Daniel Bryan retires from the WWE

#YesMovement #ThankYouDanielBryan

It’s always hard to watch these damned things, when someone who loves something so completely and passionately has to walk away. But years of concussions took their toll, and finally WWE superstar Daniel Bryan has been forced to hang up his boots. He was a fantastic talent and he will be missed.

Sadly, given all that we are learning these days about CTE, I can’t help but fear for his future. Continue reading

Megyn Kelly GQ

Donald Trump is a pig, and Megyn Kelly is neither a journalist nor a feminist

These things are not mutually exclusive.

I want to show you two pictures – ones you may have seen recently – and ask you a simple question: what is being communicated? What are the subject, the photographer and the publisher saying to you?

Megyn Kelly GQ
Continue reading

CATEGORY: MusicPopularCulture

RIP David Bowie, marketing genius

David Bowie Space OddityOne of popular music’s greatest artists was also an icon of content marketing

This may be the most unexpected tribute you read to Rock megastar David Bowie, who has died at age 69 a mere two days after the release of his acclaimed new CD, Blackstar.

Before I start, let me acknowledge that some readers may feel like I’m sullying the legacy of one of our greatest artists by associating him with marketing. There are two answers to that charge. First off, art and marketing aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. You can do both. Second, if you can examine Bowie’s career, paying attention to all the times he reinvented his image and to the impact he exerted on fashion, without accepting that he was a branding genius, then you don’t know much about marketing. Continue reading

Dr. Sammy’s top 15 CDs of 2015

Nathaniel Rateliff and the NightSweats

Nathaniel Rateliff and the NightSweats

UPDATE: A couple things. First, while we saw videos and single releases in December, David Bowie’s Blackstar wasn’t released until January, which is why it isn’t here. Check back a year from now – odds are decent he’ll make the cut.

Second, I pulled together a Spotify playlist for those of you who want a bit more. A couple tunes from the bands noted below (save Fiction 8, which isn’t on Spotify) plus a track here and there from some other albums I listened to and enjoyed during the course of the year.

Listen to Dr. Sammy’s Best CDs of 2015 on Spotify Continue reading

July 4, 1992: Baseball Hall of Fame preview night in Albuquerque

Congratulations to Mike Piazza, who was voted into the MLB HoF today. (Also, Ken Griffey, Jr., one of the best who ever lived.)

It was July 4, 1992. I was touring around out west and found myself in Albuquerque looking for something to do. I thought hey, what’s better than baseball on the 4th, so I made my way to the stadium. The Dukes were playing the Giants AAA team – the Tucson Toros sound right? Sold out. I got them to take me to the GM and told him I was freelance journalist doing a series (which was sort of true) and he opened the inside door and let me through.

The Dukes won that night, 3-2, powered by two homeruns from a young catcher nobody had heard of yet.

You knew right away that kid had a future, and he did.  Continue reading

Future Imperfect: SaraRobinson.net launches, just in time for the Y’allQaeda takeover

SaraRobinson.netSara Robinson, who has spent years thinking and writing in places like Orcinus, Our Future, Group News Blog, Salon, Grist, the New Republic and New York Magazine (as well as S&R, now that I think about it), has finally struck out on her on her own and debuted Future Imperfect.

And just in time. Sara has devoted a great deal of energy in her career to understanding the sorts of people currently occupying that rest area (and begging for snacks) out in Oregon, and today’s missive addresses the ways in which the Federal Government’s failure in the wake of the Bundy Ranch debacle led us to our current domestic terrorism drama (and may open the door to more such foolishness in the future if we don’t get our act together). Continue reading

Thinker

Critical thinking 101: how to read a meme (think – it ain’t illegal yet)

The four stages of critical thinking:

  1. Critical thinking is something you make yourself do.
  2. Critical thinking is something you do automatically.
  3. Critical thinking is something you can’t stop doing.
  4. Critical thinking is who you are.

Hopefully you’re on the spectrum somewhere, preferably at four or working your way to it.

I noted this because I’ve been thinking about Facebook memes. Continue reading

Peyton Manning al Jazeera

Peyton Manning HGH allegations: Al Jazeera commits journalistic malpractice

Peyton Manning al JazeeraAl Jazeera should never have gone public with the Manning/HGH story. Its only responsible option now is to fire everyone associated with it and apologize.

A breaking report from Al Jazeera accuses Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (and others) of using the banned substance HGH.

FULL DISCLOSURE: a) I’m a Broncos fan, b) I usually find Al Jazeera to be one of the most reputable practitioners of journalism out there, and c) I have no idea whether the story is true or not. Manning has denied the report vehemently, but he also donated $20k to George Bush’s re-election campaign and pushes Papa John’s Pizza, so I’m unwilling to take his word as gospel.

The issue before us this morning isn’t Manning’s guilt or innocence, which will become clear enough in time. Continue reading

Sports

What Abby Wambach should have said

Is Abby Wambach a xenophobe? I doubt it. But her remarks on foreign-born players were clumsy at best.

On Wednesday night Abby Wambach, the greatest striker in women’s soccer history, played her final match, an uninspired 1-0 loss to China that was in no way the sort of send-off she deserved.

While the game lacked fireworks, her appearance earlier in the day on the Bill Simmons podcast ignited a bit of a firestorm.

In the interview, Wambach launched a broadside at men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, saying that he should be fired for failing to develop the US youth program. Continue reading

Jose Mourinho

Je suis Mourinho

Is José Mourinho an all-time great, or merely the greatest of a generation?Jose Mourinho

Imagine the following scenario.

After last year’s Super Bowl win the New England Patriots enter the 2015-16 season as strong contenders to repeat. However, for reasons that aren’t immediately clear, they come out of the gate slowly, losing a series of games they’d be expected to win. As the middle of the season approaches, things have grown dire. The Pats are 1-6, rumors swirl that Bill Belichick has lost the locker room, and nobody except the weakside linebacker is playing worth a damn. Linemen can’t block, all-pro receivers have forgotten how to catch and Tom Brady has thrown 20 interceptions against zero touchdown passes.

Bob Kraft finally throws in the towel and fires Belichick. In the next game, with the secondary coach acting as interim head coach, the Patriots look like their old selves as they roll Cleveland 35-3.

Insane, huh? But that’s more or less exactly what has happened with English Premier League Champions Chelsea FC this season. Continue reading

Barclays-Premier-League

Premier League TV deals, the Super League and the death of European domestic football leagues

Can Europe’s domestic football leagues survive the new Premier League TV deals? Not a chance.

Barclays-Premier-LeagueA good bit has been written about new TV deals for England’s Premier League – Sky domestically and NBC in the US – and the numbers are frankly mind-boggling: Sky is ponying up more than £5.1B (~$7.75B) and NBC is paying around $1B for rights through 2021-22. When rights for all international deals are factored in, the Prem will haul in around $4.3B a year. (Massively detailed analysis here.)

This is great news for the league’s clubs, obviously, as the payout for even the worst teams will assure that they’re wealthier than all but the biggest clubs in the rest of the world. The top 14 English sides are already among the world’s 30 richest before the new deal even takes effect. Continue reading

Scott Weiland’s ex says “don’t glorify this tragedy,” but …

Is Mary Forsberg Weiland being honest with herself?

And now, for today’s “yes, but” story.

In an open letter, the late Scott Weiland’s ex-wife talks at length about the loss the couple’s children face and she lingers on how hard she worked to save him, even after they split.

I couldn’t agree more with every word she says. Seriously. And I feel for her having to raise two children who will never know what it is to have a healthy dad. My father drank himself to death – literally – and even in the best of times was little more than a guy I knew who’d take me somewhere like the rodeo every once in awhile. And on more occasions than one, to bars. When I was 15. When I was 5. Continue reading

CATEGORY: Education

America appreciates teachers, but we don’t value them

CATEGORY: EducationI’ve been wrestling a bit with my career situation lately. Like a lot of folks, I feel like I’m not being compensated very well, and that suspicion is validated by some basic salary research – and also by the CEO, who admits that the company needs to normalize a lot of salaries with the broader market.

Of course, the people I work with love me and get the importance of what I do. But they aren’t making the call on salary. Not long ago, in prepping for a conversation on the subject with the person I report to, and trying to decide how best to represent my position, and trying to anticipate what he might say, it hit me.

The company appreciates me, but it doesn’t value me. Continue reading

#SNRGTR: Sam’s favorite guitar solos

Part 1 in a series.

SNR-GTRI’ll go first. And since it’s my idea, I’ll take the editor’s privilege and cheat a bit by giving you two solos instead of one.

Up first, we go back to 1974 and “Brighton Rock,” the lead track on Queen’s third album, Sheer Heart Attack. The band’s first two releases had been relentlessly self-conscious in their forays into fantasy (check out “The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke” off Queen II for an illustration).

But SHA opens with a boot to the teeth, highlighted by a Brian May solo that I guess is an example of what William Miller in Almost Famous meant by “incendiary.” Just … damn. Continue reading