Leave me alone
There's this line from the movie Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey:
There are times when I just thought about checking into a hotel and just being in a quiet room by myself, just sitting in a quiet air-conditioned room, sitting down, eating my lunch, with no one touching me, drinking a Diet Sprite, by myself.
I think about this routinely.

Smith hyphen
There are four current NFL players with a hyphenated last name that starts with "Smith": 
  • Ihmir Smith-Marsette - WR - Carolina Panthers
  • James Smith-Williams - DE - Washington Commanders
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba - WR - Seattle Seahawks
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster - WR - New England Patriots
Honorable mention goes to Jaryd Jones-Smith - OT - Washington Commanders.  I don't know what was in the water supply 25-ish years ago, but it was something. #sports

Jerseys without names
Certain college football teams wear jerseys without players' names on the back, and I think that's stupid.  I get why it started:  In the old days, football was a team game where the contributions of one individual player didn't necessarily outweigh the performance of the team as a whole.  Sure, certain players were standouts and won individual honors.  But the team existed as a unit and players went to college primarily to get an education while playing football on the side.  We need to admit that hasn't been the case for a very long time.  College football is an industry, and the product is entertainment.  The most entertaining aspects of the game are created by the most entertaining players.  Also, players no longer stay with one team for very long because of the transfer portal.  How am I as a fan supposed to appreciate the best play-makers on the field if I can't even identify them?  Notre Dame, Penn State, USC:  It's time to enter the modern era. #sports

Tush Push
The Tush Push, a.k.a. the Brotherly Shove, is the quarterback sneak play run by football teams in short yardage situations, most notably by the Philadelphia Eagles.  In my opinion, this is the best thing that's happened to football since the Wildcat Formation was used by the fledgling Miami Dolphins to trounce the almighty New England Patriots, and then subsequently copied by everyone until defenses eventually figured out how to stop it.  For the Eagles, the Tush Push is about 90% effective, which is as close to a "gimme" as you can get in any situation in any sport.  It's a no-brainer; if you're in that situation, you run that play. 

But the interesting thing is that it's heavily dependent on personnel.  You need an offensive line that executes a specific thing exactly right, you need big strong running backs and tight ends to push, and you need a quarterback with a strong lower body who can take an initial hit and keep churning his legs.  The Eagle's quarterback Jalen Hurts is the ideal person for this role, both because he's relatively short and sturdy, and also because of his weightlifting prowess.  It's kind of funny to watch other teams try and fail to duplicate this play, either because their timing is off, or the offensive line doesn't quite get the motion right, or simply because their quarterback isn't athletic enough. 

There's nothing illegal or dirty about this play, and it's not particularly complicated.  Defenses know what's about to happen; they just don't have the physical ability to stop it.  It's just an us vs. them play -- Does our offense have more strength and grit and skill than their defense.  So it's kind of funny that people want it banned because it's unimaginative and ruining football.  It's not.  Figure out how to stop it, and then adopt it for yourselves. #sports

Early vs. late games
I don't understand the disparity in start times for early games vs. late games for American sports.  Early games start at 12-1 pm on the east coast, which is 9-10 am on the west coast.  Those are reasonable times for reasonable people on both coasts.  Unless you work the night shift or are weird in some other way, you'll have no problem watching those games in their entirety. 

Late games, on the other hand, start at 7-8 pm on the west coast, which is 10-11 pm on the east coast.  No normal person on the east coast regularly stays up until 12-1 am to finish watching these games.  Games that start this late pretty much only happen on the west coast, and because of the relative time frame, I'm led to believe the target audience is solely on the west coast.  Which is odd, both because I'm an east coast native, but also because 80% of the population lives on the east coast

Finally, we as a country need to address the start time of prime time games.  These games start at 8-9 pm on the east coast and last until 11 pm or 12 am.  On the west coast, this is 5-6 pm until 8-9 pm -- easy peasy.  For people on the east coast, this is too damn late.  This isn't a big deal for a standard Monday Night Football game or whatever, but it's significant for games like the Super Bowl or College Football National Championship where a sizable portion of the population (again mostly on the east coast) are watching.  I would like to formally propose a constitutional amendment to start prime time games at 7 pm ET.  People on the west coast can accommodate a 4 pm start time; it's for the good of the country. #sports

Believing in aliens
I was asked recently if I believe in aliens.  Here's what my response would have been if I wasn't drinking: 

1.  I fundamentally believe there's a natural explanation for everything.  This is called naturalism, and it's the opposite of supernaturalism (e.g. religion).  Human beings have, for a long time, come up with supernatural and sometimes absurd explanations for things they didn't understand.  "God created the earth, then the sun" (oops, wrong order).  "Earthquakes are god's punishment for something" (oops, plate tectonics).  "You're sick because of bad air" (oops, germs). 

That's not to say people are big dumb stupid idiots.  I would go with less aggressive words like "ignorant" (i.e. didn't know) or "naive" (i.e. didn't know enough).  As we learned more, there was less of a need for supernatural explanations for things because we discovered natural explanations.  There are literally countless examples throughout the history of scientific discovery. 

I believe aliens fit in that category.  The pictures, videos, and eyewitness testimony all follow the pattern of, "I don't know what I'm looking at, so it must be aliens."  It's the same with "ancient aliens" who supposedly helped us build the pyramids and whatnot.  "I can't imagine a way humans could've built this structure, therefore aliens did it."  It's a failure of imagination. 

I don't have a good answer or explanation for things people attribute to aliens.  And I understand the thought process of appealing to that logic, because it does make a certain amount of sense.  But based on our well-documented human history of mis-attribution, I'm holding off judgment until we get some better data. 

2.  However, I also think the existence of aliens is pretty likely.  Another common theme in human history is thinking we're the center of everything and assuming we're unique.  We used to think the earth was the center of the solar system and the center of the universe, but it turned out to be sort of the opposite.  We used to think biological life was temperamental and rare, requiring just the right mixture of air and water and sunlight, but then we found things on hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean.  Life is not difficult, and we're not unique. 

If there are [whatever] billions of galaxies in the universe, and [whatever] billions of stars in each galaxy, the idea of a rocky planet in a goldilocks zone hospitable to some sort of life is at the very least conceivable, if not a near certainty.  It would be the ultimate example of human hubris to assume we're alone in the universe.  It might be alien bugs or alien lobsters instead of alien humanoids, but still. 

3.  That being said, I think the pro-alien lobby (just made that up) is a little short on evidence.  Claiming a certain rock couldn't have been cut or moved by people of a certain era because they didn't have the proper tools, and then claiming it's aliens -- this is like answering a question with a question.  You couldn't come up with a reasonable explanation, so you went with unreasonable.  Or capturing a shaky-cam video of some lights in the sky that look weird -- like seriously have you never heard of image stabilization?  It's like Bigfoot sightings:  You're telling me in the 200 or so years of the existence of cameras, we haven't been able to capture a single clear shot? 

Discounting government cover-up conspiracy theories (a topic for another day), the evidence has yet to be compelling.  Interesting?  Yes.  But conclusive?  No.  However, to quote Bill Nye when he was asked what if anything would change his mind:  "Evidence." #science

Cory Doctorow writes about why internet things keep getting worse
HERE IS HOW platforms die: First, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.

I call this enshittification, and it is a seemingly inevitable consequence arising from the combination of the ease of changing how a platform allocates value, combined with the nature of a "two-sided market," where a platform sits between buyers and sellers, hold each hostage to the other, raking off an ever-larger share of the value that passes between them.
I don't have problems with Google, but Facebook and Twitter have taken a dive lately, and Amazon used to be a good place to compare product reviews. #technology

Weird facts
I always come across those listicles that are like, "17 Amazing Facts About Nature," and I'd say my favorite facts are these: 

Dog smell and sound
I might be on the spectrum, but either way I'm sensitive to strong smells and loud noises.  But only certain ones.  I have trouble going in stores that sell candles and soap and whatnot because it feels like my brain is so overly stimulated by the smell that I can't function.  But at the same time I love the smell of a nice fire-charred whiskey barrel, or a big greasy bacon cheeseburger.  It's the same with sound.  My human child occasionally likes to scream, and it's sort of like my ear drums go numb, except it's still painful.  But at the same time, I go to loud concerts and don't have a problem. 

It occurred to me recently that this is why I don't like dogs.  All dogs, literally all of them, have "the smell."  Dog people think their houses don't smell like dog, but I can identify a dog owner after spending a millisecond in their house.  And all dogs are loud, despite "Oh he doesn't usually do this" or "Wow she never barks this much."  Dogs are smelly and loud.  I don't like them. #nature

NJ culture
James Carville on Club Random with Bill Maher
Connecticut does not have a culture, ok?  I'm serious.  New Jersey actually has a culture.

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