The Conspiracy Theorist’s Guide to the NFL Playoffs

(This is a work of fiction. I do not believe there is an NFL conspiracy. At least, I’m pretty sure there’s not.)

It’s Playoff time! And our favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks, are seeded um,  wait a second?! No Seahawks in the Playoffs? So in order to keep these playoffs interesting, I’m going to make some predictions based on the ludicrous idea that the NFL is scripted by screenwriters in New York.

first meeting online dating long distance Overarching themes for the playoffs:

  • The NFL need some new and exciting matchups. And one of those is going to be a new Belicheck vs Brady rivalry, with Belichick leaving for New York after a disastrous 2017 post-season. So this year, no Patriots in the Super Bowl.
  • There a couple of new cool young QB’s. They’ll lose in the first round.
  • There’s one team left that needs a new stadium and new ownership.
  • The NFC is going to win.

binäre optionen broker ranking Week 1:

  • https://dunkl.co.at/deposti/11254 Tennessee vs Kansas City: The NFL wants the young but not elite QB’s to do well enough to stay interesting. Mariotta fits that bill. He leads the Titans to victory over the coach that the NFL hates for some reason.
  • go to site Falcons vs Rams: Goff vs the NFC West is the storyline in the division for 2018 and beyond. But Matt Ryan’s revenge is more compelling this year. Falcons win, but the Rams are going to be poised and positioned to be the NFC favorite next year.
  • http://foodintravel.it/fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open%2520Sans%2525253A400%2525252C400italic%2525252C700%2525257CNiconne Buffalo vs Jacksonville: Buffalo tried to lose this season, and yet the NFL needed them to be a playoff contender so the rich guys in Toronto would want to adopt them. A playoff birth is really all this terrible team needed to get. Now the franchise is worth an extra $250mm dollars. Jacksonville wins.
  • see url Carolina vs New Orleans: The NFL is still annoyed at Cam Newton. Saints make him look silly and he has a meltdown in his press conference.

follow url Week 2:

  • what are binary options investopedia Tennessee vs New England: Here’s the dumb upset of the playoffs. It’s inexplicable but the necessary plot twist to cause the Belichick/Brady breakup. Tennessee wins.
  • http://melroth.com/?komp=trading&de4=56 Jacksonville vs Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh has some of the most exciting players in NFL. Plus, I’m pretty sure the Rooney and Mara families have a deal with the NFL where one of them makes the Super Bowl every 3 years. Jacksonville is 2018’s team, this year Pittsburgh wins.
  • get link Atlanta vs Philadelphia: There is something about seeing Philly fans of any sport be miserable. But they’ll be more miserable if they lose next week. Philly wins.
  • enter site New Orleans vs Minnesota: Best game of the playoffs. It goes down to the wire and New Orleans wins, because the NFL needs enough time to get Minnesota’s stadium ready for the Super Bowl.

un site de rencontre totalement gratuit Week 3:

  • Tennessee vs Pittsburgh: We can try to pretend this will be competitive, but Pittsburgh blows them out.
  • New Orleans vs Philadelphia: As we said before, it’s nice to see Philly fans miserable. And everyone in Pennsylvania would be hoping for an intra-state Super Bowl. So karma leans to the Saints.

Super Bowl

  • Pittsburgh vs New Orleans: Brees vs Roethlisberger. Ingram and Kamara vs Bell. Good WR’s on each squad. An exciting Super Bowl ends with the Saints getting screwed on a bad replay call, and the Steelers get the Super Bowl win.

Sounders Release 2018 Schedule

The Sounders 2018 schedule came out this morning. And it definitely has some interesting angles to it.

  1. The 1st round of the Concacaf Champions League matches are the week before the MLS season starts. So you can travel down to Santa Tecla, El Salvador on Feb 22 for Leg 1, or just wait until Thursday, March 1 for Leg 2 at home.
  2. MLS Opening Day is Sunday, March 4 vs the newest entry into the league, Los Angeles FC.
  3. After that, you have to wait 27 days for the next home match, a 3/31 7:00pm tilt vs Montreal.
  4. If you’re ready for more soccer, grab your patience pants. It’s 22 more days before you get to see Minnesota United come for a day game on Sunday 4/22. So if you are counting at home, that’s just 3 home games in the first (and rainiest) 9 weeks of the season. That seems like a good deal for us fans.
  5. Things don’t get too much busier in May. Dates on the 5th vs Columbus and the 26th vs RSL is all we get. So we enter June with just 5 home matches under our belt.
  6. That means things start to get busy in June. 6/9 vs DC United, 6/23 vs Chicago and then the big one. 6/30 vs Portland.
  7. After a 3 week break, we really get into the meat of the home schedule in late July and August. Hope you didn’t have vacation plans.  7/21 vs Vancouver, 7/29 vs NYCFC, 8/12 vs Dallas, 8/18 vs Sigi and the Galaxy, 9/1 vs Sporting KC.  That’s 5 home games in 7 weeks.
  8. As the kids head back to school, we close the season on a pretty regular cadence of home and away matches. 9/19 vs Philly, 9/29 vs Colorado, 10/6 vs Houston and the finale 10/28 vs San Jose.

That’s 17 MLS home matches and one Concacaf match, with 14 of them coming in May – October. There will be more Concacaf matches, likely against a Mexican League squad, if they progress past El Salvador.  So I suspect no friendlies will be officially scheduled until we see what happens in the Champions League.

If you’re looking for good excuses to get out of Seattle, a couple of away matches stand out: Sunday 4/29 in LA is a good time to escape the rain. July 4 in Colorado could be a lot of fun.  And July 15 in Atlanta would be a fun excuse to see their new stadium, especially since it’s indoors.

Happy 2018. Go Sounders.

10 Things To Do On New Year’s Day

The New Year is upon us. For many people, New Year’s Eve means staying up past our normal bedtimes, drinking champagne past a reasonable hour, and awaking the next morning thinking that the year can only improve from there.

But the good news is that you have the day off from work. You could turn on Netflix, find a show, and spend the next 10-15 hours between your couch and kitchen. But you could also be a little productive with your spare time and dead brain. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Take a walk around the block: Yeah it’s going to be cold. Probably rainy. One walk around the block will get your blood moving and lungs working. Plus it will get your brain going again – not much, but just enough to accomplish the rest of the stuff on the list.
  2. Remember your successes from 2017: It’s easy to get hung up on what you want to do better in 2018. Be in better shape, lose weight, make more money, etc… But you did some things really well in 2017. You did some things other people admire. Remember those wins.
  3. Backup all your photos: Oh some of you are really good at doing this on the fly. But the rest of you have hundreds of photos on your phone that you haven’t put in a safe place for awhile. Sure, I know they all get uploaded to the cloud, but why not save yourself the heartache of wondering if Apple is hack-proof? Just get all your photos on a backup hard drive. It takes very little effort.
  4. Clean up your phone: While you’re backing up your photos, why not take a spin through the 346 apps on your phone and clean some out. That new cool app you read about on FastCompany or Geekwire probably isn’t even in business anymore. Take an hour and wipe out the clutter.
  5. Read your LinkedIn profile: Remember that profile you updated the last time you needed a job, or got a new one? Yeah, the world has changed since then. Probably a good time to go in and make sure your professional internet presence reflects who you really are.
  6. Call some old friends: Hey guess what your friends are doing on Jan 1. Lying on the couch! Give them a call.
  7. Put all your gift cards in a stack by the front door: Maybe you aren’t like me, but I often receive gift cards that I never remember getting, then have them scattered around the house, so I forget to use them. I like to find them all and put them in one place next to my keys, so I can’t miss them when I’m leaving the house.
  8. Cook something delicious: Are you hungry now? Debating the prospects of leftovers vs a pizza? The internet makes it easy to find recipes. You can type in something like, “Easy things to cook on New Year’s” and I bet you’ll get a variety of chili and crockpot recipes that are awesome. Spend 20 minutes off the couch, go to the grocery store in your sweats and baseball hat, and then slow cook something that makes you seem like a culinary genius.
  9. Clean up your bookmarks: You have 100 articles stores somewhere that you meant to read at some point during the year. Either read it or delete it or both. Get a fresh palette of reading material.
  10. Write down the gifts you wanted and didn’t get this year: In a few months people will ask what you want for your birthday. And you won’t know. But if you have a list of “Xmas Didn’t Gets” in Evernote or GoogleDocs or whatever, you can just email it to them.

Happy New Year everyone. Whatever you do on your own New Year’s Day, I hope it leads to a prosperous and happy campaign.

5 tips for a Non-Nutritionist’s Plan for Losing Weight

It’s almost time for New Year’s resolutions. And thanks to our 6-12 holiday parties, we’re all at our maximum weights and feel like sloths crossing a 10 lane highway.

You can read all the web sites you want, and pay to subscribe to all the diet programs that claim they  work. But you really need is advice from someone like you, not some egg head marathon runner. So here’s what I’m attempting in 2018.

  1. When you can’t go to the gym, just walk: Here’s the easiest thing we can do. If you are going to to grocery, mall, whatever… just park far away. That’s an extra 300 yards each way that is moderately useful. Will it drive weight loss? No. But it gets you to understand that walking is good.
  2. 100 pushups are awesome. 10 pushups are better than 0 pushups: You don’t feel like going to the gym. Me either. So we’re watching TV instead. But the commercials suck, so why not roll off the couch and do 5-10 pushups. Is doing pushups really worse than watching that lame iPhone commercial again?
  3. Stop with the sodas: If you buy some ginger, lemons, limes, cucumbers, and oranges, along with a decent citrus squeezer, you really never have to buy a sugary soda again. Choose your fruits and spices and make your own flavored waters.
  4. Research some recipes: I’m not going to tell you what you should eat. But I think we can agree that any restaurant that is making the most amount of money serving affordable food to as many people as possible, is probably cutting a corner somewhere in the nutrition department. The internet is your friend. Look for the things you love to eat, and make them yourself.
  5. Air Fryers work: I love chicken wings. They’re calorie hell if cooked in oil. But an air fryer cuts out 80% of the calories. Give it a shot.

5 Simple Copywriting Rules for Non-Writers

In my career, I’ve learned there are two types of people in the business world – those who hate writing, and crazy people. Since I spend a significant amount of time writing for companies, I guess I fall in the latter category.

I love to analyze the differing styles of writers, and the ways they work with their words in order to make a good story great. It’s essentially my version of competitive research. I especially enjoy reading articles from writers who can engage readers without clickbait headlines such as, “5 Simple Copywriting Rules for Non-Writers.”

So this seems like a good time to share a few tips aimed at those of you who hate writing, but can’t escape doing it.

  1. You have three seconds to earn a reader’s attention so they’ll read for 30 more: If you have never had to write a sentence for a living, you probably didn’t even bother to click on the title of this article in your feed. That’s fine. You’re not my audience. But if you clicked on this link, I had about 30 seconds in the first three paragraphs to hook you into the meat of the story. If you’ve gotten down here to the bullets, I estimate I now have earned about three more minutes of your time. I’ll try to make it worth it.
  2. Never use an Exclamation Point: Exclamation Points are the lazy writer’s way to show importance about something. If you can’t make a sentence interesting enough to stand on its own, rewrite the sentence. When you are talking to someone in a meeting, do you suddenly shout at them? Of course not. No exclamation points. Ever. Got it? If you have to change the way you type to make sure “Shift-1” is harder to reach, you should do so.
  3. There is no such thing as, “very unique”: “Unique” is defined as, “Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.” When something is “one of a kind,” it can’t be “very one of a kind.” Don’t exaggerate for exaggeration’s sake.
  4. There’s a difference between who and that: There are many times when a person who ((not that)) has a lot of subject matter expertise, can present information on a blog that ((not who)) has readers who ((not that)) will benefit from it. Understand that “who” is for people and “that” is for things.
  5. Never use the same word twice in a sentence: This is a tough one for many companies, especially those that have precious few adjectives to describe their product’s features and benefits. Just be conscious that when you are producing content for your web properties, you should be able to write the content in a way that the content doesn’t require the same word multiple times.

Writing can be a difficult game, but you should never fear it. A bad writer with great ideas is still more interesting to read than someone who is grammatically correct in their description of paint drying.

Was this useful? Kind of useful? Useless? I’d love to hear your own writing tips and tricks, as well as any grammar and punctuation rules that I’ve violated in this article.

So Where Should Amazon Build HQ2?

Amazon has outgrown Seattle. It’s the kind of thing that happens when you build your company in a downtown core, rather than take over some unused farmland in a far flung suburb like Redmond. So now it’s time to find HQ2. Where should they go?

There’s no doubt that every city from Anchorage to Yuma will make a bid. But if I worked at Amazon, with a chance to be transferred at any moment, here are my top 5 picks.

  1. Raleigh, NC: The Carolinas are fantastic. Since most Washingtonians haven’t made it that far southeast, you might not know this. But Raleigh is especially comparable to the Pacific Northwest. In fact with Raleigh you get a more educated population, more universities, and closer access to a warm beach. You’d give up Uber access to an NFL or MLB team, and day trip access to Double Diamond ski runs. But you coud still get a Daisy run in if you need it. Plus you could buy a 5,000 square foot house for a year or two of salary.
  2. Pittsburgh, PA: If a company is interested in AI, cozying up to Carnegie Mellon would be a pretty good way to do so. It would have plenty of opportunity to build a downtown campus, and still be close to New York and Washington D.C. As an employee, if you can deal with a Seattle winter, you could probably deal with Western Pennsylvania.
  3. Nashville, TN: Far enough east to give you access to New York, Boston, etc… and far enough north to keep you safe from hurricanes. Several great universities in driving distance, so there is a huge talent base to draw from. Plus, it’s great a place for distribution. Didn’t FedEx make its HQ in Memphis?
  4. Charleston, SC:  Full disclosure, I have an affinity for Charleston. I think it’s the most underrated place to live in the country. You are giving up major league sports for friendly southern living. But you’d have Clemson, USC, and College of Charleston all in spitting distance. Oh, and if you are a current Amazon employee, its another place where your mortgage payment for a monster 5 bedroom estate would be the same price you now pay for your 800 sq ft apartment in Seattle.
  5. Detroit, MI: Detroit? Detroit?! Who wants to live in Detroit? Well several decades ago, the auto industry decided it was a good place to dominate an economy. So why can’t Amazon repeat that? Easy access to New York, Chicago and Canada. REALLY REALLY cheap downtown real estate. Employees could buy McMansions for nothing. Heck, Amazon could buy entire neighborhoods, develop them and sell them to employees. Plenty of professional and collegiate sports teams to support. And you could always escape the Midwest winter with a quick trip to Florida.

Your thoughts? If you were a current Amazonian, where would you be ok being transferred to?

* Image used without previous permission from https://www.designboom.com/architecture/seattle-approves-amazons-biosphere-headquarters-by-nbbj-10-25-2013/

Mariners Trading Deadline Moves Indicate Strong Push for 2018

It’s no secret that the last time the Mariners made the post-season was 2001. And so with the team within striking distance of the playoffs this year, an impatient management team could go all-in with a pair of 6’s and hope for the best. Thankfully, this team held onto its chips and is preparing for the next hand.

Bad luck happens. Who knows where the team would be with a healthy Smyly and Iwakuma all year? Give them +4 wins with those guys and the standings look different. But that’s baseball.

Sure, they may still make an unexpected run in September this year and make the Wild Card. In which case they’d have to fly to New York or Boston and win a one game series against Sonny Gray or David Price. And their reward for winning that would be a five game series with Houston.

I think the Mariners made the right moves by not betting the farm – literally. You have to figure the team has at best about a 20-25% chance to make the Wild Card, a 35-40% chance of winning the Wild Card game, and a 30-35% chance of beating the Astros. Multiply those out and it gives you about a 3.5% chance of making it to the ALCS. That isn’t worth mortgaging the future.

This year the problem was that they made it to the trading deadline, wanted to bring in some added help, and didn’t have much to give in return. So the team did the next best thing. If they couldn’t get people to help in 2017, they went and got a few players they could use at the 2018 deadline.

When we get to July 31, 2018, hopefully the Mariners will be within striking distance for the AL West. Let’s assume the team can pick up a piece or two via free agency this off-season to add to a solid core (Segura, Cano, Cruz and Seager,) a good young outfield, some quality starting pitchers and a lights-out bullpen. Then with a depth of starting pitching acquired at this year’s deadline, and an improved farm system, they’ll have the trading pieces they need for some key late season acquisitions.

Whether or not they make an unexpected run this year, the table is set for 2018 and beyond. And that’s a good thing.

What I Learned – Playing Putt-Putt with Chad Marshall

(This post is part of the continuing series called, “What I Learned.” In this series, I keep track of things that sparked my brain during different events and experiences.)

I’ve long said that the Seattle Sounders do more smart things for their fans and supporters than any team I’ve ever run across. Last week, they held a small event, hosting a pub night at a local bar near the stadium. The bar features a 9 hole indoor putt-pitt course, and as luck would have it, I got to play mini-golf with Sounders CB Chad Marshall and LM Aaron Kovar.

Both guys were great. Marshall was drinking a beer, and talking about golf and his 2 year old kid. Kovar is a friendly kid who looks like a guy you’d sit next to on a bus, going to his job at Amazon.
Of course, I didn’t think of anything really good to ask them until I was already home, but I did learn one thing. We talked a little about language barriers and how the team deals with that in training. Marshall admitted it’s a real problem for teams. Each team has interpreters on staff to translate what the coaches are saying in terms of strategy and game plans. But on the field for example, some players only speak Spanish, one only speaks French, and some – including the Goalkeeper – only speak English. So when a team is defending free kicks, basically the only words they can say to each other are “left, right, and back.”
My takeaway – whenever you see a goal scored from a free kick, especially if someone lost their mark, there was probably some sort of miscommunication between guys who speak different languages. I can only imagine what it must be like in Eurpoean leagues.

What I Learned – Chris Isaak at Chateau Ste Michelle

(This post is part of the “What I Learned” Series, in which I share things I picked up during different events and experiences.)

It seems like Chris Isaak has been around since I first learned to turn on a radio. He has a song that any casual music fan would recognize no matter where it was playing, a few that casual music fans would recognize. But if you are like me, you’d be hard-pressed to name 5 Chris Isaak songs if your life depended on it.

Chris Isaak also plays at Chateau Ste Michelle every year. It’s a beautiful place to see a show, but what could get 5,000 people to plunk down $50 every year for the same show, to see a show they’ve probably seen before?

Isaak split up his show by engaging in long conversations with his audience. He comes out in crazy sequins on his coat. He introduces his bandmates, sharing how they’ve been together for 32 years. He tells stories that seem like they are coming off the cuff, not some sort of pre-rehearsed monologue. By starting the show with an attitude of, “Let’s all have a good time together tonight,” he forms a bond with both the entire audience, and the each individual member of it.

Now I suspect that you have to do this if you are going to spend the better part of 32 years playing in front of crowds. You’d probably go crazy if you just trotted out on stage, played your songs, and then headed to the bus for the next city. But his interaction seems genuine, and in return he gets fans to return every year.

What I learned – The keys here are engagement, authenticity, and consistency. Isaak is a 32 year old brand that doesn’t have a ton of new products to offer up from year to year. But by making a true connection with the audience, and giving them a a personal experience, they are active customers. Plus, by distributing his product in the right venue every year, Chateau Ste Michelle, he gives his customers a way to consume the product that adds to the experience. Customers know exactly where to look for the date he’ll be coming to town. He’s not jumping from place to place and making customers do the hard work.

The result – a guy who has a few songs you’ve heard any more that you may not have, delivers a great show that leaves you satisfied and happy.

Some Fun Trivia to Celebrate Mariners Opening Day

It’s the home opener of our favorite hometown 9, the Seattle Mariners. So let’s take a nostalgic trip down memory lane and review some stats and trivia since the day the Mariners were bounced from the last playoff game in which they participated, October 22, 2001.

Things that did not exist the last time the Mariners were in the playoffs:

  • Xbox (launched 11/15/01), Century Link Field (2002), Facebook, Instagram, iPhone, Amazon Web Services, Seattle Sounders, Oklahoma City Thunder, Tesla, Uber, Snapchat, Link Light Rail.

Notable stats from October 2001:

  • U.S. President: George W Bush
  • 2001 U.S. House of Representatives: Democrats 213, Republicans 220
  • 2001 U.S. Senate: Democrats 50, Republicans 49, Independent 1
  • 2001 Seattle Mayor: Paul Schell through November, then Greg Nickels elected
  • 2001 Washington Governor: Gary Locke
  • 2002 Oscars (for movies produced in 2001):  Best Picture: A Beautiful Mind | Best Actor: Denzel Washington (Training Day) | Best Actress: Halle Berry (Monsters Ball)
  • Top 10 TV shows, 2001-2002 season: Friends, CSI, ER, Everybody Loves Raymond, Law & Order, Survivor, Monday Night Football, The West Wing, Will & Grace, Leap of Faith
  • 2002 Grammy Awards (for songs produced in 2001):  Song of the year: Fallin, by Alicia Keys | Record of the year: Walk On, by U2 | Album of the year: O Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack
  • 10 Richest People in the World: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Karl and Theo Albrecht, Paul Allen, Larry Ellis, 5 heirs to Sam Walton – Jim, John, Alice, S Robson, Helen

Sports Champions since the day the Mariners lost in 2001:

  • World Series winners: Arizona, Anaheim, Florida, Boston (3),  Chicago White Sox, St. Louis (2), Philadelphia, New York Yankees, San Francisco (3), Kansas City, Chicago Cubs.
  • Super Bowl winners: New England (5), Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh (2), Indianapolis, New York Giants (2), New Orleans, Green Bay, Baltimore, Seattle (YAY!), Denver
  • NBA Champions: Who cares, the league ceased existing to me in 2008.

Statistical Points of Interest:

  • Seattle Population:  2001 – 570k | 2013 – 652k
  • Cost of Super Bowl Ad: 2001 – $2.2 million  | 2017 –  $5.0 million
  • Internet Advertising Revenue: 2001 – $7.2 Billion | 2015 – $59.6 Billion