Monday, November 3, 2008

My Own Dewey Defeats Truman?

Punditrybedamned, there's only one undeniable truth about this year's Election Night soiree: Nearly half of the American electorate will be wickedly pissed off when they climb into bed tomorrow night. A much smaller yet unquestionably sizeable segment of the American electorate will be wickedly pissed on when they climb into bed tomorrow night, if Craigslist personals and a cursory googling of the term "kinky watersports" is any indication. I'm betting a whole bushel of closet-creepy Republicans will fall into both camps.

A particularly cautious brand of optimism pervades much of the air left of center, but there's literally no reason to be too worried about this one. When it comes down to it, Barack Obama has a much better shot of winning 370 electoral votes than John McCain does of winning the requisite 270 it takes to ascend to the highest office in these United States. Ultimately my proprietary projection analysis shows Senator Obamuhhhh with a relative landslide victory of 322-216 -- there was no October surprise, there will be no last-minute undecided shift and the only Bradley Effect will be the ripples on Dollar Bill's chin if the former senator happens to see airtime on a cable news channel.

The grossly incompetent McCain campaign and its affiliated Republican attack machine tried to throw everything they had at "that one." But they learned what the reigning first family of Democratic politics learned in the primary: Nothing sticks to Obama -- he's more Teflon than John Gotti and Slick Willie combined.

Obama has no experience. Obama's a secret Muslim. Obama's an Arab. Obama's an out-of-touch elitist. Obama's reverend is an anti-American racist. Obama's top donor is a corrupt convict. Obama pals around with domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers. Obama pals around with Palestinian terrorists like Rashid Khalidi. Obama's too radical for mainstream America. Obama wants to spread your wealth. Obama's a Socialist. Obama's a Marxist. Obama wasn't born in this country. Obama works with ACORN. Obama hasn't released his full medical records. Obama wants reparations. Obama wants to bankrupt the coal industry. Obama's got the media in his pocket.

I half-expect to see "Obama Uses Trig Palin As Dildo To Rape Poor Innocent Bristol, Laughs About It" on the Drudge Report tomorrow morning.

But as the negative attacks continue, the junior senator from Illinois' lead keeps widening. Is the economy bad enough that the majority of Americans want anybody but a Republican in the Oval Office? That's part of it, sure. People are finally realizing that the most accurate and honest political statement on the campaign trail came from Obama during the tough primary at a fundraiser in San Francisco when he said: "So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." The media ate it up as ratings and circulation fodder, and Obama's opponents seized on this perceived gaffe that'd surely lose him some key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Let's back up and take that quote in context. Here's the lead-in that was conveniently clipped from the front of the money shot above: "But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not."

That quotation makes much more sense now, no? And, to his immense credit, Obama's done just what he said in my italicized excerpt. The Democrat's campaign has surely made some missteps, but this has been his crowning achievement, what's made him so successful -- his mix of the ground game and passing game has no doubt persuaded working-class and middle-class folks that it's time to vote with the wallet and family budget rather than the guns and religion. Americans by and large don't want "Country First." No, it's "My Family First," and Obama has managed to convince people he has the capacity to let them dream again, and dream bigger.

But even more so than that, and more than the mandate for Change we'll see declared in Grant Park tomorrow night, the symbol of Obama has more support than the symbol of McCain. Never before in my lifetime has an election held up two diametrically opposed archetypes for the electorate to back: McCain represents Old America, mostly baby boomers and their surviving parents who think America has been the world's only dominant superpower and will forever be; Obama represents the New School, mostly young professionals and educated elites who understand we live in a world in which America will be a big part of an increasingly intricate global network. McCain's supporters think we're entitled to "good-paying American jobs," whereas Obama's supporters realize more and more countries are graduating from the kid's table to the adults' dinner. Obama's supporters understand that every move we make impacts the rest of the world, whereas McCain's supporters just don't particularly give a shit. America, fuck yeah.

The two archetypes over the past year have been asking people to line up behind them. Even if you don't fit the mold exactly, the time to officially choose a side is tomorrow. And what we've seen, even with the introduction of Sarah Palin, is that the Us Vs. Them war we expected never materialized at the level we witnessed in 2004. No, the Us Vs. Them we saw this time was more economic and geopolitical in nature, and it looks like a majority of the American people find Obama's vision if the world to be more palatable. At some point we must realize that the America's long era of world dominance is over, but that we'll still be okay in the end if we come to terms with this reality. We must change our worldview, not just our domestic leaders. That point has come. And that's the mandate for Change.

After nearly two years of the most expensive and perhaps emotional campaign in history, I can't wait for this to end tomorrow night, and by all accounts it should end positively. So, in advance, I'm sorry that almost half the country will feel like they've been hosed tomorrow night. I'm just glad that this time, it's the other half.

(Oh, and if McCain somehow pulls off the impossible...I was jus' keeeeding!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Return: I've Got a Golden Ticket

A safe estimate would put the number of ticket requests for the upcoming Phish reunion at 250,000, all vying for maybe 15,000 pre-sale ducats for the three-night return engagement at the Hampton Coliseum. Somehow, some way, by the grace of the gods, my face-value dream hath come wondrously wet.

Until the unlikely confirmation came through earlier this evening, I could barely muster the excitement for the reunion I'd normally expect from my compulsive self. It's difficult for me to get too tangibly amped for a wedding when the engagement news begins to circulate. Unless there's a quasi-eloping situation in the offing, the nuptials generally loom way too far into the future to garner that genuine feeling of tingling anticipation. Eventually that excitement materializes, but at first, the natural reaction is something like "Oh, shit, well, that'll be cool. Open bar."

Similarly, despite it's obvious awesomeness on every level, it's been difficult for me to get too tangibly geeked for this Phish reunion, nearly five years in the making. I know what lays in wait, but the early-March run won't pop up on the "awesome things to do this weekend" horizon for another five months. For now, it's just another future weekend event without an open bar.

Make no mistake, hysteria is out there. Most of the popular rock band Phish's fans are overtly and rightly freaking the fuck out about the return of the subjectively greatest rock and roll band of our lifetimes. I know I will be -- and this day started me down that path -- but I'm still not entirely there yet. I want these shows here now. I don't want to wait through pumpkins and Macy's-sponsored parades. I don't want to wait through Jesus-atop-Santa chickenfights and Time Square confetti. I don't want to wait for that Punxsutawny rodent to decide whether or not we'll be freezing our wintry nips off for three more fortnights. I want a Phish show now. Hey, Daddy, I want a Phish show. I want you to get me a Phish show right away!

At this juncture it's a far-off concept. A post-hiatus, post-breakup Phish show is like an interstate Denny's when you're at your hungriest -- you know it's coming, but it ain't quite here yet. I can visualize the lots and fans and lights and grins, but it's hard to imagine the Hampton house lights coming down and the smoke going up. I can recollect all the notes and chords and songs and sets I've heard before, but it's hard to imagine the sound of those four brilliant dorks collaborating on a public stage again. I can remember the scent of the patchouli and reefer and...ahhh, shit, sorry, I just gagged a bit from the imaginary but vicious stench of patchouli -- 'tis enough to permanently damage the olfactory receptors and drive a man to assault and/or battery.

There's been nothing more enjoyable in this world than a well-executed Phish show (that hyphenated modifier clearly excludes the no joy in mudville called Coventry). From the "Here we go" at the start of the road trip to the "Holy fuck, what a day" at the end, there's nowhere I'd rather be on March 6th than in Virginia (regardless of whether they go Bradley Effect on us in November). If I didn't get lucky tonight, who knows what I'd be spouting off on this here rag. All I know is that when it comes down to it, I wouldn't miss the release after almost five years of tension. I couldn't. I wouldn't miss the adrenaline rush in between the PA's last song and the band's first note. I couldn't. I wouldn't miss the ability to high-five a stranger without impunity. I couldn't. I wouldn't miss the Curtain With exorcism opener. I couldn't.

But right now, I'm just a guy, like many of you (and sorry for the definitive gender use, but you are likely guys due to the sausage festiness of Phish shows), dealing with a stressful job and a suddenly Trans-Atlantic relationship trying to make it through the week just to watch a football game. The excitement will build, but tonight, tonight I'm in a place I'd never thought I'd be, the stoic lifelong fan with an e-mail confirmation and a whole lot of time before it gets real. Oh, but when it gets real, that's boogie time. That's the goods.

Good luck with The Ticket Master, my friends. I'll see youse all there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen...The Phish

It's on. It's very much a go. The Phish from Vermont. The popular rock band Phish returns. And they come bearing a cool little video and six months full of butterflies. Welcome back, losers.
For now head on over to our good friends over at Hidden Track for all the latest...I'll have some thoughts in a bit.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

You Done Fucked Us Up Good, Man

Flush with Clintonian surplus, a wide-eyed George W. Bush wanted desperately to re-make America in his own brush-clearing, compassionate conservative image. So the president fed us some lines straight from the hook-line-sinker playbook, preying on our post-90s naiveté by touting his [ready-to-profit friends’] vision of The Ownership Society.

He's failed miserably. Here's the closest the Bush White House has come to achieving their Ownership Society: With its bailout largesse, private dealmaking and specially financed loans, the federal government does now own much of our society. Ironic how seven years ago we’re told to boycott the French; and here we stand now, adopting their very ideals.

Instead, Bush's brazen ideological architects will leave office having produced, more astonishingly, The Schizophrenic Society. After eight brutally deflating years of embarrassing misadventures and horrible policy-making, nobody out there quite knows whom to believe and whom to trust, where to turn and where to hide. We don’t know who among us is ultimately right and who is unfathomably, unconscionably wrong, who has our best economic and social interests at heart and who wants to make a special rapey kind of love to our faceholes. We're in a constant state of ever-deepening paranoia.

The Bush administration over the last eight years has resurrected the concept of the schizogenic mother, the idea that parental behavior causes mental illness in the child. Says my good friend Dr. Hoobs, a foremost scholar of all things psychology, by presenting two (or more) conflicting messages, the child's put in a double bind -- a damned if you do and damned if you don't unanswerable conflict that can cause intense psychological damage.

These schmucks in the White House are so expert at inflicting this mental illness that it, more than anything else, has fundamentally changed the outlook of the nation. More than 9/11 and the war, more than the Wall Street meltdown and the subsequent bailouts, more than the whole using the Constitution as toilet paper thing, the Bush administration's constant stream of conflicting messages on every issue has left the American populace in a delusional state of reality.

They tell us we have to go to war because of an imminent threat, that there are weapons of mass destruction. But we also have to depose tyranny and keep liberty on the march (offer not valid in North Korea, Cuba, and most of Africa). They tell us free-market economics is the only way to keep democratic capitalism alive. But we also have to intervene in the financial mess with nearly a trillion bucks worth of your money. They tell us we have to protect the founding father-inspired rights of our citizens. But our fingers were totally crossed, brah. Sorry for the sour body language.

Often times, Dr. Hoobs tells me, the schizophenic child reacts to this illness by creating an internal world of fantasy, contributing to an utter confusion as to what's actual reality. And you can see this manifesting itself in the ever-present escapism we see on a daily basis: reality television, interactive gamer culture, Internet communion. Our brains are constantly inundated with images outside our genuine experiences, furthering our rampant delusions. We're fucked, and it ain't just the economy and the war. We're well and truly the head.

So when someone asks, "Do you think we need a bailout?," the right answer should be, "Why ask me? I'm fucking lost. I'm fucking sick. I'm pleading insanity, and so should you." How do we know who's right on Georgia, or a financial rescue, or what constitutes torture? How do we know whom to follow? You're asking complex issues of people that at this point in the country's history could all plead insanity on everything from the election to the economy to the world at large. And a president in search of a legacy just found an incredibly unflattering one: the Schizophrenic Society. Congratulations, folks, you've inflicted illness on the American public.

Liberals playing its not-so-friendly game of I’m Gonna Git You, Moosesucka with Us Versus Them Specialist Sarah Palin thought they had their checkmate when Charlie Gibson threw down the now-famous Bush Doctrine Gauntlet to the world’s most politically dangerous Lenscrafters model. Gibson failed miserably because his non-smoking gun backfired: It’s fairly easy to prove beyond all doubt that the Bush Doctrine actually has as few as four and as many as six wonky definitions.

So perhaps we should put aside the idea of the Bush Doctrine from public consciousness. We should be talking about the dreaded Bush Syndrome. It's a doozy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Be Back Shortly

There's a whole lotta shit goin' down right now. As such, I'm suspending my blog. I can't do multiple things at once, even though I really want you to read it. I trust this is the right decision. I'll pick it up when it's politically convenient for me to do so again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Someone Please Code Red This Fucker...

Someone should cram that sweat-stained bloody sock right down Curt Schilling's gullet and pray to the God of Attention-Seeking Douchefaces that it has the same effect it had on Private Willie Santiago down in Gitmo. It seems to me that death by lactic acidosis may be the only way to shut this blustery blowhard up for good.

The future 300-pound, disabled right-hander has issued yet another one of his classic Unnecessary Punditry barbs. Schilling, apparently with his oversized finger on the pulse of everything New York, claims the entire New York region is cheering Tom Brady's season-ending injury, a claim I have yet to see in person or read in print. Nonetheless, that didn't stop the man whose nose is everywhere but his own sad, sorry business of being a fat fuck with too much time on his hands from sounding off anyway:
"The euphoria in New York is palpable," Schilling said. "The Yankees suck this year and they are bitter and mad and making excuses over that. Now they got Tom going down so New York's excited. It's unfortunate, but when you crawl to the top of the pile you will have people trying to knock you down."
To be fair, the Yankees do suck. That's no secret. To be unfair (or, real), Schilling is a loudmouth know-it-all who, in reality, knows next to nothing. They say it's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt, an adage for which the Big Schill has absolutely no use or no regard. Only full-fledged idiots cheer for other people's major injuries, and while many Jets fans perked up when they heard one of the league's best players and Jets' chief rivals was lost for the year, that's not to be confused with palpable euphoria (we'll save that for when someone publicly punches Schilling in his chubby face).

Perhaps more importantly, does Schilling understand how New York sports fans operate? He does know that not everybody roots together, right? For instance, there are these people known as Giants fans, which Schilling should recognize as the people who are euphoric about their team's winning the Super Bowl against Brady's, placing them firmly on the Don't Care Whether Brady Gets Horribly Injured Or Facefucks a Moose list. Then there are these other people called Mets fans, who generally hate the Yankees just as much as Red Sawx supporters, and these New Yorkers aren't "bitter" and "mad" because their team is actually in first place, unlike the second-place Sawx.

Schilling's opinions are often as bloated as his waistline and, unusually for a pitcher with so few walks, way off target. This one's especially stupid, however, because it shows his willingness to admit his warped perspective holds no roots in reality. The only way New York will truly be unified in euphoria is when someone permanently sews up this fat fuck's cakehole and breaks his stumpy blogging fingers.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One Last Note on the Palin Nomination

After two straight political posts, let's get back to what we do best: Being jerks.

Slack LaLane co-founder Don Fiedler and I had some brunch with our main squeezes and some associates yesterday when we started talking about The Politics. We discussed Palin's well-delivered though monumentally dumb zinger about how community organizers are like mayors without the responsibilities (the line that set me off on Thursday), and that's when we figured out who the perfect running mate for Obama would have been.

Obama should have picked that poor Austrian woman whose father locked her in their windowless basement for 24 years and fathered seven children with her. I'd love to see her step up to the DNC podium and take this cheap shot at Johnny Mac:

"I guess a prisoner of war is sort of like being locked in your basement for 24 years, except that you aren't raped by your dad."

Full applause. Tons of laughs. Check mate, fuckers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Us & Them...and People Like You

Took me a few days, but I've finally got it. Sarah Palin isn't just the wild card, the catalyst, the spark. Her nomination delivers exactly what this election cycle's been missing: the wedge. Leave it to an Alaskan to heat things up.

Palin brings "people like you" back to the table. Always to Republican advantage, she revives the Culture Wars, which had been at best a series of small skirmishes fought mainly on the world wide web. You couldn't play the People Like You card with Obama, because then you'd be a racist. You couldn't play the People Like You card with McCain, because then you'd be an ageist, and worse, an ageist that's against the troops. But with Palin, a small-town hockey mom governor with charisma and poise and a shitload of familial shenanigans and right-wing social ideologies, we're about to hear "What people like you don't understand" a whole lot more than if Romney, Pawlenty or Lieberman snagged the VP slot.

So now this election's not about the polarizing war. Now it's not about the sputtering economy. Now it's not about rising gas prices, stagnant wages or the declining standard of living for many middle and working-class families.

Now it's about wholesome small-town folks versus those assholes in the big bad city.

Now it's about our social wedge issues: An unmarried pregnant teenage daughter plays midwife to a rekindled abortion debate; support for the 1998 Alaskan constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage riles the gays; B-roll footage of her firing semi-automatic weapons triggers the gun control shootout; a strapping 19-year-old Army son questions everyone's Do You Support Our Troops Enough? nationalism; Palin's questionable church sermon video brings God into the fold; and new revelations about her attending five colleges in six years matriculates the furor over educated elitist snobbery.

Oh, it's on like Donkey Kong.

Focus on the Family fuckfaceian founder James Dobson declared last year that he wouldn't help elect McCain: "Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances," he said. Enter Alaskan Tina Fey and you've got yourself a whole lotta flip-flopping before God. Just this week Dobson praised Palin, giving McCain renewed support from the evangelicals that helped re-elect Bush in the name of Baby Jesus. McCain doesn't have to court the wedge issue voters when Dobson's saying things like: "...Now especially with this selection, with just an outstanding V.P. candidate as a running mate, I tell you what I am relieved and very excited."

I fell for it. Mostly everyone fell for it. This is what McCain's people wanted. They may not have vetted her accurately, but I doubt they even care now. If we thought 2004 was bad, the Culture War is about to get more heated than ever. When Palin last night delivered the line, "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities," I didn't even realize how deep that cut. If I were the Obama camp, I'd respond with something like this:

"How dare this two-bit hack knock community organizers when they're the people who get stuff done when their mayors and governors don't, or can't, or won't? How dare she put down the responsibilities of people who are out on the frontlines to help fight AIDS and homelessness, hunger and child abuse? How dare she belittle the efforts of REAL people taking REAL stands against the problems they face in their own communities, while she sits in a comfortable desk chair and contributes nothing but a signature or a veto?"

Only, as I've come to realize in the past 24 hours, that answer means nothing. No matter how well rebutted, their ultimate point is that "community organizers" represent big-city liberal ideology, and the concept itself will always be a joke to Them. Just as a mayor of 6,000 people thinking it's a real job that counts as experience towards the presidency of these United States will always be a joke to Us. There just will always be a divide between the town and the city, the hustle and the flow, the conservatives and the liberals. But when social conservatism gets in the way of a perfectly good election, all hell breaks loose. And Us and Them fever pisses all over the rulebook.

It was always there, but now it's everywhere. And now it gets ugly.

(Oh, and on a side note, is John McCain a POW? Because if he is, they might want to play that up a little more. I am just finding out about this.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Pains for the Maverick

Last night I returned from literal heaps of fresh mussels and three picturesque rounds of golf on Prince Edward Island and found the world not quite the same as when I left.

Mostly out of touch with the outside world, I came home to discover that Hurricane Gustav forced the evacuation of the entire city of New Orleans (blacks too, this time!), photogenic striker Fernando Torres limped off the pitch and joined talismanic midfielder Steven Gerrard on the Liverpool injured list, the Dutch believe an American attack on Iran's nuclear program is imminent, our pets' heads even may or may not be falling off. and the Republicans delivered the all-time greatest post-convention gift to their Democratic counterparts: In picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to fill the ticket, the McCain campaign effectively took the "experience to be president" meme off the table.

Republicans everywhere rejoiced when Obama selected Joey The Hairplug -- after all, how can you claim with a straight, half-black face to be the Campaign of Change when the guy just below you on the ticket has three decades of stereotypical Washington insider experience, a man with political solids owed and ties to corporate lobbyists? And then a week later, having learned nothing at all, the McCain campaign fumbled the ball right back (or the Obama campaign broke serve right back, depending on whether you're more excited for the start of the NFL season or the last week of the US Open). You can't be about the Ready To Leadness of the opposition candidate when you're a 72-year-old stressed-out cancer survivor who just selected to be your running mate the two-year governor of the 48th most populous state.

If you're one Girl Jumping Out of a Cake Surprise away from certain death, and the whole theme of your campaign surrounds your opponent's inexperience, but you still want to make the maverick choice, you might want to choose an outsider governor whose state's population density is more than 1.1 people per square mile (hint: there are 49 other states from which to select).

Clearly McCain was pandering to the frowning, frumpy pantsuits in Hillary Clinton's camp. McCain can win this election, and the best place for him to look for votes is in the same place that put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. At least 30 percent of Clinton's primary voters say they won't vote for Obama, so McCain's going for the Adams Apple-less jugular and pandering to women. Or is he? He (well, at least his campaign) has to be smart enough to know women will not flock to a woman who has run and will as pro-life in all cases, pro-Creationism in schools and pro-Pat Buchanan.

So maybe she was just a last-minute curveball substitute for someone's turning them down or their backing out of a more-qualified candidate. Joe Lieberman? McCain loves him, especially after Joe let him cheat off him on the Shia/Sunni test. But he already lost once, and he's way too Jewy and boring. Charlie Crist? I said glass celing, not "glass closet." Chuck Todd knows what's up. Mitt Romney? America fucking hates Mormons. The right answer would probably have been Tim Pawlenty -- yes, that Tim Pawlenty.

Elections are not won or lost on the bottom of the ticket, but Palin poses some serious problems for McCain. Conservatives love her, and they're donating like mad again, but this one should unravel pretty quickly. For one, she's under fucking investigation for abuse of power (if true, she'd fit right in with the current administration of fuckfaces). Similarly, she was nearly recalled as Mayor of Wasilla for firing the police chief and library director for not supporting in her 1996 race. And I bet you'll be hearing all day and night about the allegations that her son is really her daughter's son, and even more about how her 17-year-old daughter actually is pregnant this time for real. Sick vetting, Jonny Mac, sick vetting. Admit that the only thing your campaign learned about her is that she didn't use "boom goes the dynamite" in her sportscast:

Families should be off-limits, but they never are. Ask Chelsea Clinton how much she loved 1991-2000. So allow me to pose another question altogether. Political gain aside, does it not make Palin either a horrible mother or incredibly naive to put her daughter in this position? Kids and families should be out of bounds, be we all know they're not. She had to know this issue (the real pregnancy) was going to come up and be a major national news story had she decided to prioritize personal and political ambition above her family's privacy. And she went ahead and did it anyway.

The media shouldn't be focused on this shit, but they are, and now we have blogs that care about it a whole lot more. So personal privacy among our politicians (shit, even among our citizens) is a thing of the past. She knew that. By accepting his nomination, she basically said "Fuck it, my daughter will deal with it somehow whether she likes it or not." Sick parenting, Sarah, sick parenting.

And while families should be off limits, this whole thing speaks to hypocrisy and judgment. And, to me, that's an issue now. After GWB's administration, I think it's of the highest importance to know the character and integrity content of my candidates and their veeps -- this whole scenario (both the real and possibly fake pregnancies) speaks volumes to those facets of her as a person. This could (and should) also be a big problem for McCain (but probably won't). Even though I don't want to see the story focus on the poor girl here, the media should focus on how McCain had to know about this in the vetting process, and yet he still chose her. Huge risk for such little reward. Maybe he also thinks she looks like Tina Fey's aunt.

I love this for one simple reason: It has to put the religious right and Family Values Republicans in a bind, a real tough pickle. They now have to vote for an admitted adulterer who has not denied calling his wife a "trollop" and "cunt" and the mother who let her kid go out and get pregnant [at least] once. Abstinence-only in the statehouse, but no abstinence-only in the Palin house? Poor form, Palin. I'm gonna love it when these assholes vote for that wholesome family-values pairing, while Obama and Biden have two of the seemingly best family stories in American politics today. Fucking hypocrites.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Michael Phelps/Joe Isuzu Quickie

As if everybody's favorite game -- Six Degrees of Richard Mulligan -- couldn't get any crazier, as of Saturday night we can now jump from the late great comedic genius slash facial contortionist to eight-time gold medal winner Michael Phelps in one awesome fell swoop.

My double take on the 2/3 train today could hardly be contained when I read the following sentence in this morning's NY Post:
Last Saturday night, nearly 40 million viewers watched Phelps etch his name into the history books with his record eighth gold medal of the games - NBC's biggest Saturday night audience in 18 years (falling just short of a 1990 episode of "Empty Nest").
Wait, seriously? An episode of Empty Fucking Nest snagged FORTY MILLION VIEWERS. And that's held up as the most watched Saturday night television event for NBC over the last two decades?! Baffling!

So I did some digging, and it turns out the number is closer to 31.5 million viewers, but still...we are talking about the Golden Girls spin-off with the silly dog licking that old dude's balls in the opening credits, right?

I don't care if that was the particular episode when the Westons' neighbor Sophia Petrillo came over and told Sicilian one-liners for an hour, or the one where sassy nurse Laverne gave equally sassy womanizing and food-eating neighbor Charley a softcore rusty trombone in the Floridian-style kitchen, that just doesn't make a lick of sense.

More than 30 million people? Shit, Arrested Development barely broke six million each week. I just can't see how 31.4 million people tuned in to decide whether they enjoy the cool sister more than the neurotic one, or whether that goddamn dog would be up to his usual hilarious antics and eyebrow-related hijinx, or whether Dr. Weston would once again be foiled by the twang of Laverne's southern drawl. Baffling!

Oh well. Best not think too deeply on this one. And I guess I'm being a bit harsh considering I was definitely part of Empty Nest's audience that night. It was probably fantastic.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hating Phelps? You Might Be a Communiss.

It's here. As the Inevitable Phelps Backlash begins to permeate the webosphere, the message boards and your friendly neighborhood conversation, it may feel normal to buy into the anti-hype. But, in reality, downplaying Michael Phelps' facefucking of the aquatic competition in Beijing this time around is more messed up than the 23-year-old's bunk orthodonture.

There's no doubt that the mainstream media embarrassingly fellates this guy at every opportunity (hey, media, try not to suck Phelps' dick on the way to the Water Cube!). There's no doubt that they even cup the balls while they're doing it. But to assert online, in a bar or on your cellular telephone to anyone who will listen that you couldn't care less about Phelps is to admit you enjoy missing out on the rare occasions that prophecies -- both self-fulfilling and bestowed upon others -- actually come true.

How many times have we been disappointed by unexpected defeat and/or mediocrity under the burden of zaftig expectations? How many times have we been promised Shinola and delivered shit in a flaming paper bag? One actually works out for us, and we sit here and pretend we're too cool to care? What is this, the United States of Williamsburg? I'm not the most jingoistic patriot out there, but seeing Phelps proudly represent the Stars and Stripes kinda makes me want to release the bald eagle I've been torturing in captivity as a spectacular protest since the start of the Iraq War.

For all our historic medals, for all our summer dominance through the years, think about our epic failures over the last two decades. For months we were bombarded with Dan and Dave propaganda, as if the Decathlon were to be a two-man event in Barcelona. Dan O'Brien didn't even qualify for the fucking games, and Dave Johnson won a bronze, which is worse than kissing your sister -- it's more like licking your sister's asshole. Michelle Kwan had three tries to turn her nine U.S. Championships and five World Championships into gold medals and lift the U.S. skating program out of Kerrigan/Harding Hell. She proceeded to lose to a 15-year-old (non-Chinese gymnast) in 1998 and a chick with the word "slut" in her last name in 2002.

World champion Dan Jansen had been considered one of the best speed skaters in history before crashing out sans even one medal in three straight games from 1984 to 1992 (eventually he got his shit together and triumphed in the 1994 games). Bode Miller was expected to wreck some shit at the Turin Olympics, but he failed to medal in all five of his downhill events and squandered all his national goodwill in one fell swoop (much like America itself).

The U.S. Men's Hockey team upset the 51st State and won the World Championships in '96 by defeating Canada; then in promptly ate shit in '98 and left a wake of rock star-level disaster behind in Nagano's Olympic Village. The U.S. Men's Basketball team in 2004 featured the world's best players, but like Dave Johnson, they came home with a weird-looking material called bronze. Mary Decker Slaney may be the best American distance runner of all-time, and she couldn't even medal. Shit, she couldn't even make it through a race without colliding with small barefooted South African women.

Now that Phelps has achieved his eight-medal goal, I'm sure the growing anti-Phelps minority, like Hispanics, will increase in number and make more noise. "I've had it with the coverage," they'll sing and shout and snap in unison like a Broadway ensemble. "Is that a speech impediment?," they'll all ask correctly. "I don't give a shit about swimming for 206 weeks every four years, why would I care for these two weeks?," they may question.

But I can't hear this one enough. We revel at the water cooler when our domestic sports heroes succeed, but through the years we've grown more accustomed to reveling in the defeat of our international stars. This should be our time to celebrate the hell out of what this man has been able to accomplish. Most of us would have myocardial infarction episodes if we swam half as fast in a quarter of the races he's won in Beijing. He's done it with aplomb and a smile. He's been the perfect interview. He's been the perfect Olympian.

Perhaps the hardest thing in sports is to win when you're supposed to win. There's no underestimating how difficult it is to actually take home the gold when you're the clear-cut favorite. Phelps didn't just win gold -- he won eight of them. And before you say "But he had more chances," it's important to note how racing as often as he did would preclude him from winning this many. Just ask Katie Hoff, who bit off more than she could chew (and is now just one more disappointing Olympics in 2012 away from a life in softcore porn photo shoots). Many of us have wasted more time watching insignificant individual and team sports than we'd care to admit, so when true history comes along, it only makes sense to salute the greatness of this Bal'more native.

Fuck the new record-breaking swimsuits. Fuck the world records. Every swimmer in every lane had the same opportunity to take down Phelps and his American relay teammates. Several came close, but in the end, I'm not sure we'll ever witness a display as nasty as we saw in the Water Cube lo this past fortnight (or in Phelps' mouth). Whether he is or is not the best American Olympian of all-time is surely up for debate. But one thing is for sure: If you buy into the backlash, you're a giant fuckface.

Finally, on a non-Phelps but "best of all-time" note, this may be the best obituary ever written. Or the worst. Either way, this one even beats "beloved cunt."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Biggest Reddest Return

I shall add no official comment to the embedded jubilee below. I'm simply sittin' here on a Sunday, lovin' this clip like McDonald's:

Ba da bum bum buhhhhh...I'm lovin' it. Welcome back, killer.

(For more on the Return of the Jedi, head on over to the goodfolk at Hidden Track -- between the live blog, the Bisco lot dog shenanigans, the audio streams and downloads and all the videos, they certainly stuffed their collective cock in every orifice of this thing.)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

On Phillies Outfielder Pat Burrell

"He's a total dirtbag. He's the type of guy that walks into an elementary school, rapes the teacher, beats the kids, takes a shit on a desk and burns down the classroom." --Mets Fan Pinky

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

C'mon, Alaska, Yer Better Than That

I've taken to writing more longwinded posts in lieu of the quick hits on Slack LaLane, but we're going old school with this one.

Alaska's Ted "Bridge To Nowhere" Stevens, the longest-serving Republican Senator and former chairman of the Appropriations Committee, was indicted today on "seven counts of failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in services from an oil services company that helped renovate his home." No gouda.

The AP put out some biographical information about Stevens in the wake of his indictment, but it left out some key pieces: He's up for re-election, he's batshit crazy, he's a bumbling buffoon and he's got no business representing a lemonade stand, let alone a state and a country. I'm sure you all remember him for calling the Internet a "series of tubes" a few years back, but when's the last time you heard the two minutes that preceded that statement? Have you ever? In a million years, you'd never guess that this is a man charged with making public policy for 300 million people. Let's take an aural gander:

My 102-year-old great grandmother who still won't allow black people in her home and calls every Hispanic person "waiter" understands the world wide web better than this clown.

Monday, July 28, 2008

If Only McDonald's Were Switzerland

Pop quiz, hotshot. Which one of these two scenes grosses you out more: a) Two women or two men cohabitating and sporting bands around their left ring fingers, basically enjoying normal, boring married lives; or b) A frumpy orca-fat behemoth lady with a FUPA the size of Sweden pouring over the vast waistline of her Mom Jeans chomping on 75 grams of dripping grease fat during one of her two early lunches?

Since it's wildly obvious to everyone except brain-dead liberals that homosexters are disgusting, amoral animals, I'd go with the former. I'll tell y'all right now, there are only two things more disturbing than letting members of the same sex enter into this holy bond of matrimony that grows stronger and more sanctified with each passing year. One is the fact that I actually used the phrase "Clubhouse Lester" to describe Manny Ramirez's narcissistic team-killing antics this past weekend; the second, more germane to the point, is when companies refuse to "stay neutral in the culture war over homosexuality," or better yet, when they refuse to take the side of hardworking Americans like me who have never met a homosexual but see plenty of then on B-roll during the Hannity program.

And that's why I wholeheartedly endorse the American Family Association's decision to coordinate a nationwide boycott of the McDonald's corporation. The AFA's heroic boycott is about values, our values, and it's motivated by the fact that McDonald's has sullied its good family name by throwing "the full weight of their corporation to promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage."

Here I am, peacefully trying to kill myself slowly and drive up your insurance premiums with double cheeseburger value meals and thrice-daily McFlurries, but I can't shake the image of two people of the same sex that I'll never actually meet actually getting each other! That kills me more than clogged arteries ever will. So it's with a heavy (failing) heart that I must swear off the golden arches forever in order to ensure my hard-earned money doesn't go to legalizing any lewd behavior by the queers. No skin off my back: I'll just give more money to the church instead.

I urge you all to immediately log onto Boycott McDonald's and make your voice heard. There you can join the many on the AFA's 2.8 million-person e-mail blast by leaving comments with which we all certainly agree, comments like: "The LORD is the author of moral standards. He lovingly calls all sinners to repentance, including sodomites. McDonald's is choosing to promote perverse behavior in blindness or defiance. This is between McDonald's and God. I'm disapointed with McDonald's in the disreguard they have shown for the convictions of the majority its customers. I will join the boycott."

Spot on, man, well said. And I can just picture that epic tete-a-tete between Ronald McDonald and Our Father Who Art in Heaven. God will chastise Ronnie for wearing all that transgender-style makeup; Ronald in turn cries and stomps out of the room and into the loving arms of his daddy, Grimace. Maybe there's even some light assplay between the two, though I'm not sure where Grimace's butthole is and what that would entail. Either way, it'll be a hoot.

Let's take a look at some of the other comments that nail my point of view:

--"We love your fries, but we will not compromise truth. You have taken money that our family, and millions of others, have contributed to the success of the McDonald's Corp. and chosen to use it for an agenda that defies the foundation of our nation, the family, as created by a man and woman..."

--"It was bad enough having to keep my Spanish to English dictionary handy every time I pulled up to your drive-thru window (to the tune of about $1,000 per year). But this is the final straw (and I guess the final Big Mac) for me. Your blatant disregard for the strongly held moral values most Americans hold dear has cost you my business. Yes, Wendy's, I will have a Frosty with that."

--"It is sad that McDonald's is not FOR the nuclear family. Please put Ronald Mc Donald in the closet."

--"As long as McDonald's keeps supporting same sex marriage my family will NO longer be eating there. Please Do consider others Faith and our children. It is Very wrong to be supporting gays, it even says so in the Bible. I feel that you are so wrong about supporting gays, mabey you should pick up your Bible and READ it!!!"

--"I use to love McDonald's food but I cannot stomach your food now because of your decision to support the gay agender in this country. I will be diligent in getting this message out to everyone I know To boycot McDonald's PS I have found Hardees has much better food."

--"As long as McDonalds continues to promote homosexuality I will continue to support Wendy's. This is not something that a family friendly restraunt should ever think of doing." [ed. note: Wendy may or may not be a giant dyke. Stay tuned.]

--"This makes me sick! McDonals's has chosen to accommodate a small group of people who live by what is right in THEIR eyes, and they expect all of society to accept their definition of morality and tolerance. "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.""

--"I and my family will be buyers at burger king.. You need to change your gay position.."

Agreed! Although "change your gay position" sounds pretty gay to me.

So thanks, McDonald's -- now every time my kids yell "McDonalllllld's" but we don't pull in to the lot, I have to tell them that their favorite restaurant supports equal rights over traditional values and that they can't gorge themselves on Big Macs because two guys in Peoria are hoping to one day join the ranks of the rest of this Christian nation's unhappily married populace. Dicks.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dan Struggla: Killing Daddy's Dream

On a night that many baseball fans will remember as the best All-Star Game of their lifetimes, Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla will rank this one somewhere on par with or below the curiously special evening that his mother walked on him in the midst of a particularly kinky auto-erotic asphyxiation session at age 14.

Uggla may rank second among all major-league second basemen with 23 homeruns and 59 runs batted in, but last night he looked like the anti-Danny Almonte: a boy among men. This was Uggla's second trip to the ASG, and I doubt this one will make his short list of personal favorites -- this performance that rates worse than his 2006 appearance, when he didn't even play.

Last night Uggla hit into an inning-ending double play in the 10th, made two straight errors in the bottom half of the inning and another in the 13th, and he also struck out three times and left a total of six men on base. Shit, I know a couple of Thai ladyboys who could have pulled that off. No, wait, I don't know any Thai ladyboys.

Dannyboy told the media this week that he was living his father's dream of playing in Yankee Stadium -- his father must have been living a nightmare last night. No word on whether Uggla's pops formally disowned his son last night, but there's a good chance that if Uggla had a gay brother that he'd be the family's favorite son today for once in his life. You have to feel for the gent, especially considering he's a stellar athlete and one of the game's best players. But I did some research and dug up some interesting facts about last night's goat:

Dan Uggla fucked Terri Schiavo while she was laid up in the hospital. Dan Uggla masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Dan Uggla licks Jon McCain's faux goiter for good luck before every game. Dan Uggla drove the lead car of paparazzi that chased Princess Diana down the highway in France. Dan Uggla produced I Know Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.

Dan Uggla injected Bobby Murcer with brain cancer as part of a vast right-wing conspiracy. Dan Uggla's has a lower back tattoo that says Guantanamo Bay 4 Lyfe. Dan Uggla's idol is Big Ern McCracken. Dan Uggla leads the junta in Burma. Dan Uggla broke up Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman. Dan Uggla also broke up The Phish. Dan Uggla thinks Barack Obama attended a madrassa. Dan Uggla pooped on Tawana Brawley's chest. And Dan Uggla hasn't yet chosen sides in Darfur.

Chin up, Danny. We can only hope your father has Alzheimer's...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

And Now For Some Political Geekery

Big news from the nation's capital today: Hillary Clintonbot's unwaveringly moronic former chief strategist Mark Penn has hired former George W. Bush adviser Karen Hughes as a vice chairman at his PR firm, Burson-Marsteller. The pair will "combine forces to offer a one-stop crisis-communication and public-affairs shop” to corporate clients.

The mainstream media is mostly focusing on the bipartisan spirit of this coupling. Several reputable news outlets even ran verbiage from the press release, calling this a “Bipartisan Brain Trust.” Whoa. Hold the phone. Really, guy, pick up your phone and just hold it for effect. A brain trust? I simply see an Axis of Idiocy that may finally cripple the excess-driven wants of corporate America once and for all. Well, maybe I’m being too optimistic.

But I'm a little confused: Is this the same Mark Penn as the one who put Clinton’s dreadful campaign in a hole so large she couldn’t possibly dig out from it (or, more accurately in this case, in a box so large she couldn't munch her way out)? The same one who lobbied for a free-trade deal with Colombia while his candidate stumped loudly and often against it? The same one who blamed her loss on insufficient funds rather than his own disgustingly shortsighted strategies and decisions? And is this the same Karen Hughes who predictably failed to market President Bush’s awesome policies to the Muslim and Arab worlds? Yes, let’s hire these nincompoops!

I gotta say, the thought of Mark Penn and Karen Hughes dispensing crisis communication advice is almost as bewildering as if former FEMA director Michael Brown consulted for a disaster recovery company. Oh wait, he does! For the past two years, Brownie has worked for a private firm called Cotton Companies, where he does just what he failed to do when those dark people needed him most. But why work for someone else? I’d suggest he open his own shop called “Brownie’s Heck of a Job Disaster Recovery Consulting Company.” That shit would look great as a neon sign.

Where else but Washington DC can failed policy advisors thrive as trusted consultants? These clowns are all luckier than weathermen, Wall Street analysts and economic forecasters. This whole Penn/Hughes deal brings to mind all kinds of possibilities. What will we see next? I can just picture it now:
  • Elizabeth Taylor’s Marriage Counselor Services
  • David Duke’s Interracial Marriage Counselor Services
  • The Michael Vick Pet Care and Rehabilitation Center
  • J. Hazelwood’s Exxon Valdez Tanker Driving School
  • Angelo Mozilo’s Countrywide Subprime Mortgage Lender
  • Ryan Howard Always-Make-Contact Batting School
  • The OJ Simpson Real Killer Detective Agency
  • Isiah Thomas Leadership Training Program
  • Bea Arthur's Ye Olde Feminism Finishing School
  • The Mark Penn/Karen Hughes Crisis-Communication & Public-Affairs Shoppe (oh, right...)
Ahh, the possibilities are endless. Whatcha got, Slackers?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

She Ain't Got Nuthin' At All

Coherent thoughts are a rarity these days, and thus, it's why last Monday's George Carlin post still sits atop this here rag. I wrote half a screed about the Supreme Court's gun rights decision, but I soon realized it was about as funny as interspliced footage of the Bataan Death March and a day at Auschwitz playing behind a John McCain speech on free trade. So in lieu of any semblance of a lucid essay, here are some quick pre-holiday rumblings:

All the Baldwins are dead?
The media may have a little fun with the seemingly fake-but-reported-as-real proclamation that Stephen Baldwin will leave America if the populace elects Barack Obama (see video here). The youngest Baldwin's announcement in his four-minute interview with Laura Ingraham will most certainly make the headlines, but I'd instead like to focus on what will no doubt be buried by this abdication nonsense.

Ingraham actually asks this intellectual heavyweight and obvious policy wonk, "Why should we care what Sheryl Crow or Susan Sarandon or Tim Robbins or anyone of these people think about [America's problems]...why should we care what any of them think about any of these issues?"

Does this strumpet not realize she's asking that loaded question to a guy who may be best known for making a bong out of a snorkel, an ice pick and an avocado, a man who played second fiddle to Pauly Fucking Shore in Bio-Dome? Does this floozy understand she's querying a C-level celebrity himself why middle America shouldn't listen to celebrities? It gets not more meta than that, sports fans. I'd sooner heed the political advice of Halle Berry than the anti-Hollywood bullroar of a smug born-again Christian who looks like he's continuously sucking lemons and inhaling dog farts.

Welcome back, casual racism...
They say if you wish to tap your Innerjew, there's no better place than Israel. To stand at the noble sanctuary of the Temple Mount, one can only feel a level of Jewishness unseen in their mundane, secular everyday life. I'd like to make a motion to reconsider. I've found a new place to be reminded daily of my Jewish roots: the locker room of my New York Sports Club in downtown Brooklyn, a place teeming with stereotypically endowed gentlemen of color. If you look around, and then look down, oh yes, that's what it's like to be a Jew.

Imagine all the pills he can buy now...
When I think of Rush Limbaugh, I like to picture him swimming in a vault of OxyContin, like the Scrooge McDuck of little white pills. And that trove's got more treasure: breaking news today that Limbaugh just signed a $400 million deal to stay on the air through 2016.

Only in America can an opiate-addicted upper-class fearmonger claim to have his finger on the pulse of middle America -- well, at least he has the Oxy abuse in common with his many bigoted minions. I will say, though, the man is incredible at what he does, and I'm sure he'll earn every penny back and more for his employers. Rush, while acting the silly WWE-like entertainer, knows exactly what he's doing, and for that, well, I have a weird level of respect for him. I also love drug addicts (see: Garcia, Jerry; Anastasio, Trey)

Say a word for Jimmy Brown
Until The Phish From Vermont end the charade and get the band back together (09/09/09, folks), My Morning Jacket is the best touring band in the country, bar none. Three associates and I sat fourth row at this month's Radio City Music Hall show, and while half the new stuff has yet to grab me, the show was as good as you'll see from anyone these days. The last hour of that 160-minute monstrosity of a set rawked so hard that I surely walked out with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

A friend recently sent me the XM feed of their ludicrously ourageous Bonnaroo set, and it's truly one for the ages. Seriously, get on that shit. The standout for this music geek comes in the form of a cover, and more specifically a cover of one of the most underrated songs of all-time: the Velvet Underground's Oh! Sweet Nuthin'. So if you've got eight minutes to kill, spend some time with Jim James and those other nameless dudes from MMJ:

Oh Sweet Nuthin - My Morning Jacket

Happy Fourth of July, my friends. Just remember, when you're being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth Of July brouhaha, don't forget what you're celebrating, and that's the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn't want to pay their taxes. School's. Out. For. Summer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

We Are Essentially Tubeless

This one hurts more than Russert. RIP to a true fucking genius, though I doubt this motherfucker will ever rest in peace. George Carlin could never claim to be perfect, but he was always perfectly honest, and that made him one of the greatest social commentators of the post-war era. Chalk this one up in the Major Societal Loss category.

Carlin never cared who he offended, as long as they deserved it. But the true rub with him was that everyone deserved it. Everyone was a cocksucker. To call him a cynic would be too easy -- he was the world's ultimate realist, scrutinizing everything through the magnifying lens of real-world absurdity. Come to think of it, his greatest gift to society may have been that countervailing scrutiny in the face of mainstream douchebaggery. Like this:

I'm struggling to find the proper words for a man who spoke to so many on an equally intellectual and base level. Highbrow and lowbrow in the same sentence? It came so naturally to him. As a fan of language, I admired the way he could take a word or phrase and turn your whole world upside down. His "on the plane" vs. "in the plane" routine hinged on a one-letter switch, and yet at the time may have been the funniest thing I'd ever heard. One letter. How many people could do that? I've only heard one pull it off with the pieces of flair like Carlin could.

So, for the second time in a few weeks, we send off another great.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

California'd: Score One for Normalcy

There's a reason that a mild-mannered three-term senator would press his expensive pantlegs to urine-soaked linoleum for a few fleeting moments of anonymous sexual gratification. But after the curious incident of horndog in the bathroom, nobody felt like asking the right question.

The query most asked in the aftermath of the Larry Craig Revelations was "Why would he do that?" But the emphasis fell on the wrong word. The obvious question attached to this sordid affair should have been "Why would he do that?"

Despite his post-arrest denial and strong assertion of heterosexuality (hey, at least he didn't McGreevey it up and say "I am not a gay American"), police caught Craig as red-handed and open-palmed as any public sex offender before and after him. This particular elected official's lewd and lascivious behavior is not, like so many religious zealots would have you believe, a byproduct of the much-maligned myth of promiscuity in the homosexual libido. No, his political demise was predicated upon the orchestrated act of a closeted gay man trying to get some no-strings lovin'. Funny: through the simple act of coming out, the senator would not currently be outgoing.

I can't say for sure why Craig never felt comfortable enough with himself to halt this double life. Some people just never do, and while tragic, I certainly understand it. For him, it could've been the job. It could've been his family. But I'm guessing it's the same reason why most people wait too long: He didn't grow up with homosexuality as a normal, acceptable option. And boy did that do some serious psychological damage.

Craig is not alone. Even in today's times, even with the apparent prevalence of homosexuality in our society, it's still not exactly easy to be gay. You can't say the six-letter N-word in public (and rightfully so), but it's still wildly acceptable to drop the six-letter F-bomb. Hell, "gay" and "fag" have become an immovable part of the vernacular. How many professional athletes have admitted to homosexting? You think nobody in the Giants locker room sees Eli Manning in the shower and thinks, "Well, he looks kinda retarded, but cute retarded"? Why would a teenage boy who wants kids and a family even consider coming out if he thinks he'll be disqualified from that dream with one simple admission? There may be less and less daily discrimination, but the bigger issues linger.

This longwinded introduction brings me to the news that as of Monday at 5:01 pm, same-sex couples can officially marry in Massachusetts and now California -- two down in an unfortunate piecemeal effort.

Let me throw out a curveball here: Legally, I am not wholly for government-backed same-sex marriages. But I'm also not for government-backed marriage for the opposite sex. Everyone in this country, straight or gay, should be entitled to a state-recognized civil union, and it's up to you and your church, synagogue or mosque to go through the ritual of marriage (though if it's up to your mosque, I think you're probably in trouble and/or about to be hanged). In an ideal world, everyone has equal rights and protections under the law.

The California Supreme Court's decision that led to Monday's change in policy may or may not have been the correct legal decision; that's for smarter legal minds than mine. But what I do know is that the 4-3 ruling was a landslide victory for normalcy, a direct message to society at large that same-sex marriage should be and one day will be as acceptable as, say, interracial marriage.

When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in 1967's Loving v. Virginia, which made it illegal to put race-based restrictions on marriage, nearly three of every four Americans disapproved of the mixing of the races. Forty years later those numbers are reversed: Now almost four of every five approve of interracial marriage.

Admittedly, the Loving case and California's decision are not exactly similar. The former overturned laws barring the practice, whereas the latter set its own precedent. Also, Loving ruled that measures to prevent marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classifications violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The California decision can't quite make the same claim, though I think 2003's Lawrence v. Texas helps the California Supreme Court's case. The point is, this may have been an instance of "activist judging," but if four decades from now gay marriage if as commonplace as interracial marriage, then it's a brilliant piece of legal work, whether it is or it isn't.

I'll never claim to be a huge marriage advocate, but you can't help but be ecstatic at the prospect of Monday's rush to the courthouse -- that couldn't have been a more important victory for sheer fuckin' normalcy, a giant leap that shows kids growing up today that same-sex couples can be the same as everyone else. And based on this landmark decision we'll have a society with healthier sexually confused teenagers, as well as much healthier adults that can find sex in a bar rather than a room where most people piss and poop.

Sometimes you need to chip away at society until what's right is also what's conventional. Given Gov. David Patterson's announcement that he will sneak gay marriage through the back door, New York probably isn't terribly far away from this step -- that will make three. Do I hear a fourth? Then a fifth? With Loving as a shining example, maybe the next generation won't even think twice about a two-groom or two-bride wedding cake.

So I only have one question for Californians: Are you ready for some man-on-dog shit? Ricky Santorum says it's comin', and I hear it's rampant in Massachusetts. Godspeed, Golden State.

Hey, Willie!

Every sports fan with a blog today will likely turn their lazy eye and foaming mouthpieces to the asinine firing of Mets manager Willie Randolph.

Hyperbole aside, this may go down as the biggest front-office mismanagement in the history of managerial dismissals. New Yorkers thought the Yankums' firing of Joe Torre was off-putting? Poor Ol' Willie's sacking is about as classless as it gets, more poorly handled than an eight-month-old infant in the care of a British au pair. The term "exit strategy" has made a huge comeback since the start of the Iraq war -- it's clear the Mets possessed not clue one about how to get out of this situation.

Nearly everyone will agree to the facts: the Mets knew they would eventually fire Willie but left him on the line at least a month too long, a true lame duck; they let him take the team 3,000 miles away on a road trip, watched him win three of four, had him hold the typical post-game press conference, and then they canned him in the dead of night. The result? A press release at 3:15 am. And if there's anything the print press loves, it's going to bed in all its morning editions with information that's totally untrue by morning. I'm sure they'll be totally sympathetic to the Mets all year long after this slight.

Okay, we're all on board with these things. But here's my favorite part of the firing, perhaps the biggest insult to Willie: "It was a frustrating end for the 53-year-old Randolph, who was set to be an NL coach at the All-Star game at Yankee Stadium next month."

So Willie, who spent 13 seasons in pinstripes as a beloved player and another 10+ as an assistant general manager, third base coach and bench coach with the Yankees, will no longer be participating on the field at Yankee Stadium in its final season. It'll be a magical All Star Game, a swan song for the ages, with old Hall of Famers and baseball nostalgia out the arse, and Willie missed his chance to be a big part of it by three weeks. Omar Minaya just Omar Little'd Willie's shot.

If Big Stein were still with it, I bet he'd bring Willie back on the field in a Yanks uniform. Just to show those rat bastards in Queens how things are done. Things can be done.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Loved You in Meet The Parents

I wear many hats during office hours, though none of them are straight-brimmed and make me look like a shortbus mongoloid child. But among my numerous disparate responsibilities, my favorite involves "researching the shit out of shit."

I know it seems foreign in the Era of Broadband Intertubes, but there really is nothing like tracking down an unGoogleable answer. Internet sleuthing is fun. But sleuthing in general is priceless, be it searching through online or offline databases, calling human after human at bureaucratic departments or, wait for it, visiting the public library. It's not quite the do-it-yourselfedness of auto mechanics or home improvement, but rifling through data and archived material or finding the perfect source is the DIY of information. The answers are always out there. Sometimes it's up to you, not a search engine, to go and find them.

And fact-finding is what I always loved about Tim Russert. That's why he'll be missed.

Everybody's entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts (unless they're in Congress, heyooo!). It's this old adage that Russert proved to be true. He'd dig deep through the archives and, in the case of so many politicians, find at least one "Gotcha" quotation to throw right back in one of their two faces, no matter which side of the aisle on which they sit.

He never wore his partisanship on his sleeve, only his integrity as a journalist. Cable news these days is excruciatingly depressing -- anchors are either horribly misinformed, unbelievably stupid or bloviating schmucks. Russert was the antithesis of all three. He was prepared, smart and humble in the face of a business that increasingly relied on nonsense for ratings.

In 2004, Russert said in an interview: "Lawrence Spivak, who founded "Meet the Press" 57 years ago, said, 'Learn as much as you can about your guest and his or her position on the issue. Take the other side. Be persistent, but be polite.' And I try not to berate people. I don't want to make them sympathetic. But sometimes facts are important." He made Spivak's advice work like nobody else in the television news business.

I don't know who'll go on to host Meet The Press. (I'm guessing it'll be Andrea Mitchell and you'll hear "first woman to blah blah blah" a whole bunch.) But I can't picture anybody bringing the level of professionalism that Russert brought to the broadcast and to the industry. You'll notice I don't write all that many serious posts, but this is a man that deserves a somber tribute. Timmy!

And while we're talkin' newsmen, check out this apparently punctuation challenged news anchor. Attaboy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yanks & Yanks: A Tale of Two Stadia

It's still unacceptable, for some preposterous reason, to repeatedly scream "cunt" at the officials or opposing players in American soccer stadia. That saddens me.

For no matter how many people show up to surround the U.S. men's national team, no matter how loud the wall of sound from the crowd becomes, we'll just never be as cool as our British friends. And that's some separate but equal shit right there.

It wasn't exactly three-ring, but The Meadowlands on Sunday night actually featured a bit of circus atmosphere for the highly anticipated friendly match between these United States and the arbitrarily ranked number one team in the world, Argentina. Lionel Messi and los Albicelestes came to town just days after our two incredibly putrid friendlies against England and Spain, efforts that showed the Americans to be outclassed, listless and unworthy of even a modicum of national pride. If we even had an offensive attack to speak of, I'd probably say nasty, nasty things about its wardrobe, hygiene and general demeanor. There's a chance I'd even start rumors about its sexuality.

But this was a two-stub day for Don Fiedler, Handstand the Younger and your intrepid field reporter, and by game time we couldn't have been more geeked up for this one. Recent performances, be damned. And as the national anthem blared for the second time in seven hours, we all did our best Carl Lewis impersonations and belted out the Star-Spangled Banner loudly and awfully, but with feeling. And I remember thinking, this is the first in my life that I'm singing the anthem for real, for my country, for my national team. We had just heard it at Yankee Stadium hours earlier, and it meant nothing. This rendition, however, was like beating off lefty: new, special and unequivocally enthralling.

Seven hours earlier in a neighboring state, relief wunderkind Joba Chamberlain took the hill against the Kansas City Royals for his second ever start in Yankee pinstripes. The heat and thus far mediocre Yankums play combined to make the stadium as dispirited as the aforementioned USMNT attack.

In fact, the crowd only buzzed on four separate occasions in the first five innings -- three times for Joey Gathright's stellar running and/or diving catches in center field, and once when Gathright fouled off a Joba fastball into the now-disfigured grill of some poor lady on the third-base line. (By the way, if you haven't seen footage of Gathright hopping over a BMW as effortlessly as an Edwin Moses hurdle, check this shit out...)

Joba lasted four and a third innings, an equally impressive and frustrating outing for a guy who will surely get the hang of this sooner rather than later. We lasted only one more inning, preferring to leave our upper-deck seats in the lifeless stadium in order to tailgate in the Meadowlands' parking lot for a few hours with what seemed like every Argentinian in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area. The split of the 78,000+ at Giants Stadium on Sunday was about 50/50, but the lot scene seemed full of people that rooted for Gabriela Sabatini over Pam Shriver all those times in the late '80s (What? Seriously? Just an awful reference).

(Entering the stadium)

The Argies were boisterous and cocky, knowing their 11 would just roll over an inferior foe. We were boisterous and cocky, just because we're assholes. But we knew there was NO shot of U.S. victory, not with a beefed up Argentina squad missing only a few key regulars -- we heard that Carlos Tevez was off on an Abercrombie model shoot.

We had 8th row seats pretty close to the net we defended in the first half, in ridiculous proximity to some of the best players in the world (sorry, Landon, I meant the Argies) and only a couple sections from the horribly uncool but surprisingly cool Sam's Army, our most rabid supporters.

Donnie tried as best he could to start a couple rounds of "You're a Grand Ol' Flag," but nobody obliged. And nary a soul joined in with his "Your steak is overrated" chant. Alas, we couldn't even find a giant placard and Sharpie to write "World's Number One...In Runaway Inflation." And I spent the evening trying to figure out how to fit "We're better 'cuz we don't let former first ladies become presidents" in rhyming sing-song, but I just couldn't make it work. Nonetheless, we sang, we chanted, we bounced up and down, we made friends, and we saw a hell of an effort from our boys.

I won't recap the play-by-play that night. That's why we have the good people at That's On Point. But when Tim Howard stoned the Argies four or five times from point-blank range in the first half, we realized that this wasn't going to be a blowout. And as time wore on, we realized this may be a draw. And as the rain began to pour down on a heat-soaked crowd begging for the precipitation, we realized that we may actually win this fucker. Could we take it? Could we pop up with something, maybe a set piece in the rain? I thought maybe, and captured this quick video:

With suspicious red cards handed out to one man from each team, the 10-on-10 open play on a slick pitch made for some thrilling moments. Nothing materialized, and ultimately the match ended in a scoreless tie -- eat your heart out, soccerhaters -- but it was absolutely entrancing, especially for a friendly.

There are 162 baseball games a year for your favorite team, and over the many years of fandom, only a few of them will truly stand out as special. Eventually Yankee Stadium becomes old hat. But this night at Giants Stadium was really the first time I've ever felt a special pride in my country's national team, one that got me on my feet and jumping like a kid again, and this one will forever stand out as special.

An at the end of a grueling day, I was exhausted but genuinely proud of my country and its recently clueless national team. That rain was the capper on a brilliant day -- one victory that felt like a draw and one draw that felt like a victory. Perfect in every respect but one: that referee was a fookin' cunt.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Eight Belles to Big Brown: "Hey, Could Be Worse"

What began as a "foregone conclusion" ended with "whaaa happened?" The wide world of sports and racing's casual fandom prepped for the first Triple Crown winner in three decades, but instead we're left with mouths agape and frightening images of a sweat-drenched trainer. Shit, Dutrow was more sweat than man by Belmont's end.

Everyone's asking "What went wrong?," but I think even my amateur arse has figured out what's becoming more obvious with each passing Triple Crownless year. The breed-for-speed mentality embraced by most (if not all) horse farms these days has made the grueling mile-and-a-half Belmont unattainable for sprint horses. In other words, it's nearly impossible to birth a horse with both speed and stamina that can win the breezy Kentucky Derby against a huge field of fast equine motherfuckers and the long, hard slog of the Belmont Stakes a few weeks later. I'm not sure we'll ever see a Triple Crown winner again. We know Jim McKay will never see one again either. More on that in a moment.

This must be a real heartbreaker for jockey Kent Desormeaux. He's the winner of three Kentucky Derbys (including one atop Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000 when I was there) and two Preakness Stakes, but he's failed in now two highly anticipated bids for that rare Triple Crown. Maybe Kent's also been bred poorly. Hey, we know from the avalanche of human interest stories on his brave son that he may have some breeding problems of his own (ouch, that was low even for me...jeez, sorry Kent, I'm the asshole).

I gotta think, however, as badly as this day went for Desormeaux, it's better to lose the way he did yesterday than the way he did aboard Real Quiet in 1998. For those of you who don't remember that exact race, check out this kick in the junk below. I'd rather ease up my horse than lose by a nose in the final stride of the race -- then again, I am a defeatist and have very few, if any, characteristics of a winner. Check it:

Back to the aforementioned Jim McKay, who fortuitously passed away on his beloved racing day. I'd eulogize a fellow journalist and sports fan here, but there's no room for my tongue on his dick with the media all over it. He deserves all the praise heaped upon his larger-than-life character, and Rebirth of Slack MGMT has nothing but hot lovin' for McKay and his persona.

Having said that, just once, just fucking once, wouldn't it be awesome if someone dropped in a horribly untrue but seriously delivered iota of biographical information in an obituary before the last line? It's so easy! Something like: "McKay's survived by his wife Margaret and daughter Aranxta Sanchez Vicario. Jim McKay, dead today at age 86." Or maybe something like: "McKay said he has no regrets and wouldn't change a thing, except the time he fistfought a monkey and lost badly. Jim McKay, dead at age 86." Or even something like "McKay was a true poet in a world of prose. He's the only known journalist to have given Walt Whitman a well-oiled handy. Jim McKay, dead today, at age 86."

RIP, Jim.