Showing 1 - 10 of 103 posts found matching keyword: rant

According to every media broadcast I've heard for the past week, something called Game of Thrones is starting its final season on Sunday night. Good riddance.

Yes, I have seen an episode. Exactly one, in fact. I saw the first episode back when it first aired. (It feels like that was sometime last century.) I hated every character in it and decided I wasn't interested in spending any more time with any of those rat bastards. I hear most of them died by the end of season one. Good riddance.

I distinctly recall that the finale of the last zeitgeist-capturing HBO series, The Sopranos, had disappointed fans crying foul. I look forward to the inevitable media blitz of disappointment over The Thrones Game failures. Good riddance!

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No sooner do the Dolphins trade one Ryan than they pick up another.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzgerald has been signed as the Dolphins' starting signal caller. The Dolphins will be Fitzpatrick's 8th team in his 14-year career. He'll set a record if he completes a single pass for the 'Fins in 2019. Long-term marginal competence has to count for something, and that something appears to be about $5 million, the price of Fitzpatrick's new contract. The team paid Jay Cutler twice that in 2017. He won 6 games. I guess they're expecting Fitz to manage only 3.

This will be Fitpatrick's third tour of duty in the AFC East. He's already passed through the locker rooms of both the Bills and the Jets. All totaled, he's managed a career 6-5 record against his new team. The only team in the division that hasn't hired him is the New England Patriots. He has a 2-9 record against them.

It's probably worth noting that during Fitzpatrick's entire career, the Bills, Jets, and Dolphins have had at least 13 starting quarterbacks — each — while the Patriots have had essentially one. (Technically, they've had 4. Tom Brady missed all of 2008 with a knee injury and served a 4 game suspension in 2016 because he likes saggy balls. But there was never any doubt who the team's starting quarterback was.)

Will Fitz bring his Fitzmagic to Miami in 2019? My Magic 8-ball says no. So does Vegas. Even before dumping Tannehill, sports books were down on the 'Fins. Last week, if you bet a dollar on them to win the Super Bowl, you could pocket $300. That's three times longer odds than are being given to any other team. Comparatively, the never-going-anywhere Detroit Lions are 100-1. Those were Friday's odds that the Dolphins could win their division. I'm sure the addition of Fitzpatrick isn't bringing them any closer.

Ye gods. It's going to be a long season.

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One year ago, I wrote, "Sadly, it looks like another rebuilding year is in the cards for the 'Fins." I shouldn't have acted so surprised. Ever since a real estate baron bought the team in 2008, the rebuilding never stops in Miami.

It was pretty clear that 2019 was going to be a rebuilding year when Coach Gase was fired (with cause). And then Yesterday, the Dolphins traded starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to the Titans. Ryan was a first-round pick (8th overall) in 2012. After 6 years — though only 4½ on the field thanks to some very questionable medical decisions concerning his oft-injured knee — he's now worth something less. (The Dolphins essentially gave away Tannehill plus $5 million for a 2020 4th round pick. That feels about right. He should have been a 4th round pick in 2012.)

With Tannehill gone, there are zero quarterbacks on the roster who have played a single snap in the NFL. That's a step up from 2017, when Jay Cutler filled in.

The question now is whether the Dolphins hire a cheap free agent to fill the void or will some rookie from the draft get the call? Neither of those seem like great options. I can't say as I'm very excited about the prospect of Jacksonville wash-out Black Bortles taking snaps, and there's no phenom like Andrew Luck coming out of college this year. 'Suck for [Drew] Lock' doesn't have the same ring.

Maybe I can find something else to do on Sundays this fall.

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In honor of Valentine's Day, today's blog post is about abortion.

There's been talk here in Georgia that the state legislature has been working on a new resolution to finally pass the long languishing Equal Rights Amendment. The local paper reported that one of the resolution's sponsors recently withdrew his support after talking with "people I know and people I trust" (who are, presumably two separate groups of people).

Before we go any further, to refresh your memory, this is the whole text of that very controversial proposed amendment to the United States Constitution:

"Equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

That's simple enough. Why would someone want to go on record as being against that? To answer that question, I did a little Googling. You may be surprised to know that the Internet is full of opinions on the topic.

Some people say that the ERA isn't necessary because it duplicates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which promises "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." If that were true, women wouldn't have needed the 19th Amendment to cast votes.

Some people say that the ERA would prevent women from receiving favorable bias in paternity cases. They say it could also force women into the draft. Are either of these such a problem? I would hope that women would have to prove their fitness to be a parent in court. If a war is so damn important that we have to force our citizens into the armed forces, it seems to me that women should serve their country just as men do. (If the thought of your daughter going to war makes you think twice about the need for warfare, all the better.) And God forbid that anyone should have to use a uni-sex bathroom.

Some people say that the ERA is bad because it is just another example of the federal government stealing rights from the states. That's true. Granted, the "right" it would be stealing is the states' ability to treat women like second class citizens, but it's the principle of the thing!

However, the "people" who talked our representative out of supporting the ERA didn't use any of those arguments. No, the persuasive argument against guaranteeing women and men equal rights was — you guessed it — abortion. They said that if we give men and women true equality, they can no longer tell women what to do with their bodies. Horror of horrors!

Frankly, that strikes me as a bullshit reason to deny or abridge equal rights for women. I'm no girl or priest, and I'm generally pretty good at "keeping it in my pants," so I try to have no opinion on the subject, but the logic seems simple. If abortion is murder as the bumper stickers tell me, it should be illegal whether a man or woman is carrying a child. If it's not, then what difference does it make what gender does it? Neither case should have any bearing on whether women should have the same rights as men.

But what do I know? I try not to have an opinion, remember.

If you ask me, the best argument against the ERA is the existence of Valentine's Day itself. If women and men are so damn equal, someone should be buying *me* chocolates today, dammit.

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It's that time of year again: time for the health insurance scramble!

I haven't spent so much as a penny against my health insurance in the past year, so of course they are increasing my monthly premium by 28%. Thankfully, I only get older one year at a time. At this rate, I'll be paying $2500/mo when I turn 50. It's getting too expensive to live!

The good news is that America's Greatest President followed through on his campaign promise to make my health insurance much more affordable by allowing me to have no health insurance at all. What a great guy. He really cares!

I went on healthcare.gov to see what my options were, but the site doesn't work in Google Chrome because of Chrome's new, extra-strict security rules. Apparently, Google thinks the federal government's approach to health care for its citizens is just another scam. I'm pretty sure they're right.

I shouldn't complain too much. They tell me my current plan is pretty good, and for the first time in 3 years, it isn't being discontinued out from underneath me. So I'll probably pay the extra premium and stick with it for another year. No matter what Our Fearless Leader thinks, $200 more a month still seems a better option than letting my insides rot out.

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has added a new category to the Oscars to reward movies that the general public likes. I think this is a bad idea. There's already an award for movies the general public likes. It's called money.

The new category is to be for "Outstanding Achievement in Popular Movies," which in addition to being an award dedicated to pandering, is also an insult to other, "unpopular" movies. How bad is Hollywood's current output that they can't combine "popular" and "quality"? Best Picture winners Rocky, The Godfather, Titanic, and Gladiator didn't need special treatment. Why should Ready Player One?

I get where they're coming from. The Academy views the Oscar telecast as an advertisement for movies, and last year the telecast had the lowest ratings in history. (Note to the Academy: everything on television was down year-to-year in 2017 as millennials cut every cord they could find.) They hope adding a new category specifically to feature movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom will cause more people to watch the telecast, and therefore, encourage more people to go out and watch movies. Specifically, movies they've already seen.

I don't have access to the information the Academy sees, but from where I sit, this seems an entirely unnecessary move. Why water down the value of an Oscar to promote the movies that are already making more than a billion dollars? Disney has released three billion-dollar-plus movies this year. Why not just give them a dedicated statuette? I'm sure they'll be glad to send that ice queen from Frozen to pick it up. That'll bring in the millennial audience in droves.

Essentially, what this new award comes down to is Hollywood telling you that if you like a movie, it probably isn't very good. The worst of it is, they're probably right.

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Nearly half a million Georgians woke up today to discover that their Blue Cross Blue Shield healthcare plans are no longer accepted at Piedmont Healthcare locations around the greater metropolitan Atlanta area.

That's not news to the half-million Georgia residents who have individual plans (read: "Obamacare"). Piedmont hasn't accepted any of the Obamacare plans for years, meaning those of us who freelance or are poor (or both *ahem*) and live in regions dominated by Piedmont's near monopoly have gotten quite used to setting our own broken bones and buying our painkillers from street vendors.

It's hard to decide which side of this current shouting match I should be cheering for. Piedmont says it just wants fair compensation from a insurer who refuses to allow its customers to go to emergency rooms until after they have a doctor's note proving they have an emergency. For its part, BCBS says it will go bankrupt unless doctors agree to shoulder some of the burden of a state and federal government that mandate coverage they refuse to pay for. Settle down, immigrants and Hollywood actresses. In 2018 America, everybody loses!

I understand why children these days are marching in protest of an absence of common sense gun legislation, but I have to say this latest healthcare crisis demonstrates why I still support easy access to weaponry. America's (and especially Georgia's) healthcare system is so fucked up, we need all the bullets we can bite to help push past the pain of untreated ailments. You'll understand one day, kids, assuming you're lucky enough to survive next month's school shooting. (And the month after that, and the month after that....)

What's that you say, Russia? You've got a shiny, new nuclear missile that you're eager to use because no one else will let you cheat at elections or kill anyone you want to? Big deal. Go ahead and shoot. That's one way to solve America's healthcare problems. We'll see how much money Piedmont's doctors are worth when we're all glowing in the dark. Besides, I'm eager to see what excuse BCBS comes up with to disqualify radiation poisoning trips to the ER.

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As if playing for the Miami Dolphins wasn't bad enough, wide receiver Jarvis Landry — the 2017 NFL leader in receptions — has been traded to the Cleveland Browns. Ouch.

Yes, Landry has a tendency to be a diva, but not more so than other players at his position. Yes, Landry has a tendency to commit penalties, but other players on the team were much worse. Yes, Landry's yards per catch were low, but his quarterback was Jay Cutler. The team's second leading receiver, Kenny Stills, had almost twice the average yards per catch on half as many receptions, but it's not Landry's fault that every-other pass to him was thrown behind the line of scrimmage.

Landry's true sin was wanting to be paid what he was worth. That's something the Dolphins' front office won't tolerate. That's why they got rid of Jay Ajayi last year. (Poor Ajayi was booted straight to the Philadelphia Eagles who only managed to go on to win the Super Bowl. What a bust!) That's why they'll soon be unloading Ndamukong Suh. Rumor has it that Ryan Tannehill — the team's highest-paid remaining player — will soon be shown the door for a similar reason. Ye gods, it's a housecleaning!

Sadly, it looks like another rebuilding year is in the cards for the 'Fins. Current GM Chris Grier must believe that when players say they love the game so much they'd play for free, they really will play for free. He certainly wasn't willing to open his wallet for either Ajayi or Landry despite both far outperforming their rookie contracts. That sets a pretty bad precedent for future rookies.

Don't get too attached to Miami, draft class of 2018. If you play well, you'll only be asked to choose between taking a pay cut or packing your bags. If you're lucky like Ajayi, maybe you'll get traded to Super Bowl-bound teams.

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Earlier this week, the Newnan City Council agreed to give away a city street to the downtown Central Baptist Church in exchange for 18 parking places. (Central offered to build a parking lot with 40 spaces, but to do so they first have to take away 12 existing places, and they're keeping another 10 for themselves.) The entire affair was resolved in typical Newnan fashion: the citizens only being told that the city would be giving away their property a week before it was a done deal.

Personally, I don't care what happens to Brown Street. If the church wants it and the city doesn't, that's their call. I can't even say that I have a problem with the underhanded way the church and the city negotiated this in a back room without public input. As I said, Newnan subscribes to the Boss Hogg school of democracy ("What's yours is mine!"). What I do have a problem with is the hypocrisy of the city councilman who was insulted that the citizens who opposed this underhanded horse trade would dare impugn his integrity.

The Newnan Times-Herald quotes Councilman Ray DuBose:

"Yes, I am a member of Central and I have been elected to serve as a Deacon on the board, which I serve with pleasure, and there is no conflict of interest in my voting for this. Furthermore, in my oath that I took as councilman, I promised to serve the community as a whole and certainly the church is a part of that whole as much as the other neighborhoods. I do my very best every time time I sit up here and find it an insult that people would call me unfair."

Well, bless his heart. As he's such a good Christian, I'll give poor, put upon Mr. DuBose the benefit of the doubt. Maybe no one ever explained to him what a "conflict of interest" is. Since he's a jeweler by trade, let me try it this way:

Imagine a jeweler who has agreed to keep a ring in his safe for a customer. The jeweler's wife sees the ring and wants it for herself. In exchange for the ring, she offers to trade the jeweler a necklace he could resell for big bucks. Ask yourself, is it ethical for the jeweler to make this trade without the consent of the owner of the ring? What would Jesus do? (Hint: He wouldn't trade away something that wasn't his.)

No matter how much that jeweler might want to keep his wife happy, no matter how much he wants to resell that necklace, his personal and professional desires present a conflict with the interest of the ring's owner who he also represents. Hence, he shouldn't be the one to make the decision whether the ring gets traded for the necklace. See? It's simple!

To put it more bluntly, if there's even a question of whether a councilman has a conflict of interest in a particular bit of city business, it's always most appropriate ethically for him to recuse himself from participating in making that decision. In this case, if Mr. DuBose had done the morally right thing and admitted that he valued the needs of his church so highly that he couldn't be bothered listening to the opinions of the general population, he still would have gotten his parking lot as the rest of the council voted 4-2 in favor of his little deal. And he wouldn't have had to hear the dirty bums who pay his salary call him such nasty names!

As I said, I don't care about the outcome. I only drive down Brown Street, like, 3 times a year, and I certainly never set foot inside Central Baptist Church. While I'm sorry that Mr. DuBose's delicate sensibilities were offended by a bunch of people who would rather drive through his filthy little town than park in it, I can't say that I much blame them.

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I've had the same two University of Georgia football season tickets since 2002. For most of that time, no matter how many games UGA won or lost, those 2 tickets cost about $500 (allowing for seasonal variation based on the number of home games played).

This year, UGA played for the national title. This week, it was announced ticket prices are going up 50%.

This is what losing a national championship costs
Imagine what the school will do when they actually win a national title game.

For the record, that's just the cost of the tickets. Before you can buy tickets, you first have to make a "donation" to the Hartman Fund (which pays for student athletics scholarships). UGA increased the mandatory donation last year, and I paid it without complaint. A 10% increase after years of stability seemed reasonable at the time. Yet this latest announcement means that the same pair of tickets that cost $1,055 in 2016 will cost $1,480 in 2018. Ouch.

What does this price increase get me? The six-game 2017 home schedule was particularly terrible, with Tennessee, Auburn, and Georgia Tech all out of town. Despite the jump in cost and the return of those three teams, the rest of the home schedule is filled out with Vanderbilt (whose only 2017 SEC win was against Tennessee), University of Massachusetts (who lost to 4-8 Tennessee), Middle Tennessee (who lost to Vanderbilt), and Austin Peay (who lost to undefeated UCF 33 to 73!). $1,480 is a lot to pay for only 3 worthwhile football games.

Athletic Director Greg McGarity said he needs my money so he can make "substantial adjustments to the compensation of our coaching staff" (as quoted by Dawgnation.com). (What's the matter, Coach Smart? Being the highest paid public employee in the state [$3.75 million] wasn't enough for you?) Despite my qualms at the quality of what I'd be buying with my money, if paying an extra $400 for one season would guarantee a coaching staff that could beat Nick Saban's backup quarterback for a national title, I'd pay up. Are you willing to make that promise, McGarity? If we lose again, do I get my money back?

Obviously, I like attending football games. I have imagined myself continuing to travel to Athens on Saturdays until I'm old enough to need a walker to get around. That said, I won't get there if I go broke first. Fifteen years was a good run, but if UGA is getting greedy, I think maybe it's best if I go ahead and give up my dream before it breaks me.

Can you think of a reason I should keep paying? If so, please let me know. I have until February 15 to decide if it's worth giving UGA athletics any more of my money.

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To be continued...

 

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