Monday, November 29, 2010

Buffalo Bills twitter

Yesterday, I watched the second half of the Steelers/Bills game at the 19th HO. Midway through overtime, Bills receiver Stevie Johnson dropped a perfectly thrown 50 yard pass in the end zone. After the game, he tweeted the following...


Now seriously, what the fuck is this? What the fuck does this even mean? It never ceases to amaze me how the human race is so incredibly self absorbed. Honestly, it defies description. I suppose it's an easy cop-out. After all, in this day of heightened religious sensitivity, if you blame a god for a trivial shortcoming, who's going to have the temerity to challenge that assessment. It would be akin to questioning someone's core beliefs. How dare you?

Of course, that's the beauty of steadfast devotion to a higher power. You can NEVER be adequately called upon to explain yourself. It's always about "faith." No wonder every politician claims a belief in the supernatural. You'll always be on relatively safe ground with the majority.

I have seen so many athletes praise and extol their lord for insignificant human victories. Over time, it really numbs your senses almost to the point of a casual indifference. Of course, they're not the only ones. Movie stars and musicians love invoking Jesus Christ when presented with an Emmy, Grammy or Teen Choice Award. Good for them. Over the years, I've grown accustomed to egomaniac athletes praising deities. This whole "god wants our team" to win mentality gets pretty annoying. On a global scale, I think it probably peaked in the 2006 World Cup when Iran kicked the USA's collective ass. For me personally, I lost it during the 1999 Rams/Titans Superbowl when Kurt Warner and the Rams owner (I think her name was Georgia Hess), thanked Jesus repeatedly after their team held on for the last second victory. She was literally screaming her brains out, "Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus!" Shouldn't they have made at least a cursory mention of the linebacker who made the last second tackle at the one yard line? What about the team bus driver that safely transported them to the venue? I wouldn't hastily dispute their contributions. Hell, I'd sooner pay homage to the janitor who scrubbed the stadium toilets.

I realize that I'll never be on the winning side of this argument. It's just too easy for feeble minded humans to embrace such simplistic notions of success and failure as it relates to the age old notions of good vs. evil.

But here's what I'd like to see more of... I'd like to see the losers PLACE MORE BLAME on their respective god. Now that would be long overdue. In my ideal world, where BALANCE is key, I would welcome this new found appropriation for defeat. Hell, tonight's mouthwatering Monday Night football match up is the Arizona Cardinals against the San Fransisco 49ers. Sucked. But the 49ers coach Mike Singletary is truly a man of god. He wears that mammoth cross on the outside of his sweatshirt. He must have some overriding need to demonstrate his Christian faith. I guess it's a "subliminal" message that he's on the side of virtue and truth. I'd love to see his team lose tonight. What if he had a total mental breakdown and pulled off a tearful Jerry Fallwell routine... "Oh, dear god, why hast though forsaken me? Why do I deserveth your wrath? Why must you inflict your misery upon thyself and punish the sodomizers of San Francisco?" I love the idea of Singletary blaming a football loss on the city's historic "embrace of the homos." Obviously, there must be a correlation. Has a nice Westboro Baptist Church feel to it, doesn't it?

Seriously though, the time has arrived to assign a greater amount of religious blame for the trivial transgressions of mankind...

Clogged toilet? Blame Jesus.
Erectile dysfunction? Blame Jesus.
Speeding ticket or DUI? Blame Jesus.

We need to establish a more balanced system of protocol for churchies everywhere. I consider this a moral imperative for societal enlightenment. Fuck it, they've already established the playbook and written the rules. I'm just trying to follow them. I call upon you, the reader of this eternally damned blog, to embrace this urgent call for balance. Sucky blog entry? Blame Jesus. On second thought, you know what? Fuck that! Blame Saf.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

thoughts on North Korea

The timing of this Kim Jong-Un shelling of a South Korean island intrigues me. Let's set the stage. They're on the cusp of entering these 6 party talks. So perhaps a display of force was a good idea. Remember the beloved Ronald Reagan - "Peace through Strength." Well, that analogy is a bit of a stretch.

I think Kim Jong-Un made a purposeful, strategic decision designed to improve his standing in Asia. I'd assume that most would agree with that assessment. I doubt most people think this was the act of a "crazy" man. Although, the father Jong-Il was always portrayed as a paranoid freakshow nutcase.

I think his purpose was two-fold. First, he simply wanted to solidify his power as the next dictator. What better a way to demonstrate that then to lash out at your mortal enemy? But more importantly, because let's face it, this was not the most heinous, vicious attack in the history of modern warfare. I think the body count was 2. Not to besmirch the fallen heroes, but 2 is... well, 2. Jong-Un needed to cement his authority with the military. I'm sure there's at least a few in the extensive N. Korean military apparatus that might try a coup d'etat rout. This sends a simple, straightforward message - I'm the one who's the boss. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss - Slosh.

But here's what I think this is really all about. I think Jong-Un is in the early stages of creating a new shift in the power balance. And I think he picked a good time to do it. If I were Jong-Un, when I enter the upcoming 6 party talks, I'll immediately decry the U.S. military presence in South Korea. I'll immediately call for a reasonably timed and phased withdrawal of U.S. troops on the border. I'll make the argument that my country has already been lumped in with the axis of evil (Bush's Iran, Iraq, North Korea bit). Hell, just because W is out of office doesn't mean shit. Obama hasn't spoken against the Bush doctrine. At least not that I can recall. Obama just doesn't label everyone who hates the U.S. a terrorist.

Anyway, if I'm Jong-Un, I'll commence any political bargaining from this vantage point. The U.S. is severely bogged down right now, both militarily and economically. Horrible time to further expose our exhausted military with an entirely new war front on a different continent. I'll point to the enormous American military presence throughout the world. Aside from our troops throughout EVERY country in the Middle East, when you think about it, we've got a ton of military might stationed in Asia as well. Jong-Un can just make the relatively sound case - "Hey, the Americans are all around us and they've already invaded before. Do we really want them muscling in AGAIN? I think China might go along with some carefully crafted rhetoric. Japan, Taiwan - no fucking way.

This would strengthen China's position as well. Hell, when the conflict with Islam finally begins to fade, China is likely the next enemy. Not in a traditional military sense though. Probably a sustained economic war with an occasional military skirmish. Anyway, I think Jong-Un knows what he's doing. I suspect he'll prematurely withdraw from the 6 party talks and demand the U.S. draw down its hostile presence. He'll promise to reenter future peace talks when he sees visual proof of the draw down. I think the 6 party talks will unfold under this general format, but Jong-Un will be left with greater standing, and believe it or not, more regional respect. At least that's how I'd approach this mess. Oh yeah, and call for more international economic aid for my enfeebled populace. You can never go wrong with the case for increased aid - reminds everyone that you are weak and on the defense. It's a better public relations perspective for this style of dictator - Feigning weakness even though you are surprisingly negotiating from a position of relative strength. I don't think you'll see a near-term escalation of military might. This North Korean outburst might appear sudden, but the objectives are long term. Jong-Un knows he's just starting out and has a long way to go. He really is a chip off the old block.

Now I will watch a true drama unfold. I'm going to check me out some young Palin on the Dancing with the Stars finale. Honestly, I've never seen it. No sarcasm here. I just need to see if Bristol wins, and as an esteemed surrogate for her mother flippin' mama, announces Mommy dearest's presidential candidacy for 2012. With Sarah's new book tour just getting underway, it's a win-win. Classy. Go get'em.

One final thought - I have no allegiance to North Korea or its leadership. Lately, I get the feeling there's some moron out there in cyberworld who would read this and conclude that I'm a Kim Jong Il/Un sympathizer. Maybe I'm even cahoots! You know, providing strategic advice to a member of the vaunted axis of evil. Kim Jong-Saf... I'll admit, it does have a nice ring to it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

shuttle/Raiders-Steelers game

So I got back from Arizona and I'm in the shuttle van returning to the extended lot (Red F-13) at the Pittsburgh airport. There are 7 of us. I'm sitting directly across from a 10 year old who was celebrating his birthday. He was accompanied by his grandparents. They were discussing their trip to Disney with a priest who was seated to my right. The grandmother was a large woman - I'd estimate she weighed in near the 268 lb range. Not quite sure why I find that detail pertinent. Apparently they spent 10 days out west and were headed back to Latrobe.

And here is a snippet of the conversation...

Grandma - "Ohh, we had a wonderful time. The fireworks were incredible.

Priest - "Did you see the presidents? Isn't that something?"

Grandma - "Oh yeah, they were amazing. So lifelike. It felt like they could reach out and touch you."

10 yr. old boy - He looks in the priest's direction and inquires, "Are you a priest?"

Priest - "As a matter of fact, I am."

10 yr. old boy - "When I grow up, I want to be a priest!"

Priest - "Ohhh, that's wonderful!"

Grandma - "Ever since he was a young boy, he's always loved going to church. You should have seen him at the baptism when he was a young boy. His arms were outstretched. And he loves the fish fries too! Don't ya?"

kid - Ohhh yeah, I just love fish!"

Priest - "Ohhh, God bless you."

Then, for the love of god, I decide to speak..

SAF - "Apparently, he's probably unfamiliar with the pedophile scandal historically sweeping through the church."

Grandma - "Seems like your parents never taught you any manners."

SAF - "Well... they tried but it didn't take."

Then there was this incredibly awkward silence for about almost an entire minute.

Bus driver - "F-13!," he cries out.

I scramble to my feet and politely nod in their direction, grab my luggage and exit. And that's pretty much the end of it.


And here's my take on the Steelers/Raiders game. It was 3 of us. Me, Gig and her friend Emily who made a surprise visit from Seattle. I constructed a sign that read...


U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A.!

The sign was written on the back of a coke 12 pack. I utilized a twig backing (carton-packing taped) for additional height. I was trying to convey a wide range of emotions. Obviously, the typical arrogant American sense of entitlement was center stage. And the Palinesque "U.S.A." bit was designed to evoke a phony, cornballish sense of patriotism for anyone who might be easily influenced. The "cash equivalent" request was admittedly a bit of a stretch. It's my dream that some sugar daddy might come along and ask me if I have change for a hundred, to which I'd respond, "Sure thing my man, here's a twenty." The stick-taped backing was a little bit ghetto but I liked the understated, blue collar approach. I even wore this yellow oven mitt. I was attempting to recreate a Michael Jackon/Liza Minelli glitteratti thing. All in all, I was trying to appeal to everyone across the board. Throw it all out there and see what unfolds.

Gig went with the traditional sign. "If you give me a free ticket, I promise I won't sit by you"

Emily had no sign. She thought we were both weirdos.

Ironically, Emily quickly snagged a ticket for $20. My sign seemed to be working against us. I got a few deranged looks here and there but little commentary. Gig received a far more positive response but nobody was biting. Tix seemed relatively scarce around 12:30pm. Sensing an underlying discreet vitriolic vibe, I rested the sign against the bench and just watched the crowd roll in.

Nearing crunch time I walked to the top of the steps and found an old man. He sold me a $200 club seat for $20. And then Gig conjured up a 20 buck ticket right at kick-off. We gobbled up the rest of our drinks, a mamosa and some red wine and headed in. Great game - Steelers 35 Raiders 3.

On the flight back from Phoenix, I sat next to a die hard Raider fan and his son. In fact, the plane had plenty of Raiders fans. I surmised that it originated in Oakland as that is one of the Southwest Air hubs. He had me totally convinced that the Raiders would pull off the upset. He kept spouting stats and betting trends. He called it Raiders 31 Steelers 10. Well... at least he got some nice California weather.

Monday, November 15, 2010

flippin' Patriots

Ahhh, the witty banter of Sarah Palin... If she went to the game last night she'd probably say, "Regardless of the loss, that Steelers game was flippin' fun!" Is it any wonder why I loathe this woman? Fortunately, she's over 2,000 miles away. Well, until her book tour rolls back through the area. One day I will pulverize this self-proclaimed Mama Grizzly. This, I vow.

Anyway, I might up with Gig and we headed down to the mayhem around 4pm. Parked on a creepy side street on the North Shore. I think it was called Fontilla Avenue. Armed with an unnecessarily massive amount of Steelers key chains, we did some low end solicitation. Someday, I'll get rid of all that unofficial merchandise. The rain was kind of annoying and set the stage for a melancholy tailgating atmosphere. Things finally cleared up but the general mood remained stale.

Gig and I had 2 signs...





We assumed our standard position - standing on the bench outside Gate A. In about 20 minutes, a man would hand me the elusive free ticket. It was a club level seat ($252 face). He seemed happy just to give it away. I was content to accept the magnanimous gesture.

Then, it got a little weird. A policeman told us to "lose the signs." We both said okay but remained standing. We talked about the unreasonable nature of his demands but complied with the order (for about 5 minutes). Then, he walked away and the signs went back up. Oh my god, the utter defiance! It was like Jean-Luc Picard disregarding the prime directive. Anyway, another cop comes over, but he just wanted to see the signs. He just smiled and walked back to his post by the main gate. This emboldened us a bit, but we still couldn't seem to acquire the second freebie.

Truth be told, it was a pretty "tight" scene. Not a whole lot of action. Then, about 15 minutes passed and the original cop returned with one of the stadium security people. This time he was pissed off. He growled at us, "I already told you guys once! Get down form there and give me those signs or you'll be arrested! Do you understand?" We just mumbled "okay, sorry." Then, that bastard took both our signs. I'm thinking to myself a few things...

1) I spent about 4 minutes making those signs.
2) Regardless of the fact that the signs are basically worthless, isn't it illegal for him to just steal them from us?
3) Apparently, we're allowed to stand on the bench, so the elevation part wasn't the problem. It's just the signs. Is it okay to just yell and beckon for free tickets? Personally, I think the latter sounds more invasive and obnoxious.
4) And lastly, we still need another free ticket.

Anyhoo, now signless we walked toward lot A. Not too much action. Then I saw a guy who had an extra. He wanted face but quickly dropped to $20. I met up with Gigi and she also had found a $20 ticket. So we sold hers off for $20 and that pretty much concluded our ticket quest.

The fireworks were pretty impressive. We went in and snagged a front row spot on the railing in the end zone. I usually stand in the pit and watch it on the big screen. But this wasn't bad because you could turn your head and see the critical plays and referee calls. A guy next to us yelled, "Brady is a cunt!" I thought that was an unusual choice of words. As the half came to a close, I figured we'd lose this one. Just no pressure on Brady as he picked apart our secondary.

During halftime, we wandered to the other end of the stadium. Mid-way through the third, we opted to bolt. I know, I know... I'm always quick to ridicule the lame-ass fans that leave early but we were both wet, cold and poorly dressed. So we zipped to her place and watched the rest of the game. At the end of that debacle late in the 4th quarter, the stadium looked desolate. No thanks to us. We flippin' suck. And so does that cop that harassed us and broke the law. What's this flippin' world coming to?

This morning I noticed the receipt ticket had a name on it. David Dichauzi of Winchendon, Massachusetts. I googled his name and sure enough he came up on facebook. So I sent him a message of gratitude. David, if by chance you ever read this, just know the sentiment was deeply appreciated. If only others were more like Dave and less like that arrogant, thug cop with an inferiority complex, the world (and Steelers games) would be a much better (and flippin') place.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

free Steelers theory

I've often boasted of my ability to snag free tickets at Steelers games. To be honest, when they're not doing well, it's relatively easy. The number of no-shows is sometimes absurd. We went to see them play the Green Bay Packers last year and they still had a remote shot of making the playoffs. The weather was cold but hardly unbearable. Over 7,000 people didn't show up. My sign said...


The first guy we encountered dished us off 2 freebies. Now granted, this game was a complete lay-down. Fuck it - I've encountered greater resistance trying to buy a Coors Light at the 19th HO. But it got me to thinking. You always see these articles about how much it costs for a family of 4 to go to an NFL game. Somehow, it seems to approach the $750 threshold. And that's for the seats in peanut heaven.

So let's try to do the exact opposite. I'm going to lay out a deceptively unsophisticated game plan to get you on your way.

Here's the hypothetical scenario for the Steelers/Raiders game on Nov. 21. It's currently scheduled for 1pm but it could turn into a night game based on the flex scheduling. I doubt they'll move it though because the Steelers have already had a glut of prime time games (that's because the Steelers rock, but I digress).

Alright, we're coming from Wheeling so git in your car at 8am sharp. I have no tolerance for a late departure. In my book, 9:30am is always the latest acceptable departure time. Why would anyone want to sit in that bullshit traffic and forfeit valuable sightseeing/tailgating time? So the drive up is going to cost you in terms of gas money. But I have figured a way to shave off some dollars. When you get on the parkway, get off at the Green Tree exit on 279N. Make a left and go through 2 lights. On your right is the Best Western Parkway Center Hotel. It's a large hotel with ample parking. Enter the lobby on any Sunday and you will see a mammoth, deluxe complimentary breakfast. All the fixins! Even kosher low fat Jew ham! So stock up. You'll feel like it's a Bob Evans buffet. Alas, you're not really "down on the farm." More likely, you're "up on the hill at a horribly disjointed intersection." Anyway, just relax and get a grip. Read the sports section and feel free to use the immaculate restrooms in the lobby.

Here's where the entertainment begins. They run a free shuttle from the hotel to Heinz Field and the casino. As a "valued customer," feel free to hop on. I would suggest tipping the driver about 3 bucks. Hell, it's a gesture. And he/she is going to drop you down right at the main entrance. So fuck that $50 Gold Lot parking pass or that $40 Carnegie Science Center Lot bullshit. And the myriad of $25-$30 spots on the North Side can also go to hell.

Or you can just make the drive down to the North Shore. I prefer off street parking near the main drag - Federal Street in the crack district and greater meth area. It's about a 3/4 mile to the stadium.

Alright, so you just saved a bundle on parking. But what about alcohol? No self described fan can go to a Sunday afternoon game without imbibing a few drinks to get in the mood. At least, that's the impression I've gotten over the years. The rampant alcohol and substance abuse is on par with a Skynyrd concert at Starlake. So Saffy, how do you get free drinks? EASY. Have a dollar bill in your hand and approach a group of tailgaters drinking cheap canned domestic beer - Miller Lite or IC Light is always the best because you know it didn't cost them much. Look for the moment when a man is talking to his wife or girlfriend. Ask the following question, "Hey you guys, could I buy a beer off you for a buck?" 9 times out of 10, the guy will toss you a beer and say, "Oh, don't worry about it man." It's important to always ask the male though, not the woman. The man will always want to appear benevolent and philanthropic in front of his lady friend. Oddly enough, it doesn't work as well if you ask the girl.
You can do this one all day long.

If mixed drinks are your thing, fill up a high quality ziplock bag with Captain Morgan. Yellow and blue make green, asshole. Just make sure to seal it thoroughly. I'd suggest 2 ziplock bags as opposed to just a single. You still have to buy a Coke or Sprite on the inside though. But there you go. You'll feel like you're in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Well, on second thought it's a ghetto approach so maybe a cross between downtown Kingston and the northern Ukraine.

But Saf, I want to buy some official Steelers merchandise. What about that? Well, personally I'm not a big fan of the $250 Polamalu jersey. Now if some brother approached me on the street corner and had a $10 t-shirt that said, "Big Ben Raped My Mom" - well.... I'd probably cave. But yeah, what about some over-priced NFL gear for the pseudo, wannabe fan, lame ass American consumer/sheep? Here's what I would do. I would get 2 yellow dishrags or hand towels from the bathroom closet. Bingo! Instant 25 cent terrible towel. There you go. I usually carry a black marker at all times. So just right the word "Steelers" on it. Or better yet, write "GAY" on it - a tribute to our cornerback William Gay. It's my dream that one day, he makes a big hit on Terrell Owens over the middle. The TV announcer yells out, "Oh No! Sodomized by Gay!" (A Freudian slip) Is it doubtful... yes. Is it possible? Well, maybe in the 1-2% range. Still though, dare to dream.

Another option for free merchandise is just to sign up for a credit card and get a free Steelers Snuggie or crappy, mid-end fleece. Then, immediately cancel the card the following day. You could provide false information, but these days, they almost always check your drivers license to verify everything. Another option is to create a diversion. Have a friend fall to his knees like he's having a heart attack or a diabetic reaction. When the Visa-Mastercard asshole offers assistance, sneak behind the stand and snag 10 t-shirts. As you walk away, yell "Steelers shirts! 1 for $10, 2 for $15!"

But Saf, I need tickets and the damn game is sold out. Yeah, they've been sold out since 1973 and the waiting list is 10,000 douchebags thick. So now I'm going to give away the infamous Saffy/Steelers free ticket acquisition theory. If you read my blog about the Ravens game from a few weeks ago, you'd know I made a sign that said...


Needless to say, it worked in less than 5 minutes. A man gave me an $86 ticket in the 500 section. Now, you can make a sign say anything you want and you'll get predictably limited results. The trick is in the execution. When you stand outside the main entrance, there are a series of 6 benches that run parallel to the main gates. Simply step up and stand on the bench. I prefer bench #2. I'll label it accordingly when I'm at the game next week (Sunday fucking night - Bellifuck is comin' to town! Honestly though, I prefer him over Santa). Anyhoo, this forces about 40,000 out of the 65,050 entrants to read your sign. Play the laws of probability. There are many "fans" (I'd say about 32 people, mostly older white men) that regularly eat their tickets. They usually sit in the obnoxiously overpriced 200 club level. These are the $250 seats. They are unwilling to sell them for fear of sitting next to a drunken, snotting slob while they entertain their derivative trading clients. They also don't want some weirdo dressed like a Catholic priest with a black and gold hat trying to molest their grandkids. Speaking of odd head gear, I'm finally going to construct my black and gold "Terrible Turban." This is the final step in bridging the gap between atheist Jews and militant Islamic fundamentalists. With my assistance, we'll usher in that new found era of cultural understanding and acceptance that has proved so defiantly elusive since Jesus Christ died for my sins or Mohammed slaughtered a cow or whatever.

So there you go. I think we covered all the basics. Food, beverages, merchandise, and tickets of course. Saf, how can you give away these precious game day secrets. It's easy I tell ya. See, I also play the laws of probability. Let's assume there's about a baker's dozen weirdos who regularly read my blog. Of that 13, 3 have never been to a Steelers game. 1 has never been to Pittsburgh. Another 4 can't tolerate the concept of standing on a bench, opening themselves up to potential scorn and ridicule. That's right - It comes with the territory, bitches. Another 2 don't like to be outside in the cold. And another 1 thinks NFL Football sucks. He/she prefers going to church on a Sunday. Weak. That leaves 2 people to compete with on game day. I'll take my chances.

And just for the record, here's my 5 team parlay. 3 upsets, 1 over, 1 under.

I like CAROLINA over New Orleans (7 point underdog)
Buffalo over Chicago (3 point underdog)
and INDY over Philly (another 3 point underdog).
Take the OVER 40 in the AZ at Minnesota
and take the UNDER 44.5 in the New England at Cleveland.

I don't bet anymore but it pays $20 to win $1,267.