Random topics covers just that, appealing to the ADHD children in all of us.
Topic 1: Has Disney over-leveraged itself?
In terms of big, corporate spending, it seems like no one is poised to outbid Disney. Disney, whose notable multi-billion dollar acquisitions include Pixar and Lucasfilm, has spent over $12 billion in the name of expansion. I’m not sure if they are attempting a massive re-branding campaign, by bringing back the magic to Disney animation and opening the door for some swashbuckling films that are not necessarily Star Wars, or if maybe someone at Disney is having a serious midlife crisis. I’m not kidding; the acquisition of Lucasfilm smells like a middle-aged man buying a sports car, except on a far grander scale.
Of course, Disney would argue that its current agreement with the Starz networks, and its future relationship with Netflix, coupled with box office returns and merchandising, will cover the long-term costs of the deals. However, I feel that the problem lays just as much in the apparent mentality as in the financial costs.
Until Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, I assumed that Disney would forever be a kids-first organization, with anything under the Disney brand being a G-, or PG-rated film. However, the Pirates films gave me hope that Disney might broaden its appeal; it hasn’t, and now they need to expand their adult-oriented holdings, something the Pixar and Lucasfilm acquisitions won’t do too well. After all, adult-oriented films are where the real, long-term money is.
Topic 2: The New York Yankees are OLD
This one is easy to get. The Yankees have invested over $100 million (also known as the amount of money Dr. Evil tried to exhort from the UN) in an aging roster, with few ways out. It is ultimately a sign that the franchise is due for a few lean years before they can engineer a new beginning; with Jeter’s retirement due in a few years, that new beginning should come into sight sooner rather than later.
Of course, the Yankees have only themselves to blame. Cashman’s decision to grow talent and their farm system a few years ago will need time to develop, thus resulting in stop-gap signings this off-season. Once the older crowd is gone, the young guns will come in, and with any luck, the Yankees can balance bringing in established talent with home grown talent.
Topic 3: Should conferences ban rushing the court?
With the NCAA tournament looming, and conference championship tournaments over, conferences can now focus on an issue that has arisen in the last few months: rushing the court. Coach K feels it’s inappropriate to rush the court with the opposing team still on it, or that they should have access to a clear line out to the locker room; however, he supports rushing the court once the coast is clear.
The SEC and some individual schools (like my alma mater UC Davis) have banned rushing the court, and although I understand why, I still disagree with it. However, it may be a good idea to put into law what Coach K suggested, if only to protect the opposing players.
Topic 4: Why North Korea doesn’t matter
Kim Jung-Un is rattling the saber. So what? He is a dictator of a fourth-rate power that cannot launch a missile to defend itself. His greatest ally, China, is growing tired of his antics, largely for fear of alienating its greatest trade partner, the United States, and most modern Chinese citizens do not have the same affection for North Korea that their parents and grandparents did.
North Korea will continue to be an isolated police state, more and more alone, with even China starting to tolerate increased sanctions against them.