Saturday, July 25, 2020

Seattle Kraken

"Some say we know more about the cosmos than we do our own waters. Maybe that's what draws us to the sea—the vast expanse, the impermeable deep. The uncharted has long inspired generations of folklore.

In Seattle, we welcome voyagers. Our port city brings legends from all over the world. We cross boundless oceans and dense wilderness, finding our beasts along the way. These legends are home to this rugged coastal wonderland with a name etched on Lord Stanley.

Now, we breathe new life into a legend. An ancient and powerful force reawakens in the heart of the great Pacific Northwest. We will wear the 'S' in honor of our champion predecessors, and we will have a name that incarnates the might of the sea.

Our maritime city with a proud history of adventure is deserving of a hockey club as untamed as the sea herself. The Kraken represents the fiercest beast in all the world. Too large and indomitable to be contained by man (or finned mammal). It instills one message in all opponents whether in our waters, or theirs…Abandon all hope.

The largest octopus on planet Earth lives right here in Puget Sound. The Giant Pacific Octopus lurks in the deep around Seattle. According to Tacoma legend, they inhabit the ruins of collapsed bridge "Galloping Gertie" with the infamous "King Octopus." National Geographic notes the biggest on record at 30 ft wide and over 600 lbs. If you encountered that in the depths of our Sound, you'd tell tales of one thing…You just saw the Kraken.

We met deposit day with 32,000 passionate fans and scores of prospective team names. One in particular emerged quickly as the frontrunner. Two years later, and that same name still carries the conversation. 215,000 fan votes, 50+ fan forums & speaking engagements and over 12 months of social media listening have supported this phenomenon—Seattle is the Kraken."

Seattle Times – "Release the Kraken! NHL Seattle picks mythical sea creature for its long-awaited team name"

"The fearsome, mythical sea creature — akin to a monstrous squid — was mentioned in an Alfred Lord Tennyson sonnet from 1830 and later popularized in the 1953 novel “The Kraken Wakes” by John Wyndham. It subsequently landed in some Hollywood movies, including the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise produced by current NHL Seattle owner Jerry Bruckheimer.

The team, which opens play at Climate Pledge Arena in October 2021, becomes the first Seattle major men’s professional franchise with a name not ending in “s” — following in the footsteps of the women’s pro WNBA Storm and NWSL Reign. "

ESPN – "How Seattle's NHL team became the Kraken"

"Seattle considered the Metropolitans -- the name of the city's original pro hockey team, which won a Stanley Cup in 1917 -- though there was some pushback from the league. The NHL has the Metropolitan Division, and commissioner Gary Bettman didn't want to change it for the sake of the new franchise.

" "That was one [the league office] expressed reticence on, for the reason mentioned," Jassy said. "But they were always very supportive; I thought they always gave good, honest feedback. They had some of their own ideas too. When Kraken was the leading name we were thinking about, and we sought input from them, they always liked that name a lot.""


"Seattle wanted to invoke the city's unique landscape -- the water, the trees, the mountains, the precipitation -- but also deviate from what was expected.

"We didn't feel like the colors had to be exactly the same as the other pro teams here," Jassy said. "I think it ended up being a good balance of things that are resonant in our environment but also reflective of the sport of hockey. It was something we thought just looked really attractive."

Of the NHL's 31 existing teams, 16 have some shade of blue in their logo, so Seattle's needed to be unique.

"People called it baby blue, people called it Columbia blue, people called it powdery blue, but it's not; it's actually quite brilliant, almost a neon blue that looks like the ice caps on the Olympics and the white caps on the Puget Sound," Merrill said. "Then the navy is so dark, it's almost black. We call it deep sea. The whole [home] uniform has no white, there's zero white, and it's really just these complementary blues. The way they present their brand will be that way -- these two blues, and no white, no surrender at all."

For the logo, Merrill desperately wanted to avoid the Kraken becoming a caricature.

"We had to make sure it wasn't a cartoon character or something silly," Merrill said. "Also, it's the tradition of the sea; you don't mess around in the sea. If you mess around in the ocean, you get sucked in, and you die. It commands some seriousness, which we knew we had to hit."

And the last ingredient: mystery.

In one meeting, Leiweke said: "There's nothing more frightening than the theater and the mystery of the mind." Merrill's mental gears began spinning, thinking of Alfred Hitchcock movies in which you don't see the killer, but you know he's out there.

The "S" as the primary mark is an homage to the original Seattle Metropolitans uniforms.

"But while you're seeing the S, and thinking about the Metropolitans, thinking about the colors, that negative-space tentacle is hiding there, wrapping around your ankles, ready to pull you down," Merrill explained.

The logo was almost finished, but Merrill knew it needed something else. Then came the "aha" moment, provided by majority owner David Bonderman.

"Bonderman was like, 'You should put the eye right there,' and pointed to the top of the S," Merrill said. "I thought it was going to be terrible, actually. But we tried it, and it looks pretty good."

The designers always wanted to incorporate red in the palate -- to differentiate the Kraken from all the other blue teams in the NHL, and the other blue teams in Seattle.

"We wanted to represent the Kraken somehow," Merrill said. "Red represents danger; red represents threat. It was the perfect accent throughout."

The exact shade they chose? It's called "red alert."

The Ringer – "Embrace the Slimy Tentacle of the Seattle Kraken, the NHL’s New Terror of the Deep"

"When it is time for a professional sports team to come up with a name, it tends to make the most boring choice possible, selecting something that a well-paid marketing team determined would upset the fewest people through a series of test groups. The last time the NFL launched a new franchise, in 2002, it was with a team in Texas. That team was named the Texans. The last new MLB team name was introduced in 2005; the franchise that moved from Montreal to Washington, D.C., was named the Nationals. MLS has unveiled 11 new team names since 2015: New York City FC, Orlando City SC, Atlanta United FC, Minnesota United FC, Los Angeles FC, FC Cincinnati, Inter Miami CF, Nashville SC, Austin FC, Charlotte FC, and Sacramento Republic FC. On Thursday morning, Washington’s NFL team announced that it had come up with an interim name for the 2020 season. For now, Washington’s football team will officially be called the Washington Football Team. (Maybe Washington FT can win the MLS Cup!)

Seattle’s new NHL team also announced its long-awaited team name on Thursday, and decided not to go with the boring route. It picked a name no other pro sports team has ever used, or for that matter likely ever considered. This team is the Seattle Kraken, hockey’s new terror of the deep."


"I’m not from Seattle, but I’m heartened by the release of the Kraken. With the Washington Football Team finally getting rid of its racist name and imagery, I’ve been thinking a lot about why exactly these things exist. We don’t really need them; as European soccer leagues prove, it’s entirely possible to root for a sports team without them. So what do we want out of them?

I guess the point is that a name should tap into a team and a city’s identity. It should make fans feel like they’re part of something unique, and that they should be proud to be a part of it. The Kraken proves that a team name can be distinctive without being gimmicky. I embrace the slimy tentacle of the Kraken as it drags the rest of the NHL to the icy depths."

Dr. Fauci Baseball Card

From @DarrenRovell: "Topps Now has made a Fauci first pitch card. Will sell as many as they can in 24 hours for $9.99 and then it’s never sold again."


George H.W. Bush's Letter to Bill Clinton

CNN – "The letter George H.W. Bush left for Clinton is a lesson in grace"

House of the Dragon

HBO – "GoT Prequel ‘House of the Dragon’ Gets the Greenlight"

"Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, the series will tell the story of House Targaryen and take place 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones."

Rotten Tomatoes – "Everything We Know About Game of Thrones Prequel Series House of the Dragon"

"Casting has begun on House of the Dragon, EW reports. The prequel to HBO’s epic fantasy series Game of Thrones, is expected in 2022, HBO programming chief Casey Bloys revealed on back in January to select media outlets at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. The network picked up the series, based on author George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series and its companion materials, WarnerMedia announced to investors in late October 2019. “House of the Dragon has been in development for several years (though the title has changed a couple of times during that process),” Martin wrote on his blog in response to news of the series pickup. “It was actually the first concept I pitched to HBO when we started talking about a successor show, way back in the summer of 2016.”"

Saturday, July 18, 2020

R.I.P. John Lewis

New York Times – "John Lewis, Towering Figure of Civil Rights Era, Dies at 80"

Kygo, Tina Turner - "What's Love Got to Do With It"

Netflix Big Budget Franchise "The Gray Man"

The Verge – "Netflix is making a $200 million Ryan Gosling-Chris Evans spy movie directed by the Russo brothers"

"Netflix has announced its most expensive movie yet: a $200 million spy thriller called The Grey Man, starring Ryan Gosling (as the titular assassin / former spy) and Chris Evans (as the villainous CIA agent tasked with hunting him down) and directed by Joe and Anthony Russo (in their first film since Avengers: Endgame, the most lucrative film ever made), via Deadline.

The film is based on Mark Greaney’s The Gray Man series of books about Court Gentry (aka “The Grey Man”) who is an assassin, former CIA operative, and “a legend in the covert realm.” Netflix’s hope is that the upcoming film will spawn a spy thriller franchise for the streaming site that will see Gosling return for future films as The Grey Man — sort of like its own version of the long-running James Bond franchise, which focuses on its own eponymous spy. Given that the series has 10 books (and counting), there should be plenty of material for Netflix to work with.

“The intention is for it to be competitive with any theatrical, and the ability to do with with Gosling and Evans is a dream for us. The idea is to create a franchise and build out a whole universe, with Ryan at the center of it. We have all committed to the first movie, and that’s got to be great to get us to the second movie,” commented Joe Russo in a statement to Deadline."

Renaming a Sports Franchise

New York Times – "A Team by Any Other Name Is Fine, It Turns Out"

"When team owner Abe Pollin decided to change the name of the N.B.A.’s Washington Bullets in 1995, the two-year rebranding process had the veneer of a democratic undertaking.

The fast-casual restaurant chain Boston Market ran a renaming contest that resulted in nearly 3,000 submissions. A seven-person panel came up with five finalists — the Wizards, Dragons, Stallions, Express and Sea Dogs — which were put to a public vote.

Jody Shapiro, who at the time ran the regional sports television network that aired Bullets games, was one of the seven panel members. His preference, the Monuments, was highly rated by the panel, but the N.B.A. rejected it because of trademark considerations. “I thought it had the D.C. connection and the sense of towering structures and buildings or individuals,” he said.

Despite, or perhaps because of, his participation in the process, Shapiro was never under any illusion about who was really in charge. “Truth be told, at the end of the day, Abe and Susan chose whatever they wanted to choose,” he said, referring to Pollin and Susan O’Malley, then the team’s president. “It was more public relations than it was actually significant.”"


"He said that a logo should be “a mirror, an avatar of self-identification” for fans. This is particularly explicit in soccer, where team names are less prominent on uniforms and supporter culture can define a team in the eyes of outsiders.

This is not necessarily true in American football. There are of course names that explicitly reference regional identity, like the New England Patriots, but in the N.F.L. identity often works in reverse. Nobody particularly associates, say, tigers with the Ohio River Valley or big cats with the Canadian border, but over decades the Bengals have come to represent Cincinnati and the Lions Detroit.

“I think there is an inherent connection with football still as kind of a gladiator wild animal spirit that they can’t let go of,” Verlander said. And rather than teams reflecting some unique aspect of regional culture, the regional culture coalesces around the team that represents it via TV to tens of millions each weekend.

“Those N.F.L. team names are so historic that I don’t even think about their origin story,” Wolff said. “I don’t really think about Buccaneers Buccaneering across the sea when I watch Jameis Winston throw interceptions.” He referred to the former Tampa Bay quarterback who joined the New Orleans Saints this off-season.


Wolff knows that much of the success of his Nigeria jersey design, which sold out in minutes, came from what happened after the garments were made. Nike’s brand design team rolled out a clever influencer marketing campaign and used beautiful photographs in ads, just as aspects of Nigerian culture, like film and fashion, were becoming prominent worldwide.

“I felt like it was the right piece at the right time,” he said. “To be frank, that is kind of dumb luck.”"

A City With No Cars

New York Times – "I’ve Seen a Future Without Cars, and It’s Amazing"

2021 Ford Bronco

Jalopnik – "2021 Ford Bronco: The Long-Awaited Official Info Dump"

"for thrill seekers" (January 2017)

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Remembering Pure Moods

Pitchfork – "Various ArtistsPure Moods, Vol. 1"
7.5 out of 10

"The full ad for the U.S. release of Pure Moods lives on in accurate fidelity on YouTube, but it would be a shame not to recollect it for you here. First, a call bursts from a black screen. A quick time-lapse of a sunrise fades into a husky, lusty voiceover (“Imagine…a world…where time drifts slowly...”), which lays cozily across a shot of an autumn mountaintop. At least a dozen vignettes ensue. A woman spins in a woven dress as a unicorn gallops into translucence. A faraway man walks through a fast-moving river. The unicorn reappears, newlyweds gaze and grope at one another before a soulful kiss, waves crash onto a dusky beach, a swarm of hummingbirds eject from a cloud—each image t-boned into one another in an effort to inspire a feeling of chaotic, seductive fantasy, soothing by way of arousal.


True to their title, Enigma remained heroically and consumingly atop the charts for the majority of the ’90s. “Return to Innocence”—whose indigenous Taiwanese vocalizations blast at the top of the commercial, responsible for waking thousands of half-asleep American citizens on couches—is a glamorous smoothie of pseudo-erotica, a treatise on nostalgia and self-help. Seemingly custom-made for the proto-Y2K fetish for exploring one’s attitude with slogans across graphic t-shirts, its first four lyrics are just words (“Love...devotion…..feeling….emotion”) both inspiring and completely drained of meaning, at once empty and rich. It enjoyed a No. 1 one position on the charts in over 10 countries."

Justice League of the Sea

Hakai Magazine – "On Knowing the Winged Whale"

"Humpbacks are known to swoop in and disrupt a killer whale hunt, sometimes pulling a targeted seal or sea lion pup safely onto their belly with one of those pectoral fins. You could call them the ocean’s Justice League. “You know how you put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others?” says Fred Sharpe, a research biologist with the Alaska Whale Foundation who has been studying the species for over 30 years. “Humpbacks aren’t like that. They just wade right in to help those in need, as if they can’t help themselves.”

The truth is, however, that “nobody on Earth knows how baleen whales find their food,” Hildering says.

How long do they live?

“We haven’t had enough time to figure out how long they can live,” Hildering says.

Why do they sing?

Hildering leans close. “We’ve been studying the question for over 40 years and still nobody knows why humpbacks sing.”

Payne called humpback song “the most evocative, most beautiful sounds made by any animal on Earth.” And NASA apparently agreed. Aboard the Voyager 1 and 2 probes, launched in 1977 and now soaring through deep space, is the calling card of our planet: a golden record of a soundtrack from the third rock from the sun. Interspliced with greetings from UN diplomats, along with other natural sounds—thunder and crickets and the sound of a kiss—are songs of the humpback whale. In our only deliberate attempt to represent Earth to extraterrestrial beings, we gave humpback whales a status equivalent to our own. Which is not so far off Indigenous perspectives of humpbacks. To the Indigenous people of northern Vancouver Island, for example, humpbacks are the record keepers, repositories of ancient wisdom, swimming libraries. But in the Eurocentric telling, the story of humpbacks has been completely reversed. Two centuries ago, they were monsters. Half a century ago, they were hamburger. Now they are the ocean’s mystical elders. Not like us: in some ways better than us.

In October 2017, marine biologist Nan Hauser was filming a humpback in the Cook Islands when it seemed to turn on her, nudging her roughly back toward her boat. She climbed to safety, the only blood on her from scrapes from the barnacles that cling to humpbacks. Only then did she see the tiger shark. She’s convinced the humpback was saving her life. “I’m a scientist, and if anyone told me this story, I wouldn’t believe it,” she says. Having been scooped from the path of a tiger shark may produce a forgivably rosy view of humpback altruism, but scientists are inclined to explain such behavior in terms of an instinctive protective response against any predator that might hurt a baby humpback."

Palm Springs

Written by Andy Siara
Directed by Max Barbakow
Starring Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Peter Gallagher, J. K. Simmons

The Atlantic – "Palm Springs Is the Comedy of the Summer"

Reading and Return to Sports

From Washington Nationals Pitcher Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo): "wow this is a really good book."

Doolittle comment on baseball returning:

The Best American Stadiums and Arenas

The Athletic – "Expert NFL stadium rankings: Breaking down the league’s top, bottom five"

"2. CenturyLink Field (Seattle Seahawks)

This stadium tied for the most top-five votes but fell one first-place vote short in the tiebreaker. Ten NFL stadiums have opened since CenturyLink, but it competes well with all of them. It doesn’t have a roof, but it gets as loud, if not louder, than any of the stadiums that do.

1. U.S. Bank Stadium (Minnesota Vikings)

Like CenturyLink, this stadium landed on 23 ballots, finishing second to only Lambeau Field with seven first-place votes. It’s only four years old and that shows. There’s a unique look to it inside and out.

Vikings reporter Chad Graff: “U.S. Bank Stadium has a few features that separate itself from the rest of the pack, even among the newest stadiums. Of course, you’d have to start with the transparent roof, the first of its kind on a North American stadium. From the seats, you can see the downtown skyline through the glass. Many early-arriving fans for the Super Bowl two years ago wore sunglasses, offering an outdoor feel in a state where you usually wouldn’t want to be outdoors in February. (It gets so bright that they had to install curtains for the Final Four.) From the outside, the glass paneling offers cool reflections of both the skyline and the sunset. There’s no overhanging, massive jumbotron that could distract from actually watching the play below, and, importantly, the seats are spacious and comfortable. It’s not perfect, of course. Occasionally, the corridors can feel a bit cramped. But in a time where many of the modern stadiums feel similar, Minnesota’s stands out.”"

The Athletic – "Carig: 38 MLB ballparks, six tiers, and one clear favorite"

"14. T-Mobile Park, Seattle

Few ballparks do a better job mirroring the feel of its city. From the color scheme to the actual materials used to build the structure, there is no mistaking that this ballpark is in Seattle.

6. Target Field, Minneapolis

The exterior of most ballparks is made of brick and steel. Target Field’s is made of limestone, some of which can be seen from the playing field. The boomerang-shaped roof over the main seating bowl is distinctive, as are the dimensions. This is the best of the newest wave of ballparks."

The Athletic – "The Athletic’s NBA Arena Rankings: Some buildings are always a spectacle"

"Target Center (Minnesota Timberwolves)

I wonder if being relevant only four years out of three decades of existence has anything to do with an apathetic and mostly absent crowd. The building itself isn’t much to write home about, although they have made renovations. Wolves crowds only seem to care when missed free throws by the other team will result in a free giveaway. And with the way this team has played almost every year since 2004, it probably shouldn’t even necessitate missed free throws to give this crowd something for free.

“Target Center is the quietest arena by a wide margin.”

“It’s been a terrible team forever, so the crowds are generally small and have been given little reason to get rowdy.”"

The Athletic – "NHL arena rankings: Grading every team’s rink from best to worst"

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Swimming with Sea Lions

New York Times – "Swimming With the Sea Lions of Los Islotes"

Floor is Lava

Uproxx – "Netflix’s ‘Floor Is Lava’ Is Good, But Let’s Make It Even Better"

"Floor Is Lava is a tribute to backyard imagination, a late-era classic Community episode, and ’90s nostalgia offerings like Double Dare and Legends Of The Hidden Temple, delivering on our desperate need for fresh entertainment and our want to see someone faceplant in a low stakes competition.""

Vulture – "Your Burning Floor Is Lava Questions, Answered"
AV Club – "Floor Is Lava is a live-action video game, and that’s awesome"

The American Supermarket

The Atlantic – "The Pandemic Shows Us the Genius of Supermarkets"

"For some 300 years, Americans had fed themselves from small stores like Nathan Glickberg’s and from public markets, where shopping for food involved mud, squawking chickens, clouds of flies, cadaverous smells, haggling, bartering, and getting shortchanged. The supermarket took the Fordist factory, with its emphasis on efficiency and standardization, and reimagined it as a place to buy food. Supermarkets may not feel cutting-edge now, but they were—a “revolution in distribution,” one supermarket researcher declared in 1955. They were such exotic marvels that, on her first official state visit to the United States, in 1957, Queen Elizabeth II insisted on an impromptu tour of a suburban-Maryland Giant Food. During his own visit to the United States in 1989, Boris Yeltsin made an unscheduled, 20-minute detour to a Texas supermarket that is credited with souring him on communism. “When I saw those shelves crammed with hundreds, thousands of cans, cartons and goods of every possible sort,” wrote Yeltsin in his autobiography, “for the first time I felt quite frankly sick with despair for the Soviet people.”"

Friday, July 3, 2020

Creative Genius: Rosie Lee Tompkins

Wikipedia – Rosie Lee Tompkins
New York Times – "The Radical Quilting of Rosie Lee Tompkins"

The Washington Name

Via @AdamSchefter:

"And here it is: the Redskins are undergoing a thorough review of the team’s name.

And let’s be clear: There’s no review if there’s no change coming.

Redskins on way out."


The NBA's Orlando Bubble

(via @ESPN)

Washington Post – "The NBA’s Orlando bubble schedule explained"
ESPN – "Sources: Orlando bubble to cost NBA more than $150 million"

Negative Home Advantage

New York Times – "Do Empty Stadiums Affect Outcomes? The Data Says Yes"

WFH Future

Medium/Forge – "The ‘Home Office’ Does Not Exist"

"Then there are the standard business hours, which really don’t work equally well for everyone. Plenty of people do their best work first thing in the morning, but forcing the 9% (or so) of biological night owls to check in by 9 a.m. makes little sense if there’s nothing that has to happen at that time; indeed, it might actually be bad for their health.

When life returns to “normal,” few workplaces will stay fully remote. The most likely model will be a hybrid, with many people working at the office two or three days per week and at home two or three days per week. With this hybrid, the best option will be for teams to realize the upsides of both locations.

Work-from-home days can be structured for flexibility. Collaborating teams can set core hours (say, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and then let people work around those hours according to their work styles and family situations. Work-from-home days can center around individual, focused work, and in-office days can be more social — it’s easier to be relaxed about that salad bar conversation when you know you have time to get your work done. When they’re in the office, maybe people can take longer lunches and build the sort of trust that allows people to work well together even when they don’t see each other as much."