What Drives Us

Some of you may know that a group of friends and co-workers started a podcast last year, the Sports Take Lunch Break, sponsored by Office Essentials. In talking with Andrew yesterday and again this morning, we discussed the nature of sports culture in America and its proclivity towards a few main focal points: Winning, often at any cost. Making money, as much as possible, again, often at any expense. And finally, violence. Yes, sports are often centered on physical contact and I’m not here to say “American football should be touch-only, or use flags!” I’m just thinking about how prevalent the violence is and how we as fans have been conditioned to expect and desire it.

mirrorTalking about these points got me wondering, where does this come from? What is it about us as humans (probably more specifically here in the United States, as that’s my only perspective) that makes us crave winning so much that we’ll overlook a bit of cheating to see it? Or that makes us accept the ludicrous amounts of money exchanging hands and being made by sports franchises and their owners and, to a lesser degree, their players? OR that makes us see a violent hit and probably a fight in a hockey game and think, Yeah! That’s part of the game! while in any other situation we’d be looking for the police or suing someone for the result?

I’m not looking to make sweeping generalizations about anyone or anything. I simply find it fascinating to know about root causes and motivations, especially when something seems to be so prevalent across an entire society. Where does it come from? What started it?

Of all the posts I’ve made this is one I probably hope the most for some interaction from you readers. What do you think, am I way off base? I have more thoughts but will wait to see if any of them come out on the podcast before sharing more here. What do YOU think the underlying motivators are of our society?

Finally Friday, Jan. 10th Edition

I’m trying something new, a weekly post. Let’s see how long I can keep up with it!

I am part of a group here at work we call the Marketing Content Team. We focus on making a connection between Work & Life in the spirit of broadening the reach of our brand through various media: blog posts, videos, and audio from our podcast that we share across multiple social media platforms. We were talking yesterday about how the average length of blog posts (in general, based on actual statistics) has grown over the last few years, and about how most successful blogs have a focus. It won’t work if you try to cover everything.

Not sure what it means to be successful at blogging, but I’m guessing it means you have a lot of readers or subscribers, and possibly it helps you make money? I don’t have a lot of either happening here, and perhaps it’s because I don’t have a specific topic I focus on. I think that’s because I’m interested in a lot of different things and have many opinions on them to share. I respect my readers/subscribers and I’m grateful for your input and interaction, but at the end of the day I believe I’m still writing these posts for me. I do wish I’d get more questions, responses, or arguments from readers, but I don’t think it will determine whether I continue doing this or not.

On to continuing to blog about pretty much anything & everything!

In the off chance you’re not following me on Goodreads, here’s what I’m currently reading/trying to finish:

 

Half a War (Shattered Sea, #3)

 

The Massacre of Mankind

 

The Blues won last night

as they should have against a far inferior Buffalo Sabers team. They’ve got a young Captain, center Jack Eichel, who is the kind of player I’d probably root for when he’s not playing the Blues. He scored a goal and really looked like he was getting frustrated his team was getting spanked, probably knowing he was one of only a few good players and couldn’t do everything himself. The Blues won 5-1

The Cardinals made a trade

Yes, I’m still a baseball fan, and while the Cardinals get mentioned in conversations about blockbuster deals and potential trades, their ownership/management seldom seems willing to buck up for the marquee players. Yes, they made a deal last winter for Paul Goldschmidt, a bonafide star, but they’ve been few and far between since Albert Pujols left all those years ago. The club seems content to make money hand over fist, be near the top of the attendance numbers every season, but not, from the fans’ perspectives, do whatever it takes to be a championship team again.

 

 

Image result for JOSE MARTINEZ

Image Credits: Creator: Dilip Vishwanat Credit: MLB Photos via Getty Images Copyright:2019 Major League Baseball Photos

 

That said, they traded Jose Martinez, a fan & clubhouse favorite, and rookie Randy Arozarena, to Tampa Bay for lefthanded pitching prospect Matt Liberatore. He’s a very highly touted/rated prospect, but it’s the offense that failed them in the playoffs last season, so every is still scratching their heads about what the organization might (hopefully) do to improve in that regard. Yes, there’s a blockbuster out there waiting to happen- Colorado 3B Nolan Arenado is likely to be traded this winter, one of the best at the position- and some think this deal could be a precursor to the Cards making a big move, but I doubt it happens.

That’s it for today. I could rant for hours about the dumbest president in our nation’s history, the lies, his sycophantic cabinet (I’m looking at your stupid face, Mike Pompeo) and the most evil person in Washington D.C. (Mitch McConnell for those not keeping score) but I won’t. Have a great weekend!

Missed it by a MILE

Weird saying for referring to a timely deadline that has nothing to do with actual distance. Anyway, what was I saying about posting something every day? Yeah, let’s just ignore that and move forward. I guess I really don’t have that much to say.

Nothing good anyway, at least not every day. Especially when the morons supposedly leading this country are apparently trying to send us into a war with Iran. Brutal wake up call for all Americans that something must be done to remove this idiotic despot from the White House or we’re not simply talking about the end of Democracy, we’re potentially staring down the barrel of World War 3. Think I’m being dramatic? Then it’s already too late for you. I’m not ready to lay down and allow the greedy, manipulative, misogynistic, white supremacist assholes win yet.

Well that was a lighthearted way to start the day, huh? How about hockey? Games? Birthdays? Celebrated mine recently, and I must say, 47 doesn’t feel anything like what I expected, though to be fair, I’ve no idea what I figured it would be. I’m just me, and I sorta still feel like an immature kid, albeit one with kids of his own, a 9-5 job, stress, physical ailments, bills, debt, and all the other bullshit adulthood carries. It’s fun right? Just try, as I have, to find an incredible person to share it with, mind body and soul, and we’ll be okay. I think.

Here’s 3 things that I’m thinking of right this minute:

The Blues hung on to beat the Sharks last night

by a score of 3-2, despite going 0-for-3 on the Power Play and looking awful with the man advantage in the process. Defenseman Niko Mikkola made his NHL debut and was very solid, I thought, for his first major league action. Jordan Binnington looked every bit the star who backstopped the Blues to their first Stanley Cup last season (they went through the Sharks to do so) on the anniversary of the night that started that amazing run:

View image on Twitter

Our boys have too many LEGO bricks!

and we want our living room back! We don’t have a lot of space at home, and while it would be great if they had a playroom to spread out in, it’s just not happening right now. Despite my best (futile) efforts to sort and store bricks by color, everything ends up jumbled after a couple of hours play, and while we do have storage bins to the bricks, there seems to either be a new bin filled up every time we turn around, or bricks end up in shoe boxes, backpacks, and everywhere else a 4yo can stuff them. I’m seriously thinking of getting into this new program LEGO introduced in the US this past year, LEGO Replay:

Old guys play D&D too

and not just famous ones. Actor Joe Manganiello has been very vocal and public about his love for Dungeons & Dragons, even taking inspiration from the tabletop gaming aesthetic to launch his own clothing line, Death Saves. I could include a bunch of links to Joe’s stuff but I’ll just include this one, from Inverse.com.

I mention this because while 42 (Joe) and 47 (me) aren’t exactly over the hill, I think there’s still a negative stigma when older folk play games. Maybe it’s in my head, but I’m as excited today as I was 35 years ago to play D&D and will finally get the chance later this month. I very good friend of mine who has moved back to St. Louis wants to run a game and I’m so looking forward to playing again. For those of a like mind, you can see the new character I’m starting over at D&D Beyond

 

Missed it by *that* much

It’s a new year, and you know what THAT means, right? Another year where I tell myself I’ll write more, starting by posting to my blog (at least) once every day…

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Now that we’re all done laughing at the idea, I bring your attention to the date, January 2, 2020, so we can chuckle again because I’ve already failed in my quest. So… onward we go, and maybe if I finish the year with 363 days of posting I can look back in anguish at my inability to even log in to WordPress yesterday, but that’s unlikely to happen. I’ll just move ahead. Join me, won’t you?

I always have a lot to say but I usually say it on Twitter, or I say it on the podcast we started at work last year, or simply at home with the (mostly) like minded love of my life, but I’d enjoy more involvement from you readers; more dialogue, more arguments, so I’m going to try and put more of those things here this year. STLB_Logo_twitter

In 2020 I’ll be discussing St. Louis Blues hockey, my kids, food, books I’ve read, music I’ve listened to, blogs, Tweets, politics, the ongoing demise of humanity, all the ways the place I live (St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) is great and/or cool AND the ways in which it’s decidedly NOT. If I offend, it’s probably not my intention, but I will not apologize. You can choose to not read it. OR, maybe comment and let’s talk about it. I can be reasonable in the face of reasonable objection.

The Blues are in 1st place as 2020 begins, coming off their 1st ever Stanley Cup win. I’m still riding the high of that so not much that happens this season will bother me, though I did pick them to repeat, which almost never happens in the NHL. While I’ll remain a loyal Blues fan forever, I struggle with the NHL becoming more and more of a burning pile of garbage in the way the league is run, the rules they make/enforce, and how they handle themselves from an executive standpoint. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, indeed.

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We subscribe to Disney+ and for me, The Mandalorian alone is worth the cost. Very excited for Season 2. I grew up on Star Wars, and I’ve passed my love along to my kids, though at times I almost regret it. Our 4yo is in character (and costume!) nearly 24/7 and it’s exhausting. This Christmas was wall to wall Star Wars LEGO and they’re a source of contention between our boys on a daily basis. Neither (4 & 11) have seen all the movies, but we’re slowly getting there. Empire Strikes Back is still my favorite, The Last Jedi was near the bottom of my list, and as of today I’ve not yet seen Rise of Skywalker, so no spoilers, thanks.

I missed my “number of books I plan to read this year” goal for 2019 by a only a few, and currently I’m close to finishing The Massacre of Mankind, by Stephen Baxter, and Half a War, by Joe Abercrombie. The former is a sequel to “The War of the Worlds,” and though it was published in 2017 it’s got the same dry, British voice of the original 19th Century tale. The latter is the finale of a trilogy from one of my favorite all-time authors so you can probably guess which I’m enjoying more. I recommend both. Question: will you finish a book even if you don’t like it? I tend to be unable to leave a book unfinished. Maybe it’s an OCD thing. Follow me on Goodreads!

I’ll leave today on this: I will vote for the Democratic nominee, regardless of who he or she turns out to be. You should too. Whether the election is fair/legal/upheld/etc remains to be seen and is largely out of our hands, but it’s the only recourse we have to have even a remote chance of ending the nightmare that is our current state of government in this country. Have a great 2020!