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.


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.