31 March 2014

The Cake is a Lie: Pay the Players

The NCAA D-1 Men's Basketball Tournament happens every year around this time. It coincides with much hand-wringing about how much money the NCAA - a not-for-profit organization - makes (billions of dollars, which is quite a lot) and how much money the players make (zero dollars, which is quite a lot less).

I'm not here to wring my hands; I'm here to Marcus Small double-bird the NCAA in general and the NCAA amateurism rules in particular.

The NCAA is a sham, amateur athletics is a sham, and anyone that defends the archaic notion that these players who work for free should continue to do so because something-something-education and the good of the game and whatever else is talking nonsense. Brian Philips lays it all out in greater detail, but I have been working on a post about it too and I'm not one to let good(?) words go to waste.

The NCAA amateurism rules are about control. Yes the players get a scholarship. That's a useful piece of compensation (for some), even if it is a joke when compared to the amount of value the NCAA and the school get out of the player. Still: they get an opportunity to get an education. Which is valuable, if you're in school to get an education. And it would make sense if the players were treated like regular students. Except athletes in 'revenue' sports (football, basketball) are generally not in school to get an education, they are in school to get some miserably low-wage / high-risk on the job training in the NBA and NFL's de facto minor leagues. And they are not treated like regular students (this was the crux of the ruling from the NLRB).

It's a great system from the NCAA's perspective: they do the work while YOU get paid. Then you say you cannot pay them because: education(?). I dunno. One of the things I learned in school is that you should get paid for your work. I guess that rules are different when you start collecting truly astronomical sums of money

All of which would be tolerable if the players had an opportunity to capitalize on their marketable skills in their private lives, away from the court or field. But they cannot, because: NCAA amateurism rules. Players do not own the rights to their own name or image. They cannot sell their autograph, cannot get paid to participate in events, cannot make money on endorsements, cannot get paid in any way. The only right a player owns is the decision to play or transfer. (Don't get me started on how unfair the transfer rules are.)

Meanwhile, everyone else makes money hand over fist: the NCAA, the school, the administrators, the head coaches, the TV networks, the apparel companies, the shoe companies, the companies that advertise at the event, the venue owners, the licensed merchandise vendors, the unlicensed merchandise vendors, the guy selling parking spots around the way, the scalpers, etc. The list of people cashing checks on behalf of these young men is absurd.

If you're a good player at a big-time school then you have the Midas touch: literally everything you come into contact with makes people money. Except you. You work for peanuts. Your options are limited, and once you commit yourself to the machine you can have your right to work revoked at any time because wanting to get some of that cheese while you're still in college is a character issue. Or something. I don't even know. And don't dare smoke any weed, either. That would be breaking the rules and grounds for immediate suspension. No kid that smoked weed in college ever amounted to anything. Except for that one guy. Whatever. He wasn't athlete. No athlete every smoked wee- what's that? Oh. I shouldn't have brought it up.

This morally wrong and unjust system is perpetuated because the fat cats with the money don't want to share it. If you're cool with that, keep filling out March Madness(TM) brackets and enjoying the games. We all draw the line somewhere - most of us are not at all fussed about the working conditions in the plant where our cellphones are assembled. But if you think that employees should be paid commensurate with their value instead of being exploited by artificial, collusive wage restrictions then, well, maybe the Final Four isn't for you.

Easter Snow

Friend Lindsay says that she is tired of winter. It's 65 and sunny where I live. I said what's the big deal? She sent the photo at right. Yikes.

30 March 2014

Everyone Was Young Once

Me on the Left
Sometimes I forget how old I am because I don't have kids and I'm not married and I still play Titanfall Battlefield as much as I like. And then one of my married friends with kids sends me a reminder. Like this one from Big Cheese (pictured, R). Thanks. I guess.

Sweet Katie took that actual picture a lifetime ago on an actual camera with film that had to be developed by businesses that existed for that very purpose. They're all gone now, like record stores.

Special bonus shout out to the Sunnyvale State University t-shirt, which I borrowed from my cousin and subsequently wore on the regular until it disintegrated. He wasn't happy about that. Turns out it was a somewhat unique item. Not least because there is no such thing as Sunnyvale State University. They sold them at an orchard for a while, but I think that's all paved over now. I could not find one online in my quick search. Even the string "sunnyvale state university" only returned a few results. Like I said: old.

24 March 2014

Fully Committed: Future Islands on Letterman

This is some straight up white people music, although the vocal may remind you of John Newman singing with Rudimental. (Also white people music.)

The performance, it is something. Dude just goes for it. It is so unabashed, so over the top, so completely and utterly IDGAF, so earnest, that it pierces David Letterman's adamantium-grade cynicism and turns him into an actual fan. That takes some doing. Game recognizes game, as it were.

Keep in mind it's about 3 in the afternoon, cold room, crowd of bullshit tourists that waited in line to see Letterman. Basically the worst possible situation for a show, unless you're playing at 9 AM to nobody at a festival. Guy doesn't care. He brings it 100%. Respect.

Not surprisingly, the studio version of the song is really good. If you're into that sort of thing. Which, like Dave says: I'll take all of that you got.

Beaker Is the Best

They never saw it coming.

23 March 2014

Run Like the Wind

Big Cheese sent me this. I liked it.
Puppy loves to run! I like the part where she gets to the bottom and waits for him, then takes off like a shot. So great.

21 March 2014

Kisses Whether You Like It or Not

This is me trying to get Brutus to look at the camera without him concussing me with a headbutt when he turns to look at my face. He's not the easiest dog to photograph. Too busy being awesome. Why hold still when you can move? There might be treats!

To be fair it's confusing when one person is telling you to hold still and another person is telling you to look. If the dog isn't familiar with different commands then that is not his fault. He is leaning a bit because his right rear leg is bothering him. He tore his ACL because he is too damn bulky and people breed these dogs too large. Again: not his fault. Sucks.

Catching up with this guy and his sister this week so I'll get more pics. You care.

20 March 2014


An alarming number of my friends just had kids. They are very tired and busy now. I bought titanfall so I am very tired and busy too. Same thing, pretty much. Except for the part where I can sell titanfall back in a few months when I'm bored with it. Advantage: titanfall.

19 March 2014

Sports Analytics

Is That a Cat?
Big data definitely predicted this.

18 March 2014

13 March 2014

Throwback Thursday: Doves - Pounding

This song comes from a record that went straight to number 1 in the UK in 2002. It peaked at 83 on the Billboard charts that same year in the the US. (The number one song in the US that year was Nickelback. Those guys sold a lot of records like Budweiser sells a lot of beer. Don't care if you like it, you have to respect it.)

You can't find the video or even a rip of the song on youtube (plenty of live bootlegs, though), which doesn't make much sense considering you can find the song online for free in about 3 minutes. (You can find almost any song for free in 3 minutes.) Whatever. The video is dated but the song is great. Enjoy.

Doves - Pounding from Chris Sayer on Vimeo.

12 March 2014

Hollow Victory

 I laughed.

Via the consistently funny Alligator Sunglasses.

09 March 2014

Special for Spud

Custom fookin' designed for your needs!*

* That's from Trainspotting, if you haven't seen that movie 50+ times like I have.** 

** If you have done then you probably have a screw loose. I would know. 

07 March 2014

Wherever You Go, There You Are

"The heart wants what it wants."
I say that a lot. It's great to be like a fox and 'know many little things', but the heart, well, you know.

This remix has been out for a month and it's not getting much traction. I find this odd, because I think it's super. YMMV. 

06 March 2014

Mix and Match

So I guess the blog is just your typical mish-mash of dance music, political bitching, yoga stories, and dogs. Dogs whenever possible, because: DOGZ.

What I mean to say is: this mix is great.

04 March 2014


Can you believe Russia invaded the Ukraine? What kind of country invades a sovereign nation on false pretenses? That's just the worst kind of , wait, hold on...

It appears that the good old US of A may have been involved in some type of similar situation recently. I'm trying to remember what it was... Wait for it... Ohh, that's right. The war in Iraq. Well at least it's over now. What's that?

Oh it's not over. Still going on. Okay then. Never mind.

So if you're wondering why Putin, et. al. think Kerry (and Obama) are huge asshats when they make noise about Russia being proactive in the Crimea just remember that they share a border and there a lot of ethnic Russians there. Not saying the land grab is right or wrong, just laying out some facts. Another fact: the US invades whatever country it wants, whenever it wants. It's only an issue when someone else does it.

03 March 2014

Hot Jamz: The Tallest Man on Earth x WKND - The Dreamer

 I dig this. I hope you dig it too.

Song is three years old but the remix dropped about a month ago. You can find a download on the internet without too much trouble. Or you can just email me and I'll send it to you. Either way, really.

Thanks for stopping by.