Friday, April 22, 2016

5 Things on a Friday: Woefully Wishful Thinking

Happy Friday, folks.  Let’s get it on!

1. John Kasich Will Be the Republican Nominee for President (Huffpost Politics)
Marco Rubio has deliberately held onto his 172 delegates so that he can create a unity ticket with John Kasich in Cleveland — a ticket that will begin with somewhere between 350 and 600 delegates on the first ballot at the Convention, depending upon how many delegates John Kasich wins going forward.
"Welp.  I guess the GOP's just gonna get creamed come the fall..."
According to the article, this will allow Kasich/Rubio to win on the third ballot in Cleveland.
The Republican Party is more than smart enough to see that Cruz’s horrifying unfavorables — somehow, incredibly, worse than Clinton’s historically bad ones — will sink his candidacy, especially when coupled with terrible head-to-head polling against Clinton or (per usual, much more dramatically) Sanders.
Meanwhile, Kasich’s continued domination of Clinton in polling will convince Convention delegates — who value electability above all else — to put Kasich at the top of the ticket, and a known, reliable quantity like Rubio beside him.
Uh huh.
I will agree that this is the smart play by anyone in the GOP who’s serious about winning in November.  However, we’ve seen absolutely no evidence—from anyone in the GOP anywhere—of an overarching commitment to the “smart” play.  Those guys are all too busy trying to set the building on fire to leave because of the threat of smoke.  Granted, Kasich placed second in New York on Tuesday.  Still, that doesn’t exactly make him some kind of frontrunner.
2. The Magnificent Seven
I’m usually skeptical of remakes, but this one’s on point.  Everything I’ve seen of late has been a Western filtered through the lens of some other genre.  Going back to the well strikes me as a very good idea.  Meanwhile, this version takes a legitimately vintage movie and updates it for an audience that almost certainly hasn’t seen the original.  
Heard of it?  Sure.  
But I don’t think the kids these days are sitting down to watch old Westerns, no matter how well-regarded.
Starring Hugh Laurie!
The novels of John le Carré are steeped in shadows and ambiguity. So it’s a little disconcerting that “The Night Manager,” the first television adaptation of a le Carré novel in 25 years, is so bright and straightforward and that, despite a few nasty but necessary killings, it’s so clear who we’re supposed to root for. If TV shows had jaws, this one’s would be square.
Mr. le Carré has been promoting this six-episode British-American mini-series, shown last month on BBC and here beginning on Tuesday on AMC, and he is an executive producer along with two of his sons. But the screenwriter David Farr and the director Susanne Bier (“In a Better World”) were licensed to change the period (from the first gulf war to the present) and the locations (an evil arms dealer’s yacht becomes a fantastical Spanish villa; Central America becomes the Middle East) and to soften the ending in ways that le Carré aficionados will probably abhor.
Not the most promising television review I’ve ever read, but I really like John LeCarre’s work, and anyway, all TV is crap.  If this is interesting and at least mildly thought-provoking crap, it will be light-years ahead of most of what’s on these days.
Speaking personally, I’d like to see an updated adaptation of The Tailor of Panama to make it work in a more modern setting.  The Times’ reviewer seems stuck in the Cold War/Post-Cold War dichotomy, but I think Tailor’s plot serves equally well a critique of recent American interventions as it does of our Cold War-era adventures in Latin America.
A grueling cycling race is somewhat less grueling if your bike is a motorcycle. Understanding this, some cunning cyclists may be turning the sport into Nascar on two wheels by surreptitiously giving their bikes a motorized boost.
The first confirmed case of mechanical doping surfaced this year when a tiny motor and battery were found inside a Belgian cyclist’s bike, but that involved cyclocross, a comparatively minor branch of the sport. The latest accusations emerged Sunday on Stade 2, a sports program on the French television network that is also the host broadcaster of the Tour de France. The report suggested that motor doping is also at the highest levels of the sport.
I have my doubts about this.  It may be possible, but my gut tells me that it would be very difficult to get enough advantage to offset the increase in weight in a way that is easy to hide.  Old-fashioned performance enhancing drugs strike me as cheaper and more effective, and at the end of the day, you only have to test Negative for the drugs UCI knows about.  This is why Lance Armstrong could test Negative ten zillion times and still be guilty, and it remains true.
6. Army Football Update
The search for a better season begins in September.
QB Ahmad Bradshaw continues to take most of the snaps with the first team while rising yearling Andy Davidson looks to have moved into the starter’s role at fullback.  That said, I don’t know that I necessarily believe that Davidson will actually carry the load in the fall.  Like teammate Cole Macek, Davidson is a converted linebacker, and if both served as running backs in high school, they still have absolutely NO experience in Army’s offense.  It’s therefore at least as likely that Coach Monken is using Spring Camp to train new fullbacks, in which case giving the new guys more reps makes a lot of sense.
Army also still needs to find a new kicker.
I've been back on my regular schedule this week, and even with the days getting longer, it's been harder and harder to get up in the mornings.  For what it's worth, I feel better on the bike this week than I have lately, which is nice considering how often I ride.  Still, I've had a lot of four day weeks lately, to the point where working all five days actually feels long.  

What can you do?  At the end of the day, I still have to feed my family and pay my mortgage.

At least it's finally warmer.  I've enjoyed riding in shorts this week, and when I ran on Wednesday, I wore nothing more than a tank top and a sun visor.  Wound up putting in almost exactly three miles in twenty-three minutes.  That wasn't too bad.

We're off to Lake Quassy tomorrow.  Look for that in the new (popular!) NYC and the Area series some time next week.

That’s all I’ve got.  Have a good weekend.

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