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About Wilbur

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    Landed Knight

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    Scottsdale, AZ

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  1. Wilbur

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    Manchester United's problem is probably larger than just hiring a DOF and a manager to stabilize them in their role as a mid-table club. The entire ownership structure of the club is rotten, and has been since the Glazers decided to monetize football. "...most of the blame for the club’s persistent failure rests with the behind-the-scenes leadership. It’s been five years since Sir Alex stepped down, and it’s hard to think of a single decision, big or small, the club has gotten right since. Every managerial hire has been bad. Almost every cent of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of pounds the club has spent on players has been spent either poorly or without vision. A club that was once at the very top of the world, one that had gotten so obscenely rich that it was almost literally too big to fail, is now comfortably the fifth- or sixth-best team in England..." https://deadspin.com/jose-mourinhos-failed-tenure-at-manchester-united-is-fi-1831170461 "United’s pursuit of Pochettino fits the same pattern of way too much of United’s thinking over the past few years: the delusional chase for a someone almost certainly outside their grasp in hopes that this person can serve as a cure-all for the deep rot the club’s decision-makers behave as if they are oblivious to..."
  2. Wilbur

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    In five months David Moyes' initial contract as Manchester United manager will run out.
  3. Wilbur

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

  4. Wilbur

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    Rangers have an excellent, young manager that the board could consider as the successor. He has his teams playing attractive, attacking football and a history of scoring key goals as a player in Manchester United matches.
  5. Wilbur

    Football: The art of lowering expectations

    Please let Manchester United fulfill their destiny and hire Sam Allardyce or Steve Bruce. Most savage comment so far is from TristerLookan: "United become everything they laughed once. Spending money like City, talking about history like Liverpool, aiming 4th place like Arsenal and changing managers like Chelsea." https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2018/dec/18/manchester-united-sack-jose-mourinho-michael-carrick-interim-charge-reaction-and-analysis-live#comment-123888694 The theme song is also good: https://twitter.com/swedemason/status/1074977641999097856/video/1
  6. Wilbur

    The Earthsea Series by Ursula K. Le Guin

    "Claustrophobic" is an excellent summary of the second book. Le Guin's changes in setting and point of view were very jarring for a young reader who had been challenged but ultimately enjoyed the first book. Why would the author write this second book and not show us Ged, Ged, and more Ged? Also, this book is the first time my 13-year-old self realized that Ged and the people of his home region were dark-skinned, and that Tenar and the rest of the barbarians were white. Between the underground setting, the female protagonist, and the inversion of my own perceptions of what Ged looked like, I remember being quite flummoxed by this story. In the end, I decided that I liked it well enough to immediately re-read it with my new knowledge and understanding, and the next time I picked up a Le Guin story, The Left Hand of Darkness, the unusual characters were something that my mind was almost ready to grasp.
  7. Wilbur

    Football: Attempting to stay ahead (in your) City.

    Some thoughts on Manchester United: First, Mourinho is a grumpy dwarf now, rather than the Shiny New Thing that he was a decade ago. Few players have a strong appetite to play under his current brand of leadership, eg. P Pogba as a current player, or bIg NaMeS that have signed elsewhere in recent times. Moreover, Mourinho is risk-averse, and would be very unlikely to play promising youth as the more-successful Ferguson did, and his safety-first style is dull and unattractive. Thus the teams that the Red Devils field just aren't as good as some of the other squads in the league who do possession charismatic managers and exciting playing styles, eg. Manchester City. Second, twenty years ago Manchester United had monetized the advent of the Premier League and escape from the old Football League First Division to an extent that the wealth gap is only now being matched by other teams such as Chel$ki and Manchester City. By 2001, every single major Asian capital had a sucker store called the "Manchester United Mega Store" selling poorly-made memorabilia, and they were packed with ignorant band-wagon fans slurping it up and funding the player-buying machine. Their advantage in money, combined with tricky Scots leadership meant that they could afford to buy better players faster than the rest of the league, and if the bought players meshed poorly with their own home-grown talent, they could afford to jettison them quickly, eg. Popular Argentine Pirate Cosplayer JS Veron. Look at the distance that Manchester United put between themselves and other successful teams of the old First Division with as good or better European pedigrees such as Leeds and Aston Villa, who failed to capitalize on the Premiere League's riches. Third, speaking of tricky Scots leadership, no manager since his departure has managed the trick of match official intimidation in the manner of Ferguson. Think back to the many, many matches that he turned from the sideline with the Hairdryer Treatment on the officials or consider Fergie Time. Subsequent managers also haven't had a cadre of fellow-managers who would willingly roll over for their Manchester United ties on the schedule in the hope of someday winning the job of succeeding Ferguson, eg. Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce. Finally, the descent down the table has meant that Manchester United can no longer count on wins against mid-table teams just by showing up to be the flat-track bully. Remember how Manchester United tried (and mainly succeeded) in taking the naming convention of "United" and making it refer only to them, rather than Newcastle, or Sheffield, or Leeds, or West Ham, etc.? That sort of self-aggrandisement is largely missing from their psyche today. Bandwagon fans who came to see and be seen eating prawn sandwiches don't make for great support, but they probably were less painful to play in front of than the current group of disillusioned seat license holders. Other teams make the trip to Stretford expecting to win, not to be shafted by the referees in the 95th minute, eg. the all-conquering Saints last week. Certain teams come into happy scenarios where the stars align, and they can leverage it to their advantage, eg. Liverpool's Boot Room with its European-conquering leadership (Shankly-Paisley-Fagan-Dalglish) combined with attractive playing style that drew the best players in the British Isles, along with incredible supporters. Manchester United's dominance of the past twenty years was happenstance - the combination of a ruthless manager and an overwhelming superiority of funding. Those two drivers are gone, and no one should expect Manchester United to be similarly dominant again.
  8. Wilbur

    The Earthsea Series by Ursula K. Le Guin

    Very nice! I also agree that while a lot of books written in the last fifty years have aged poorly, A Wizard of Earthsea probably stands up better for a young reader of today than many other works. Le Guin was very good at writing in such a way that minimizes references to her contemporary lifestyle, politics, technology, etc. while still being relevant and commenting upon the problems of the day.
  9. Wilbur

    Raymond E. Feist’s The Riftwar Saga

    I guess that makes Mikemia-Kelewan a shared universe sort of book setting? Which is perfectly fine, it is just sad that Feist had so many bad experiences in life that kept him from writing the things he wanted to write, or rather, forced him to write stuff he wasn't very interested in. So this morning's ride found me completing Murder in LaMut by Joel Rosenberg (thank you, Wert), and it was perfectly fine as a murder mystery set in Midkemia. Sort of a larger English Country House murder mystery, as written to feature characters from a Glen Cook novel. Easy to read, reasonable characterization, good plot, one terrible joke name, would recommend to anyone wanting some light reading in the genre.
  10. Wilbur

    Raymond E. Feist’s The Riftwar Saga

    Based on your recommendation, I found a copy of Honored Enemy in audiobook format, and I have been listening to it out on my bike. Your opinion was totally supported by my experience, and I found it to be very enjoyable. Thank you! The audio book actually came as a group of three books: Honored Enemy, Murder in LaMut, and Jimmy the Hand, all read by Peter Joyce. When Honored Enemy finished, I was miles out in the desert, and so I got about an hour into Murder in LaMut before getting back home. I have been enjoying that book since then as well, despite the terrible joke of the name of one of the main characters. Whatever editor let that one through either had a black sense of humor or no education in classical Scots ballads, as it is a major spoiler otherwise. Anyways, thank you - I would never have delved into the deeps of the post-Empire books without the heads up.
  11. Wilbur

    Most filmable adaptation

    Hayao Miyazaki as the director of a Studio Ghibli adaptation of either The Eyes of the Overworld / Cugel's Saga or else The Lyonesse Trilogy (Suldrun's Garden, The Green Pearl and Madouc) could be truly amazing. Or it could be terrible, as in the Tales from Earthsea.
  12. Wilbur

    NFL 2018 IV: A Hue, A Cry and now Goodbye

    The Steelers have improved outcomes when they aren't giving up 100 yards a game in penalties.
  13. Wilbur

    Football: Attempting to stay ahead (in your) City.

    When Dagger retired, he indicated that part of the reason he was doing so because the use of painkillers was having an effect on his family life. When he played for Liverpool, it was necessary for him to take drugs before every game to get through a match, although it may also have been necessary to put up with Brendan Rodgers. He went back to Brondby in an attempt to play less physically-demanding football to reduce the need for painkillers.
  14. Wilbur

    Raymond E. Feist’s The Riftwar Saga

    After reading the Empire Trilogy, I went looking for and read the Cycle of Fire books by Janny Wurts. My impressions of that set of books was much less positive, so much so that it was hard for my callow, youthful self to believe that this was one of the same authors of the Empire Trilogy. They had nice cover art, though.
  15. Wilbur

    Glen Cooks The Black Company series

    The abbreviation convention for PoS is quite unfortunate.