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Ramon Ramirez

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Ramon Ramirez is Bro Jackson's managing editor. His work has appeared in Grantland, Consequence of Sound, The Daily Dot, Fansided, In Fact Daily, the Washington City Paper, and the Austin American-Statesman.

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The World Cup is over and that’s a veritable downer. But hey, after this month-long bender a break is appropriate. Here’s how we turned out the tournament.

Words

Germany beats Argentina in nail-biting World Cup 2014 final  [Read More]

Watching Germany-Brazil without Brazil explains everything  [Read More]

Argentina downs Netherlands in penalties, will face Germany in World Cup final  [Read More]

Chaos strikes Copacabana Beach after devastating Brazil loss  [Read More]

Brazil’s national humiliation captured in 50 newspaper frontpages  [Read More]

The Internet’s postmortem on Germany-Brazil  [Read More]

Bring the World Cup to your kitchen  [Read More]

Brazil fights to a win over Colombia, Neymar carried off on a stretcher  [Read More]

Germany makes its fourth-straight World Cup semifinals  [Read More]

Tim Howard is the new U.S. Secretary of Defense—according to Wikipedia  [Read More]

Belgium defeats U.S. 2-1 in World Cup thriller  [Read More]

Argentina advances to World Cup quarterfinals in thrilling fashion  [Read More]

You need to see Andre Schuerrle’s crazy goal for Germany  [Read More]

France’s World Cup victory over Nigeria was inevitable  [Read More]

This is why Team USA should fear Belgium  [Read More]

Colombia-Uruguay match spotlights the World Cup’s breakout player  [Read More]

After an intense match, Brazil bests Chile  [Read More]

U.S. loses, advances to World Cup’s knockout round  [Read More]

23 reasons you should be excited about the USMNT  [Read More]

What the German press is saying ahead of today’s USA World Cup showdown  [Read More]

Incredible hat trick advances the Swiss in the next World Cup  [Read More]

Greece trips into the round of 16, breaking African hearts  [Read More]

Soccer’s infamous ‘cannibal’ bites again, this time at the World Cup  [Read More]

Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘Zorro’ haircut probably wasn’t a tribute to a sick kid  [Read More]

Here’s how the U.S. team could advance in the World Cup  [Read More]

How tiny Costa Rica upset Italy at the World Cup  [Read More]

After World Cup defeat, England turns to Twitter with world-class defeatist humor  [Read More]

The best striker in England just scored against England  [Read More]

The starting 11 for the All-Meme World Cup  [Read More]

Ticketless Chile fans storm stadium before World Cup game  [Read More]

Suicide bombing at Nigerian World Cup viewing party kills at least 21  [Read More]

Forget soccer—here are the World Cup rankings that really matter  [Read More]

John Oliver eviscerates the FIFA World Cup in one segment  [Read More]

Podcasts

Let’s pick the World Cup semifinal winners  [Listen]

RIP #USMNT :(  [Listen]

The #WorldCup Sweet 16 preview  [Listen]

Judgment Day in #Brazil2014 for the USMNT  [Listen]

Live radio from The Mohawk

Live broadcast: #WorldCup radio at @mohawkaustin  [Read More]

Countdown to kickoff: Brazil v. Croatia, plus Andy O’Connor‘s heavy metal riffs  [Listen]

Postgame thoughts: Brazil v. Croatia  [Listen]

Countdown to kickoff: Mexico v. Cameroon, with mariachis (!) and Pancho Villa’s Army founder, Sergio Tristan  [Listen]

Countdown to kickoff: Spain v. Netherlands  [Listen]

Postgame thoughts: Spain gets embarrassed, Josie talks up her Dutch side, plus the 10 best Harry Potter characters  [Listen]

Postgame thoughts: Closing out the World Cup’s first Friday, plus a definitive “Friday The 13th” films power rankings  [Listen]

Countdown to kickoff: Wait is Costa Rica good? Plus breaking down Italy v. England  [Listen]

Live commentary: Italy v. England first half  [Listen]

Live commentary: Italy v. England second half  [Listen]

Postgame thoughts: Switzerland v. Ecuador, plus the beginning of our 10 best TV dads rankings  [Listen]

Countdown to kickoff: Argentina v. Bosnia, plus the top half of our 10 best TV dads rankings  [Listen]

Postgame thoughts: Germany v. Portugal, plus the most American movies ever  [Listen]

Countdown to kickoff: USA v. Ghana  [Listen]

Live commentary: USA v. Ghana first half  [Listen]

Live commentary: USA v. Ghana second half  [Listen]

Tanka

For the group stage, Greater Appalachian mystic poet and philosopher Raven Mack wrote a series of biting tanka poems:

Match 1 | Match 2  | Match 3 | Match 4 | Match 5 | Match 6 | Match 7 | Match 8 | Match 9 | Match 10 | Match 11 | Match 12  | Match 13 | Match 14 | Match 15 Match 16 | Match 17 | Match 18 Match 19 Match 20 | Match 21 | Match 22 | Match 23Match 24 | Match 25Match 26Match 27Match 28Match 29Match 30 | Match 31 | Match 32 | Match 33 & 34 | Match 35 & 36 | Match 37 & 38 | Match 39 & 40

Preview

Game of Cups, Group A  [Read More]

Game of Cups, Group B  [Read More]

Game of Cups, Group C  [Read More]

Game of Cups, Group D  [Read More]

Game of Cups, Group E  [Read More]

Game of Cups, Group F  [Read More]

Game of Cups, Group G  [Read More]

Game of Cups, Group H  [Read More]

Cutting Landon Donovan was a huge mistake  [Read More]

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We ran Thursday’s post about LeBron James and lebronjames.com with confidence on the merits of our web developers and what they were able to verify to us directly. As the story snowballed, many other developers were smart to question our methodology, especially when similar independent queries turned up differing results. In the spirit of clarity, here’s how we reached our original findings.

If you want to know anything about a website, you use Firebug, and it will tell you a lot–but not everything. That’s what we did with lebronjames.com at first. But then, you’d need to take a few extra steps–for instance, figuring out where a site is hosted would help you toward finding out what its FTP address is. In the case of LeBron, he uses Microsoft’s Azure. Of course he’d use something expensive and hard to hack.

If you’re a developer, you know what an FTP client is, but just to clarify: Your website isn’t really a website. It’s a lot of files, just like the ones on your computer, that your browser interprets into a set of visual grids, moving lines, etc. That’s why developers develop websites on LAMP, which means you can do all your work offline, and then put it online in one shot. It also means Azure’s FTP can’t simply be searched for. Getting an into an Azure account has gotta be tough, right? Not exactly. First of all, Azure can be hacked. We didn’t need to go through all that. It’s messy, takes too much time, and probably involves a felony amount of prison.

It turns out that all our tech gurus needed was an email address. We got it. We’re not telling you how we got it, because that would mean exposing someone we know that knows LeBron. But it took inside information to get that email address. From there, we Dropbox-ed a file to it, with a keylogger, and waited for them to log in. Spoiler alert: That only took five minutes.

From there we signed in, using the referenced link. If you know the email address and password, you’re one step away from getting the juice. Log in to your Azure account, look for your “Web Sites” on the left hand tab.

Side note in case any of LeBron’s people are reading this and wondering if they really had a security breach: Yes, you did. You also host the foundation website on Azure, what appears to be a Nike page that has something to do with shoes, as well as using exactly six virtual machines, and the cloud services for what appear to be LeBron’s Samsung application. Our tech gurus got in, looked at all your shit, put their feet up your couch.

OK, back to the matter at hand. For Azure, your FTP info will be on the right, and it’ll look something like, “ftp://norris-cole-sucks-balls-001.ftp.azurewebsites.windows.net.” The username might look something like “peacemiamiseeyalaterlebronjames.”

Password? In this case, it was the same. Our tech gurus used an FTP client, Filezilla, from their HideMyAss proxy, and logged in. We found two folders. One said “logfiles” and the other was “site.” Guess which one has the site inside it?

We took a look around the .info files and the modules, and found some stylesheets that, we think, someone forgot to clean up. One contained a color scheme that was consistent with the Cavaliers.

This doesn’t mean he’s going to Cleveland. We never wrote that. It could have just been there from his time in Cleveland before–but it was altered recently, and you can see that in the .info files. There were not other files like this. Our purely speculative guess is that someone uploaded something from a stage server, and then forgot to fix it when they were done.

UPDATE

If you head on over to LeBron James’ site, you’ll notice exactly what we reported Thursday. Note the “beehive” comment there. That’s the text from our original, internal email thread yesterday.

Screenshot from 2014-07-11 12_16_40(1)

Furthering thought: There is still an unbuilt page on his server, and it does have the same color scheme on it that we mentioned. They have added eight beehives, and have a crossover link to his Samsung application. Just in case you all want us to call another shot: We expect the color scheme on his site to change imminently, with an emphasis on people downloading the LeBron James app. Not that anyone cares at this point, but that’s what it looks like they’re up to.

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The prevailing notion at the moment is that LeBron James will announce where he’ll be playing his NBA basketball via his website, lebronjames.com within the week. In fact, NBA veteran writer Chris Sheridan is waging his professional reputation on this news, and points to a trusted inside source.

Wednesday night we saw some tweets speculate that Sheridan’s source is lebronjames.com’s web developer. Makes sense–this person would be burdened with building up the announcement via extra pages with, presumably, sparkling new content.

So, we ran a Firebug across lebronjames.com and did some back-end digging in an attempt to look at the source code.

Right now, there are pages on his site that were built Tuesday. There is no content on them, but they do have a color palette.

ffbb42, 012a60, 870038, ffffff

Those are the colors of the Cleveland Cavaliers, for those of you too lazy to plug them into a hex chart. Everything else is the same. His web developer built pages with a navy blue header, crimson font sets, and golden accents. Definitely suspicious, but so was that silly La Familia conspiracy theory.

UPDATE

If you head on over to LeBron James’ site, you’ll notice exactly what we reported Thursday. Note the “beehive” comment there. That’s the text from our original, internal email thread yesterday.

Screenshot from 2014-07-11 12_16_40(1)

Furthering thought: There is still an unbuilt page on his server, and it does have the same color scheme on it that we mentioned. They have added eight beehives, and have a crossover link to his Samsung application. Just in case you all want us to call another shot: We expect the color scheme on his site to change imminently, with an emphasis on people downloading the LeBron James app. Not that anyone cares at this point, but that’s what it looks like they’re up to.

[h/t to associate editor Clyde Lovellette for pointing out the Sheridan angle.]

The original version of this post wrote that Bro Jackson only used a Firebug, when more work was required to log into lebronjames.com. That methodology is outlined in a separate post. Bro Jackson regrets the reporting error.

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International Player’s Anthem: A soccer podcast.

Here we are, friends. The end of the road. All of that panache and zest and lust for life is behind us in Brazil, and only the counter-attacking, stone-faced victors will advance. In a somewhat poetic twist, Germany has the individual skill to play beautiful ball against the elbow-tossing Brazilians on the road. But history favors Brazil–it hasn’t lost at home since 1975. Lionel Messi and Argentina seem to be saving their best for the big boy showcases, while the overachieving Netherlands are riding the best–or at least most deliciously arrogant–coaching job of the tournament behind Louis van Gaal. Stephen Whiting and I talk it out and pick winners.

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International Player’s Anthem: A soccer podcast.

Stephen Whiting and I mourn the World Cup destinies of both the United States and Mexico now that both are out. We also spliced in audio from five or so listeners prior to the U.S. game, and we get back to business handicapping the World Cup’s elite eight by making fearless predictions. Enjoy Brazil 2014′s twilight rounds, we’ll see you after the long weekend.

July 4

Germany v. France, Noon Eastern
Brazil v. Colombia, 4 p.m. Eastern

July 5

Argentina v. Belgium, Noon Eastern
Netherlands v. Costa Rica, 4 p.m. Eastern

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International Player’s Anthem: A soccer podcast.

That was the best group stage ever. Now 32 have become 16 and conclusive results are guaranteed going forward. No draws–just a straight up Sweet 16 that begins Saturday at Noon Eastern. It’s going to absolutely rule. Stephen Whiting and I break down each game, revisit Thursday’s United States drama, and make a series of astonishingly forward-thinking predictions that history will no doubt vindicate. Game on.

All times Central.

Sweet 16

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International Player’s Anthem: A soccer podcast.

It’s game day, mofos. Stephen Whiting and I go live from a local Starbucks and dissect every layer of tissue here. Will Team USA survive the Group of Death? I mean, the long and short of it is that we’re not sure. Ace weatherman Rudy Pearce discusses the knots in his stomach; Whiting’s buddy Clint talks shop; Denver Matt spells it in bones;  and Shane Morris drops confident predictions that’ll make your red blood boil with patriotism.

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“I almost turned off the game in the third quarter.”

Spurs fans could feel the shit storm that turning over homecourt advantage on opening night would bring. It was coming like fleeing flocks of birds. LeBron James was operating at maybe a Pitchfork 6.9, but he was effective–slashing to the basket at will and producing matchup nightmares with every touch. Ray Allen had too many takes, but his hot hand was tickling twine, like, every other possession. Mario Chalmers was an old “Mr. Show” skit–catching fouls and promptly leaving to the bench with every Game 1 entrance–but other than his uselessness the Miami Heat had the gameplan, ball movement, rebounding, and transitional offense to neutralize everything San Antonio had clicking: a bloodthirsty AT&T Center and moneyball, 59 percent shooting.

The building’s busted air conditioning was an emerging inconvenience, but it became instant iconography when the 90-plus degrees stopped James in his tracks, and he exited Game 1 with cramps midway through the fourth. James returned and scored, cutting San Antonio’s lead to two. The guy couldn’t run up the floor on D and his night was finished with about four minutes left.

Danny Green led a 16-3 run to close out Game 1, Spurs win 110-95.

Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker were varying shades of brilliant Thursday night. Duncan was steady, lending 21 points and 10 rebounds to the affair though it felt like he spent half the game under towels. Parker dished eight assists to pair with his 19 points. Ginobili, who limped out of the Finals last year with his poor play, was the emotional conductor–scoring 16 loud points built on threes.

The night quickly devolved into social media-driven, revolving door jokes. Spurs fans invented “LeBroning” which could have been funny three years ago when planking was all the rage among idiots. Gatorade optimized its brand by associating itself with Michael Jordan and pointing out that James was, in fact, Powerade’s client. Hell, I tweeted an unfortunate Powerade ad from this site’s handle.

That was all tired stuff and, frankly, lame, reductive, and kind of racist. One guy tweeted something like “if this were soccer, they would have thrown a banana at James by now.” People really dislike the Miami Heat and it always seems to be about this perception that this NBA Finals matchup comes with “good guys” and “bad guys” sections. I’ve written about this before.

Thank God for Black Twitter. Without drawing too many pointless boundaries, the absolute finest moments of laugh out loud performance art came from the African-American community’s reliable batch of culture observers. With all respect to the Spurs and their seizing of the moment, Game 1 goes to Black Twitter.

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International Player’s Anthem: A soccer podcast.

On this weekend recap edition of the pod, Stephen Whiting and I break down the latest tune-ups for both Mexico and the U.S. squads and interpret their findings in the larger scope of other international matches. We also dissect the weekend’s shocking Declan Hill New York Times report that details the vast shadow cast by Singaporean match-fixing syndicates–one that threatens the integrity of the World Cup less than two weeks before Brazil. We’re 10 days out friends, Brazil is around the corner.

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Like many children, I was briefly obsessed with the idea of being a mutant, what my mutant powers would be, and how I’d re-brand myself when I came out as a mutant to society. The X-Men are awesome and enduring, and there’s a distinct hero for all personality types. The escapism of Wolverine’s reckless, rugged individualist whims. Jean Grey’s dangerous mind. Gambit’s trench coat cool. Nightcrawler’s drama club daily sadness. Storm’s wisdom. Whatever Psylocke actually did around here. 1

I think most children are drawn to X-Men because it’s a series that casts the most innovative and wide net. You cross the bridge from elementary school to middle school, however, and suddenly your Fleer ’94 X-Men cards aren’t conversation pieces. Pretty soon you hit puberty, discover marijuana and rap, and the hearty X-Men content–the comic books–are aggressively discarded. Or in many cases, never actually consumed.

In fact, most X-Men fans have likely never picked up a comic book–even as kids. By the ’80s the stories were told through arcade games, trading cards, and secondhand accounts from the loser kids that read. I asked Robert Inks about this and he concurred.

Mediums of consumption: Foremost is the cartoon for me, followed by that quarter-sucking motherfucker of an arcade game (Nightcrawler was my total jam). After that, it’s other kids’ descriptions of comic book plots on the bus to middle school, other kids’ trading cards, and finally, my one pack of trading cards. Blockbuster also squandered at least $50 of my hard-earned allowance dollars on the NES Wolverine game, but the only thing I learned from that is that Sabretooth is laaaaaaaame. Fun fact: I played the X-Men game because I wasn’t allowed to watch the Simpsons when I was a kid, and I felt like I was disobeying my parents when I played it, even though it was more fun.

Every time there is a detailed look at the best X-Men, it is overrun with issue numbers, specific examples, and spoilers about what eventually happens to Cyclops. Inks and I set out to itemize the tightest X-Men not by their page-turning antics, but rather their feats of strength via more accessible, user-friendly mediums. Recent history may make us prisoners of the moment here, but whatever who cares.

Notes:

  1. Purple fire?

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