A Star is Born, USWNT, & Another Michigan Review Article!

It is as good as you have heard. A Star is Born is incredibly moving, something I never could have expected from a film this year. Bradley Cooper acts and directs and is brilliant, using his body to act the pain and torture he goes through. Lady Gaga is absolutely incredible in this movie as well, her singing and acting are a force throughout. While I have never seen the other iterations of this movie, this movie does an absolutely terrific job of being moving while also understanding the current moment and living up to it. The second half is not as good as the first, and it does slow down at points. Regardless, this is a movie that must be seen in theaters, and may very well win award after award and it will be well deserved. 9/10

In other news, the US Women’s National Team qualified for the world cup, and I along with the rest of the soccer fans in this country could not be prouder. I will never take for granted the difficulty of qualifying for a world cup ever again. The women have qualified in dominating fashion, destroying nearly ever opponent in their wake. I wish them luck next summer and hope that they can bring another one home.

When recruits are scored based on questions regarding their trendiness or looks, it is pretty obvious that “sisterhood” is not the main calculation. National sorority bodies want girls who can market their image for them, and many do.

I have also written another article for The Michigan Review which I highly recommend you check out about Greek life at Michigan. With that happy Tuesday and enjoy the rest of Fall Break.

US Soccer

A year ago today, the US Men’s National Team was denied the opportunity to go to the World Cup. That created this article that I wrote and this epic rant from Taylor Twellman that is perfect. It also showed the newfound passion for Soccer in the US, and the expectations for our men’s team were set clear from here on out.

I have detailed at length what I think the problems are with US Soccer, but I cannot help but look at how incredible the Women’s team has been playing as of late and wonder why they do not get the same attention. If you care about US Soccer, go out and support the Women’s team this summer. They look absolutely incredible and are shaping up to be one of the best teams in France this Summer.

As a country, we have a long way to go before we can be a serious force in soccer. However, with players like Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams the future certainly looks bright. Good luck to the women throughout qualifying and in France this summer.

BoJack Horseman Season 5 Review

BoJack Horseman ended season 4 with a commitment to being a changed man. BoJack Horseman has always been a show of twists and turns, and it never quite lets anyone off the hook. However, it finally began to seem like there might be some moments of redemption. However, just because BoJack is the hero of our story, does not mean he gets to be let off easy. If I were to boil down the lesson of this season it is that while we can make a commitment to becoming better and dealing with those around us in better and healthier ways, we have to hold ourselves accountable. Nobody else will do it for us.

This season wallows in sadness but is in many ways more subdued than years past. It does not focus so much on the glitz and glam but has stories that really try to see the characters take the next step. Princess Carolyn struggling with adoption, Dianne and Mr. Peanutbutter moving on, and BoJack dealing with the loss of his Mom and coming to terms with all of the things he has done. It once again defies convention and category, making Drama and Comedy work in ways that few shows can pull off.

My highlight of the season was the episode “Free Churro,” which constituted of BoJack giving his eulogy for his Mom. Painfully honest “Free Churro” is the best episode this series has seen since Season 3.  BoJack realizing how much of his relationship between himself and his mother has now gone to waste has some absolutely gut-punching lines that I will not spoil. Please, if you watch one episode of this show, watch “Free Churro”.

To me, BoJack Horseman is always in the 9-plus category because of its ability to stir emotions. However, my one complaint is that I felt this muted deconstruction was a very small step back from the highs of the last two seasons. Regardless, this show continues to be phenomenal. Watch it as soon as you can.

9/10

My Thoughts on Brett Kavanaugh

I am sure you have heard enough of the Brett Kavanaugh coverage, and frankly if you do not want to continue I do not blame you. We live in a moment where everyone agrees something went wrong but not on what. We live in a hyper-partisan moment, in which at any point, not conforming is disagreeing or endorsing. I have always been a bit of a renegade, conformity never suited me. At a very early age when kids were declaring markers as there coloring weapon of choice I said crayons. When everyone read Harry Potter I scorned while reading Alex Rider. All of that goes to say, that my opinion will almost assuredly please no one. I enjoy not fitting a mold, as being uncomfortable is all I know. So, if you do not mind, bare with me and maybe you will find something useful.

At the start of this process, I defended Kavanaugh. Republican presidents nominate conservative justices, and while we can be mad at his policy ideas we could not blindly accuse him of being a bad person. It felt that many were out to tarnish his reputation and I found myself agreeing with most conservatives. However, as the allegations came out my opinion changed but I will try to keep it as clean as possible and hopefully some may agree.

There were generally two sides, one saying that there was no evidence corroborating the attack, whilst others automatically believed Dr. Ford in spite of any evidence. To me, I would be shocked if something did not happen, and based on his drinking habits as described by his friends and others, it would not surprise me if he did not remember the event. Regardless, without evidence it is important to assume innocence and therefore while we can believe that Dr. Ford is credible, we can also take the time to investigate and make sure she is telling the truth.

That being said, the main reason I would not have given him my vote is due to his partisanship, as he established very clearly in his hearing that he felt victimized by Democrats and empowered by Republicans. He mentioned the Clintons, and Democrats as attempting to smear him and destroy his life. While I can never imagine having to be placed under that microscope, his performance showed me that he was lacking candor and too partisan to be on the nation’s highest court.

I am surprised that at the very least the nomination was not delayed further, as the senators who delayed it a week must have known that nothing would come out of it. If the FBI had time to investigate they could have credibly proven, disproven, or simply confirmed that there was no corroborating evidence. All of those conclusions help, and can make a better picture for the American people to understand whether or not Judge Kavanaugh is deserving of the position.

There is no doubt that getting rid of or destroying the confirmation on allegations alone would have set a bad precedent, which is why it makes no sense why the FBI was not allowed to fully confirm, deny, or not be able to know the answer. Everyone seemed to be playing politics rather than doing what was best for the country. He is innocent until proven guilty, and why we did not give the qualified members of our government the chance to do that despite his multiple story changes, whining under oath, and potential perjury, makes no sense.

Maybe Dianne Feinstein wanted to calculate the biggest possible political hit. I seriously doubt it, and while it is hard to understand why exactly she did not hand the information over to the FBI as soon as possible, I do feel she genuinely wanted to protect the confidentiality of Dr. Ford. Dr. Ford was, as any of us would be, terrified to be in front of senators answering questions on an assault that happened in high school. I can hardly blame her, and while Senator Feinstein could have acted in better faith, it comes from an understandable place.

My biggest worry coming out of this is that our courts are no longer institutions separate from partisanship. I feel that votes for Justices should be carried out by qualifications only, and that while we can agree or disagree on political stances, that the court is about ruling regardless of personal belief and defending the constitution. Many nominees, including Kavanaugh, echoed this very sentiment as they should, and yet the second nominee to be voted completely along party lines shows that we have come to a point where that is no longer the case.

I expect many to continue to point fingers and use their ultimate fears to justify why the other side of the aisle is despicable. Watching Lindsey Graham grandstand and attack was horrifying, watching Cory Booker attempt to vilify everyone who supports Kavanaugh was also cringe-worthy. This is the beginning of our end, when we cannot even look each other in the face and assume the best intentions. All everyone does, from those in power to those involved in politics, is assume the worst intentions in the other side, and continues to treat each other like villains. Try to assume humanity, even if you cannot understand it. I have been humbled throughout my time here at Michigan by how much I thought I knew and how much I still do not know.

For the record I think America is great, and will continue to remain that way. However, the coming apart is beginning, and if we want it to stop, we must assume the best in each other. Love thy neighbor, and if you really cannot, try to come to some understanding. I am a hypocrite as I am not even the best at it, but try. I promise you will not regret it.

I said awhile ago that this hearing was the political supernova that everything had been building towards. I had hoped as a country we were doing better, but I guess we are not. I hope we can do better.

 

Baking Sheets are Poorly Named

This year of college, I have no longer been able to rely on other people cooking. Learning how to cook as a 20 year old is a unique experience, as it gives you a naïvety and perspective that those who have cooked all their lives do not have.

When reading through a recipe on making Brussel Sprouts, I was trying to find a physical sheet to put them on, not realizing that a baking sheet was in fact not a sheet, but a metal flat surface where things can cook. This is a folly.

Sheets are defined as many things by Merriam-Webster, but a “baking sheet” makes no sense. If we were to refer to a “sheet of ice” or a “sheet of rain” that makes more sense because the content of rain or ice is all that is there. A sheet of ice is composed of only ice, while a sheet of rain is composed of only rain. However, a “baking sheet” is not a sheet of baking, it is a sheet of metal that can be put in an oven and can warm certain foods. To me it should be called a baking tray or an oven tray. Regardless people of the kitchen world the name “baking sheet” simply has to go.  If you have any suggestions for names please let me know!

The Kavanaugh Hearing Was a Mess

For me, I originally felt he had been treated unfairly, as any other Republican President would have nominated him. However, after watching the hearing today, I have become convinced that at the very least the vote needs to be delayed. It was incredibly troubling watching the demeanor of Kavanaugh who was incredibly defensive throughout was horrific to watch from someone looking for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court. Watching Blasey-Ford berated with questions and struggling to recount her own have caused me to believe her. I can understand the need for more evidence, but when someone decides to yell about how his character being assassinated while one recounts the events with poise it tends to lend itself one way.

I hope that senators take the time to delay the vote and really think about who should represent us on our nation’s highest court. To me, Kavanaugh sounds like a frat boy who got his way and was able to get away with more than most. I will not deny his legal mind and talent, however his background certainly made his path to Yale and the District Court easier.

Today was a sad day for everyone involved. I hope that we can move past this. I said in a previous post that this was the moment that our country had been building towards for the past few years. Hyper-partisanship, the #MeToo Movement, and President Trump’s nominee all coming together to in an ugly collision. This was far worse than I could have imagined, and I can only reiterate that we need to delay the hearing and do our best to come together.

 

BoJack Horseman is Back

After having watched two episodes of Season 5 I am pleased to confirm that BoJack Horseman is back with all of its punches. In the second episode “The Dog Days are Over,” Diane comes to terms with her divorce and reconciles with her feelings toward Mr. PeanutButter.

BoJack Horseman has always been a tear-jerker, but it is not just in sadness that this show finds its brilliance, but it is in the way it articulates feelings and actions. Diane here is dealing with pain, still having feelings for her husband and not entirely sure how to go about fixing her sorrows. So she decides to go to Vietnam to try to get away and “reconnect with her roots”. However, the episode quickly unfolds into something darker, as you begin to realize that she is denying something caused her to take a spontaneous trip out of the country. The reveal is tremendous, and the way her pain and reasoning is articulated is beautifully done.

Sometimes, we do things to distract ourselves from the pain we feel, and we find ways to justify it. For Diane, “reconnecting to her roots,” really has to do with her struggling to cope with jealousy and heartbreak. How can we be honest with ourselves to how we are feeling while also attempting to solve the problem? It is so hard to do this properly and so often I act as Diane would and just try to do something else to avoid the problem entirely.

This episode, combining beautiful narrative structure along with heartbreaking truths showcase what BoJack Horseman does best. This show has continued to wow me, and while I hope to have a review of the full season later on, I highly recommend everyone give it a chance in the meantime.

Tottenham and Caitlin Flanagan

My beloved Spurs seem to be in some weird holding pattern, as they fell short to Inter Milan who came roaring back in the last ten minutes. Suddenly, the momentum we had earlier in the season has diminished, and Mauricio Pochettino losing his cool certainly does not help things. This could be a challenge, as the criticism will begin to come if the losing continues. With the new stadium still on hold, and now the winning spell drying up, the criticism will come. How Spurs will respond remains a question, and my hope is the ship can be righted. It is a long season, but this does not look good.

She’s telling the truth, I said to myself, in a way that was neither outraged nor political, just matter-of-fact. The event she described is completely believable, but the psychologists’ notes sealed the deal. Maybe some new piece of evidence will come to light to change my mind, but with the facts on the ground as we now have them, I believe her.

This is from a wonderful article by Atlantic staff writer Caitlin Flanagan, who has written beautifully on the #MeToo as well as numerous other pieces of political commentary. This one is particularly striking, detailing the change in how sexual encounters was thought of and her conclusion that this could have happened. I have been ambiguous about my feelings toward the confirmation, as Kavanaugh is and still seems like the Conservative Justice other presidents would have appointed. However, that will all come into question if this is true, and now the nomination has the potential to become the supernova everything in our political sphere has been building towards. Folks, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

Is Boxing a Sport?

Laugh at me, this is a very serious matter. The Canelo-GGG fight was apparently incredible although I did not get to watch it. Whilst many thought the fight was close, a large number of people disagree with the decision to give it to Canelo. The first fight I did watch and thought the GGG should have won the fight. However, by what measure, and how do we even score this?

Judging has been boxing’s biggest problem, and to me the reason while it may very well not fit the category of sport. To me sports, regardless of the level of physicality, have clear winners and losers that are decided in the respective game or competition. So then can we say esports is a sport? I would say so, even if there is not serious “physical activity” the winner is clearly decided upon by what happens within the game. Gymnastics, Diving, and others are harder to justify. How can it be a sport if judges all with different backgrounds are assigning scores? Are these competitions incredibly difficult? Of course, but it is still not a sport in my book.

Boxing is an interesting case, as it for me depends on the situation for whether or not we can classify it as a sport. If a knockout occurs, then yes I would call it a sport. If not, I would call it an “athletic competition”. Maybe I am crazy but I think I am on to something here. Stay tuned for more in the future.

Liverpool Tottenham Reaction and School Motivation

Tottenham lost to a better team in Liverpool 2-1 at home, they got dominated in the middle of the field and even with a Liverpool offense not exactly on the top of their game, Spurs got beat all over the field. Two straight loses after three straight wins is a tough reality check, but many members of the team looked sluggish and still seem to be recovering from the World Cup. The new stadium still not ready only adds insult to injury. However, I predicted this Liverpool side would win the Premier League, and there is no questions that this a very good team. Defensively, Liverpool are tough and they dominated a very good Tottenham midfield. Unfortunately, it game at the behest of my beloved Spurs.

I also had some thoughts regarding school and my motivation toward it, as I seem to have forgotten what it feels like to be staring work in the face without the energy or motivation to complete it. It is interesting how things that are “assignments” suddenly become tasks where reading for fun seems constantly engaging.

How do we fight this? Well try to treat certain assignments like you would if it were for fun, and focus on finding whatever is interesting about a specific subject. I throughly believe every subject has the capability of being interesting to everyone regardless of what your strengths and weaknesses are, so find it. Do not give up and if you are going insane, change it up. A different colored highlighter, maybe different music or no music at all. Keeping yourself motivated is one of the hardest challenges, but it is certainly surmountable. I hope that helps, and even despite the loss, Come On You Spurs!