ugh

At what point does a fan completely give up on their favorite team because the organization making all the decisions is totally stupid?  I guess the answer is that a true fan doesn’t abandon a team for this reason, but the Mets organization is completely stretching the limits of what a sane fan should have to endure.

You would think that a baseball lifer such as current Mets GM Sandy Alderson would be able to make a few more quality personnel decisions than he has, but somehow GMs with much smaller budgets do a lot more quality work with their resources than he does.   Now, it is entirely possible that he is hamstrung in decision-making by the Wilpons, but still…this level of mediocrity should not be tolerated.  It has been years since the Mets have been serious contenders for NL East titles or playoffs, and it is time to find someone to blame for this.

Hope is not a strategy – as some speaking in political terms have been known to say.  We need a plan, an exit strategy from the mediocrity if you will.  If the Mets have scouts who are not even close to making accurate player evaluations, we need new ones.  The thing is, I don’t know who is responsible for this mess.  I just want it to be fixed.   Firing Terry Collins is not the answer.  I suspect the blame should be placed on whoever evaluates this underachieving roster.  So whoever that is, fire them and find someone else.  What’s Billy Beane doing these days?  Give him some money to play with and see what happens.

random thoughts on the OUAT season finale

Before I get to Sunday’s epic finale, let me just comment on the previous episode – I was very pleased to see that the writers allowed Henry to get his memories back and restored his belief in magic and the triumph of good vs. evil that has been the driving force in this series.

While there have been some compelling storylines with the adults on Once Upon a Time,  it is my belief that Henry is a critical part to making the fairytale real for the viewers.  I just wish that they hadn’t waited so long in this group of episodes to involve him.

Now to the adults – Zelena’s gone.  Good, although somehow I suspect she will be back at some point.  I really enjoyed her as a villain, and I’m glad the slight attempt to redeem her failed.  I mean, yes, in real life, bad people usually have some trigger in their past that causes them to choose the dark side and continue to make the wrong decisions about situations confronting them.  But in the world of Disney, villains have to remain villains.  Unless of course, said villains are the Evil Queen and Rumple….

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i object

Yes, this post involves recent events on Once Upon a Time.  Spoilers upcoming.

You cannot kill Neal.  I strongly object to this.  While I appreciate the need to resurrect Gold / Rumple,  must we kill off Neal to accomplish this?  Of course the obvious caveats apply, mainly that no one really dies on a tv show, but still…why are the writers attempting to kill him off? It does not negatively affect what is happening between Emma and Hook to keep him alive, and this would just be yet another predictable conclusion to a storyline if Hook was the only good guy left alive.  I want more surprises.  I do not want to know everything that is going to happen on this show before it happens.   Do not misunderstand this – I am in favor of Emma and Hook as a couple, but I do not want this to be decided right now.   I would have liked her to have to choose between Bae and Hook.

The problem Once Upon a Time is starting to have is the amount of evil / bad characters turning good, or at the very least, redeemable because of a singular moment where they did the right thing.  Making the evil queen a sympathetic figure because of her love for Henry works in the context of the story.  But Rumplestiltskin / Gold needs to be evil.  That is when he is most compelling and interesting as a character.  A Rumple-Zelena matchup (whether they are united in evil or opposing one another in a magic dual) would have great potential.  I want to see something similar to those two options.  I want some bad guys to stay bad, and for Belle to move on and fall for someone other than Gold.  Belle deserves her own good guy.  Make this happen, OUAT writers.

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OUAT – predictable but enjoyable

If you haven’t seen any of the second half of Once Upon a Time season 3, turn away now.   This contains a few spoilers.

First, let me just admit that Hook and Emma have undeniable chemistry.  I love them as a potential couple, and this is coming from someone who was firmly in the Neal-Emma camp entering this half of season 3.  It goes without saying (but I will say it anyway) that Emma has two very good choices here, and she has already gotten over the flying monkey.  I would have liked to see Christopher Gorham (Walsh) get more of an introduction before he turned into the monkey, though.  That would have been an interesting situation to navigate in this half of the season, but there is so much more to talk about here than Emma’s love life.

We shall begin with the premise that no one questions or seems to notice that they have a new visitor in Storybrooke that does not have a history there.  Grumpy should have been suspicious of Zelena, even if no one else was.  He was one of Snow’s protectors before Charming came along, so he would have been a logical choice for someone who would ask the right questions of any visitors to town. Speaking of Mrs. Charming, she is a stronger, more independent character in the Enchanted Forest than she is in Storybrooke.  Snow was kind of a badass, stealing stuff, shooting people, and looking out for herself by carefully judging the character of potential friends or enemies. Mary Margaret is someone who is all sweetness and light, wanting to love and accept everyone.  Sometimes it”s hard to believe these two are the same woman.  The loss of skepticism will come back to bite her in her future dealings with Zelena.

David / Charming needs to be a bit more aggressive in his Wicked Witch investigation and should have been more assertive with Mary Margaret when expressing doubts about Zelena. I hope they find out her true identity before something horrible happens.  One of the only remaining mysteries is Zelena”s endgame.  Why did she bring Rumple back?  What are her intentions toward David and Mary Margaret?  Yes, we are told that she wants Regina to suffer, but wouldn’t that have more to do with Henry than any of those three?  Her lost relationship with Henry is hurting the Evil Queen more than anything else Zelena could possibly do to her.

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predictable outrage

It’s time for another widespread boycott. I’m talking about massive outrage expressed all over conservative talk radio and Fox News. There has not been any mention of this anywhere in the media, so I feel compelled to help all of them find another worthy subject to discuss other than Obamacare.

I speak of course of a notable entry in the Easter candy department this year – ladies and gentlemen, may I present…the chocolate cross. It is insufficient to only have huge chocolate bunnies and eggs with ridiculously fake grass in huge wicker baskets. There is no such thing as lines crossed when it comes to merchandising each and every Christianity based holiday. After all, look how much we have learned to accept about the commercialization of Christmas.

The entire retail industry bases its success or failure as businesses on the Christmas shopping season.  They are intentional about this.  The birth of Christ has turned into one heck of a capitalistic success story. There is a whole category of merchandise consisting of Christmas related items – ugly Christmas sweaters, anyone?  So we have Christmas dinnerware and flatware, placemats, an inflatable Claus family, and other such things to purchase for our homes.  We have succeeded in divorcing Christmas from the birth of Christ.

It is the oldest of saws to decry this as part of the war on Christmas, or to talk endlessly about how the evil <fill in corporate / media entry here> have ruined the whole holiday by selling nativity sets or trees or by not saying “Merry Christmas” to each and every one of their patrons.    This is not my opinion.  I believe Christmas became a secular holiday a long time ago, and that ship has gone way far from the shore at this point.

Christianity is a lifestyle that does not depend on sanction by the media, by the culture, or by the retail industry.   We choose to celebrate the birth of Christ and remember it in our own way.  If we choose to participate in the traditions that our culture has created for us, as long as these traditions do not require a betrayal of our faith, I see nothing wrong with participating in them. However, I think it is appropriate to ask that we are given proper respect by those with different views.

Which brings me and my long-winded self back to the chocolate crosses….

All these holidays including Easter do have some secular basis.  I do not intend to go into the reasons why bunnies and eggs are relevant to the season, but it is not too hard to figure out if you really care about the whole history of that holiday. ;)  They do not, of course, have a single thing to do with the death and resurrection of Christ, but they sure do taste good.  These are additions to the holiday we have learned to accept.

There should be lines where Easter commercialization should end.  Chocolate crosses cross the line of what is acceptable for us.  We have already trivialized the meaning of Easter so much, but the cross is a serious affair. It is the whole basis of our faith – that Christ died and rose again so that we can have a relationship with Him.  He suffered and died on that cross.  It should be precious to us.  We should respect the cross enough not to make candy out of it.  Spirituality has been watered down in this culture, and we must choose to walk the hard path and stand for truth.

Boycotts don’t achieve anything.  A life that stands in respect and devotion to that cross means far more to the culture in which it exists. So let us rise above the culture and make this our ambition if we belong to Christ.

hidden gems – swimming with dolphins

Remember how I wrote that post about branching out of the top 40 comfort zone and finding new artists to follow and music to be passionate about that your friends and family might not be familiar with?  Well, I would like to introduce you to one of my favorites, Swimming With Dolphins.

My fascination with one man bands started with my introduction to the “Fireflies guy”,  formally known in the industry as Owl City.  I could spend entire posts (and might in the future) discussing why I believe that Owl City (also known as Adam Young) is a musical genius.   But this is about one of his friends, Austin Tofte, who makes cool electronic music as Swimming With Dolphins.

It all started with a little EP known as Ambient Blue, which he worked on with Adam (he’s the other guy on the album cover).  Here are a few of my favorite tracks:


That’s a little bit different from your everyday pop fluff, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong – the occasional use of Top 40 hits adds spice to any playlist, but sometimes you just want something that isn’t on the radio all the time.

In 2011, he released a full-length record, Water Colours, which is absolutely brilliant (in my completely biased opinion). You can listen to the entire record here if you do not have Spotify. ;)

My favorites:
Diplomat – so accurate to my life right now

Captured – another quality tune

If you’re noticing that he hasn’t released new music in a while, and you want to hear more, rejoice, for there is an upcoming new record called Catharsis which we will hopefully see sometime in the next few months.  (This is a hint, Austin.)

Here’s a preview track – Troms (Gorgeous, right?)

Hopefully this is enough to capture your attention and to check this guy out.

Here is another alternative link for the non-Spotify readers. :)

Swimming With Dolphins @last.fm

an unpopular opinion on downton abbey

Anna and Bates should break up. Seriously. Dead serious here.

Bates has a violent side. It was clear during his time in prison when he was threatening his fellow inmates. Now, there was a little back-and-forth action to that, in that some of them were threatening him in return, but still.

He also does not react in a calm, rational fashion when confronted with a difficult situation. Witness his attitude toward his ex-wife before her untimely death. No, he didn’t kill her, but we can all understand why he was a prime suspect. Now view his reaction to Anna’s rape. He said all the token things about caring for her and loving her, but his primary focus has been finding and punishing the person who did this to her – not allowing the justice system to handle that punishment.

Consider that Anna’s first inclination after the rape was not to tell Bates, because she believed that he would try to kill Green.   Any husband might react initially with similar thoughts, and would be perfectly justified in thinking like that and wanting to defend his wife’s honor, but with a sane, rational person that is where the idea would stop. Green should be dead, and is,  so justice was served.  But did Bates kill him?  We do not know that yet.

Mr. Bates is not entirely beyond help, but unless he learns to check these murderous tendencies and raging temper – this relationship shouldn’t continue.  Anna should move on.  It does not matter whether he was responsible for the death of his ex or of Mr. Green.   Anna needs someone who is more mentally stable and who is not always a suspect in someone’s murder.

And while we are on the subject, can we talk about how the writers keep excusing all of this bad behavior by Mr. Bates by showing him through Anna”s eyes as some kind of victim?  And how, by some miraculous coincidence he might be fingered for two deaths and be completely innocent of both?  Isn’t that rather unbelievable outside of the world of TV dramas?  I think yes.

possibly fair. never balanced.