Saturday, March 21, 2020


Ya wanna know what really bugs me?  It's when an aspiring politician, like in the case of Mike Bloomberg, spends over 900 million dollars running for president.  But at the same time, doesn't bother developing an effective strategy to combat Donald Trump's twitter insults.  Whether it's the childish nicknames or the seemingly random, ad hominem attacks.

Think about it.  That's a billion bucks... down the drain.

And what drives me even crazier is the utter predictability of Trump's twitter bullshit.  E-gad!

Newsflash:  Trumpty Dumpty's attacks are not terribly complicated.  Hmm, let's see here.  Bloomberg is shorter than the average adult male, hence I will deem him Mini-Mike.  Elizabeth Warren was exposed for exaggerating her American Indian heritage.  Therefore, I will label her Pocahontas.  Chuck Todd has visible bags under his eyes.  Naturally, I will call him sleepy-eyed.  Nervous Nancy Pelosi, Shifty Schiff, and even right here in Pixburgh, our venerable Conor Lamb... as in, Lamb the Sham.  Brilliant!

Now admittedly, every so often, Morning Joe might counter with a snarky "Moscow Mitch."  But when it's all said and done, that's pretty much about it.  Advantage Trump.

Such an ongoing imbalance in the realm of social media retribution is NOT hella good.

So Saf, what's your idea?   Come up with a bunch of counter-insults?  Equally brilliant!

Uh, no.  Not quite.  Listen up.  I'll explain.

Trump spends the vast majority of his time watching cable news.  Preoccupied with poll numbers and his public perception.  And then spends the remainder of his day conceiving of personal slurs.  This is a given.  Seriously, if there ever was a guy in the entire U.S. government who doesn't wanna talk issues, it's gotta be him.  His entire strategy is grounded in simply tearing people down.  Labeling people nasty or stupid.  Then he claims their policy positions are pathetic or a disgrace.  And then, he simply pivots to how great he is.  How smart he is.  How strong he is.  What a superior negotiator he is.  How much he loves the flag.  Like I said, Trump is probably the most predictably obvious politician, in the entire history of American politics.  It's jobs, wall, vets, cops, pro-life, pro-gun.  Keep our country safe, strong and great.  Great.

And if there's one thing the narcissistic clown lacks, aside from empathy and humility, it's any degree of subtlety or nuance.  Every so often he'll soften the rhetoric.  But generally speaking, his penchant for insults is a constant.  Always go on the offensive, stay offensive, and perpetually offend... at any cost.  Simply piss off everyone imaginable.  And then portray himself as a reviled underdog, hated by the mainstream media and the established deep state.  Again, not terribly inspired. 

So keeping all of this mind, here is how you fight back.  As you can see, this example's a bit personal.

 (just on the cusp of believability, eh?)

Six easy-to-follow steps for the counter-attack.

1)  A direct response and dismissal
2)  Apologize to the First Lady on Trump's behalf
3)  Transition with the "I could... but I wouldn't" narrative
4)  Pivot to the consequences of the 2020 election
5)  First Lady apology refrain
6)  Introduce the #MyBetterHalf campaign

First and foremost, when he goes low, you do NOT go high or low.  You go straight.  As in straight at him.  First, you must acknowledge the actual insult.  Crazy, stupid, nasty, crooked, lazy, cryin', low IQ, sleazy, whatever.  It's almost always a single adjective.

Respond with, "Okay, yeah.  Trump tweeted that I'm stupid."

Follow it up with a lighthearted dismissal.  Something like, "Mama always said, stupid is as stupid does." (use your best Forrest Gump voice)

Next, you must formally APOLOGIZE... ON HIS BEHALF... and say something like this.

"You wanna know something?  I just want to take this opportunity... to formally apologize on behalf of Donald Trump.  I mean, uh, don't worry about me.  I signed up for this kind of nonsense when I decided to run for office.  I can take it.  It's part of the job.  But every time he insults me, or anyone else  for that matter, which means every time he opens his mouth... he completely humiliates his wife.  Our wonderful First Lady Melania.

Just put yourself in her place.  The First Lady's signature issue is cyber-bullying.  She devotes all of her time and energy, not to mention taxpayer dollars, to combating the scourge of cyber-bullying.  Especially amongst the most vulnerable segment of our population.  Our children.  And then we have this toddler-in-chief who drags her down... into the gutter.  Every. Single. Day.  I just feel really bad for her.  And I want Melania and her staff to know that all of us, regardless of political affiliation, feel horrible about the ceaseless humiliation.  We understand it for what it is, take it for what it's worth.  Regardless though, it's gotta hurt.

Now you must transition.  Slightly raise the level of acrimony.  Go for the jugular with an "I could... but I wouldn't" refrain.

You wanna know something?  I could say... how Trump is overweight.  But I wouldn't.  I could say how repugnant he is... but I wouldn't.  I could mention his spray tan.  Or that he doesn't have any real friends.  You know how everyone claims they love Donald Trump?  Well, trust me, all those rally-goers have one thing in common.  They don't know the REAL Donald.  @realdonaldtrump?  Yeah, that's the biggest joke of all.  That he's "real."

There's nothing real about him.  That's because tiny Donnie's never lived a day of his life in the real world.  Never pumped a tank of gas or mowed a lawn.  Never had to live paycheck to paycheck.  Never gone to the grocery store.  Never changed a diaper, let alone, changed a light bulb.  Never driven a car.  Well, except maybe a golf cart.

So what's my point?  Imagine going through your entire life and never being told the word 'no.'  Well, nobody's ever put little Donald in his place.  The guy's never had to face any consequences for his behavior.  Uh, now lemme ask you, what the hell is so real about that?

You can run with these attacks for as long as you like.  Though personally, I think it dilutes the objective.  Nevertheless, a few other examples if you wish to mix it up.  They're all pretty much interchangeable.

"Seriously, I've met a lot of really smart people in my life.  And they all have one thing in common.  None of them ever told me 'how smart they were.'  Seriously, when was the last time, a normal person, told you just how intelligent they were? (the sole exception being Mark Madden's supergenius schtick)

When Trump tells me he how strong he is, all I see is weakness.  When Trump tells me how smart he is, all I see is stupidity.  When he tells me how great his hair is, all I see is baldness.  And the worst is when he tells me how brave he is, all I see is a little child, who's scared, terrified, petrified, tweeting while he goes potty.  Then you throw in a hollow, meaningless anti-compliment --- I mean, he's got a pretty good golf swing.  But then again, all he ever does is go golfing.

Optional ongoing sarcastic commentary:  Because we all know that Trump has never done anything wrong.  Like how he deliberately undermines his staff and cabinet in order to boost his own ego.  Or defraud students with a fake university.  Or toss paper towels at hurricane victims whose lives have been shattered.  Or support child separation at the border.  Or throw kids in cages.  Or how he's this great businessman, except for the fact that he squandered the fortune his daddy left him.  Or how he's a great negotiator, but has the worst poker face of all time.  And so on and so forth.

Optional killshot:  "You wanna know something?  I could mention how bad I feel for Melania.  That her husband cheated on her with a porn star while she was giving birth to their only son.  And then pays her off to the tune of 120K.  And how his attorney Michael Cohen had to take the fall and is currently rotting away in jail.  For the love of God, what a source of perpetual embarrassment!  I could mention all of this... but I wouldn't."  (Well guess what?  You just did!)

Alright, you get the gist of that part.  Sorry about the long-windedness.

Now let's PIVOT to the consequences of the 2020 presidential election.

"I know Donnie John thinks he's being clever with these nicknames (surprised nobody has ever used the middle name bit, i.e., the Papa John's weight jab in conjunction with a Tommy John's underwear inference).  I know he thinks he's some genius political strategist.  But you wanna know something?  There's an actual reason why our representatives in the House and Senate, or for that matter, people of the planet earth, don't act and behave like Trump.  Because it's ultimately self-defeating.  Not to mention how it permanently demeans the office of the Presidency.

This simply CANNOT become the new norm.  Because if Trump wins reelection, don't kid yourself, this WILL become the new norm.  This kind of behavior has dire consequences.  Because when you are willing to say anything, and lie about everything, then there's no basis for the truth.  And that's how you lose your democracy.

Your closing comment should always go back to the Melania First Lady refrain.

But once again, I must reiterate.  I just want to apologize on behalf of the President.  Our First Lady... she just deserves so much better.

Now if a considerable number of Trump's political enemies were to employ this strategy, he would quickly lose his posturing leverage.  And believe it or not, he'd likely cease with the insults.  Why?  Because a new variable was introduced into the equation --- a universal, go-to, de facto response for ANY Trump insult.  I can assure you - the perceived rate of return on his entire insult strategy would be permanently marginalized.  It's honestly that simple.

Finally, onward to the #MyBetterHalf campaign!  This is where you deliver the final knockout blow.  From here to eternity.  For the love of Ivanka!

So in light of Trump's infinite sins and transgressions, I'm saying that the time has come.  To finally turn the page and turn over a new leaf!  From this day forward, I propose that we simply do the opposite of Trump.  Praise our spouses, not tear them down.  Lift up our loved ones, not pull the rug out from underneath their feet.  Let's place those we love on a pedestal.  Not throw them under the bus.  We should tout their accomplishments.  Not celebrate in their defeats.

Let's use social media as a source for positivity as opposed to negativity.  Let's do our best to alter the trajectory of the internet.  This is for the future of our families and our children.

In keeping with this spirit, I am officially launching the #MyBetterHalf campaign.

The whole idea is to ignite a viral hashtag campaign.  It's a social media campaign that celebrates family, faith, humanity, and individual accomplishments (weight loss, quit smoking, job promotion, etc.).  While at the same time, it would subliminally serve as a reminder that Trump is A PIECE OF SHIT.  After all, he's the entire reason why the #MyBetterHalf agenda was created in the first place.

Such a social media campaign could very well go viral.  Especially during a perceived time of dysfunction and crisis.  Hey, it may sound corny, but the only way to combat hate... is to shower your partner with love and admiration.  #MyBetterHalf

Thursday, March 12, 2020

My Corona

So I kinda figured, if the planet's going to hell and Armageddon has finally arrived,  I might as well write a sonofsaf-styled parody of "My Sharona" --- the 1979 one hit wonder by The Knack.  Forty years after its chart-topping release, may I humbly present "My Corona"...

My Sharona

Ooh, my little pretty one, pretty one
When you gonna give me some (time, Sharona?)
Ooh, you make my motor run, my motor run
Gun it coming off of the (line Sharona)
Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
Always get it up for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, ay, ay, woah!
M-m-m-my Sharona
My Sharona

Come a little closer, huh, ah, will ya, huh
Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona
Keeping it a mystery gets to me
Running down the length of my thighs, Sharona
Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
Always get it up for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, ay, ay, woah!
M-m-m-my Sharona
M-m-m-my Sharona
Na, na, na, na, na-na
My Sharona

When you gonna get to me, get to me
It is just a matter of (time Sharona)
Is it d-d-destiny, d-destiny?
Or is it just a game in my (mind, Sharona?)
Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
Always get it up for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, ay, ay, woah!
M-m-m-m-m-m-m-my, my, my, ay, ay, woah!

M-m-m-my Sharona (Sharona)
M-m-m-my Sharona (Sharona)
M-m-m-my Sharona (Sharona)
M-m-m-my Sharona
Oooaah, my Sharona
Oooaah, my Sharona
Oooaah, my Sharona, Woah!!


My Corona

Ooh, this gonna be no fun, be no fun
When the time has come for you to (die, Corona)
Ooh, we gonna bury you, bury you
Garnish with a wedge of that (lime, Corona)
Never gonna sip, drink it up, when it’s party time
Always hack it up, with a cough and the spit 'n shine
My, my, my, ay, ay, woah!
M-m-m-my Corona
My Corona

Don’t be such a poser, huh, ah, will ya, huh
Stick a bottle up your ass and (try, Corona)
Looking at our history, can't you see
Running through the depths of my (mind, Corona)
Never gonna sip, drink it up, when it’s party time
Always hack it up, with a cough and the spit 'n shine
My, my, my, ay, ay, woah!
M-m-m-my Corona
M-m-m-my Corona
Na, na, na, na, na-na
My Corona

Where’s that testing kit for me, kit for me
Is it on the government (dime, Corona)
Is it f-f-fucking free, f-fucking free?
We’ll just have to wait and see (time, Corona)
Never gonna sip, drink it up, when it’s party time
Always hack it up, with a cough and the spit 'n shine
My, my, my, ay, ay, woah!
M-m-m-m-m-m-m-my, my, my, ay, ay, woah!

M-m-m-my Corona (Corona)
M-m-m-my Corona (Corona)
M-m-m-my Corona (Corona)
M-m-m-my Corona
Oooaah, my Corona
Oooaah, my Corona
Oooaah, my Corona, Woah!!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Code Blue

Directly below is a blueprint for how to destroy the 2020 Republican National Convention.  I call it "Code Blue."  Enjoy!

In 2016, Gigi and I hit up both political conventions.  The Republicans in Cleveland and the Democrats in Philadelphia.  Time well spent.

This summer, the Republican National Convention is scheduled for Charlotte, North Carolina at the Spectrum Center.  August 24  thru August 27.  Now last time around, the conventions were literally on top of each other.  However, this time, there's a five week time lag.  Just the requisite amount of time necessary... to obliterate the grand 'ol party.  Hint: sabotage.

If there's one thing you noticed outside the Wells Fargo Center in 2016, it was the DNC protestors across the way in FDR Park.  More of a carnival atmosphere.  Plenty of fringe elements.  This may come as quite a shock, but not everyone's on board with the Anonymous 'Guy Fawkes' mask crew, or the make love/not war Code Pink grannies, or the abNORML dreadlocked Rasta dude smoking mushrooms complaining about drug criminalization and the need for comprehensive prison reform.  Or even worse, the multi-tatted, mega-pierced lizard man.  Lamenting about how the job market totally sucks.  You see what I'm getting at, na't?  It's just not a good look.

Now traditionally speaking, the RNC was just a bunch of country club Repubes.  However, with the cult-like idolization during the reign of Trump, it's now become more of a nationalistic freak show.  Patriot dynamos dressed in red, white and blue.  Monster pick-up trucks adorned with Trumpalicious bumper stickers.  A mammoth wall, in the form of a parade float, swooshing around the premises.  Stacks of t-shirts with antiquated references to Hillary consuming semen.

However, the core of politicians inside the arena will remain largely unchanged.  Exceedingly wealthy elderly albino politicians from all the red states.  Dressed in power suits with long red ties.  Or Melania-inspired thousand dollar pant suits.  Like Zeppelin says, the song remains the same.

So whaddya say we shake up the party?  As in show me the money!  Maybe put some of those Bloomberg billions to good use.  But for the love of fake news CNN, not with another onslaught of repetitious, self-aggrandizing political commercials.  NO MORE!

Instead, let's take it to the streets!  Let's hire some talent.  To get deep in there and duke it out.  On the ground, by the pound, and in the round!  The media would eat this shit up!

My proposal consists of hiring dedicated teams of "agitators" and "instigators."  Direct them to infiltrate the entire city of Charlotte, with a primary concentration on the Spectrum Center.  Their sole purpose: to marginalize and exaggerate, humiliate and denigrate.  To make utter fools out of those attending the convention.  To make everyone look like extremist imbeciles.  To portray the entire Trump led Republican party as bozos and whack-jobs.  Get the picture?

The time has come to manufacture a toxic environment of absolute absurdity.  A synthetic tsunami of stupidity.  We're going to bring back the lost arts of association and affiliation, through a conjunction junction what's your function maneuver.  It's the kind of challenge literally made for high stakes, live television.

Well I say... if Trump wants a show, let's give him a show!  (Eazy-E style)  It's easy.

So here's my Top 10 list of fugazi Republican protest groups.  Keep in mind, these are bloodthirsty, tribal fucking, mean-spirited gangs.  Because this is televised warfare. (something the Democratic establishment doesn't quite git)

Simply train and deploy.  And then seek and destroy.

The O' Connell Guard!
The Plug Uglies!
The Shirt Tails!
The Chichesters!
The Forty Thieves!

Crusty bitches and ragtags?  Fuck that!

Suffice it to say, my gangs are NOT a bunch of Miss Nancies.
For example...

The Coat Hangers - My personal favorite.  A group of punk rocking renegades.  They physically hang out... with metal coat hangers dangling from their ear lobes.  You just gotta remove the stupid disc thingies.  Hell, it's as easy as preventing 9/11.

Merely replace "never again" with "24/7.Straight outta the lobes.

Now according to the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the year of the rat.  But I believe 2020 to be the year of the gage.  With coat hangers in tow, scan the streets for visibly pregnant woman.  Witness the Scarlet E.  As in embryo.  It's your biblical responsibility, your evangelical duty, your native nativity... to ask any woman with child and all those deemed preggers...

"May I offer you a late term abortion?  Preferably in a convenient back alley?"

When the woman declines, barrage her with random two syllable embryonic slurs:  Fetus!  Forceps!  Zygote!  Cervix!  Ovum!   

The Weaponizers - These guys are a deviant offshoot of the National Rifle Association.  All of them sport Scot-induced, Braveheart-inpsired, facial warpaint.  Turns out that sticks and stones will break bones.  Sucked!

All Weaponizers constantly scream one word... "Freeeeedom!"  In the library, on the trolley, at the gas pump, wherever.

Their overriding objective is to decriminalize the use of ALL weapons.  Trucks, cars, swords, piranhas, chemical weapons (including ricin and anthrax), hand grenades, catapults, and so on.  These patriots are hardcore 2nd Amendment!  They even wish to legalize ancient torture devices.  And what better a fight song than Iron Maiden's "Iron Maiden?"  Their ultimate goal is to capture the enemy alive, strip them naked and immobilize the body.  Meanwhile, a genetically modified Venus Flytrap gently nibbles on the penis... for days.  The graphic nature of the propaganda speaks for itself.  

The Wallers - Wallers are required to dress like Trump-inspired versions of Humpty Dumpty.  I know, I know... it's not easily adaptable.  Use your imagination.

Has an Oompa Loompish orangeish overtone, eh?

The Wallers walk concentric circles in the public square.  Reciting an alternative version of the Mother Goose classic...

Trumpty Dumpty built a great wall
Trumpty Dumpty built a great wall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Helped Make America Great once again

And of course... Build that wall!  Build that wall! U.S.A.!  U.S.A!

But these Wallers thrive in the cold.  Their overarching aim is to build a Great Northern Wall across the entire U.S./Canadian border.  Because extremist terrorists are flooding in from the North.  Some on boats.  Many on sleds.  Most travel in "rape gangs" properly referred to as "Games of Throbbing Boners,"  Not to be confused with a "Game of Black Swans" or "Game of Throners."  Their rallying cry is to 'defend and protect the North'.  Kapla!  Kaplah!  Qapla!  The true heart of a Waller is admittedly Klingon.

The Taxaholics - This group of fiscal hawks bores the living shit out of everyone.  They're mostly comprised of reactionary economic conservatives and bean counting accountants.  Their fundamental objective is to raise taxes on the poorest segments of the population.  That's correct, they want to tax the homeless.  And extract money from random heroin junkies, crack whores, prostitutes, disabled veterans, and the like.  The "Taxis"... as they're affectionately named, carry around stacks of IRS forms.  Waving them violently in the face of anyone and everyone.  1040's, 1099's, W-2's... as far as the eye can see.  Remember when Trump promised that you’d be able to submit your entire tax form on a postcard.  Yeah, right!

The Trumper Thumpers - An evangelical knock off on the phrase “bible thumpers."  They hold up miniature pocket copies of the Old Testament and vehemently preach on heavily foot trafficked street corners.   Basking in the fluorescent glow of all that is Trump.

"The planet is only 6,000 years old!" 
"Dinosaurs still live amongst us!"
"I want to fuck a Bront."

It's a Mesozoic, biblical frenzy.  Everyone's dressed up in a dinosaur costume.  But with a pious twist.  Throw in that "paypal" hat.  Yarmulke, turban, whatever.  Each chapeau inscribed with the same message --- "Keep Dinosaurs Great."  For the finale, a snarling Trumpian Rex enters the fray.  Just morph together whatever the fuck this thing is.

The Germies - Grounded in that lovable group of misfits from The Goonies.  Just resurrect this guy and give him a Trump-tard makeover.  Gotta be honest here.  It's ain't much of a stretch.

The Germies central tenet is that the Coronavirus, and all other viruses (herpes, gonorrhea, just to name a few), can be directly transmitted through cyberspace.  What the fuck?  Yep, it appears Bill and Melinda Gates have somehow weaponized the viral transmission of wireless information. (And I had the temerity to think that I was the only person with a monopoly on generational warfare, i.e., indiscriminate killing without conventional weaponry)

The Germies wander through the crowd.  Coughing, sneezing, hacking, belching, spitting, puking, cropdusting, et al.  They're especially known for their hospitality.  Always wanting to shake hands and kiss babies.

The Kimunos (pronounced Kim-Un-Knows).  Bring on the sex kittens!  Smaller males and slender females all scantily clad in traditional Asian attire.  Newsflash: male kimonos actually exist.  I was completely unaware of this.  But hey, it's an ecouraging development in the masculine Asian lingerie space.  And what a great way to beat the late summer Charlotte heat!  Behold the two separate factions.

Obviously, you need to photoshop out the suit and polo shirt.  Just add a kimono and the head!  You probably think I'm joking.  I am not.  Just wave those ping pong paddle-shaped placard things.

The diehard Kimunos have but one unified objective.  They all want Donald to dump the First Lady.  As in divorce Melania and marry Kim Jong Un.  Throw that bitch to the K-Street curb and hook up with Little Rocket Man.  Mazel Tov!  Hey, if North Korea acts up during the summer of 2020, this could be a defining, wildcard, game changer.

The fairy tale love story of Donald J. Trump and Kim J. Un is predicated upon a torrid literary exchange.  Hot hot hot.  Pen(is) pals aside, Trump is always eager to volunteer that singular moment.  When they fell in love.  Simply stated, the Kimunos ultimate holy grail... is for a second gentleman in the White House.  Kimuno leadership is even on record as willing to cross party lines and settle for a Democratic president.  Namely Pete Boot Edge Edge and heartthrob husband Chasten.

A homosexual POTUS & F-DOTUS (first dude) is their numero uno priority.

The Fast Foodies — Plenty of nearby fast food eateries surround the Spectrum Center.  But nary a McDonalds in sight.  So focus your energy on Chick Fil-A, Dunkin, Burger King, Bojangles, B-Dubs, etc.  Ronald masks are inexpensive and plentiful.  Stock up.

Roam through all the nearby restaurants with a camera or cell phone dangling from thy neck.  Disrupt everyone's meal and take pictures of that flame broiled Whopper Deluxe or limp chicken bizkit.  Post immediately on social media.  #FastFoodies

So where do the Fast Foodies get their inspiration?  Excellent query.  Well, they get it directly from the fat.  Specifically the gock and gunt of recreational mealers.  It's all about their dedication toward monitoring a stranger's caloric intake.  They fervently believe that Donald J. Trump is the most physically fit commander-in-chief to have ever served our great nation.  And we owe it all to Donald… a/k/a McDonald.  That’s what they refer to him as "The McDonald," and sing his praises and worship accordingly.

Hand out bogus McDonald coupons and bunk printouts for free Happy Meals.  #MAHA.  As in Make America Happy Again… with happy meals.  The FF's are generally a pleasant, jolly bunch.  Not driven by ideological rage or political venom.

The Stormy Chasers  --- Also known as the Fake Boobies.  Not to be confused with the aforementioned Fast Foodies.  This group's concerned about the lack of porn on the internet.  Let's be honest.  We're facing a severe shortage of cyber-nudity.  We need to make America horny again.

The Stormy Chasers also call for mandatory breast implants.  To be paid for... with the hard earned American tax dollar.   Not to mention a Boob Job Amendment to the Constitution.  A national lowering of the age for plastic surgical consent.  Fourteen years old will be the new age limit for artificial breast augmentation as well as any miscellaneous titty-related endeavors.  

The Spray Tanners — Often incorrectly referred to as 'Beach Bums.'  They're a flock of seagull-like individuals who march around hotel swimming pools.  Adorned with Trump wigs and ridiculously over-the-top spray tans.  They generously hand out carrots and oranges.  Preaching about the benefits of beta-keratin and Vitamin C.  Most of them hail from Florida having lived in close proximity to neighboring Mar-a-Lago beaches.  West Palm and Deerfield, Riviera and Delray. 

So there you go.  That's ten.  Count 'em up.  Ten extrapolative ideas for fringe Republican groups, whose sole purpose is to mock and demean, smash and trash the entire Republican party.   Of course, no politician would never have the courage to implement such a devious operation.  But what about all you rebellious college kids?  From the neighboring dozen universities?  With all those drama departments?

Well I say, "students of North Carolina Unite!"  Duke, Wake, Fuck, Suck.  I'm calling on you!  Stryper style!

Make it happen.  There's no scraps in my scrap book.  Merely hunks of scalp.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

The MLB Solution

For the past quarter century, I’ve witnessed Pirates ownership demonstrate a steadfast commitment.  Not towards winning and fielding a competitive team, but rather, extracting every last drop of revenue.  Ever since Bob Nutting purchased the team, he has maintained the same strategic vision.  To maximize profit while cutting costs.  Even the hot dog inventory is open to investigation.  Even the relish and chopped onions are susceptible to scrutiny.  Our hillbilly billionaire buddy from neighboring West Virginia is both nifty and thrifty.  Cha-Ching.

Foul I say!

Nutting bought the franchise for 92 million in 1996.  They debuted at PNC Park in 2001.  It’s the self-described “greatest ballpark in America.”  Except for the fact that it's usually deserted.  Now, in 2020, the Pirates are worth an estimated 1.3 billion.  That's a pretty strong rate of return on a foolproof investment.  Not too shabby, eh?  You’d think all that cash would free up some room for free agents.  Think again.  Bob’s like a spent bowl of marijuana.  He’s cashed out!

MLB payroll:

1st in the league.  New York Yankees = $244,000,000
28th in the league.  Pittsburgh Pirates = $48,000,000

The median payroll is about 100 million.  More on that later.

When it comes to the Pirates, one thing is certain.  Our best players always seek out greener pastures.  And management is more than happy to oblige.  Cut and run.  Slash and burn.  Pump and dump.  Just to name a few… Andrew McCutcheon, Gerrit Cole, and now Starling Marte.  Hence, there will be no Marte Par-tay.  Maybe in the dry heat of Arizona.  But definitely not on the cold, soot-filled curbs of the Burgh.

This overall problem isn’t unique to Pittsburgh.  In the absence of a functional salary cap, the smaller market MLB organizations are increasingly faced with two distinct choices: try to keep pace OR discard, dismantle, and be mired in a continual state of “rebuilding.”  It’s a microcosm for what’s wrong with the league.  It's the fundamental reason why professional baseball is in a state of decline.

Maybe I should stop worrying so much.  Because Major League Baseball has a solution.  Yep, the "luxury tax."  A tax on the teams that shell out the big bucks.  But in reality, it’s mostly considered a “nuisance penalty.”  As long as ownership is willing to spend cash, the big market teams will continue to spend, spend and spend some more.  While most of the small market teams will be compelled to shed payroll and decrease fixed costs… at any cost.

One could argue that the actual, physical ballparks have an impact on the bottom line.  Hey, if a team is required to finance municipal debt, pay for renovations, or allocate a significant part of their operating budget towards rent and taxes… well, that could play a negative role.  But not really.  Generally speaking, this is another negligible concern.

Sixteen of the 30 current MLB stadiums were constructed after the year 2000.  Six others were built in the 1990’s.  For the most part, MLB has kept pace with the stadium construction frenzy.  And in a few cases, it doesn't even apply.  The quality of the venue is irrelevant.  Some of biggest teams (Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, LA Dodgers at Dodger Stadium) don't even want new stadiums.  They embrace the iconic architecture.  A certain level of deterioration adds to the mystique.  It must be the magic and mystery.  Hocus Pocus!  Voila!

So here's the point.  Major League Baseball doesn’t need a shot in the arm. It needs a steroid injection... right in the left ass cheek.  A blood doping infusion.  MLB needs help.  This ain’t the 1970’s no more.  Fan apathy is on the upswing.  Games seemingly last forever.  Baseball is inherently boring.  And for the typical family of 3.8 (mom, dad and 1.8 kids), a day at the ballpark can be a costly proposition.  Factor in parking, merch & souvenirs, $10 draft beers and $5 hot dogs.  You’re easily out a couple hundred bucks.  Why spend all that money when you can watch the game in  the creature comforts of home on a monster high definition flat screen?  Yeah, tell me something I don’t already know.

Just a minor detail here, but several organizations basically have a 0.0% chance of winning the World Series.  Just look at the 2020 futures market.  In a world immersed with distortions and fake news... Las Vegas never lies.  Why? Because it's always in their best interest to tell the truth.  How ironic.

New York Yankees    3/1
Los Angeles Dodgers    6/1
Houston Astros    8/1
Atlanta Braves    12/1
St. Louis Cardinals    14/1
New York Mets    16/1
Washington Nationals    16/1
Philadelphia Phillies    18/1
Minnesota Twins    20/1
Boston Red Sox    25/1
Tampa Bay Rays    25/1
Oakland Athletics    25/1
Cleveland Indians    25/1
Cincinnati Reds    30/1
Chicago Cubs    30/1
Los Angeles Angels    30/1
Chicago White Sox    40/1
Milwaukee Brewers    40/1
Arizona Diamondbacks    40/1
Texas Rangers    50/1
San Diego Padres    50/1
Toronto Blue Jays    100/1
Colorado Rockies    100/1
Pittsburgh Pirates    200/1
San Francisco Giants    300/1
Seattle Mariners    500/1
Kansas City Royals    500/1
Miami Marlins    1000/1
Baltimore Orioles    1000/1
Detroit Tigers    1000/1

Now if your odds of winning it all are 1,000-1 or 500-1 or even 100-1, your season is effectively over before it started.  Welcome to 1/3 of the league.  Welcome to the bottom 10 teams.  Overkill lead singer Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth said it best, “Hello, from the gutter!”

Notice how all the small market teams tend to congeal at the bottom, with the exception of maybe San Francisco.  Contrarily, the top 10 are all big market teams.  This is the status quo.  This is the norm.

Damn the preamble!

So without further adieu, here’s my proposal for how to FIX professional baseball.  
Let’s fill the seats and restore legitimacy to America's favorite pastime.  
It’s not as complicated as you might think. 

This is how we do it

I’m calling for a total Maury Povich makeover.  A fiscally grounded reconfiguration of both Leagues.  Instead of the American League and the National League, from this point forward, there shalt be the big market league and the small market league!  A team's designation will be based almost entirely on the size and population of the host city.  If your owner spends a shit ton of money and it’s a big city, you’re in the big market.  Contrarily, if your team is located in a smaller city (and your owner is a cheapskate tight-ass like Nutting) , you’re in the small market.  Not a terribly complex formula, eh?

Just consider me the 2020 Scrabble equivalent of Tom Hanks.

Do not fret!  We’ll keep the same names (American and National).  The same regional titles (East, Central & West).  And we’ll maintain the same rivalries.  But more importantly, we’ll add some better ones.

First off, the American League will be designated as the big market.  Why?  Because I said so.  And the National League will function as the small market. Why?  Because that's the way it is.  Every 20 years, there will be an owners meeting to determine if any of the teams on the bubble should be repositioned.  Kinda like a U.S. baseball census behind closed doors.  Anyway, here’s the new divisions for your perusal.

Okay, let’s get straight to the pros and cons.


The fundamental, overriding benefit should be pretty obvious.  The new configuration offers a realistic attempt to level the playing field and restore a sense of fairness, parity and competition.  Major League Baseball is losing fans.  Why?  Because many of them "no longer believe."  You gotta give them hope.  But that requires change.  It’s called “hope and change.”  Hmm, where have I heard that before?      

A significant reward will be the showcasing of big city, big time, big spending cross-town rivalries: 

New York City — Yankees/Mets
Chicago — Cubs/White Sox
Los Angeles — Dodgers/Angels

The statewide Rangers/Astros games would carry on unabated.

On a lesser note, there's more!  Behold the brand spankin' new, titillating, small market intrastate rivalries!

Missouri — Cardinals/Royals
Ohio — Indians/Reds
Florida — Marlins/Rays

The new rivalries are a huge element going forward.  It’s the secret sauce.  As it encourages road trips, charter buses, tailgating, hotel reservations, memories, etc.  MLB’s best kept secret isn’t the players.  Players come and go.  It’s the ballparks.  Especially visiting a new ballpark.  That is your marketing theme to support the transition.  It's about going to the games.  It's about the experience.

But first, an honest admission.  The season is way too long.  Each team plays 162 games.  And MLB isn’t going to shorten it.  Much like they aren’t going to impose a salary cap.  With such a long season, individual games tend to lose their weightiness and importance.  Think about it.  One single regular season NFL game is the equivalent of 10 MLB games.  Just an observation.

Now let’s address scheduling…. Alright, here comes the numbers shit.  If you’re not into the wonky stuff, just skip the next few paragraphs.  Rest assured, the new schedule might not be perfect.  But you can easily calibrate it.  With a little tweek here.  Geek there.

It's imperative to reduce the entrenched 19 games against the same division opponent.  Did I say imperative?  I meant critical.  This is a Code Red.   19 x 4 = 76.  In a 162 game season, that’s nearly half the games played in your own division.  I call this going overboard.  As in excessive.  As in walking the plank.  As in Pirates vs. Cardinals, Pirates vs. Brewers, Pirates vs. Reds. ETC.  Yeah, trust me, I get it.  I get the rivalry aspect and all.  But it eventually grows a stale.  As in boring.  Particularly when the small market, out of contention teams, are playing meaningless games in front of empty crowds in late September.  Nineteen games is too much.  Twelve divisional games is plenty.  12 X 4 = 48.  Change it to 6 home / 6 away.  Whew!  Much better.

So what about the other 10 league games?  Let’s go 6 X 10 = 60.  3 home / 3 away.  Same as it currently exists.  Simple enough.  Done.  Now we’re up to 108 games.  Leaving us with 54 games and 15 teams.  But whoa, that number ain’t perfectly divisible!  Yeah, no shit.  Here’s what you do.  Knock off, eradicate, or kill if you will, a grand total of 9 games.  Trust me on this one.  It’s long overdue.  Just move the season openers from late March to early April.  Even better, end the regular season in mid-September as opposed to late September.  Either works.  Personally, I prefer the latter.

With the 162 game season being cut to 153 games, it leaves 45 games in play.  Each MLB team would play all 15 teams in the opposing conference — a 3 game series, home OR away, alternating every year.  Just rotate.  The same concept used by the NFL.

If you can’t fathom the concept of eliminating 9 precious games from the regular season, there exists an even better option.  Balance out the schedule with an emphasis on inter-league weeknight stands - Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  They already do it to some extent.  Fans want to see the superstars.  The ones they never get to see.  What’s the point of signing a player to a  $100 million contract, if half of Major League Baseball never gets to see him play ball?  Pushing the inter-league Tuesday and Wednesday night games is a logical way to increase ballpark attendance on nights with low attendance. You’d think a proposition this evident would have been addressed by now.  Not quite.

With the introduction of inter-league play in 1997, MLB ended the long-standing tradition of separating the AL and NL (until the World Series of course).  Fans have overwhelmingly viewed this as a positive development.  As it gives them an opportunity to check out the other teams.  And since MLB has already opened up that can of worms, why not take it a step further?  Especially in the days of massive free agency $100+ million contracts (Cabrera, Trout, Pujols, etc.).  The best way to spark enthusiasm and renew interest… is to offer a greater number of fans the opportunity to see the current crop of superstars.  You know, the ones in the opposing conference?  Duh?!  I cannot stress this point enough.  It strikes me as absurdly obvious.  

With 30 teams, MLB is currently big enough.  But if you absolutely must add an expansion team, make sure to maintain the equilibrium.  Add two teams at the same time, not just one.  Keep it balanced.  Though trust me, thirty teams is more than sufficient.


The most significant realignment issue is the argument over a single word.  Tradition.  One could easily write a book about the tradition angle.  I’m just not willing to go down that road.  Although I will make a single statement.

In the last 50 years, 12 of the current 30 franchises in baseball have switched divisions.  And two of them switched leagues while they were doing it.  So I don’t really buy into this whole “how dare you upset the apple cart” theory.   

A more realistic problem involves the issue of time zones.  Keep in mind, MLB already has problems with the existing time zone dilemma.  There’s really no way to make everything perfectly compatible.  As long as the West Coast supports 6 teams, 5 of them in California alone, there’s not much you can do about the late games (starting at 10pm and hopefully ending by 1am).  But again, let’s be honest.  This problem has existed since the Dodgers left Brooklyn back in 1957.  Now you could have one division represent the entire state of California (which I kinda like).  The "yearly battle for California” could be an interesting sideshow.  However, it’s a direct conflict as Oakland is NOT a big market team.  If you start making arbitrary exceptions, the entire concept gets marginalized.  Still, I’d be amenable to exploring the idea.  Just switch Oakland with Arizona.  I wouldn’t completely rule it out.  Just sayin’.

Here are the other time zone realignment discrepancies.


The Washington Nationals (Eastern time) in the AL Central along with the Chicago and Texas teams (Central time).  They’re separated by one hour.  But hey, if there’s one city that should be able to cope with the hour disparity, it’s gotta be the residents of D.C.  Hardly strangers to the airlines.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are in the AL West with all the California teams.  But Arizona plays by their own rules when it comes to daylight savings time.  They are the “anti-time zone” team which makes them indifferent… and to some extent, irrelevant.  Regardless, it’s only a 5 hour drive from Phoenix to Los Angeles.  Not a huge deal. 

The NL Central teams would be divided between the Eastern and Central time zones.  That’s consistent with the current alignment.  A one hour discrepancy that can't be reconciled.  Get over it.

The only significant time zone issue is with the NL West.  You’d have both Missouri teams occasionally playing on the West Coast.  But you currently have the Texas teams playing on the West Coast.  So it's basically a wash.  Once again, just like Glenn Frey complains in that incredibly irritating ditty… get over it, get over it.  The video was removed from youtube for copyright violations, so here's the vastly superior “Smuggler’s Blues.”

Keep in mind, plenty of time zone issues already exist with the current AL/NL format.  The last time I checked, the city of Cleveland is located in the Eastern time zone.  Minneapolis and Kansas City are not.  Pittsburgh plays plenty of games in Milwaukee and Illinois.  The Astros and Rangers routinely travel to California.  And so on and so forth.  Truth be told, the time zone discrepancies are nearly  identical.  Just the same, the advantages easily outweigh the disadvantages.  Specifically the prospect of showcasing fresh new rivalries.

When making the final determination of whether a team qualifies as big or small market, I think it’s best to focus on the population of the city.  But if necessary, the formula could also take into account tv ratings, attendance, merchandise revenue, etc.  Still, the major criteria must reflect city population.  Put it to an ownership vote every 20 years or so.  In the unlikely event a tiebreaker is needed, let the commish cast the deciding vote.  After all, Rob Manfred is surely capable of making the big decisions.  The ones that take guts.

This new configuration does beg the question, what if a multi-billionaire, like say a Mark Cuban, made Bob Nutting an offer he couldn’t refuse?  And purchased a small market team?  And overloaded it with expensive talent, thereby giving them an unfair advantage?  Well, so what!  You’re basically right back where you started.  Though I’ll tell you one thing.  It would definitely solve the problem of declining small market attendance.  As it would put more butts in the seats.  Particularly when the fans can say, without any doubt whatsoever, our owner is truly committed to winning. 

And it’s not just Pittsburgh.  Hey, if some mega-billionaire wants to buy the Cincinnati Reds, I say more power to them.  Enjoy your plate of Skyline Chili.  Consisting of spaghetti noodles with a heaping dollop of shredded cheddar.

What about spring training and the accompanying cacti and grapefruits in late February and March?  I’d say keep every team where they are.  Leave well enough alone.  It’s all inherently based on geography anyway.

The final con is actually a pro — Wouldn’t the big market team, with it’s higher priced talent, always be favored and usually win the World Series?  Yeah, perhaps.  But I don’t necessarily agree with that premise.  Because when a baseball team gets that fever, that spark, momentum, whatever… things have a way of playing themselves out in unanticipated ways.  Either way, there would be a greater desire to watch the final series and find out if the small market team can pull off the upset.  In a way, it even surpasses rooting for your favorite team.  Because it’s called rooting for the underdog.  And that’s a tradition which transcends all other traditions.

Once again, here’s a look at the new leagues.
Big Market American League and Small Market National League.  Enjoy!

It's time to shake it up.  Discuss.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

S&T Bank Music Park Memes

So... I just heard that S&T Bank bought the naming rights to our beloved Star Lake.

Internet says it's gonna be called S&T Bank Music Park.  If anything, it makes for a good Top 10.