New Club

I guess by now most of have heard that Atlanta is getting a MLS team.

(This space intentionally left blank)

Use it to place all the jokes.

Finished?

I’m moving on now.

It seems that all the Internet trolls were out in full force today. Some jokes were good natured and kind of funny. It’s the half truths and flat out lies that bother me. I really shouldn’t be upset with people who spend all their time on the Internet believing everything they read.

Why should I bother with people who live in places without any professional teams and are so filled with jealousy they cannot see straight. Or if they do have a pro sports team their owner is far too concerned with the amount of tattoos the players have.

Then there are those who like nothing more than to bore their friends with their extensive knowledge of handcrafted beer. Or those who scan trending hashtags on Twitter so they can fire off a comment and pray that it is retweeted so they can boost their precious Klout score. They are like those guys who hit on every woman in Johnny’s Takeaway in the desperate hopes of a handjob in the parking lot so that they can lord it over their chat room buddies who extol the virtues of the Fleshlight.

That’s why I don’t feed the trolls.

Yes, I do have concerns about the new MLS club in Atlanta. I would like a soccer specific stadium, but I understand why they will play in the new Falcons stadium, whatever it is to be called. I like going to Atlanta; I even like riding MARTA… To a certain extent.

Yes, the Braves are moving out of the city and into Cobb County, but in some ways I don’t see this as a bad thing. I don’t like it when sports teams hold cities hostage; that’s how we ended up with the Georgia Dome, which isn’t so bad. The previous owner of the Falcons, Rankin Smith, threatened to move the team to Jacksonville. I offered to help load the truck.

Of course now the Falcons are owned by Arthur Blank, who will also own the MLS team. For the most part he has gotten things right since he has talen control. I still have no clue as to why he hired Bobby Petrino in the first place. I’m glad he’s gone and taken his motorcycle with him. Could you imagine the uproar if that had happened while he was coaching the Falcons? ESPN would play that clip of him in the neckbrace on a twenty-four hour loop.

At least the MLS team won’t have any garishly colored uniforms. I like the red, gold, and white colors–very stylish, and I look good in them. But then again I look good in most colors.

Except for brown.

As for the team’s name that is yet to be chosen. Apparently is is up to the fans to pick, which could be a good or bad thing. I hope it’s not one of those name that is similar to a famous club like with Sporting KC, or Houston Dynamo. Someone suggested “ATLetico” as in the other club from Madrid. It’s not bad and it does fit, but no.

A lot of people want “Terminus” in the name because of the supporters club, and that was also the former name for Atlanta. My friend who is a big fan of football and The Walking Dead pointed out that the name would make for a very interesting tailgate party.

Anyone for barbecued troll?

Same Club, New Kit

A few days after my birthday it was announced that after nearly twenty years with Nike, Arsenal’s kit would now be supplied by Puma.

Blurgh.

For most of my life I have been a Nike guy. I am actually older than Nike, but that is neither here nor there. I, and those who buy me Christmas and birthday gifts, have invested quite a bit in Arsenal gear over the years. Now, most of the stuff I have is out of fashion. On the bright side, in a few years it will be considered retro.

So at least I have that going for me.

A few years ago I stopped getting Arsenal jerseys; partly because they are so bloody expensive, and partly because I am getting far to old to wear them. I don’t want to be that guy. Then again, I have never cared what people thought about me.

But there are more reasons than that. I was a big fan of Cesc Fabregas from the moment I first saw him play as a teen. I got one of his shirts in 2004 with his name and the number 15 on the back. It wasn’t long after that his number switched to 4.

Blurgh.

The same thing happened a few years later when Robin van Persie went from 11 to 10. If that wasn’t bad enough, both eventually left the club. So did Emmanual Adebayor, and Sol Campbell. Eduardo was severly injured and was never the same again.

Blurgh.

Players change clubs; it’s a fact of life. You get used to it, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it. The reason for the exodus from Arsenal was because they weren’t winning any trophies and it didn’t look like they were going to win any in the near future.

News flash! They didn’t.

Quite obviously I got sick and tired of owning shirts that had a short shelf life, so I switched to T-shirts, hoodies, and other items that weren’t tied to a specific player. Then there were the ubiquitous scarves. Most of these items were emblazoned with the Nike swoosh.

After a while I got a bit tired of supporting a club that seemed satisfied with barely making the top four. Yes, I do know that there are millions of supporters of other clubs that would be happy just to be in the Premiership, and maybe to make a decent run in the FA Cup now and then. In that sense us Gooners are a bit spoiled. However, it does get a bit tiring to listen to commentators and fans of other clubs constantly dismiss, or flat out make fun of, Arsenal. I am also a bit sick and tired of complaining about the club as well.

I have gone from being a supporter who would proudly wear Arsenal gear to the pub to watch a match looking for someone, anyone, to say something, to someone who hides in the corner hoping that no one notices me, because humiliation is a visual medium.

It’s that bad.

I still wear Arsenal gear to the pub, but it’s stuff that I have had for quite a while. Now that Arsenal is swapping kit makers I really should get new stuff just so I don’t look like yet another fan that is holding on to the good old days.

Part of me is a bit excited by the change. I really like Puma–always have. I owned two pairs of Puma shoes prior to the announcement, and since then I have gone on a bit of a buying spree. My Amazon wish list is loaded with Puma gear, and the Arsenal stuff doen’t go on sale for a few more months.

I have it that bad.

I need help.

I’m not expecting a new kit supplier to cause Arsenal to have a resurgence. I even think that making this years FA Cup Final is an anomaly. I just don’t want to be that sad, old man at the end of the bar who talks about the good old days.

But if that is my fate, I want to look stylish while doing it.

I Once Dated a Married Woman

I knew that would get your attention. Like a lot of things in my life this isn’t a straightforward story.

Note: Names have been changed.

Years ago my friend Jack and I would carpool to work. Another co-worker, Lisa, who lived along the way, had to ride with us for a few days while her car was in the shop. She offered to pay for gas, but Jack suggested that she take us out to eat after work Friday afternoon.

Jack had the “brilliant” idea of going to Ryan’s because of the all you can eat buffet. I’ll admit at the time I thought it was a pretty good idea. Then again a lot of stuff looks good in retrospect.

As it so happened, another co-worker, Amelia, had recently seperated from her husband. She was feeling down in the dumps, as one would, so Lisa invited her along in the hopes that it might cheer her up.

At this point you would be wise to ask, “When has a trip to Ryan’s cheered anyone up?” It’s a valid question. The idea of all you can eat seems like a good idea at the time, but as with most things one can carry things a bit far.

So, knowing that we would be overindulging later in the week, Jack and I went into “training.” Basically what that entails is eating as little in possible in the days leading up to the meal so that we could have a litte bit of everything. Or a lot, as the case may be.

So, the day arrives and the four of go out to eat, and eat we did. I am ashamed to say that I did make a bit of a pig of myself. If I had known what was going on behind the scenes I would have done things differently.

You see, I once had a bit of a thing for Amelia. I never told anyone because I knew better. Then one day I found out she had a boyfriend so I never pursued things. Also, I knew it was a bad idea to date a co-worker because things can get messy. There were stories about stuff that happened before I started working there. They never did fix the hole in the wall.

Back to the story…

If it were possible to makes matters any worse I probably did it during dessert. Let’s just say it involved blueberry cobbler, ice cream, and sprinkles. Yes, the sprinkles were taking things a bit too far, but hey… I like sprinkles.

As we were leaving I noticed the Lisa and Amelia were acting a bit odd. We were standing in the vestibule by the gumball machines, near the restrooms when the two of them did that thing where women look at one another, give a silent signal, and then say, “We’re going to the ladies room.”

We were like, “Okay. We’ll meet you outside.” That’s when it hit me. I knew that something was up and it didn’t take long for me to figure it out.

Then again it could have been my paranoia getting the best of me. Wouldn’t be the first time. Nor the last. Part of me wishes I would have been given a heads up, but that would have matters even worse. I would have been nervous and self conscious. I would have tried far too hard. In short, I wouldn’t have been myself. Not that being myself, whoever that is, has ever worked for me.

Anyway, not long after that Amelia and her husband got back together. About a year or so later they had a baby. I may not be a father, but in a way I am responsible for bringing a life into this world. That’s something I guess.

Then again, maybe I’m making all this up.

Same Old Song and Dance

I hate job interviews. In fact, the only thing more interminable are those seminars that teach you how to do interviews. It all seems so scripted and leaves no room for spontaneity or creativity, which are my strong suits, that is if I have any.

It’s all “Do this, don’t do that, blah, blah, blah.” It’s far too much like meeting royality or something. Truth is, I’d rather meet royality because it would be far less humiliating.

At some point the question, “Where do you see yourself in three years?” come up. Of course one is expected to have some sort of canned answer. What I should say is, “Sitting behind your desk,” or “Being your boss.” But what I really want to say is, “Not here,” “In a real job,” “Retired,” “Winning the lottery,” “Marrying rich,” or some such honest answer, but apparently employers don’t want honesty. It would seem to me that they are as sick and tired of this little game as well. Then again, some of them get a perverse thrill out of making people uncomfortable.

Then there are those who are good at at the game and those are the boring, addlepated people who think they are so damn interesting when all they know how to talk about is work and golf. Just shoot me.

The only thing worse than job interviews is dating. I agree with Liz Lemon when she said something to the effect of, “I just want to get to the part of the relationship where you sit on the couch and make fun of people on TV.” It’s not that I don’t like going out, it’s just that dating today seems like it hasn’t changed all that much since the time of Jane Austen. Well, there are fewer chaperones, but in some cases they are still needed.

What makes things even worse is when dating and work intersect. I’m not talking about dating co-workers, which is a terrible idea, I’m talking about when all your date wants to talk about is work. I don’t even like discussing work at work.
You know things are not going to go well when your date’s first question is, “Where do you see yourself professionally in three years?” Arrrrrrrrrgh! Seriously? That’s your opening gambit, to go all in preflop when you haven’t even glanced at the cards in front of you? Yes, it does save time, but if you are not careful you might scare away someone who really is a good person. That’s why you should always get to know someone over drinks as opposed to coffee–if it all goes Kardashian shaped you can always get hammered so the day isn’t a complete waste.

Mad Men “Time Zones”

In tribute to Roger Sterling I am stark naked as I write this.

For the most part this won’t be an in depth review, just random thoughts. I wish I had the kind of talent to psychoanalyze all the details in Mad Men. I must admit that a lot of it goes way over my head. I wish I had gone to film school or something. I’m sure that you probably wish that I had as well.

So, here goes nothing.

Boy, Freddie Rumsen has gotten very articulate since he got off the sauce. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that he was reading from Don’s script. In a parallel universe there is a sad bastard version of Mad Men where Freddie is the star.

My father had a couple of Accutron watches. I had almost forgotten about them. I don’t even know if they still make them. I remember going to the jewlery store in the early 80s to buy one. I guess that is where my watch fetish comes from. In fact my dad’s side of the family is basically the “Nice Watch Club.”

I did not know that brunch was a thing in the 1960s. I thought it was an invention of “Fern Bars” in the 80s. Basically it’s just an excuse to eat breakfast later in the day, or get get drunk earlier in the day and I am a fan of both of those things. If Waffle House had a liquor license I would move in.

Speaking of the 80s and brunch; Pete Campbell looked like a Yuppie on his way to brunch in that tennis ensemble. I don’t know what goes on in that funny little brain of his.

And then we meet Bonnie the real estate agent. And we all know that when the bottom falls out of the market “real estate agent” becomes code for “shooting porn until the market picks up.” Then again, maybe I watch way too much porn.

I may regret writing this part naked, but here goes: Just when you thought it was impossible for Megan to get any hotter she went and did it. California definately agrees with her.

While I am on the subject; leave her teeth alone! I said two seasons ago I would never have noticed if she hadn’t said anything about it. A lot of you are calling b.s. on that statement, and there is a time in my life I would have as well.

Let me tell you a little story:

Back in high school my friend was dating someone who, how shall I put this delicately? She had large breasts. I knew this, everyone knew this, or so it seemed. My friend was oblivious, or so I thought. It turns out that he really had a major thing for her. In fact, they got married and still are to this day. I am glad because she was the only girl he ever dated that was nice.

I didn’t believe him when he told me that he hadn’t really noticed, and then the same exact thing happened to me a while later. Well, except for the marriage bit.

But I digress.

The whole thing about Megan living in what Don called “Dracula’s castle” seems to be presaging her iminent demise. Or at least that is what we are supposed to think. Since everyone has predicted it, Matthew Weiner may just be messing with us. Then again, most of us were correct in saying that the mother was dead on How I Met Your Mother. I finally got one prediction right and I am never going to let you forget it.

We all know that the reason Ted isn’t tan is because he’s dead. Or a vampire. I don’t think he’s Irish.

And now for the obscure joke portion of the blog.

When did Peggy become Schneider from One Day at a Time?

Hello, Professor Poldolski. I am a big fan of your future grandson the footballer.

I would like to have some of Megan’s bread pudding and no, that is not a metaphor. Ask your server.

I am not a fan of T.W.A. coffee, but I love T.W.A. tea.

Sorry about that last one.

Much like Don and his balcony door I am not much of a closer.

Put the champagne on ice…

…we’re going to Wembley twice!

There are a lot of people who are downplaying the fact that Arsenal have made it to the FA Cup Final. Some of this is because they defeated Wigan Athletic in the semi final. As some people have short memories, Wigan are the current Cup holders. They not only beat Manchester City in last years final, they defeated them again in the previous round. Basically, what I am saying is: don’t sleep on Wigan.

Wigan could have easily won the match against Arsenal, and I am sure that no one would ever let us Gooners forget it. These are the same people who conveniently forgot that Arsenal had to defeat Liverpool, Everton, and Tottenham to get to the semi final round.

If Arsenal become FA Cup champions again it is in no way a sign of better things to come. Hell, I don’t even know how they made it this far with this squad of players. I wouldn’t choose one of them over any of the Gunners that played under Arsene Wenger during his first decade in charge.

It’s also telling that a lot of the great players were already in the squad when Wenger became manager. Yes, he made some clever signings and good sales, but there were any number of misses as well.
Francis Jeffers, anyone?

If Arsenal somehow succeeds in hoisting the Cup it is no guarentee that Wenger will stick around. He could say now that Arsenal have returned to winning trophies it would be a good time to hand over the reins to someone else. Who that person is I have no clue. I haven’t heard any names being mentioned and I cannot think of anyone I would want to manage the club.

That is not to say that there isn’t someone out there who could do a better job than Wenger. Yes, I am a bit tired of the idea that finishing in the top four every season is good enough. On the other hand it is a accomplishment. Yes, I do wish that Wenger would use the company card to bring in quality players, yet I understand that there is a long way to go before the stadium is paid off and Wenger is being a good steward in regard to finances. You don’t want to be a club that builds a new stadium and is relegated soon thereafter as with Southampton, and I don’t want Arsenal to have a financial meltdown like at Leeds, Rangers, or any number of clubs.

I hate to say it but if Arsenal do win the FA Cup it won’t solve anything. It won’t start another renaissance in their part of North London. If next season is anything like the past few have been at some point Arsenal will be at or near the top of the table only to flatter to deceive. Either that or they will struggle for a long time only to make a late run and finish in the top four. Either way it beats losing in the final of the Capital One Cup.

Twice.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

WARNING! The spoilers start here.

For a movie subtitled “The Winter Soldier” it really isn’t about the Winter Soldier. For those of you thinking that the film would follow the storyline from the graphic novel you may be disappointed. I could tell from the multiple trailers and TV ads that a lot had changed.

In a sense it was the old bait and switch similar to the one from Iron Man 3 in which the Mandarin turned out to be an actor playing a part. In this case the film was much more of a political thriller set in the world of comic book characters than it was about Steve Rogers best friend James “Bucky” Barnes becoming a killer working for the Russians.

Marvel never hid the fact that Sebastian Stan who played Bucky Barnes in The First Avenger was in The Winter Soldier. My friend who doesn’t read the comics didn’t figure out the Winter Soldier’s true identity until the scene in the Smithsonian where we saw the display about Captain America and his Howling Comandos. I’m sure that a lot of people didn’t figure it out until Cap did in the movie, and I am also sure that is what Marvel intended to happen. They could have gone the route that J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek Into Darkness and issue non-denial denials as to the true identity of the character that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing, when everyone knew that “John Harrison” was actually Khan. Of course, many people who knew that Sebastian Stan is in the film but don’t regularly scour the Internet for movie info may have thought that he would be playing Bucky in flashback scenes.

Although The Winter Soldier wasn’t a faithful adaptation of the comic book story writen by Ed Brubaker I still loved it. I previously stated that The First Avenger was my favorite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but The Winter Soldier surpassed it.

It was a very clever idea to make The Winter Soldier a political thriller since it plays right into the hands of Captain America’s sense of right and wrong and how Nick Fury sees things more in shades of grey. The thing is neither one is right or wrong. In some sense it would be nice if there were clear, definitive lines in the sand as in Cap’s day, but things have changed a lot in the last seventy or so years.

The fact that Hydra not only infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. but have been there from the start is a very interesting idea. Still, one wonders why Armin Zola would still hold on to the ideals of the Red Skull. Maybe Zola thought that the Red Skull was on the right track but went about it the wrong way. Maybe Zola was just power hungry.
Much was made of the scene where Cap and Black Widow discover the computer containing Zola’s consciousness and Zola states that Natasha Romanov or Natalia Romanova, or whomever she is, was born in 1984, when it has been previously stated that she worked for the KGB, which supposedly disbanded when she was a child. First of all, why didn’t anyone think about this before now? I guess it’s because in the comics Black Widow was given a slow aging formula, and in fact she is about the same age as Captain America. Give or take. I’m sure this will be addressed at some point. We know that Fury has all kinds of files on everything.

I am sure that we haven’t seen the last of the Winter Soldier. Marvel is good at setting something up in one film and paying it off in another. Then there’s the mid and post credit scenes. I am almost convinced that some people go to the theatre just to watch them much in the way some people watch Mad Men for “Next time on AMC’s Mad Men.”