Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xperts and Xistential Philosophy

I'm sure much of my audience doesn't follow sports, but here's something I want to vent about.  Thursday the NFL Draft began, a pretty dull affair that in recent years like everything related to the NFL has become a big business--even the day schedules are announced has become a big deal!  What's sad to me is that so-called "experts" like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay get paid probably hundreds of thousands a year to write columns and appear on TV to predict the draft and yet every single year they're WRONG.

This was especially on display this year in what was a really bizarre draft because only one quarterback was taken, no running backs, and only two wide receivers I think.  Those are the sexy positions in football, the real high-profile positions and yet most of the draft picks concentrated on offensive and defensive linemen.  So if you actually sat there for four hours watching the coverage it was more boring than a Rand Paul filibuster on CSPAN.

To really emphasize the incompetence of so-called "draft experts" two of the supposed star players were not taken in the first round at all.  For the last couple of months everyone was getting hot and bothered about West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, with some predicting he could go first overall.  Yet all 32 teams passed on him.  And then there was linebacker Manti Te'o of Notre Dame, infamously involved with an online girlfriend who turned out to be a guy playing him for a sap.  Still, it was expected he would go at least in the last third of the first round.  Nope.  Again, all 32 teams passed on him.

As I Tweeted, this proves that a lot of "experts" don't know shit.  If Kiper and McShay get anything right at all it's because A) It's so blindingly obvious anyone who watches 15 minutes of SportsCenter can figure it out or B) Because they make 10,000 mock drafts per year, right up until the afternoon of the draft, they're bound to get SOMETHING right along the way.  I mean I probably couldn't sink a half-court 3-point shot in basketball but if you give me 10,000 tries the laws of probability favor me to get at least one to go in.

These people pretend to have inside knowledge, but as ESPN's DJ Gallo pointed out, if you're the front office of a football team, why would you tell someone on TV what you're really going to do?  Why give 31 other teams (especially those higher up than you in draft order) a look at your cards?  It makes much more sense to feed Kiper and McShay a steady stream of bullshit.  Instead of saying, "Oh yeah we love that offensive lineman from CMU." you say you're really interested in Geno Smith.  Then your competition gets worried they might have missed something in their scouting or if they've been after Smith, maybe they trade with you to make sure they can get him and so on.  And let's face it, a lot of these "sources" they claim to have are probably interns or the guy who cleans the toilets at the team facility, not really privy to the actual high-end discussions.

That's something that was often noted in the Tuesday Morning Quarterback column I used to read on ESPN.  Those who claim to have insider knowledge are usually full of crap.  It's like all those infomercials you see on TV.  I mean if there really was some wonderdrug that could instantly take inches from your belly or make you look 10 years younger, don't you think some huge conglomerate would have it locked up and not let some shyster hawk it on TV for $10 a bottle?

So yeah it annoys me these people get paid probably five times what I do to do their jobs badly.  Really, if I'm a penny off something at my job I get reamed out by the Boss and yet these guys are wrong all the freaking time and they still get to go on the air to spout nonsense.  It's ridiculous.

The other example that comes to mind are weathermen (and weatherwomen or weatherpeople).  Every winter there's those days where they say, "Oh it'll be fine this week."  And then a couple days later we have six inches of snow.  Or conversely they say, "Batten down the hatches!  It's the storm of the century!"  And then we get a dusting.  They're wrong all the fucking time and yet no one calls them on it, not really.  Sometimes an anchor will jokingly give them the business and they just laugh and shrug it off.

But really it's one of those things that's wrong with America where people who do their jobs badly (draft "experts," weathermen, CEOs of bankrupt companies, presidents, Congress, etc.) get rewarded financially for it while other people have to work their butts off to high standards and get far far less.

Sigh, a lot of the time this world sucks.  Like when some idiot decides they have to ruin a fun marathon by planting bombs at the finish line or that they want to go shoot up a school or a movie theater or otherwise ruin life for those around them.
The best way then to shake off those blues?  It's not praying.  It's not even family.  (Actually family usually exacerbates the blues...)  No, the best thing is to get out into nature.  Away from all the stupid bullshit in the world.  Most of the time I don't need to take a long hike or anything like that.  Just getting in the car and seeing a lake or some fields or something will help restore my inner balance and remind me that it's not the world that sucks; it's the people in the world who suck.

A lot of problems could probably be solved if people just got up out of their houses, put down the phones and iPads and all that stuff and take a nice walk or a drive in the country--or my favorite, sit on a rock in Lake Huron--to fully appreciate what's around us and just how small we are compared to it.  Maybe then we'd stop obsessing about this childish bullshit about whose Invisible Man in the Sky is better or who called dibs on what piece of dirt or what color someone's skin is or what someone does with their genitalia.  You know, all this petty bullshit we like to make a big deal about that in the grand scheme of things isn't important at all.  Maybe we could see how special this whole planet is and realize maybe we should stop trying to blow it up or sterilize it in a nuclear holocaust.

It's a worth a shot, right?

Here's your moment of Zen:
Grand Canyon

More Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon in sepia

Also Grand Canyon in sepia

Yet More Grand Canyon

Still More Grand Canyon

Camelback Mt, Phoenix

Also Camelback Mt, Phoenix

Arizona sunset

The same Arizona sunset
Sunset Traverse Bay

Also used as a cover for my novel "Virgin Territory"

Same sunset...
Muskegon lighthouse

Baby raccoon on Muskegon pier

Muskegon lighthouses
Fall colors in New Hudson, MI

Weird silhouette thing in New Hudson...

More fall colors (late fall colors so they aren't great)

Close up fall colors
And when all else fails there are cute bulldog pictures!

Or there's fat Becky:

Of course I'm not the first one to advocate this philosophy.  There was Henry David Thoreau in Walden, Herman Hesse in Siddhartha, and Bill Shatner in "The Transformed Man" plus probably others.  It's still something good to remember.


  1. Oh I like the moment of Zen. It reminds me of how Jon Stewart ends his program every night when it's on.

    With regard to the Boston bombing suspects, I wouldn't necessarily call them idiots per se as I would just "mass murderers" in the name of religion. This seems to happen more and more these days. Johar or whatever his name is, told authorities that he and his brother wanted to hurt the United States for what they considered a war on Islam (the U.S. invading both Iraq and Afghanistan).

    As a caveat, I know a few Muslims, and they are all wonderful people. I also know that their community has cast these extremists out and denounced them for what they are: mass murderers.

    As for football, I only cursory get into it, but am appreciating it more and more. I just want the NFL to become more "gay friendly." Maybe by the time he is an old man, Troy Aikman can finally admit that he's gay (for example). The community has long suspected it, and there's plenty of evidence that he is including comments from his friends, but I think that even with the superbowl rings he wears that he's been afraid to admit he likes to take a man to bed.

    People like Anderson Cooper and Big Bang Theory's Jim Parson's have paved the way for him to come out of the closet quietly. I know Troy would be celebrated and hugged by the gay community for showing that "it's okay to be gay."

    Anyway...yeah I hope that change in the NFL comes soon. Hockey is already moving that way fast.

    It's just so ridiculous for people in America to assume that athletes are all straight. It's not a choice people! No one chooses to be gay.

  2. Thanks for the moment of zen, but I could have done without Fat Becky.

  3. They clean the toilets but they're not privy to the info. That made me laugh.
    I ignore people as much as possible.
    Great pics; did you take them?

  4. Every time I spend time in nature I end up working on a manifesto. I think quiet surburbia is my zen.

  5. Why would someone take a picture of Camelback without a picture of Camelback? I live in Phoenix, and I'd much rather take a picture of the mountain itself than the dirty, dusty city you can see from the mountain

    1. I might have got some of the mountain itself. I'd have to find my pictures. Those ones were at the point where I realized I was way too out of shape to climb up to the top of the mountain.



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