Saturday assorted links


#4 For ethnic restaurants: the worse the parking situation, the better the food.

1. "Football is such a great game, it teaches great lessons to young men."

What are those lessons and are they exclusive to football?

Alternative theory: there are too many commercial breaks. The opportunity cost of watching game is now too high.

I think that the brain is the main reason far fewer kids play, but as far as viewership, it's not commercials: It's a game right in the middle of the culture wars. You have conservatives complaining that letting players (who are often black) say that black lives matter is offensive to them. On the other end, we see the league's response to Kaepernick, who would be starting somewhere if he wasn't a social activist, also turns liberals, and black people in general, off the game. Add to that the NFL destroying three fanbases to move the teams to LA and Vegas, and the fact that kids today seem happier watching people play e-sports than real sports, and the NFL doesn't have all that much wind going in its direction. If anything, I am surprised that they aren't doing even worse.

If you're a fan of the game itself, of the magic of these superior athletes competing according to a set of rules that gives them an opportunity to display that athleticism in an exciting format, why would you care about things aren't actually part of that game? On the other hand, if you consider football to be an entertainment spectacle, you might be offended by getting just a few minutes of competition sandwiched between hours of advertising; off-the-field shenanigans by athletes well aware of their standing, similar to movie stars and ownership that blackmails communities into financing their giant television studios at public expense.

The trend isn't all bad. Hudson, WI plans on building a new high school but the school building itself, meant for 3500 students, had to wait until the new football field was completed:

Agreed, brain injury will kill this sport in the long run. It will go the way of boxing. It won't happen today or tomorrow, but it will happen. A critical event will be when insurance becomes too high for high school football. That will cut off the supply of new players.

Soccer may be facing a similar fate, not worldwide but in this country. As evidence accumulates that non-concussive head checks of the ball cause brain injury -- an essential feature of soccer play -- we may see high school soccer go away.

Basketball is the sport of the future. Very important is you can play it indoors on a relatively small court. In some place with high real estate prices like San Francisco or Manhattan, it would be hard to justify a field for baseball, football, or soccer. But a basketball court is easy, and it can be used for other school activities. In some place like Beijing or Shanghai, you can air condition a basketball court during the days when it's unhealthful to be outside.

I'd say that basketball is the sport of the present -- from the point of view of just playing it that is. Obviously in commercial terms NFL and college football are still bigger deals than the NBA and college basketball. But for sheer player participation and arguably cultural interest, I think for the reasons that you mention, basketball is already here and not just the sport of the future.

That still leaves a bit of a gap though as football declines: who's going to be using those fields? Soccer and lacrosse are both growing but you correctly point out that soccer has concussion issues of its own and I'm guessing that lacrosse does as well.

So keep an eye on Ultimate frisbee. It does require a field, so it requires more space than basketball does, or even street soccer. But if those football fields are going to see fewer football teams using them, Ultimate is the ahem ultimate in low cost sport: pretty much all you need is $10 for a disc (Wham-O has trademarked the name "frisbee" and serious Ultimate players use discs made by Discraft, not Wham-O). If you want to get fancy you can pay $40-$120 for a pair of cleats to wear, and $8 for cones to mark the field.

Ultimate players do get injured but concussions are rare. Plenty of action and aerobic activity for everyone, none of the idle standing around that even soccer players do when the action is away from their area. No need for even a soccer goal or a basket, just use those $8 cones or just shoes and water bottles to mark the field.

No need even for referees, one of the fundamental rules of Ultimate is what's called the Spirit of the Game: players make their own calls, like the old days of tennis and golf.

The sport has been growing steadily especially at the youth levels. There are divisions for mens teams, womens teams -- and mixed teams, i.e. coed. There's even a semi-professional league, but I think professionalizing and commercializing Ultimate is going in precisely the wrong direction, re-creating the wrongs of professional sports (including big-time college sports).

I think you have to look at NFL + college football. College football is a huge deal in many Southern and Midwestern states that have no professional sports teams of their own and it is not going away quietly. And the Super Bowl remains a major cultural event.

For boxing, keep in mind the growing popularity of MMA. Floyd Mayweather came out of retirement to fight a UFC megastar and the revenues from that event are estimated at $700 million. Combat sports are still big.

There is nothing essential about headers to soccer. They could easily allow punching of the ball with a closed fist and the game would stiil work pretty much the same. It would probably be better.

@ (the excellent) Mark Thorson- but in soccer at least one player used to wear a helmet (for heading the ball) and so I don't see 'futball' going the way of football. But NFL football could become like Aussie rugby, from the article: "You really think the NFL is worried about young athletes? If so, they'd have changed the rules years ago, abandoning face masks, enlarging the ball to make it difficult to throw, switching to one platoon football."

Kaepernick would not be starting anywhere. Why add drama to a team with so little in return. People I've talked to (I had NFL ticket until 2 years ago), both liberal and conservative, are tired of the politicization of football. We go to the game to get away from all the crap we have to listen to throughout the week. ESPN is losing viewership as well because of their turn to SJW reporting.

Much as I usually respect your comments, you are wrong here about Colin Kaepernick. 1) He will simply cost a team too much. Not in media controversy but in cold, hard cash. 2) Very few teams need a starting QB and very few need him to serve as a backup. 3) His skill set is ideal for how many teams exactly? 2? 3? 4) His reads are terrible at worst and average at best and defences are wise to his (and RG3's) running. The closest to CK is Russell Wilson who is far superior as a "reader" of defences and his passing is slightly better (and he's a superior competitor).

You're a troublemaker, Chuck. You know that, don't you?

Lessons makes it sound like concious teachings like you get from a classroom. What you get from football is experience of group coordinated physical effort and struggle that leads to intuition about teamwork and playing a part in a team under stress.

Other team sports provide this to an extent, but some (such as soccer) not very much. Rugby union and league, Australian football, Gaelic football, and icehockey all appear reasonable good from this point of view. They all have a fairly high proportion of the game in which signifacant urgency and combined physical effort is required. Other sports may be good too, but I don't know much about them

Soccer is low scoring and randomness plays such a large part in the outcome of games that it teaches little. I always found it easy to slack off during games, and playing hard often brought little benefit.

Football has been here before, much more dire straights in fact. 110 years ago California switched to rugby because american football was too violent. A lot of universities abandoned football. The president at the time encouraged rule changes and the game fixed itself.

It always takes a while to change because the administrators are insiders who like the sport as it is, but if it proves necessary to change, it will change.

No real soccer player ever slacks off - if he is not involved in a particular play he should be trying to make sure he is being actively marked by an opposing player so that the opposing player can't be involved in supporting the play. Soccer is a highly tactical game as well as a game of personal skill, and every player (bar perhaps the goalie) needs to be actively involved in implementing the tactic.

We're talking about kids learning things not professional players.

Soccer is no more tactical than any other type of football. You can't seriously consider it to be more tactical than American football.

#2 - I always thought they should do this with more bugs. Tse tse flies, mosquitos, etc.

Related techniques have been done to control the population of disease-carrying mosquitos for a long time now.

Is the NFL abandoning the middle class?

Aside from TV ratings, a possible indicator of the NFL's decline would be when the gambling declines.

It's not that the NFL on TV is so great. It's that the alternatives are horrid. I mean, would you rather rake the leaves; eat Sunday dinner at the in-laws; or watch a bunch of oversized Obama-worshiping millionaires run into each other for three hours?

Rake the leaves.

LOL is that what you do while your wife is inside banging some black dude? LOL

We know you delete priors nonsense.

Do your TAs completely disrespect you or are they trying to make a point?

Read a book. Watch golf. Horizontal recreation. Those are our usual Sunday activities.

Looooolllll you cuck you're not engaging in anything but watching cuck porn.

I'm surprised this cretin even gets the "i" and the "e" order correct when he writes cuckmeister.

"oversized Obama-worshiping millionaires".

That is what I think you call a tell.

Honestly, so most of the dorks here don't like football. Fine. It is brutal and people who play in the NFL sacrifice themselves in ways that other athletes simply don't (apart from boxers.)

What is going on out there 16 weeks a year is some of the most extraordinary combination of athleticism and toughness human beings have ever been presented with as sport. Size, speed, agility, power, blocking, tackling, throwing, catching. And the hitting. Always hitting. Controlled mayhem. And the players pay a huge price for the entertainment. And they largely understand this:

Yet football is déclassé, and sophisticated fans prefer watching 20 guys run around for an hour kicking a ball or 10 guys running up and down hardwood making baskets ad nauseum, while looking down their nose at millionaires who "run into each other for three hours." Whatever.

2. If it were possible to measure the amount that anti-GMO activists contribute to the US economy each year, how would that compare to 5 billion dollars of cabbages?

The more prominent anti-biotech groups (especially Andrew Kimbrell's "Center for Food Safety") explicitly oppose industrial civilization per se, so I think they're quite proud of their net-negative impact on the economy.

Rugby: that`s the game you should be looking at ... you need really good skills for playing it and it's a sport full a values ... much but much better than football ... by far

Not better than real football, that is called the gentlemen's sport.

#1: is any class abandoning football? You can't tell from reading the article because there's all of one anecdote about a suburb of Chicago followed by some moralizing and self congratulations.

Viewership is definitely down.

Is that viewership being measured by conventional TV statistics? TV ratings are down in almost all genres, but that's partly because people are watching without using television sets.

Still, it's easy enough to believe that we have seen peak football.

But probably a better measure is the one that I think the article mentioned: what's the dollar value of betting in football, compared to past years?

For the NFL. College football viewership is up, I believe. Besides, part of that could be driven by a perceived decline in the quality of the product on the field. Higher roster turnover, more of a stratified salary cap structure, etc.

Actually, it's not. Viewership was down for the first two months last season and rebounded after the election. Now, if ratings are down again tomorrow, there might be a problem

#4, lots of great ethnic restaurants have menus with photos and are often very long

#3 There's a Hayek version in the trending section. Interesting considering Prof Cowen's "Austro-Chinese" Theory. How have those predictions of inevitable bust in "over-indebted" China held up? What does this tell us about M2 Targeting?

Not just Keynes and Hayek. There is Philip Fisher, Benjamin Graham, Jack Welch, Peter Drucker, George Soros, Warren Buffet, Charlie Munger, and Joseph Stalin (though he is a straight painting).

Note that most of these are in the "HOME mascot" section next to religious icons and luck statuary.

#5 I enjoy Quillette's takedowns of The Economist's cynical sophistry (e.g. the email Larry Page should have written to Damore). The first subscription I ever purchased with money I'd earned was to The Economist and I renewed it for nearly 20 years. But when it became clear that the once great publication was like so many others a victim of the Body Snatchers and now selling a narrative instead of insightful analysis I regretfully let the subscription lapse. The good news is that reasoned thinking and excellent writing has found new homes. The bad news is that the Body Snatchers have now recognized Quillette:

We give Tyler grief about his shameless and over the top virtue signaling but deep down hope (since he has our email addys) that it's just part of his disguise. At least he doesn't look much like Donald Sutherland.

"since he has our email addys"

Why do you put your real email address on a webform you moron?

He has our email addresses, but we have his real address. Who do you think is going to win this war?

My experience exactly, so I second that about the economist and add the wall street journal, both have become second tier rags and I'm about to cancel both. Thought I was the only one who felt that way.

Yeah, the Larry Page email piece brought things to a new low. It sounded like a drunken rant, with no self awareness or professionalism.

RIP the Economist, a once great intellectual publication

You guys are such cucks the Economist was always a cuck magazine.

4: "Pictures of the food are helpful, but correlate very badly with restaurant quality, which is unfortunate. Huge negative ... Treys are a remarkably bad sign."

Those might be good pieces of advice in NYC or even in general, but the author needs to try the rotisserie chicken at Zankou Chicken in Los Angeles, the best fast food I've had in the USA. They have pictures and trays (I'm assuming the author means "trays" not "treys") but are extremely fast, extremely cheap, and very good. That's a triple combination that's almost impossible to get ... anywhere, not just in restaurants.

In his follow-up article about pizza:

he cites Sbarro as one of the few chains that does a semi-okay job with pizza -- but don't they have picture and trays too? Hmm, this photo definitely shows pictures though perhaps not trays, goths extra.

One of the commenters to the pizza article asks about Ken Forkish's pizza; Ken's Artisan Pizza is one of the highly touted places in Portland OR but I find it highly over-rated. Went there once, would only go back if I wanted to truly confirm that there could be such a huge gulf between the place's reputation and my empirical experience. Maybe the commenter is from Portland ... or does Ken Forkish now have a more-than-local reputation? His other stuff -- bakery, and I think he has one or two other restaurants -- may be quite good for all I know, I've only tried his pizza.

The author of the pizza article also mentions having lived in Renton. Pretty much a dump of a town but superficially it may seem like a notable place: almost every article about the Seattle Seahawks will have a Renton byline because their practice facility and offices are there. And every 737 that you've ever flown on was assembled in Renton. And if you've ever played Dungeons and Dragons or Magic the Gathering, Wizards of the Coast is in Renton. That third one is the evidently the reason the author lived there. Pretty much anyone mentioning Renton is mentioning it for one of those three reasons, aside from George Stigler being born there it's a very nowhere town.

You're unlikely to eat a good pizza in any town with less than a 200 man police force.

That might work. I was wondering about New Haven (I don't find it as noteworthy as its partisans do but yeah there's pretty good pizza there) and according to wikipedia, New Haven's police department has 452 officers, so it's safely above the Thin Blue Line for pizza.

So I can't think of any counter-examples.

Once I was at a small beach town fairly late and the motel manager suggested a local pizza place for their good salads and because they stayed open late. The salad was indeed pretty good, extremely fresh ingredients.

And meh pizza. Even without being aware of the 200 policemen rule, I think we instinctively expect that in a small town we should order something other than pizza.

I probably wouldn't have guessed that 200 is the dividing line but I certainly do not have any evidence to contradict that number.

Old Forge, PA: not pleased.

Golden, CO.

4. A crowded front door to a restaurant assures people that it's a good restaurant. Or not. Crowds bring more crowds. It's not a well-kept secret that restaurants create crowds by limiting the seating, even closing part of the restaurant if necessary to create the crowd that brings more crowds.

Indeed, didn't Tyler recently post a MIE article about customers for rent? The restaurant or nightclub could even choose what sort of look or fashion or subculture of people to hire. I'm too lazy to look it up, IIRC female customers cost more than males.

Just to expand the point, how many "good" restaurants fail when they expand?


One certainly can't tell from this article anything regarding football, but there are a number of issues that will probably, in time, reduce football to a shadow of its current power and popularity.

In the short term, their meddling in the culture wars cannot end well. They encouraged Kaepernick's protest, then saw that the fans hated it, had to find a way back around and eventually just didn't sign him, which enraged the other side of the culture war. Now they have the worst of all worlds, Kaepernick unsigned and a pile of other players still running his protest. They'd have done better to pick a side and stick to it, but that's not how corporations tend to work. It could be bad, but this alone won't kill football. It probably pushes some die-hard fans toward college ball, and some marginal fans to stop watching entirely.

In the medium term, lawsuits and insurance will slowly raise the cost of producing pro football.

In the long term, parents and schools will probably eliminate the sport, which will begin the long, slow decline.

Football isn't dying. Most people just have to watch football not play it.

People said baseball was dying in the '90s. It's still here.

The NFL will still be big in 2050. Otherwise, how we watch our cities fight?


Ha! Hahaha! Had you going there, didn't I? Oh, man. That was great! I crack me up.

Baseball may still "be here" but I see an awful lot of empty seats in those stadiums.


From the article:

"...universities have abdicated their mission of preserving and transmitting the cultural capital of western civilization. The elite schools in America seem more invested in being finishing schools for the wealthy..."

Far more players leave politics brain-dead than leave football brain-dead. That is, politics destroys your ability to think rationally and morally far more often than football.

How many people enter politics brain dead. It's the only avenue available to rise above their own mediocrity. As exhibit A I offer Bill DeBlasio (not that there aren't many, many others.

College football taking market share, esp now that there are actual playoffs
ESPN is annoying
Too many ads
Too many bad calls by the refs
Patriots fatigue (Yay)
NFL Game pass (counted in the stats or not?)

Game pass is great. NFL is one of the only things worth watching on TV and certainly the only thing watching live and paying for unless you are concerned about Game of Thrones spoilers.

Rugby Sevens is a great alternative which may eventually gain an audience in the US. It's not terrible, boring, and anti American the way I would like to think soccer is.

Somebody run a regression please

OK, badly formatted...

Also, NFL players seem to be unable to stop beating up their girlfriends

You haven't met the girlfriends.

Dumb hos should know their place.

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