UCF Are Not National Champions

Last Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl. The media is portraying this as the first time Philadelphia’s beleaguered franchise has reached the league summit, but that is not true. Before the AFL-NFL merger and the first Super Bowl, the Eagles won the NFL championship in 1948, 1949, and 1960. While the league may have been much smaller in those days, those are still #1 results. In the NBA, most of Bill Russell’s titles were in years when the league had less than 10 teams, but he is still remembered as one of the greatest players of all time. Professional basketball is acutely aware of its history.

On the other hand, pro football forgets the sport existed before the Super Bowl. To most Americans, Joe Namath is more well-known that Johnny Unitas. They both have one Super Bowl victory to their names, but Unitas won multiple championships and was the prototype of the modern quarterback. To Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL, professional football did not start until 1967. Continue reading UCF Are Not National Champions

A Theory on Sherlock

Growing up, I loved being the “smart kid”. I skipped a grade, got straight A’s, and graduated high school near the top of my class. My parents and teachers showered me with praise. I thought myself to be a right Sherlock Holmes.

Of course, my intelligence was never that great, which I discovered when I failed out of college. Yet I still felt an attachment and similarity to Sherlock Holmes, in particular Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the character. Myself and Sherlock have both discovered emotional intelligence is more powerful than traditional intelligence.

At the beginning of the BBC’s Sherlock, the titular character is shown to be a cold, crime-solving robot detached from humanity. In his first appearance, Sherlock gives little attention to the other people in the room and remains focused on his work. He analyzes Watson and mentions Watson’s alcoholic sister with little regard to the visible discomfort it engenders in Sherlock’s future roommate. Sherlock is deficient in emotional intelligence. Continue reading A Theory on Sherlock

Mr. Robot Season 4: True Science Fiction

The following is a two-in-one post. The first part is on the simulation hypothesis; the second is about USA Network’s Mr. Robot. Originally, the universe simulation section was going to be a footnote in the primary Mr. Robot piece. However, that footnote soon grew to David-Foster-Wallace-esque proportions and transformed into its own separate section.

Part I: Simulation Hypothesis

The Matrix was a groundbreaking film particularly for its “bullet time” effect. However, the film’s pop culture relevance has more to do with its interesting sci-fi conceit: The characters in The Matrix are all living inside a computer simulation.

This was not a new idea at the time of The Matrix‘s release. A similar concept of a “brain in a vat” was forwarded by René Descartes in Meditations on First Philosophy back in 1641, but The Matrix and the internet revolution put it on everyone’s minds. Of course, The Matrix is a work of fiction. However, the simulation hypothesis makes logical sense. Continue reading Mr. Robot Season 4: True Science Fiction

David Foster Wallace: Severing the Internet Connection

Early humans had to hunt to survive, and evolution gave our species numerous advantages for that purpose. Our large brains and opposable thumbs provided us the ability to develop and wield tools. Socialization allowed us to pool our resources and abilities, and our social groups became greater than the sum of our parts. However, the most important tool early mankind possessed to aid their hunting efforts was the ability to run long distances. Biology professor David R. Carrier of the University of Utah explains in “The Energetic Paradox of Human Running and Hominid Evolution”:

Among cursorial mammals man is one of the best distance runners. While game animals are faster over short distances, they generally have less endurance than man…Tarahumara Indians chase deer through the mountains of northern Mexico until the animals collapse from exhaustion and then throttle them by hand.

Continue reading David Foster Wallace: Severing the Internet Connection

2018 CFP National Championship: No Asterisks

I still think about the 2010 BCS National Championship: Texas vs. Alabama. The Longhorns came in as underdogs, but the game started well for them. They held Alabama to a three-and-out, got the ball back, and drove down to Alabama’s red zone. Then UT quarterback Colt McCoy injured his shoulder after a tackle from Marcell Dareus. True freshman Garrett Gilbert took over for McCoy.

The drop-off from McCoy to Gilbert was steep, but Texas was able to stay in the game. With 3:04 left in the fourth quarter, the Longhorns were down only 21-24 with a chance to win it all. I thought the Horns would drive down the field and lift the crystal football. Instead, Gilbert fumbled, and Alabama recovered and scored a touchdown. Continue reading 2018 CFP National Championship: No Asterisks

Dave Chappelle: The Bird Revelation & The System

You can tell them anything if you just make it funny.

–Bo Burnham, Make Happy

The Introduction

Don’t explain the joke. That is the first rule of comedy, but this essay will break that rule by explaining what makes Dave Chappelle’s fourth Netflix special so great.

However, such explanation is fine because The Bird Revelation is not actually meant to be funny. Chappelle starts the special by explaining:

Sometimes the funniest thing you say is mean…I say a lot of mean things, but you guys gotta remember I’m not saying it to be mean. I’m saying it because it’s funny. And everything’s funny ’til it happens to you.

The Bird Revelation has numerous serious rants where the tension builds up, and the audience nervously waits for Dave to throw in a joke to break the gravity of what is being discussed. However although the previous special Equanimity is less serious and more outright funny, TBR still has plenty of laughs. The bit about OJ Simpson trying to kneel during the national anthem is especially memorable.

Yet while the topics discussed are funny to the audience, they are not humorous to Dave because he has experienced them. Jokes about dead babies and AIDS are not as easy to make or hear after you have personally had a miscarriage or an HIV diagnosis. Dark humor is better not when it aims to be controversial for controversy’s own sake but rather when it comes from personal experience. “Offensive” comedians like Anthony Jeselnik are talented and witty, but their work sometimes lacks a sense of authenticity. Continue reading Dave Chappelle: The Bird Revelation & The System

Learning to Hate Jacksonville

In week 10 of the 2010 NFL season, the Houston Texans experienced one of their most ridiculous losses in franchise history. With the game tied in Jacksonville, Jaguars QB David Garrard threw a hail mary from midfield that was deflected by Texans safety Glover Quin. The game should have been over.

Except, the ball got batted into the hands of Jags receiver Mike Thomas. Jags win.

Despite the ridiculousness of the situation, losing to the Jags did not really hurt. This is the sort of loss that is commonplace as a Texans fan. The next week Houston would completely destroy their season by letting Mark Sanchez drive 68 yards with 59 seconds left on the clock to score a game winning touchdown. Distinguishing between all the horrific losses is difficult. Yet it is never easy to lose to a rival in your division.

The intra-divisional hatred in the AFC South does not match up with others like the NFC East. Cowboys and Giants fans will murder one another. But there is still plenty of animosity in the AFC South.

The Tennessee Titans will always be loathed by Houstonians for turning their back on the city. The former Houston Oilers left in 1997, and Bud Adams became a persona non grata inside Texas. Even drafting Houston-born hero and UT legend Vince Young was not enough to lessen my hatred for their franchise.

For years, the Colts have humiliated the Texans. The Texans did not beat the Colts until their 10th meeting, and it was not until 2015 that they finally won in Indianapolis. When the Texans franchise began, the Colts were led by future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. They had one bad season then got to draft another incredible quarterback in Andrew Luck. Life is not fair sometimes.

But then there are the Jags. You never like your division rivals. But I would never have compared my hatred of the Jags to the way Jets fans hate the Patriots. And if someone besides the Texans had to win the AFC South, I would have preferred it to be the Jags.

Until they actually won the division this year. Along the way to their first division title, the Jags stomped the Texans 29-7 and 45-7. And having the less-than-stellar Blake Bortles under center while doing it only makes it hurt more.

I now realize my lack of hatred towards the Jags was just condescension. Although the Texans do not have a great history, at least we were not the Jags. But now that the Jags will be in the playoffs this weekend, that defense no longer works. At least Cleveland is still a worse franchise than Houston.

Nobody likes Patriots fans because they are so condescending. Every time I listen to the Bill Simmons Podcast I have to hear how New England is not a good team this year, and their defense is atrocious even though they finished the regular season with a 13-3 record. When New England beats your team, you will frequently hear how “you guys are going to be scary next year”.

Now I realize though that I have been doing the same to Jacksonville fans. A lack of hatred is a lack of respect. From here on out, all I have to say is fuck the Jags. Good luck this weekend.

The Disaster Artist: The Value of Effort

Growing up, I was constantly told by my teachers and parents that I was smart. School was always easy for me, and my report card was always filled with A’s. When graduating high school, my class rank was #6 out of over 800 students, and I received a full scholarship to the University of Texas as an honors biomedical engineering student. And I barely had to try.

Being told you are smart is an addiction, and there are only two ways to get your next hit. The first option is to keep doing smart things, but that takes hard work and skill. The second, easier option is to do mediocre things with minimal effort. You get a B on the history test, but it’s OK because you did not try. You tell yourself, “If only I put in the effort, I would easily succeed.” You run away from the fact that sometimes you try your hardest and still screw up. Continue reading The Disaster Artist: The Value of Effort

The End of Evangelion: When Motivation Fades

Self-help is a huge industry. People get motivated to turn around their lives through books, motivational speakers, and even YouTube clips. But if their advice and motivation is helpful, then why is there so much of it? If a single piece of media could help you reach your goal to lose weight, get rich, or just be happy, there would be no need for so many works on self-improvement.

The truth is change is never as easy as we expect it to be. And that is the core idea of The End of Evangelion.

Released in 1997, The End of Evangelion wraps up Hideaki Anno’s mecha anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. The final two episodes of the original series are, to say the least, strange. Supposedly, the Gainax team ran out of money and had to wrap up the series with limited animation. The climactic and foreshadowed Human Instrumentality Project begins but rather than seeing what actually happens, the last two episodes dive into the psyches of the main characters, so the audience can see the mental battles they face. The End of Evangelion shows what actually happened in the narrative. Kind of. Therefore, both the film and the original two final episodes must be analyzed together. The movie is even broken up into two distinct parts to further strengthen this link. Continue reading The End of Evangelion: When Motivation Fades

Why I No Longer Watch the Texans

Deshaun Watson’s injury is my fault. After not having a franchise quarterback since Matt Schaub, the Texans had finally found the future of the franchise. The phenom from Clemson gave this franchise hope and went toe to toe against Tom Brady and Russell Wilson.

But, unfortunately, I had tickets to the Week 9 game versus the Colts. My friends and I were excited to watch our new quarterback in person. Then one of my buddies texted me in the middle of the week, “Watson’s injured.” The universe will not let me get what I want. Continue reading Why I No Longer Watch the Texans