Friday, March 02, 2018

Oscar Picks

Best Actress: Frances McDormand
Best Actor: Gary Oldman
Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro

As for Best Picture...

I know it's not going to be Get Out or Dunkirk, they have too many awesome things. 

Phantom Thread, Darkest Hour, The Post, Call Me By Your Name don't have the pre-Oscars acclaim to win. 

So it's down to Lady Bird, Three Billboards or Shape of Water. 

According to the betting market it's a two horse race between Three Billboards and Shape of Water. 

My guts says Three Billboards wins the acting awards above but not Best Picture...the concept is kinda awesome. 

Meanwhile Shape of Water is getting the Director's award so it'll likely be the Best Picture winner as well. 

Best Picture: The Shape of Water

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Watching USA Curling Win Gold

Telling people that you watched curling from 12:30am past 3am on a late Friday, early Saturday morning makes you sound really lame. But I knew I had to do it. I told Brittany before, this is a once in a lifetime chance, to see USA win curling gold.

It was an incredible game, tied 5-5 in the 7th. And in the 8th, when USA needed to score, they did this:

In part due to the ridiculous timing of it, this will be one sporting event I'll never forget.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Road to a Curling Medal for Team USA

Here's the results for the round-robin curling schedule.

Only 4 teams advance to the playoffs. The top three in yellow, plus one of the teams in green after facing off in a tiebreaker match. 

So the USA advanced to the playoff with a 5-4 record. Cool, right? How'd they do that?

After 6 games, Team USA was 2-4.  They'd beaten South Korea and Denmark, but lost to Italy, Sweden, Japan and Norway. 

Their remaining three games: Canada, Switzerland, Great Britain. To make the playoffs, they'd have to win all three games against teams with better records. 

On Monday, USA was 2-4, Canada 4-2. Going into the 9th, it was 5-5 with USA holding the hammer. The final shot of the 9th, was a nice bump that scored two for the USA. 7-5. In the 10th, Canada comes up with their own double and ties it up, 7-7. Free curling! 

Here's where Canada's last yellow stone ends up:

So to win, USA needs to knock out the yellow stone. To do that they have to get by the yellow guard at the top of the screen. Here comes the shot...

Shuster screams for sweeping as soon as he lets it go. The announcer says, "Panic."

It crosses the hog line and is coming really close to the yellow guard. Can it get past it?

Yes! It narrowly passes the guard...

Here it is making contact with the yellow stone...

Perfect shot. Knocks the yellow one out, scores 2, for an overtime 9-7 win. All of that just to get to 3-4 and knock Canada back to 4-3. Both USA and Canada would win their next two games. 

In the semis, USA would face Canada again, and again take them down. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Re-ordering 311's From Chaos

311 released their 6th album From Chaos in June 2001. It's a pretty good album. There's something that's always bugged me. Over 16 years later, I finally did what I've always thought about. Putting the tracks in proper order.

Here's my re-ordered From Chaos:

For comparison, here's the official track order:

Why did I do this, for the first time in my life, for this specific album? 90% of it is the title track. Simply put, the way this track opens with the drums immediately followed by the vocals, with a classic opening lyric...this is the perfect way to open an album. Within 5 seconds, you're into it. Here's the song I'm talking about, in case you've never heard it: From Chaos.

As I was moving tracks around, trying to figure out how to end it, I discovered a few things. Champagne, Uncalm, and I'll Be Here Awhile all have the same chill vibe that make for a nice  ending. Of the three Uncalm is more of a transition (half-rock, half-chill vibe) so I put that first. I'll Be Here Awhile is a good ending track, but of all the songs, there was nothing that could follow Champagne. Here's the last 40 seconds or so of that song, that is a proper ending for an album: Champagne

Amber also fits into the chill vibe section, but partly because it has so much radio nostalgia and partly because you need something to break up all the rock songs so it's not completely unbalanced, I moved that track up to the #4 spot.

So yeah, take a listen if you want and let me know what you think, if I've improved upon the studio release.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Bullshit They Feed Us

Once again, Paul Ryan and many Republican leaders say "now is not the time to jump to conclusions," that now is not the time to even talk about gun control. Here's a notable example from a conservative commentator:

This comes up a lot so it seems necessary to address it plainly. This is bullshit. For many reasons. 

When something happens, we (in all other cases) address it. When 9/11 happened, the US Government moved quickly to tighten airport security. Then later when someone tried to hide a bomb in their shoe, they added that to the airport safety rules. To this day, we all have to take our shoes off because of one incident. The TSA even introduced newer, better body scanners. 

Imagine if after the Challenger explosion, NASA said that now (and forever) is the time to grieve and not look into the problem and never addressed the faulty O-ring and it kept happening again and again. We'd think they were pretty stupid, right? By the way, I feel pretty comfortable assuming that NASA still grieved. Grief doesn't vanish.   

There is some truth that now is not the best time to talk about gun control. The best time to address it before a shooting. When you're a parent you tell your kids to be careful at the top of the stairs and not to touch a hot stove before they do it. 

So, "now's not the time" because the shooting was Wednesday? How about for the shootings last year, how about Sandy Hook? It's been over five years since that one? Still too soon? It would seem to anyone capable of thought that it's not about "now's not the time" it's that you don't ever want gun control. Somehow you think it sounds better to say it's not the time than the truth. You know it's a bad look to come out after yet another school shooting and say, "I'm never going to even talk about regulating guns because I don't want anything to change." So you peddle your bullshit. You must think we're that stupid to buy the bullshit. 

And it's pretty depressing to look at that tweet and see 46,000 likes. Even if that's inflated by fake accounts, it sure seems like there's a good number of people not just buying the bullshit but peddling it themselves. 

Also, great tactic by Tomi to blame "the Left." My goodness. It's the Left who's the problem in this situation. They want less school shootings, they're the real problem. 

And then we get to the thoughts and prayers. How many actually sit down and think and pray for the victims and how many just tweet that they're sending thoughts and prayers. Because if you actually sat down and sent thoughts and prayers, the next thing most people would think about is how to make sure this doesn't happen to more families. Isn't that just a natural part of the thoughts and prayers, may this never happen again? Wouldn't the best way to honor these families, to do something?

- - -

If it's not "thoughts and prayers" or "now's not the time", the other talking point we get from them is this is about mental illness, not guns. These are not mutually exclusive. I haven't met a single person that is against expanding care for mental illness. 

Here's a problem with that talking point: One of the first actions of the 115th Congress/Trump Administration was to elimination a regulation that was aimed at preventing the mentally ill from buying guns. One of the sponsors of the bill that eliminated the regulation gave us more bullshit. 

Forgive me if I don't believe that the party/administration that spent a bulk of 2017 trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act including Medicaid is actually concerned with improving mental health care. You just don't want to talk about guns, so you think waving the "mental illness" flag will prevent that conversation. 

I'll call your bluff. Let's improve mental health care. Let's help the millions of Americans suffering from mental illness. Let's also not let anyone with documented histories of violence or threats of violence to have guns. We can do both. 

- - -

Everything about this makes me incredibly angry. There will always be crime and suffering in this world. No one expects terrible events to go away completely. We just want less people to die. Less children, less churchgoers, less concertgoers, less mall shoppers to be shot and killed. For a start, I want something, anything to be done. For our leaders to collectively agree that this is a problem. That these killings are not acceptable. Instead, we are fed bullshit talking points and they hope we get distracted by something else before the next election. They'll launch attack ads and talk about abortion or the wall or anything so that they don't have to provide an answer to the most basic question: What are you going to do about the gun violence?

Because the answer is always nothing.

This is from Joe Scarborough in the Washington Post today:

These things are what the American people want. To get them, Americans will need to vote for people that want to do something. Our elected officials stand there and feed us bullshit. And every couple of years, we have a choice about who we want to lead us. There have now been 150,000 Americans who have lived through a school shooting. How large does that number have to be until we vote in the people willing to do something about it?

Monday, February 12, 2018

Want to guess what Fox News viewers think of Black History Month?

The Boston Police Department tweeted a tribute to Red Auerbach in honor of Black History Month. Once they started reading their replies, they deleted it. Fox News reported the story. Here are the comments, representative of the vast majority of the comments.

Thank goodness there's a media company that provides a place for these people to get together in a safe space and make racist comments.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Opening the Super Bowl Window

In 2012, the Chiefs had 6 Pro Bowlers. Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry and Dustin Colquitt. They went 2-14, 0-6 in the division.

In 2017, the Chiefs had 4 Pro Bowlers. Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, Alex Smith. They went 10-6, 5-1 in the division and made the playoffs.

In the 5 years with Andy Reid and Alex Smith, the Chiefs made the playoffs 4 times. In the prior 5 years, they only made it once.

In 2012, Chiefs fans formed an organization called Save Our Chiefs and flew banners protesting the GM. Later that season, a Chiefs player killed his girlfriend and committed suicide in front of the GM.

It's hard to overstate how bad the Chiefs were before Alex and Andy came to town. How not fun the team was back then. And then how good and fun they've been with them.

In 2013, when I found out they were coming, I said the litmus test would be to win a playoff game. And they did! For the first time in my life, I sat there and watched the Chiefs win a playoff game. I now know what that feels like, thanks to primarily to Alex and Andy.

For the first time in franchise history, the Chiefs won the division in back to back years. That's good!

4 playoff trips in 5 seasons means you belong. You're not the Jaguars crashing the party. You're the Chiefs, you make the playoffs.

I guess most of all, the games mean something. The seasons are fun. It's fun to think about in the off-season. You have hope.

In 2003, the Chiefs were the #2 seed in the AFC. I knew the Patriots and Colts were tough, but the Chiefs had a real chance.

In 2015, the Chiefs won a playoff game. They had a chance.

In 2016, the Chiefs were the #2 seed in the AFC. Again, a real chance.

In 2017, the Chiefs looked great in the first half of their playoff game. They had a chance.

Some people can look at those chances and the fact that they never made an AFC Championship and complain about it. But you can also look at those chances and know that is a lot more fun than going 2-14.

Alex Smith has played his last game as a Chief. But he definitely left this team better than he found it. And I'll always remember the Mile High Miracle, the playoff win, the comeback against the Chargers, and all the other great wins. He was worth it.

- - -

For Washington, this trade looks pretty awful. Going from Cousins to Smith is about equal in production, but Smith is also 5 years older. Tom Brady aside, a lot of quarterbacks drop off after 35. Smith is better at not throwing picks, but I don't think he's making your team significantly better. He'll be fine, could help them win the division next year, but over the long-term, I think I'd rather have Cousins. But not only that, Washington gave up a 3rd round pick AND a great corner still on his rookie deal. Those are two prime assets. So why is Washington doing this?

Basically, they screwed up with Cousins. They made him play on 2 consecutive franchise tags because they wanted to see him prove it. Instead of keeping him and keeping their assets, they needed to replace him.

It's strange because I think Smith will be a good QB for them over the next few seasons and it pisses me off to see smug Eagles/Cowboys/Giants fans licking their chops over seeing Alex. I hope he does well and kicks some ass. But it's hard to believe that this trade will be worth it for Washington.

- - -

It's not rocket science. In basketball you want to shoot threes and lay-ups, not mid-range jumpers. In football, you want great players without having to pay them a lot. I don't think people talk about Tom Brady's salary enough. It's a huge difference maker.

The Chiefs have three years of the biggest efficiency in the game, a QB on his rookie deal. As we've seen with Winston and Mariota, it's only a game-changer if the QB plays at a Pro Bowl level. But every indication is that Mahomes can do that. He'll throw more picks, of course. But I expect some Drew Brees 400 yard, 2 score, 2 pick games that are good enough to win.

Now the Chiefs add Kendall Fuller, an awesome cornerback on his rookie deal. So our GM gets it. He understands the most obvious thing right now. The Chiefs had a pretty good team this past year. The defense could be a lot better. The offense struggled in the middle part of the season. But they were pretty good. Make them better with some free agents and draft picks, baby, you got a stew going. I was reading about the cliche that Belichick takes away your best player, and the analysis that a coach would rather have 11 average players than 6 good and 5 bad ones, and it got me's more important to have depth and good players everywhere than it is to acquire a single all-star. To that end, Mahomes + Fuller + pick seems a hell of a lot better than just Alex Smith.

The Pat Mahomes era is here and it's exciting. (I mean, if he is a Brady/Rodgers/Manning type guy, you can compete for his whole career. But it's the first three years that give you the best chance.) You don't have to be the best team all three years--in fact, it's a little easier to suck for a year, get the easier schedule and draft picks and then reload. Brady will still be good next year. But the fall of 2019 or 2020? Brady and Big Ben will be older. The AFC could be wiiiiiiide open. I'm not saying to book your travel just yet, but you might want to keep these in mind.

2018 Season - Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta
2019 Season - Super Bowl 54 in Miami
2020 Season - Super Bowl 55 in Tampa

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hoagie Central Best Picture Nominations

John Wick 2
Get Out
The Big Sick

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Favorite Board Games: January 2018

Previous Installments: 
July 2015
October 2015
January 2016
April 2016

At this point, I'm going to adjust my structure for these lists. I find it very hard to compare games that I've only played physical versions of with games that I've only played digital. I discovered that digital games are a solid way for me to play games that I wouldn't otherwise be able to play, since I no longer have a board game group around. However, the physical versions will always have the appeal of not looking at a screen, actually moving pieces around a board.

Tabletop Games I Own

Eldritch Horror



Police Precinct

Flash Point



Roll For It

Hostage Negotiator

Ticket To Ride




Dead of Winter

Forbidden Island

A Duel Betwixt Us

Lost Cities

Clue: The Great Museum Caper

Zombie Dice

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

New York Slice


Time Stories

Secret Hitler


Castle Panic

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Ice Cool

New York: 1901

Escape: Curse of the Temple


Scotland Yard



Sushi Go

Love Letter


Burgle Bros.

Codenames Duet


Deception: Murder in Hong Kong


Pandemic Legacy: Season One

Digital Games I Own

Galaxy Trucker

Colt Express


Settlers of Catan


Ticket To Ride


Camel Up






Mr. Jack Pocket


Scotland Yard


Possible Wish List



Captain Sonar

Beyond Baker Street

Pandemic Legacy Season 2


Imhotep (cool, simple family friendly game of building, somewhat similar to Archaeology)

Quadropolis (city building game for 2-4 with unique cool mechanics) maybe hold out and hope they build an app

Between Two Cities (don't have the group for this, but another cool city building game)

Dice Town (old west themed, dice rolling, economy game, when the kids are older)

Arboretum: (tree planting card game for 2-4 players, inexpensive)

Mafia de Cuba (secret role game for 6-12 players)

Operation FAUST (bluffing art game for 3-8 players)

Robinson Crusoe (longer, complex survival game for 1-4 players)

The Networks (tv executive game, 1-5 players)

Freedom: The Underground Railroad (co-op historical game with serious theme)

[redacted] (bluffing, hidden information spy game best with 4 or 6 players)

The Resistance (like Mafia but without eliminating players, 5-10 players)

7 Wonders (civilization game, 2-7 players)

King of Tokyo (good first serious game for kids, 2-6 players)

Two Rooms and a Boom (cool party game for 12+)

Tesla vs Edison: War of Currents (complex invention and stock market history simulation, 2-5 players)

Letter Tycoon (better version of scrabble gameplay where you can patent letters, 2-5 players)

Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game (cool theme, not sure if good gameplay, 2-4 players)

Tobago (deduction and competitive treasure hunting, 2-4 players)

Train Heist (family game, 1-4 players)

Nations (civilization game, 1-5 players)

D-Day Dice

Infection: Humanity’s Last Grasp


Nations Dice?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday, January 07, 2018

The End of the Alex Smith Era

Let's start with some stats.

The Chiefs become the first team to blow two different playoff games, up 18 at halftime. So sure, the Falcons blew 28-3, the Oilers blew the 1993 game against the Bills...but now the Chiefs have done it twice. (Both blown games included a game where the opposing QB recovered a fluke loose ball and scored a TD.)

The Chiefs have lost their last 6 home playoff games. (And this is a team that has the loudest crowd, allegedly one of the toughest places to play.)

The Chiefs have lost 11 of their last 12 playoff games. (The only win was over a Texans team led by Brian Hoyer.)

This decade the Chiefs have made the playoffs 5 times out of 8 chances. They've been eliminated by 5 different teams, Ravens, Colts, Patriots, Steelers and now Titans. (I say this just to show this is not one team has our number.)

- - -

This game had a number of crazy plays. For a while it seemed like a new crazy play would cancel out the previous one.

The first one occurred with 2:41 left in the first half. Derrick Johnson sacks Mariota so hard the ball comes loose and the Chiefs recover it. The ref blows the play dead and rules "forward progress" so it's not reviewable. Plain and simple, it's a bad call. The sack was a hit, he wasn't driving him back. Even if you thought he was down before the ball comes out, it should be reviewable. This allows the Titans to kick a field goal and make it 14-3.

Moments later, the Chiefs catch a similar break. On the play where Kelce was concussed he dropped the ball and regathered as a Titan was ripping it away. Could have been reviewed and given to the Titans. Instead the Chiefs drive and make it 21-3 right before halftime. So at least both balls on the ground were called for the team with possession. It seemed like it all worked out. Though the Kelce injury was perhaps the play with the biggest impact on the game.

On the first drive of the second half, Mariota scrambles is crossing the line of scrimmage when he throws it. Revis bats it away and somehow Mariota is able to catch it and run it in. As I mentioned at the start, very similar to the Luck fumble in the previous Chiefs blown playoff game.

Next Chiefs drive, Kareem Hunt runs for 9 yards to set up a 3rd and 1. Chiefs run a option to the right and Titans destroy it. Chiefs punt but there's a running into the kicker. So Chiefs will get a first down, right? Nope, they call an offsetting penalty that they never showed. So Chiefs punt again and Titans muff it. Ball don't lie. So after a questionable option play and a possibly phantom offsetting penalty, the Chiefs end up with better field position anyways. Seems like it's all balancing out.

But then KC loses two yards and Butker, who set a record for Chiefs field goals made this year, doinks one off the upright. (His kick started out perfectly straight and halfway there, veered violently to the left. Wind? I don't know?)

From there the rest came down to the Chiefs couldn't get a 3rd down stop ever and couldn't get their offense going.

There were two times that it looked like Chiefs had recovered a scoop and score but the correct calls were made in both cases. (I'm okay with the second forward progress call. Sorenson hit Mariota at the 15 and the play was blown dead at the 25, the ball came out at the 27.)

Chiefs were 4/11 on 3rd down.
Titans were 8/13 on 3rd down.

Titans outgained Chiefs 397-325 and had more first downs 23-19.

The Titans were better on the whole by all the metrics. If the Chiefs had gotten a scoop and score to win at the end, the stats would have said the Chiefs won because of winning the turnover battle despite being outgained.

- - -

The thing that makes this one a bit easier? Hope is on the horizon.

Pat Mahomes looks like the real deal. Our version of Favre or Wilson. Andy Reid and Alex Smith did what hadn't been done in forever, which was win a playoff game. Now the Chiefs have a 3-year Super Bowl window where they have the biggest advantage in the NFL. (In theory) A Pro Bowl level QB on a rookie contract. Pair him with a great defense and that's how you win.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Might as well get the heartwrenching playoff loss out of the way early, I always say.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Predicting KC-TEN

I think the most likely Titans score is 13.
Second most likely is 19.
Third most likely is 20.

I think the Chiefs most likely score is 26.
Second most likely is 27.
Third most likely is 23.

So I guess 26-13 is my prediction.

Terez is usually spot on and he has Chiefs 20-17.
Simmons has Chiefs 22-11.

We'll see who is closest.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Choose Your Own Trump

I wrote a book. It would be nice if you bought it.