By Steve Eggleston

For afficionados of the NFL like me, it is the most wonderful time of the year. The NFL playoffs began earlier today with the Carolina Panthers beating the Arizona Cardinals on ESPN. That is noteworthy for three reasons.

First, for the 49th consecutive time, there will not be a true home team playing in the Super Bowl as Super Bowl XLIX will be held in the Cardinals’ home stadium, the University of Phoenix Stadium. The Los Angeles Rams came closest to playing a Super Bowl in their home stadium (Anaheim Stadium, now Angel Stadium of Anaheim), with Super Bowl XIV played in the Rose Bowl in nearby Pasadena.

Second, the game represented the second time in a non-strike-shortened season that a team with a losing record made the playoffs, with the NFC South champion Panthers (7-8-1) following the NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks (7-9) in 2010. Like the Seahawks, and unlike the Cleveland Browns (4-5) and Detroit Lions (4-5) in the strike-shortened 1982 season, which featured the 8 best teams in each 14-team conference in an expanded playoff format, the Panthers won. Unlike the NHL and NBA, where more than half the teams make the playoffs, I blame the presence of too many divisions for this.

Finally, that was the first NFL playoff game not broadcast nationally on over-the-air TV. The NFL finally joined the rest of professional sports in putting playoff games onto cable and satellite, though unlike the rest of the major sports, the fans in the signal ranges of Phoenix and Charlotte were able to watch the game on over-the-air TV. I’m wondering which league will be the second, after the NHL, to take the bulk of its championship series (or in the case of the NFL, the Super Bowl) off over-the-air TV.

As I type, the Baltimore Ravens (or as I still refer to them, the OldBrowns) are beating up on the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts and the Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys set to go tomorrow. My team, the Green Bay Packers, will be waiting for either the Cowboys or Panthers next weekend.

As a new year dawns and I get a year older it amazes me how much things have changed

I’ve been a gamer for over Thirty Five years  about the same length of time I’ve been a Doctor Who fan and like the time lord whose face has changed many times over that period the term “gamer”  has dramatically changed from my youth.

When I was young a gamer was somebody me or Instapundit who likely played Avalon Hill games like 1776, Diplomacy or perhaps the newly released Squad Leader that took the hobby by storm or was into one of the many Sports Simulation Games APBA or Strat-O-Matic.

As the years passed gaming included people playing role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons and other such role players with settings from Middle Earth, to the Old West to Space.

With the dawn of the home computer Geek Gamers were suddenly able to play things like Kingmaker & D & D Modules like Pool of Radiance.

But just as we geeks were thanks to the computer age entering Nerdvarna a funny thing happened with the explosion of the speed of the internet & PC, plus their spread to the general public suddenly gaming was redefined. It was no longer something simply for geeks like myself & my pals, suddenly not only was gaming mainstream with online games such as City of Heroes and Call of Duty playable of gaming system as well as PC’s.

And with Smartphones in the hands of everyone suddenly the majority of the people online playing games are no longer folks like me, they’re people like my wife who might be playing Pogo online or perhaps going to the apple store and buying apps like Slotomania because there is a bigger audience for slots or other electronic versions of casino games than geeks playing Munchkin.

To be sure there is still room for people like me who might sign on to stream to play Civilization 5 with the same gaming crew I once sat at a table with were we were in college and every now and then I managed to get free for a board game like Ra, Seven Wonders or some of the old Classics like 1830.

But when it comes down to it we have gone from being the main target for writers of aps.

That is until the dawn of true virtual reality games, then we’ll rule the roots again, at least for a little while until those gamemakers create a virtual reality Vegas Casino with a simulated Robert De Niro keeping us honest.

I would not be surprised to see that in my lifetime.


by baldilocks

Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt

In my new surroundings, I’ve had opportunity to make a new friend. Gary,* an Egyptian immigrant in his 40s, is a security guard in the area and is a Coptic Christian. When he discovered that I knew a little bit about the history of the Copts and their present-day persecution, he almost jumped for joy, as I was the first American he had met in his five years in the USA who knew anything about that church or what has been happening to them.

Gary’s English is very good, but as our conversations gets more complicated, it’s becomes more difficult for him, of course. Well, his English is certainly a heck of a lot better than my Arabic—his native language. (Gary stressed that Egyptians had their own language but were forced to learn Arabic in order to function in the country.)

When I asked how he was adapting to America, he said that he and his wife were having a hard time, but his children had adapted quickly, as these things usually go. For him, that was the main reason to leave: to protect his children—all girls.

At first, he mispronounced the word ‘rapist,’ using a short ‘a’ sound instead of a long one; I helped him out.

I had read about the extermination and “ethnic” cleansing of the Church in Egypt, Syria and Iraq—along with the destruction of church buildings which had stood for nearly 2000 years–but hearing about these things from the mouth of a man who had seen it for himself, filled me with shame about the spoiled Christians in this country. Forget about the feminists, who are grateful for nothing; we Christians have had it so good for so long, that I don’t think most of us can wrap our minds around the kinds of Enemy attacks which our brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing right this very second at the hands of the foot soldiers in the ascending New Caliphate.

In that spirit, I have begun to pray for the church that exists in Muslim-run countries and for Gary and his family specifically. Also I’m always ready to learn more about Church history and I hope you are, too.

I’m starting here.

*Not his real name; some minor details of his biography are changed.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.)

Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks

Yesterday we noted Insty’s point showing how the police showdown illustrates that a lot of policing is about generating revenue and wondered if this was an opening for the various protesters:

If someone of the anti-police left wanted to expand their base, they’d be arguing that all of this amounts to a TAX on individuals and ask:  “Do you support arbitrary Taxation?” and I say “arbitrary” because the slowdown illustrates that these fines can be waived and ignored at will.

In theory this would be an excellent line of attack.  It illustrates government overreach and I dare say quite a few libertarians would likely be nodding their heads in agreement if the point was pressed.  This has the potential to divide the now pro-cop public, who appreciate the danger the police face but like most people find low level enforcement of parking & traffic rules and the fines that come with it an annoyance.

However this is something the protesters will not do and in fact dare not do.

Not because it wouldn’t be an effective point, but because it would!

You see most big cities are run by the left, both at the top, and in the infrastructure of the bureaucracy.  Our protesting friends understand they and their allies are the people who benefit the most from the spending that is financed by these dollars and it’s a piece of those dollars that those leading the protests are actually after.

What would be the point of attracting a bunch of icky libertarians in their crusade against the police if it simply makes the point that government is too big and strongarming citizens when it’s those very strong arm tactics that are the bread and butter of the Sharpton’s of the world?  And if such a realization spreads among the public the result for the left would be disaster.

No much better to do without the libertarians an proceed to the inevitable endgame that will play out like so:

1.  The city will buy off the protesters with expensive programs that will coincidently employ & empower the friends and allies of the protest “leaders”.

2.  The protest leaders will announce that the city is “moving in the right direction and pull back their protests until the next such opportunity arises.

3.  The cities needing next to placate the police who they alienate, will offer major contract concessions and policies to help protect them so they are able to safely go back to writing tickets to help  finance all this new spending.

Of course the money for all of these changes is going to have to come from somewhere so watch the fines and taxes increase to pay for both.

Thus in the end the bureaucracy, the protesters and the police will all be satisfied.  Only the taxpayers and the mothers of the black youth who will continue to be gunned down in the cities will continue to pay the piper.


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