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  1. Hugo Holbling added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Divisional Round   

    This game is just unbelievable so far.
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  2. muraii added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Divisional Round   

    I think I win at sports. 14-0.
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  3. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Divisional Round   

    Indeed. Back to back Hail Marys? Against a blitzing defense? Terrorize a Super Bowl favorite without three top receivers? Aaron Rodgers is the best deep ball thrower I've ever seen in my entire life. 
     
    And now it's onto Seattle-Carolina!  
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  4. muraii added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Divisional Round   

    Aaron Rodgers was trying to do that, too. That last 7.5 minutes of football, plus a little bit of overtime, was great.
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  5. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Divisional Round   

    With regards to Larry Fitzgerald, I've never before seen a WR take a team to victory by force of will.
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  6. muraii added a post in a topic New Year's Resolutions   

    Resolutions, like everything else, are pointless unless they're not. Whatever model of motivation or activity works for you works for you.
    I do find it interesting that we so preoccupy ourselves with the means and ideals of productivity, as if producing some material good in the world is a universal necessity. I don't even know how to approach that, though, in any systematic way.
    That said, I don't do resolutions tied to a particular date but I am in need of developing a practice of some sort, a daily ritual structure to hang my obligations on. Otherwise, I list about and fuss and contemplate how much I don't want to be doing whatever it is I'm obliged, typically by my own choice, to do. But these rituals feel as arbitrary as they are so it's a challenge to actually commit to following them. In other words, I don't like being bossed around, least by me.
     
    Tchüss!
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  7. muraii added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Divisional Round   

    That was a day of statistically similar games that couldn't have been more different. I only watched the latter half of the fourth quarter of the Arizone/Green Bay game, but having tracked the NE/KC game via the ESPN app, it seems that KC was never really in their game. Oh my, Mr. Fitzgerald.
    Today's games? I think Carolina's gonna roll, honestly. My impression is that Seattle's O-line is pretty rough and I don't see them getting through with Wilson running around crazy all day. And while I really want the Steelers to win (natch) I think it'll almost require the emergence of new stars. Toussaint and Todman ran fairly well against the Bengals but Denver's had a week to watch film on them. More importantly, no one knows what's up with Ben, which Tomlin might be using strategically. But Manning has, if memory serves, done pretty well against Pittsburgh and the Steelers' pass D is a large reason why they do so well against the run in gross terms: opponents know passing is the path of least resistance.
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  8. Chato added a post in a topic Creation of Life   

    Way too young. My parents waited until I was 27...
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  9. Nullifidian added a post in a topic FAO Nullifidian   

    I have two more recommendations of classic operas, both for the excellence of the performances and the inventive stagings. Ironically, both female leads in the operas have the same name spelled almost identically. The first is Martin Kušej's anti-clerical staging of Verdi's La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny), which Kušej interprets as the force of patriarchal institutions like Catholicism and the family, hence the singer who plays the character of Leonora's father also plays the Father Superior. Leonora's mountain hermitage in the final scene is represented by a pile of crosses. The English libretto for this opera is available here. If you try to follow along with the libretto, be aware that sometimes scenes are presented out of order (e.g. Act III, sc. 4 is presented before Act III, sc. 3, in order to make the antagonism between Carlos and Don Alvaro the dramatic focus).
     The other is Claus Guth's production of Beethoven's Fidelio. Guth's productions are known for their stark settings and their focus on the interior psychological states of the characters. Tenor Jonas Kaufmann takes the lead in both productions, with soprano Anja Harteros as Verdi's Leonora, and Adrianne Pieczonka as Beethoven's Leonore. Each video below is part of the production. The English libretto is available here with the German original alongside (from a lolbertarian site, no less! ).

    Finally, I have one modern opera to recommend. There's a video of this opera on DVD, but this is a purely audio recording of Hans Werner Henze's 15th opera, L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe (The Hoopoe and the Triumph of Filial Love). He intended it to be his last, but then he wrote two more operas before his death, Phaedra and Gisela!. This opera is based on Arab and Persian legends and has a fairy tale quality. While there is no libretto online, you can read the Wikipedia page on it for the synopsis.
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x27gs7k_henze-l-upupa-und-der-triumph-der-sohnesliebe-amsterdam-march-17-2012_music
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  10. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Divisional Round   

    Is the Chandler Jones issue a factor? Probably not. Will Alex Smith take to running more as a way of opening up the passing? He should; he's a good runner - something most folks don't attribute to him, since he's regarded mostly as a game manager. Still, the nagging issue is the Chiefs' receiving corps. They really don't have much of one. And, yet, they win. Will this be a contrarian pick?
     
    The difference between the Arizona and the Washington defenses is a most valid point. But Rodgers is definitely good enough to cause a Packers victory. Good enough to make this a contrarian pick?
     
    The Steelers are akin to the Chiefs insofar as they so often win despite it seeming on paper that they should not. Then there is the fact that the Broncos offense just is not very good. In addition, there is the fact that Manning is too old really to have healed as much as Broncos' fans would like and as much as the Broncos need going forward. Maybe all this comes together to make the Steelers a contrarian pick?
     
    But what's been going on with the Carolina defense? At the latter part of the season, the Saints, the Giants, and the Falcons racked up yards and points on them. Even the Bucs gave them trouble for a half. Does Seattle have enough of a ground attack to be a contrarian pick? Has Josh Norman gotten his swagger back? Will the Panthers defense play with reckless abandon?
     
    Contrarian pick of the week: Kansas City Chiefs.
     
    And if not the Chiefs, then the Seahawks.
     
    And if neither the Chiefs nor the Seahawks, then the Steelers.
     
    And if neither the Chiefs nor the Seahawks nor the Steelers, then no one, because Arizona is ready to move on to the next round.
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  11. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2016 NFL Playoffs - Divisional Round
    A solid opening weekend for the playoffs where all the road teams won, sent the home teams and their crowds packing, swearing "Just Wait Till Next Year!" 
    Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots (-5)
    The Chiefs will not be pushovers, but getting a week off might be enough to get the Patriots' receiving corps healthy enough to bounce back from that late season slide. WR Edelman is expected to hit the ground running, and help take pressure off QB Brady and TE Gronk. Moreover, the Chiefs' top WR Maclin is hobbled, which will not help QB Smith take the top off of the Patriots' secondary. The Chiefs' unholy pass rushers Hali and Houston are banged up, but if healthy, they can shred that overrated Patriots' OL. Worse yet, Coach Belichick hasn't forgotten that ass-whipping they got in Kansas City not too long ago.  
    New England by 6

     
    Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals (-7)
    It looked like Rodgers is back to his old self, but that was against a shitty Washington defense. The powerful Cardinals will quickly dominate the overrated Packers' defense and control their offense, erasing all of Rodgers' options. The Cardinals' WR corps will run roughshold allover the Packers' greenhorns in the secondary. The Cardinals are already Vegas' favorite for the Super Bowl, and will not break a sweat before halftime.  
    Arizona by 13

     
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos (-7)
    Too bad the Steelers suffered a Pyrrhic victory over the Bengals because they'll be too injured to pose anything but a pasty for the bloodthirsty Denver defense, who's rested after a week off. QB Rothlisberger's busted shoulder won't be healthy enough to take and make deep throws, and his top target WR Brown isn't likely to return from that nasty concussion in time. As for QB Manning, he's healthy enough and experienced enough to play and win.  
    Denver by 11
     
    Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers (-3)
    Easily the most anticipated of the weekend, this matchup will be between evenly matched teams: both loaded with Super Bowl caliber defenses and clutch QBs at the helm. The biggest advantage the Panthers have is their great TE Olsen, who terrorized the Seahawks a couple of months back. However, it is unlikely that the Beast will even suit up for this game, having mumbled his way out of Seattle.   
    Carolina by 4
     
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  12. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Wildcard Weekend   

    I won't post picks until tomorrow night or early Wednesday morning, but for now, here's what I think of the Divisional round weekend:
    Kansas City - New England. The Chiefs will not be pushovers, but getting a week off might be enough to get the Patriots' receiving corps healthy enough to bounce back from that late season slide.
    Green Bay - Arizona. It looked like Rodgers is back to his old self, but that was against a shitty Washington defense. The powerful Cardinals will quickly dominate the overrated Packers' defense and control their offense, erasing all of Rodgers' options.
    Pittsburgh - Denver. Too bad the Steelers suffered a Pyrrhic victory over the Bengals because they'll be too injured to pose anything but a pasty for the bloodthirsty Denver defense, who's rested after a week off.
    Seattle - Carolina. Easily the most anticipated of the weekend, this matchup will be between evenly matched teams: both loaded with Super Bowl caliber defenses and clutch QBs at the helm.
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  13. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Wildcard Weekend   

    I skipped both games on Saturday, because they were the boring ones, and I was showing a couple from Brazil the Promenade in Santa Monica. But we returned back just in time for the horrific meltdown by the Cincinnati Bengals.
    As for yesterday, I figure the blown kick was the football gods' capricious about face, finally favoring the Seahawks after they blew all those fourth quarter leads they held in the regular season.  
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  14. Scotty added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Wildcard Weekend   

    I just assumed the loss was do to a cold foot.
    -Scott
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  15. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Wildcard Weekend   

    Tweeted this yesterday:
     
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  16. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Wildcard Weekend   

    In the mountains of Georgia, where there is no television - by choice by the way, this afternoon there was heard a most horrific hacking - no, make that a choking - sound eminating from some point northwest or north by northwest of here. It was a sound corresponding to a Seahawks victory.
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  17. Hugo Holbling added a post in a topic New Year's Resolutions   

    I am similarly cynical of resolutions, but last year I worked so many hours that this year I am determined to make more time to pursue other things. I am going to take up an evening class and book days off for research and writing up, plus spend more time at home. I did have a plan to stop getting up at 0500 to find space for exercise, but that already failed in week one.
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  18. The Heretic added a topic in Community   

    New Year's Resolutions
    I used to despise the idea of resolutions, for a variety of reasons: people were generally hypocritical or lacked the capacity of following through, making this practice a joke. So for the longest of time, my resolution was simply not to make any. Of course, if I followed that, I had a resolution of my own.
     
    But in recent years, I figured out a formula of overcoming the common problems others had with resolutions: keep the goal much more humble and immediate, but one that was repeatable, and intended to continue. Like finish drawing a page or two the next week. That eventually built self-discipline and by making that resolution a habit, I ended up with an activity with built-in momentum. 
    This year, my resolution is to redistribute my earnings to support up and coming artists that I already like. 
    What are yours? 
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  19. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Playoffs - Wildcard Weekend   

    You have highlighted the two key factors in this game: McCarron and Williams. If Williams cannot go or is not close enough to full speed, then the Bengals have a chance. If Williams plays, then Pittsburgh has a running game, and Pittsburgh wins. Looks like another one and done for Cincinnati, although this time it is rightly blamed on the injury to Dalton rather than on Dalton himself. Then again, if the Bengals win, that can be used to put additional blame on Dalton's past playoff failures.
     
    The combination of the o-line and the receiving corps gives the Packers very little reason for hope. A better group of receivers would have made the o-line play (look) better; alas, the facts is the facts, and Washington wins.
     
    It's hard to imagine how the Vikings even make this an interesting game. It will likely be much closer than was the previous meeting, but Seattle wins.
     
    Did you think that there would NOT be a contrarian pick? Why would you think such a thing? There always has to be at least one contrarian pick! Sure, the Texans running game is - at its best - mediocre. And the Texans QBs are - at best - less than mediocre. And, sure, sure, the Chiefs have an excellent defense. So, Houston wins why? Sheesh. Because this is a contrarian pick. Obviously.
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  20. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2016 NFL Playoffs - Wildcard Weekend
    Hopefully you all had a great New Year's holiday. I know I did, by hosting a party and inviting the elite of the elites. As for the NFL, I'm just happy there are no more Lame/Shame of the Weeks to waste time over.  
     
    Saturday
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans (+3.5)
    Two incredibly hot teams collide in Houston: Chiefs have won 10 in a row while the Texans have won 7 of their last 9, and have given up only 10 points per game during that period. They finished the season third in total defense, thanks to the incomparable DE J. J. Watt and DC Crennel. Basically this game will be a low scoring affair, so take the under no matter what. However, the Chiefs will exploit their decided advantage at QB and the Texans' lack of RB Foster. The Chiefs are the second most efficient team according to Football Outsiders' metric. For what it's worth, the Texans haven't had much success against top 10 defenses this season. Moreover, they've lost their left tackle Brown, and they're facing Justin Houston without their best pass blocker.  
    Kansas City by 3
     
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals (+3)
    The Steelers have had their way with the Bengals lately - beating them 4 out of their last 5 matchups. Worse yet, the Steelers have a vastly superior QB in Rothlisberger over playoff virgin AJ McCarron. While the Bengals have a decided advantage at almost every other position, the quarterback position might be the most important position, especially in the playoffs. The Steelers do have the most powerful passing attack in the league, besides the Cardinals, thanks to excellent pocket awareness and lethal speed and quickness at all four WR spots. If the Bengals force the Steelers into a one-dimensional offense, they can dictate the tempo and win the physical aspect of the game. Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams isn't likely to play after injuring his ankle last Sunday in Cleveland. After all, the Bengals aren't the only ones with a poor track record in the playoffs: the Steelers haven't won in the money season since 2011. But the advantages at key positions will be too much.   
    Pittsburgh by 4
     
    Sunday
    Seattle Seahawks @ Minnesota Vikings (+5.5)
    It'll be the Ice Bowl revisited, if the weather prognostication is correct. Yes, the Seahawks beat the Vikings 38-7 a few weeks ago. It's too hard to believe that the Vikings will have solved the Seahawks by now, even if they've picked up their play in the past month. QB Wilson has been on the hottest streak of his career over the last 7 games - hotter than any other QB over the past 30 years except Steve Young in 1994. Moreover, the Seahawks defense remains as stout as ever, finishing first in scoring defense for the fourth year in a row. However, the Rams have perfected the formula for beating the 'Hawks by taking the tempo away from them. They do have an excellent pass rush capable of exploiting the Seahawks' leaky offensive line, and the NFL rushing king in Peterson. But will that be enough against a veteran Super Bowl-caliber team?  
    Seattle by 7
     
    Green Bay Packers @ Washington Ethnic Slur (-1.5)
    The Packers have fallen ass-backwards into the playoffs, no thanks to a crappy offensive line and a shitty WR corps that can't get open. It is a miracle that QB Rodgers didn't end up in the ER unit after getting sacked 14 times in the last two weeks. His completion percentage and yards per attempt and passer rating are the worst of his career. The Ethnic Slurs actually do possess a solid pass rush, spearheaded by LB Kerrigan and DE Baker, which should exploit the Packers' godawful OL. Better yet, the Slurs' offense is clicking on all cylinders. They've won 5 of their last 6 games, thanks to a second-half awakening by QB Cousins. While the Slurs are new to the playoffs, their homefield advantage at FedEx Field will carry them through to the next round.  
    Washington by 6
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  21. Michael S. Pearl added a comment on a blog entry Victimology   

    While there would likely be some vicarious pleasure derived were the victimizer to suffer, that suffering would do nothing for your own long-term well-being. Having discovered that you have the strength to leave, the victimizer and the referenced fault-finders are to be regarded as anathema certainly for as long as they remain unregenerate. But do not dissipate your strength by seeking to contribute to the regeneration of those others or by bothering to justify yourself to them. Instead, be patient; be(come) more aware of your uniqueness, your unique qualities, and someone else will come to appreciate you for that uniqueness and will want to foster its furtherance for its and your own sake. You will have the same response for that someone else, but it will not be a calculated quid pro quo on either of your parts.
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  22. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic Creation of Life   

    First of all, you should write the story.
     
    As to what I know about the Santa Revelation and its timing, well, I don't know. It depends. It depends on the person to whom the revelation would be revealed. I was very young (no more than 5 or so) when a Santa Revelation was revealed to me. I don't know why it was revealed to me when it was revealed, but I remember being told that I should not - must not - reveal the Revelation to any others. I frankly have no idea whether the Revelation has been revealed to our 7, 9, 11, and 14 year old family members (I am certain that it has not been revealed to the 3, 4, and 5 year olds), but I expect that the 11 and the 14 year olds have been subjected to the Revelation. It's the 7 and 9 year olds who are most interesting in this regard. Since they think I'm younger than their parents, I kind of expect that they'd want to reveal to me any secret Revelation to which they've been subjected, but they haven't. Maybe they're worried that I couldn't handle the Santa Revelation -- being so young and all.
     
    Regardless, contrary to the namby-pamby worries too many adults have about Santa lies, in my experience youngsters who have had the Santa Revelation enjoy the fact that they have attained the status of being let in on the Revelation, and they also enjoy the fact that those who have not yet been subject to the Revelation can revel in the make-believe of their pre-Revelation living.
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  23. Peter added a post in a topic Richard Dawkins, asshole   

    It's Dawkins' accent that annoys me.
    I'm right with him in his insistence that genes rather than species or groups are the focus of natural selection. I agree that god is a delusion (where would we be without all our little delusions to keep us from going mad? I have many of my own, no doubt, but belief in god just happens not to be one of them). But really... how can you take seriously a man who speaks in such plummy oxonian tones?
    In the same vein, he was stupid enough to let some hack interview him and lure him into admitting he's a "cultural anglican" who "loves" choral evensong and church bells. Fair enough. But it's no more profound than knowing that Myrtle Gummidge from down the street likes the Apprentice and Strictly Come Dancing. Why should anyone care?
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  24. JaspertheHippie added a post in a topic Creation of Life   

    She's only just turned one so she has no idea who Santa even is!  
    I think the Santa revelation usually occurs when the kid is around 5? 
    But I'm not completely sure. 
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  25. Scotty added a post in a topic Creation of Life   

    Almost old enough to be saddened by the Santa Revelation?  Or is that much older?  When is that normally done?  2-3?  5-7?
    Michael would know, I am sure of it, time of best Santa Revelation.
    Maybe I should write a story, "The Santa Revelation" for those of us who don't know exactly how to tell kids the sad truth, Santa only drinks Coca Cola.
    -Scott
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