Communication is hard

I am reminded of how hard communication is on a daily basis, both in professional terms (How do we produce content people want … and how do we make sure they see it?), and in my own home life (How do I tell my wife something that accurately conveys how I feel?).

That second one is sometimes harder than it sounds, because well, our feelings don’t always make a whole lot of sense.  And if they do, they’re complicated.  It’s not as simple as, “Me angry. You do better.”  Usually (always?) it’s more convoluted than that.

Which is why I am sympathetic — to some degree or another — to any goober who makes an ass of themselves on social media.

A former Kansas State student did just that yesterday, and she did it in an entirely upsetting way.  Racism is not a good look, nor does it reflect particularly well on my alma mater.  This is frustrating to me, as an alum, but also as a human being who wants to see the best in other people.

Continue reading Communication is hard

Could a 14-team Big 12 actually work?

As the Big 12 meanders its way toward an expansion that may or may not be inevitable (per “sources”), fans of the affected institutions continue to wait for some measure of resolution.  The good news for the eager applicants is a move to 14 is apparently still on the table.

I still think 12 makes more sense.  And if you read this, you’ll find out why.  But 14 has its advantages, including the more money thing, but more importantly (to me anyway), the opportunity to rebrand away from the toxic Big 12 name.  Yes!

If 14 is still a realistic scenario, let’s look at how it can actually work.

Once again, I don’t have any particular insider knowledge on any of this, which is pretty much useless right now anyway. The amount of misinformation out there at present is significant.  For that reason, trying to predict how expansion unfolds is equally pointless.  What’s perhaps more useful is attempting to apply logic to the situation to offer a recommendation or two.

Continue reading Could a 14-team Big 12 actually work?

Big 12 Expansion Makes Sense: Here’s Why…

Trying to read the tea leaves and interpret/predict Big 12 expansion is mostly pointless in principle, because one is most assuredly going to be wrong.  And not just wrong, but often times spectacularly wrong.

Since I have no fear of being spectacularly wrong, you’re in luck!  You’ve come to the right place to read a few words on the subject.

First off, a primer.  That link should give you some decent insight.  And this one.  And maybe this one too.  If you don’t want to read all that, the short version recap is this:  The Big 12 is a conference that suffers a fragile ego, due in large part to its having been raided by other leagues earlier this decade.  Stuck at 10 teams and stuck with a TV contract that is by no means terrible but which still lags behind that of its competition (in particular, fellow “major” conferences Big 10 and SEC), several schools in the conference are seemingly unhappy and pushing for expansion.  Or maybe they’re just sort of mildly concerned.  Or maybe this is all an act and we don’t know.

This is the part of the process that I think confuses people the most:  They can’t predict what the institutions will do, and they can’t do that because each institution is subject to the whims of multiple individual people.  Presidents.  Boards of directors.  Powerful boosters.  Athletic directors and coaches (not really, but it’s best to be polite and include them anyway).  The point being, what if one of these people has a louder voice than the others?  What if said person is having a bad day?  Or is just a generally irrational person?  And what if the media and common layman can’t predict who might wield the most influence, what they might think on a given day, or even what they might think today?

You’d be served up a nice helping of “fuck if I know” ice cream, which is what all the reporting on this topic reveals.  The best one can do is try to approach this from a logical vantage point and guess at the things that seem to make sense.  That doesn’t mean the key figures in this play will act rationally at the end of the day, but it does give the observer a better understanding of perhaps what *should* happen.

And thusly, I’ve written well over 300 words without getting around to talking about expansion, which is what this article is supposed to be about.

Continue reading Big 12 Expansion Makes Sense: Here’s Why…

Every comic book movie ranked (mostly)

(Updated June 13, 2016)

I had the chance to watch “Captain America: Civil War” fairly recently and I have ruminated on it a bit.

This probably reads fairly silly to some of the deeper thinkers out there, but it is what it is I suppose. I’m not going to make a convincing enough argument in this space that anyone should ascribe a whole ton of deep meaning to these kinds of movies, but for whatever’s it worth, they generally make me think a bit. It’s probably fair to say that some blockbusters are dumber than others, and for some, the style of fare that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) churns out (and at 2-3 movies a year, it is by now accurate to call it a churn) just doesn’t do it for them. It’s clearly turned into a significant money maker for the mouse, and the time commitment to consume them all, let alone the repetitive nature of the films are all good reasons to stay away.


That said, I enjoy them a great deal. I appreciate escapism for its own sake, as mentioned above I can take away some decent life lessons and social commentary from them, and perhaps most importantly, they are movies I can bond with my family over. When my son Nate tells me he wants to watch “Thor,” and I can watch it with him, that is an experience I treasure.

I thought I would re-rank these films in the interest of sparking a little debate OR encouraging people to check a couple of them out if they haven’t. Some of this stuff I would recommend above the rest, and I guess that is the point more than anything. Also, this is sort of fun.

Continue reading Every comic book movie ranked (mostly)

Pursuit of Crappiness podcast Episode 6: All the President’s Men

As adults, we learn some important truths:

1. You don’t always need to do what you’re told.

2. You have the freedom to pass on your vegetables, but there are consequences.

That first lesson is central to the plot of “All the President’s Men,” which outlines in sometimes obsessive detail what the life of a journalist entails … both in the sexy appeal of breaking the rules to get the scoop, but also in the mundane minutia of calling, and typing, and research, and calling, and typing, and…

(You get the idea.)

Just as the mundane parts of being a journalist are the equivalent of eating one’s vegetables, I might argue that watching this film is much the same.  There is payoff to breaking the rules … but only when you eat your veggies.  And to understand cinema and its relationship to the political process (as well as journalism), this movie, a nominee for the 1976 Oscar for Best Picture, is simply required viewing (whether some might consider it dry or not).

Continue reading Pursuit of Crappiness podcast Episode 6: All the President’s Men

Pursuit of Crappiness podcast Episode 5: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Check out that spread!
Check out that spread!

Roger Ebert some years ago did a series of reviews of movies he had seen before, but decided to revisit given their general stature or importance to him. He called this series “Great Movies.”

On some subconscious level, I think this was the general area I was trying to slap this particular baseball (my podcast) into … find that sweet spot of the films that matter to people and try to get a solid double out of it. There’s no minimum requirement here in terms of Oscar nods or what have you, but I did want to find the films that people care about … and while doing this, I leave open the possibility that this could well morph into something else. My Ichiro-like metaphor is meant to be “doubly” apt in this way … the sweet spot is subject to change, and therefore so am I.

That said, “Star Wars” is in many ways the perfect fit for The Pursuit of Crappiness, a culturally relevant collection of films with wide critical and public acceptance. Moreover, there’s a lot to digest in these movies and several different directions a conversation can go.

To celebrate the blu ray and digital release of “The Force Awakens,” the seventh film in the series (eighth if you include the somewhat maligned “Clone Wars” animated feature), I got together a bigger group than normal to discuss the film (and eat delicious goodies put together by my wife, Cait). For this episode, I was joined by Twitter personality Alfredo Narvaez, | The Times-Picayune reporter Michelle Hunter, and Dash Rip Rock drummer Kyle Melancon — three big fans of the new film and of “Star Wars” in general.

Continue reading Pursuit of Crappiness podcast Episode 5: Star Wars: The Force Awakens