Some tourists gathered along a winding path here on a Thursday in early May, watching the waves from the Atlantic, hoping for a big one. The surf was so high that red flags were planted on the beach below, so even the cariocas – the locals – stayed on the sand. It was only a couple of weeks ago that one of the waves leapt up to a newly built portion of this path, and crumpled it like a wet cracker. At least two people died; their bodies were fished out of the surf by helicopters and laid onto the beach below.
The tourists hung out near a food cart with a bright umbrella, and the owner stepped outside and got a visitor’s attention. He gestured with his hand in an up-and-over motion. It was clear what he meant: every now and then a wave crashed over the ledge, and where the tourists were standing wasn’t quite safe. He returned to work; the tourists stayed where they were. The waves kept coming, higher and higher.
Brazil is a precarious place these days.
“Things are getting uglier here every day,” Brazilian soccer star Rivaldo wrote on his Instagram account Sunday. “I advise everyone with plans to visit Brazil for the Olympics in Rio – to stay home. You’ll be putting your life at risk here. … Only God can change the situation in our Brazil.”
The situation in Brazil right now looks like this: The economy is crashing and no one knows quite what to do about it. The Zika virus has caused paralysis and harrowing birth defects. The Olympics are less than three months away and that will bring security concerns. It will also bring some embarrassment, as the local Guanabara Bay is filthy and rancid. The beach surrounding it has no people, but rather empty cans and vials and diapers. It was supposed to be cleaned; it might never be cleaned.
Perhaps most troubling of all: an impeachment process in the midst of a corruption crisis leaves Brazil’s political future completely uncertain. Plan A has failed and there is no Plan B. When the Olympic flame arrived here on May 3, it was met by dueling protests – one side against a “coup” and another in favor of impeachment. A schoolteacher who watched the torch relay voiced a common wish: new elections. But who is worthy to win? No one has inspired any trust. The most popular politician is someone nicknamed “Tiririca.” He’s a professional clown. His campaign slogan was, “It can’t get any worse.”
So yeah… that “best games ever” seems out of reach.
It’s time to accept a certain reality: Jackson just isn’t cut out for this gig. The world has gotten bigger, and the talent pool has grown with it. An NBA executive must be a tireless workaholic, not an ex-coach who acts like his 11 championship rings make scouring the globe for talent beneath him. Jackson nailed Kristaps Porzingis, a transformative 7-foot-3 big man who will revolutionize the center position. Yet the frontrunner for the Knicks’ coaching job (incumbent Kurt Rambis) has suggested Porzingis play some small forward while staying loyal to a system (the triangle) that doesn’t seem to suit the young star.
The Knicks don’t have a pick next month, which is all the more reason for Jackson to put in the extra work. No asset is more attainable than a second-round pick, particularly from the handful of teams (Boston, New Orleans, Denver) with a few of them. Finding NBA talent there is difficult, but every year yields a Norman Powell, a Jordan Clarkson, an Allen Crabbe, and it’s often the most relentless executives who grab them.
Now is the time for Jackson to marshal his resources, not cruise through the Plains States on an ill-timed break. There’s video to be dissected, college coaches to be called, international scouts with information to be bled dry. Free agency – Jackson’s rebuilding method of choice – has changed, evolved. The magnetic pull to big markets has weakened, replaced by a marketplace of players fueled by a desire to win. New York, with its instability, its annual failures, just isn’t where the elite talent is looking to play.
I agree with Mannix, I have never liked the hiring of Jackson for this very reason. Jackson may be a great communicator and teacher but that doesn’t always make you a great talent evaluator or manager. Then there is his insistence to run the Triangle offense with a team that is not well suited to run it.
As I wrote about on Thursday, Ford Canada sent Wendy, Oliver, Mark, and myself to the 2016 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in Swift Current, Saskatchewan on Friday and Saturday. Not only that but they gave us a 2016 Ford Explorer for the weekend to get us there and back.
I was given the vehicle on Thursday which gave me a day to get used to it. The Explorer is what you would expect from a luxury SUV. Lot of room, heated seats, air conditioned seats, heated steering wheel. Six cup holders up front. Heated seats in the second row. It also has different traction controls which on Thursday, it looked like I would need as we drove to Rosetown and then down south on Highway 4.
On Friday afternoon as we got ready to leave for Swift Current, I was loading the SUV with our bags and I noticed it had a third row of seats. Immediately Oliver volunteered to sit back there and chill out with his Nintendo 3DS. I picked up Wendy from work and we headed south with Mark in the middle row.
While three rows is more than we need, having it is amazing when travelling with a family. Both boys just did their own thing and didn’t say a word to each other. Not only that but because they weren’t on each other’s nerves for the ride down, they seemed almost thrilled to hang out again in the hotel and dinner. Not only did it make for a nicer drive, it made for a better drive.
The ride was the one thing I was curious about. Last week at this time, summer was here. Then winter came back and the weather was cool and snowy all week. I was wondering how the Ford Explorer would handle the roads between here and Swift Current. For those of you who don’t know, the Ford SUVs are incredible in slippery conditions. They drop down, add extra stability, and more or less own winter. Luckily the weather improved and it was a snow and ice free drive from Saskatoon to Swift Current and back. Not being able to test the all weather capability of the Ford Explorer was okay with me but it is nice to know about when you need it.
Wendy was incredibly sick on Friday and slept for most of the way. While the highways isn’t the best, the ride was quiet enough and smooth enough that she slept from outside of Saskatoon to almost Swift Current. She woke up in time for me to discover the seat massager which helped her with a really sore back. Combine that with heated seats, it made a big difference in her weekend. Wendy made a good point in writing about the weekend, the heated seats feel amazing if you are under the weather.
Of course the best part of the drive was that we listened to ESPN Radio. On ESPN, they aired constant commercials for Zyppah which is an anti snoring device. So Wendy is sleeping and snoring up a storm and every time the commercial comes on, we all crack up. Well except for Wendy, who was snoring.
When we got down to Swift Current, we check into the Motel 6 suite that Ford booked for us. It is a great hotel and was fine for the family. We got unpacked and went for a drive around Swift Current while we decided on dinner. Everyone we talked to suggested Wong’s Kitchen which is where we ended up. After ordering an order for 4, we all laughed when it came out. It was the biggest portions that I have ever seen in my life. It could have fed 10. After barely making a dent into pile of food, we called it a night and went back to the hotel.
If I have one complaint about the hotel it is that the chain doesn’t have a feedback form online so I can leave comments about how great of stay it was. Yes some idiots stumbled into the hotel early in the morning and woke everyone up but that isn’t the hotel’s fault. Being a concrete building, I only heard it on my floor and no clomping around above me. The room was clean, the service was good, and the free coffee was appreciated.
The next morning was early. All of us wanted to get up and explore a bit of Swift Current and get a good meal before heading to the Credit Union iPlex for the start of the curling. We got up, went to Humpty’s, stopped by Cypress Motors Ltd. and picked up our tickets and then checked out downtown Swift Current.
The architecture of First United Church
Then it was off to the Credit Union iPlex to get our seats before the Opening Ceremonies began.
I learned something very important yesterday. It doesn’t matter how loud you are or how many speakers your public address system has, it means nothing when 13 bag pipers walk into your hockey arena. The M.C. wasn’t quite done yet when the Pipes and drums from Saskatoon Legion #63 decided to make an entrance. No matter what needed to be said, the room belonged to these pipers.
There is nothing quite like 13 bag pipers going all out to start an event off right.
Before you ask where the photos are of Team Canada, the additional lighting that was installed to illuminate the ice worked great but Team Canada was marched in right in front of us, outside the additional lights. To make a long story short, my photos of them sucked.
So the after the pipers, piped, the drummers drummed and the speakers spoke, we had two hours to kill. I have written about how bad the food was at SaskTel Centre is before. Then I go to Swift Current where the food is absolutely amazing. There were so many choices that it was kind of overwhelming. Not only were there choices beyond burgers and nachos, there were good and exciting choices. So instead of leaving the arena, we ate there and were thrilled with our choice.
There was a souvenir area that I went in with Wendy. I wanted to give her a curling rock themed toque but she said absolutely not. Instead I got her a t-shirt, a coffee cup, and a pair of curling rock shaped earrings. Oliver wanted a Canadian flag to wave so I got him that and a pin. Everyone was full and happy when they sat down for the start of the first draw.
For you curling fans out there, Canada fell into a deep hole, climbed out of it, gained the lead, lost the lead, and then won in overtime. It was a little tense for those of us who were right there. We were all happy and relieved when Team Canada pulled out the win against a great team from Denmark.
So this is the Russian skip. She never said a single word the entire game. She was playing (and destroying) the Italian team whose skip talked the entire game. One sheet over was the Japanese team who screamed, pleaded, and begged the rock to do what she wanted it to (it worked as her team won) but the Russian skip was quiet all game. Never yelled the Russian equivalent of hurry or hard once. Of course from where I was watching, the Italian team was out classed so maybe she was quiet because she didn’t need to say anything.
After leaving the Credit Union iPlex, we fueled up and started the drive home. It’s a great driving SUV. I am still really partial to the Ford Escape, if I was looking for something larger, the Ford Explorer is a great option. It made a long drive seem effortless. If you are looking for a larger SUV that seats seven, this is what you are looking for. I drove over 600 kilometers in it and didn’t have a complaint. Even more importantly, no one else in the family did either.
Last night w got home in decent time and called it a night. While the Motel 6 in Swift Current was great, there is nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed, even if that means you have to fight a dog for space and covers.
Wendy writes about her weekend with the Ford Explorer and the 2016 World Women’s Championships here.
This is amazing. Worth a watch (and listen).
From the moment Donald Trump announced his presidential bid in June, he has used antipathy toward illegal immigrants as a mainstay of his campaign. Now his name is being invoked by basketball fans in Iowa who are trying to taunt a racially diverse high school team there.
Perry High is located in a rural part of the state, making its relatively high percentage of minorities unusual. According to a report by Iowa TV station WHO, fans at a game Monday were chanting “Trump! Trump! Trump!” and “U-S-A” at Perry players, who include boys of Latino, Native American and African American heritage.
“It’s honestly disrespectful. That’s how I take it. I hear it during the game, on and off the court. Everywhere I go,” Shammond Ivory, a senior on the team, told WHO.
An official for the school Perry played Monday, Dallas Center-Grimes, confirmed to the TV station that the chants had taken place. He declined to say whether any students had been disciplined.
“We are all aware of racism, it’s alive and well in small portions, but it’s alive and well and it’s just hurtful to see that’s what they resort to,” a Perry student, Kevin Lopez, said.
Disgusting actions by fans and by the school that allowed it to happen.
I am not trying to rub salt in Detroit Lions fans wounds. I grew up in Saskatoon and watched a lot of Detroit cable. I was there for the Barry Sanders and Wayne Fontes era. It just happened to have Scott Mitchell as their QB…
In watching Megatron’s retirement talk, a couple of things came across my mind. One of them was why don’t teams pay a player like Calvin Johnson to take a year off at this point of their careers and get totally healthy.
Give him a couple of months off and then pay him to come back and work out, get back in shape and come back healthy for the year ahead. Before you discount this as crazy, consider that one of the reasons why Marcus Allen had a such a long run in Los Angeles and Kansas City is that he was rarely used in his late 20s and early 30s because of the insanity of Al Davis and that feud that only Davis really knew what he was mad about. It had to suck for Allen to go through but it prolonged his career.
The (pretty good) O.J. Anderson had a career revival in New York for the Giants on their 1991 Super Bowl team because in part he was barely used for years after the St. Louis Cardinals ground him to pieces as their feature back. His body recovered and was great in that three yards and a cloud of dust attack that New York had.
Look at Kurt Warner. It took him a couple of years for his body to heal after Mike Martz’s attack left him beaten and bruised in St. Louis. He wasn’t a great, then bad, and then great QB again. He was always great, his body just needed time to heal after the pounding his took as part of the Greatest Show on Turf.
Part me wonders if the Lions paid Johnson a reduced salary to rest up and get healthy, if he wouldn’t come back. Being in pain every day takes a toll on you both physically and mentally. Not all players would come back after a break away but other stars would be able to come back and be better than they were before. It wouldn’t be something you would do for everyone but there are select “generational talents” that giving a break too would pay off for a franchise and the game.
I was thinking the other day that my life needed a shakeup. So after looking at several possibilities, I have decided to simplify and become more like Bill Belichick. It’s so simple it is genius.
- I only have to worry about the weather. If it is cold, I wear the long sleeved hoodie. If it is warm, I put on the same hoodie and cut off it’s sleeves. If it gets really cold, I wear a matching undershirt and pull up the hood. I can wear the same hoodie to work, while traveling, and I am sure he even wears it in the pool.
- I don’t have to answer any questions directly. If Wendy asks me why the dishes weren’t done, I reply, “I’m here to talk about Philadelphia”. If she asks why I spent $1000 on the same grey hoodie, “I’m here to talk about Philadelphia.”
- I wouldn’t have to have any tolerance for dumb people (I got that part down).
- My answer to Mark’s report card, “This won’t be good enough. It wasn’t good enough today. It won’t be good enough against anybody else, either.”
- Sometimes the most obvious answer will work out, “Any time you lose yardage in the running game, there’s a mistake somewhere.” Or there is this, “Any time you have a negative play in the running game, it’s like getting a penalty,”
- When I screw something up, “That’s part of the game, … Sometimes that stuff happens.”
3. Randall Cunningham (late-’80s, early-’90s): The best video game QB of all-time. You could roll him out to either side, scramble for first downs, throw 70 yards with him, avoid sacks … and he never self-destructed like he did in real life. Regardless of how his NFL career turned out, he’ll always have his video game career to fall back on.
Blake Harris, the author of Console Wars, has written a piece on how NHL ’94 came to be. For those unaware, NHL ’94 is one of the greatest sports video games ever created. This is the sort of attention to detail that made it so great:
For example, it could emulate the ambience of a game day NHL arena by including the proper organ music. The problem, though, was that each team’s organist played different songs. ‘That’s not a problem, actually,’ explained Dieter Ruehle, the organist for the San Jose Sharks (and previously for the Los Angeles Kings), ‘I can do that.’ True to his word, Ruehle provided EA with organ music for every team; and he didn’t just provide all of their songs, but also noted which music was blasted during power plays, which tunes were used to celebrate goals, and all the other inside info needed to make each arena feel like home. Ruehle was so diligent about getting it right and capturing that home crowd essence, that during a recording session at EA’s sound studio he asked:
‘The woman who plays the organ for the Washington Capitals has arthritis; would you like me to play the songs how they are meant to be played, or the way that she plays them because of her condition?’
‘Definitely the way she plays it!’ Brook answered, after a laugh.