Chelsea’s new Nike kits: five things to look for

New Chelsea/Nike is deal is good the wallet, bad for those who appreciate actual style.

Baseball sleeves, an off-brand color, a boring stripe - this US kit has it all.

Baseball sleeves, an off-brand color, a boring stripe – this US kit has it all. What can we expect from the forthcoming Chelsea designs?

I absolutely, utterly and comprehensively loathe Nike’s soccer design group. So last year, when a new 15 year, £60 million/year kit deal was signed between Nike and my beloved Chelsea FC … well, damn. Continue reading

A daring young man … and a documentary dependent on his survival

Alex Honnold is a remarkable young man. He may be the foremost rock climber in generations.

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Alex Honnold

That his most recent feat was done entirely ropeless — meaning he’d die if he fell — adds to his impressive résumé.

Honnold, 31, climbed the Freerider route on the 3,000-foot granite monolith El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in just under four hours. (See the illustrated route map in The New York Times.) Just try to imagine it: He scaled vertical, sometimes overhanging granite, often using fingernail-sized handholds, with only his talent, control over fear, and sheer will protecting him from a fatal fall.

A life as a full-time, professional rock climber, such as Honnold, requires financial support. Honnold’s website points this out: “These are the companies that allow me to climb all day every day,” he writes. His sponsors include mountaineering equipment suppliers Black Diamond, Maxim Dynamic Ropes, La Sportiva, and North Face as well as GoalZero and Stride. (Ironic, isn’t it, that a climber who shuns the protection of a rope has rope manufacturers as sponsors …)

Continue reading

Sports

Arab world cutting ties with Qatar: FIFA’s four-point plan

What should FIFA do now that the Arab world has had enough of Qatar’s bullshit? Double down, baby!

A number of Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region.

They say Qatar backs militant groups including so-called Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda, which Qatar denies.

The Saudi state news agency SPA said Riyadh had closed its borders, severing land, sea and air contact with the tiny peninsula of oil-rich Qatar.

Seriously – Qatar is so bad that Saudi Fucking Arabia is stepping away from them. Continue reading

My mentor, the pedophile [UPDATED]

What do we do when those who meant so much to us are found guilty of the worst of crimes? There, but for the grace of God, go I…

Thomas CridlebaughPart 1 of a series.

Many of us, if we were lucky, had people in our lives when we were young who shaped us, molded us – important, vitally influential characters without whom we would be less than we are. Teachers, coaches, perhaps church leaders, family friends or relatives – we learn values from these figures that we never unlearn, and we can feel their presence, if we concentrate, decades later, in both our most pivotal and banal moments.

Can you name the five most influential people in the history of your life? I can, sort of. There’s about a ten-way tie for fifth, but the first four are my grandparents, my former teacher and now S&R colleague Jim Booth, and a junior high coach and teacher I’ll call Mr. C. This post is about him, and it’s one I have dreaded writing because I really have no idea what to do with my feelings.

Like a lot of kids in their early teens, I had no idea who I was. Continue reading

Boaty McBoatface, Footy McFooty Face and Trumpkin: WHY do people keep asking the Internet for help?

San Diego’s MLS hopefuls and Crayola ought to have learned from history. 

It started innocently enough in 2012, when the geniuses at Mountain Dew decided to ask the Internet’s help in naming their new “green apple with attitude” flavor. The results included “Hitler Did Nothing Wrong,” “Diabeetus” and “Moist Nugget.”

Shortly thereafter the Slovaks staged an Internet campaign to name a cycling and pedestrian bridge near the capital. Logically enough, voters wanted to name it for … Chuck Norris.

Then, of course, there was the famous 2016 case of the British government soliciting the Internet’s advice on what to name a new research ship. Which of the suggested dignified names would be chosen? Shackleton, perhaps – hard to get more worthy than that, right? Continue reading

Dear Jerry Jones: please live forever

What’s the longest an NFL GM has lasted without winning a playoff game, anyway?

In case you missed it, the Green Bay Packers executed a miracle yesterday to get golf season started for the #1 seeded Dallas Cowboys.

In the 1995-6 season Troy Aikman led America’s Team® to a 27-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. In the 21 seasons since that glorious day in Tempe, the Cowboys have: Continue reading

Gary Kubiak steps down: here’s one Bronco fan’s wish list for a new coach

Denver should be an appealing destination for nearly any coach. Here’s what we’d like to see.

Kubes steps down: who's next?

Kubes steps down: who’s next?

The speculation has swirled for a couple days, and this morning Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak made it official: he’s resigning.

Gary Kubiak has stepped down as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, the team announced Monday morning. Continue reading

Remembering 2016: the year when everyone died

No, famous people won’t stop dying on January 1. But we lost too many bright lights this year and we hope that 2017 will be better. Here’s a list of noteworthy people who died in 2016.

For the past several months a lot of us have been saying we can’t wait for this damned year to be over.

2016 gave us the worst election season I can remember, and every ten minutes or so another beloved artist would die, it seemed. Any year that gives us Donald Trump and takes Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Prince in return has done more damage than some decades.

No, people aren’t going to stop dying at the stroke of midnight tomorrow. Continue reading

Sports

A new, improved college football playoff system: how it works and why

Here are your 8 tournament teams if we had a sensible college playoff system.

The NCAA Football Selection Committee today will issue its final rankings, and in doing so they face some tough choices about who gets to play for the national title. This is because NCAAF, unlike every other sport, doesn’t allow everyone with a claim to settle it on the field. It isn’t enough to win your games (and some years, your conference), you have to win a PR battle.

The NCAA has been stumbling from one corrupt system to another for years. You just wish they were making more progress, don’t you? Continue reading

Penn State wins the Big 10, and the misguided Paterno worship begins anew

Joe Paterno failed at being a decent human being. We shouldn’t re-lionize him now that Penn State has won the Big 10 conference.

Joe Paterno knew for decades that his assistant coach was sexually abusing boys, said nothing, and even told at least one victim to drop his accusation.

Let that sink in for a moment, and then check out the following image:

Pro-Paterno photoshopped image taken from Facebook group "Penn State - Put the Joepa Statue Back Where it Belongs"

Pro-Paterno photoshopped image taken from Facebook group “Penn State – Put the Joepa Statue Back Where it Belongs”

Continue reading

The old school World Series

20160812_201750On my way out of work this afternoon, wearing my husband’s Indians jacket from 2001, I stopped to shake hands with four Cubs fans and welcome them to Cleveland. One of our teams is going to break a very long losing streak and the other will once again say, “Next year!”

For Clevelanders, we almost don’t know how to behave this fall. Especially today.

This evening the Cavs will hang their championship banner at the Q and receive their rings. Actually, everyone who works for the Cavs will get a ring–right down to the guards and the people who sell you beer.

While that is still going on, the Cleveland Indians will host the first game of the World Series across the street at Progressive Field. Continue reading

It’s official: Tom Brady just isn’t that good a quarterback

No, Pats fans, Tom Terrific doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. Not unless he’s sweeping up.

tom-brady-deflate-gate-memes-2For years we Denver Broncos fans, who feel like former superstar running back Terrell Davis belongs in the NFL Hall of Fame, have heard a variety of arguments against his candidacy. One that has always struck me goes like this.

Yes, Davis gained a lot of yards and was key to Denver’s two Super Bowl wins. BUT, after he retired the team generated the same kinds of results with a variety of nobody backs. In the several years post-TD the team was led in rushing by the likes of Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson and Rueben Droughns, who posted four 1,000 yard season between them. Add to this two 1,500-yard campaigns (these were two of his three best years) by Clinton Portis, and, the argument goes, yo momma could have gone for 1,000 in that system.

That’s the key word: system. It wasn’t Davis, it was Mike Shanahan’s system. Continue reading

ArtSunday: LIterature

James Hilton, WP Kinsella and The Bettys: writing to remember, writing being forgotten…

There are two motivations for writing – one pure and one not so much.

“There’s only one thing more important… and that is, after you’ve done what you set out to do, to feel that it’s been worth doing.” – James Hilton

Goodbye Mr. Chips and Other Stories by James Hilton (image courtesy Goodreads)

Goodbye Mr. Chips and Other Stories by James Hilton (image courtesy Goodreads)

This is about being a writer.

The motives for someone wanting to do more than write, to become that person that others refer to as a writer, may be so individual as to be specific to very single person who aspires to that moniker. But I doubt it.

My suspicion is that there are two motives that drive writers, one fairly – shall we say pure? One, not so much. The first, purer, motive is that writers are blessed (or cursed, I can never decide) with the desire to preserve that which they have known or known about or would have liked to know. That act of preservation is part of the title of this essay: one might call it writing to remember. When done really, really, really well, it gives us lines like this:

O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.

Then there’s that other motive, the – less than pure one, shall we say. That’s the desire for recognition: fame, money, respect in one form or another, either because of critical success or financial reward (I have met famous writers who were humble and I have met famous writers who were smug enough to deserve a boot up their asses). It may be of interest only to me that the humble famous ones were far less rich than the smug famous ones. Maybe Ms. Lauper pegged it when she intoned, “…money changes everything….” Continue reading

NCAA decision on HB2: hey NC, stupid and hateful ain’t cheap

At some point the North Carolina legislature is going to capitulate on its “bathroom” law. Will the NCAA’s latest move be the tipping point?

Much has been written and said about NC’s discriminatory “bathroom” law. And now even more is going to be written and said, thanks to the NCAA’s decision to yank seven college sports championship events from the state.

Late Monday, the NCAA announced it was pulling seven championship events out of North Carolina in the coming school year over the state’s so-called “bathroom law” — legislation best known for barring transgender people from using government building bathrooms in accordance with their gender identities.

The action came on top of numerous protests and calls to repeal the measure, all of which have gone unheeded by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who’s running for reelection.

Continue reading

Shaun King is right. White America doesn’t approve of ANY form of black protest.

If you have an issue with what Colin Kaepernick is saying and doing, you’re defending racism and police brutality. Period.

Colin Kaepernick

Shaun King has a pointed question for all of you Colin Kaepernick critics: which form of protest do you actually prefer? 

It’s such a great question because when you think back on it, there has never been a black protest that America’s “reasonable” and “responsible” and “moderate” whites were cool with. We turned the hoses and attack dogs on MLK’s peaceful protests. We really didn’t like Malcolm X’s “by any means necessary.” The very existence of the Black Panthers made us apoplectic.

We disapproved of Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s black power salute. Continue reading

Colin Kaepernick did not go far enough with the National Anthem

“The Star-Spangled Banner” glorifies violence and war against a historical ally. It’s hard to sing. And that’s just the beginning.

Francis Scott Key

Colin Kaepernick has inspired me to re-evaluate history that I thought I knew. It turns out that I was wrong–and I taught US History for years (including AP US History). So I’m a little embarrassed. But also grateful. By now everyone knows that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of the US National Anthem before the game on Friday against the Green Bay Packers. At a press conference he explained:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. Continue reading

Translating Ryan Lochte’s bullshit into English

Fake apology. Fauxpology. Unpology. Non-apology apology. It’s all bullshit and you’re an idiot if you play along.

I’ve spent decades in the corporate world, and way too much of that time has been dedicated to crafting artful PR bullshit. I’m not proud of the fact, but truth is I’m good at it. And when making the language behave unnaturally is your stock in trade, you get really, really good at spotting it when other people start force-feeding perfectly honest words into the sausage grinder.

Which brings us to the much-discussed Ryan Lochte “apology.” Which, by the way, was written for him by some weasel in his agent’s office. Said weasel understands the basics, but sadly has all the grace and nuance of a hyena on a Cialis bender.

Didn’t work, though. See the fat, middle-aged guy with an open sore on his mouth loitering by the edge of the dance floor? That’s Lochte. See all the sorority girls easing away from him? Those are his former sponsors.

Anyhow, here’s Lochte’s fauxpology. Continue reading

Patriarchy in the news, 8/21/16

Woman-Power

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but there is so much out there.

First up, trending on Twitter is #thingsfeministmenhavesaidtome. There are surprises, but the golden oldies are well represented, such as these:

“You’re just assuming all guys are like that, which is pretty sexist.”
“Aren’t you generalizing men if you discuss patriarchy? Don’t alienate allies now.”
“I consider myself more of a humanist.”
“Just because women think something is sexist doesn’t mean it automatically is, you know.”
“I support feminism, but I think women need to lighten up.”
I guess a hashtag things”feminist”menhavesaidtome might not work as well.

Continue reading

Ryan Lochte for president

I’m not disappointed in Ryan Lochte.

Liar Liar 2, starring Ryan Lochte - coming soon to a theater near you.

Liar Liar 2, starring Ryan Lochte – coming soon to a theater near you.

That would be like getting disappointed at the sun for rising in the east. At squirrels for hoarding nuts. At Arsenal for finishing fourth. No, I’m not disappointed in Ryan Lochte. I’m disappointed in myself.

When I saw the headline – Ryan Lochte and three others robbed at gunpoint in Rio – my first thought was something like “damn, that’s awful.” But it should have been “wait – what’s the operative word in that sentence?” The answer, of course, is “Lochte,” and if I were even a little alert I’d have known, without question, that a raging, sideways douche-bro shitrain was a’fixin’ to blow up.

I should have known. You should have known. We all should have known, and the fact that we didn’t, that’s on us.

And it just keeps getting worse. First he made up the robbery story. Then we get video proving he lied and we learned that it all went down because he and some douche-bro teammates were trashing a store in the middle of the night. Then he lies some more. Continue reading