Sunday, October 19, 2014

Revised Saints prediction, part IV

5-11

(Last prediction: 6-10)

When the Saints were up 23-10 over the Lions in the fourth quarter, I was ready to adjust this to 9-7. I figured the Saints would win every home game and perhaps that one road game against the Lions. But after that gut-wrenching meltdown, I'm pretty sure they blew the best opportunity they'll have all year to take a road win. Seriously, they had zero excuses to lose that game. A lot had to go wrong, and it did. (To say nothing of how well-rested they were. That makes it that much worse.)

So now, I have no confidence they'll win any road games this year. And given what a loss like this does to a team's psyche, I expect it to seep into at least a few home stands as well.

The Saints are showing signs of life, but their inability to close only seems to be getting worse.

What a bummer time to be a Saints fan.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fear in the time of Ebola

Yesterday, Shepard Smith dropped the mic on the Ebola hysteria.

I expect that many people will accuse Smith of lowballing the threat of the deadly virus. They’ll accuse him of wishful thinking, delusions or even conspiracy. But that says more about us than about him.

To be sure, no one wants to catch Ebola. It’s a brutal virus with little recourse. An epidemic would be disastrous.

But after a week or so of hearing south Louisiana friends fret over how close Ebola is to them (“It’s one state away!”) while my Dallas friends and family have been mostly mum on the matter, I think there is another epidemic that is a far more immediate problem in the United States — lack of perspective.

Ebola is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids and needles. It is contagious only when a carrier shows symptoms. The amount of people who have tested positive for the virus in America can be counted on two hands. All of them had close contact either with the man who died in Dallas, or with another patient in a country embroiled in an epidemic. Apparent chaos and sloppy handling procedures at the Dallas hospital likely played a part in the viral spread there.

In other words, there is a very obvious logic to the spread. And with awareness bringing investigation and tighter medical protocols, it’s even less likely now to spontaneously pop up in every American.

Of course, that’s exactly what they want you to think, right? Smith wants you to calm down precisely because they’re hiding The Truth!

This mindset speaks to something wider I've had on my mind for awhile.

We're believing too much in what we want to be true, as opposed to what actually is.

Everyone has a primal desire to know something no one else knows; to be prepared for the the possibility of the deadliest threat; and to feel superior to someone who dropped the ball. They are sugar, salt and fat to the human mind. Mix them in the perfect ratio, as restaurants and snack makers do, and it’s hard to put down the fork. (It’s no surprise that such a diet breeds junkies — when it comes to conspiracy theories, no one can eat just one.)

The Ebola scare is a particularly potent recipe: “What is Shepard Smith hiding? I don’t want to die! Close the borders so this doesn’t happen again!”

Calm reassurance and appeals to logic face an uphill battle once that sweet spot’s been hit. Anyone convinced that teetering on the precipice of fear at all times is the only way to steer clear of violent death is not going to be talked down easily.

Many people say you can’t be too safe. But if an obsession over safety is crippling your ability to function or to think critically, you’re doing it wrong. Arming yourself with the facts and a healthy sense of perspective is the best recipe for genuine vigilance — not to mention health. 

Side effects include thinking like Shepard Smith.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Field of complaints

Blogger has a button at the bottom right of its composing screen labeled, "complain."

And all this time, I've been using this space...

#HipHopBooks

The Rapper's Delight Before Christmas
The Poky Little Pump It Up
It Was a Goodnight Moon
Fifty Shades of Golddigger
The Cat In My Adidas
Ice Ice Brain Droppings
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Digable Planets
2 Live Crew of Dunces
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Gat
Lord of the Flow
The Furious Five People You Meet in Heaven
The Unbearable Lightness of B.I.G.
Green Eggs and Hammertime
Because I Got Wuthering Heights
The Onyxssey
Young Emma C
The Count of Monte Kris Kross
A Christmas Calvin Broadus
Fear of a Brave New Planet

#RuinADessert

Cupcrack
Specialopsicle
Shell-O
Pie a la commode
Chocolate chips on your shoulder
Chocolate Sudaffle
CakeKK
Bayer cake
Bananas Fester
Bananas flambada
Custard with mustard
Pastetry
Tepid Whip
Diseasecake
Gingerbread Spam
Ice Creed Cone
Fruit Rolaids
Fun Q-Tip
Petit foreheads
Actual lady fingers
Fruitcake somehow made worse
Beignets and Bengay
Peanut butter cutlet
Pork Peppermint Patty
10-W-fondue