Thursday, March 26, 2015

No Lion, I'll Hang With the Four-Legged


At the risk of sounding like the illegitimate son of Marlin Perkins, I have to admit after nearly 60 years on this planet, I have more of an affinity for non-human living things than I do for Homo sapiens.

Some, but not all, family members excepted, I’ll take just about any four-legged, gilled or invertebrate critter over good old Humanus Assholus any day of the week.

The reasoning is pretty simple.

Most living non-humans are simple creatures with very little motivation beyond living and, perhaps, procreating.

They’re in an environment rarely of their own choosing and they attempt to stay alive in it. And in almost every case, their inability to reason or deduce or be creative – those wonderful attributes humans believe make them superior to non-humans – is a plus.

Sure, humans are capable of producing wonderful works of art, curing diseases, creating vehicular travel and dozens of other jaw-dropping treasures. But unfortunately, too often those items are produced with some insane value and ownership strings attached.

Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” is a gorgeous and intriguing creative work, but in order to view its beauty you’d better be prepared to create something called money.

Why?

Because humans actually put arbitrary and ridiculous values on articles that would be better left to be enjoyed, admired or ingested by the masses.

Non-humans have little interest in anything beyond survival. They will help each other without expecting reciprocation. The only time they will fight is if they feel threatened or if something they need to survive or have just given birth to is threatened. Humans will fight over whether a fictitious ball crossed a fictitious line in an X-Box game.

They’ll fight over whether their personal ideologies are accepted or rejected by another group of humans. They’ll fight because they feel like fighting, or kill because they feel like killing or spit on another human being because they feel like spitting.

And should one choose not to answer such a threat, they are branded a pansy, or worse.

As for their place on the planet and looking out for others of the same species, most humans will do whatever the hell they feel like doing with virtually no regard for its repercussions on the environment in which they live or the creatures who inhabit it. When’s the last time a section of land was not permitted to be developed out of concern for the other living things in the immediate vicinity?

Nope, as long as some human is “benefiting” from erecting another house or houses on said property, all is hunky dory.

I can’t recall too many tales about cougars snapping out from the pressures of life and murdering a dozen other cougars. Humans do such things as a matter of course and then achieve some type of notoriety because of it.

Humans love to puff out their collective chests and crow from the tops of high buildings how they band together and help each other in times of crisis. The 9/11 tragedy is the perfect example. “Look how Americans pulled together and lent their unsolicited hands to the area around Ground Zero,” they said. And to their credit, they were right – for about two weeks. As soon as the country returned to some semblance of normalcy, the humans went right back to trying to screw each other out of everything they possessed.

Greed seems to be inherent in the human being, whereas personal survival seems to take the first three places on the non-humans’ list of dos and don’ts.

Oh sure, a couple of dogs may scrap over a bone, but it’s unlikely that same dog will invade his adversary’s home later that day with an Uzi.

If there is a mass homicide involving four-legged critters, bet the furniture it was instigated by the two-legged species ( Michael Vick, take a bow).

Do I have it in for the human race?

Honestly, no, but the jerk-offs are outnumbering the good folk by the minute.

And until the odds begin trending in the other direction I’ll cast my lot with the four-legged, the backbone-less and those with wings.

To put it simply, I prefer the company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Oh, The Madness ...


The country is all aflutter with the thoughts of March Madness, better known as the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament, which began this week.

It’s become a national event, nearly on par with the Super Bowl or the World Series.

Even the president gets five minutes of air time to run down his bracket.

Never was so much made over so little.

Sure, on the surface it’s a fun little exercise, a harmless excursion into hoops fantasia for a couple of weeks, a time when seemingly every person in the good, old US of A is suddenly enthralled with match-up zones and half-court traps and schools like Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount become part of the   everyday sports vernacular that at this time of year is usually reserved for discussions about NBA playoff odds and the baseball rookie phenom who is tearing up the Grapefruit League.

But really, outside of filling out a bracket in the office and watching some privileged pituitary cases miss about a month in the college classroom, who gives a rat’s ass?

Firstly, I’m not provincial enough to believe that the sports world is the exclusive domain of the sports fan.

My wife, who wouldn’t know a jump ball from a wiffle ball, can actually sit down and take in a sporting event without losing her cookies.

That doesn’t mean she can intelligently discuss what’s going on.  But like a two-year- old child examining a spongy rubber ball, she can derive some enjoyment from looking at the colors.

What happens to this country during those weeks of the NCAA tournament is akin to the general population looking at that colorful ball.

Along with the diehards who can tell you the third man off the bench for Valparaiso, unfortunately at tournament time there has sprung a totally annoying subculture known as the Office Pool Assholes.

March Madness comes complete with office pools out the wazoo. You can find them in offices, in factories and seemingly every other place on the planet, while every other TV or radio commercial you see, hear or smell promotes some product with a tie-in to the tournament. Whether it’s a fill-out-a-bracket contest or an ad featuring Budweiser-drinking male and female models going bonkers in a squeaky-clean modern bar and cheering for their tourney favorite, the words “Final Four” are more common these days than “ISIS extremist.”

The problem with the popularity of the tournament, of course, is that is based completely on the brackets, which are as plentiful  as horse dung at Old McDonald’s farm.

It seems it’s mandated that everyone everywhere is obligated to fill one out. And once they do, they instantly become a member of the Office Pool Asshole cult.

The members are loud, they are clueless and worst of all, it’s against the law to club them over the head with a large mallet.

Filling out such a pool, apparently, gives said filler-outer carte blanche to pontificate on anything and everything that has to do with college basketball, even though said office pooler has not watched a college basketball game since last year’s tournament.

The OPAs suddenly become a combination of Dean Smith and John Thompson and monopolize any conversation about the tournament with their meaningless and uneducated drivel.

Now, keep in mind, the bulk of the OPAs arrived at their Final Four choices based on factors such as, having once driven through the city where the school is located, or because their cousin’s son took a college visit there or they like the snazzy nicknames, like Chanticleers or Runnin’ Rebels.

After putting such diligent thought into their choices, they are driven to then loudly pontificate ad infinitum on why Podunk Tech should have held for the last shot.

A week ago said OPA had zero idea this school even existed, now he or she is rattling their spleen cheering for these kids who they will have forgotten about in less than two weeks.

Yep, the most ludicrous part of March Madness is that, while the tournament lasts about a month, the madness usually takes place in the first week or two.

With most brackets shot in the butt by then, and the average American span of attention being what it is, before the field has been whittled down to 16 teams, most of the initial hype has been long forgotten and the office topic du jour goes back to who’s boffing who and who might be laid off.

For that first week or so, though, them thar hoops is the biggest thing going.

Fear not, however,  the next big American event will jump into the void to annoy the common man and fatten rich business folks’ wallets.

In this case, Easter is on its way and soon all those March Madness ads will give way to those featuring the Cadbury bunny.

Now, that’s something to go mad about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Having a Pair Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

Among my many faults – and they are approaching a four-figure count – none of them include going back on something I’ve said.

I don’t mean backing off literally putting my foot up one of the kids’ arseholes after I’ve told them I would if they didn’t do the dishes. I mean, if I voice an opinion, that’s my opinion.

These days, it seems everybody, and I mean even the most trigger-mouthed, don’t-give-a-crap loudmouths are apologizing for something they’ve just said.

Celebrities, near-celebrities and folks who no one would know if they were handed their picture and a complete file on their lives seem to be getting in line to retract something they just said the day before.

The prevailing stance these days seems to be, say something off the top of your head that you really mean, get some unpopular feedback and immediately proclaim yourself desperately sorry enough to wash the offended one’s car for the rest of eternity.

My feeling?

If you’re offended by something you’ve heard come out of my mouth, tough darts, pilgrim, I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t mean it. Did I rattle your delicate widdle sensibilities? I guess that’s what comes with living in a free society.

I guess that’s why we’re honoring veterans and singing the National Anthem every 25 minutes, to protect my right to speak my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t cheer at funerals or badmouth some poor schlub living in a cardboard box in the middle of the nearest metropolis, but if I had said what the rock musician Gene Simmons had said recently about not stopping potential suicides from ending it all, I wouldn’t have backed off said statement. It’s obviously how the guy feels, so why apologize?

Don’t like it? Oh well, you’ll have to hate me forever or stop buying my records or going to my concerts.

And there, ladies and germs, is the rub.

Offended folks don’t tend to buy records made by people who’ve just offended them.

So Simmons’ backtracking had more to do with the money in his back account than the honey in his disposition.

That’s also why Mel Gibson apologized for being an anti-Semitic boob and there’s a parade of Hollywood hot dogs apologizing for using the n-word, the gay-word and every other word that might raise an eyebrow on some housewife in Topeka.

It’s getting so famous folks are having to skate down Sorry Boulevard for something they’ve said that even sounds like it might be insensitive.

All for that all-mighty buck.

Unfortunately, my many readers, I’m not famous and I’m sure as hell not rich.

So you’ll have to put up with my improprieties and wait for the apology.

Hope you’re patient.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Little (Interest) League


If I have to endure one more word, sentence, news story or celebrity comment on Mo’Ne Davis and Little League baseball I may take a bucket of ice water and dump it on my head.

Folks, isn’t enough enough?

Let’s keep things in perspective here.

We’re talking about 12- and 13-year-old kids attempting – and I emphasize attempting – to play baseball. When I turn on the tube to watch an athletic event, my expectations are to see incredible athletes who have put a lifetime’s worth of work into their sport and who are doing incredible things on fields, tracks, courts and sheets of ice. I don’t tune in to see snot-nosed kids pissing away their summer vacations by striking out, throwing pitches into the dirt and picking up grounders and throwing baseballs 15 feet over the heads of their teammates.

They’re only kids, you say? Then what the hell am I doing watching tiny human beings who have yet to

grow pubic hair play baseball? I can watch that by taking a walk around the block. I’m pushing 60 and I can field, hit and throw better than every last one of them. This is entertainment?

Worse yet, these kids are being treated as though they were all miniature Derek Jeters bearing down on winning another World Series crown. Only they have the luxury of being excused for each laughable blunder because, Golly Gee Whiz, they’re only little kids.

We all should go through life with such a free pass.

Believe me; I get the selling point of this summer madness.

Here’s Little League, forever the domain of young boys, and it’s being thrown a figurative curve ball by a young girl who has shown the ability to, gasp, play on even terms with the guys.

On the heels of last winter’s kids’ movie hit, “Frozen,” where the film’s hero was actually a young girl (Hey, who punched out the bad guy at the end?), this story is both timely, has just the right amount of feminist appeal and includes the all-important built-in Baby Picture Appeal – you know, they’re little kids and don’t they all look so cute in their uniforms? – to be a hit.

It’s a can’t miss.

But in my mind, any public activity done by children is only meaningful if your child, or at the very least, a relative’s or a friend’s child is involved.

Otherwise, it’s a bunch of kids trying to do something, whether it’s the science fair, the school play or playing bad baseball in front of tens of thousands of people. And who attends science fairs when their kids don’t have an entry?

Look, the Little League fans for two weeks a year point out, the contests got record ratings and across the country people enjoyed the games.

Yep, exactly the same people who regularly watch reality television and who get upset when they don’t agree with the name a celebrity chooses for their child.

When this nonsense finally concludes, and the Little Leaguers go back to being kids, then we can all go back to watching news footage of grown men dumping buckets of ice water on their heads.

And isn’t this a most intelligent society?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A True Redskin is a Potato


Now, ordinarily I’d take the whining saps trying to change the world of sports, direct them to the closest latrine and have them clean the floor with their tongues.

But this time the whining saps just may be on to something.

Forget the concussions issue – how do you tell folks making seven- and eight-figure salaries are afflicted? They act like they’ve been continuously kicked in the head since 1992 anyway.

Forget the gay-bashing issue – Do these guys really think Michael Sam is the first gay man in an NFL training camp?

No, the bandwagon I’ll gladly jump on while pounding the loudest drum is the Lose the Redskins as a Mascot Express.

To my mind this takes about as much thought as deciding when to breathe.

“Redskins” is a term that has never been anything else besides a racial slur, and for anyone to argue otherwise is only to showcase one’s brain-dead stupidity.

Quick, let’s take the Insult the Ethnic Group Quiz:

Niggers? Check, I understand who you’re referring to.

Crackers? Yep, know that one.

Kikes? Uh-huh.

Krauts? You see where we’re heading here?

Redskins – what group do ya think we could be referring to?

Yessir, folks, there’s no way the word “redskin” is, was or will ever be a compliment.

Yet, there is a professional team in what is arguably the most popular sport in the country and that happens to play in our nation’s capital, that features, nay, revels in, that nickname.

Now, if  we were talking about insulting white people, black people or even brown people, this nickname would have been gone anywhere from 20 to 200 years ago. But these are just Indians, man. Realistically, how much of a fuss are these guys going to kick up? There’re probably only about 10,000 of ‘em on the planet.

So what are they going to do, fire a few flaming arrows at somebody? Paint their faces and attack a few settlers’ homes?

The bottom line here is that the Native Americans have zero power, zippo political pull and really aren’t necessary to court as a block of potential voters.

They’re a major minority, that is being dumped on, spat at and kicked in the soft spot by a bunch of greedy white assholes that screwed them over and stole their land a couple of hundred years ago and now think nothing of committing more of the same types of atrocities today, while stripping away what little self-respect they’ve maintained .

That said, do you think anyone of any substance is going to stand up for their cause?

Are you kidding?

Instead, if these knuckleheads have their way, there’ll continue to be a bunch of buffoons dressing like their convoluted picture of how a native American dressed a couple of centuries ago, sitting in the first row of a football stadium and doing a retarded war dance every time the home team scores.

And that’s not supposed to be demeaning?

Not surprisingly, the folks who are fighting for the Redskins to keep their name appear to be a load of right-wing nut jobs who somehow are equating a possible team name change with the attacking of the World Trade Center.

How dare it be suggested they stop being racist pigs.

Hey, nimrods, it’s an unnecessary insult to a proud group of people who through the duration of their systematic expulsion from their true native land have done nothing but try to keep their heads held high.

In other words, they’re acting more like Americans than the Americans who are figuratively pulling down their pants and tweaking their noses. If you want to start waving the flag in the face of this issue, perhaps you might consider what that flag stands for.

Life, liberty, pride – those same wonderful traits you think nothing of trying to strip away from minorities who only wish to be treated like honest-to-goodness American citizens.

And don’t they deserve to be thought of as proud Americans rather than somebody’s mascot?

 

 

 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Blow Up or Throw Up


After very little thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that Norristown needs to be nuked, done away with, put out of its misery – take your pick.

I reached this conclusion while driving through Norristown’s deplorable streets, sitting at its interminably long stop lights and dealing with its population, most of which is a walking, talking full-page advertisement for the death sentence.

Being the sweetheart of a guy I am, and in the process of recovering from my kidneys being rattled for the 853rd time while driving over potholes that have been ignored by what passes for local government, I actually attempted to come up with something positive about this borough, municipality or whatever it’s being called this week - and came up virtually empty.

And I really tried.

I like Elmwood Park Zoo. Beyond that, several bombing runs are the only cure for what ails this once-proud burg.

Quick, name any store, restaurant, building, hell, anywhere you’d willingly care to venture in this garden spot turned garbage dump.

Culture? Ain’t none in these parts, Baba Looey.

A decent restaurant? I imagine there may be a few places that may not induce full-on, all-night vomiting. But I haven’t run across one.

As for its traffic lights, Norristown still features that type first installed in this country in the 1960s that work off a timer. In other words, you move when the light changes, not when you’re the lone driver in the intersection. So, while you wait for the light to change, you’re subject to whatever dangers exist in that area. And in Norristown, that can mean anything from panhandlers with attitudes to carjackers with large weaponry to drunks with attitudes and large weaponry.

The worst part of this tale of good town gone to hell is that, like many metropolises now in the final stages of degradation, Norristown used to be a very nice, very attractive spot. Downtown was a bustling, hustling cornucopia of interesting stores, friendly faces and mom-and-pop eateries that served unique, stomach-pleasing fare.

Oh, the Friday nights I spent there as a child, following my parents into places like “Woolworth’s” and “John’s Bargain Store.” And if I were really lucky I’d get to go into the “Herman’s Sporting Goods” store, where tykes could revel in all of the must-haves of male childhood, like football helmets and baseball bats.

Inevitably, the evening on the town would end at the “Norris” movie theatre, where the latest first-run double feature would have me and the folks smiling and chatting as we walked back to the car, and all the way home.

There was a time when my mom worked at the long-defunct “Chatlin’s” department store on Main Street, and who could forget that spot’s wooden floors that magically creaked wherever you walked.

Their candy machines were first class, and for Christmas there was that long yuletide display that led directly to the toy department.

Oh, the memories.

Now?

Good luck walking any place on Main Street where you’d feel safe or comfortable. As for the stores, there are virtually none, unless you have something to pawn or an iffy check you need to cash.

There’s nary a friendly face to be found, although these days the blank looks far outweigh the threatening ones.

So what’s there to do with this foul-smelling snake pit of a town?

Clear the decks, warn a handful of the populace and begin the bombing.

There’s a good chance the roads may actually be improved, or at least not made worse, by a little bomb-created bedlam.

When the smoke clears, the process of rebuilding can begin.

Although if those that remain decide to leave things as is, there’s an excellent chance no one will notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Creation for Dummies


For being the self-proclaimed leaders of the free world, Americans sure are dumb.

And day-by-day they seem to be getting dummer and dummerer.

Ran across the results of an Associated Press-GfK poll (whatever the hell that is) in which Americans were asked to express their degree of confidence in certain statements.

Now, some of the statements were slam dunks, such as the one that proclaimed that smoking causes cancer. In those types of statements, the majority of the red, white and blue gang voted an overwhelming and resounding “Yes.”

But when it came to statements regarding what many would consider scientific fact, those descendants of George Washington and Betsy Ross suddenly turned into what too many Americans already are – bible-thumpin’, close-minded chuckleheads.

Despite virtually every scientific mind (without a political agenda) proclaiming that the world is going through a potentially cataclysmic climate change, caused by the trapping of man-made gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, one that could soon turn places like Nevada and Pennsylvania into beachfront property and Florida and New York City Harbor into modern-day replicas of the lost city of Atlantis, the astute minds of America would choose to believe that everything is just hunky dory.

 It’s just a coincidence, they insist, that an iceberg twice the size of the city of Atlanta is currently floating through the southern oceans toward the tip of South America with the potential to bollocks up the shipping lanes in that area (along with raising the water level). In fact, an average of four of 10 polled did not believe that the world is going through a climate change.

Now folks, no one ever accused yours truly of having even the slightest hint of a scientific mind. About the extent of my expertise in this area was knowing what science-genius classmate to sit next to during tests in high school chemistry. But it doesn’t take Mr. Wizard to figure out it must be a tad on the tropical side for a 270-square mile chunk of ice to break away from the frozen mass of an iceberg the size of Rhode Island.

So in this matter, I just might be inclined to vote for the guys and gals in the white coats that have enough protractors and stethoscopes to properly figure this stuff out.

But don’t you worry for a moment about these trivialities, the star-spangled masses say, no matter the dilemma, our biggest, bestest buddy God won’t allow anything bad to happen to us. What we’re experiencing is just a minor bump in the meteorological road, it’s merely a coincidence. Don’t you remember that summer back in 1975 when the same crazy things happened with the weather?

Which leads us to another statement in the poll that has to do with confidence in the statement that  Earth has evolved through natural selection, a process some have dubbed the Big Bang Theory.

This is one of my favorites because there are still a whole lotta reasonably intelligent folks who won’t let go of the Sunday School lesson that told us that God created the heavens and the earth and that it took six days. And on the seventh day God rested.

OK, so let’s get this straight – these zombies are willing to discount the idea that this planet and its countless number of species have become what they have become due to an intricate evolutionary process based on very specific survival needs, but instead choose to believe that a spiritual being bathed in white light flittered about with a magic wand creating grass, dirt and water all out of thin air, along with every living creature from antelope to zebra, without so much as batting an eye.

And then, although this spirit is supposedly All-Powerful, He or She or It had to rest for a full day.

Oh well, I guess that’s why it’s called faith.

In the poll, 51 percent of the participants questioned the Big Bang Theory; while I’m sure the other 49 percent was wondering why the places these lunkheads flock to for worship on the weekends aren’t paying their fair share in taxes.

In perhaps the biggest socks rocker since Sarah Palin couldn’t remember what magazines she reads, in those poll questions that dealt in taking the science explanation over the spiritual explanation, self-proclaimed Christians almost unanimously voted for the Big Guy in the Sky (if you could only see the look of shock on my face).

Try to understand this folks, your faith is admirable, even cute in a naïve kind of way. But the question that needs asked is why the scientific community would perpetuate these ideas if they had no merit?

They’re not getting brownie points for their findings. They’re not exempt from the Armageddon they’ve forecast just because they’ve discovered the possibility of it happening.

They’re in the same hellbound handbasket as the rest of us.

Plus, the vast majority of these learned people are the same God-fearin’ folk you sit next to in your house of worship.  They have no axes to grind, they’re not trying to convince the population that there is no supreme being. They’re just coming across the same types of life questions we all ask and finding answers the best way they know how.

And those answers point to what they see as a fact – if the people of the world continue figuratively pissing on the planet, we’re all headed up ol’ Fecal Creek.

If you choose to believe that the bearded guy in white pajamas is gonna save you, I wish you well.

But boy, are you dumb.