the reporters every single second has to be productive and they can’t go down any interesting rabbit holes, value the conventional wisdom over the unusual or contradictory, and you wind up right where we are.

A.

Are You Proud Now, America?

Nothing.

There was nothing there.

Not only was there nothing there, but there was something less than nothing there, because people actually got themselves INDICTED for making out like there was something there.

Not only was there something less than nothing there, but anybody with two brain cells to rub together looked at the sterling credentials of the people making out like there was something there and said, there’s nothing there.

They were, of course, the exact kind of carnival barkers they seemed to be, and this news only surprises the people who make a living being surprised when the curtain gets pulled back and, instead of an alien life form, the freak show’s just one sad goat with a weird mark on its neck.

I don’t really blame the barkers. They’re doing their jobs, and people will do the same job after them just as people have done the same job before them.

No, I blame everybody else, who should KNOW BETTER BY NOW.

Are you proud of yourselves, CNN? Most Trusted Name in News? Are you proud that you ran your first story on this mess like this? 

An anti-abortion group has released an online video that it says documents how Planned Parenthood is selling fetal organs for a profit, a felony, while violating medical ethics by altering normal abortion procedures so as to preserve the organs.

Are you proud that the very next day you ran a commentary calling the video “a horror movie?”

But, frankly, the detail is up for lawyers to debate. What matters about this video is what it appears to reveal about the reality behind America’s sanitized image of abortion; the reality of what an abortion is and how it morally compromises us all.

Are you proud that during YOUR SPONSORED DEBATE, you let a presidential candidate describe those videos, and that your after the fact “fact check” called it “true, but misleading?”

The clip does show what appears to be a fully formed fetus on an operating table with its legs twitching. But the clip Fiorina references is not part of the CMP sting video but was instead taken by another anti-abortion group and was added to the sting video. The Center for Medical Progress, however, doesn’t explain where the fetus video was shot, so it’s not clear whether it was taken at a Planned Parenthood clinic. For its part, the women’s health organization has flatly denied the accusations.

VERDICT: True, but misleading

Are you proud that when someone did what everybody thought someone would do when presented with the kind of foaming nonsense you put on TV hour after hour after hour, your coverage conveniently forgot that he not only admitted to a motive when captured, he was fucking thrilled about it?

Are you even going to have a meeting? Are you going to sit down with anyone involved in any of that coverage and say, how did we manage to get snowed by these assholes again? After ACORN, after the NPR video, after everything? Are you going to say while it is their job to play us, we should at least try not to be played OR ACT SORRY WHEN IT HAPPENS? Do cable networks even run corrections? Would you, if you could?

Or is it going to be bygones, nobody could have known, truth on both sides, problem was how it looked not what it was, and on and on until the next thing, when they take us by surprise again?

Are you proud, all you people who followed in cable news’s wake? All you two-bit pundits and columnists who gleefully tweeted along with #DefundPP because OMG BABY PARTS, everybody who said okay, look, cancer screening can’t happen unless everybody denounces every woman who’s ever had an abortion, one by one?

Are you proud, Congress? I don’t mean you tea freaks, I mean you people who are lauded as Serious Republican Thinkers and Conservative Democratic Stalwarts and shit. Are you proud you got taken in by something this transparent? Are you happy you spent months, months, of company time screeching in hearings at poor women and their representatives, saying they were whores and sinners, thanking God someone finally exposed their perfidy?

Are you proud, everybody who stayed quiet? Who hedged your bets, kept your powder dry, and waited to see who turned out to be right when you knew goddamn well who was right and who was going to hell? Are you proud now that the world’s most predictable result is here, and everybody who is saying I TOLD YOU SO is being derided as mean, when you should be forced to wear signs that say I WAS COWARDLY?

Are you proud this is how it happens now? Yeah, the guys who are going to jail should be ashamed of themselves, but everybody who joined their idiot chorus and everybody who stayed quiet because OMG CONTROVERSIAL and everybody who would rather some people get killed than some women get health care and everybody whose job it is to make sense of all the competing forces at work in modern politics should be even more ashamed.

The carnival barker’s gonna bark. That’s his job. He sells the freak show tickets. It’s right there on the sign. You shouldn’t be proud that you read it and walked right into the tent.

A.

Clash Of The Entitled

Spank Float

Photograph by David Martin.

It was a long, festive Krewe du Vieux weekend. I’m in pain, and suffering withdrawal symptoms as well. It was KdV’s 30th anniversary and my sub-krewe of Spank celebrated it by satirizing New Orleans parade culture.

Spank does hyper-local satire and Clash of the Entitled was as local as all get-go. We mocked 2 categories of entitled folks. First, the Old Line Krewes as seen above. Dr. A and I cast our fake royals and we did a helluva job I might add. They’ve since been deposed and King Humbert is in an undisclosed location. Queen Lolita reigns supreme in exile.

The second subset of entitled jerks mocked were the people who misbehave on the parade route by camping out, marking off territory, and being generally assholish. We call them the Krewe of Chad and the Spank marchers chadded out in loud Carnival attire:

Krewe of Chad

Dr. A and the Michelin Man. It was cold, y’all.

 

Hand to God, I have never worn jammies in public before. People asked if I was playing a bro. Nope, I was a douchebag, pure and simple. Notice the paddle: we take our Spanking seriously.

I told you this was hyper-local. If any of my readers who don’t live in the Carnival belt have any questions, leave a comment, I’ll try and answer them. I will surely regain coherence at some point in the near future…

Finally, we in Spank believe in providing parade-goers with some light reading material. This year we came up with the Arthur Hard-On Guide. Arthur Hardy is a somewhat stuffy local Mardi Gras maven who publishes a guide every year. It’s positively limp compared to this:

Guide CoverThatGuide back cover

That’s it for now. I’m still knackered from the 3.1 mile march. That’s right, we walk, we don’t ride except, that is, for our fake royals. So it goes.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Chump endorses Trump edition

Oh dear.

Here I was, all ready to shut down the ISO chamber for a week or so to give it a good scrubbing down and gamma-ray sterilization.

And then:

Sarah Palin Endorses Donald Trump, Rallying Conservatives
New York Times ^ | 01/19/2016 | By MAGGIE HABERMAN

Posted on ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎18‎:‎14‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind

Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee who became a Tea Party sensation and a favorite of grass-roots conservatives, will endorse Donald J. Trump in Iowa on Tuesday, officials with his campaign confirmed. The endorsement provides Mr. Trump with a potentially significant boost just 13 days before the state’s caucuses.

1 posted on 1‎/‎19‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎18‎:‎14‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind

If you’ve noticed, at Free Republic the shine has worn off Our Sarah’s star just a little bit in the past few years.  With Grifterella’s trailer trash antics, her relentless money-grubbing, constant pleas for attention, and in general justifying everything everyone but Freepers always saw in her – the bloom is off the rose.

Or so it seems to me.

Freepers? First reply, please?

To: SeekAndFind

 

Yay.

2 posted on 1‎/‎19‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎19‎:‎09‎ ‎PM by samtheman (Elect Trump, Build Wall. End Censorship.)

KraftwerkLaughing
.
To: SeekAndFind

 

Sarah Palin = Crony Capitalist Enabler. Who would have thunk it. What a phony!

7 posted on 1‎/‎19‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎21‎:‎39‎ ‎PM by GodGunsGuts

 

To: SeekAndFind

 

That’ll leave marks – on Sarah Palin.

16 posted on ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎23‎:‎50‎ ‎PM by don-o

To: SeekAndFind

Sarah! Sarah! …pls remove the knife.

.

20 posted on 1‎/‎19‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎24‎:‎51‎ ‎PM by TexasCajun (#BlackViolenceMatters)
Heh.
To: SeekAndFind

 

Well, she was dead to me when she didn’t run in 2012 and she’s still dead to me now.

25 posted on ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎25‎:‎39‎ ‎PM by erod (Chicago Conservative | Cruz or Lose!)

To: SeekAndFind

Sarah Palin Endorses Donald Trump, Rallying ConservativesLOL. NY Times says we conservatives are being rallied.

I could think of a better word than that.

37 posted on 1‎/‎19‎/‎2016‎ ‎3‎:‎26‎:‎54‎ ‎PM by FreeReign
“Fucked” comes to mind.
Come on, Freepers – tell us how you REALLY feel!
Comment #15 Removed by Moderator
Comment #31 Removed by Moderator
Comment #50 Removed by Moderator
More, including a counter-attack by the Trump-humpers after this word from our sponsors.

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Year Two or, a List, in No Particular Order, of Things I Am Proud Of in My Daughter

  1. Your fierce, loud “No!” delivered with the authority of a fully grown human. Most of the time you have a high, tinny little girl voice, and you squeak and squeal, but when you are offered something you do not want, you sound like a grande dame of British theatre declaring your opposition to it, body and soul. Usually what you are being offered is a piece of fried chicken, or a pair of socks, or a stuffed animal, or something you were asking for five minutes ago. It should be maddening. It is maddening, in the moment, but you are not afraid to say no and to do so firmly and definitively the first time around. I don’t want you to be afraid to say no to something you don’t want. Not saying no when we should is the cause of about half the misery in the world.
  2. Your wild, abandoned, uncoordinated, drunken-freshman-headed-for-Taco-Bell run. You love to move, and move fast. All summer long I would take you to the park and put you down and say, “Go, be free.” Other parents would snicker and their children would cling to their legs and you would take off running. Nothing drives you crazier than being cooped up in the house and in the winter you are being driven crazy so we seek out every indoor play-space there is and you run and run and run. You bump into stuff and you fall down and you do it full speed ahead, no hesitation. You fling yourself at the world in perfect confidence it will catch you, and my fear that you will outrun me is always overshadowed with the knowledge that you are supposed to, and you are well on your way.
  3. Your single-mindedness in pursuit of order. You have several small plastic animals that must be kept together and we are always missing one. You call the piggie, “Here, piggie piggie SOOOOOEEEEE!” at 6 a.m. if he is not waiting with the others on the floor by the TV. Once we lost the chicken for about three weeks and I knew he was somewhere in the house, and every day we looked for the chicken while you made clucky noises. Every night you put the other animals (and all your other toys) neatly away, saving the chicken a space. When we finally found him, you chastised him and then put him back in “da chicken-house,” his small box. I didn’t consider the combined force of your father’s and my perfectionism distilled into one small body, but if you organize the rest of your life the way you organize your tiny toy barnyard, you’ll be president of the world.
  4. Your utter disregard for hair bows, hair ties, or anything that would make your mother learn to braid. I’ve had short hair since I was a freshman in college and I’m not sure I would know what to do if you loved barrettes and buns. You howl when I try to put sparkly bobby pins in your hair, you howl and pull away, deeply annoyed. You are too busy to be groomed and posed. It makes the daily photos I send to your grandparents look dodgy, like you just woke up from a four-night rave, but you don’t waste a minute of your days. You have more important things to do now, like count your animals.
  5. Your willingness to encourage. The other day we were assembling a puzzle and after I fitted two of the large pieces together you patted my hand and said, “Great job, Mama!” I laughed because I was being patronized by my 2-year-old, but also I had no idea how much I needed to hear that until you said it.
  6. Your way of greeting everything new, which is to go straight at it. When you were barely 1, we took you to the ocean with your grandparents in Florida. The waves were rough that day and it was loud near the shore, and very cold, and I thought you would turn away or cling to me or cry when the icy water rushed up over your tiny toes. Instead you flung your arms wide and shouted with joy, and when the ocean roared you roared right back. When I turned to take you back to sandcastles and safety, you pulled on my fingers and crawled back towards the surf. At the parakeet house in the zoo, where the birds flapped around begging for birdseed you offered them on a stick, I thought you’d be frightened by the wings or the noise and you laughed and laughed when they landed on your fingertips. A new house, a new park, different people, different foods, you find a way to love it all.
  7. Your words and phrases and sentences, and the ease with which you speak. I joke that I taught you to ID the Badgers and Packers logos on sight and that it’s been all you ever since, but it’s really true: You listen intently and then repeat, repeat, repeat, and you sing songs and point out letters in the books we read, and the other day I walked into your room and you were showing a book we often read at bedtime to one of your stuffed animals. Because you have it almost memorized, you turned to a page with a dog and a doghouse and described them to the stuffed … elephant, I think it was.
  8. Your generosity. You don’t always want to share (who does?) but you offer me and your father bites of whatever you’re eating, you give toys to other babies when you’re done playing with them, and you tend to phrase requests for playtime as if you are sure that playtime will be good for us. “Mama play trains?” isn’t plaintive, it’s more like, “Mom, you look like you could use some train time. Get down here. The e-mail can wait.” It can.

A.

Something Even Sadder and Crazier than the Freepi

Tommy, I found your new spelunking grounds: Rick Santorum’s Facebook commenters! 

Not one candidate knows more about the Middle East than Rick

I can add that I think it’s this STRONG debating ability in Senator Santorum that has Media elites and Establishment RNC (all in for LESSER candidates – more conducive to holding the bottom line on big business cronies “cheap labor” via various forms of amnesty) running scared. IMAGINE the Trump Show (very lucrative for Media outlets btw) becoming one final REAL GOP Debate of the ISSUES.

you know I love Vet with my heart right Rick . nothing is most made my day happy to see you up there. But all in G*d will Rick, even hell can not decide who will be next president in America . my Salut and Honor for you Rick . I love Vet .

What about the RED Chines in Iowa, did he go talk with them or did he not have the proper pass port ???

So…if Sarah is endorsing Trump and Glenn Beck is appearing with Ted Cruz, who is endorsing Rick Santorum? The people of Iowa, that’s who! The media doesn’t vote for us!

I do not understand why this man is not doing better in the poles. I watched both debates, the first one with Rick and the others was a debate. The second one w Trump was like watching SNL or something. It was entertaining, I laughed alot, but thats not what a debate is about.

MY EYES WHERE IS THE HAZMAT SUIT.

A.

SMV: The Eagles Live In Washington D.C.

It’s time for another Glenn Frey tribute. Here’s part of a 1977 show from the Hotel California tour. It was Joe Walsh’s first tour with the Eagles and Randy Meisner’s last:

Weekend Question Thread: Fuzzy Edition

What was your first pet?

Fox was mine. We never had animals when I was a kid because my mom, wisely, knew that “giving” us a pet was really giving her a pet and she didn’t want a pet.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Life Is A Carnival

Dizneylandrieu

Spank’s 2014 masterpiece: Welcome to Dizneylandrieu.

I naively thought I could write a full-blown Saturday post this week. I was wrong. I’m marching in Krewe Vieux this evening and parade prep ate my week alive. I do have a short feature and a couple of jokes but this will be blissfully short. Hey you, stop cheering. I know who you are…

In non-Carnival news, the contractor who was supposed to remove the Confederate monuments had his car bombed even though he’d already pulled out of the project. I’m not shedding too many tears: it was a Lamborghini so it was presumably insured up the wazoo. I still have no idea what a wazoo is but I do know what a wazzock is…

This week’s theme song is a seasonally appropriate numbah from the Band, Life Is A Carnival. The horn arrangement was by the late, great Allen Toussaint. One of the only people who could pull off this look:

Toussaint-sandals_thumb6

We begin with the studio version from the Cahoots album. I have a soft spot for that particular LP because it was the first Band record I bought with my own money:

Here’s a live version with the Max Weinberg 7. Conan O’Brien is nowhere to be seen:

Now that I’ve let you know that it’s the restless age, it’s time to runaway, but one mini-feature first:

Saturday Classics: Holland is an overlooked gem by the Beach Boys. The opening track, Sail On, Sailor is one of the best songs Brian Wilson ever wrote and that’s saying a lot:

That’s it for this week. It’s going to be cold tonight so I have to work on layering underneath my costume. Speaking of Krewe du Vieux, my mind always turns to my late friend and blogger comrade in arms Ashley Morris. He was the man who brought Dr. A and me into KdV. Below is a snapshot of us looking goofy after the 2008 stumble. The rose between the thorns is his beautiful wife, Hana and Dr. A took the picture. Just for the hell of it, I memed it. I guess I qualify as the Batman villain in this pictKdv Meme

L’chaim, David Blatt

If I’m David Blatt, I go home tonight, pour myself a giant glass of vodka and cuss out the world in one of the four languages I speak. I have my wife lock away my cell phone so I don’t have to return a call and make the mistake of saying something stupid. I have her steal every remote from every TV we have so I don’t have to watch any of the talking heads blather on about the bullshit of culture, fit and every other stupid thing they want to blame my firing on.

I then pass out, wake up the next day hung over and start laughing my ass off because my life just got a million times better.

Blatt was fired as the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, despite having the best winning percentage of any coach in franchise history and having led the team to a 30-11 record this season. He not only had the team at the top of NBA East this season, but he had the team in the NBA Finals last year.

If you look at that set of information, you probably are thinking, “What the hell is going on here?”

If you know anything about Cleveland and sports, you probably are thinking, “Yep. Typical Cleveland.”

The buzz around the “insiders” and the “people close to the team” was that Blatt wasn’t connecting with the team as well as he should have. There was also a sense that associate coach Tyronn Lue was better liked and more woven into the team chemistry. Whether that is true or not, no one will really ever know unless LeBron writes a “tell-all” one day.

So, in other words, don’t hold your breath.

What is true, however, is that Blatt never had a chance with this team.

When he was hired, it was with a young team that was looking to grow. The selection of Blatt in 2014 was set up with the idea that the team would have Kyrie Irving set to a long-term deal, first-rounder Andrew Wiggins learning the ropes and a medley of young, raw kids who needed someone to teach them.

Then, LeBron James made his announcement. He was coming back to Cleveland.

Suddenly, the Cavs were in “win now” mode, with the young kids getting shipped all over the place to make room for high-priced veteran talent. Gone was the idea of “Let’s all learn the NBA together” and in was the idea of “LeBron’s prime is going south like a gallon of milk in the sun, so let’s hustle on this!”

And with that approach came the insanity and lack of fairness.

When the team succeeded, hey, of course they’re great! They’ve got LeBron. It’s not like the coach did anything…

When the team slipped, hey, what is wrong with that Blatt guy, fucking up and costing us games?

So even after his team dismantled an excellent Clippers squad on Thursday and even though the team had won 11 of its last 13 games, Blatt got the ax. In his press conference, GM David Griffin gave almost no discernable metric for his decision, instead talking about “fit” and “vibe,” like he was selling shitty Hondas and Pontiacs.

So, if I’m Blatt, I’m going home, getting drunk and then sleeping it off, knowing I signed a 3-year, $10 million deal that Dan Gilbert is going to have to finish paying off.

Then, I start laughing my ass off.

Here’s why:

Blatt was and is a hell of a good coach, as 20 years of Euroleague ball and a season and a half of Cavs ball proved. If anyone could win with LeBron just by showing up, LeBron would have a lot more rings and Erik Spoelstra wouldn’t be 2-2 in his NBA-Finals appearances.

Still, every single move he made was scrutinized within an inch of its life. Every armchair coach in the world was thinking, “Shit, anyone can win with that team!” of course forgetting that EVERYONE has said that about EVERY team LeBron has ever played for.

If you want to know how good of a coach Blatt actually was, just look at last year’s Finals. He lost his all-star point guard (Kyrie Irving) in the first game and that was after he lost his starting forward earlier in the playoffs (Kevin Love).

With no real hope against a Golden State Warriors team that is now on course to out-pace Jordan’s best Bulls team, Blatt patched together a lineup based on defense and grit. Although the team lost 4-2 in the series, the Cavs were in at least two of those lost games and could have easily been up 3-0 in the Finals, had LeBron not gagged on the last shot of regulation in Game 1.

The Cavs have only made the finals twice and the only coach to get them a win was Blatt. And that was AFTER his lineup of stars was depleted and he was giving heavy rotational minutes to an unknown Australian dude named Matthew Dellavedova and point-guard time to an injured Iman Shumpert.

So this year, the team runs out and wins nearly 75 percent of its games at the break, even as injured players are just starting to make their way back into the lineup. Shumpert, Irving, Love and starting center Timofey Mozgov all either had surgery or were coming off of major injuries at the start of the year.

At this pace, they were going to win around 61 games, putting this season tied with the second-best record in franchise history.

Now, Blatt gets to go home and watch this team, knowing that unless the Cavs win the title this year and do better than 30-11 down the stretch, everyone on Earth will think he got treated unfairly. He’ll have his pick of teams to coach in the NBA that aren’t named the Cavs, the Spurs, the Warriors, the Thunder or the Clippers. A solid young team with a need for a strong hand at the helm could do a lot worse than Blatt.

Or, he can sit on his ass and make about $3.5 million next year, wait for the Euroleague to come calling again and go back where people love him. Or back to Israel, where his Tel Aviv teams were incredible and his family has strong roots.

If the Cavs do pick up the intensity and win it all this year, with that strong sense of purpose that Griffin kept yammering about, Blatt still wins.

The team’s lack of effort and focus is not an indictment of Blatt, but rather of the players. In an era where the NBA is known as a “player’s league,” this collection of $110 million in talent was somehow crippled by one guy on the bench? C’mon…

These guys couldn’t get it up or keep it up with the idea of becoming gods in a town that so desperately wants a championship, the fans there would literally sacrifice virgins for it?

Holy shit, that’s pathetic.

So, if I’m David Blatt, I’ve already released my polite and courteous statement, thanking everybody, so I head to my man-cave, hide out and watch what happens next. I don’t rock the boat or throw anyone under the bus. I don’t publically say or do anything that might hurt my chances of landing some place that gives me a real chance next time.

I let the chips fall where they may this season.

Because no matter what, I’m the winner.

Don’t Hate The Donald, Hate the Lame

 

So I get that you are VERY against trump… Are you as vehement when on Facebook and see anti trump stuff?.…. Just wondering…

One of the guys I know who has been a lifesaver when it comes to helping me keep Betsy tuned up posted this on my Facebook feed this week. It came after about the third time I posted a “Snopes” link on his, debunking some meme his cousin Cletus or somebody sent him about something. This time, it was the Trump retweet of the “black on black” crime graphic, which had some journalists trying to verify the numbers and others tracking it back to some neo-Nazi website across The Pond.

After he got sick of me posting “Snopes” stuff, it became a game of “Well, that’s just one site’s opinion” crap, which of course led me to find nine other sites from various spots, including the exchange Trump had with conservative hero Bill O’Reilly about the bullshit in that graphic.

Thus, the question above.

The answer I gave was mostly honest: I’m not “anti-Trump.” Granted, I hate that the guy essentially killed the USFL, he’s spouting racist shit (and sexist shit and xenophobic shit and…) and that he’s the kind of guy who acts like he hit a triple but was actually born on third base. (Hell, he was probably born at home plate, but regressed, and yet I digress…) None of those things endear me to him.

However, this isn’t about Trump. Or Cruz. Or Jeb! Or Hillary. Or Bernie. Or whoever that other guy is who keeps showing up at the Democratic debates, like that random guy who shows up in your wedding photos, but no one ever remembered inviting.

This is about all the stupid that circulates out there and how easy it is to feel superior to others without doing any of the work that you used to have to do in order to actually back it up.

One of the hardest things I have to teach student journalists is that they need to verify the hell out of everything they want to publish. The line, “If your mother says she loves you, go check it out” has become our mantra.

In one class, I give students ten sports “facts” that people SWEAR they know to be true (example: When the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team beat the Soviet Union, the U.S. won the gold medal. False: USA had to beat Finland two days later to clinch the gold.). In almost EVERY case, the students who are supposed to look this stuff up will say, “Oh, yeah I know that” and then go find a citation to slap on the paper without reading it. Even more, in most of those cases, the citation is either wrong because it’s a shitty source (e.g. jimmysdickfaceblog.blogspot.com) or the citation is right, but the kid never read it.

I don’t know why this is, but other than worrying about their grades, students seem to lack a sense of paranoia, something that would be great for journalists to have. However, when the good ones do get it, they become almost as outraged as I am about the world at large and its complete disinterest in checking things out.

“Where the hell did they get this shit from?” is a common refrain I get from students in the newsroom who are reading their Facebook feeds. It’s usually some racist meme from Uncle Charlie who is saying something about how all crimes in the state of Alabama have been committed by “Negroes with unlicensed weapons” or something. The kid then does a simple Internet search and can debunk the bullshit in 10 seconds or less and posts about a dozen “this is crap” links out there for Uncle Charlie to read.

Here’s the problem: Even if Uncle Charlie or Cousin Cletus or that Guy You Know From Work does take the damned thing down or stops forwarding the email chain about Trayvon Martin beating the shit out of a bus driver, it’s not enough. For starters, they perpetuated a continuing strand of bullshit that pollutes the important discussions of the day.

Second and more importantly, this is like putting a pot underneath a leaky spot in your ceiling: Sure, you managed the problem, but the root cause isn’t getting fixed.

If we value intelligence and we value knowledge, we tend to want to be able to prove our point through information, logic and reasoning.

If we only value proving our point, even though that point may lack information, logic and rational thought, we end up with people who continue to forward and repost ignorant and inaccurate information, with all the grace of a monkey shit-fight at the zoo.

It seems today that people just want to be right about everything they think or feel and yet lack the desire to work to make sure they ARE right. It’s so much easier for them to blame contradicting information on “the liberal media” or “some hack” out there than it is to take the time and really learn something before speaking about it. I’m not sure how many people are beyond salvation when it comes to this. If you read the comments on any political stories, I think you’d agree with me we’re all on the way to hell in a speedboat.

However, to be fair to the guy who posted this and found himself being “snoped” to death, he took down the meme and left me with this:

 

Cool. I’ll prolly repost incorrect things again in the future. I’ll count on u to keep me informed as that is your profession. Lol, I’ll also count on you to not be judgemental of me.

 

I had to give the guy credit, because if there are people who actually will consider that maybe, just maybe, it’s important to take correction on stuff like this, maybe we won’t end up with President Trump trying to nuke Nova Scotia for because someone fucked up his breakfast cereal.

I’ll take the small victories on stuff like this.

Grammar and spelling can always come later.

Friday Catblogging: Alert Oscar

Like most cats, Oscar sleeps 16-20 hours a day. Sometimes he’s alert. This is one of those times.

Oscar 2016

Photograph by Wendy Westfaul

Image Of The Day: Signage Edition

I was looking at my old Krewe du Vieux pictures and this image from the 2008 parade caught my eye. It’s still true today, y’all.

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David Brooks’ Cri Du Bore

From Album 6

Still there, but fainter…like a star that’s long dead but so far away we haven’t seen it go out yet…David Brooks issues yet another plea for a GOP candidate who’s not a total embarrassment, somehow oblivious to the fact that total embarrassment is the core and essence of today’s GOP (Palin endorsing Trump a particularly painful example).

Ha — Brooks’ could have called his sad little op-ed “Where Have You Gone, Jeb (Jeb!) DiMaggio, The Allegedly Sane Wing Of The Party Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You” (emphasis on “allegedly sane”). Well…you reap what you sow. It’s been over a generation since the allegedly sane wing of the GOP made a Faustian deal with the crazy base, using simple slogans (Government is the problem) and a large helping of hatred towards all things librul, to bring them into the fold. But, goddamn, the crazy base has…gone crazy (rogue?), tossing Jeb! aside, and cozying up to Trump and Cruz instead.

The Reagan coalition is now the political equivalent of the Flint municipal water supply — toxic soup.  Figures: “limited government” is rhetorical bullshit. It was always about placating the crazy base with promises of hippie punching/general authoritarian hatred…and government funded goodies (especially via defense or security contracts) for the well connected. But now the crazy base has thrown a monkey wrench into the works.

Good — as long as it’s confined to the GOP. Lord knows what kind of damage would result if they somehow got their hands on the Executive Branch…

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