Well, I am still here. It has been a while on this site, but believe me, I’ve been busy.
If you don’t follow me on social media, you probably missed my myriad articles on a number of topics, mostly soccer. I’ve been moving away from posting individual articles as posts on this site, as it I’m sure it gets annoying for those of you who receive updates via email or RSS. I am working on finding a way for a sidebar on this site to update automatically with my new posts and stories on different sites, so stay tuned. In the meantime, don’t use this as an excuse not to click on my articles and posts for other sites.
What about this site? I’ll continue to keep it updated (promise) but will feature more original content and musings on a number of topics. There will be a lot of soccer but they may also include things like why I think La-La Land has commitment issues. The upside to having diverse interests is there is a lot to write about but the downside is the blog’s topics can be a little scattered.
If you remember back to the beginning of the year, I listed my writing goals for 2017. One of my resolutions was to revise them quarterly. However, looking over my list, I am quite pleased with the list:
- Finish that manuscript I said I would finish in 2016 – the introduction is done! Now to the hard part but progress is being made.
- Join a writers’ organization or community and pay for the dues with money I’ve earned writing – still working on this but still a goal.
- Start, join, or become a regular contributor on a podcast – all of these things are in the mix. We’ll see if any of them work out.
- Become a regular contributor on three new blogs – I’ve met this goal!
- Write an article, chapter, story, or something similar every day – this is still a struggle with my busy life but I am almost at this point.
- Publish an article about a destination I visit this year – I have two articles in my pocket about a recent trip that I am going to start shopping soon. I’ll keep you updated.
- Revise my goals every three months to adjust for the unexpected – not much has changed since March, so I’m still good!
More in-depth content soon.
It has been a while (again) but this time it is for a good reason. Over the past few months, I have launched and been running Soccer Minnows, a website aimed at the novice American soccer fan. There are a ton of soccer sites in the world but so often, if you are new to soccer or even a casual fan, you are automatically drawn to the biggest clubs with the biggest budgets. The soccer world has a ton of fascinating stories and clubs, many of whom are not even on American soccer fans’ radar except for the occasional puff piece on ESPN when they do something odd.
Soccer Minnows is a site that highlights some of these clubs as well as the fans who support them. If you want to support a club that’s not one of the big names, Soccer Minnows is hopefully a place you will gravitate. Please bookmark the site, comment, contribute, and share with your friends.
Soccer Minnows has taken up a ton of my time and energy, so there have not been as many articles as usual that I can share on this site. However, I do have another book review coming out in the near future, as well as an appearance on Yellow Card radio this week. So stay tuned to this site for more good news in the coming days, and thank you for your support.
As I have been teasing for some time now, one of my two major announcements is ready to be unveiled. Beginning today/when I can get this first article polished and ready, I will be the newest member of the writing team for Chiesa di Totti, an SB Nation blog for AS Roma fans. Roma has had a special place in my soccer heart and have been my rooting interest as long as Bari linger in the lower leagues. The fans, the history, and the players for Roma are fascinating, and I look forward to writing about all of those things in the coming months.
Check out my work on the website or on this site when I link to my stories.
The recent controversy over diversity and the selection of individual nominees has opened the floodgates of criticism on the Academy Awards, the processes, and even its relevance in the modern era. Many of the complaints leveled against it in 2016 are similar to or build upon complaints of the past; while the Academy itself sees its awards and actions as progressive, and movies themselves as keepers of social conscience, in reality it has lagged behind the times in many of its actions and procedures.
As such, the Oscars have failed to capture the public’s attention except for rare individual moments during a telecast: whether it is the Ellen selfie or Patricia Arquette speech on pay inequality, the awards ceremonies are now more memorable for that fleeting social moment then the overall level of quality. While there is a argument that this is positive, in reality you have a too-long ceremony with no social relevance. In essence, the Oscars are in danger of becoming a stuffier Golden Globes, and that is damning criticism.
So how can this legendary show regain not only shrinking audience share, but the gravitas that sets it apart from other award shows while still being eminently watchable? Here are some changes that the Academy should adopt immediately for the 2016 movie-year awards:
- Eliminate the host: The selection of an Oscar host is one of the most overblown and annoying controversies not just in Hollywood, but anywhere. The host is symbolic of the Academy’s feelings on its product one year prior to the show. Need to skew young? Bring on the James Franco/Anne Hathaway duo. Want to play it safe? Billy Crystal is always available. In reality, what eventually happens is the host ends up with somewhat edgy but most lame jokes in their monologues, in order not to offend too much, and quip about the length of the show. In reality, the Oscars don’t need a host; the “voice of God” can announce the award presenters. To kick off and end the show, the Academy should have a LEGEND in the field welcome everyone with a short speech about the year that was. This person should not be an up-and-comer or the hot thing at the moment, but one of those people undoubtedly Hollywood reveres as a legend, the type of person whose death would shut down LA in mourning, and someone even the average movie-goer in Middle America would know and respect.
- Announce criteria for best picture and stick to it: Do you want to know how a movie qualifies to be a Best Picture nominee? Mental Floss has a great breakdown but you’ll notice the requirements are all technical. There is nothing wrong with having general non-technical criteria, and in fact having some would really drive debate as to who was (or was not) nominated and why. Here is what I would propose as new Best Picture criteria, with nominees meeting at least one of these criteria:
- A movie revolutionized movie-making technology in a way that could improve the medium.
- The movie captured the spirit of the U.S. or world in its story or production.
- The movie was undoubtedly a critical success and appreciated by a large number of the movie-going public.
- Expand the director category to match the best picture category: It is absurd that someone can be nominated as a Best Director, but his or her movie not be named a Best Picture, and vice versa. The categories should match in number and nominee every year unless there is an extremely good reason a movie is a best picture without having a damned good director.
- Introduce a Best New Actor and Actress Category: The Oscars should go radical (for them) and introduce two new awards designed to honor an actor and an actress that, in their first role that would qualify as Best Actor/Actress or Best Supporting Actor/Actress, were award-worthy. This would allow those actors male and female who broke through in a major role to receive recognition in years where there is a favorite to win the major acting categories, as there seemingly is every year. This would also begin to address the diversity issue being discussed currently. Oscar-winning actors and actresses can command (or should be able to) better roles and better pay, and this award can be a path to allowing more breakout actors and actresses to gain more mainstream attention, even in a year when someone like a Leonardo DiCaprio is a lock to win a major acting award.
What do you think of these four Oscar changes? What would you change?
It has been a few weeks since I provided a site update, so with the long weekend ahead of me I thought now would be a good time to share a few things going on in my world.
First, I am finishing the draft of my article for a local paper on choosing the right high school. Keep an eye out for that at the end of the month, and I will have a link to share. I’ll have to add a page for published paper works!
Second, I have been churning out a few article queries on some things I know a lot about (beer, DC area politics, history) with a few nibbles. While I will admit I have not been as determined as I should be a few days this week in sending in queries (sleep/play tugged me away), there is some great momentum going with a number of these to be refined and accepted soon.
Third, my new book is germinating (I think that’s the word I want to use). I have written about 500 words and have planned out the core idea behind the book, and I believe based on my research it is a rather unique combination of sports and business. As we go along, I’ll publish a few paragraphs to share with you, dear reader, and get you excited.
Long-time readers may remember this site began because of a book project around Serie A and the history of the league. That manuscript is still here, and probably 1/3rd of the way done, but the specific historical topic is not as timely right this moment. My hope is that in the next few years Serie A will change in a way that the book’s focus will become more relevant, and thus the topic will be in demand. Until then, this new book topic – which is more timeless – will be a great read for a number of audiences.
Until next time, if you haven’t subscribed to the site, do so. And tell a friend to do so as well.
Cards Against Humanity is maybe the most NSFW card game since strip poker. Players match up situations with answers that range from weird to incredibly distasteful in a game designed to leave everyone embarrassed and laughing. While this game is certainly not for everyone and truly offends good taste, their marketing is known for being simple and effective.
However, Cards Against Humanity’s Black Friday “sale” took their marketing to a whole new level. On their website during the most hyped shopping weekend of the year, the company charged customers $5 for… nothing. This Business Insider article has the details, but essentially the company raised money as a simple social experiment.
The best part of the experiment is that the company then distributed the money as an employee bonus and asked employees to share on what they spent their bonus. Debt repayment, political causes, and video game systems make the list, but my favorite has to be the “custom suit of men’s armor”.
I wonder if any other company has the ability/guts/street cred to charge people for no product and get away with it, or if this is just another area where Cards can go where no other game can.