My personal opinion on stealing nude photos from people’s phones and publishing them on the Internet
Don’t do it.
After four episodes of The Leftovers, I vowed to never watch it again. It was very boring and it was heavy on the use of music to stir emotion when the story itself clearly couldn’t generate it on its own. The show also does a terrible job of relating to its audience, as it’s been three years since people have disappeared and everyone is still acting as though it happened yesterday and some people started a cult that has a wishy washy foundation even by cult standards.
But I have been secretly watching and hating it and myself all the while.
So in an effort to help people catch up on what they missed and prepare them for the season finale, I decided to do a little public service and recap everything you missed so far.
Officer Joggy Von Muscles
The main character is Officer Joggy Von Muscles, the head cop in this small town of…man, I don’t remember the town’s name. I watched nine episodes of this show and I swear I can’t tell you the name of the town. Based on all the characters, I’ll say it takes place in Mopeytown, USA, a city that no one is allowed to move away from, I guess, and Officer Von Muscles is the chief cop of your sexiest fantasies.
Von Muscles does a lot of jogging and wearing of a cop uniform. You might think based on his ripped physique and ridiculous good looks that he is on his way to a bachelorette party, but no, really, he is a cop. Von Muscles is the patriarch of the Von Muscles family, the whiniest bunch of babies in television history.
The big question surrounding this character is how Von Muscles is so ripped. He’s a 43-year-old father of two, yet has the body of a 23-year-old NFL wide receiver. You’d have to think the fact that Von Muscles does so much jogging contributes to this, but I’m 36 and I jog and I look like a lump of crap when I’m not wearing a shirt. I’m betting the average 43-year-old cop looks more like me than Officer Von Muscles, but there’s a price to pay for being protected and served by a chiseled statue of justice.
You see, Officer Von Muscles suffers from blackouts and time loss, very likely a side effect of all the anabolic steroids he’s mainlining in an effort to maintain 0.0 percent body fat at the age of 43. There are several scenes where there are pill bottles around his house, and those are obviously high-grade steroids he takes seven times a day.
So Officer Joggy Von Muscles is battling a lot of demons and he’s very likely winning those battles because Jesus H he is one ripped father of two with a full-time job at the age of 43. It’s almost as if he’s really an actor who barely works and has a lot of free time for six-hour daily Crossfit sessions.
Miserable Smokesalot-Von Muscles
At one point, Miserable Von Muscles was married to Joggy, but after many years together, the two parted ways because…well, I don’t know. You see, on this show, just about everyone lost someone close to them when most of the world magically disappeared, but the only person who disappeared here was an unborn child who belonged to Smokesalot.
Not to say that you shouldn’t feel immense sorrow if your unborn child is lost, but man, Miserable Smokesalot seemed to use this as a way out of the Von Muscles marriage, which was clearly rocky at that point anyway. She was probably sick and tired of being married to a chronic steroid user/jogger and wanted something a little deeper.
Having a mystical miscarriage when you’re nearing 50 seems to be a ridiculous reason to join a cult that requires silence and an addiction to nicotine, but nothing about this show makes sense. So Miserable Von Muscles filed for divorce and abandoned her children over all this (seriously, nothing here makes any sense) and adopted the Smokesalot moniker.
As stated earlier, any logical human would’ve moved away from Mopeytown and started a new life, yet somehow never talking, wearing white and smoking seemed more appealing.
There’s probably some deeper reason for abandoning her children, but we’re a full season in and I think the answer is the evaporation of an unborn child. So really, she married a trophy husband, started a family, got bored and joined a cult whose big draw is free cigarettes. This show is unbelievably dumb and you wish every character would die in a fire.
Moody Angsty Teen Von Muscles
Moody Angsty Teen Von Muscles is basically a more miserable version of every Kristen Stewart character. She’s sad, she’s rebellious, she’s introverted, she’s terrible, she’s sad some more, she’s being a jerk to Papa Von Muscles and his new main squeeze. She’s essentially the worst teenager ever.
Again, it’s important to note that no one in this family had anyone raptured on them, yet they exist in this unexplainable malaise three years after a magical being granted them the gift of less crowded highways and I’m assuming a whole mess of job openings around the world. It’s been three years since your parents threw in the towel and your mom joined a cult, maybe cheer up because your life seems to be filled with drugs and no real curfew because your dad is shooting steroids between his toes and jogging around or blacking out.
I’m really not sure how old Moody Angsty Teen Von Muscles is supposed to be, but I’m guessing 17. She’s had quite some time to get through her parents separating, yet here she is, moping around in every scene to the point where you hope she disappears. Am I supposed to be rooting for her? She has no redeeming qualities except that she was cool with choking one of her friends at a sex party while he masturbated.
Oh, and for reasons that can’t be explained (a theme here) she decides to join the smokey mutes even though her mom abandoned her for them and looks miserable herself in every god damn scene.
Dopey Von Muscles
I honest to god don’t know what to say about this kid. He’s the stupidest person on the face of the planet. He joined some other cult (seriously, this show has so many cults that you wonder if you’re the weird one for not being part of one) that seems driven by hugs and young Asian women.
Dopey Von Muscles may have been molested right before the magical disappearance of people. Something happened two episodes ago where he confronted the brain-damaged brother from Oz and I swear I don’t know what it was all about. I think Dopey went there all drunk to confront him then Joggy Von Muscles roughed up the guy and I don’t know. This show sucks.
So at some point, Dopey ran away (seriously, this family did not handle the breaking up of parents well at all) and joined his own cult, and I’m not sure, but I think he murdered a cop. There’s one episode where this faceless cop or SWAT dude or military guy gets shot in the head by Dopey and it’s like hey let’s get out of here and they do and it’s never really referenced again. This show sucks.
So this guy is protecting this pregnant Asian girl he had a thing for but then it turned out the cult leader who likes to hug people (and sometimes more, apparently!) knocked her up and sent them to hide in dingy hotels for…god, who knows. This show sucks.
Dopey Von Muscles is certainly not as openly sad as the rest of his miserable family, but he’s got his share of emotional issues. I’m not actively rooting for his character to die like I am the rest of the family, but I wouldn’t be against someone getting revenge for him I think killing a cop.
Captain Smoke n’ Mute
This is the most poorly written character on a show full of poorly written characters, so I’m really saying something here.
Essentially, this lady was crazy before the Poof There Goes Everyone event and since she said something like this would happen and it did happen, she started a cult that’s free of hugs and Asian girls and loaded with nicotine and clothing that never seems to yellow because of all the smoking. There’s really no explanation why everyone would follow her into this cult because there’s no draw outside of wearing white clothes and smoking, which you can do in your home that has cable TV and Internet and beds.
She also doesn’t seem to follow the no-talking rules all that closely. She talks more than most characters on this show and nothing she says makes any sense. The foundation of her cult is clearly We Are All Sad So We Will Check Out Of Life Instead Of Dealing With The Sadness yet no one seems to call her on her crap when she starts blabbering. I don’t understand the sales pitch of this cult or why anyone on the outside looking in would want to join it.
Anyway, she may be leading a terrorist group or something. I don’t know and I don’t care because this show sucks. She has these long monologues where you’re like GOD YOU’RE SPEAKING IN RIDDLES AND TRYING TO PASS THIS OFF AS MEANINGFUL AND DEEP THERE’S NO WAY YOU’D LEAD A CULT OR GET PEOPLE TO JOIN IT BASED ON THIS.
Oh, she also stabbed herself in the neck and is dead. Hashtag spoiler alert.
Liv Tyler plays Liv Tyler, another person who is miserable three years later, only at least someone in her life disappeared. Of course, being one of the many people on this show who was not graced with a working coping mechanism, she joins the cult and smokes and wears white but she talks a bunch too because really what actor is taking a role on a show that has no talking?
So Liv Tyler is on the show and her character’s name is Liv Tyler. That’s not true, but really, even if you watch this show, you probably can’t remember her character’s name so you’ve been calling her Liv Tyler whenever she’s on screen.
In a way, Game of Thrones is ruining television. On GoT, there are about 4,000 characters, but it’s so well-written that you care about all of them. It’s resulting in newer shows having a billion characters, but really, none of them are good at it. That’s how you wind up with a character played by Liv Tyler whose name on the show is Liv Tyler and you don’t know what she does or why she does anything she’s doing, and that goes for practically every character on this show.
Not Vera Farmiga
This lady is the one character on the show worth watching. Her husband and two kids disappeared all at once and she was being a dick to her kids at the time, so of course she’s filled with guilt. She also hires prostitutes to shoot her while she wears a bulletproof vest. She’s also super hot so there’s nothing not to like about her.
Not Vera Farmiga stopped being sad because of a magic hug and now she’s doing it on reg with Officer Von Muscles. She’s ripped and he’s ripped so I worry the sex could end with one of them impaling the other on an ab muscle. That hasn’t happened yet but if it did it wouldn’t crack the top 10 for ridiculous plot twists on this show.
This guy has an invalid wife, loves roulette and murdered a man, yet he’s somehow the least interesting character on a show that’s loaded with them. Basically everyone left his church after the vanishing and he blames it on that and not the fact he’s ultra-boring and sorta creepy.
Oh, you catch how I mentioned in passing that he murdered a man? Well, he murdered a dude in a casino parking lot and just like the young Von Muscles murdering the cop, it never really came up again. Perhaps in this fantasy world murders that take place in casino parking lots aren’t investigated, because I’m pretty sure any cop could’ve tracked down Father Snooze inside of a day after they found the dead guy in the parking lot.
The only joy that comes from this character is knowing he once hired Nic Cage to steal 50 cars in one night.
Kathy Geiss is dead.
God, this show has too many non-essential characters. I don’t know what her point is. She gets into arguments with Joggy Von Muscles and she may or may not have gotten busy with his dad, another character we haven’t gotten to yet who is super old and just like Captain Smoke n’ Mute, talks endlessly but never really says anything.
Grandpa Von Muscles
He’s nuts. He hears voices. And the voices are clearly telling him, “Make sure everything you say is cryptic even though you give no indication that what we are saying is unclear. We will explain it away as you being crazy and hearing voices and at worst, it will result in a circular argument about your character never making any sense.”
This guy is like 80 years old and also very jacked. There is a huge steroid problem in Mopeytown.
Again, another character whose name I can’t remember. All I know is he wears sleeveless undershirts and if he hugs you, your pain goes away. The dude is legit because he has a PayPal account for hug payments. FYI: My hugs-for-cash PayPal account has been open for seven years and not one person has been willing to pay $2,000 for one of my hugs. :(
The best thing about this character is there is a guy at my gym who looks and dresses exactly like this guy. He’s one of those gym guys who wears the sleeveless shirt every day and I spend my time hoping he has a British accent like Nigel. I’d about die. I don’t know how it would work in terms of gym etiquette but I want to whisper, “I’ll pay you a lot of money if you hug my pain away.”
Anyway, he’s one of the many characters that is supposed to be interesting because the show has only revealed like one percent of him but really he’s just frustrating because you find yourself wondering why he isn’t living in a mansion based on his hugs-for-bucks plan. Side note: He charges less than what Liz Lemon would charge for snuggling, so maybe she should take note.
This guy seems to love three things: Hugging, money and impregnating Asian girls. He’s basically every 45-year-old white businessman away at a convention.
If there was an animal on this show, it has been shot and killed. Dogs and deer are probably symbolic of something or other because this show is very deep and textured and hey what do you know a piano and some stringed instruments are playing over a scene AGAIN.
He’s yet another “mysterious” character that you don’t care about. He shoots dogs and hangs out with Officer Von Muscles during his blackouts and he gave away his truck and seriously why are you still reading this?
Old Lady Teen
A major problem with TV and movies is they cast people who are clearly in their 20s to play teenagers and Old Lady Teen is not even close to 17 yet is Moody Angsty Teen Von Muscles’ best friend. But fine, I’ll pretend this 25-year-old actress playing Old Lady Teen is really 17. Why not?
Anyway, she’s living with the Von Muscles family because … her parents disappeared? Her husband threw her out of their house? Oh right, she has no husband. She’s in high school! But every scene she’s in for like six episodes is like, “Yeah, we get it, there’s a Kevin Spacey/Mena Suvari thing happening here with Officer Von Muscles so let’s just drag this out over the entire season when I couldn’t care less if a single father hooks up with a 25-year-old pretending she’s 17.”
So Old Lady Teen and Officer Von Muscles may or may not have done it during one of his blackouts. I don’t know. I don’t care. She’s 25. Her character may not even be 17.
Stop allowing Damon Lindelof to create television shows.
What you see above is the short version of a commercial that runs a lot during Yankees games on YES. It’s for Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. In this commercial, Samantha, a resident of Greenwich, Conn., talks about how the hospital saved her life. The actual commercial is 30 seconds and has more footage of Samantha and her kids, but this clip contains the part of the ad drives me crazy.
Let’s be clear. I am glad Samantha is alive. I’m glad she learned she had a ruptured blood vessel in her brain and got that mess sorted out. It sounds like this hospital did some fine work.
Here’s the part that makes me scream at Samantha every three innings during Yankees games:
"People ask me why I went all the way from Greenwich to a hospital in The Bronx. I tell them, ‘To save my life.’"
First off, that answer is check and mate in any type of inquiry as to why you are doing something. “Why would you take a bath in mayonnaise while singing show tunes to your cat?” “To save my life.” “Why are you trapping pigeons on your roof and eating them?” “To save my life.” Butterball beats’em all.
What I want to know from Samantha is, who are these unbelievably stupid idiot jerkstores asking why you picked a hospital that saved your life? And the foundation for their question is absolutely moronic. “…all the way from Greenwich to a hospital in The Bronx.”
I don’t have Samantha’s exact address in Greenwich, but Google Maps ballparks her drive to the hospital to be about 35 minutes. THIRTY-FIVE MINUTES! Are the people asking Samantha this question geographically challenged? Are they jealous she lived because they are in fact sick but chose a bad hospital closer to Greenwich?
If you’re dying, you’d paddle a boat from America to Bangkok if it meant living. You’re questioning this nice lady’s decision — one that worked out quite well — because she drove 22 miles to get help?
How does this even come up in conversation? Like, at book club?
"Before we read The Great Gatsby, Samantha, how are you doing?"
"Well, good news. As of my last checkup, I am completely healthy and doing great. The doctors at Montefiore used a special procedure and I feel better than I ever have."
"Oh that’s wonderful. But why would you drive ALL THE WAY to a hospital in The Bronx."
I know Samantha said, “To save my life” in the ad, but I hope that’s just a rewritten version of her saying, “Umm, idiots, I was DYING and needed SPECIAL SURGERY in order TO SAVE MY LIFE. Hmmm. Should I die or take a 35-minute drive down the Hutch TO SAVE MY LIFE?”
And in the commercial, she says PEOPLE have asked her why she made that drive, so based on that, at least TWO PEOPLE have asked her why she picked a hospital that’s 35 minutes from her house that saved her life.
Anyway, Samantha, I’m glad you’re doing so well. But you need some better people in your life.
(Unless of course the person shooting the commercial asked you to say that then continue going about your day)
At some point in all of our lives, we have either had the thought or conversation about what we would do if we had access to a time machine. If we could suddenly travel to any point in the past, what would we do with that power?
As humans, our immediate instincts are selfish. We’d go back in time and bet on the Super Bowl, knowing full well the outcome. We’d go back in time and buy stock in a company that was about to explode. We’d go back in time and have a conversation with an important historical figure, like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or Don Draper.
Then the moral side of you or someone in your group kicks in, and you realize what your first answer should have been — killing Adolf Hitler before he rises to power.
Damn. Yeah. Right. Oh yeah, that’s what I’d do too. Totally. I’d kill Hitler too.
It’s an answer we all accept, but it’s an answer no one really thinks about. Sure, killing Hitler is the way to go, but do you have any idea how hard it would be kill Hitler?
Let’s say that just now, you have a time machine. And you also have some time off. I’m not exactly sure how time travel works. Like, if you go back in time and spend a couple days there, does time continue to move forward from the original point from which you departed? I’m not sure. So plan to kill Hitler over a holiday weekend or burn some personal days in advance.
OK. You’re inside the time machine. Time to punch in the time and geographical coordinates to which you wish to go. See? You have no idea what year Hitler was just hanging around before he became a mass-murdering psychopath and where he was doing it. So now you have to Google “Adolf Hitler before Nazis” and hope the CIA doesn’t come to your door before you go back in time.
Based on a Wikipedia page that we have to hope wasn’t vandalized, he lived in Vienna beginning in 1905. That’s a great starting point. It says he was homeless in 1909, but it’s not like there’s an address for the shelter. Hitler wasn’t checking in on FourSquare while being a failed painter, so it’s not like we can do a Twitter search and see he checked in at Vienna Coffee House on Vienna Street in Vienna.
But we have a solid target range, so let’s set the time machine for Vienna, 1906.
Where are you going to park the time machine in Vienna? You simply can’t pop up in the middle of downtown Vienna in a time machine. People probably thought witches were still a thing at that point, so upon exiting the time machine, you will be arrested and/or killed by villagers with pitchforks.
That means you’re going to have to find a nice wooded area to land. Luckily for us, there are plenty of wooded areas just east of Vienna and that seems like the safest bet for hiding a time machine. If that’s not done properly, it’s possible the technology can fall into the hands of the Nazis, which would make them far more powerful and perhaps invincible, all because of you. Idiot.
We are now in Vienna. What are you wearing? Jeans, Crocs and a Nike shirt that says GO HARD OR GO HOME? Really? You think that’s discreet? You’re on an assassination mission, not going to the store to buy beer. That means before you even take off (I’m using terms like “land” and “take off” because I’ve always imagined time travel like flying so leave me alone) you need to buy some old-timey Austrian clothes so you can blend in while you are dropping by to commit a murder.
Where does one find those clothes?
A search of “vintage clothing Austria” yielded this site, which seems, well, like it’s not going to aid in our plan. It also seems to be all women’s clothing, so that’s not helping me. I’m not against cross dressing, but wearing women’s clothing isn’t helping with the blending in thing. That means the person who must travel back in time must be a woman and must wait a week for shipping on all domestic online orders.
OK. Hello, hero lady. You are now dressed in what we hope will pass for early 20th century clothing and you are ready to kill Hitler.
You have landed in a wooded area near Vienna and it’s now time to head toward Vienna and…
Jesus, Vienna is 160 square miles? How are we getting around? I’m pretty sure Uber had a completely different meaning 100 years ago, so that’s not an option. A man by the name of Siegfried Marcus, who lived in Vienna, invented some sort of car there in the 1870s, so great, a car is an option for us. That’s a whole lot of ground to cover, but we are going to cover it, for we are here to kill Hitler.
Just pay a man some money for a car and…
…oh damn it, we don’t have any Austrian currency from that era.
Where the hell are you supposed to get Austrian-Hungarian Krones in 2014 that you can bring back to 1906? God, killing Hitler before he rose to power is SOOOOOO hard, you guys. Do you have any idea how much vintage coins cost? And you have to buy enough to be able to get around Vienna for a couple days? Murdering Hitler is becoming quite the pricy endeavor.
Luckily for us, they were dealing with paper notes back then as well. There are images of this currency on the Internet. That’s helpful, so I think we can print some counterfeit stuff. If we can print guns, we can print enough extinct money to get us through a weekend in Vienna, 1906.
OK, great. We have money, clothes and a super cool time machine. Let’s go back in time and kill us some Hitler!
We park in the woods, get out of the time machine, emerge from the woods, get to town, and now it’s time to shop for a car or a horse or some sort of transportation.
"Yo, historical dude, where can I buy a car or a horse?"
"Was sagst du? Ich kann dich nicht verstehen, weil Sie nicht Deutsch spricht!"
Oh, right. We don’t speak German, the official language of Austria.
Jesus, killing Hitler is hard. We have to learn a completely new language to facilitate his death? Come on, man.
Sure, you could learn a couple of key sentences that can help you buy a car or horse or food or beer, but you are on a manhunt. You need to have conversations with people about how to find a guy no one knows who is living inside a 160-mile radius. People need to give you directions, all kinds of information, so we’re going to have to come back to the present and learn German or enlist a German lady who is down for some Hitler killing.
No way, though. This is your mission and you have accepted it.
OK. It’s been a year and you know enough German to get around Vienna.
You have your money. You have your transportation. You have a map of the city. You have the language spoken by the locals. It’s time for us to do some Hitler killing.
How are we going to do it? Gun? Knife? Poison? Push him off a roof?
I think our best option here is a knife, although bringing a gun back with us works too. The one thing we’re not considering in this murder, as noble as it may be, is our getaway plan. Remember: our time machine is way the hell out in the woods, far away from us, and we need to get there right after the murder happens. A gun shot is loud, but a knife requires getting super close. And where are we going to kill Hitler? To get close to him, we have to get him to trust us, so a lady telling him his paintings are great and hey do you live in around here should do the trick.
We certainly can’t kill anyone in the getaway, because that would be wrong and no longer makes us ethical killers, just killers. So it needs to be quick and neat and allow us enough to time to flee.
You could forego the getaway and allow yourself to be captured, but what would that to do the space-time continuum? We are already killing Hitler, so maybe that doesn’t matter, but what are you going to tell authorities? Nothing? Just sit in silence in an Austrian prison for the rest of your life? Are you going to go with a cyanide capsule after you kill him? That’s quite thoughtful of you, but I’m pretty sure after all this effort and the fact you can get rich off a time machine once you’re done here, you want to get away.
So we’re stabbing Hitler in his apartment. You will use your feminine wiles to get him back to his place and bam, you’re stabbing Hitler. Stab stab stab. Bye, Hitler.
You clean yourself up and head out. You hurry to the woods. You get to the place where you left the time machine, only it’s not there. Did someone steal it? Did it fall into the wrong hands? How can it not be here?
Well, it’s not there because the time machine was built by Jason Hitler, a descendant of Hitler who no longer exists because you killed his grandfather. Great job killing Hitler, but now you are trapped in Vienna forever with like 10 bucks and you are also wanted for murder.
Hi. I’m Dave Lozo. In the not too distant past, I mastered Twitter. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment it happened, but like Michael Jordan in basketball, Daniel Day-Lewis in acting and Darren Rovell in copying and pasting press releases from corporations, I reached the pinnacle. There isn’t a single aspect of the unbelievably awful social media platform that I have not conquered.
That’s why I’m here today to talk to you about live-tweeting sporting events, a necessary part of most sports journalists’ lives. You’re at a game, stuff happens, then you describe what happens in 140 characters or fewer via tweet. A person scores a touchdown or a goal or hits a 3-pointer or a home run, that journalist is there to tell you about it.
You should stop doing that. Immediately.
This guide will provide many lessons. That’s the first one. Stop doing that. It sucks. But that lesson is just the tip of the iceberg, the epicenter from which many other lessons will emanate.
I used to be like you. I would type cold, uninteresting descriptions and I would not stop. Look, I did stuff like this for years before I received help.
Holy crap. Look at that. LOOK AT IT. I describe in detail a play that led to absolutely nothing and I also failed to identify the defenseman, a penalty, a goal (that’s OK), then I explain the goal (that’s not OK; just wait until you know who scored), then another goal, then I actually tweet that the period is starting. I was the worst, I tell you.
That’s why it’s up to me, a recovered chronic live-tweeter, to help the rest of the sports world stop torturing their followers.
Rule No. 1: Live-tweeting games you are not attending
If you’re thinking about live-tweeting a game that you are not attending, find the “log off” button on Twitter dot com and click it. There, you are now logged off and unable to provide play-by-play from your god damned couch.
First of all, just the principle of the thing. You’re not there. You’re relaying facts from your TV. Do movie critics watching Lifetime do this?
"Jennifer Love-Hewitt is being abused, but she just faked her death and is assuming a new identity."
"Jennifer Love-Hewitt is plotting revenge by stalking her husband, who believes her to be dead."
"Jennifer Love-Hewitt has met a man in the small town in which she’s hiding. He has a muscly chest and is kind."
"Jennifer Love-Hewitt is lifting weights and having flashbacks to her abuse. That training song from ‘Rocky’ is playing."
"Jennifer Love-Hewitt has exacted revenge and found love. The credits are now rolling."
If you’re watching on TV and want to add things like, “Wow, I can’t get over Jennifer Love-Hewitt’s acting in this scene. Very strong. I also like her hair.” then go for it. Otherwise there is no point. OUR EYES WORK SO THANKS FOR PROVING YOUR EYES WORK TOO.
Second of all, if you’re watching on TV, you are watching on a seven-second delay in most cases. Therefore, not only are you tweeting things like, “Kings score. 1-0 Kings in the first period.” but you’re doing it seven seconds after the people in the arena are doing it.
Stop doing this. Go outside. Smell a flower. Watch a sunset. But don’t tweet about it as you are doing it.
Rule No. 2: Please go back and read Rule No. 1
Seriously. You’re not there. Stop it.
Rule No. 3: Consider the importance of the game and how much you are tweeting about it
I’ve covered a few preseason hockey games. I’m usually there because I want to talk to a player afterward about something unrelated to the game, which is a preseason game, which is a fancy way of calling it a scrimmage, in that it is meaningless and really not worth watching.
Yet there are people who will hammer the in-game tweets down your throat for two-plus hours as if it is Game 82 and the winner goes to the playoffs and the loser goes home.
Maybe you’re saying, “Dave, there are people out there who follow me and want that information.” And I bet that’s true. But there are way more who don’t want it and the people who do want that information are probably watching the game anyway and don’t really need it.
If your backup argument is sometimes preseason games aren’t on television, well, that should tell you something about their importance.
But if you think 36 tweets from a preseason game is bad, consider the people who send 36 tweets from an intrasquad rookie camp scrimmage.
That’s not a joke. People cover rookie camps and tweet everything happening in the game, a game that features players who could very well be made-up and will never see the light of day in the NHL.
"Gorzenfeffer with a big face-off win against Larsnek. Blue and White tied 0-0 four minutes into the first period."
"Branzterd with a great pass to Jimrodberg, who buries it to make it 1-0 Blue."
"Period over. Blue up 1-0. Ice being shoveled."
"Now it’s Dickles and Fartimus converting a 2-on-1 past Niplord to bring White into a 1-1 tie."
"Correction to an earlier tweet: On Jimrodberg’s goal, add a secondary assist to Mixuhlaht."
If you are live-tweeting these games in this fashion, which you are, you are serving no purpose to anyone. At events like this, you want to offer commentary about key players, or talk about how someone is really standing out.
This is OK:
"Branzterd has looked really good in this scrimmage. Explosive speed and good hands. Very strong on the puck."
This is not OK:
"Branzterd called for tripping. Power play White midway through the second."
Commentary is always good at these types of events. That brings us to Rule No. 4.
Rule No. 4: When live-tweeting a game, commentary, insights and jokes are your friend
It is 2014. Heck, it’s July 2014, which means if we round up, it’s 2015. We are 15 percent of the way into the 21st century. I asked my phone to find me Mexican food in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago and you know what my phone did? IT SPOKE TO ME.
We, my friends, are living in the future. We are living in a Star Trek movie.
That’s another reason why live-tweeting games is so incredibly useless, as you can watch games on TV, your phone, your iPad or your microwave. Actually, I don’t know if you can watch sports on your microwave and I’m not sure if there’s a mobile microwave yet, but there should be. If I could heat up some Hot Pockets while watching Blues-Wild on the train, that’d be great. Get on that, GE.
Whatever, you can watch games virtually anywhere at this stage of the 21st century.
So ask yourself, “Who am I serving with 25-30 tweets that simply describe what 99 percent of the people who follow you on Twitter are also seeing at the same time as me?” You’re serving people on trains who wish mobile microwaves existed.
And don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there. Twitter updates are about a minute ahead of any GameCenter app, so it’s great hearing about goals, touchdowns, home runs and final scores right away. But there are so many things that occur during a game, hockey or otherwise, that we don’t need filling our timelines.
The following is a list of factual things you should tweet about, an airtight list that is non-negotiable.
* Goals, Runs, Touchdowns, Field Goals, Safeties, i.e. scoring plays
* Turnovers in NFL games
* Pitching changes in baseball games
* Any and all ejections
* Literally nothing that ever happens in an NBA game**
* Injuries that result in a player leaving the game
* When periods or quarters are over, obviously games over too
* Drunk fights in the stands and/or arrests
(** - to be fair, I can’t think of anything that happens in an NBA game that is worthy of live-tweeting. Maybe ejections and guys fouling out? There are about 200 points in a game and the final two minutes take 11 hours, so it’s not even worth it to tweet end-game situations. So let’s just pretend basketball doesn’t exist on Twitter dot com)
Everything beyond that is superfluous, especially in hockey. Oh, is a team on a power play? Who cares? Oh, was there a big hit? Well there’s only about 40-60 hits in a game, so again, who cares? Was there a fight? Unless it’s between fans in the stands, it carries no relevance.
Remember: Every sports team has a Twitter and all of them tweet the minutiae of every single game. Icings, offsides, dunks, hits, walks, kickoffs, timeouts…you can’t compete with the audience they have and the volume of crap they tweet, so don’t. Set yourself apart by choosing not to regurgitate play-by-play from a game just about everyone who follows you is watching anyway.
Here’s what you do: add value
A dude drives in a run, scores a goal, has 18 points at halftime, whatever. You should not just tweet that a dude drove in a run, or scored a goal, or has 18 points at halftime. We see that. We have box scores on the Internet.
Tweet about how the guy broke out of a slump or how he has been working to hit the ball the other way with his hitting coach. Tweet about how the guy who scored was put on a new line by the coach and it paid dividends. Tweet about how the guy with 18 points hasn’t scored that many in game since 2012.
Or heck, just tweet jokes. Or tweet general observations about how a team or player looks. Operating as a bad play-by-play person on a 45-second delay is boring, useless and does nothing for your readership and more importantly annoys me and this guide is all about making my Twitter dot com experience better.
I know a lot of people in this business who I find amusing who are somehow rarely amusing on Twitter. I say go for it. Be you. Embrace you. We will all embrace you too.
Rule No. 5: Odds and ends about the live-tweeting of games
1. Stop rushing to tweet who scored a goal. Yes, you should tweet that. But no, “Kopitar 1-0” at light speed ruins it for everyone following along on the NHL’s incredibly way behind real time GameCenter device and sometimes even the people watching on a seven-second delay on NBCSN.
Take a breath. It’s not a race. As stated earlier, wait two minutes, add some value to the information everyone else in the world has.
2. This is like rule No. 1, but it applies to NHL shootouts.
Has your Twitter feed ever looked like this at the end of a shootout?
"Selanne scores, Ducks win shootout"
If it has, stop. Stop doing this. It’s a god damned shootout worth one (1) extra point to the winner. None of the goals count for real. Recounting every shot on goal from the actual game makes more sense. If you think that looks bad, realize you and four other people are doing the exact same thing. It looks like someone unraveled a scroll with a list of names on it.
Also, and this goes back to broadcast delays, you’re ruining the shootout for people who are watching it on TV and online. Yeah, I know, close down Twitter and watch if you don’t want it spoiled. Well, this isn’t an episode of Game of Thrones and I’m not on Twitter at 9:25 wondering why people are tweeting about Brienne killing The Hound. It’s a dumb hockey shootout that only requires you to tell everyone who won it when it’s over.
3. Are you covering a playoff game? Is it loud in the building? Well, no kidding. It’s a playoff game. Unless you want to tell everyone how many decibels it is and how it compares to the loudness in that building at the same moment during a regular season game, this is the least interesting tweet in the business.
Hopefully this helps make Twitter better for everyone. There’s probably things I’m forgetting to list, too. We should all work on this stuff, myself included.
Until the government does the right thing and shuts down Twitter, removing it from all of our lives forever, this will help us all.
And I’d give up forever to punch you
'Cause I know that you wronged me somehow
You’re the closest to hockey that I’ll ever be
And I don’t want a real job right now
And all I can taste is my own blood
And all I can breathe is your fist
When sooner or later it’s over
I just don’t wanna miss with this right
And I don’t want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When faces are made to be broken
I just want to hit you with my hand
And you can’t fight in games you’re not playing
When you’re in the press box in the skies
When your ice time is shorter than movies
Yeah, you bleed just to know you’re alive
And I don’t want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When faces are made to be broken
I just want to hit you with my hand
And I don’t want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When faces are made to be broken
I just want to hit you with my hand
And I don’t want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When faces are made to be broken
I just want to hit you with my hand
I just want to hit you with my hand
I just want to hit you with my hand
I just want to hit you with my hand
This may have been mentioned once or twice on the ol’ Twitter dot com machine last night, but Missouri defensive end Michael Sam let the world know he was gay. He’s pretty good at the whole football thing (SEC Defensive Player of the Year) and was expected to be drafted in the third or fourth round by an NFL team, thus giving the sport its first openly gay player.
There was a lot of praise for Sam’s bravery, but there were also some people (dudes) who felt this was a bad decision, either because they don’t want some dude’s sexuality (aka penis) all up in their face or because it was a bad career move for Sam.
Football writer Peter King had a story in the wake of the Sam news that was filled with quotes that were entirely anonymous. Personally, I don’t like the use of anonymous quotes in certain situations, especially when the anonymity is a way for the subject to hide when offering inflammatory, damaging quotes.
Here’s the quote that really stands out from one NFL GM, which is, of course, decidedly negative toward Sam and his future.
" “We talked about it this week,” the GM said. “First of all, we don’t think he’s a very good player. The reality is he’s an overrated football player in our estimation. Second: He’s going to have expectations about where he should be drafted, and I think he’ll be disappointed. He’s not going to get drafted where he thinks he should. The question you will ask yourself, knowing your team, is, ‘How will drafting him affect your locker room?’ And I am sorry to say where we are at this point in time, I think it’s going to affect most locker rooms. A lot of guys will be uncomfortable. Ten years from now, fine. But today, I think being openly gay is a factor in the locker room.”
I asked this general manager: “Do you think he’ll be drafted?”
“No,” he said.”
There’s a whole lot wrong with that line of thinking. For one, if everyone thought like that guy, we’ll never get to that magical 10-year mark when it’ll be fine for there to be an openly gay football player in a locker room because no one would draft openly gay players.
Flawed logic aside, my main problem is this GM, a man who is in charge of hiring and firing of people to work at his place of business, essentially said he would never employ someone because of their sexuality.
If you’re a journalist, you want to offer anonymity in select situations. The big one is when the subject of your interview is revealing sensitive information about someone and could face unfair repercussions from it. Think of someone like a whistleblower who doesn’t want to be subject to attacks or threats from a powerful corporation or government office. As the journalist, if you believe your source’s information is accurate and credible but believe he or she could come under attack, it’s perfectly acceptable to leave that person’s name out of your report.
There is a host of harmless situations where anonymous quotes are fine. To me, this Peter King story isn’t one of them.
First of all, King makes an egregious mistake by offering anonymity right off the bat. “I spoke to all anonymously,” King wrote, “because with such a touchy subject, I assumed all would either no-comment me (and one other GM did) or say something so sanitized it wouldn’t really be the truth. I don’t like to do anonymous sources to write an entire story, but I felt in this case it would give the best information possible.”
King started from a bad place by offering anonymity before getting a no comment, one that may not have come in the first place. Never assume. Getting a “no comment,” then offering anonymity is better, but not acceptable in this case. Also, the notion that this is a “touchy subject” makes you think someone other than King should be writing it. If every journalist interviewed people about a “touchy subject” and offered anonymity, we’d never know where quotes come from for any story of a so-called sensitive nature.
But King did what he did and here we are.
The overriding problem with this quote is, to me, it’s criminal in nature. While the unnamed GM doesn’t use the exact words, “I would never draft a gay player,” that’s what he’s telling King in so many words.
"It’s going to affect most locker rooms."
"Ten years from now, fine."
As a journalist, as a human being, if you are interviewing someone in such a position of power as an NFL general manager and they tell you they wouldn’t draft someone because they are gay, isn’t it your duty to reveal that person’s name in the best interest of society and make him answer for it? Congress has yet to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would make it illegal for companies to discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation, but really, how sad of a nation do we have to be in order to need the government to tell us that’s wrong?
Maybe King isn’t under any legal obligation to reveal the name of the clearly bigoted GM, but what about an ethical one?
I understand that King offered immediate anonymity to his subject, which was, again, a mistake, but how far would the subject have to go before King decided hiding that person’s name was a detriment to society? What if he had gone on to say he has cut gay players it the past when he discovered their sexuality? Then should he have revealed that GM? Where’s the line when speaking to someone anonymously?
Sports reporters aren’t civil rights reporters and few are equipped to handle a story like Sam’s.
Personally, if I’m speaking to a GM and they reveal to me they’d never draft or sign an openly gay player, that GM’s name needs to come out, even if I foolishly immediately offered anonymity before asking my question. If the fallout from doing so meant losing my job or the trust of other sources, so be it. If my employer or contacts aren’t on board with my “I’m not letting bigots lob anonymous hateful nonsense under my byline” policy, I won’t be sad to say farewell to those people.
You never want to become someone that has reputation for being untrustworthy in situations like this, but I’d rather be known as the guy who outed the bigoted GM than the one who protected him.
Fantasy football is equal parts fun, frustrating and, depending on the league, competitive to the point of being sad. I was 11-0 at one point last season and it consumed me. It was very sad. But what’s not unique about that is how seriously — and yes, it is very sad — some people take fantasy football.
So I wondered while passively watching The Dark Knight Rises for the 50th time — what would’ve happened in fantasy football leagues after Bane blew up Gotham Stadium during the game’s opening kickoff?
That one question led to a host of other questions, so let’s delve into this.
I’ve written/I’m writing a screenplay.
To avoid any confusion, let me be more specific. I’ve written a screenplay that will likely never turn into a movie, that not one person of power in Hollywood or any other city in the world has said, “I have to have that, so quit your job that has a steady paycheck and terrific health insurance, name your price and let’s get this thing produced.”
Let’s start at the beginning.
In September 2012, there was this thing called the NHL lockout happening. With massive restrictions on what I could write and say, it leaves you free time. A lot of it.
Around that time, I was in Toronto for a writing conference. My friend who worked in the NHL office there wanted to meet for drinks and food, and he had a proposition for me. A friend of his who worked in Los Angeles and had movie connections but no writing acumen was looking for someone to write a movie about hockey. He had an idea, but lacked the means to execute. So my friend recommended me to him.
So I sent this person an old screenplay (which is terrible and will never be seen) I wrote a long time ago. He liked it enough. So I sent him an outline for the current movie idea. He liked that a lot. So I sent him my idea for the first 30 pages. He really liked that. So we signed some documents, and basically became partners on this thing.
To say I’ve spent nine months working on this screenplay makes it sound like I have been working on it a lot more than I have in reality. Sure, during the lockout that lasted until January there was plenty of free time. When you don’t have to spend days and nights in a rink working a game, you have free time. A lot of work happened during that period of time, sure.
Then the season started. With a compressed schedule, it was far more difficult to write. Sometimes I’d go two or three weeks without even opening the Word document that contained this screenplay. But the season progressed, and so did the story. My partner would read, offer notes, I’d revise, he’d offer notes, I’d revise, etc. etc. etc. rinse, lather, repeat.
During this time, things changed in a major way at my place of employment. Us writer types were told about a change of philosophy. For a good four years or so, we were all about original writing, game coverage, features, analysis, all that jazz. I’m not sitting here telling you we were ever a true journalistic news site — MLB.com and NFL.com were light years ahead of where we were in that regard — but we were slowly taking strides away from worrying about PR and team reactions to negative news and that type of thing. It was a fun place to work that you felt was going in the right direction.
But that philosophy changed. We were told that going forward, we were no longer being judged on “original writing,” and instead we were being judged on how quickly we could rewrite breaking news from other people. For example, a reporter in Vancouver tweets that Roberto Luongo is starting over Cory Schneider. We would now be judged on how quickly we could rewrite three paragraphs about that and get it on the site.
Game coverage was also being reined in, and while a feature on Luongo or Schneider wasn’t frowned upon, it wasn’t what the site would be about.
Around that same time in March, my partner and I felt pretty good about the screenplay. We had received some really positive feedback about it and we felt like it was at a point where we could begin showing it to the right people in a couple months. It wasn’t ready, it needed more work, but we were coming down the home stretch with it.
Here’s where I made one of those incredibly stupid life decisions.
The playoffs were right around the corner, and covering the playoffs is by far the most fun time of year. It’s two months of travel, non-stop writing and late nights and long days either at the rink or traveling between cities.
However, the playoffs were right around the corner, and while covering the playoffs is by far the most fun time of year, it’s two months of travel, non-stop writing and late nights and long days either at the rink or traveling between cities.
I had two choices: 1) stick it out at NHL.com through the postseason and enjoy a steady paycheck, but dedicate about 53 total minutes to the screenplay over the course of two months, or 2) quit to spend those two months dedicating as much time as possible to the screenplay, leaving myself jobless, health-insurance-less, and perhaps never employable again.
Being the logical, intelligent person that I am, I chose No. 2.
I gave my five weeks notice (five weeks!), said my goodbyes, and here we are in early July and I’m still wondering if I made the right decision. I think I did. I guess. I don’t know.
It basically came down to this: I really, really want this screenplay to work. I probably want this more than anything I’ve wanted in my life, and I was at a point in my job where I wasn’t happy. Things were changing there. So the last thing I wanted to do was look back on my life in five years and wonder if that screenplay I wrote that time would’ve worked if I would’ve dedicated more time to it instead of sticking it out at a job where I wasn’t happy.
Having said all that nonsensical crap about being an artist and dedicating time to my craft, if I was at a job I loved, I would have made both things work. It’s no offense to anyone there who will read this and roll their eyes and do a double wanking motion, but it’s just how I felt and that’s probably just as much my fault as anyone else’s.
So since I left at the end of April, my life has been the screenplay. And SVU reruns. And Bones reruns. Again, when someone says, “I’ve been working on my screenplay for two months,” first off, punch that person. And secondly, you may have an image of a person of sitting at a desk, crumpling paper, throwing pens across the room, screaming, huffing and puffing, crying and punching the keyboard for hours on end, but it’s really not like that.
There’s a lot of thinking, but there’s the writing and rewriting and revising and editing and reading notes and deciding which criticisms you value and editing and revising and rereading and rewriting and getting more notes and tweaking and reading and fixing that typo on page 87 and cutting that scene down by a page and changing that line to this line and saying the lines out loud to see how they sound and deleting that because it sucks and fixing that page break and wondering if that character’s name is too weird and reading and editing and oh look more notes and this criticism makes no sense and oh yeah I hadn’t thought about that scene in that way let me make this more clear and reading again and man I need a shower and my god this block of type needs to end right here.
It’s really weird. I feel like I’ve put in a lot of work over these two months of psuedo-unemployment…actually, I *know* I’ve put in a lot of work. But when you write hockey stories and they go up on a hockey site, you can point to that hockey site and say, “Look! There is my work! I did work!”
With this screenplay, it’s just you and a Word document. It doesn’t go anywhere. You are working on something that there is an excellent, excellent chance may just wind up being a really old file on your computer that when you search for it under “date modified,” in 2016, it is below three years worth of fantasy football cheat sheets. You know you are working hard on it, but it’s a weird kind of work. It’s like doing 1,000 pushups every day for two months but seeing absolutely no change in your body.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve had a couple people who read screenplays as part of their jobs look at it, and again, the feedback has been tremendous. I’m not getting into plot or anything like that, but there’s one compliment I’ve received multiple times that makes feel good about a story I’ve read so many times I can’t tell what it is anymore. They’ve said, “I read screenplays all the time and just about all of them take me a long time to get through, but I flew through yours in less than a day.”
All writers have different things they like to hear about their work, but when someone tells me something I’ve written is that easy to read and really funny, honestly, nothing better for me.
So, we’ll see. We’re going to start shopping it or whatever the Hollywood term is for what I’m doing shortly, and we’ll have an idea of what’s going to happen not longer after that. I guess. I don’t know. My god what have I done with my life?
I’m really hoping to know what the screenplay’s fate is by the end of September. While I have some money saved, I don’t have a trust fund and eventually I will need a job that pays the bills and October will become the time I started having sweaty panics about finances. Hell, I’d take one now, but I wouldn’t want to take a job now then cut out in a month or two, either.
If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But I know at the end of this process that some are calling the worst career move ever made by someone who writes for a living, I won’t have any regrets.
Let’s face it — sports journalism is very gross business. When it comes to hockey writing, homerism has become rampant. It comes in many forms; ome are blatant, some are more subtle.
Sometimes it’s writers hoping to avoid saying anything negative about a team for fear of losing access. Sometimes it’s writers believing they have a friendship with a player and not wanting to say anything negative about a buddy. Sometimes it’s a writer covering the team he/she grew up loving, and everything written by them comes across like it’s been penned by a quivering fanboy.
It’s not journalism, it’s homerism, and it’s the grossest thing out there.
That’s why I am hoping to raise money for the You Can Play Project by offering my writing services.
Here’s how it will work. I am setting up an eBay auction that will conclude next Friday. The winning bidder gets to tell me the team for which I will become a massive, massive homer. That winning bid gets you five posts about your favorite team or their rivals or players that have recently departed for another team that will be super homery. You also get at no additional charge a bucket full of homer tweets about your team and its players. If you want a super positive spin on everything — or just an overly negative spin from an irrational fan who covers the team on something else — then please donate today.
I hope to have the winning bid by the end of this week and have the homer posts begin July 15.
It’s really easy. Donate the most money, pick a hockey team, and I will be your mindless slave to that team for five days.