Friday, May 15, 2015

Reverse Bandit: 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon

Back in 1994, a short, stocky, slow-witted bald man decided to do everything "the opposite."  His name was Costanza.  Even non-Seinfeld fans have a vague recollection of the season finale where George undergoes one of the most vivid transformations in the history of modern television.  I happened to watch that episode the day before the Pittsburgh Marathon and it triggered something deep within my soul.

Long story short, I came up with an idea that would irreparably alter the course of humanity.  I invented the concept of "reverse bandit."

First, a brief explanation.  I've been a runner since high school.  Cross country, track and a little soccer.  I wouldn't classify myself as passionate or obsessed.   I'm more of a part-time exercise enthusiast.  But I have stuck with it for the past two decades.  Mostly in the 5-10 kilometer range.  Keep in mind, I've never seriously considered the notion of doing an entire 26.2 mile marathon.  It's just way out of my league.   

Some additional background.  The Pittsburgh Marathon was recently ranked #8... on the planet earth.  That's right.  Outclassing races in Tokyo and San Francisco, even Paris and London.  We may lack the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben. But we do have the U.S. Steel Tower and Big Ben.  Huzzah.

Now for those unfamiliar with the jogging industry, there's a derogatory term for people who enter a race without the proper credentials.  They're called "race bandits."  They don't pay the fee.  They don't sign a waiver.  They don't get a numbered tag.  They just show up and run.  Many have the audacity to snag a bottle of water and some will even smile while consuming an Eat'n'Park cookie.  People who do this are generally not well-received.  The closest approximation would be something along the lines of a "volunteer scab."  Blah.

Lest ye forget, the inspiration for this article is grounded in the George Costanza metamorphosis.  As I reflected on that Seinfeld episode, a crazy idea popped into my head.  What if I were to do the entire marathon... but do it in reverse?  Walk not run.  Start at the finish line and finish at the starting line.  Just do everything the opposite.  The mere thought of this was like getting a B12 shot.  Let's just say... I think it moved.

So I searched on all kinds of phrases.  Reverse marathon, backwards relay, inverted racing, intransigent bandit and so on.  But nothing came up.  This left me even more determined and resolute.  I was going to be the first ever pseudo-official reverse bandit.  I was going to go where no runner had gone before, n'at.   

As far as preparation went, there's not much to describe.  I went to the official website and printed out the precise directions and a nifty map.  Roughly twelve distinct neighborhoods winding through the city of Pixburgh.  I figured the whole escapade would last about 6 hours. 

Sunday morning May 3 came early.  Fortunately, my girlfriend wakes up for work at 5 am on the weekends.  And since she was heading downtown, it was a perfect fit.  She could drop me off directly at the finish line. 

The majority of runners choose to "carb up" with an intravenously administered, liquified entree of fettuccine alfredo.  However, I opted for chicken salad, on rye, untoasted, with a side of potato salad and a cup of tea.  Just kidding.  I had a slice of pumpernickel, a hard boiled egg and a cup of coffee.

When most runners prepare for battle, they spend plenty of cash on electronic gadgets and expensive attire.  I on the other hand had some grass-stained tennis shoes, a bottle of water and a handful of napkins.  No cell phone, no money, no ipod, no keys, no identification, no nothing.  On second thought, I had two things.  A hastily emblazoned t-shirt with the term "reverse bandit" and something else of far greater significance.  My mission, my purpose, my cause.  For the last several years, I've been an ardent supporter of AGSAF, the Artificially Generated Stampede Awareness Foundation.  No time for a thorough explanation.  Suffice to say, it ain't the Human Fund.  If you wish, feel free to google it on the internet machine.

Now from what I've heard, the most important thing one can do before a big race is get a good night's sleep.  Instead, me and the woman went to an outdoor Hall & Oates concert at Stage AE.  In the shadow of Heinz Field, that venue rarely disappoints.

Gigi dropped me off right on schedule.  5:30 am at the Boulevard of the Allies (how prophetic --- I'd need all the help I could get).  She gave me some added inspiration with a prepared written statement.  "Eric, most people think you're out of touch.  But I will always encourage you to do what you want, be what you are.  Say it isn't so, but you make my dreams come true.  And while I wanted to join you this morning, I just can't go for that."  We both chimed in unison, "no can do."  She then gave me a kiss and wished me luck.

I headed up Liberty Avenue through the Strip District with a moderate pace.  It was cold and dark.  Keep in mind, I was doing everything in reverse so except for the police, emergency med techs and race volunteers, the course was largely deserted.  A few miles in, the sun began to rise.  Soon after would come my first meaningful encounter.  I was accosted by an elderly hippie sitting on a Victorian porch near the intersection of Friendship Avenue.  He beckoned, "What the hell does reverse bandit mean?"  I explained how it was a burgeoning concept in alternative competition.  I clamored back, "It ain't all about fame and fortune.  Reverse bandit is here to stay.  It's the wave of the future."

He heckled back, "Ya know, we're living in a society!  We're supposed to act in a civilized way!"  I told him I didn't think his behavior was representative of the Friendship community in which he resided.

This was no ordinary hippie espousing peace and love.  Quite the contrary, I could sense his seething bitterness and pent-up rage.  And lemme tell ya something, he sure was angry that day.  Like an old man trying to send back matzah ball soup in a Squirrel Hill deli.  So much for Woodstock and freedom rock.  I journeyed onward.

On the outskirts of Homewood, I glanced at a homeless man in an alley.  He was eying up my plastic water as if it were a bottle of Dom Perignon.  I wished him a pleasant afternoon but he snarled back, "Can't stand ya."  Considering the recent spate of negativity, I started to wonder if I should just quit.  Maybe this wasn't all worth it.

By the time I hit Shadyside, I made first contact with the para-cyclists.  Then a trio of elite male athletes passed me in Oakland.  Things were starting to pick up.  The concentration of runners was growing more dense.  An old high school friend spotted me and yelled my name.  I hollered back, "TARRAGON!"  Note: his last name has been altered to protect against any affiliation with those deemed undesirable (me).

As I approached the Birmingham Bridge, everything turned into a sea of absolute chaos.  It brought to mind images of stampeding wildebeests along the Serengeti.  Everyone coming directly at me, pounding the pavement, jostling for leverage and position.  I tried to keep an eye out for people I knew, but the mass of humanity had a dizzying effect.  So I stuck to the sidewalk and focused on the path forward.

Fun fact for you.  The Pittsburgh Marathon incorporates four bridges, crossing three landmark rivers.  There's the Allegheny, Ohio and the Mon (pronounced Mahn), short for Monongahela.  Hey, there's nothing wrong with a little geographical enlightenment.  Even the oil and gas industry has fallen in love with our scenic waterways.  Go figure.  Drill baby drill.  Seriously, what the frick/frack is/was that?

I began to sense a growing trend.  Many of the runners were evolving into alternative life forms.  There was Batman, a sumo wrestler, the infamous Super Bowl Left Shark, a couple of giant hot dogs and even the Greatest American Hero which triggered that memorable 1981 theme song in my head.  "Believe it or not, it's just me."  Reminiscent of an answering machine from a man who's self-described as totally inadequate, completely insecure, paranoid, neurotic.  He even used to wear a toupee.  I'd give him a ring, but I think he'd screen me out.  "Believe it or not, I'm not home."

As I ventured deeper into the Southside, I spotted a maniacal, shirtless freak.  Covered with tattoos, chiseled with bodily piercings and sporting earlobe discs the size of frisbees.  He was repeatedly screaming at the top of his lungs, "Yinz got this!  Yinz got this!"  I think everyone has had an encounter with one of these reptilian imposters.  Let me be honest.  I'm a social liberal who's very accepting of others, but the lizard people really bother me.  I think it's a combination of distasteful annoyance and abhorrent revulsion.

Slowly but surely, the crowd began to dwindle.  All that remained were some vigilant sanitation workers cleaning up a gazillion discarded cups.  By the time I reached the beginning of the West End, I was alone again.  I carried on through the North Side, clutching my directions.  I remained beholden to a simple theory.  Every direction was the opposite.  Right was left.  Left was right.  Up was down.  Black was white.  Good was bad.  Day was night.

In considerable pain, I made my triumphantly twisted return to the Strip District.  A blister had formed on my left foot.  My neck was sore and my back was killing me.  But I had finally reached the starting line.  The sound of silence reverberated.  Hooah!  Or in this case HUA, the Marine slogan which stands for heard, understood and acknowledged.  I felt a calm sense of reassurance despite being actively denied all three prior characterizations.

Suddenly it dawned on me.  I didn't have a ride home.  So I hobbled over to the definitive finish line.  The crowd was enormous.  The runners alone easily tallied over 30,000.  Factor in family and friends and the Point State Park throng was likely in the range of 100,000.  By some sort of Sunday miracle, I spotted my old friend Tarragon.  Turns out he was heading to the airport which was in my general homeward direction.  Let's just say it takes a very special kind of person... who's willing to pester someone that just ran 26+ miles.  My exact words, "Dude, you gotta gimme a ride, man."

On the way home, we had a fascinating discussion about asymmetric national security threats, the proliferation of cellular technology, wireless hyper-connectivity, situational awareness, civil rights and generational warfare.  We even talked about my decision to embrace the role of reverse bandit.

I asked him, "Hey, I'm just curious.  As a legit marathon runner, what's your honest opinion of this whole reverse bandit thing?  Is what I did okay?  Or am I just living a lie?"  

He replied, "Saf, just remember.  It's not a lie... if you believe it."

Tarragon continued, "I gotta be honest, I think what you've accomplished deserves some kind of recognition.  You just need a hook.  As far as Pittsburgh goes, everyone knows about the immaculate reception.  How about we label your disturbing achievement as... the immaculate rejection?"

Hmm, that has a nice ring to it.  I think I'll secure the domain rights.

So just remember.  There are those who finish first.  And there are those who finish last.  And then there are those who do it in in reverse.  Regardless, I'll be back next year.  Same Burgh time.  Same Burgh channel.

Incidentally, if you happen to know a marathon runner who enjoys Seinfeld humor, feel free to share this blog.  Unlike the television show, this isn't about nothing.  It's about something.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Styx concert review, Pittsburgh, Stage AE, 5-8-15

Gigi and I zipped down to the Styx concert last night at Stage AE. 

Styx is best seen as a headlining act.  I prefer them immensely more when they're doing an entire concert rather than being sandwiched in between Night Ranger and Foreigner.  Ya know what I mean? 

I've seen them a few times.  Once in 2004 at the Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling and they were really impressive.  No ticket stub.  I vaguely recall walking right past the ticket scanner dude while clutching a draft beer.  The crowd was electric that night.  I also saw them at Wheeling Island Stadium with REO Speedwagon in 2009.  This was one of those embarrassing concerts where all the Wheeling bigwigs show up and were forced to intermix with the Island rats.  And get their classic groove-on with the Bell-Dirtiers.  A rare conflagration of Ohio Valley entities --- upper echelon, East Ohio rednecks and WV hillbillies.  There's gonna be a party.

A fond recollection from the Capitol Music Hall performance: one of our friends (who I usually refer to as "man-boy lovechild") was trying to impress a young lady with his stellar "credentials" --- a backstage pass indicating some kind of laminated security access to a deluxe port-a-potty.  As he was trying to sway the attention of this young hottie, I entered the fray and asked him if he could get "Styx to sign my cock."  The girl laughed and turned her attention towards me which temporarily infuriated his sensibilities.  What can I say?  I personally thought it was hysterical.

After she left, he said, "Saf, why do you always fuck with me like that.  It's just not cool!"  I replied, "Hey man, I just wanted the band members to autograph my dick.  Is that really asking too much?"  Funny shit.  At least I think so. 

So what about the show last night?  Let's do a brief run-thru.  Suffice to say, these guys are legit rock stars.  Every band member has an over-the-top level of enthusiasm without appearing overtly silly.  Tons of energy.   The first few songs were exceptionally solid.  Grand Illusion is such a strong choice for an opener.   Followed by Too Much Time On My Hands.  I'm not normally a huge fan of cover tunes, but the Beatles rip off of "I am the Walrus" was a worthwhile endeavor.  Unfortunately, the Lawrence Gowan keyboard medley-mashup towards the end was a little too hokey.  A cornball rendition of snippets from the Stones, Paul McCartney and Queen.  Well executed but kind of zany.  Just not my cup of tea.  If this was actual tea, I'd compare it to that spiced mandarin orange crap in our kitchen.  I prefer grandma's tea, King Diamond style.  Now that is a fine cup of tea.  Also, peppermint and Earl Grey.

One observation and suggestion: If you're going to heavily utilize synthesizers, it's actually cool to go overboard.  I wish Tommy Shaw (lead vocal, guitars) would incorporate his solo tune "Girls With Guns" into the tour.  It's one of those hidden gems of the mid-1980's.  A diamond in the rough song popularized when Crockett and Tubbs ventured into the everglades to rescue some girl that was kidnapped.  Check it.

Honestly, how fucking cool was that 3 minute version of "I can't believe it's not a crockett of tubbs" driving down I-95?

And guess who snagged a Tommy Shaw guitar pic.  Yep, the evil one himself... sonofsaf.

Here's a humorous Miami Vice anecdote.  A couple years ago I was at Gigi's family Christmas dinner and they were discussing the movie Elf.  I chimed in, "Oh, I'm a huge fan of Elf.  That show was way ahead of its time.  Very futuristic.  So much vision."  Everyone looked at me like I was a complete imbecile.  Gigi figured out the misinterpretation and said, "He thinks you're talking about Alf the sitcom... not Elf the movie."  Several people chuckled.  For some reason, we thought it downright was hysterical.  I guess you had to be there.  Or maybe not.

So here's the full setlist.

The Grand Illusion
Too Much Time on My Hands
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
Man in the Wilderness
I'm O.K.
Light Up
I Am the Walrus
Suite Madame Blue


Miss America
Crystal Ball
Pieces of Eight
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
Come Sail Away

* Rockin' the Paradise
* Renegade

Guess who snagged a setlist?  Yep, G.  Just the second half though.

Anyway, since this is a review about Styx playing in the shadow of Heinz Field (the Rooney super-colliding cauldron of pain and punishment).  Well... no critique would be complete without a super-cool link to Renegade.  The band is accompanied by the Cleveland Youth Symphony Orchestra.  This entire concert is well worth the watch.  More bands should try stuff like this.

And since were talkin' Steelers, I might as well mention how this morning, I spoke briefly with Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley regarding my concerns about obsolete NFL stadium emergency evacuation protocol.  I intentionally ran into them at a 5K Walk for the Homeless.  They sponsor it every year in tandem with a religious Baptist affiliate on the North Side.  I'm not sure if all the overt references to Christ being battered and bludgeoned to death were necessary... but hey, I get it.  I've sacrificed for my cause as well.  Certainly not to the extent of Jesus Christ dying for the sins of mankind, but a lot of people do make condescending remarks.  The Wheeling police department used to call me "manifesto fucktard."

One funny anecdote --- KDKA weather forecaster Dennis Bowman was on stage and remarked about how he has been around a lot longer than Tunch or Wolf.  He even said, and I quote, "They tallied the number of shows I've done... Sixty six thousand, six hundred (hint - that's 66,600)."  I think he may have been making a slight mockery of all the excessive Christian brainwashin' goin' on with a subtle 666 reference.  Regrettably, only me and him picked up on the quick, verbal jab.

I spoke with others as well.  Among them, Pittsburgh City Council person Natalia Rudiak and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.  She was incredibly pleasant and receptive.  Give her your vote.  On the other hand, there was Fitzgerald.  He listened but honestly didn't give a shit.  Do not vote for this man.

Monday, May 04, 2015

ISIS and the Foosball Gods

When 9/11 went down, I was 31 years old.  Now I'm 44.

gratuitous photo of plane about to hit building

I generally understood the premise for the war in Afghanistan.  The Taliban were sheltering Al Qaeda.  Either turn them over or we'll be forced to go in and "smoke them out of their holes."  That's a W-Bush line for the ages.  Deserving of honorable mention as it just so happens I recently stocked up on Lonestar beef jerky.  Hands down the best smoke-filled, tangiest flavor of them all.

So even though Afghaninstan was comprised of xenophobes.  Even though there was no central government to topple.  Even though their culture is insane in the brain and their terrain is insane in the membrane.  Despite all the facts and conjecture... at the time, none of it mattered.  Screw them.  America had right of vengeance.  Trust me, I get it. 

But when the war shifted to Iraq, I became incredibly skeptical.  And when Bush said, "We'll be welcomed as heroes for freeing the Iraqi people," well... I knew for a fact that he was full of shit.  If there's one constant throughout the history of mankind it's this --- no people like being invaded and no nation enjoys being occupied.  It doesn't require critical analysis of every major war ever fought.  All you need to do is invoke the golden rule.  How would we feel if Iraq invaded us?  Call me crazy, but if Saddam's forces went patrollin' out the crick, I sense the average redneck would cling to their bible, whip out their shotgun and go Haji hunting.

No duh.  It would be fucking open fucking season.

The cold reality of war: after the dust settles, anyone who performs their routine jobs of working with the newly established puppet government (picking up the garbage, delivering the mail, paving the roads, etc.) will be seen as collaborators with the foreign infidels.  Because in the immediate aftermath of a "victory," the enemy becomes multifaceted.  Everybody despises each other.  Societal trust goes out the window and everything descends into, at the very least, a 10 year counterinsurgency.  The think-tank policy "experts" might not tell you.  But uhh, it's called people fighting back.  I don't think this requires a keen understanding of Sunni/Shia politics, Muslim extremism or geo-political turbulence.  It's all just common sense.  We invade + they resist = extended civil war.  Enough said.

I'm certainly not an expert on the Middle East.  Not unlike our commander in chief at the time who received his Masters in International Studies from Taco Bell with a doctorate in military theory from Chipotle.  It was obvious to me that Bush was pretty much an unwitting patsy for the Dick Cheney agenda.  You don't need a degree from Yale or Harvard Business School.  All it takes is a 2 year associates degree from Jackson Hole Community College.  Hey, that's where they teach you about safety issues... like how not to shoot your best friend in the face.

And just to play devil's advocate here.  I'm not some peace-promotin' liberal hippie brainwashed from years of listening to freedom rock...

I do think you can make a semi-rational argument, that at the time (early 2000's), Afghanistan wouldn't have been "enough" for the American public.  It's not entirely unreasonable to view the Iraq War from the perspective of the United States having to send the world a "message" --- we cannot accept or tolerate the possibility of a nation state joining forces or aligning itself with a suicidal terrorist group.  I don't happen to agree with the whole WMD line of reasoning.  But I do understand why it worked.  Once again, trust me.  I get it.  And call me crazy, but I don't think we've seen the last of the mushroom cloud argument.

Enough with the preamble.  Let's just say I recognized the core dilemma with the occupation of Afghanistan and was bitterly opposed to the war in Iraq.  And we'll leave it at that.

So now, there's the Islamic State in Iraq & Syria.  Regrettably, most Americans think ISIS was married to superhero Aquaman and they took their honeymoon on the Nile River.  The rest think ISIS is some new brand of flavored Aquafina.  Just an aside --- worst bottled water on the planet is Dasani.  Tastes like liquified mineral rust.  How ironic.  Get it?  See what I did there?

Anyway, now there's ISIS.  They're being labeled as the most brutal, barbaric, sadistic enemy in the history of mankind.  Hmmm.  Sound familiar?  Does anyone remember the CIA leaking propaganda about Saddam's kids Uday and Qusay?  Assuming the U.S. gubmint is the ultimate conveyor belt of truth, a typical evening for these guys started with them heading out on the town in their twin Lamborghinis, frequenting the hippest Baghdad nightspots.  Then, they'd randomly choose a couple of women from the crowd and have their bodyguards drug them.  Then, they'd rape them.  But the fun didn't stop there.  Such an ending would be anti-climactic.  Finally, they'd go to the Baghdad Zoo and FEED THEM TO THE LIONS!  Not joking.

So first, a disclaimer.  I AM NOT PRO-ISIS.  Department of Homeland Security, do you hear me?  I know you keep an eye out for agitators like myself who try to educate the general public.  Allow me to reiterate.  I do not wish to travel to Damascus.  I have no desire to attend services at the local Mosque.  I do not lay down prayer carpet, kneel and bow toward Mecca.  I am not changing my name from Eric to Abdullah.  I am not going to suddenly embrace a new diet consisting of figs and dates.  Although I do like pistachios and kebabs.

For cryin' out loud, I'm an atheist Jew.  ISIS hates me far more than your average Bob Evans down on the farm, Sugardale bacon-eatin', bible-totin', ark-boarding Christian.  Normally, it would be unnecessary to blather on and on, but DHS and our federal government at-large have entered a new phase --- they like to monitor unruly kids from Omaha, Nebraska who smoke pot and google strange words like "dominipede."

Now here's the problem daddio.  When you make all these anti-ISIS statements, there's a natural inclination for any competent up'n'comer in the NSA to get pretty suspicious.  After all, I just went to incredible lengths to distance myself from ISIS.  What if I'm trying to hide my true feelings and intentions.  What if I'm putting out a black-op cover story?  Why do I get the feeling there's an underground cubicle bunker in Quantico, VA with a group resembling this trio? 

With summer rapidly approaching, it can be very tempting to hang out in the 122 degrees fahrenheit desert with a group of murderous, fun lovin' criminals (underrated song).  After all, the lure of ISIS is strong.  Throw in a sandy hotspot vacation destination like Ramadi or Aleppo and a squadron of tempting, pious virgins.  Hell, you've got all the pertinent ingredients for a top secret bouillabaisse recipe.  And that smells like something fishy!

Fortunately these days, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.  Yeah, right.  And I'm gonna run the Pittsburgh Marathon backwards (Intentional sarcasm.  I just did something yesterday called "reverse bandit."  Probably the topic of my next blog).

So now, I've determined it necessary to offer convincing, undeniable proof that I have no intention of joining the terrorist group ISIS.  This is going to be surprisingly easier than might think.

I recently read a CNN front page article about everyday life under the ISIS regime.  This might come as a surprise, but life isn't really all that unusual.  They offer prenatal care and issue birth certificates.  They have welfare-oriented programs for those deemed less fortunate.  They even have a functional civilian judicial system.  Now unfortunately it's grounded in Sharia.  So if you steal a loaf of bread, they do cut your hands off.  But that kind of shit never happens with their opposition in Saudi Arabia.  The only bad thing happening in Riyadh is when a 70 year old man buys himself an 8 year old wife.  Other than that, living under the House of Saud regime is actually quite pleasant.

Here's where ISIS and I start to go our separate ways.  Let me paraphrase an excerpt from the aforementioned CNN article:

Under ISIS, even entertainment is regulated.  Foosball can be played, provided there is no gambling and the faces or heads are taken off the figurines to prevent idol worship.

Is it just me, or does this ISIS group have an obsession with chopping off heads?

An honest admission.  I have this same exact obsession.  See, when a foosball player dies (gets broken in half due to plastic/pin breakage as a result of repeated blunt force trauma to the torso), its spirit goes to foosball heaven.  But I like to preserve the decapitated remains.  I actually treasure these fallen heroes and worship their heads.  As Worf the Klingon, head of security for the Starship Enterprise, would often claim, "they died with honor... in battle."  So naturally, I believe they deserve to be properly memorialized.  In this case, that means lining up the severed heads on the window sill.

I'll occasionally play with the heads.  I know, kinda morbid.

 Even the cats get involved.  Here's Tyson debating the fate of each victim.

And here's a silhouette of Kitters licking his chops.

We honor their service by placing these "foos-skulls" on the window sill.  It's critical their headless bodies bask in the sunlight bestowed upon us by the foosball gods --- Ching Wa, Tung Ti and Tongue Twat.  Fuck ISIS.  These are gods I worship.  And I have the evidence to back it up.  Below are the foosball terms taken from Chapter 3 of my autobiography.

As you can see, I'm not making this shit up.  Everything has been documented with great care and precision.

Please note the three most commonly asked questions in foosball.  These answers have never been made available for public consumption... until now.

1.  Who hails from Pakistan?  Well, that's an easy one.  It's our friend Babu Bott who regrettably got deported, but later reemerged and exacted testimonial vengeance in the season finale.

I like how Jerry is swaying along to the haunting chants of Babu.

2.  Most foosball players resemble one man.  Who is this man?  Well, it's our good buddy from Massachusetts, the late Senator Edward Kennedy.

Even the more generic foosball characters have a striking resemblance.  Just take a youthful pic and do the hair-part from the opposite side.

Kennedy has my respect and admiration.  But ISIS probably views Teddy Kennedy like they would any other bastard, heathen infidel.  With seething contempt and unadulterated disdain.

3.  What are the most despicable acts of foosball terrorism?  This answer admittedly has nothing to do with ISIS.  Spinning.  Spinners are the ultimate scourge of foosball.  Anyone who does this shalt be referred to as "spinner faggot" regardless of gender or sexual orientation.  The other no-no is setting a drink or lit cigarette on the table.  But Saf, what about the built-in drink holders?  To that I say, fuck you.  Listen up.  Nothing good can possibly come of this.  So why should it be permitted?

And one other point --- you're also not allowed to kick the table in frustration.  Although I actually encourage it if you're playing barefoot.  As far as I'm concerned, punishment will be meted out by the sturdy butcher block legs of the Tornado Cyclone II.  Translation: I hope you crack your shin and break your toes... asshole.  There is one exception to the rule - if you happen to be playing against one of these karate villains:

They don't sweep legs, they break 'em.

All of this should serve as ample proof that I have no affiliation or connection to ISIS in any way whatsoever.  However, if these intransigent denials still give you reason for pause or suspicion... I've purposely saved this final pic.  No explanation necessary.  Behold!  The foosball cross of purity in all its glory.