Monday, August 20, 2018

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Hard Knocks Will Make You Care About Devon Cajuste

Hard Knocks is one of my favorite shows. The genius of the show is that it can make you care about a player you've never heard of and might not ever star in the NFL. How many people knew of Devon Cajuste before watching him in a recent episode? He's fighting for a tight end spot on the roster. What other show would make you suddenly root for a guy to become a backup tight end on the Cleveland Browns? Watching him and his father whistle to each other to get each other's attention was my favorite part of last week's episode. His father said they are best friends. The father has suffered serious health problems. Once your heartstrings have been tugged, it's near impossible not to get drawn in by their closeness.

There's also a story line of trying to keep a young man on the straight and narrow path. It's noticeable to coaches that rookie Antonio Callaway is upset about something, but he won't tell them what happened. Come to find out he was pulled over and a small amount marijuana was in his car. Head coach Hue Jackson announces to the team that he supports Callaway for now, but makes it clear he won't support any more bullshit (my recollection is he warned Callaway not to bullshit him anymore). Callaway then apologizes to his teammates. Callaway is made to play nearly ever snap of the following preseason game as punishment. He's exhausted but plays through it. As a viewer, I want to see this young man make good decisions and succeed in the NFL.

We also get to see defensive player Myles Garrett write poetry and talk about his appreciation for poetry. He comes off as a very likable guy.

There's also the usual ingredient of the coaching staff cursing left and right. Though formulaic, it's sometimes comical to see these older men scream at the top of their lungs at practices and in preseason games (the yelling must quickly become tiresome to the players, and one wonders about the effectiveness of so much swearing and hollering).

A player on the margins of the NFL. A young man challenged to stay on course at the beginning of his career. A talented player who enjoys writing poetry. Coaches being hot and bothered, frequently using foul language. Just a few elements to hook viewers.

There's a lot I like so far in watching this season. Right now, perhaps more than anything, I hope Devon Cajuste makes the final roster (my prediction is he'll make the practice squad rather than the 53 man roster).

Friday, August 17, 2018

Pay Workers More

Nauseating.

From Bloomberg: "The world’s wealthiest family just got $11.6 billion richer. Walmart Inc. reported its strongest sales in more than a decade Thursday, sending the retailer’s shares soaring as much 11 percent and boosting the fortunes of Walton family members Alice, Jim, Rob, Lukas and Christy. Their collective net worth surged to $163.2 billion..."

Simple takeaway: pay workers more money. Way more money.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I Just Did the Cinnamon Challenge

A few years ago, youngsters were doing the cinnamon challenge. It struck me as a terrible idea.

I just created, and completed, the cinnamon challenge for middle-age people.

Green tea is always touted as good for your health.

Same goes for cinnamon (when used properly).

I always try to quit soda (Coke and Cherry Coke) but we break up only to make up. My new thing is drinking green tea whenever I'm craving soda. It's a lot of green tea over here.

So I said to myself, myself I said: "What if I sprinkle cinnamon into my green tea? That seems healthy. And what if for kicks and giggles I balance the cinnamon on my shoulder while taking a selfie?" And thus the Cinnamon Challenge for Middle-Age People was born.

Sponsors, get at me. Ellen, get at me. Good Morning America, get at me. I have bills to pay.


































After posting this pic, it occurs to me that haters and skeptics will doubt the authenticity of this picture. Maybe they think someone took the picture. After all, you can't see my other hand.

So I took a second one using a mirror.

You can call this procrastination from late summer academic tasks.

Or you can call it something else. Either way, holler at a scholar.



Monday, August 13, 2018

The Internet Works Its Magic

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Make Smaller Menus 2020

I have decided to run for president. I feel good about my prospects. My campaign consists of two messages: (1) pay workers more and (2) make smaller menus.

The first message is of obvious importance and something that is easily achievable.

The second message is just something I thought of a moment ago while trying to figure out a place to have lunch today with my mom. There's a lot of chain restaurants in the area we're meeting up. Aside from the mediocrity of their products, something else these places have in common are giant menus with 453 possible food combinations. You know you can't do 453 things right. Make smaller menus. Win #1: they will take up less space on the table. Win #2: Maybe, just maybe, you can offer up a better product. Win #3: Fewer choices means more efficient decision-making, perhaps.

These messages combine, if you haven't already noticed. My running mate is a mathematician who will help me refine the following formula. Paying workers more $$ = more take home pay = more money available to eat out if one chooses + smaller menus = more elbow space at the table while perusing said menus = the goal of a decent meal to deal with all the other stresses and struggles of everyday life.

I'm Todd Schoepflin and I approve of this message.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Review of Five Guys

You know you're going to enjoy lunch when you walk into your local Five Guys to the amazing sounds of "No Matter What" by Badfinger. I swear this song gets better with time. My two kids joined me for lunch, ages 10 and 7. We ordered three little cheeseburgers. We received pleasant customer service. My 7-year-old likes his burgers with "two bottom buns," something I didn't even know you could order at fast food places until about a month ago. The person at the counter indulged our request, and, sure enough, his burger came with two bottom buns. Little cheeseburgers come in at 610 calories. I crushed most of mine while listening to Supertramp's "The Logical Song"--a song that still speaks to me, a song that cuts through me each time Roger Hodgson begs "Please tell me who I am." I should probably have myself figured out at age 45, but I don't. I'm still searching for something intangible, and even if by luck I find myself late in life, I will always love this song. I digress.

I can't tell you the disappointment I feel at restaurants when I order a burger to be cooked medium. They usually arrive overcooked. What I like about Five Guys is you don't go through the motions of ordering your burger to be a cooked a certain temperature. They cook them how they cook them. And they cook them delicious. In an era of $15 burgers at gastropubs, I'm good with this $5.49 little dynamite from Five Guys. My 10-year-old demolished his entire burger, and my 7-year-old ate 80% of his, gifting the remaining portion to his older brother. They told our kids in preschool that sharing is caring. And let me tell you the message was received.

I ordered one Little Fry. I lied to myself that I would only eat 3-4 fries anyway, so the smallest size would suffice. The three of us quickly devoured the Little Fry order (a total of 540 calories). I guess there's something to be said for portion control. I wasn't stuffed after eating. The fries, by the way, were excellent. I rarely enjoy fries from any fast food establishment. Fries are too often limp, cold, too salty. These fries, however, are solid across the board. 

As we finished our meal, Cream's "White Room" played, reminding me that Eric Clapton is a genius. I'm listening to it now on YouTube. Jack Bruce was simply terrific on lyrics and Ginger Baker did a fine job pounding the skins (I think that's drum lingo that can be used by mid-lifers like me, but I'm not sure). 

We hit up this Five Guys location (McKinley Parkway in Hamburg, about a mile away from where the Buffalo Bills play at New Era Field) once every 6 weeks or so and have yet to be disappointed. It's a tidy establishment. It's often the case that restaurants don't bother to clean their bathrooms but it appeared as though the men's bathroom had been recently cleaned.

In all, it was a superb lunch, no complaints. We shall return, without a doubt.




Pay Workers More

A must read from Annie Lowrey: "Are Stock Buybacks Starving the Economy?"

Excerpt 1: "Companies spent roughly $7 trillion on their own shares from 2004 to 2014, and have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on buybacks in the past six months alone."

Excerpt 2: "How much might workers have benefited if companies had devoted their financial resources to them rather than to shareholders? Lowe’s, CVS, and Home Depot could have provided each of their workers a raise of $18,000 a year, the report found. Starbucks could have given each of its employees $7,000 a year, and McDonald’s could have given $4,000 to each of its nearly 2 million employees."

Excerpt 3: "In the meantime, corporate boards are poised to spend hundreds of billions more on their own shares, benefiting executives along with the mostly wealthy Americans who own stock. Just this week, Caterpillar, for instance, said it plans to spend $1 billion buying back shares in the latter half of this year, before kicking off a new $10 billion round on buybacks starting in January. It is also in the midst of laying off hundreds of workers."

PAY WORKERS MORE!