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Posts tagged ‘Pop Culture’

So honestly, is RG3 ever going to be the same, or will he become an all-time bust?

RG3’s Rookie Year: 15 games started. Redskins go 10-6. Make the playoffs (and get a home game) for the first time in seemingly decades (really wasn’t that long). 815 yards rushing, 3200 yards passing. Becomes, by some measure, the fourth-most marketable guy in the NFL. Books are written left and right.

RG3’s Second Year: Starts 13 games. Team goes 3-13 (3-10 with him). 3200 yards passing again, but 16 TD (vs. 20 as a rookie) and 12 INT (vs. 5 as a rookie). Runs for 489 yards instead of 815, and has zero rushing TDs (as opposed to 7 as a rookie).

Of course, it’s all because of this injury in the playoff game they hosted after his rookie year:

Now he has a statue outside Baylor (his alma mater), he’s claiming this season is all good, there’s a new coach in town (Jon Gruden’s brother!), and everyone’s thinking this might be a make-or-break year.

Remember: QBs, for better or worse, are often compared to the QBs drafted around them. In Andrew Luck’s first year, he made the playoffs (just like RG3). He lost in the wild-card round (just like RG3). In his second year, he won a thrilling game in the wild-card round (RG3 didn’t), then lost in the Divisional Round to a dynastic team (RG3 was long since home at that point). Peter King just put the Colts in the Super Bowl. He didn’t put the Redskins there.

This isn’t really make-or-break for RG3, because it’s only his third year — but if the Colts keep improving and the Redskins are a 5-11 team, it may start to feel that way. Sports fans are notoriously quick on the judgement trigger.

Here’s a tweet that maybe doesn’t help, or maybe makes the story better:

Here’s a good take from Drew Magary, who’s been writing these “Why Your Team Sucks” columns for Deadspin that are usually fairly funny:

Who are these THEY people? I didn’t know you in high school, asshole. The reason people doubt you now is because you looked fucking terrible last season and this preseason. And you still won’t fucking slide! Congratulations, Skins. You have a quarterback who is effective only when he is trying to get himself hurt. It’s everything you ever deserved. RGIII is done. Already. He’ll never be as good as he was in his rookie year, and it’s the team’s fault.

Look, I’m not a doctor by any means — and neither is Troy Aikman, although his opinion is that RG3 will never be the same — and we all saw Adrian Peterson come back from a knee injury and basically run through entire defenses the following year, so positive things can happen and the human body is amazing and all that.

One of the problem is that having a QB like RG3 demands a certain type of focus and personnel building around the offensive line; the Redskins haven’t exactly done that. They have good, mostly experienced guys starting there — but they’re not necessarily tremendous mobile guys or even really good guys. (Trent Williams might be an exception in the latter category.)

They have some weapons with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Albert Morris — but they scored over 430 points in 2012 and 334 points in 2013. That’s a big drop-off, and it’s not all because of the rushed RG3 return.

Short answer here is: I don’t think anyone knows. He has some weapons, albeit not the greatest O-Line. The defense is OK — Jim Haslett, their coordinator, has always been a guy who takes more risks than he probably should — so it might be a team that needs to score points (although overall, the NFC East isn’t amazing, so six times a year they may not have to — or rather four times a year, because they might need to vs. the Eagles). He seems determined and capable, and the DC area is a pretty good sports fandom community. The Redskins are a proud organization — even if their current owner can seem a bit clueless here and there — and it would be good for everyone (TV ratings, the media, larger coastal cities, yadda yadda yadda) if the Skins were at least competitive. But to think that we might see the exact same thing we saw in 2012? That’s a hard one to determine.

Or heck, even remember this game?

What say you: is RG3 ‘back,’ or was 2012 his one truly excellent NFL season? 

 

7.6 tons of cocaine was seized in Peru recently. That’s somewhat important.

It’s not important in the context of “stopping the drug trade” — that’s not actually going to happen — but it is important in terms of this: Read more

On The Fappening, Kate Upton, ethics and all that

You may have heard about “The Fappening” recently. It’s also been called “Celeb-Gate,” and essentially it refers to the hacking of various celebrities and nude photos / sexualized images being displayed of them. The two biggest names are probably Jennifer Lawrence — there might not be a bigger name than her right now — and Kate Upton, although dozens of others have been afflicted. A lot of it began on 4Chan, but Reddit has been a source of information for a good deal of people as well. There are a couple of ways this could have happened — it could be an iCloud hack, or it could be a trading ring that’s existed for years. No one completely knows. The FBI is involved now, though.

A couple of thoughts: Read more

The AstroDome could become the new High Line

Harris County judge Ed Emmett seemingly has a good deal of power in the Houston area. That’s relevant, because he “absolutely opposes” demolishing the AstroDome, which basically hasn’t been consistently used in years. People have been discussing the fate of the AstroDome seemingly forever, and it admittedly is on the National Register of Historic Places.

There’s a new plan in play — from Emmett — that basically aims to turn the AstroDome into the world’s largest indoor garden. That theoretically doesn’t mean a lot, since most gardens are outdoors, but it’s a very Texas-type thing to say (and could help with tourism, although I feel like most tourism to Houston is likely business travel at this point). Whether it can actually happen is largely based on the details (of course), but if it’s not getting torn down anytime soon and it’s not really hosting that much, you could do worse than putting a series of beautiful flowers inside it for people to walk around. Read more

Elizabeth Cauvel vs. Courtney Lapresi is going to be the MasterChef 2014 finale, right?

MasterChef seems to be a big fan of the narrative thread this season perhaps more than any other — for example, Leslie and Ahran feuded repeatedly in early challenges and then, on Ahran’s eventual elimination night, it was her vs. Leslie (and it got to the point where she said Leslie was going to win the whole thing). I’ve written about Leslie a little bit before, and while I do think he’ll be in the final three/four, I see him eventually getting eliminated. He’s a very good cook and he’s done a masterful job surviving all these Stress Tests, but I think there’s an element where they’re keeping him around this long for the ratings side. He seems like he’s a potentially insufferable dude on the regular (although we see such a narrow sphere of these people’s interactions that I can’t be sure).

If you think about the narrative side of this season, though, it seems like the entire thing is building towards Elizabeth vs. Courtney. Even last night, when — SPOILER ALERT — one-time fan favorite Big Willie went home, the whole thing was essentially about Courtney (up in the balcony after winning Mystery Box) trying to screw Elizabeth by putting her with Cutter. It almost worked. I’d say at least once per episode this year, either Courtney or Elizabeth has done something and they’ve immediately cut to a shot of the other one throwing shade / side-eye at what just happened. They’re angling to meet in the finals; it definitely seems like the earlier episodes were edited to get us hyped for that. Read more

Facebook eliminating clickbait headlines is a purely business move

You may have heard about Facebook’s attempts to eliminate / remove ‘click bait,’ or, essentially, articles that kind of tease you into clicking on them — bait you, in other words — with a controversial or attention-seeking headline or photo, then fail to deliver on the promise. In essence, it’s a situation where the entry point to an article — the photo associated with it, the headline, the description — way oversells what you’ll actually get when you get there. Google has been making moves to eliminate click-bait — and to reduce other SEO gaming techniques — for years, and now Facebook — Google’s pre-eminent rival, in some ways — is on the same train.

The thing you need to remember here, though, is that Facebook is now (has been for a while) a publicly-traded company and, as such, most of its decisions need to be business-facing.

This is another example. Read more

Nordstrom: full-line store sales down 1.2%, but Nordstrom.com up 22%. A new trend?

Cool article on Forbes about Nordstrom’s evolving strategy in retail; consider this paragraph especially:

It is very important to understand the customer’s need to find time to shop.  Nordstrom gets this.  Consumers, especially young working people, are less and less interested in store visits that require a drive in a car and a major allocation of time.  In contrast, the Internet – open 24 hours seven days a week – allows for a leisurely shopping experience at a personally convenient time.  However, until now, people have not shopped new fashions on the Internet. The Internet for many people has been about bargain hunting or the search for a specific item. Customers seldom take the time on the Internet to ask “what is new?”  There are few impulse shopping sprees except maybe on sites like Nordstrom’s Haute Look. The personal service of the Trunk  Club can be the answer since there is a online stylist providing the customer service previously found only in stores. Nordstrom, and other retailers, will have to find a counterpart for women that will offer the same intensive attention and service. (Customers can go to nordstrom.com today and book an appointment with a stylist.)

That’s kind of a terribly-written paragraph, but the idea is there: basically, Nordstrom realizes that the future of shopping might be about people being able to shop at the time they want and navigate without crowds and driving and parking and all that. This is a little bit different for males and females — you could argue that for a percentage of females, shopping is still a social experience, so they want to go to malls, etc. — but the advantage of the Internet as a retailer from the get-go has been the flexibility aspect. (Amazon made themselves into a cultural icon off of that.)

The “digital” space, in general, has been slow to catch up to “conventional” spaces in the eyes of some people that still make decisions in organizations — consider ad spend on digital vs. television, for example — and there’s still a little bit of “Well, the Internet will do such-and-such…” (as opposed to “has done such-and-such”). In the same Forbes article, people from Forbes note that online sales could surpass 50% of the business within about 5-7 years. I’m sure it’s trending that way from places like Best Buy and Macy’s too, although I’m not sure how directly anyone would admit it. Having a physical brick-and-mortar anchor-type location is very easy to point to your boss and say, “Look at us. We’re branding!” But talking about the online space is a lot fuzzier for most people.

I don’t think physical shopping will ever die out for two reasons — the social aspect mentioned above, and also the day-of necessity. For example, I play in a co-ed over-30 soccer league right now. (Lord help me.) I forgot shin guards. I need to go buy some. Since I have a game tonight, I can’t order them online per se — maybe if Amazon’s Drone stuff gets up and running, but not right this second. Rather, I need to drive to Target or a similar store and get them there. That’s one thing that will keep brick-and-mortar around: immediate necessity. The Internet isn’t there yet, and may never be.

There’s also this study:

One of the most eye-opening findings: “Ninety percent of shoppers surveyed would prefer to buy in a brick-and-mortar store across demographic and age groups,” Mike Moriarty, a partner in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney, and co-author of the study, told Forbes.

And for pretty simple reasons. “They love going out, shopping with people and touching stuff,” Moriarty said. “Everybody likes going shopping.”

Indeed, despite the hubbub over digital commerce, 94% of total retail sales are still generated at brick-and-mortar stores, according to data from market research firm eMarketer.

And don’t forget this on the “Big Data” side. Somewhat terrifying, but somewhat logical:

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