Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Bad Baseball Angel

I guess frustrations were mounting for Angel Hernandez. Not even into the season yet, but he must have had some reason for throwing out a manager. And that's what he did with Houston Astro manager A.J. Hinch. With Spring Training, not every game gets televised unless your favorite team is home or for specific reasons. As with a number of these incidents, it came down to balls and strikes favoritism.

I can't speak my views on unions, but MLB's umpiring union needs to be disbanded. Or at the very least, start punishing guys like Hernandez and Joe West more severely. I know it's pre-season, but something has to change. If not now, then when? How many more times does the country have to hear these guys blow a game and make the worst calls at the worst time? Hernandez was taken off the playoff crew in October for his obvious missed calls in the ALDS. The likelihood could happen again to anyone, but it could be a rarity.

The human element is something we can't ignore, but there's always someone to ruin that aspect. And unfortunately, the union allows them to keep umpiring. I won't say that every umpire needs to be accounted for their actions much like managers and players, but some blame has to be on them. At some point, someone is going to get sick of Hernandez and give him the boot. How much more will he do before he gets let go as an umpire?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Jackson: Naysayers and Bandwagons

Do note that I have no intentions of watching the documentary and am expressing my thoughts about the reviews and aftermath. Now, I think there's a part of the world that wanted Michael Jackson in jail a long time ago. There's no sugarcoating that. But the thing is, we will never know if he truly molested kids. We can only rely on what people have said. As it stands, the two sides who think he either did it or not did it will be at each other for a long time, but a lot of people believe the alleged victims.

In the wake of the Leaving Neverland documentary, stances on certain Hollywood celebrities has changed. The Simpsons has decided to ban their season 3 episode with him for good, which I think is a pure overreaction. Some radio stations have stopped playing songs. The fact that Dan Reed didn't bother to ask defenders like Macaulay Culkin, who was critical to the 2005 trial, shows a clear bias and one sided affair.  I don't get it. I really don't. As I said in the earlier blog about this, Jackson can't defend himself since he's been dead for almost 10 years. What's the point? Where's the evidence that isn't people that say they were molested? Stuff like doctor's reports or anything? I'm not a crime expert, never will be. But if it didn't work the first or second time, why the hell would it work a third time?

With the way things are, Jackson's legacy is tarnished by this. How much of it, I'm not sure. But the documentary was not a critical darling at all. As a critics' standpoint, it's well regarded, but some of them were not going to let Reed off easily. Of course, you got outside of it, people who will love it and hate it. Was it creepy for Jackson to have stuff like this? Yes. But basing it on what two alleged victims said is not enough to instantly have different stances. As I said not too long ago, I'm not the hugest fan of Jackson. This, however, is trying to favor one side where the other side can't do anything about it because of the bias.

If it was for a quick buck, Reed should be ashamed of himself. As I said, I can't form an opinion on whether Jackson molested kids or not. An interview is not going to change on me being neutral. This will end ugly in some way. As for the alleged victims, if I were them,  I would want to be in hiding for a while until all this dies out because of the reception from both sides. Those two are going to have their heads on plenty of people's plates. Until then, expect a lot of hell for a good while.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wake Up, Desperate College Scandal!

Seems like every year now, we hear more college scandals. This time now, it's an admissions one. It's stunning to read that it's an almost year long investigation from the FBI with estimates of 25 million in bribes. In the ensuing part to find those people, at least 50 have been indicted in "Operation Varsity Blues," and the list is crazy. You got coaches on it from very prestigious schools and a couple actresses involved.

From what I understand from reading it, people are posed as the students to take tests or said students would be considered athletes. Some of the colleges include Texas, USC and UCLA, Yale, and Georgetown. As a result, a number of coaches have been let go or fired if they haven't been arrested yet. This is coming at the worst time as the NCAA March Madness tournaments begin very soon. It puts the schools reputations in jeopardy.

The schools reputations are not the only thing. Those actresses mentioned are very well known. They are Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Huffman may not have the biggest roles, but she is married to William H. Macy and had a big show in Desperate Housewives. Loughlin is known primarily for Full House and doing stuff aimed primarily for families. Both her and her husband are indicted. It puts a dent on their reputations, especially Loughlin considering being Aunt Becky for a long time. If they did pull these stunts, they deserve to be mocked as they are right now.

Seems like a tradition now these days to hear one controversy after another with colleges. All the shit that is going on on these campuses, I understand going after parties and drugs and all that. But to stoop that low. It doesn't matter if you are famous like Huffman and Loughlin, or the blue collar adult who has a child with godly talent at something. You not only hurt yourself, but you hurt tons of things and people that go beyond the college of choice. There is no escaping this disaster.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Game Emulation Stories: Volume 1

This might be the start of something I want to do, but we'll have to see if it pans out and if I talk more about it. I've had my share of playing games via emulators and emulation over the last decade or so. I'm going to talk two games in this volume.

One of the games I would keep playing via emulators was the Sega Genesis version of Home Alone. I had tried it back in the mid 2000s on emulator, but 2010 was where I played it extensively. It would be something I would get a chance to play any time I didn't have any college work. Around Christmas, I walked down to a local used game store that had been open for almost two months and found a copy of it. Along with Tecmo Super Bowl (Genesis), Doom (PlayStation), and Mission: Impossible (PlayStation), I bought Home Alone.

It is a game I always try to play around Christmas. This is a fun one that captures the spirit of the movie. The graphics are solid for a game released in late 1992. Christmas vibes are what I think of with the outdoors and each house is unique. There is fun in assembling weapons and setting traps. It may be the best of games that the first two films had.

The last is another Genesis game. As a kid, a cousin of mine had Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure. I played it a few times in the early 2000s and that was it. Around the same time in 2010, I played it again after a long time. It was a hit of nostalgia since I hadn't seen the show in about almost a decade at that point and about seven, eight years since playing the game. It's a Sonic the Hedgehog type of game. Looks like the show, has a great soundtrack and has solid controls. My only complaints are a somewhat high difficulty and a complicated password system.

I played it for a while in 2010, but stopped and didn't come back to it until August of 2011. It was one of those nights where I played it overnight on my laptop and used save states to beat it. When it got to the credits, I knew a few characters, but most I didn't know or remembered. It got me very curious and it got me to watch clips of the show. Then it grew to watching episodes and writing a spec movie script of my own. I do own an actual copy of the game and have beaten it legitimately on a real Genesis.

Hope you folks enjoyed these two stories and hopefully I'll do more of these in the future.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Game Emulation Route

I have seen and played games on emulation since 2001-02. Only in the last decade have I greatly embraced the concept in spite of still buying games. It's a way to play certain games you can't find or buy depending on the problem at hand. That being said, it's a slippery slope as despite the various systems that are covered, it also has plenty of hiccups.

Very few arcades exist and unless you're going to Illinois or Wisconsin for the famous arcades, you more than likely don't have an arcade or your selection is very poor no matter the good games. That's why MAME has been around for a very long time. So that you can play stuff you remember or never had a chance to try. Especially as arcade hardware starts to dwindle in working condition. Being able to play The Simpsons on emulation was nice with a college friend and myself.

Console wise, it adds a whole new depth of what there was to offer. For one, you get to see games from other parts of the world. Stuff that either should have released in other parts or shouldn't have. There may also be games that you may have missed out on when they were out. I have a few stories like that which I will get into in another blog soon. But overall, with the vast amount of systems, the world's your oyster.

It's not without it's flaws, though. Obviously, it's not replicating the hardware all the way. A number of arcade games suffer from sound issues. Glitches are present in the graphics of certain systems titles, especially ones like the Nintendo 64. Systems like the 3DO don't get a lot of love from the emulation community and the result is less than stellar. We also see multiple emulators for a single system and the results vary. The SNES is a prime example with at least three that have their ups and downs. Last to talk about is whether these emulators will continue to work as we move further into the future and see future operating systems with much better specs.

Now, I can't say I'll recommend emulation, but it is route that can be taken. Just a word of caution as not everything will work properly.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Who's Bad, Jackson?

I'm going into this by saying I'm not the hugest fan of Michael Jackson, but I have enjoyed a few songs he did. But if you were to ask who were some of the most famous musicians, he would be one of them. He was the epitome of 80s pop and could do a lot of things that would make your head spin. In between the music came several instances of child molestation crimes which he would be acquitted of. This HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland, even though I will not watch it, screams an attempt for money and 15 minutes of fame. 

Out of all the times to do something like this, why now? The narrative will always be split. You got the fans that will scream that Jackson did not do anything. Of course, you got the other side who insists he molested kids, which was the subject of parody and jokes on things like South Park and Scary Movie. There's no winner out of all this. It's going to an endless war that quite frankly, will last a long time. 

The thing is, more people will believe more into the victims. Jackson can't defend himself since he's been dead for almost 10 years. That family can't do anything except say that the alleged stuff didn't happen. If these incidents actually happened, then you can't fault the two victims who came out about it. But all you can rely on is what people said. And word of mouth does not always give you ample proof of molestation, whether it was true or not. 

As I stands, I can't form an opinion on this. If the proof was there that Jackson did heinous things, then it would change a lot of people's views on him. If he didn't, then the witch hunt needs to completely stop. How many more times can you try to make something out of stuff that was dropped almost 15 years ago? As I said, an endless war with no winner. It's a fight that will pop up in the future. The question is when. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Big Sports Deals Effects

This is kind of a follow up on my Harper blog, because some players complained about free agents not getting deals. Now these days, how well a player has done is going to determine their value to their current team or future teams who may lure them away. There have been some deals that many will not want to see happen again.

If you're into basketball, then the Allan Houston contract with the New York Knicks will make you sick. With six years and 100 million dollars, that should be a little ridiculous but not horrible. Add in bad knees, and you have a rule now regarding waiving a player and the whole luxury tax thing. About as equal is Albert Haynesworth and a deal roughly similar to that with football's Washington Redskins. Whether the effort was in or the animosity with him and Mike Shanahan in 2010, it was anything but good.

As I said for baseball, players complained about guys like Harper not getting deals. Teams are a lot more cautious now. Albert Pujols is one of the great modern players of the 21st century, but his deal with the LA Angels is a bust. Some of the years haven't been putrid, but for a guy that made 27 mil last year? I don't know. I know there's comparisons to Ryan Howard's contract because of it being centered on the Phillies. As I said in the last one, this is different. Harper is going to be in the prime years of his career. Howard was already past his prime when his five year deal started in 2012. I don't think the system is as flawed as some like Justin Verlander say it is. As much as any team would love to have their dream lineup and bullpen, everyone has their pros and cons.

It's like anything. You don't know what you are going to get. Could we see Harper not living up to it? Maybe. But there have been guys like Robinson Cano (ignoring the PED thing for a second) who have done tremendously well with their long term deals. Harper is capable. Can he just be mature be committed to playing and getting a World Series trophy?

The Bad Baseball Angel

I guess frustrations were mounting for Angel Hernandez. Not even into the season yet, but he must have had some reason for throwing out a ma...