Counterpoint—Soccer Isn’t Easy (And Neither are Basketball, Football, Hockey, Baseball, Track, etc.)

It will shock much of the autowriting and autowritingreading worlds (I made that second one up but I like it) to know that my brother and I are not terribly similar people. For example, our writing voices can be similar, at times, but I tend to use simpler language and fewer words to communicate my points. Politically, I’m very much a traditional conservative, whereas I think he might have voted for Bernie, if the DNC had given him the chance.

This difference manifests itself in many other ways, as well, but as we are no longer spring chickens and have both transferred much of our attention to our kids, the most obvious is in the way we parent our children.

I had a much more traditional sort of suburban youth than Jack did—I was the same age as my classmates, and I was merely smart enough to be in the LEAP-style programs. I was social in the ways that most kids are, and much of my social interaction came from team sports. I was on my school’s football, basketball, and track and field teams, I played summer league baseball, and I traveled around the midwest doing AAU-style and 3-on-3 basketball tournaments as well. I also played recreational youth soccer from age 6 to age 12. I did the BMX thing, too, but by the time I was 14 I had pretty much left it behind in favor of more traditional team sports.

I can say without any sort of bragging (because who brags about things they did 20+ years ago) that I won multiple championships in every sport I every played—some just of the travel team tournament variety (soccer, baseball), some of the more intramural variety (Ohio State 3-on-3 basketball and flag football) or informal type (Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball), some sanctioned state titles (football, track and field), and even an international competition or two. I was never a star player (with the exception of baseball), not by any means, but I was a always a more-than-competent cog of some exceptional team efforts.

Therefore, I am more than slightly irked when my brother says to his son, as he did in his post today, “The sports at your school, soccer and basketball — they’re easy.”

No. They’re not. Not even close.

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This Is Why Writing For Free Is Bad For Everybody (And Creates Headlines Like This)

 

Back in the day, right around 1997 or so, I was a struggling musician.

This is, of course, a lie. I was driving a brand-new Infiniti G20, going to school on a full scholarship, and dating a girl whom my brother liked to call a “better looking Julia Roberts.” But, I was struggling with finding ways to advance my musical career. I was playing a lot of blues with a young Sean Carney, a prodigiously talented guitarist who would go on to win the Albert King award some years later (you can hear what we sounded at that point by clicking the above Spotify link), but it was tough to find jazz gigs. Columbus, Ohio had a limited number of jazz clubs—Dick’s Den, The Dell—and they only had music Friday and Saturday nights. Those slots were occupied by the jazz royalty of the town, mostly music faculty members at Ohio State and Capital University.

So, in a bit of desperation, I did something that I thought was a pretty smart move. I went to the proprietor of The Dell and proposed that I would play for free once a month. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “I’m going to pretend like you never came here. And, for your sake, you had better hope that none of your teachers who play here find out that you were here, either.” Turns out that was called “undercutting,” and it was a definite no-no in the professional music world. In fact, that sort of practice is what led to the formation of musicians’ unions in the bigger cities and symphony orchestras of America.

Fast forward twenty years, and I’m no longer peddling free music. Instead, I send pitches to the editors of automotive publications. However, now I’m one of the guys who’ve earned the right to be paid for their craft, like my teachers were before me. The difference is that when the young bucks try to undercut me or my esteemed journalist colleagues, there are no shortage of editors who are willing to let them do it, for as little as $25 a post—or, in many cases, for no money at all.

This is bad for everybody.

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A Delayed Response To A Relevant Question

 

As y’all may have noticed, we don’t follow any sort of posting schedule here at the Green. Yes, it’s true that we should be posting everything at 11:00 Eastern time on Mondays and Tuesdays for maximum traffic, but since the total lifetime revenue generated by this site is slightly less than one cent, it really doesn’t matter. The result of this is that I often don’t read all the comments on each post, because they sometimes trickle in days later due to the fact that we might go a day or two without a new post from time to time.

That being said, there is a comment that I want to address, and I want to ensure that it doesn’t get buried in the comments section on a post from two weeks ago. The comment, from Duong Nguyen on the “Green Heck” Weekly Roundup, goes a little something like this:

This Lotus and Acura drives are really stepping a wee bit close to the journasar buffet line for my taste… I mean Bark is mentioning Acura PR flacks in his instagram posts and Jack gets a free ride in a one off Lotus painted in his favorite car color? I just don’t see how these things don’t influence what gets written.

I’ll still keep reading, just wanted to point this out. I know there’s not really an ideal way around it.

Excellent comment/point/statement. And as one of the more vocal critics of the “journosaur buffet line” culture, myself, I think it requires an answer.

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Ask Bark: Keep FiSTing, Ride The Pony, Or Let’s Do Both?

Sean writes:

Hey Mark,

As a current owner of a 2016 Fiesta ST, I absolutely love the car as I learned to drive stick on it! It is incredibly fun, a perfect daily and I get 30 mpg city driving in it. However, I always had a love for Mustangs. I have been eyeing the a ’17 Race Red GT Premium with the Performance Pack. I recently bought a townhouse in suburban Chicago with a two car garage. I figured I would keep the ST since it is paid off and use the GT as my weekend/fun 3 season car even though the Fiesta is paid off and I would have to finance the GT. I was debating trading in the ST, but I am afraid I would miss it too much and not to mention take the depreciation hit. I did love the GT after the test drive!

I can swing the payments on the GT to keep both cars, but here is the catch….I hate my job.

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No, You Shouldn’t Be Okay With A Mediocre Life

If one more, well, mediocre person I know shares the January blog post, “What If All I Want Is A Mediocre Life?” I’m gonna choke the mediocre life right out of him/her. As with most Facebook shares, I’m guessing that at least fifty people didn’t even read the post, but simply saw the title as an excuse for their own lamentable mediocrity and clicked “Share” without a moment’s hesitation. “Yes! I’m a MOM and a TEACHER and I’m PROUD OF IT!” Well, okay, then. Your biggest accomplishments are a biological act and having a career that is typically chosen by the stupidest college students. Congrats, you’re even less than mediocre!

The first thing that you should know about this blog post was that it was written by Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Dagui (I can’t begin to understand how that name was generated), who is a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant™ & Joyful Living Educator. This is Not a Real Fucking Job. And the trademark is the author’s, not mine.

But let’s get past the ad hominem attacks and get to the meat of the post, shall we? Yeah, let’s.

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Okay, So We Didn’t Podcast, But We Did Make Videos!

The New York International Auto Show is a funny thing. You can run into the same people twenty times in a day, and also go the entire show without running into a friend at all (Hi, Alex!). I attended about half a dozen parties, saw a few presentations on the show floor, and walked about 20,000 steps per day. However, what I did NOT do was see my dear brother very much. So the much ballyhooed second edition of the Barkcast didn’t happen.

But I did make a few videos with my friends, the Boost Brothers. Above is the first of them, which briefly discusses the Dodge Hellcat and Demon but does not show my awesome blue Allen Edmonds Neumoks that I was wearing for the shoot. Alas. You should watch it anyway. In the days to come, we’ll also have videos about the Acura TLX and NSX, the Honda Civic Type R, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, and the entire Ford Performance lineup. Check it out!

 

The Barkcast is BACK for NYIAS, And YOU Can Steer The Script

He ain't heavy. And that hat says "OG" in the //M logo.

A post shared by Jack Baruth (@jackbaruthofficial) on

That’s right—we’ll be Barkcasting LIVE from the crown jewel of the Kimpton hotel chain, Ink48, next week. Featured guests to include the Boost Brothers, otherwise known as Bozi and Bojan Tatarevic, the legendary Danger Girl, and maybe even another guest or two to be named later (hint: one of them likes to wear scarves and the other one… also likes to wear scarves, but is a girl).

What are we gonna talk about? Well, that’s up to you!

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Ask Bark: How To Replace A Long-Term Love

That’s right, bitches (I only call you bitches because I don’t know your names individually), Ask Bark is BACK! I have a gazillion emails sitting in my box, and I have this nifty website that I can use to answer them, so why not? Plus, since this site is not designed to generate anything resembling “clicks,” I can ramble on and on about whatever I want, and I’m not obligated to pick something “interesting.” Also, here’s a cool picture of a Bronco. Yay!

Let’s kick this off with a letter from an actual female reader who’s looking to replace her tired ‘Lude.

Jenica writes:

Hello!

I’m attempting to look for a reliable car within my preferred ($8000 or less) budget, that’s a little sporty. I’m about ready to break up with my faithful partner of about 10 years, at over 200k miles, a ’98 honda prelude. A manual is a must, and a coupe is quintessential. Of course within my budget, the only cars I like (ie: have style) with less than 100k miles on it come with a sad salvage title. I’m having some trouble weeding out the ones that will last as long as my current partner without numerous major bills. And as much as I would love to own an s2000, I do need something with some semblance of a back seat. I live north of Sacramento, Ca in the Chico area.

Looking forward to your reply,

-Jenica

First of all, congrats on having a cool, unique name. Also, congrats on being a woman who drives a manual transmission and would love an S2000. Now, let’s get to the answer—it’s not as simple as either of us would like.

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