Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sweet Brown will join Beyonce for the Superbowl 2013 halftime show

Oklahoma City's Sweet Brown was interviewed by the local news when she narrowly escaped a raging inferno.  What began as a 20 second interview quickly turned into a viral remix sensation.  As of right now, this thing has been viewed over 16 million times.  I'll happily admit, I've watched it several times.  It's pretty darn amusing.

Not quite sure what it is about Miss Brown.  That down-home Midwest hospitality?  Her desire to obtain a cold pop?  The manner in which she invoked a festive barbecue?  Her inclination to redundantly praise her lord and savior (JC)?  I think it's the culmination of all these things combined with her jovial disposition.

The remix is strong, although it gets a tiny bit stale after the third time.  You gotta love the subliminal (dream sequence) inclusion of Antoine Dobson who has been parodied in similar fashion.

There seems to be this fascination with regular, but slightly eccentric, individuals with larger than life personalities.  America wants to know... who's gonna be the next big thing that sprang from nothing?  We call it the "emerging from carpet" phenomenon.  It's not enough just to rise through the ranks of The Biggest Loser or one of those outlandish talent shows.  We need them to become instant superheroes.  Seriously, these days, who else is gonna raise the roof?  Mitch McConnell?  Harry Reid?  Ughhh.

So here's the deal.  I think this year's Superbowl will have a Hollywood hook.  It's simply the trajectory of the entertainment world and how producers seek to dominate the water-cooler conversation the next day.  Every year, it's the same thing.  "How we gonna top last year?  What could we try that's fresh and unprecedented?"  Well I think I've stumbled onto something.

Beyonce is the halftime entertainment.  And I doubt she'll do a repeat of the lip-synching after the Obama inauguration flap.  I've checked out some of the unusual gambling props (proposition bets) for the big game.  You can wager on what song she'll open with?  Will she be joined by iconic husband Jay Z?  Will she expose her nipple a la Janet Jackson?  etc.

Well, I have this strange hunch that the time is right for her to be joined on stage by a special, mystery guest.   And my hunch is that it will be the newest, identifiable internet sensation "Sweet Brown."  They could do a crazy-in-love duet and utilize her infamous "ain't nobody got time for that" lyrics.

Now you might be asking the question, "Saf, why would you care?"  And "aren't you slightly embarrassed to admit that you've given the Beyonce halftime show any thought whatsoever?"  Perhaps.  But I just wanted to be on the record with this one.  I think it's mostly based on the "timing" of this whole Sweet Brown thing.  Whoever made that spoof remix had really good timing.  And the quality is fantastic, but not overly technical as it might arouse suspicion.  It just seems to me that Miss Brown being thrust into the national spotlight has this grander purpose.  Maybe I've grown overly cynical.  Saf, seriously man... can't you just appreciate the unbridled joy of this woman who vented about her bronchial condition?  The answer - Well yeah... maybe 5 or 10 years ago when I was less jaded.  Nowadays, I question everything.

And for the record, I'm amazed the spread opened at San Fransisco (-4).  I honestly thought it would be a pick.  Even thought it's claimed that all the sharps in Vegas are backing San Fran, I'd take Baltimore and Ray Lewis.  They seem more like the team of destiny after the heroic Denver win and the Brady beat-down (both road games in very challenging environments).

Ravens 31
San Fransisco 27

Thursday, January 24, 2013

the smartest person I know

My brother Bennett is easily the smartest person I know.  He has an incredible knack for sizing up the pros and cons of any argument, any situation and relaying the key points of both sides.  He also has a remarkably tempered demeanor.   And he listens with unparalleled observation skills.  He understands the consequences of action, of inaction.

So here is an artistic rendition.  Just for the record, this ain't no Kennywood caricature.  This is him in the Supreme Court of the United States.  He's seated just below the shoulder blade of the standing attorney.  The guy with the beard.

In the 2012 case of Reichle vs. Howards, my brother led the way to a unanimous 8-0 verdict.  Justice Elizabeth Kagan sat this one out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lance Armstrong autographed 1994 Motorola annual report

In light of the ongoing Lance Armstrong doping controversy, I thought I'd let the word know I'm in possession of this signed memorabilia.   This is an authentic 1994 Motorola annual report signed by the entire 1994 Motorola cycling team.  It's in very good > excellent condition.  On a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a 9.1 - The discoloration is purely the result of the scan.


Armstrong's autograph is in the upper right hand corner.  I met the team while they were staying at Oglebay Park.  They were in town (Wheeling, WV) for an event known as the K-Mart Classic. 

I'd be willing to let it go, but I must say... it's an incredibly unusual item to the right collector.  Considering its uniqueness, I think it deserves commensurate compensation.   Feel free to contact me if you happen across this post.

On an unrelated note, my deepest sympathy if you've held stock in Motorola the past 20 years.  Fortunately, I let go of mine ages ago.  It's truly the technological dog of the Dow.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The moral question of the universe

Is it ever acceptable, under any circumstance, to root for the Baltimore Ravens?  Over the weekend, I gave this a great deal of thought.  The answer is a surprisingly simple "yes."

If the Ravens are playing Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys...  Well, of course.  It's an established fact that whenever someone boos the Cowboys, an angel gets its wings.  Even diehard atheists and agnostics will testify to this one.  It's a no-brainer.  Cheering for the Cowboys, is like applauding the Westboro Baptist Church.  Let me put it in a local context - it's like cheering for the Steubenville Big Red rape crew.

This same general theory applies to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady, but to a lesser extent.  There is a sliding scale here.  There is a justifiable, moral equivalence.  I mean... it IS acceptable to hope for a Belichick win... IF, AND ONLY WHEN, they are playing Dallas.

If the Ravens are playing Cincy, it gets a little murkier.  I'd say it's a toss-up.  Like the aging members of Fleetwood Mac say, "you can go your own way."

What if they're playing the Browns?  Then what?  Well, I don't know about you, but I'd tend to side with the non-threatening Cuyahoga county crew. 

The Ravens victory over the Broncos in the divisional round was easily one of the most exciting games I've ever seen.  A total shoot-out with a last ditch hail mary (mother of god) with about 30 seconds left to force overtime.  Followed by a crazy field position battle for 15 minutes.  And then into a 2nd OT.  And of course, everyone's favorite all-American, apple pie consuming quarterback throwing a brutal interception.  And then a rookie kicker, nails a 49 yarder in the freezing, thin air of Investment Mile High.  I had friends (Susan and Q) in attendance.  They made the trek from Baltimore.  I'm sure they'd confirm that you could've heard a pin drop.  Sometimes silence truly is golden.

I found myself jumping out of my semi-reclined, office chair.  Utter joy.  But why was I celebrating the Denver loss?  After all, my immediate family lives in Denver (although my brother has zero interest in NFL football).  His wife has even less concern.  I'm not entirely sure where my niece Shira stands on this one.  Their family dog "Dassy" (pronounced Dah-see) is likely the most supportive.

I thought about it some more.  I've never really been "anti-Denver."  Always liked Shanahan, Elway, even Bolen (ownership).  My brother's firm represented the original ownership (Edgar Kaiser family) in a lawsuit against the Bolen family about 10 years ago.  I forget the details, but I'm pretty sure they came out on the losing end.

Like I said, I not "be hatin" on the Broncos, even though they bounced us in the wildcard round last year.  And the self-professed NFL god-boy, Tim Tebow was at the helm.  It still didn't seem to bother me that much.  At least not as much as other playoff losses.

So just what is it that turned me into a Ravens fan?  Behold the answer...

This has got to be the most frustrating 30 seconds in the history of commercial television.
Calling Papa Bear... Hut-Hut!  I-70, orange barrel alert...  Re-Rout!  Re-Rout!  Country music... sucks my dick.  I'm a faggot.  Suck it.  Suck it.

And just what type of flashy automobile is Peyton Manning cruising around in?  A Buick Verano???  I think his talents would have been far better suited for the legendary Oldsmobile Cutlass.  For the love of God, who's the target audience here?  Hip geriatrics in a nursing home?  "Say-your-prayers, eat-your vitamins" Hulk Hogan fans from the mid 80's?  The team who produced all those ABC after-school specials?

Although I'm non-committal in aligning myself with spiritual deities, I'll be praying for the Baltimore upset (+9.5) next week in Foxborough.  Speaking of Foxborough, Massachusetts, I've never seen a city misspelled so often on Grateful Dead bootlegs.  I swear to god, on every single cassette tape I've ever owned, it's spelled "Foxboro." 

I wish Seattle had won on Sunday.  It would've forced the NFC Championship game to be played in San Francisco.  It's not that I dislike the Falcons and their Home Depot subsidiaries.  I just prefer to see the big games played outdoors.  Dome championship games are the equivalent of McRib.  Just when you think they ain't part of the equation, they reemerge.  Sucked.

I was surprised to see the opening line.  Atlanta is a +3.5 home dog.  Yes... I realize the 49ers are on a tear and Colin Kaepernick is the new and improved Tebow-inspiration substitute of 2013.  He's got dual 10 Commandment arm tattoos.

Behold the new and improved cross of purity.  If that doesn't spell devotion, I don't know what does.  Still, they're traveling cross country to play in the dome.  Hotlanta's home record speaks for itself.  I suppose you could argue the emotional let-down after the last second field goal victory over the Seahawks.  I just think eventually the rookie qb falters.  All good things...   

I also think the Ravens line is too high.  Don't play the no-respect card with the thug Ravens.  If I was a gambling man, I'd take the Ravens to win (straight-up).  Why take them to cover?  If you're big on Baltimore, take the action points or the generous money line.  The Falcons-Niners game... I dunno.  Regardless, here's to hoping for a Harbaugh Superbowl.  Certainly makes for a better story line.  Anyone hoping for a New England-Atlanta Superbowl has no soul (even though I picked it on my playoff bracket).  Ohhh, the irony.

Either way, I'll be hosting.  Stop on up.  I'm making the traditional vat of vegan wedding soup loaded with meatballs and possibly chicken.  Additional irony.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

It's time for a change in Steubenville

IF the perpetrators in the Steubenville rape case are ultimately found guilty in a court of law.  And IF the allegations of a cover-up are proven to be true beyond any reasonable doubt...

I will concede that this is a tough one because some kids are idiots.  I know this because at one time, I was both a kid AND an idiot.  And although I reeked my fair share of havoc, I never conceived of doing anything like this.  Trust me, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Of course, I didn't grow up in the internet culture either.  I didn't have instant access and exposure to some of the most vile stuff on the planet earth.  Still, when human beings commit unspeakable, intolerable acts of cruelty... when a pervasive mob mentality intimidates those would seek to expose the truth... there must be accountability.  

I believe there could be room for a new historical precedent here.  I'm not talking about suspending the football team, levying fines, retroactive discipline, sanctions and all the routine methods of punishment.  I'm talking about dissolving the name "Big Red."  As far as I'm concerned, the Jefferson County Board of Education with input from the city of Steubenville and its citizens can devise a new name.  With the eyes of the world watching, it would send a powerful message.  It would be a constant reminder that the people of Steubenville decided enough was enough.  It would be a tangible display that every once in a while, a total overhaul of the system needs to take place.

I'm actually viewing it from the perspective of a Steubenville parent at future games.  Who in their right mind would want to stand up and applaud, cheer and celebrate the good fortune of a team that tacitly endorsed a culture supportive of underage gang rape?   How could a rational, empathetic adult not feel utter shame, embarrassment and humiliation?  Just the mere thought of extending a congratulatory handshake...  "Great job.  Way to go! We love you, coach!" 

The city of Steubenville has a historically atrocious record when it comes to corruption, police brutality and suppression of human rights.  Just check them out on wikipedia and you'll see what I'm talking about.  It extends way beyond some rinky-dink police department.  Their culture is poison.  It is exactly the reason Anonymous got involved.  The justice system afforded the victim(s) was a colossal failure.  This city needed a savior.  And while most of its citizens think Jesus Christ is sufficient and punishment will be meted out in heaven or hell... this time, that just ain't gonna cut it. 

Oddly enough, in this day and age, some of these heroes will remain unidentifiable.  They are people that do not seek adoration, compensation or acknowledgment.  They do what they do because they believe in right and wrong.  They have little or zero interest in money or fame.  Their actions run in direct contrast to societal norms.  They act because they believe in principles of human decency and wish to hold humanity to a higher standard. 

With the eyes of the world watching and small-town Steubenville under an intense microscope, I believe the time has come for its residents to rise to the occasion.  It would be a catharsis for the entire community.  Kind of an all-encompassing cleansing and inevitably, a symbolic part of the healing process.  As I said, they should establish a new precedent and dissolve the name "Big Red." 

High school football will continue.  Life will go on.  After all, it's just a name.  And although it might not change everyone's attitude, it will give everyone involved with this tragedy an opportunity for self-reflection.  It would be that one defining moment in a sleepy mid-western town where people came to the realization that maintaining the status quo was unacceptable.  It was time to "change the way of things."