If I make the unfortunate joke about how, between two streaming services and cable television, the one constant result is regretting ever having thought there might be something worth watching, then, sure, it probably stands to reason I will eventually notice that the actual television provider, i.e., Comcast Xfinity, would drive the nail by being utterly unable to serve television.Last night, my DVR fouled; today, it turns out the on-demand recording is also fouled. Couple that with news programming—any time of day—unwatchable for audio loss and actual static snow, and the same for what few sporting events I bother with, well, hey, I can always get a cooking show, and if not, maybe I can watch rich people buy property in the Caribbean.Maybe.They can’t even serve the bloody music in the 900s. Actually delivering product is apparently bad for the business model.Which, in turn, is another unfortunate morbid comedy verité.
It occurs to me to wonder just what the worst game in NFL history would be.
No reason. Just wondering.
The one good thing, explained the commentator, was that the fumble out of bounds stopped the clock. But then the clock started again, and nobody on the field seemed to be aware of the situation. The clock expired, the ball snapped, Cliff Avril sacked Ryan Tannehill and it never was going to be a safety, but still, you know?
I think the clock was supposed to be running. But it seems as if nobody else did in the moment. It seemed a strangely appropriate end.
Week one. Chaos and confusion don’t necessarily reign, per se, but still. You know?
Yet another holiday ruined.
In truth, there aren’t many holidays I enjoy celebrating with the rest of my society. I’m an American. Look at our big days. A couple of Christian days, three celebrations of genocide, and two borrowed cultural traditions we’ve managed to muck up into unrecognizable bacchinalia. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the latter.
I don’t mind the twist. I even look past the genocidal heritage, since we Americans don’t really care about all that and have our own chapters of morbid insanity to celebrate. St. Patty’s is a primarily a drinking holiday, like New Year’s Eve, MLK Day, and Cinco de Mayo.
And no, that wasn’t a joke about MLK Day.
Sorry. I wish it was.
That percentage includes Americans who pray for God to help their team (26 percent), think their team has been cursed (25 percent) or more generally believe God is involved in determining who wins on the court or in the field (19 percent). Overall, half of Americans fall into one of these groups, according to the survey Public Religion Research Institute released Tuesday.
“As Americans tune in to the Super Bowl this year, fully half of fans — as many as 70 million Americans — believe there may be a twelfth man on the field influencing the outcome,” Public Religion Research Institute CEO Robert Jones said in a statement. “Significant numbers of American sports fans believe in invoking assistance from God on behalf of their favorite team, or believe the divine may be playing out its own purpose in the game.”
Football fans were the most likely to pray for their own teams to win, with 33 percent saying they ask God to intervene in games, compared to 21 percent of fans of other sports. They were also more likely to think their teams were cursed (31 percent compared to 18 percent) and to take part in rituals before or during games (25 percent to compared to 18 percent).
It is time to actually stop and think about this, for minute. No, no, don’t pray about it. Think.
At first it seems like a simple notion: If you root against Tim Tebow because he openly expresses his faith, raise your hand.
Cartoonist Tim Campbell raises the issue in an editorial cartoon, that he might demonize—quite literally—those who would criticize the Almighty Tebow; the frame includes what appears to be Satan raising his hand.
Yet such questions are not so simple.
Some are disgusted by the idea of Tebow’s greatness, since he’s not actually that good of a quarterback in the context of the NFL; despite his wins, he finished the regular season with a 72.9 rating, which works out to about twenty-eighth in the league, behind such luminaries as Tarvaris Jackson (79.2) of the Seattle Seahawks (7-9), and Colt McCoy (74.6) of the Cleveland Browns (4-12). Tebow’s success, such as it is, owes much to his fellow Denver Broncos (8-8).
And, certainly, there are some among those critics who would focus on the fact of Tebow’s faith alone.
But Tebow’s faith is a Christian faith, and one wonders as he “Te-bows”, much as one might wonder about other players sharing that Biblical faith, when and where Jesus comes into the picture.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Then, of course, are the rumors that Tebow, in his autobiography published at the ripe old age of twenty-three, distorted the story of his gestation and birth for political reasons.
Which, in the end, makes Tebow’s faith seem more an advertising pitch to increase his monetary value in the American capitalist marketplace. And that might mean that the real devilish work is from those hands not raised in Campbell’s cartoon; the people who would celebrate Tebow’s blatant disregard for the words of Jesus Christ and willingness to deceive people in order to spread the Good News.
Spain is the obvious favorite in today’s World Cup final, and I don’t need a psychic octopus to tell me that. I saw the match against Germany, which was all the convincing I need. Ball-handling, passing … it makes me wonder what the American team was even doing in the tournament.
Then again, I owe the Dutch an apology. I had a chance to watch their thrilling match against Brazil, but didn’t for the same reason that, well, apparently some of the Dutch expressed. Or, as Mark Steel noted:
“Are you hopeful?” I asked Josef. “Yes,” he said, “I am hopeful we’ll keep it to less than 5-0.”
So, yeah, I owe an apology for skipping that one. Who knew? Apparently, not even Josef suspected.
And while I have a masochistic side that prefers to cheer on underdogs in many circumstances, Steel also made the case, indirectly, why the Dutch really need this one more than Spain:
The Dutch, it seems, watch their team in the West End of London, not in one bar but in the general area ….
…. The reason is the Dutch aren’t brought together in London by where they live, but where they work. Several thousand are employed by the banks and companies whose offices are around there, so they flock to the chain pubs of Soho; the places into which endless research has been poured to make it impossible to create any atmosphere at all. The muzak, the bouncers, staff wandering around with ear-pieces; this all makes it less exciting than watching a match in a branch of World of Leather.
And for the quarter-final against Brazil this wasn’t helped by the sullen nature of the fans. As the game approached they ordered their burgers, and sat in small groups with no sense of being collective, which took some effort as they were all in orange, and when the team appeared one man clapped on his own, which was probably Arjen Robben’s dad. A few of them sang along with the national anthem, but either this was extremely half-hearted, or the Dutch anthem goes “buuur phew ffffff baaa I give up” ….
…. Maybe they’d have been jollier if they’d lived up to their stereotype, by announcing, “If there is a ball in our goal then this should not make us worry, instead just relax, maybe have a little massage and maybe some sex and this is good and we can hope for an equaliser.” Or they could reserve one screen for porn with expert comments provided by Mick McCarthy.
Outstandingly moderate was Dan, tall, slender and in an immaculate suit, the picture of someone young and in the city, except he was wearing an orange tie. “I see you’ve gone a bit wild with the tie,” I said. “Yes,” he said, “I think that it helps to support the team if I wear this tie.”
Dan was a management consultant in Covent Garden, and added: “This afternoon I have many things to do but I decided I should leave them until later, which is not really correct but I think I must watch the game.”
I mean, really, as an American, I know people who don’t care about the game in general that will take time off work to watch the American team try its hardest to not embarrass itself. And a Seattle tavern at nine in the morning was a fine time to witness these folks finally understanding why fútbol is the world’s game as Team USA scraped by Algeria, only to lose a few days later to Ghana, whereupon they promptly forgot what they had learned.
It does seem a strange contrast to stereotype, though, getting wild with the tie. The American view of the Dutch is either tulips and windmills, or Amsterdam. The idea of a bunch of bank employees feeling guilty for supporting their home country in a soccer tournament just isn’t part of that package. But for Dan, Josef, and all of the Dutch soccer fans in London’s West End, I’m going to back their team against Spain. If for no other reason, I might suggest the Dutch need this one more than the Spaniards, and so I raise my glass, wish them luck, and wonder how things got to the point that we have a freakin’ octopus picking winners in the tournament.
Video games: What, exactly, makes these things so frustrating? That is, we already know they’re crooked, so why do we play the damn things? And, having chosen to play them, why do we invest any emotion in their outcome?
Actually, there are answers to those questions, but let us, instead, stick to the small things.
NHL 10: You know what? All I want is a button that lets me do the things I see the computer-operated opponent can do. Punch a goalie in the head in order to get him off a puck? Yeah, I want to do that. Hook a guy from six feet away, instantly pinning him against the wall to stop a breakaway? Yeah, I want that, too. A button to send an opponent to the penalty box for the high crime of being roughed? Yes, I would like a button for that. A world-class skater that responds to the puck, instead of deliberately turning the long way, allowing the opponent to win possession? Hey, it’s not just me. My CPU-controlled skaters do it, too. But you know who doesn’t? The CPU-controlled players on the other team. I must admit I adore the EA Sports fantasy that Henrik Sedin can’t skate. Jesus, if I traded for Dusty B’fugly, he would probably forget how to hit a guy.
Yes, I’ll have some cheese with that whine. Indeed, the one thing EA seems to have done well with NHL 10 is leave the fan feeling completely and utterly ripped off. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we just call that game day, no matter what the sport.
‘Nuff said. I’m sure if I put the damn controller down and actually thought about useful things, I might write a couple of them, as well.
Apparently it was a slow news day, or, rather, that the Huffington Post notes that NBC News’ Chuck Todd, having lost a bet with ABC’s Jake Tapper, will shave his infamous goatee.
The NBC News White House Correspondent entered into a bet with ABC News White House Correspondent Jake Tapper: if the Dodgers won the NLCS, Tapper would have to grow a goatee; if the Phillies won, Todd would have to shave his.
The alternative would be to donate $1,000 to the other’s favorite charity, with Tapper supporting Dr. Shershah Syed — who he described as “an ob/gyn devoting himself to saving impoverished women in his native Pakistan” — and Todd supporting Samaritan Inns — which he described as providing “housing and recovery services to homeless and addicted men and women.”
Whatever the aesthetic result—I don’t think I’ve ever seen Todd without that facial monstrosity—shaving his goatee won’t do much for his credibility. Although it might help his charm quotient. After all, we want to see the fresh-faced Chuck, not the Chuck who would helping poor women in Pakistan. You know, if he’s cute under that facekill, credibility won’t matter.