Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This Is Where We Are, This Is Who They Are

For once it seems like we may have a little bit of light shining on the otherwise horrific and depressing situation with guns and mass shootings in America.  A group of high school-aged survivors have decided they've had enough, and they aren't going to be silent about it.

And on cue, Republican media goes after them.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Pyeongchang? Pyeongnot!

So for Korean Lunar New Year this past Thursday though Sunday (Year of the Dog!) I went up to Seoul.  My plan was to travel to the Pyeongchang Olympics for two days, Friday and Saturday, then come home Sunday.

Well, I bought my event tickets in advance (a hockey game and aerial skiing, which were on the cheaper end of the price spectrum) with no problems.  But I waited on booking train or bus tickets.

Huge, awful mistake.

There was very little available to get me to Pyeongchang in the early afternoon (which, on a good day, is a three hour car-ride from Seoul).  Forget about getting there in the morning, i.e., on time for my tickets.  And there was literally nothing guaranteed to get me back from Pyeongchang.

So at best I could take a standing-only train ticket or a bus ticket, miss my event anyways, then worry about whether or not I could get back to Seoul.

Of course, I should have just coughed up the money for a hotel room in Pyeongchang itself but I didn't think it would be such a saga getting to and from Seoul.  And I figured spending a little time in the city I used to live in might be worth it as well.

Alas, I hanged out in Itaewon eating lots of non-Korean food and reading and taking the Seoul subway I used to ride nearly every day when I first came here.

I was truly disappointed at first, but then decided to just roll with it.  At night I went to shitty foreigner bars and watched the Olympics on TV.

I won the gold medal for rolling with it.  And I admit, I miss Seoul sometimes, especially when it comes to food options.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Truth Hurts

It genuinely sucks that we won't be able to watch the U.S. compete in the next World Cup.  Nothing new there.  But what is new is U.S. men's team member Geoff Cameron unloading on U.S. soccer, and in particular disgraced coach Bruce Arena:
"I wasn’t an academy kid. I worked construction with my dad in the summers to make money. I didn’t turn pro until I was 22, and I didn’t go overseas to play in the Premier League until I was 25. So maybe I’m not the guy you’d expect to be saying this, but it needs to be shouted from the mountaintops: The powers that be in U.S. Soccer have created a poisonous divide between the MLS players and the so-called 'European' players, and until that culture is torn down, the USMNT will continue to slide backwards. With U.S. Soccer’s presidential election coming up this weekend, and the coaching vacancy yet to be filled, this issue needs to be addressed right now. It’s time to learn from our mistakes — as players, coaches and as an organization. It’s time to look forward and get to the heart of the matter.
Our best young players need to be playing in the top European leagues. Period. It shouldn’t be looked at as a negative thing. It should be a huge source of pride to send a 20-year-old American kid to play in the Bundesliga or the Premier League. Even better if they came up in MLS for a few years.
Why is it seen as a negative for America to 'lose' a player who goes to play abroad? Brazilians don’t think this way when Neymar goes to Barcelona. The Dutch don’t think this way when their Ajax academy kids go to Chelsea or Bayern. Why don’t we go the other way entirely? U.S. Soccer should take out ads with pictures of all the players, past and present, who have made a huge impact on the world stage."
Putting Arena back in place was, literally, a step backwards.  Klinsmann wasn't perfect, but I honestly believe we would have qualified pretty easily if he hadn't been sacked.  Woulda, could, shoulda -- but finishing in the round of 16 on 2014 was nothing to sneeze at either.

And sorry, but while M.L.S. has shown notable financial success, it's not the way forward for a national team looking to move up to the consistency level of, let's say, Mexico, Nigeria, or Switzerland, at least.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Olympic Opening Ceremony Hot-Tweet

There Is No "Bloody Nose"

A good long-ish read on how disastrous a US pre-preemptive attack on North Korea would be.  One of the biggest problems is that the US fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between China and Pyongyang (short version: it's a relation of convenience, not a military alliance):
"'China would have to fight its way into North Korea,' Mastro told me in an interview. 'For the North Koreans, enemy No. 1 is obviously the United States, but enemy No. 2 is China. They understand they’d have to potentially fight both countries.'
Things would get really complicated, and really dangerous, once Chinese troops made their way to the nuclear facilities. The Pentagon has spent years practicing how to send US special operations forces into North Korea to seize Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons if there were signs that Kim’s government was collapsing. The problem is that Chinese troops would almost certainly be sent into North Korea at the same time, and with the same goal, as the US forces.
Mastro notes that Chinese troops would only need to advance 60 miles into North Korea to take control of all of the country’s highest-priority nuclear sites and two-thirds of its highest-priority missile sites. Given that enormous geographic advantage, Beijing’s troops would almost certainly arrive before the US ones do."
The notion that Kim Jong-un would passively "absorb" a US first strike is stupid and absurd.  Seoul will be devastated, and within a few days you'd be looking at US and Chinese ground forces coming into direct contact.

That isn't a "limited strike," it's World War III, and the Russians aren't going to sit on their asses and watch this play out either.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

I Am OK With Literally Everything Being Political Now

It took a Trump-loving franchise to get me to root for the Eagles and I feel fine about it.

Thursday, February 1, 2018