Links: Lloyd and McDaniels and Carlin and Kroenke and Hewitt and Schadenfreude


With the 2012 election officially underway in the U.S., I want to send my sincere condolences to Americans everywhere. 


We'll get properly underway with some personal pimping.  I've mentioned before that I was writing a piece for Mile High Hockey (it was originally two shorter ones, but morphed into one long one).  I've finally finished it and you can read it here.  If you prefer to read it on No. 0, I will be posting it here soon, after it has burned through on MHH.

As expected, the response to "Blanket Trends" has been fair, but underwhelming.  It feels, as expected, like an afterthought in the flavour-of-the-month morass.  And it has not, as expected, gained the traction I wished for it.  Honestly, I am disappointed with that.  I'm not feeling the familiar urge to pat myself on the back after a job well done, which means I'm feeling rather hollow.  Which, yeah, stinks.  But there's no use in whining about it.  Artists, whatever they are, don't choose how their audience responds to their work, no matter how hard (or not) they worked on it.

And, really, the frustration that comes out of learning that is a point of growth as one.  Because if you're not frustrated that what you're working on isn't popular enough, acclaimed enough, or understood enough, then you're either seriously underselling it, or never believed in it in the first place.  If you're content with your lot, then you've stopped growing.  You've very likely begun to stagnate and should start considering alternate occupations.

The pertinent quote here is the one Brian Forte took from Thomas Mann: "[a] writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people".  Were this journey easy, the path would have been a tad more crowded.  Alas, it's rather lonely, and if you're feeling similarly hollow that no one gets your masterpiece, take this advice: suck it up, because clearly we're all dumbasses for not getting it.  And I mean that.


Chemistry is a vital part of any successful team.  (One can just ask the New Jersey York Jets for confirmation of that.)  That's why it warmed my heart to read this story from STLtoday, about the relationship between a player, Brandon Lloyd, and coach, Josh McDaniels.  How often does a player find a coach that suits him perfectly, and vice versa?  I'll tell you: not very.  And, then, how often does that player admit that wherever that coach goes, he'll follow him?   Again, I'll tell you: not very.  It's remarkable to find an athlete that would rather take that chemistry over money, because he understands the value of a coach that knows how to use you.

Of course, I'm not surprised that this athlete would turn out to be Lloyd, a player that, when you hear him speak, exudes a surprising amount of thoughtfulness.

Now, speaking politically, this development has a fascinating consequence, if Lloyd is actually serious about following McDaniels.  Namely, whatever team hires McDaniels (or in the Rams' case, keeps him), will have the opportunity to get one of the best wide receivers in the NFL right now.  And, conversely, if that team doesn't want McDaniels, getting Lloyd will be trickier.  For example, we know the Rams want to re-sign Lloyd, but we also know McDaniels may not be on the team for much longer, so what do they do?  How much do they want Lloyd?

This is a problem worth considering and worth remembering.  Depending on how the 2012 NFL off-season progresses, we may soon be back here.

An interesting thing we didn't know before about Rams owner Stan Kroenke: he's a follower of the Patriots Way.  This says a lot about his desire to keep McDaniels, and is something to consider as we move forward into the Kroenke era of Rams football.


And, now, to quote Neal Conan, the opinion page.  Former St. Louis Rams employees gathered in a local Buffalo Wild Wings to "celebrate" the firings of Steve Spagnuolo and Billy Devaney.  Let's ignore the snotty schadenfreude, I'm posting this here because a certain comment was just too good to let slip.  Former equipment manager Todd Hewitt, responding to Spagnuolo's departure, said:
What upset me was that someone was able to come in and take control of a situation and destroy the lives of a lot of good people.
Do I even have to point out Hewitt's hypocritical trough of logic?  Yes, Todd, Steve fired you.  It disrupted your life.  I sympathise.  But, say, what happened to the guy you replaced?  And, now that the boogeyman is gone, you think everything's great?  Because the next head coach is totally not going to be firing anyone, either.  I just think it's funny, and, really, it's funny, because you can't be bitter about this stuff, I think it's funny that Hewitt felt like celebrating that Spagnuolo's own life is now "ruined" and disrupted, and Hewitt fails to see how wishing that Spagnuolo will be fired inherently means that you're wishing for a lot of other peoples' lives to be "ruined".  Because it's never just one head that rolls, no matter how narrowly you aim your grapeshot.

I'm a huge fan of Dan Carlin.  Constantly challenging my perceptions and forcing me to re-evaluate my knowledge of a subject, he is the political commentator I respect the most.  What draws me to him is that, although he has an opinion, it isn't a barrier for him.  When you listen to Common Sense, you know it isn't going to come at you from a particular angle, like what you get from, say Talking Points Memo.  Now, as a news resource, TPM is excellent.  All of their writers are professional and diligent.  And, come on, how can you not love this:

'...the “he’s a Chicago politician” phase of the race to the White House.'
The problem, however, is that TPM's community is unbearable.  When you read the message board, you see two things: a) Republican trolls, or, b) loyal Democrats pointing out the apparently evident idiocy of Republicans.  There is no true discourse, because whether you read an article about a Republican (Ron Paul) that is, on civil issues, more "liberal" than a Democrat (Barack Obama), or an article about a legitimate idiot, there were will be the exact same substanceless wringing.  It brings down an otherwise great website, because you know you won't be learning anything new or getting any rounded perspectives.

With Dan, there is a rounded perspective, with actual thought behind his opinions.  It's, frankly, refreshing to listen to Common Sense; it feels like a detox.  With Carlin's voice, your body is washed from the stink of one-dimensional groupthink, and your mind takes on new clarity.

And with that overwrought poetry, I say go check out Hardcore History and Common Sense.

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