Letters from the Lunar Outpost

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.
- Goethe, German Poet, Dramatist, Novelist, and Scientist (1749-1832)

Sports

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The Patriots are cheaters.If you’re still in denial about whether the Patriots got caught cheating again with DeflateGate, don’t get distracted by all the heat Tom Brady’s been taking, the real reason the Patriots have been using deflated balls is the ground game.

There’s nothing more random in the game of football than fumbles. A team can lead the league in fumbles one year and then have the fewest fumbles the next. It is the most random element in football, and even more so when you consider the fact that guys who are prone to fumbling don’t last too long in the league. So considering that, consider the impossible coincidence of this statistic:

The Patriots ratio of 187 plays to 1 fumble is the BEST of ANY team in the NFL for ANY 5 year span of time over the last 25 years. Not was it just the best, it isn’t close:

2010-2014 Patriots: 187 plays/fumble
2009-2013 Patriots: 156 plays/fumble
2006-2010 Colts: 156 plays/fumble
2005-2009 Colts: 153 plays/fumble
2007-2011 Patriots: 149 plays/fumble
2008-2012 Patriots: 148 plays/fumble
2010-2014 Texans: 140 plays/fumble
2004-2008 Colts: 139 plays/fumble
2006-2010 Jets: 135 plays/fumble
1999-2003 Chiefs: 134 plays/fumble

Source: Sharp Football Analysis

You would have thought that after having been handed a game they’d lost with that ridiculous call in the Tuck Game, getting gifted a path to their first Super Bowl would have been fortune enough for the Patriots to decide to really focus on winning fair and square, but they never thanked their lucky stars long enough to focus on playing inside the rules.

I have a real hard time rooting for any team in neon green, there really should be a rule in the NFL against teams wearing dayglo colors anywhere on their uniforms, but I’m going to have to look past those godawful team colors and root for Seattle this Sunday. Eff those cheating Patriots, go Seahawks!

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Sometimes, the most patriotic thing a citizen can do is stand up against injustice in their own nation. The very existence of America itself is owed to people who were willing to face the threat of death because the King’s taxes were too damn high.

Though it now seems lost on some, there is nothing more American than questioning the powers that be. Some of you may even be old enough to remember a time when speaking out against a president wouldn’t have you instantly branded a “racist”. That’s right, there was a time when lampooning the president was actually one of America’s favorite pastimes.

One of the most important books in American history, On Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, discussed how the very act of not standing up against immoral laws makes a citizen an agent of injustice. The book was frequently cited by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. as a source of inspiration in their struggles.

The spirit of civil disobedience was alive and burning bright in Rosa Parks when, exhausted from a hard day’s work, she sat firmly planted, refusing to to heed the law and give up her seat and move to the back of the bus.

That spirit of civil disobedience lives today in the millions of Americans who choose not to buy into a government dictating that all the people of the land must purchase health insurance.

And while 99% of the evils of the world are perpetrated by the world’s governments (see 20th Century history if you doubt me on that) every now and then, we need to rise up and practice some civil disobedience against a corporation, too.

The Time Has Come for All Good Dodger Fans to Rise Up Against Time Warner CableThe fact that Dodger games are not being broadcast in 70% of the homes here in Southern California is absolutely unacceptable. When there’s no other alternative available, the time has come to use your Internet connection and steal that broadcast and you should feel absolutely no guilt about in doing so. These are, after all, the Dodgers that you and I helped build with hundreds and thousands of dollars out of our pockets for every year of our Dodger-loving lives.

The time has come for all good Dodger fans to rise up against Time Warner Cable and their inability to strike a deal with the broadcast providers for the other 70% of So. Cal.

Of course, Time Warner is going on the offensive, trying to spin the So. Cal. Dodger blackout as somehow being the fault of all the other providers (AT&T U-Verse, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, Verizon FiOS) by launching the #INeedMyDodgers hashtag and website. Thankfully, most people are way too smart to buy into the one provider saying it’s everyone else’s fault though, and it was reassuring to hear the Time Warner people getting heckled as they handed out their free “I Need My Dodgers” hand towels last time we went to the game.

So here we are, we’re now more than a quarter of the way into the season, yesterday, in a Sunday game that would have normally drawn huge ratings, most Dodger fans are only heartbroken over having missed Josh Beckett pitching an historic no hitter and . . . no one’s budging. The providers are completely locked in a Mexican standoff.

This is what a Mexican standoff looks like.

source: Devious Theater

So I say, go ahead, grab that streaming broadcast and know that you can grab it with impunity. There should be no sense of urgency on our parts to help TWC out of the mess they made with their $8.35 billion, 25-year investment. The less you care about getting the broadcast through legitimate means, the more pressure you put on TWC to make a deal.

So what’s the sticking point? TWC wants the other providers to make the Dodgers available to ALL subscribers, which would mean Dodger fans and non-Dodger fans alike would see their bills rise by about $5 a month. The other providers say no way. Hey, I want to see my Dodgers as much as anyone, but why should all the people who aren’t Dodger fans be forced to foot the bill?

Allow people to pay for what they want to watch! That’s right, have it your way, what could be more American than that? Most Dodger fans will be more than willing to pony up $10 a month and the non-Dodger fans won’t have to pay a dime. That’s the way it should be. Best of all, if TWC is forced to offer up the Dodgers a la carte, it will mark a landmark shift towards the day when we only have to pay for the channels we want to pay for.

(Hey MSNBC, it’s Air America calling . . . time to set a lunch date at the ash heap of history.)

P.S. I’ve heard you should try googling “streaming baseball” or “first row” which a lot of the streaming sites have in their names. A friend of mine also says strikeout.co is a good source, but whatever you do ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY DO NOT INSTALL ANY OF THE SOFTWARE THESE SITES TRY TO GET YOU TO INSTALL. Yes, it is a shady part of the Internet, but the less you stress about getting the broadcast by legitimate means, the more pressure you put on TWC to offer it a la carte.

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Donald Sterling and the Death of Free Speech

“Donald Sterling and the Death of Free Speech” … You really think I’m going to argue that Sterling’s ouster from the NBA is an attack on free speech? Nah, that headline is just some blatant click bait on my part.

You talk about a burning topic, this whole Donald Sterling drama has inspired more discussion here at my work than any story that’s hit the news stream through the 13 months I’ve been here. (And just to be clear, I’m on lunch break right now.)

There’s no shortage of opinions both here at my work and on the Internet as well. What really strikes me though is how widespread a certain misconception is . . .

People are asking, “No matter how bad his racism is, how can you punish Donald Sterling for speaking his mind?” Some are even going so far as to call it the death of free speech in America.

Here’s what people are missing: the First Amendment was created to protect the right of people to speak freely and not be censored by the government. The key part being that, like every other inalienable right defined in the Constitution, it was put there to protect you and me from the government.

Now look at things from the perspective of the private entity known as the National Basketball Association. Put yourself in the shoes of the other twenty-nine owners and all the people employed by the league. If Donald Sterling is out there making racist comments telling his girlfriend not to bring them black people to his team’s games and those comments are made public (regardless of whether it was recorded illegally) once those comments become public, if the NBA does nothing about it or gives this billionaire owner nothing more than a million dollar slap on the wrist, how many people are going to say, “To hell with the NBA! Why should I spend my money on a league that allows a team owner to spout that racist garbage?”

Sponsors were already bailing out on the Clippers left and right, but beyond those sponsors, for the league as a whole, it’s easy to imagine thousands of fans choosing not to spend their money supporting a league that failed to show to the world that it has a zero tolerance policy towards racism.

If the NBA were to lose even a small portion of its fan base, now you’re not just talking about lost sponsors for one team, you’re talking about revenue lost throughout the entire league. That’s something that would impact everyone in the NBA, from the owners and the suits in the front offices, through the players negotiating contracts in a league with dwindling revenues, all the way to the rank and file working the ticket booths and concession stands.

I have to give major props to league commissioner Adam Silver. The NBA has every right to police it’s own and they did exactly what they had to do and I’m going to call it right now, when the vote comes and Donald Sterling is judged by a jury of his peers, those other twenty-nine owners will be voting unanimously in telling Donald Sterling not to be bringing his racist ass to their games.

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Perhaps the greatest tragedy of Donaldgate is that one woman's life is ruined.  How can V. Stiviano ever recover from being introduced to America as the woman who was willing to sleep with THAT guy - Donald Sterling - just so she can live a lavish ifestyle?

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the release of the Donald Sterling tape is that one woman’s life is ruined. How can V. Stiviano ever recover from being introduced to America as the woman who was willing to sleep with THAT guy – Donald Sterling – just so she can live a lavish lifestyle? She did it to herself, but it’s still pretty sad.

So yesterday, a secret recording was released of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling in which he was exposed as a full-blown racist:

– “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” (3:30)

– “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that . . . and not to bring them to my games.” (5:15)

– ”I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.” (7:45)

– “…Don’t put him [Magic Johnson] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.” (9:13)

Source: The Daily Caller via TMZ

No way you can walk back those comments. And in a sick way, I bet you Donald Sterling probably thinks of himself as a liberated mind, you see, he doesn’t have any hangups if his girl is having sex with them black folks (interracial sex is usually the biggest nightmare in the minds of these mental defectives) no, he doesn’t care if you sleep with them, he just doesn’t want to have to see it or hear about it on social media and at his sports arena. Seriously, I bet he really believes that somehow makes him a bit elevated from your garden variety racist.

When the story broke, after I got past the nausea and disgust that people like this still are still walking the earth and have yet to be completely shamed into non-existence, my very next thought was, “Please don’t let him be a Republican, please don’t let him be a Republican . . . ” While I know that racists come in all shapes, sizes and party affiliations, if this guy had turned out to be a Republican, the media would never let us hear the end of it.

Well, if you want to know what political party someone subscribes to, just follow the money. It turns out that racist Donald Sterling is on the books as having donated to disgraced California Democrat Governor Gray Davis, he’s donated to Democrat Senator Leahy, the lefty from Vermont, as well Democrat senator and presidential candidate Bill Bradley.

So he’s donated to Democrats and no one but Democrats. How else can you tell that Don is a dyed in the wool Dem?

This is only one of many examples in recent memory of Democrats showing their true inner racist when they didn’t know they were being recorded:

150 years ago, the nation was fighting a war to liberate blacks from Democrat plantation owners, today the NBA has to liberate itself from a Democrat team owner. On both moral grounds and from a purely business standpoint, there is no way the NBA can allow itself to continue associating with an owner who is on public record spewing that level of bigotry.

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Derrick Gordon Likes PenisDerrick Gordon has become the latest athlete that no one had ever heard of until he announced to the world that he’s gay.

Like his rainbow Nike hashtag shirt proudly proclaims, this is all about a man’s desire to be true to who he is.

Gordon explained it this way: “I just didn’t want to hide anymore, in any way. I didn’t want to have to lie or sneak. I’ve been waiting and watching for the last few months, wondering when a Division I player would come out, and finally I just said, ‘Why not me?'”

source: ESPN

It must be difficult to know that you’re gay but feel like you have to act straight just to try to fit in with your teammates. So good for him, Derrick Gordon can now #betrue to who he is. Now can we as a society please just fast forward to the point where this is no longer a big deal?

So he likes the penis. Big deal. I don’t like the penis myself, but I do like women and most women like the penis so how can I look down at someone just because they like the penis?

You know what I’m looking forward to? I’m looking forward to the time when this is no longer a big deal. I have a dream that all of us will one day live in a nation where a college or pro athlete can come out of the closet and it won’t even merit a headline.

Seriously, I’m tired of all these coming out stories clogging up my newsfeed.

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Doris Kearns Goodwin