Saturday, January 31, 2015

Your sour-grapes guide to Super Bowl XLIX

This year’s Super Bowl is a particular toughie for many NFL fans on account of Deflategate and the Seahawks being the Seahawks. It’s all too easy to engage in a game of mental ping-pong trying to decide on a daylong loyalty. So here’s a handy guide to help with this most momentarily important of decisions.


• You won the science fair every year in school because your projects had strobing LED displays, push-button audio components and six-foot-tall mockups of Nikola Tesla, because your parents were very rich and also they did the projects for you.

• You have never smiled, because time is money.

• You won a drag race in your Bugatti Veyron against your pal’s Mercury Cougar, in part by lowering the air pressure in your tires.

• You subscribe to the belief that, because the team is named the Patriots, other teams by definition aren’t patriotic. (Which is also how you vote.)

• You think it’s any year prior to 2002.

• You believe in Manifest Destiny, just like your ancestors Philip Worthington Strong III and his wife, Lady Ruth Fensterhouse, who met on the Mayflower.

• You’re a big fan of field goals.

• If you’re somewhere where not doing it gets you hurt.

• You think Tom Brady has a nice face.

• You are thinking of the Seahawks at the moment.


• You only learned of football’s existence in 2013.

• You’ve met a Seahawks fan and you’re OK with that.

• Like many Pacific Northwesterners, you are in a band and you own a station wagon.

• You think the real opponent isn’t the Patriots, but the ruthless jackals in the media who dare to invade a public figure’s privacy during a five-minute presser.

• Just the thought of “class” makes your brain crack.

• You speak entirely in obnoxious catchphrases.

• You’ve ever called a drill sergeant a “hater.”

• You took a victory lap after winning the science fair and knocked down everyone else’s project.

• You are jealous of Tom Brady’s nice face.

• You are thinking of the Patriots at the moment.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Beast Moan

As a Saints fan who works in the media, I find Marshawn Lynch hard to take at times.

No Saints fan ever wants to revisit Lynch plowing through the entire Saints defense to help his 7-9 Seahawks advance in the playoffs, or for that matter revisit any encounter the Saints have had with him in the years since. Additionally, as someone who has interviewed his fair share of stubborn and/or hostile people, I have a low tolerance for the kind of spiteful game the Skittles Man is playing with the press.

Lynch may or may not suffer from anxiety — and if he does, I sympathize — but his trolling of the media is not a byproduct of that. (Wearing your helmet during an interview and giving a good-faith try, a la Ricky Williams, is closer to what that looks like.) Anyway, Lynch has granted interviews before — it’s only since Roger Goodell fined him for missing a recent media availability session that Lynch has pitched this tantrum. No, what he’s doing is the purely calculated (if not particularly clever) move of someone who wants to be the story. Everyone who’s hailing him as a folk hero for allegedly wanting to be left alone should keep that in mind.

Journalists aren’t sociopathic scoop sharks and Lynch isn’t some poor, bombarded sap. He’s a superstar football player about to play in his second consecutive Super Bowl. He plays in a league that trains all of its personnel in relating to the media as public figures. The big game has events where these players have to be available to talk for five minutes. They can choose to spout the usual platitudes, or they can be refreshingly different. Or, they can not say the usual platitudes but still be uninteresting, like Lynch. His standoffishness is remarkable only in how petulant it is.

Lynch could have been clever with it, at least. Maybe by saying funny nonsequiturs every time. Or being conversational, but having a good time with it. There are ways to object to that which you dislike that drive the point home better than by making it hard for people (who aren’t the cause of the scorn) to do their jobs — jobs they are paid far, far less to do. (Not to mention that the tedium in this exchange is most likely mutual.)

I’m no fan of Goodell, but I can’t fault the NFL for its access policies. If it was a 24/7 thing, I might agree with the critics. But a five-minute window on the eve of the Super Bowl? Perfectly reasonable. Lynch’s response? Not so much.

If he’s truly opting for a way out of the off-field spotlight, Lynch could always ask Marques Colston or any of the NFL’s many other quiet guys how they manage to elude the alleged glare of “gotcha.” Hint: If someone is reserved or otherwise doesn’t make for good quote material, they’ll eventually not be hounded. Someone who aggressively throws up a brick wall only makes muckraking professionals want to climb it. But again, I think Lynch knows that. He’s not trying to be quiet; he’s out to deafen with his defiance.

Too bad that defiance is so misplaced.

What a Super Bowl this will be.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why copy shops will live forever

Yesterday, I bought $61 worth of new ink cartridges for my printer/scanner, which I hadn't used to print anything since 2009 (though it continues to be a superb scanner). I was hoping to use it to print out some pictures on photo stock.

I did this fully aware that this particular machine requires four separate ink cartridges, and when one runs out (or its notoriously inaccurate sensor says it does), the printer ceases to function. In fact, that's the reason I'd stopped using it. But this time I figured I'd at least get a few quality prints before the drought, instead of zero. Alas, this is how far I got:

As you might guess, I ran out of cyan first — or at least, that's the cartridge that fell to unacceptable levels first, thanks to four bum test prints. I guess I should have run the standard test first, but I was too optimistic for my own good.

Even on its worst day, my printer never dried up this fast. Now I can't even print an all-black text document, and I'm not sure any black even made it to these images (maybe the last one).

Because I refuse to waste any more money on another cartridge, I will be going Jackson Pollock on these ink bricks as soon as I figure out how to do it.

Few appliances illustrate the middle finger of corporate cynicism like a printer that requires all colors to work to use any of them. I knew this already. I shouldn't have wasted $70 on cartridges and paper to remind myself. Fool me once ...

Also, I managed to disable my oven just by touching its circuitry last night. I'm on a roll!