Thursday, November 10, 2016

You're in Trumple now

Bokolis has spent the morning after Donald Trump's electoral college victory gauging the reactions.  About the time Hillary Clinton was in trouble in North Carolina, I saw the sharks trying to short sell the equity markets- Asian and our overnight indices- slamming the US indices 5% to the downside.  This inevitably reversed itself as those shorts, knowing the jig was up, covered.  Trump playing the grace card in his victory speech heartened markets and has them dreaming of a tempered Trump.

The markets had recovered by the open and closed over 1% above the previous day.  After puckering up through the night, the snickering and the hubris returned to all those fuckers on television, with one of them saying, after the fact, something to the effect of which one of you assholes sold the lows?

It wasn't limited to the hosts.  They ran on waves of creeps who were jerking off all over themselves at the prospect of a corporate bordello.  Hooray for deregulation! was the unwavering message.  Let's get back to raping the worker and the consumer and make that stock price go! go! go!  While Bokolis agrees that raping the worker and the consumer is too often an easy trick an unfortunate consequence of these cocksuckers nearly scuttling the economy was too much regulation, these fuckers are all set to- happy medium be damned- wind the clock back 10 years, when the last set of cowboys let them do whatthefuck they wanted.  All that is missing is the countdown clock to the next bubble bursting.

As for the commoners, we have the butthurt on one side and those trolling the butthurt on the other...and, about six feet behind Hillary, Bill Clinton snickering to himself.  Bokolis hesitates to use liberals and conservatives because I don't wish to help perpetuate such perceptions as these people may have of themselves and each other.  For the most part, they are not liberals and conservatives.  They are babies, people who cannot think for themselves, who have formed and reinforced ideologies primarily through indirect information from biased sources.  In any event, their reactions are like going to a Mets-Yankees game, seeing something good or bad happen to your team and, rather than rejoicing or despairing at your team's fortune, your first action is to look over to fans of the opposition to see if they are rubbing it in or to make sure they are wallowing in despair.

Bokolis is disgusted both at the self-pity and the gloating.  I didn't want either candidate- I have a distaste for one and no faith in the other- but I never decided which one I would rather see win or lose.  To me, the only reason to choose one is for dread of the other.  That is no reason to choose, as choosing sides would've implied some measure of happiness/unhappiness with the result, some measure of self-pity or gloating.

While Bokolis doesn't think much of people, as a member of society, I fully embrace that the people have spoken (or, at least, the voting machines say they have).  Of course, they don't realize what they have said.  They have reminded us of something I've seen saying for years:  there is one country east of I-287 and west of the San Bernardino Mountains, and a whole other country in between.  Those people in between, particularly white guys, I presume, decided, we've got broads telling me what I can say, how I should spend my money, that I can't drink...so, now I've got this bitch trying to take my guns?  Fuck that!

Did y'all think that it was about e-mails and Obamacare premiums?

It probably didn't help that Hillary was running around with Beyonce, Jay-Z, Kim K, etc.  Those cow-towners who came to the big city thought they could, at once, make themselves cool by embracing these played-out people while disavowing their own cow-town roots were shot in the ass.

Well, here we are.  For the commoners gloating, as if Trump is going to change things for the better in any way benefitting them, Bokolis will offer the same as he offered all the kiddies who thought Obama would bring change.  Change isn't happening- about the best you can hope for is more of the same.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Goodell to the last drop?

It seems the media has gotten its panties in a twist over the NFL's drop in viewership.  Bokolis doesn't have the numbers to share with you so we can jerk ourselves off to period-over-period comparisons.  Those numbers are probably all bullshit anyway.  As they say in the corporate world, garbage in, garbage out.  Slightly more seriously, it's not like we can definitively assign a portion of any decline to each cause.

With regard to the numbers, the finger pointing is towards Sunday and Monday night, where there is a significant reduction in the numbers, most of all on Monday night, which is generally attributed to cord-cutting (and NOT Gruden).  Allegedly, the traditional time slots are holding steady.  This relative strength may be distracting the NFL from reflecting, isn't Sunday-day supposed to be growing?

The discussion as to why is mainly about Kaepernick and the election.  That's what surveys are yielding, but there may be some bias at work, where people are responding with both what they think the asker wants to hear and what they think the issue is.  They've lost a few people objecting to how much smack my bitch up is going on.  Whatevs, it's never only one reason; at best, these are tipping points, not causes.

Bokolis would add that our Sundays are no longer sacrosanct.  Once upon a time, the typical family structure was such that a man could bunker up on Sunday and his old lady- and everyone else- knew to leave him the fuck alone.  That is no longer the case; there's always shit going on.  If you think I'm bullshitting, think about how many times your friends, in advance of sending an actual invitation, send you a save the date! message...even they know they're competing for your Sunday.

It doesn't help that there is too much of the product.  Even in the intact nuclear family, it's tough to ask for Thursday night, 10-12 hours of Sunday, then Monday night, especially when your budding narcissists are clamoring for attention and for you to take them here and there.

Even for those free of such obligations, by Sunday/Monday night, anyone who isn't invested in the outcome is done with it.  We've seen this in the football where they actually kick the ball; not content with virtually every week having mid-week fixtures, they are now in the process of regularly impinging on our Mondays and Fridays.

The profiles are of the viewers are different- football fans are closer to fanatics; NFL fans have more who watch because they think that's what they're supposed to be doing.  By nightfall, there is other programming that they think they are supposed to be watching.  If they don't believe Bokolis, then they should do some kind of digging to find how many unique viewers come aboard for Sunday night and how many drop off.  While they're at it, they might want to look into how many of its Sunday-day viewers had already been watching the European matches, as this may be contributing to the weariness.

Bokolis is astounded that none of the discussion involves the product.  The root cause is the product.  The NFL would be foolish to think otherwise, and to think that much of this issue isn't its own doing.  So, I'm'a tell you what the fuck is gomes on.  The following is longhand for, Goodell is a cunt.
  • There has been too much change from what we used to know as football...the game is now rugby for fairies.  This is how you lose the older audience, as they lose connection with the game they knew in their youth.  The NFL and NBA might be changing with the times but, while they corrupt their product they are trading demographics.  Contrast it with MLB, whose statistics are sacred and which is essentially the same game it has been since the live-ball era/spitter was outlawed, plus or minus the tightness of the stitching of the balls.  Its fans are aging, and the younger crowd finds the game boring.
  • Proving that it's lose-lose, you can't please everyone, and some other platitudes, people are avoiding the NFL because, even in its pussy-whipped state, they still see the game as barbaric.
  • There is too much shit besides the game being pushed on us by the NFL, like its cause of the week, those god-awful bright jerseys and American flags the size of the field.  I'll bet y'all didn't know that the reason they came up with flag laws in the first place was to prevent the flag from being used for commercial purposes.
  • There is too much talk from the ex-jock- or worse, Gruden- analyst/color commentator.  Leaving aside that what I think about the analytical abilities of a guy who largely had to do exactly as he was told for his whole career, let the game breathe.  If I have to suffer through an analyst, at least get someone on there who was largely thinking for himself on the field, who had a rationale for doing things that wasn't drilled into him by the coach...and don't give me that coach, either.
  • There are too many commercials, the content of which indicates what they think of our intelligence.
  • There are too many rules, with too many nuances, including some that defy logic and one or two that defy sensibility.  It used to be a socialist league, but has devolved into Soviet communism.
  • There is too much replay without suitable resolution.  They've gotten a little better this season, but it's just too much.  There has to be a point where the resolution is, too fucking bad- run the clock.
  • There is far too much involvement by people other than the players.  The coaches talk to the QB and one defensive player via speaker in helmets.  Most plays are called from sideline, or from offensive coordinators who operate from above.  In fact, the offense goes no-huddle to force defense to line up so the offense can call a play accordingly.  The head coach can call timeout himself, and throw the challenge flag, after the geeks have had a look at the replay.
  • Conversely, there are far too many instances of boneheaded plays and acts, as there is ample opportunity for ill-prepared, ill-focused players across all caliber of teams to do whatever the Light shines upon them to do.  These coaches are so involved in the game yet, having all week to teach these guys their jobs, they fail to do so.
  • The thing that insults my intelligence the most is that the structure is such that the last 2-3 minutes matter more than the rest.  57 minutes of superiority can be undone by tactics, strategy and effective use of time outs.  If that's the case, I'll skip the 57 and show up for bonus coverage, or just watch the red zone channel.
Because an immediate effect was not seen, Bokolis didn't even consider the distaste from the last CBA negotiation, where the owners locked out the players and effectively stuck them up in starving them until they accepted a markedly worse deal than the existing, even with projected brisk revenue growth.  That's another story.

Individually, none of these dissatisfiers are going to make anyone altogether drop the game.  They do, however, chip away at commitment, enough to let other things sometimes take precedence and, eventually, hold.

That's all the fuck I got.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Two Clintons, two Bushes, one Obama and the wingbats' Trump all

Like showing up to the fruit stand later in the day, in a short time, it will fall upon the American people the painful duty of selecting a leader from two undesirable options.  Bokolis is not going to get into a full-on tale of the tape- that's not the point of this.  It's not so important to me to determine the better or more preferable choice, or the lesser of two evils- I gather supporting one side always partly been about not liking the other side but, these days, it seems predominately about that, regardless of the merits of your preferred side- so much as it is to reflect on how we've gotten here, including wondering WTF is wrong with the Republican party that they let themselves into a position where the Trump character is the prevailing sentiment of its voter base.  I don't care to get into solutions, as there's little chance this fixes itself nicely.

Once upon of time, we had Bill Clinton as President.  Halfway through his first term, the Republican party gained control of both houses of Congress for the first time since Hoover*.  They ran in there like it was a Black Friday sale and, like regime change from one dictatorship to another, undid 60 years of legislation in a hot minute.

* Bokolis knows that the Republicans snuck in a couple of sessions where they were the majority.  I said control.

In those days, Clinton profiled very much like Obama did in his first days.  Clinton more or less came out of nowhere.  Despite numerous derailments, he managed to gain his party's nomination.  With Ross Perot involved- think Ron Paul with a sprinkle of the pragmatic side of Trump- in the general election, enough votes were pulled away from George Bush (41) that Clinton carried some southern states and rode to victory with only 43% of the vote.

While they both had shallow ascensions, Obama was more obscure than Bill Clinton.  Obama gained the party nomination essentially because Hillary Clinton is unlikeable.  He was able to win because, never mind that he fooled all the youngins that change was afoot- Bokolis knew better, of course- but, after the mess the Republicans made during the prior eight years, they deserved to go 20 years without a Republican in the White House.

Similarly, Obama didn't, then couldn't get shit done.  He had carte blanche, even more so than Bush after 9/11, to rein in and shatter the banks, which managed to scuttle the economy in less than 10 years after given their own carte blanche.   Even with ~59% control of both houses, he tanked, opting for, and, perhaps, being bought off with, Obamacare, which, far from universal health, is a massive giveaway to the HMOs- like when the carting company comes to your business and tells you that you have to use them for garbage disposal...and, if you don't, when they aren't vandalizing your business, they call the health inspector on you.

Then, when he deservedly lost control of the House, its next Speaker spent four years cockblocking any legislation, doubtless at the behest of the political donor class.  Boehner, when no longer beholden to the money, lashed out at his erstwhile puppetmasters when he stepped down from Congress, intimating that these tactics are no good for the long-term well-being of the nation...way to get religion there.

Clinton's shallow victory was just as much a repudiation of Bush for going back on his "read my lips..." election promise and raising taxes, as well as for a recession happening on his watch.  Ironically, his broken promise, ill-timed to boot, was for the good of the nation in the intermediate term.

The country had changed a lot since the last time there was not a Republican in the White House.  Because of the markedly lower tax rates of the highest earners- even after Bush raised them- said highest earners found it expedient to use this money-directly or indirectly- to help influence policy, which is another way of saying tilting the playing field further in their favor.  The outgrowth was a new breed of Republicans, who, either beholden to their backers or married to a perverse ideology, sought to implement the wishes of said backers.  The 104th Congress was the payoff.

Clinton found it impossible to get much done.  Moreover, because the political donor class was still manageable back then, significant money still found its way into research and development in the '90s.  This led to a rolling economy in the middle of the decade and the tech boom-turned-bubble in the late part.

Clinton got with the program.  His second term was what Bokolis jokingly likes to say is the best Republican president we've ever had.  He signed all sorts of shit the Republicans ran through Congress, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which effectively undid part of the Glass-Stegall Act and paved the way for the finance monoliths of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo...funny how the next bubble was already being inflated before the previous bubble had even burst.

Not content with having a Democrat president who is functioning as a Republican, the Republicans tried to run Clinton out of office under the pretense that he was lying about smashing out one or more broads.  Clintons' levels of impropriety depend on your moral code.  Not everyone's is the same, so Bokolis would back off trying to rub Clinton's nose in it.  This kind of temperance is lost on a bunch of petulant zealots, seemingly having no moral code of their own, yet hell-bent on imposing one on you.  The alarm bells on this new-age McCarthyism couldn't be heard over the closing bell- these days, Wall Street money buys whack jobs all the air they'd like.

When it was time to elect Clinton's successor, well, we didn't quite accomplish that.  We had this WWF (E) dusty finish, where we eventually installed another George Bush (43).  Whereas our first impression of his father was as goofy George because he didn't often come off as a commanding presence, he was downright stately compared to Dubya, who came off as a straight-up dipshit.

This Bush embraced an economic theory that his father called voodoo economics.  Without getting too technical, the basic tenet of supply-side economics is that, by reducing taxes, the extra money to the taxpayer will be churned at a fast enough rate so that tax revenue will eventually increase.  In theory, there are conditions where this is possible; the most apparent would be where the extra money is placed in the hands of those who would spend the money as fast as they get it.

In practice, however, they gave the tax breaks to the highest earners, who have enough money so that they don't spend money as fast as they get it.  Such tax breaks didn't come to the lower half of earners.  When someone called bullshit! on that, we were told to pay no attention to that man behind the curtain; that, similarly, the richest having more money means that the economy will churn so that everybody will have more money.

In reality, this tilts the field so that the factors of production are concentrated in fewer hands, who then control the spigot.  This means that, far from having more money, the best that everybody else gets is a low-paying job working for the guy with all the tax breaks.  Mr Taxbreaks doesn't spend his lighter-taxed profits in any way that benefits his workers...well, he might buy pizza on Fridays or some shit.  More likely, he will spend his money on tax attorneys and legislators' ears to further tilt the playing field.

Quite ironic, isn't it, that, while the theory claims that the resulting increased velocity of money would overcome the decreased rate of taxation, the effect on velocity is to slow it.  Propaganda, obligations and complacency conspire to convince the masses that this is is the best course, that rich guy problems are somehow far worse than their own.

That wasn't true in the days of the robber barons, it wasn't true during Reagan's presidency- Reagan's legacy greatly benefits from the economy having nowhere to go but up; he correctly made obvious moves, but overdid it- and it's not true today.

If following along is too much trouble, simply remember that, if everybody had money, it wouldn't be worth anything.  Nonetheless, Bokolis maintains that, if you have nothing better to do with your money than lobby the government, then you have too much of it and are deserving of a punitive tax rate.

Dubya's history is still reasonably fresh, as it still shapes our present.  So, beyond the two tax cuts and two wars and two market crashes, Bokolis doesn't feel the need to rehash it.  Suffice it to say that he is a lowly-rated president.

However, he didn't ride in that way.  Even though Dubya was installed and not elected, even though the air was coming out of the tech bubble, times were good and there wasn't enough conviction in Al Gore for us to bet bent out of shape.  If that had happened in today's climate or, if we had some hindsight, shit might've just jumped off.

But, Dubya got a relatively wide berth.  In the aftermath of 9/11, despite a recession, after the bread and circuses tax cut, we gave him full support.  It took until about when the markets bottomed out for some real grumblings.  Even after it became apparent that he was a blithering fool- as opposed to the affable idiot we'd already known- we gave him a second term, likely because we were pot-committed.

The war criminal pieces started soon thereafter.  Whether that's the case or not, Dubya surely earned the vitriol.  But, with Obama, the worst president ever nonsense started and his ass hadn't yet warmed the seat.  In fact, the petulance extends to all things liberal. The upshot was that, unlike the Bush bashers there could be no credence given to the Obama bashers, no matter how ineffective Obama turned out to be.

It used to be, about 15-20 years ago, that you'd run into a few of these yahoos, indoctrinated into thinking keep calm and fuck those evil liberals.  These days, the countryside is full of them, lathered up that liberals are plotting to overrun their cow-town with Blacks, Jews and queers...and, oh yes, Arabs now.  Bokolis wondered why that is.  It could be that

  • the internet had become more navigable to all,
  • Facebook had turned to the old folks home it is,
  • back then, we could play online poker and trade music files, leaving not as much time for 9/11 conspiracy theories and porn,
  • the contentious nature of war, and the contentious circumstances of the Iraq war, have triggered a pervasion of a choose sides mentality,
  • after their boy took such abuse and, hopped up on conservative talk radio, the right-wing crazies were loaded for bear,
  • that we're simply bigger jerks than we were

That last point is definitely true.  Bokolis would like to link this to the rise to exalted status currently enjoyed by the corporation, which favors such sociopathic behavior.  But that is PhD-thesis shit, so I don't want to do it here and deny any of those muthafuckas the opportunity.

If you buy the idea, and you believe shit rolls downhill, you can picture it rolling down to the rank and file and carried over to the public sector, as the utter lack of ability to run a tight ship in government opened the way for the pragmatic to step into the void.  Of course, it doesn't happen so that we correct to some happy medium- we get some Newton's laws shit happening, where the opposite undesirable scenario takes hold.  In this case, it's the reign of the hyper-pragmatic asshole.

In that regard, Giuliani was the archetype.  Those who had suffered him since his days as US Attorney- no, he didn't lock up Bokolis or any associates, but we used to call him Giussolini- knew him to be a dickhead bent on taking over the city.  As mayor, he got shit done, being a massive prickbag in the process.  Fewer guns (and panhandlers) on the streets cleaned up the city for the chain stores, but also gave room to the fake thugs and frat boys, who, no longer fearing the reign of the tec, found voice to chirp.  Nonetheless, for his work in the aftermath of 9/11, when a guy like him comes in handy, the cow-towners adopted and christened him America's mayor, just as we were getting rid of him.

While they didn't follow the boilerplate, the Giuliani image spread to the rest of the nation, spitting out all these tough-talking, ass-kickers.  Around these parts, a noteworthy example is Chris Christie- that fake thug all grown up, still believing he's a tough guy, but even money in any conflict to have strips of bacon cut off his back.  In politics, they use the term chickenhawk, which is not an exact depiction, but gets the point across.

Christie was always an asshole- Bridgegate should have eliminated all doubt.  Sometimes, through some anomaly, they have charisma.  Bokolis has been aware of Donald Trump on the TV since I started giving a shit about things other than sports and cartoons.  I've always understood him to be a windbag, and likely a scumbag.

He's been threatening to run for President- always as a Democrat- since the '80s.  But, he's always been the essence of no labor pains, just the baby.  It never stuck, but Bokolis always sensed that, as much as he lacked the necessary diligence, he was throwing things out there to see what stuck.

At some point, Trump went national, with a TV show acting like the sociopath described above, like a Steinbrenner.  It didn't so much revealed Trump to the masses as it revealed the masses to Trump.  As a NYC parochial, he was stuck operating as a Democrat.  He's always said this kind of shit, though to a lesser degree, as he didn't often get his (figurative) hair mussed up like he has in this campaign.  But, nationally, he played better to the peckerwoods as a Republican.  This switch quite likely played no small part in why it stuck this time.

People have romantic notions of themselves.  Many are delusional enough that they see a bunch of themselves in him, or delusional enough to want to be Trump (or at least a contemporary), a guy with fuck you money, a guy who talks a good fuck- or at least a good pussy-grab- a guy who looks like he gets shit done.  Maybe they think they are just a half-step removed from being able to project as such a bad-ass.  This is the new American Dream.

So, irrespective of reality being almost certainly far from it, all you have to tell them that Liberals are conspiring to keep you from this dream.  That's more than enough to turn many men, even thinking men, into wingnuts, or at least a bunch of Barry Goldwaters.  As can be implied, this had been in place well before Trump; he is an effect, not a cause.

He is also a tool, but not so much in the pejorative sense.  Considering Hillary had bought her nomination beforehand, she had the time to engineer her matchup.  If there was one Republican she was certain to defeat, it was Trump, where she wouldn't have to campaign on the issues; just wind him up and wait.  It was a total sucker job, only possible if you have obstinate ideologues at the helm.

Trump winds up being a vehicle to indicate how, you can throw up any dingbat and they will still get the support of 40% of the people- 43% if the opponent is utterly unlikeable.  He could never be a viable candidate- I mean, really, WTF would have to happen so that a wave develops, not to carry Trump to victory, but for a majority to conclude, yeah, we this is the muthafucka need in there.  As the good of the nation would demand an honest-to-goodness Republican, Bokolis laments that the party was snookered into running him up there.

Bokolis supposes that, as they have during the previous two Democratic administrations, the Republicans get what they want just the same, as Hillary fights almost as dirty as Cheney, is as beholden to the political donor class as Boehner was and will do its bidding.  The only thing different is the sign on the bathroom.  It's left for me to rhetorically wonder, as many a shady associate used to say, who's fucking who?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Schameless Schill

Curt Schilling is no stranger to spouting off.  He came into the league thought of as difficult and a blowhard- that's a nice way of saying asshole attention whore, which itself is a nice way of saying cunt, but it's early yet- but managed through much of his career without too much of a fuss.  It picked back up as he neared the end of his playing days and, has continued apace towards curmudgeonly thereafter.

In Schilling's post-playing days, the topics have often turned to the political, on the spectrum of which he camps considerably to the right.  His rants have tended towards the over-simplistically pragmatic, fully in keeping with his reputation.  He was shit-canned from ESPN, ostensibly because he had become a political liability, but just as much because he had become overbearing.

This, of course, allows Schilling to lump ESPN into his pile of liberal jagoffs with the rest of those  feeling crossed by his bullshit.  Pursuant to the points made at the end of the last post, you can lump Schilling right in with the pile of hyper-pragmatic chickenhawks.

In the wake of some narcissistic habib upset at his lot in life crying out for attention by blowing up shit in NYC and New Jersey, his latest bloviation is a FB post where he gave us his (reeking) Trump-esque 'solution' to ridding and insulating ourselves of and from such elements.  Let's see if this shit works...



Surrrre, someone just asked him.  I'm sure y'all know your way around FB better than Bokolis, so you know how to open that up so you can see the whole thing.  If you abstain from FB, perhaps the twattery machine is more palatable.

The highlights:

  • suspend immigration
  • secure the borders so nobody gets in, least of all foreigners
  • overhaul the "department of immigration," otherwise known as the USCIS, ridding it of corruption, and asking it to do the work of a sprawling bureaucracy
  • build a "Berlin Wall" along the entire southern border, using proceeds seized in criminal arrests
  • "ANYONE" pulling some shit like what happened this past weekend, like the dickless piece of shit who keyed Vincent Vega's car, no trial, no jury, straight to execution
Bokolis supposes offering counterpoints or proposing a better use of resources will only serve as a contrast between how progressive and reactionary minds view the world.  What Schilling really needs is a dose of his own pragmatism.

Is it enough to say how quaintly Soviet?  Will that evoke enough of a sense of irony?  Is it sufficient to convey that while, on one hand, Schilling's politics are consistent with a favoring low income taxes and a small federal government, short on resources and regulations, this advocates pouring funds into isolating the USA, which would certainly further decrease revenues?  How about that, while Schilling implies corruption in the USCIS, he doesn't anticipate the lengths to which law enforcement, in its zeal, has proven it will go to seize the "money and assets" of people ultimately proven to be innocent, then refuse to return those assets in due course?


Schilling (and everyone else, for that matter) should be happy that his counterparts on the opposite side of the political spectrum, though no less convinced that opposing views are vile, don't fight as he fights.  Because, when they do- see Clinton comma Hillary- it makes for a sad shitshow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

kneeling down for the flag

The NFL has launched another edition of its rugby for fairies show.  During the rehearsals, people went and got their panties in a bunch over a number of players- first, and most (in)famously, Colin Kaepernick- not following protocol during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.  He was protesting what he perceives as the maltreatment of minorities or somethingorrather.

On opening weekend, likely as much in response to the critics of Kaepernick's actions, other players took up the protest, some solo, some communally.  If nothing else, it compels those who would brush off the stance of a back-up player, a rather disliked player at that, to consider the underlying issue.

Bokolis, whose prevailing philosophy has always been fuck tha police!, was originally going to incorporate a rant about the police forces trending towards militaristic since 9/11, about how cops seem to be confused as to whether they're out to protect the people, or protect the state- if the latter, since any state is understood to be corrupt...

While I maintain that cops should always operate with the understanding that they are not always right, I don't know how sincerely Bokolis can squawk fuck tha police! these days.  Because of some combination of knowing a few words, not looking like a pushover and resembling one of them, my dealings with police fall in line with the vast majority.  All manner of media provide us with extreme examples- on both sides- of police behavior- from those doing the bravest, even the sweetest things for people, to those who treat suspects of marginal infractions as if they were insurgents.  I've never been one to bite at either.  My guess is that scumbag cops were scumbags before they were cops and are scumbags in most aspects of their lives.  The opposite also holds.  In other words, how they are as cops is likely pretty much how they are as people.

This isn't even about whether Kaepernick's stance has merit, because that doesn't matter to Bokolis.  This is about people yet again trying to impose their value system on the rest of us.

Bokolis finds it odd that people, in criticizing Kaepernick, take the old think of the children! lament and apply it to veterans, to conclude that Kaepernick is insulting everyone who has ever fought for this country.  Leaving aside that it's not necessarily the view of many veterans, to decide and aggregate the view of an entire group is a special kind of insult.  We've done it with many other groups, but we're breaking new ground by doing it to our veterans.  I'm not sure whether this patronizing represents the rest of us projecting guilt for not having the guts to serve in the military, but not serving doesn't mean that we're not fighting the war at home.

Further, while the rest of us are all too eager to cede protocol for addressing the anthem and flag to our servicemen/women, who aren't even asking for it, the anthem and flag belong to all of us and are nobody's to give away.  If it's not impeding our ability to honor, how each of us chooses to address them is not subject to our sensibilities or our tastes.  Teach your kids how to act; keep your fucking mouth shut about the next guy.

Bokolis can't fully define that for y'all, even if I know that's what everybody wants.  If some joker 15 feet away wants to keep his hat on and play pocket pool during the anthem instead of standing at attention or with right palm on heart, while it's distasteful on several levels, it's no one's place to call him on it...well, you can, but you may find yourself facing an 'existential' question.  On the other hand, should you have your ability to honor impeded, I would encourage you to do as Rick Monday.

There is a modified view, for those who condemn the protest but don't have the guts to stand as such, that the ball game is not the place for it.  The reasons include that it is a distraction that disrupts team unity and that this should not be done on the boss' time (or dime).

Teams almost always become disjointed because of differing intensity levels.  Differing (social, political) views could- ...could...c'mon, this ain't the first team to have a guy voice his views- cause this, but only with an accompanying lack of related discourse/communication.  In this case, Kaepernick stepped to his team and addressed it.  If anything, that would help team unity.  Besides, given the ADHD of present-day humans, the modern athlete in particular, who is always in a less than suitably-focused state, a butterfly could provide at least as much of a distraction.

Then there's the feeling that your views shouldn't be expressed at work, that everything is awesome.  Well, as part of the asinine idea of maximizing shareholder value, we've drifted into territory where the moment your views are shown to not directly align with those of the corporation, whether you're the CEO or work in the mail room, you will get clipped with the quickness, with your ability being little to no factor.  It's like the saying, that a benevolent dictator is your best friend until you disagree on something sufficiently important so as to incite murder.  Employers have not only acquired the ability to restrict free speech while you are at work, through monitoring social media, they have acquired the ability to restrict it round the clock.  To extend employers this privilege is to render the worker a slave, or at least a serf.

Professional athletes are in a unique position where they have leverage to, like Joe Pesci in Casino, tell their owners, I'm what counts out here, not your fucking country clubs.  This is important, but always lost on the public, which, at each work stoppage, tends to whinge more about the players' greed, even while expecting it from the owners (there's that shareholder maximization idea again).  After all, the owners, even Jerry Jones, can't throw a football.  If the owners are able to shove a shit CBA down a bunch of millionaires' throats, your bosses will do far worse to you.

As for it not having a place on the ballfield, if you ask Bokolis, neither does most of all the other bullshit they do.  To a public weary from being ridden all day/week/life, we'd like to perceive sports as an escape from all the bullshit.  Bokolis has news for you:  the bullshit has crept into sports and taken root, and you've eaten it right up.

Take the singing of God Bless America as part of the 7th inning stretch in about half the ballparks.    You've eaten it right up and yell at people to take off their hats.  Soon after its incorporation after 9/11, the PA announcer's introduction has invariably included a salute to our troops, who protect...our way of life.  It all sounds great and virtuous on the surface, such is the power of propaganda.  The call for continued support of our military is intended to combat war weariness, hugely necessary when the nation would be at war- if you'll recall, the tie-breaking vote was cast by a guy who was going to profit by how the war was conducted- for so long (and on a bullshit premise) that it has had to constantly amend its redeployment policies to do the equivalent of sending concussed players back on the field.  They are so desperate to condition us that the ballgame is used as a vehicle.  As for the part about 'our way of life,' it's a neat way to say, we have appetites, and those appetites necessitate acquiring resources.  It those muthafuckas don't want to give them up, well, we'll just have to take them without wracking us with guilt.

aside- This is not Bokolis playing holier-than-thou.  There are far too many people in the world and, with American appetites making such demands on resources, we are essentially telling the Brown world that it has no right to exist and/or no right to live as we do.  So long as corporations are telling me that this and that are on hand, I'm going to want them, and turn a blind eye to how many had to be killed so I can have it.  To boot, corporations are leveraging our armed forces to domesticate these people and put them to work, which eventually cheapens the value of our labor, all the more reason to want to exterminate....fucked up, right?

See how this game is played?  But wait, there's more.

For its part, the NFL brings out flags- as some celebrity it has procured sings the anthem, after the  new album has been plugged- as big as the field without the slightest regard that this might be overdoing it.  They bring out servicemen/women to hold these flags.  The fans eat this shit up.  Bokolis is a bit ignorant on the specifics, but I believe they hold a salute to troops on the games nearest to Veterans Day, when they hit us over the head with it, because wearing a poppy like the Brits wouldn't be enough.  'Military appreciation' promotions are done throughout sports.  Bokolis would give more examples, but I tire.  Regardless, this is the same NFL that force-feeds its preferred causes to its players, yet fines the players for pushing their own causes; Soviet communism lives on.



Again, this is not to say these things don't have redeeming value or are somehow evil.  Of course the human-interest aspect is compelling.  When that little girl threw out the first pitch and the catcher took off his mask to reveal that it was her dad returning home from duty and she ran to him and jumped into his arms, even while my pet cynic wondered why he would sacrifice any time with his family just to pull the surprise, Bokolis quivered.

Nonetheless, there is an element of propaganda involved, however subtle, and it needs to be called out.  It blinds from the larger picture, one that shows the state combining with the NFL to intrude into the sanctuary of sports to present the military, the flag, the nationalism, all of which are associated with the right.  It doesn't take Bokolis blathering on to realize that this country has moved considerably to the right in the last 35 years, the people seduced by the proselytizers and by the promise of a relatively low income tax burden when they inevitably strike it rich.  In the process, we've been swarmed by hyper-pragmatic assholes who fashion themselves ass-kickers, yet these chicken hawks can't kick any ass, with the possible exception of a few those they term 'weenies.'  Along the way, they've jabbed us to pieces with use taxes to the point that we effectively pay socialist tax rates, without the accompanying government services.

We are so far along that, if godfather Reagan were around today, he'd have to go back to being a Democrat, as he couldn't get put on a Republican ticket to run for recorder of deeds.  When the slightest lean to the left is met with howls of 'socialism,' it should say a lot.  To criticize it all renders one a jerk, as people don't like to admit it and certainly don't like to be bothered.  But it is as necessary as it is unpopular, lest we wake up one day and wonder whatthefuck we have done.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Governors Ball 2016, experience and review

So, Bokolis decided to switch things up by going to this Governor's Ball that's been taking place on Randall's Island for these past few years.  Somehow, over the last two years, I've taken to going to concerts.  I used to not understand why, as Bokolis is decidedly not a people person.

It's not that Bokolis dislikes people; it's that I find them, generally, to be a waste of time or an outright disappointment.  Here's why: if I'm going to be involved in something, everything needs to be done with excellence.  This applies to work, play, study, planning, preparation, whateverthefuck else you've got.  I would tell bosses, I don't leave my house and trudge into the office to fuck off, especially when there are things to fix and riddles to solve.  Similarly, when I was captain of any team, I would tell them- and, I would save this for when I thought we were up against it- that I don't leave my house to lose.

aside- I am far more concerned with performing at a high level than I am with winning, but presenting it as such makes it virtually impossible to get the message across and, consequently, the desired effort.

Most people, being reactive, tend to leave well enough alone.  Bokolis has long-realized this, and often tell my (nominal) superiors that, in everyday situations, because I'm resigned to moving at another's pace, I'm just alright; it's those times when the rest of the world is scared shitless that I come in handy.

Now, this mentality makes Bokolis invaluable in pressure situations but, no matter whether they are superiors, equals or subordinates, it is NOT the way to play well with others.  Bokolis can, at times, suppress this, but I cannot compromise.  I just can't- my beliefs may change, but my system cannot be compromised; suffering is preferable.

Therefore, Bokolis finds people easier to deal with when they need me- not so much me, but leadership- because, in following, they stay out of my way.  What is weirder still is that I don't even like being a leader- unprovoked, I am generally utterly unwilling to impose my will upon people- it typically arises from being the least unpleasant of choices.

To compound that with even more weirdness, I am very keen to see that people have a good time while around me.  It's something Bokolis managed to pick up from my old man without him ever saying it to me.

Having gone to a few concerts with my spawn, Bokolis has gained a sense of how people react, in large numbers, both collectively and independently.  While it may seem counterintuitive, the predictability of people makes them less disappointing.  Furthering the weirdness, in the process, I also realized that I enjoy the vibe of so many happy people, even if I'm good with no interaction...even if it was 2-1 birds, which is useless to Bokolis if they are posturing rather than pursuing.

The concert-going is even more confounding to the people around Bokolis, who, knowing my ambivalence towards human contact, find it incredulous that I would go to concerts alone.  My answer is simple:  When I am inclined to interact, I am engaging enough- and my looks certainly don't hurt- that it wouldn't be a problem.

We'll leave aside that, thankfully, my spawn, to varying degrees, are more social than Bokolis.  I also encourage them to be venturing, especially since they have me as protection (I look like I could fuck you up).  But, they are not yet cool enough to like anything beyond the commercial bubble-gummer crap.  Therefore, to recoup some coolness, Bokolis descended onto Randall's Island for this (scheduled) 3-day event.

I'd done my research and consulted with others who know these bands better than I.  I'd decided that the Friday lineup was strong, Saturday weak, with Sunday falling closer to Friday.  Of course, Sunday was rained out and Saturday evening brought rain (we'll get to that).

With the benefit of hindsight, I'd've just gone to Friday, as my feet were wrecked after two days.  It worked out with the weak lineup on Saturday, because Bokolis had crap to do during the day and the Killers made the whole show- rain, sore feet and all- worth it.

Bokolis rolled up early on Friday to a pleasantly sparse crowd.  I caught The London Souls.  As you see, they look like Lenny Kravitz and the guy from Party Rock song.  They have a good sound and they sounded good live, the best curtain-jerker you could ask for.  After that, it was Black Pistol Fire, who were phenomenal.  The London Souls may have sounded cleaner, but Black Pistol Fire was both a better sound- Bokolis' favorite sound- and a better show, to the point that I was thinking it could only get worse from here.

Then there was Elle King.  Bokolis went with her over Meg Mac because...I don't know, really.  I figured Elle King's stuff was more in keeping with my expectations for acts at this event.  So, this broad shows up looking like she'd just left the bar after about 24 hours of drinking to do her set.  That red get-up she donned- and the mic stand with the cupholder- took far more effort to make than she did to look presentable.  She had the big-boy red cup, too!  I quickly grinded to find a third chubby blond for a bizarro fuck, marry, kill.  I quickly came up with Meghan Trainor, but stalled out.  I suppose I should've come up with Adele, but neither are on Adele's level and it's too easy to say "marry" to Adele for her money.

Bokolis walked out on Elle- I just got tired of her- and milled around, eventually finding Meg Mac.  I heard one song, thought ah, whatever and bounced.  The next act was Bully.  They sounded better than I thought they would and the lead singer has the scream down.  It works proper.  They come off as punk, with a sprinkle of Green Day, or whatever else that bird listened to growing up.

The thing Bokolis picked up on is how shy the lead singer seems.  She could not face the crowd when speaking, instead looking down at and twiddling with her guitar. This, of course, is incongruous with the screams.  This is a pretty blonde girl who, except maybe for the hair, doesn't seem interested in dressing up or cultivating any sex appeal, preferring instead to play Cobain.  Anyway, except for the excessive shyness, it played...well.

Bokolis largely skipped the next batch of performers.  I took in a bit of Christine and the Queens and was almost mesmerized by her weirdness.  I then snapped out of it and figuratively ran for dear life.  This brought me to Action Bronson, which gave me my first sense of how big the crowd was going to get.

Bokolis swore this muthafucka, fat as he is, was going to have a heart attack on stage and die.  He didn't, though.  He paced himself, brought out a couple of other guys to rap a few bars, and passed up the whole watermelon passed to him.  I expected him to Gronk it, but he eventually did a Highland Games toss over the shoulder.  Oh yeah, his flow is good, DJ is better and the show was decent, if predictably sloppy.

At this point, Bokolis needed to get off my feet, so I went and found a perfect view on the berm for Of Monsters and Men and made sure to remember to hit the same spot for Beck.  In both cases, it was the perfect way to watch them.  I was surprised at how many bullets Beck had in his gun...varied, too.  In between, I caught Father John Misty, that is, I caught him when he eventually came on.  He was the first act to blow the timeline, which was adhered to by all previous acts.  While Bokolis gets the whole Jesus-as-pornstar act, it seemed he would play better at a dedicated show, or at least one more in line with his tempo, which seemed too slow for this day.

Bloc Party performed to twilight and increasingly comfortable climes.  It proved to be the most fun time of Friday and the lead singer looks like a cool bloke to hang with.

The Friday headliners were The Strokes, a massive band who need no intro from Bokolis.  Having been at it so long, however, they are often bored out of their minds and, being a crew of New Yorkers, aren't interested in disguising it.  Friday night was no exception, as they went on a full 25 minutes late.  But, even bored, they are a cut above any other band, methodically grinding out the crispest music of the night.

Oh yeah...Kim of Matt and Kim...mileage, but borderline smashable.  Bokolis swears I was once chatted up by this bird in Williamsburg, but I can't substantiate it. No matter- if you've been chatted up by 1(0)((0)) tatted up brunette(s) in Billyburg, you've been chatted up by all of them.

----

Saturday, Bokolis had the aforementioned shit to do, and didn't show up until about the time Lord Huron was up.  I might have liked to have caught Albert Hammond Jr., Jr., and even seeing whether the bird from Misterwives was worth a fingerbang but, in both cases, missing out was probably for the best.

Bokolis got there hungry and parched, so I got myself together and was ready in time for De La Soul.  This took me back to my youth, so I was in a happy place- and strategic spot- for the show.  They paced themselves as well.  The show wasn't great- Bokolis never likes how the rappers make the crowd work- but it was a great time.

Next up was haim- I suppose they style themselves in all caps, but they get none from Bokolis...a link is plenty.  I figured these birds were now too big to pass up.  My prime spot on the berm was occupied by some chubby Asian bird.  This displeased Bokolis.  Once I heard this act, it displeased me even more, triggering an Act of Bokolis.  It poured during their whole set...nyeh!

Bokolis entered the tent a bit before Purity Ring was set to go on.  It already was very crowded in there, and became a human crush- possibly serendipitous in winning some fans for the act- when the rain returned.  I maneuvered myself so that I was around people palatable to be stuck with, and proceeded to bond with them.  I eventually tired of human contact and escaped back into the pouring rain, taking relative shelter under a tree.

The rain stopped soon thereafter, just in time for The Killers' set.  Whoa! Does this son of a bitch ever have the birds melting.  If he told them to <do unmentionable things to themselves or each other> they'd gladly do it.  Bokolis concedes that the lead singer is almost as good-looking as I am, but a far, far better showman.  In the end- talk about masses of people being happy- their show was itself worth the price of admission.

It turned out to be the end, too.  The place was in bad shape...it wasn't bad where it had been sodded, but where there was firm ground was a muddy mess.  The organizers threatened a delay and/or cancellation in a midnight e-mail.  The morning brought a delay, which conditioned Bokolis for an outright cancellation.

Sure enough, it started to rain late in the morning, a flash half-hour downpour, which led to the cancellation e-mail shortly after noon.  While the organizers may have been a little quick in pulling the plug, it turned out to be the correct move.  It didn't rain through the whole afternoon but right about the time announced special guest Prophets of Rage would have been performing in the tent, more heavy rains arrived.  The crush that would've occurred in that scenario would've likely turned things ugly.

Truth be told, Bokolis was out of it on Sunday- can't talk about what happened after I left the concert- and was happy to get a Sunday of rest.  Two days was enough for me...Kuntye not going on was just desserts for all.

Monday, March 21, 2016

reboot what?

Like the rest of the poor slobs out there, Bokolis gets caught up by the onset of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball tournament to the point of being essentially mummified.  In prior years, my interest would consistently hit the wall about midway through Friday's card.  I always figured that this was because I'd been drinking pretty much straight through from Wednesday night to Friday and that I was now surrounded by the amateur work crowd.  However, I've significantly cut down on my drinking since the end of summer and, since about the middle of December, I've been essentially dry.

Also, Bokolis watched virtually ZERO college basketball this year.  Ever since I decided that the format of basketball games are an insult to my intelligence, I've cut down on my viewing.  However, there was nothing to register on the radar to make me follow.  Of course, this would be to my detriment come bracket time, but the whole bracket-as-science thing seems more than a little silly to me.

Besides, Bokolis already told y'all a long time ago how flawed the tournament setup is.  Half the seedings are screwed up because of conference-protecting the regionals, the other half because the selection committee is less than diligent in assessing the one-bid conference champions.

In any event, I don't see the logic of letting at-large teams directly into the tournament while two conference champions have to win a play-in game.

So, how do we fix this? Let in more teams, of course. You can let in teams from smaller conferences that may have dominated the regular season, but faltered in the conference tournament, and some teams from mid-majors. That will surely take the total up, out of bitching-range. The third best team from a small conference, a middling mid-major, the 8th place team from the Big 10 can't say shit, because none can viably claim that they are better than one another.

Structure the tournament like the English FA cup, where the top teams don't play the opening rounds. I would have 76 teams in total. The first round starts with 24 teams. The second round would be 32 teams; 20 teams added to the 12 survivors. For the third round, 16 teams would be added to the 16 advancing from second round. The fourth round would be 16 more teams added to the 16 advancing teams, making for a 32-team, 5-round knockout stage.

That renders useless the already-pointless conference tournaments, which only reward the slackers for getting hot at the right time. I've also added two rounds to the dance, yet reduced the top teams' workload by one round.


Easy enough, right?

For these reasons, Bokolis was interested to experience how I'd receive the tournament this year.  The routine was different this year, with me running errands each morning and hustling back to a television or, if things ran long, resigned to watching on the app.  Sure enough, even with multiple laptops at the house substituting for multiple TVs at the bar, I was done before the Friday evening session.

But, because Bokolis wasn't drained by 36 out of 48 hours spent drinking, I still had appetite for perspective.  Not coincidentally, I stumbled upon some Yahoo article on how the tournament needs a reboot.  Since this banana claims AP status, I gave him a wide enough in the hopes of some insight.  Well, I suppose I gained some, but not the insight I sought.

Now, these kids may be moving a bit too fast for Bokolis, or their ADD is far worse, or the dictionary is now Wikipedia (where anyone can edit) but, I thought reboot meant restart, or maybe even redefine the (selection) process/format.  I did not know it had come to mean forget what you've seen and change your perspective because the event has been forever redefined.

Yet, this banana decided that, just because a 2-seed (Michigan State) lost to a 15-seed (Middle Tennessee State) in the very beginning, the tournament is so fundamentally changed that there is bound to be an outlying result.  No, that is what happened in the super bowl, when, on the Panthers' first possession, they didn't award that catch and, two plays later, sack-strip-recovery-TD.  Even then, that play, while branding the game, wasn't all that different from what subsequently happened.

It works out that, on average, a (2) loses to a (15) every four years.  Given that it's more often than Bokolis would expect, it's hardly cause for uproar.  Besides, MSU got such a cushy trip last year- kind officiating, other teams' melting down, coach Izzo using his resources and abusing a system that allows for cynical tactics- that this year's crashing out amounts to mean reversion.

The historical winning percentage runs pretty consistently, from a perfect record for the top seeds to even for the 8-9 game, except for the 5-12 matchup, where the record is the same as for the 6-11 matchup.  This implies jury-rigged matchups to feed into the 5-12 legend, though Bokolis might be gulled into believing that would be giving the committee too much credit.

The writer claims it's been a tournament for the lower seeds because of the record number of wins by teams seeded 10 or higher, and then followed up with noting that three of the 9-seeds won, which is not a good look.  So, basically, he expects us to jerk off all over ourselves because some teams no one is going to miss were clipped, gashing our brackets.

When a result is perceived as outlying, some analysis is in order.  Firstly, the 7, 8, 9 and 10 seeds are interchangeable.  Their positioning and seeding is for convenience.  If a (10) beats a (7), it's not news.    It's not much more notable if a (6) beats an (11) and the the 5-12 is now a caricature.  For the purposes of addressing them, which, admittedly, is easy to do in hindsight

  • Wichita State is not an (11)- a blatant error,
  • Baylor choked against Yale and allowed some Skull & Bones, shiny-faced white-boy to light them up for 25- it might raise a People's eyebrow, but it's been known to happen,
  • Purdue's choke job- they seemed like they were actively trying to lose- makes Baylor's look like bad luck,
  • Northern Iowa was better than an (11), regardless of the half-court winner- they HAD Texas A&M and pissed it away,
  • Seton Hall (6) was grossly overseeded based on its conference tournament result and came in flat against a Gonzaga (11) side that subsequently smoked its second round opponent even worse- if you flipped the seeds, few would've batted an eye
(11) beating (6) is only significant because it happened three times.  But, we've established that the committee royally undervalued its 11-seeds, two of which had to survive Dayton for the distinction.  Individual upsets become more significant when 13-seeds and above are clipping the higher seeds.
  • Cal had no business being a 4-seed, especially with the distractions- Bokolis picked Hawai'i, so it was expected,
  • West Virginia, in addition to having a useless coach, showed the same brick-city issues it had in its Big East days, hardly deserving a 3-seed- but SFA was markedly better than a (14) and showed as much in the second round,
  • Michigan State losing is legitimately WTF?!-stunning but, as described above, amounts to mean reversion
Not leaving bad enough alone, the writer fires another, saying that the top seeds survived.  In reality, three of them beat the piss out of their opponents and North Carolina, despite sleepwalking through the first half, won comfortably.  Except for MSU, none of these are shocking, a couple were flush or meltdowns, several were cases of bad seeding and a few were even predictable.  Taking an event that happens about every four years and using it to sell that the tournament has been flipped on its head is making a mountain out of a molehill.  

After two rounds, 12 of the 16 teams are seeded 5th or better and six of the eight top seeds are still alive.  We don't need a reboot, but the writer needs a refresh, cuz he thirsty AF for a byline.