Friday, February 24, 2012

Mitt Romney covers on the under

Considering his proclivity for "attempted gambling" during a recent presidential debate, I believe that leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been kicked out of G.A. (gamblers anonymous).  Nope.  G.A. doesn't stand for general admission... although it certainly would have helped his cause this afternoon.  That place was empty.  I kept looking for the unknown comic guy in the crowd.  You know, the frowny-inked guy who wears the brown paper bag over his head.  He was omnipresent when the Lions went 0-16.

Regardless, I suspect Willard placed his final wager this afternoon.  He took the UNDER on the total attendance at Ford Field.  Gamblers Anonymous got wind of his transgression and kicked him to the curb.  Truth be told, it was a lock.  1,200 on a 65,000?  They set the over way too high!  

With the exception of last year, the Detroit Lions hadn't made the playoffs since 1999.  And even in '99, they barely sneaked in with a consistent record of 8-8.   Historically, the Lions have pretty much... well uhh... sucked.  But rest assured, they still sell-out (even though there's a slew of no-shows for the second half of the season).  Ford Field has a capacity of 65,000.  For the NCAA final, they filled that place with 80,000 spectators.   Not bad for an indoor venue.

Enter Mitt Romney.  Sensing the possibility of a Republican primary loss in one of his many "home" states, Mitt must have decided (or more likely, was advised) to step up his game.  What can we do in the blue-collar state of Michigan?  What could be a potential game-changer?   Hmmm, how about I give a thunderous, earth-shattering economic policy speech in the massive confines of Ford Field?  What a novel idea!  The votes and campaign contributions will surely start pouring in!

Un-fucking-believable.  What the fuck is wrong with Romney?  How could a career politician running for President since 2004 have such a monumental, judgmental collapse regarding "the optics of self-promotion?"  His hair style, his attire, his talking points, basically everything about him is so incredibly polished.  How could he screw up something so fundamental as the choice of venue? 

Seriously, what the fuck is this supposed to be?  A patriotic throng (the Detroit Economic Club) of 1,200 will literally be taking over the synthetic grass-like surface of Ford Field.  Wow.  The upside - a stampede seems very unlikely.  Good planning, Mitt.  Nobody will be trampled to death or die from crush asphyxiation.  The downside - well, here we go...

First and foremost, how about the fundamental rule when it comes to sizing up the appropriate venue.  Think about it from a televangelist's perspective.  When my favorite asshole Benny Hinn goes out on the healing circuit, the first thing he does is an attendance estimate.  In 2003, he came to Pittsburgh and "played" at Mellon Arena.  It was a wise choice as a crowd of 10,000+ idiots swarmed the Burgh.  But in 2011, with his stock rapidly dissipating, he came to the tiny Soldiers & Sailors Hall which maxes out at about 2,000.  The piece of holy shit ended up cancelling (hopefully I had something to do with that), but I digress.  My point - you want it to appear like the place is filled to the rafters.  That's how you get the audience riled up.  Mitt went with exact opposite approach - pick the most grandiose, mammoth and costly stadium.  Then, coerce about 1,000 of the most timid, non-responsive people to celebrate with you on their lunch hour.

And what an obnoxious, ill-advised display of wealth.  Hosting this event at an NFL stadium would appeal to only one other person on the planet earth.  And that's Jerry Jones.  Well, maybe Trump would like it.  Other than those two self-inflated, beau-toxed windbags, I can't think of any others.  How much does it cost to open Ford Field?  The lighting, the controlled temperature, the logistical procedures are a complete pain in the ass.  And for what?  To make Mitt Romney appear like some kind of modern-day, Russel Crowe gladiator.   What a complete waste.

And to top it off, the stunt failed miserably.  It makes him look increasingly disconnected from the blue collar Republican vote which he so desperately needs.  If I'm a Michigan middle class conservative voter I've got to be thinking... what the fuck is this?  If I'm from a swing state deemed crucial in the general election I've got be thinking... what the fuck is this?  If I'm an ordinary human being on the planet earth I've got to be thinking... what the fuck is this?  Wait a minute, maybe his swooning, heroic economic policy speech will move me to tears.

Mitt: "I would like to lead you in a rousing chorus of God Bless America.  Unfortunately, Whitney Houston is no longer with us so allow me to take the lead"

After 3 minutes of excruciating discomfort...

Mitt: "President Obama is destroying this great country.  We've got to cut taxes and control runaway government spending."

This refrain drags for on for a perfectly timed 26 minutes.  Yep, cry me a river.

I wonder if they did a balloon drop from the ceiling or a confetti blow-out as the event concluded.  I wouldn't doubt it.  Ahhh, the absurdity of the Romney campaign knows no bounds.  I'll bet you $10,000 there will be another major campaign gaffe.  The good news - the Republican primary has a long way to go and we haven't even reached the general.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Republican strategy for the 2012 general election

I think I figured out the general Republican strategy against Obama in 2012.  It's obvious that the eventual nominee won't be able to run on the far-right sociopolitical message that has recently dominated the Republican primary.  If Santorum wants to rely on banning partial birth abortion or Romney wants to focus on opposition to gay marriage, they will do so at their own peril.  With a suspect economy, surging gas prices and Middle East war/instability, the notion of bringing ultrasound issues or prohibiting access to free condoms is not a winner.  Whoever gets the nod will have to do an extreme pivot into the general election.

But just because the GOP has shifted to appeasing the narrow religious right, doesn't meant the mainstream elements of the party have lost their mind.  And history has told us one immutable fact -
you still need a positive, forward thinking message.  Barring a complete economic collapse or another 9/11, you can't run on a "totally negative, everything anti-Obama" platform.  It's good to draw tons of distinctions, but in the end, you ultimately have to be FOR something (other than cutting taxes and being patriotic). 

You'll need a brand new series of talking points and its imperative to change the overall dialogue.  Especially if you're the Republican nominee because you've already been painted into such an insulated corner.  The answer - STATES' RIGHTS.  If I were designing the Republican platform, this is where I'd focus all my energy.  The federal government is NOT the answer.  I have a greater level of trust in the city, county and state governments to determine what is right.  And most of all, I trust you, the voter.  I don't want the federal government running the day to day lives of American citizens.  And stress the routine, general notions of freedom and liberty that have become emphasized (as nauseum) by the conservative media (Fox, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, et al).

This has to be your overriding talking point.  Then, you can divide it up into a slew of focused subcategories tailor made for each battleground state.  Obviously, illegal immigration is not a hot button issue in Vermont...  as opposed to Arizona.  Energy policy plays a different role in Appalachia than it does in... Kansas.  Gay marriage, guns, abortion... leave the controversial matters to the states and the citizens.  Emphasize this point at will - I trust the people, not the federal government to make decisions.  Ironic, because the Christian majority loves to impose their will.  You just have to ignore that unfortunate reality and hope for the best.  I think this works well because Fox has incessantly rammed "freedom and liberty" down everyone's collective throats ever since Palin vaulted onto the national scene in 2008.

"I trust the people here in Ohio, not the bureaucrats in DC."
"I want the people of Iowa to worship as as they see fit.  If they want a statue of the ten commandments in the town square, than that's up to them.  The federal government doesn't get to decide."
"I want the auto manufacturers to build the kinds of cars they think reflect consumer demand.  I don't want a federal govt. enforcing higher fuel efficiency standards."
"I want the local school boards to have a more active role in the student curriculum, not the behemoth Dept. of Education."
"I want the states to decide if they should build a pipeline, not the radical environmental lobbyists."

And on it goes.  I could write down another 20.

And most important - find concrete, real examples for each subtopic.  Use a 4-time deployed, purple heart veteran of the Afghanistan war to attack Obama foreign policy.  Use the 11 year old girl that couldn't bring mommy's cupcakes to school.  Remember Joe the Plumber?  Well, don't use him again.  But find some other people to exploit.  Preferably middle class citizens trying to achieve the "American dream."  Use those teachers who can't teach the way the want.  Use a county commissioner who can't get something done because of Washington bureaucracy.   Think in those terms.  But always provide real examples with real lives.  

All these talking points are  already out there, so it isn't much of a stretch.  And if you poll American voters, they'll likely say they trust their family, friends, neighbors, towns, counties and states.  As opposed to say... trusting the federal government.  Personalize the hell out of everything.  Who do you really trust? 

At every turn, bad mouth the federal government and any of the agencies Rick Perry managed to recall.  This is the likely strategy.  It's a very populist and would play well across the general population.  Obama will position himself as a populist as well, much like Al Gore did in 2000 (we can do better).  Of course, it's all bait and switch nonsense eerily reminiscent of... well I dunno... how about "YES WE CAN."   Whatever, the Republicans do, barring a major catastrophe, if they let Obama own the populist message, I think they lose bigtime.  And by the way, pick Rubio for VP or go with a complete wildcard outside the political spectrum.  That one's a no-brainer.  You can't write off the Hispanics and the blacks.  Yeah, I know, the GOP has Herman Cain.  Not good enough.  Think more big picture.  Don't try to win over the minorities.  Be reasonable.  Just try to make a dent in their vote.  Hit them up with the standard refrain on religious and social issues.  

On a final note, regardless of who gets the nod (probably Romney when the dust settles), I think the Republican slogan for the election should be something like "RIGHT COUNTRY, WRONG PATH"

Maybe not that, but something very similar.  I like the dual meaning with the term "right."  It implies the customary, "we're the greatest country on the planet" blather, but also manifests itself in the conservative innuendo "not the socialistic, leftist" material.  "Wrong path" is a little risky - the idea of closing on a negative, but I like it because it's powerful.  Maybe sub "wrong path" with "wrong vision."  "Vision" is a little softer and sounds wiser.

I have a hunch that Obama's slogan will be "Winning the Future" (yawn).  Not horrible but very "yes we cannish." 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sins of the Republican party

2004 was an interesting year with massive political implications for the future of the Republican party.  This was the year Karl Rove actively sliced, diced and carved up the electorate like a giant turkey which bore a slight resemblance to the gock (combination of gut and cock) of Newt Gingrich.  Rove actively sought out the assistance of Columbus mega-church pastor, Rod Parsley.  Acting as a born-again marionette, Parsley then got the rest of the Ohio mega-preachers firmly on board with the W agenda.  All the usual polarizing issues (gods, guns and gays) guided Bush Jr. to victory in the state of Ohio aka "ground zero."

If you think about it, Ohio was basically a massive insurance policy from god.  Rove secured the religious right and that tipped the electoral scale in favor of Bush.  Even though Bush dominated in the popular vote, the electoral college was still very tight.  With the necessary 270 total in play, it came down to Bush 286, Kerry 251.  If Ohio's 20 votes had tipped for Kerry...  then yep... a real-life, liberal version of Herman Munster would have seized the White House.  Not a huge John Kerry fan, I would have preferred to cast an anti-Bush vote (-1), but that's another story which has yet to be told.

Ironically an admitted atheist, Karl rove had an intriguing dilemma.  Bend to the churchies and ye shalt secure a second term in the White House.  But Rove didn't bend.  He folded, capitulated and did everything short of condoning the Catholic priest pedophile scandal.  Rove's a pretty sharp guy.  He made the following calculation.  He sacrificed the long term health of the party for short-term, instant gratification.  Hell, that's not too unusual.  Isn't that what most political operatives would have done?

But now the Republican party is experiencing the full wrath of those calculations.  Look at the major policy stands of the entire Republican field.  Even the candidates that got weeded out (Bachmann, Pawlenty, Cain, and Perry) all had the same narrow, extremist right wing ideology.  If you're Gary Johnson (two term Republican Governor of NM) and have a different take, you're flatly denied access to the podium.  You get replaced by upstart Herman Cain - token conservative, successful black man.  And don't forget about Trump - loud mouth, unsuccessfully toupeed, honky.

Think about the unified stances on Republican primary issues:

On abortion... no exceptions.  Even in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother.  Only Romney wouldn't commit to the Susan B.Anthony pledge which is absurdly out of the mainstream.

On religion... Obama has declared "war" on your right to pray.  Pure nonsense, but it's basically the same gibberish.  Most support outdated 1950's notions of mandatory prayer in public schools.

On guns... Even Mitt Romney offers captivating insight detailing his youthful hunting experiences.  You know.. the one where he killed varmints, rodents and various skunk-scented gerbils.  He likely experienced this coming of age in Michigan where he was surrounded by properly-sized trees and exquisite bodies of relatively stagnant water (us regular joes call them "lakes").

On gay marriage... Fahgettaboudit.  Every candidate is more in line with the views of Ahmedinajad.  Log Cabin Republicans - I think your stock is really dwindling this year.  As if you ever had a chance.  Just who are these adamant, self-loathing gay Republicans?  They're like diehard Amish at a high-tech, marital aid convention in Vegas.

On the economy... if you've EVER raised taxes or voted for a debt ceiling increase, you're the enemy.  If you don't strictly adhere to the gospel of Grover Norquist, you're totally fucked.  No exceptions.

On foreign policy...  you have to go even further to the right of Obama.  I would have killed Bin Laden faster.  I'd bomb Iran sooner.  I'd increase our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan til we get "the job" done.  No tolerance for NATO or the United Nations - we must be unilaterally involved in Libya, Egypt and now it's Syria.  When it comes to defense, they never met a "no-fly" zone they didn't say "yes" to.  More defense spending, more bombs, more Bush doctrine (preemptive war against potential enemies).

On patriotism and privacy... no need to worry about your civil rights.  The Patriot Act extension (signed by Obama) isn't enough.  We must take it a step further.  They'd probably endorse McCarthy-like, witchcraft trials to accurately assess and verify civilian patriotism.  More flags, more pledge of allegiance, more god bless America, more overt displays of patriotism for the simple-minded folk.  Obama mocks you for clinging to your bible.  I'll issue a presidential directive - "Clinging has been labeled insufficient.  All Americans must now clutch their bibles."   

On birth control... women should put aspirin between their knees.  How the fuck do people even conjure up this shit?  It's so ludicrous you can't even make it up.  Foster Freeze - Santorum's most recent billionaire sugar daddy.   Sounds like a new blizzard flavor at the Elm Grove DQ.

I guess my overriding point is this... the Republicans painted themselves into a nasty corner back in 2004.  Short term benefit at the expense of the long-term survival.  You can't keep alienating potential voters on every issue imaginable.  Eventually it has to backfire.  That's when the problems start - with extreme divisions during the Republican primary.  Is it any wonder none of the candidates can exceed the 30% popularity threshold?  If you're a "proud" Republican, I'd place the blame squarely at the feet, or possibly gock, of Karl Rove.

In keeping with the teachings of Karl Rove, I think you'll see the Santorum team try to carve up the Jewish Republican electorate.  That's a pretty small niche, but as the Israel/Iran problem continues to escalate, I think it'll be tapped.   Just yesterday, on the main page of the CNN website was an article written by Dan Gilgoff.  Apparently, there's another controversy brewing.  It centers around the Mitt Romney led Mormon Church of Latter Day Saints and their proclivity for baptizing deceased Jewish victims of the Holocaust in 1995.  You'd think nonsense like this would have been settled back in the mid-Clinton administration, but noooo...  all of a sudden it's an issue again.  Why now?  Well, someone wants to fuck with Romney and the Jew-Republican vote as they try to portray Obama as soft on Iran and Romney as not a friend to Israel.  Do you think Gilgoff is a Santorum supporter?  Ya think???  Seriously, if you want to foment Janger (Jewish anger) in the direction of Mitt Romney, what do ya do?  Well... I dunno... well... how about we make the assertion that Romney supports baptizing tortured Holocaust victims.  Ka-Pow!   That's the lowest of blows in the Romney family JEWels.  Fucking brilliant.  I'd roll this one out exclusively for Super Tuesday.   Just when you thought the Mormon issue was subsiding.  I love this sit.  Only in America.  I feel blessed. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top 10 questions any knowledgable fan of Maury Povich should be asking

 1) Why are ALL the dumbshit male guests continually exploited by those infamous sexy decoys in the green room? 

This is the literally the gift that keeps on giving.  What makes these susceptible men so stupid?  My guess is it's the "over-the-top" tenacity of the sexy decoy.  These women aren't throwing themselves at these guys.  These foul temptresses are hurling themselves.  They take it to such a previously unexplored level... my hunch is that most guys just don't want to seem overtly rude.  Their only other option is to not interact and sit on the couch like a muted zombie.  Manners!   

2) Why are there no homo male or lesbian female sexy decoys?

Seriously, I'm being cereal!  In the past, Maury has embraced the gay subculture.  Why is he reluctant to have same-gendered sexy decoys?  My hunch is that his production staff has never proposed the idea.   Paul Faulhaber, you suck.  Get with the times.  I've seen plenty of homo embraces on Maury.   They're usually not well-received by the crowd unless it's 2 attractive women (which normally isn't the case).  Most of the lesbianiacs trend husky with shiny, moo-moo-like apparel.

3) What's up with Dr. Jeff Gardere?  Is he with Maury or MSNBC?

Dr. Jeff is the psychotherapist that comes up with earth-shattering, mind-blowing advice.  He'll tell women in abusive relationships or young, wild teens that they need to start "loving themselves" before they can function in a normal relationship.  Or he'll tell a squabbling younger couple that "children shouldn't be having children."  He has a penchant for stating the most obvious.   Nonetheless, his comments are always well-received by the studio audience.  They clap and cheer like Pavlovian dogs when he suggests to the single, welfare mother of 5 kids with 5 different "baby daddy" the possibility of using birth control.  He had a brief stint on MSNBC but I think they saw through his professional, LCD (lowest common denominator) dispensation of regurgitated psychobabble.  Three words define his existence on the planet earth... back to Muurrrry.

4) Why has Special Ops investigator Dave Vitalli begun donning a sport jacket?  Is this an attempt to "class-up" his image or will he revert back to the classic black, ill-fitting t-shirt?  And why the retarded, tiny patch of hair on his frontal lobe?

Answer:  He'll go back to the t-shirt.  Dave Vitalli not showing off those massive jailhouse tats is tantamount to Tim Tebow openly worshiping the devil.  I just don't see it happening.  When you factor in that "condescending meat-headed aura," you'll easily arrive at the same conclusion.  I think Vitalli should shave his entire head and be utilized in a less prominent bouncer/security role. 

5) Why has conflict resolution expert Trisha Goddard been seemingly absent?

Where the fuck is Goddard?  Did you know she was once introduced as a conflict resolution "artist" instead of "expert?"  Yeah... not a lot of people know that.  Lately, Maury has been reverting back to his 2007 roots.  This is when the show didn't hold back.  On one occasion, a monstrous women cried, "Maury, I had walking limonia!"  On the screen, it read "Walking Limonia???"  During the latter years of the Bush administration, he was much more prone to openly mocking and ridiculing the guests.  Trisha is just too goody-two-shoe.  Simply put, she doesn't fit into the equation anymore.  Perhaps she should consider joining forces with Jeremy Kyle.  They could go back and forth with the British accents.  If there was an uptick in the number of suicides from people banging their head against the wall, this would likely be the cause.  Suicide by head-banging is very rare.  Although I did just hear that Dave Mustaine (Megadeth lead singer) is openly pulling for Rick Santorum. 

6) Why don't they block access to the backstage area?

This has always been a fantasy of mine.  Station security or construct barriers that would block easy access to the backstage area.  Yes, I know that "running off stage" is a celebrated Maury tradition.  I'd prefer to see these guests forced into the studio audience.  They would seek comfort from a random individual in the crowd, while others around them hoot and holler.  This would be a nice change of pace to the usual routine where they charge off and a consoling Maury dutifully follows.  It also offers greater crowd involvement without having to hear anyone in the studio audience actually speak.

Conceptually, I also like the idea of female guests seeking paternity answers being bungee-corded to their chairs.  As they stand up, the chair is literally strapped to their ass.  Turns the running experience into more of a waddling adventure.  For massively obese guests, this would be instant nirvana among viewing public.  Stronger ratings during sweeps weeks would be an added bonus.

Just for the record, running off stage and doing a face-plant into the couch is the ULTIMATE ACT OF COWARDICE.  They're getting paid to be on a TALK show, not a smother your face in the couch cushion show.  I would suggest coating the couch with pepper spray or some other kind of facial irritant.  Don't let them get off scot free.

7) Do they compensate guests with additional cash for sudden outbreaks of dancing?

It has always been my contention that a rogue individual (similar to the character "X" in the movie JFK) approaches each guest before the show.  He encourages them to sing a rap song, do a dance move, perform an acrobatic stunt, read a poem, etc.  He offers them $100 before and another $100 after the successful completion of the stunt.  I guarantee this is why so many instantaneously embrace brawling, pole dancing, flashing, etc. on Springer.   Money is always the motivating factor.  This has always been blatantly obvious.  It needs to be exposed.  Someone needs to do their own "Special Op."  It's always been a dream of mine to have someone expose Maury for the sinful crimes he accuses others of committing.  I'm not normally one to probe the sexual habits of others, but a Maury-Connie Chung sexy secret sets a higher standard.  I think we can all agree on that one.

8) Why the move from Manhattan to Stamford, CT?

All the trash tv (Springer, Povich & Wilkos) made a coordinated move to Stamford back in early 2009.  The state of Connecticut offered a ton of financial incentives.  NBC took a page from the movie industry.   It's akin to filming in Vancouver instead of Hollywood.  As usual, it was financially motivated.  Just for the record, John Oates (of Hall and Oates fame) lives in Connecticut.  Some people incorrectly spell his last name O-A-T-S.  Pure blasphemy!  I can't fathom how people could equate this musical icon with some kind cream of wheat bullshit.

9) Why have Ralph Barbieri's (the lie-detector guy) "firecracker" antics been noticeably scaled back.

I remember the days when Ralph would get furious if someone disputed the results.  He'd naturally view it as an attack on his professionalism.  Then, they'd accuse him of accepting bribes or asking purposely misleading or humiliating questions.  Ralph would get pissed off.  He'd confront the liars and the crowd would go apeshit.  Hell, Maury is almost all lie detector.  He utilizes Ralph in all the cheating and paternity shows.  And that's pretty much 75% of the platform.  The other 25% consisting of geek to chic, abusive boyfriends, sexy crushes and is it a man or woman.  My point - Ralph should get more airtime.  He's seems very loyal.  Then again, maybe Ralph's thinking about staging a modern-day Stamford coup-d'etat.  He might be able to muster the support of a few interns and maybe one of the larger sexy decoys.

10)  Whatever happened to the shows about freaks?

Remember when we got to see the compassionate side of Maury?  Those were the good 'ol days.  My favorite was "young boy with rapidly aging syndrome."   He beamed and when Maury basically did a "make a wish" show.  The Ba Ha Men charged onto the stage singing "Who Let the Dogs Out... Woof Woof?"  That kid went B-A-N-A-BANANAS.  I still rank this one incident as possibly in the Top 3 all-time.  Saf, what's the #1 Maury moment?  Excellent query.  Answer: It's when this black dude hears he is "NOT" the father.  He celebrates with some smooth dance moves backstage.  And for some reason, there's an old janitor mopping the floor.  This guy snags the mop and did a fusion dance/mop move that's just unparalleled.  He joyfully started mopping the floor!  Nice.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

falling in love with Rick Santorum?

I posted this comment an hour ago on the Wheeling Unintelligencer website... and it got me to thinking about the presidential aspirations of Rick Santorum.  Can he really pull off some Super Tuesday upsets?  Maybe... if he were to follow my advice.  And if he doth, I shall knight him Sonofsantorum.


Feb-11-12 10:29 AM

I loathe Santorum, mostly because of his fringe right wing ideology on social issues and the accompanying adherence to biblical lunacy. But I'll reluctantly admit, at least the guy's a genuine individual who actually believes what he says. Romney is a complete phony with no principles or vision. Gingrich is an intellectual and great debater, but has even less of a moral center.

It has long been said that Democrats "fall in love" with their candidate and Republicans "fall in line." This is a golden opportunity for Santorum to change that narrative (while, he's got some momentum from the CO, MN and MO victories). Nobody wants to fall in love with Romney or Gingrich. This overall strategy would play well to the fundamentalist base of the Republican party. Just not sure how you go about implementing it w/o seeming like a messiah and turning off some primary voters.
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So what should Santorum do as he heads into Super Tuesday?  He's obviously proven that he's a semi-legitimate contender, especially with Republican primary voters (the churchies).  The problem is... he doesn't have any cash.  Unless he finds some Sheldonnaire casino mogul like Gingrich, he won't be able to get his message out.  Well, here's a news flash - his message is the same as Newt Romney.  So it's basically a worthless endeavor to waste precious financial resources on tv advertising trying to play even further right of Gingrich and Romney.  

Like I said in my post, you need to change the overall narrative.  There are some intriguing similarities with the 2012 Republican primary and 2008 Democratic primary.  Both had a bunch of contenders.  And the field eventually worked itself out.  In '08, it came down to Obama and Clinton.  Voters deeply respected Hillary... but they fell "in love" with Obama.   That's what propelled him to a narrow, hard fought victory.  Their stances on the issues were pretty much identical.

A very similar dynamic is happening right now with the Republicans.  And they are well aware of it.  That's why they all play the "we love Ronald Reagan, I am the true conservative" card.  They're all trying to absorb the Ronaldo Reaganic love vibe.  That's a winning strategy but the field is still to diluted.  So Romney's going after the electability angle.  Wise move.  Newt's the strong debater, attack dog.  Smart.  Santorum is going for the honest, ideological approach.   Can't fault him there.

But Santorum needs to do more.  He needs to attack Romney and Gingrich and discredit them via the "love" angle.  Liberals don't have a sole monopoly on the love card.  Bible belters have plenty of love in their hearts (plenty of hate, too).  And it would play well...

Romney is a mega-millionaire, elitist, flip-flopper - he's not one of us.  A phony who's willing to pander to anyone.  Is that who you want to fall in love with?

Gingrich is angry and hostile.  Not one who can unite the population and appeal to swing voters.  He's a DC insider, an unethical, maligned holdover from the 90's.  Is that who you really want to fall in love with.

And while I think Santorum has pushed this angle, he's still far too passive.  I think he truly adheres to Reagan's 11th commandment - thou shalt not attack other Republicans.  If he really wants to win it all (I believe he does), he has got to launch full throttle.  And he's not going to do it with advertising.  He just won't have the cash to mount this strategy on Super Tuesday.  Too many states, too much money.  

Santorum must pull it off during a debate.  It's a really fine line, but he needs to mock the other 2 candidates as not "loveable" or "genuine."  We simply can't nominate an "angry phony."  I think that's the best way to do it - combine the two of them.  Much like Michele Bachmann tried with the tired refrain of "Newt Romney."  Except when she said it, it sounded too mesmerizing and rehearsed.  Santorum has a far better delivery.  

I think Santorum's starting to come around.  He's pushing the social issues (religion and abortion) at all costs.  This is the correct strategy for the primary.  Not sure how he will pivot in the general, but that's a ways off.  The big question - "How do I get primary voters to feel the love, without going overboard?"  I think you must invoke, or at least imply, the age old "Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line" - Now is the time to REVERSE this precedent.  We must take a page from the Democrats playbook or we'll never take back the White House.  Trust me, there's a great way to deliver this whole storyline, preferably during a debate.  I just haven't figured it the best way.    

Friday, February 10, 2012

why can't my vote count as -1

You often hear major politicians speak of voting as the most precious, and even sacred, right afforded to a U.S. citizen.  While I agree that voting is instrumental to democracy, I think political activism is even more important.  The right to organize and try to ideologically persuade others seems vastly more crucial to the system.  Think about it in terms of the last election.  One man, one vote.  Right?  Well, not really.  A vote for John McCain in Alabama or Texas meant far less, than say a vote for McCain in Missouri, North Carolina or Ohio.  That's because McCain handily won the more "red" states and struggled in the swing or "purple" states.

It got me to thinking.  You always hear the standard refrain.  "It's election day.  Do your civic duty.  Make sure you vote.  It's a matter of patriotism.  People gave their lives for your right to vote."  While I think this might be a slightly amateurish assessment, I generally believe in the fundamental tenets  of democracy.  Hey, things could be a lot worse.  Think Syria.

But what if you don't like any of the candidates?  What if you think the whole system is corrupt and you can't align yourself with either of the major party candidates.  Many people think the Dems and Reps are basically the same entity under the auspices of big business.  Aside from the drastic discrepancies on social issues and the Republicans obsession with national defense and the 1%, I tend to agree with this.  So you don't care for either major party.  Maybe you like the Libertarians or the Green Party.  Maybe the Constitution or U.S. Taxpayers Party.  But what if you can't support any of them either.  Then what do you do?

Well, the current best option is to not cast a ballot for any of the candidates on the ballot.  Personally, I'd take it a step further.  I'd make sure to be registered, show up to vote and specifically leave the presidential ticket completely blank.  At least this way, you're taking the active stance of performing your civic duty and making a relative statement of discontent with all the candidates.  If this suits your taste, it seems better than voting for the "lesser of two evils."

Well... I came up with a new idea tonight.  Why can't people have the option of voting AGAINST a particular candidate.  When I say AGAINST, I mean their vote would be numerically tallied as -1.  Wouldn't this be a truer, more accurate reflection of democracy?  Especially in the case where I don't care much for either candidate.  I reluctantly chose to cast a ballot for John Kerry in 2004.  But in hindsight, I would have vastly preferred that my vote be counted as Bush -1, rather than Kerry +1.

You often hear the argument from a married couple that their conflicting votes will cancel each other out, so what's the point?  This is a relatively weak supposition, because you could make the same argument with anyone, not just your spouse.   And real vote totals do have an eventual impact on census type shit and the gerrymandering process.

As of right now regarding the presidential election, we'll basically be dealt 2 major choices from the 2 mainstream parties: Obama and probably Mittens Romney.  If I were a diehard Tea Party follower, I'd probably feel more comfortable voting Obama -1.  And if I were an activist in a swing state, maybe I could persuade all my like-minded constituents to vote AGAINST Obama.   

You often hear... I'm voting against all the incumbents (throw the bums out, they're all crooks) or I always vote straight ticket Democrat or I refuse to vote because the entire system is rigged.  In accordance with the universal laws of balance, wouldn't a vote FOR / AGAINST Democrat OR Republican make more fundamental sense than a FOR Democrat / FOR Republican vote.  Makes far more sense to me and I just thought up the whole concept this evening.  It would just take a little time to get used to.  Plus, you'd get better schematics on which candidates had higher negatives in certain sections of the country.  Hell, the red/blue map is already pretty well-defined.  Why not compartmentalize it even further?  Wouldn't that be viewed as an improvement on the status quo?

I realize this could skew the end results and make voter turn-out appear less substantial.  But seriously, wouldn't this be a better barometer of true democracy.  You always hear the phrase, "One man, One vote.  But why do I always have to vote FOR a candidate?  More importantly, how come I've never heard anyone propose this idea?  Seriously, how come nobody has ever thrown this out in the public realm?  I think it could have tremendous support.  And yes, I realize the Dems and Reps would both hate the idea.  So what?  Why do they get to have a stranglehold on the electoral process, particularly to the highest office in the land?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Queensryche 3/31/12 - Wheeling Island Casino

Let's see.  A festival in Maryland, a county fair in Rosenburg, Oregon and an arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil... 

Question: What do these three locations have in common? 

Answer: Well, if you include the Wheeling Island Casino Showroom, they represent the 4 currently scheduled dates for the Queensryche 30th year anniversary tour.

Surely they will add more dates, but this just strikes me as really weird.  Why is Queensryche coming to Wheeling Island to play that squarish ballroom that handles about 1,000?  Why are they kicking off this grand tour in of all places... Wheeling, WV?

I suspect it's the first date of a larger "casino" tour designed to hit secondary markets.  Sometimes the crowds are just more enthusiastic in places like Dayton, Ohio and Shreveport, LA.  On any given evening in Boston, there's a ton of shit you can do.  A town like Wheeling has far fewer options.  I suppose you could hit the Methodist church bingo.  Or maybe you could get a pitcher of Bud Light and some undercooked wings at TJ's Pukegarden.   Or maybe you could buy a can of silver spray paint and do it up Tribbett style.  My point - your choices are a little more limited in Wheeltown.

I've never done an official Top 10 favorite rock bands, but I suspect Queensryche would be about #16.  Honestly, I used to love these guys.  Still do.  In their heyday, I saw them open for Metallica a few times back in the late 80's on the ...And Justice For All tour.  I also saw the Monster's of Rock show, not only once, but twice.  The first at Three Rivers Stadium and the following week at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio.   Hell, it was Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken and Metallica.  Who opened?  Yep, the Led Zeppelin rip-off band Kingdom Cunt.  But I digress.  Queesnryche had nothing to do with any of that.

So why exactly did they choose Wheeling???  I have a weird hunch that the manager planning this tour asked the following question: What city or town in America is still trapped in a late 80's time warp?  Where is the greatest concentration of mullets and rock concert t-shirts?  Where do the people still instantly raise their cigarette lighters, and also, what is the location with the greatest number of lighters per capita?   Where we will be welcomed with fanatical adoration?  Where will the people line up for autographs and pics with the band.  Los Angeles?  Nope.  Philly?  Doubt it.  Chicago?  Get the fuck out of here.

Maybe the band wants to recreate some passion and relive their arena glory days.  Perhaps I'm just being way too cynical.  Truth be told, I'm guessing it's just part of a carefully orchestrated casino tour.  All those places are well-equipped to handle 1,000-2,000 size crowds.  And they all basically have the same ballroom-like schematics and atmosphere.  Why play a bunch of theaters with fire code violations and insufficient security.  What if some asshole tries to sneak in the back door? 

I look forward to attending this concert.  Despite the fact that my mom will have to fly in from Arizona just to pick me up after the show.  Hopefully, she'll be discreet - "Yoohoo, Yoohoo, over here.  I parked around the side.  So how was it?  How was The Queensright?  Did you make some new friends?"  Yeah, I'm still gonna hit it.  But I absolutely refuse to pay money for a ticket to see anything at Wheeling Downs.  Sometimes, all you have to do is ask the people at the front desk for a comp ticket.  That's often the case at a real casino.  Is Wheeling Island a real casino?  Well, to be blunt... no, it ain't.  It's a really weird, haunting establishment with casino-like aspirations.  Still, gotta give somebody credit for bringing a decent national rock band to Wheeling Island.  Englebert Humperdink - if you're still alive, get the fuck out Wheeling.  Geoffery Tate is comin' to my hometown.  I don't think guitarist Chris DeGarmo is still with the band.  The whole thing reminds me of a Stephen Pearcy-less Ratt coming to the Crossroads out the crick in 2001.   

If my front desk miracle ticket idea doesn't work, I'll just make up a sign.  Any suggestions for Operation: Mindcrime?  I call it Operation: Gimme a free ticket.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

how to permanently alter facebook

We've all seen the routine facebook status updates.  It's almost always the same select group of people, every single day, posting mostly mundane shit...  Most of these people stick to the obvious.

Weather related - ooohhh, it's snowing!  Jack Frost is nipping at my nose.

Pain, fatigue, exhaustion - sooo tired.  Wishing I could just go back to sleep. 

Work related - if only my boss/co-workers had a clue about how to do their job

Sports - incessantly posting about your favorite team, accompanied with an abundance of real-time scoring updates, player injuries, these refs suck (I'm so pissed off), etc.

Vacation - the endless pics of a beach, the sunset and the obligatory fondue-driven dining experience.  We'll be staying at the Comfort Inn.  Everyone must know I'm out of town.  As I am the center of the universe, they'll likely be wondering "where's so and so?"

Children - anything kid related: visit from the tooth fairy, Toby used the big boy potty, first day of kindergarten, A+ on the math quiz

Relationship - the endless proclamations that you're totally in love with Shmoopie.  Ideally, it's a back and forth thread so we can all be assured the feelings are strong and mutual, and the enduring love will carry on unabated... til death do us part.

Quotes - song lyrics, authors... ohh, this line obtained from the copy and paste button will surely inspire the masses.

Funny stuff - endless youtube clips of the morbidly obese woman in the Wal-Mart lingerie aisle, toothless-drunk-ugly-mullet dude hitting on all the hotties at the bar, karaoke night - you're a Steubenville superstar!

Mystery update - "I can't take it anymore!  I've had ENOUGH!!!" - and of course (in less than 1 minute), this is followed by random wannabe douchebag friend immediately posting, "What's wrong, sweetie?" or "Everything will be alright." or "hugs."

Pregnancy & Birth - Congratulations!  I'm so happy for the two of yinz, little bundle of joy, etc.

Illness & Death -  pray for the sick, mourn for the dead

Religious - the curious need to loudly proclaim your faith in the unknown.  Everyone must know I'm a believer.  Encourage others to follow the godly path of that which they deem righteous.

The cause or purpose - I'm on a mission!  PLEASE copy and paste, I know most of you won't, but if just 10 do and pass it on... cancer will be cured, wars will end, global warming will cease, no more corruption in politics, etc.

Self-aggrandizement - the ego-driven... look at ME!  My new shoes, my new car, my new house, my new jewelry, my new boobs.  I bought this stuff.  In an ideal world, you will shower me with praise and adulation.
Event driven - Here we come!  Stuck in traffic, tailgating at the concert, here we go Steelers here we go,  Yeah, baby! OVERTIME!  I hear you. Trust me, I get it.   

Political - Obama is a Kenyan, Muslim, socialist-communist-fascist... and he's trying to destroy my life.  Throw all the bums out! 

Straight info - books, movies, exhibits, cds, save money on insurance, clip those coupons (25 cents of Hidden Valley Ranch).

Pets - Sprinkle Bits has a new friend.  Kitteh naming contests, Fido jumped up and snagged the pot roast  :(  So I guess it's gonna be Little Caesar's tonight! PIZZA PIZZA :)

I think this pretty much covers everything.  But here's the real question.  How can we fix this?  I've seen plenty of posts and blog entries from those who humorously mock these facebook posts and jokingly scrutinize the problem.  But how can we alter the status quo?  That's the real question.  Is it possible to steer the "scourge of facebook humanity" in a different direction?   Can we change everyone's predisposition toward posting the redundant and obvious?

Let us assume my facebook "position" is average or normal (I think it falls within the general mainstream).  It's all about the percentages.  What can you do to make the 15% feel vastly more self-conscious about their posts.  The purpose - to pressure them into a spell of self-anaylzation.  At which time they opt for the "trimmed-down" version of themselves.  This could conceivably cut excessive facebook traffic by 1/2 across the board.  I'm not joking.  It's all about establishing the precedent. 

Alright, first the facts.  It's all about percentages.  Last time I checked I've got about 300 facebook friends.  Out of these 300, I'd say about half of them post stuff from time to time.  And about 1/3 of those (roughly 50 friends) post constantly.  And it usually encompasses the aforementioned topics listed above.  Ironically, out of the 50, I never see about 30 of them.  I don't have their phone number.  I've never been in their home.  So I have the the fortunate distinction of being intimately acquainted with every facet of the lives of 20 people I barely know.  It's odd.  Even though we're technically "friends," we never see each other.   Not sure if this constitutes social progress, but it is what it is.  I call it "facebook fallout."  And from all the evidence, I don't see this trend magically going away anytime soon.  UNLESS...

Yep, that's right.  I can make all this shit go away.  BUT... it will require everyone in the world of facebook to follow my lead.  AND it will require absolute honesty when posting a status update.  Now I must admit, not many people perceive the world as I do.  A fewer number act as I do.  But if a sufficient number of people were to read this, perhaps we can change enough minds and get the ball rolling.  In order to do this, I will now provide concrete examples of common posts that I think would be preferable.  The gist of the theory... if more facebookers thought as I do and posted accordingly, the entire facebook platform would be severely transformed.  The commoner would login and become so repulsed, so agitated, so disturbed, so disgusted...  with such an onslaught of "alternative perspective," the facebook entity would be irreparably harmed.  And its domination over the social experience would be abruptly neutralized. 

As I stated earlier, here are some hypothetical facebook status updates.  All are grounded in the notion of 100% truthfulness.  Complete honesty is the key.

Relationship Statuses

Witness the Breast Buddies - the essence of true love.

Note the Mary Lou Retton-inspired hair style from the lady in the dominant, hovering position.  This should serve as a template for all future romantic announcements.  Veracity and accuracy are paramount.  Nothing else matters.  Envision yourself in the role of the photographer.  "We're trying to do accomplish something unthinkably erotic here.  Could you please engulf your lesbian-lover below with those spectacular 44 triple D's?  My vision is to create some kind of nippulatic symmetry.  If we can just get that titular, linear effect... we'll have established geometric consistency. And for the love of god, will you gals please smile?"  

All other relationship posts should follow the same guidelines.

Peggy Sue is married - she had 4 children by 3 different baby daddies.  Her only option was the creepy guy down the street with the 4-bedroom house who lived with his elderly mother.  After his mother's untimely passing, she patiently waited the obligatory 3 weeks.  Then, Peggy moved in for the kill.  Determined, she surprised Ivan with a Stouffer's frozen lasagna and they split a bottle White Zin.  A month later, following this surprise romance and whirlwind courtship, Peggy Sue got married.

Igor is single - What the hell is wrong with simply acknowledging the fact that there are some who cannot mentally or physically handle the prospect of a relationship of any sort?  If only Jerry Sandusky had subscribed to this tenet.   Although married, I imagine his wife is questioning some of her prior decisions.  My point - we should know the exact reason people are "single."  This way we'll get a better grasp on their situation.  Maybe they're too socially awkward.  Perhaps it's a potential foot odor problem (Frank Costanza).  Maybe he doesn't have a penis (California man who was drugged by his girlfriend and then she sliced off his dick and grounded it up in the garbage disposal).

Herman is engaged - Yep, I can't believe it.  I heard he snagged a mail-order bride from Uzbeki-beki-stan-stan.  He saved up his frequent flier miles and paid off the teenage girl's family with a bovine creature and assorted chicken dowry.  Tashkent > Amsterdam > London > Newark > Atlanta.  It was a long flight.  Just another 2 hour zip down the road and we'll be there.  Home sweet home - Valdosta, Georgia.  She'll fit right in.  

Prayer Requests

Alright, this is going to piss off about 85% of the worldwide population.  If you are going to ask for prayers on someone's behalf, you MUST provide tangible evidence that it will work.  Hoping for divine intervention is futile.  Must I remind everyone that god does not heal amputees.  Hey, it's not because the lord's a mean-spirited deity that doesn't like people with missing appendages.  It's because you're hoping for an outcome substantially less likely than winning the 300 million powerball jackpot.  Why is it that people only pray for cures regarding the things we can't see?  Well, it's because human beings like to fool themselves.  When we're scared, we like to play pretend.  I know this sounds hurtful.  Get over it.  It's just too painfully obvious.  

So here's the solution - let's say hypothetically you request a prayer from the general facebook population.  First, I think you need to be way more specific.  If you're going down that road, you should at least direct your concern to a biblical character that will answer the prayer.  "God" just sounds way too vague and even a little generic.  May I suggest one of these bible heroes...

And instead of praying to the invisible overseer with magical healing powers, one would be better served acknowledging the hospital staff, physician, nurses, etc.  Instead of just praying for someone with blood pressure issues, how about naming the specific pharmaceutical company, pill, FDA lobbyists, etc.

For example...  

Please say a prayer for my uncle Tim.  He was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

This is wholly unacceptable.   Here's what I'd prefer...

A physician diagnosed my uncle Tim w/ high blood pressure.  Would everyone please thank Dr. Hetfield for fitting him into his hectic schedule?  So glad he could slide him in following that 3-week Caribbean cruise with his mistress Tasha.  And mad props to his insurance carrier, Blue Cross-Blue Shield and all its relevant subsidiary corporate entities.  They are truly a caring intermediary.  And a special shout-out to the pharmaceutical conglomerate Bristol-Myers Squibb and its blood-thinning agent Coumadin.  And let me graciously praise Walmart for providing inexpensive low-salt frozen macaroni and cheese.  He loves those $1.12 boxes of congealed noodling.

And on it goes.  So if you're asking for help, just make sure to reference the REAL stuff, not the fake  stuff.  Take a reality check.  Better yet... I know this will buck conventional wisdom, but just don't pray.  Even though it's counter-intuitive to MC Hammer's words of wisdom in 1990 (You've got to pray, just to make it today).  As painful as this might sound, Hammer is/was mistaken.  

Taking Vacations

Everyone seems to want to share their vacationing experiences.  Most Ohio Valley veteran travelers choose 1 of 3 following locations.  Once again, I command thee - "thou shalt not lie."

1) Myrtle Beach - ahhh, the 10+ hour drive to get to paradise.  Be sure to document the worst part, the traffic in the DC area because you made the mistake of mistiming your departure.  Unfortunately, you screw this up on a regular basis.  And it adds an extra 1-2 hours to the trip.  How about posting some more of the downside - kids are screaming and fighting in the backseat, the numerous, empty threats to "turn this car around and head back home," or how about the excessive bathroom breaks because of grandpa's weak bladder.  Post some of these things, instead of the lighthearted pics of sand castles on the beach.

2) Las Vegas - What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.  If that's the case, then why not just keep it there from the git-go.  If your experiences are so hedonistic (playing slot machines until you experience elbow tendonitis), maybe you should leave it up to our imagination.  Let me recreate.  First you'll need to document the airport check-in.  Ohhh look, Britney checked-in at Pittsburgh International.  Britney's so nervous about the flight - she'll need a Xanax and an exorbitantly-priced girly drink.  Britney won't be able to post anything to her facebook while in mid-air.  God-damnit.  Fortunately, she'll be there in 4 hours.  The instant she touches down, Britney must post that she made it there safe and sound.  Thank god. We were all in such a heightened level of suspense and anxiety.  Then, she must call her mom and tell her she's alright.  Britney then assures her, "I'll call you when we make it to the hotel."

All in all, she did well.  Take a nap - Britney will need to acclimate to the lengthy 3-hour time differential.  Maybe another post about "how crazy it is that you landed at the same time you took off" -  LOL indeed.  Now, you'll need more updates regarding the mammoth dinner buffet and the hustle and bustle of the Vegas strip.  Another post, "I wish I could stay here forever.  Greatest vacation of all time."  Unfortunately, you  blew all your money on that same local video gaming crap.  They're the identical gambling machines that you might see in the coffee shop/Lilly's gambling parlor.  Whatever is left was wisely spent on "I got Caesared in the Palace" t-shirts and "Golden Nugget" shot glasses.  All I ask is that you speak the truth.  Accountability is everything.

3) Jamaica - Ahh, the jewel of the Caribbean.  You saw all the sights.  Well, not really.  The second you made it to the hotel you were immediately informed of the risk of venturing outside the designated square mile.  You even had to sign a waiver.  So you're on your own.  Well, let's not venture out.  Better safe than sorry.  I'll try to forget that we spent $6,000 to stay trapped in a hotel.  I'll post pictures of a tropical, shaved ice beverage with a little umbrella in it.  This will convince all those poor souls back home that I am indeed, having the time of my life.  Well, aside from a bout with food poisoning and accompanying hotel room claustrophobia.  Once again, just be truthful.  Post the good AND the bad.

Braggadocio & Self-aggrandizement

Yep, this is what facebook thrives off of.  And it's always the same people.  I must post all of my shiny, brand new worldly possessions.  Everyone will feel jealous and inferior if I show off my new flat screen.  It's a 52" Samsung!  How did we survive the last 5 years with that crappy 46" Zenith.  Now the world will envy my viewing power.  They will respect me.

Once gain, just be honest.  It's imperative that you describe the purchasing process.  Turns out you "bought" the tv from a Rent-A-Center bordering the Benwood crack district.  The easy payments were too enticing.  So that's no money down and $19.99 for the next 6 years, 4 months.  And they gave me a 5% off coupon for brand new baby car-seat.  It's for a limited time-only at the adjoining K-Mart.  See where I'm coming from.

Better yet, how about those Steelers tix you paid out the ass for on Stubhub.  It's okay - after all, you needed to be in the club section.  $430 per ticket on the 40 yard line.  Yeah baby!  How about you explain that on your way into the stadium, you saw tons of middle-aged white men trying to dispose of the same tickets for $20 a piece.  Just be honest and document the whole experience.  That's all I ask.

Political Statements

If you decide to post anything of a political nature, specifically anything about a prominent candidate or leader, you must provide visual evidence of your voter ID card and proof that you have voted in the past 5 elections.  This is an absolute must.  Because the real truth is... birthers don't vote.  We all know this to be true.  Just speaketh the truth.  It will set you free.

Going to the gym & working out

I'll take plenty of heat on this one.  If you're a female who's posting about that arduous 5K race or that rigorous Zoombatic work-out (which bordered on an exorcism of demonic fat), you must perform some kind of check-in/weigh-in.  Every time you post that "good sweat, nice beads" (Elaine Benes routine), you have to accordingly post your exact weight, both in pounds and kilograms.  Providing real-time numbers will help keep everyone honest.

Sports updates

These ones really irk me.  Alright, I get it.  You're watching the game.  Well, guess what?  So the fuck am I.  Kind of condescending if you think about.  Ohh, I didn't know that was a touchdown or a blown call.  I'm too stupid to process what the announcers are saying.  Even though they just replayed the damn thing 7 times in slow-mo, I wasn't able to make an absolute determination that he fumbled the ball.  I required your expertise and ability to communicate the ref's call via a Droid from TJ's PukeGarden.  Thank you so much.  Now I understand.

Or wait a minute - playing in the world of fantasy football isn't sufficient.  Living vicariously through the lives of millionaire athletes just won't cut it.  Not good enough damn-it, not good enough (Jean-Luc Picard)!  I need to show the entire world that I had the ample wisdom to bench the injured Peyton Manning (who has been out of commission since the beginning of the season) and substitute God-boy Tim Tebow.  I am so smart.  S-M-R-T (Homer Simpson).

Any sports-related facebook updates should be accompanied by a detailed list of your own athletic failures.  Dropped an easy touchdown pass in the championship game.  Struck out in the bottom of the ninth.  Pissed yourself on that last lap.  The world should be able to validate your perspective and judge whether you're a knowledgeable purveyor in the sports realm.  You want to air your obvious, regurgitated statements... well then, provide some personal background info.


Alright... ENOUGH!  My whole point here is this.

If complete, verifiable honesty were to be the new norm when anyone posts anything, the facebook landscape would be markedly different.  There would be substantially less verbal diarrhea and mindless observations.  Now you must be asking the question,  "Hey Saf, what a brilliant, keen observation!  How do you suppose we'll achieve this instant societal transformation on facebook?

Well... I have an idea, but it's not pretty.  I need one of the most famous people on the planet who is both loved and respected (not a politician).  Tom Hanks always seems to come to mind.  But it must be a major celebrity who's actively considering committing suicide.  I want him/her to leave a detailed suicide note outlining why they chose to take their own life.  It would focus on their feelings of inadequacy after being continually deluged by the routine facebook crap I have outlined in this blog entry.  Here's the clincher... they must pointedly accuse facebook as the impetus for their spiraling level of despondency.   I assure you, this extreme measure is crucial.  And I would require this celebrity to fully read this blog entry and follow my advice (if they're truly suicidal, I don't think it's asking too much).  And that's the end-game.  Naturally, there would be a backlash against this "illusory, phony culture" of facebook.  Theoretically, this would lay the foundation for more subdued and truthful posts and status updates among the general populace.  Problem solved.

Just for the record, I doubt Tom Hanks is suicidal.  I just used him as an example because he's enormously popular, loved and respected across the board.   

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Will Madonna wear that pointy bra during the halftime show?

I have a ton of pet peeves, but this one is particularly irksome.  As the Superbowl approaches, there's a group of people who converge from all walks of life.  Dentists, beekeepers, poets, investment brokers, waitresses... this one really bridges the gap.  It's the people who feel inclined to tell everyone of their Superbowl gambling exploits.  You've known them all your life and they've never discussed gambling on anything, but all of a sudden, they come out of the woodwork.  They have become instant Superbowl aficionados.

They've never discussed spreads or under/overs.  But suddenly, they're the world's foremost expert on point shaving in Vegas.  It's all they can talk about.  They throw out terms like "sharps" and "juice" as if they're making a batch of margaritas.  They'll refer to the turf in the dome as a "fast track" well-suited for speedy wide-outs.  And this is the first time they read up on the coaching staff and ownership.  So they know all the big names.  Count on them to utter the most excruciatingly obvious comment.  "I can't believe the Giants wanted to get rid of Coughlin, and now look it...  he took 'em to another Superbowl."

And they place bets on the infamous "square" boards all around town.  "Oh yeah, I got 3 squares at the Sportsman's, 2 at Abbey's and another at Chopsticks."  For the love of god, would someone tell the population at large that buying a square on one of these boards doesn't miraculously catapult you into the range of "Vegas bookie/gambler extraordinaire."  It's akin to a rock, paper, scissors victory.

But here's the real problem.  Most of these bets are actually something I call "fugazi wagers."  That's right.  They're not even real bets.  They've just been conjured up out of thin air (just like Randall Stevens in Shawshank Redemption).  Most of these are proposition bets or "prop" bets.  Stuff like betting on the MVP.  There's always this one person that's incessantly clamoring throughout the game.  He made all these crazy bets.  Yet, if you were to ask him what gambling website or what local bookie took the wagers, he'd have no idea what to say.  He'd probably say something to the affect of, "Ohhh, I can't talk about it.  My bookie likes to keep everything low-profile."

This is where it gets really annoying.  The phony celebrations and commentary on non-existent bets... just so they can have their voice heard in a congested living room or bar.  Absolutely maddening.  Think about it.  There's ALWAYS one of them.  They desperately need to hear themselves talk.  And obviously this year's Superbowl is the "landing on the moon" opportunity of a lifetime.  Everyone will hear me.  Everyone will love me.  Forever more, I'm a force to be reckoned with. 

"Ohhh yeah, I took the Giants in the coin toss.  KA-CHING!"  Alright, this one really pisses me off.  First of all, it's a 50/50 prop nonsense bet.  Knowing that it's an act of deception makes the whole scenario really debilitating.  Or how about some douchebag who claims to have made a wager on "the duration of the national anthem (I need you to time it)" or the "most popular commercial" or "whether there's a score in the final two minutes of the first half."  Prop bets are really annoying fodder because you know the asshole is making it up as he goes along.  The more intoxicated he gets, the more far-fetched the bet.  And he seems to be winning them all.  This guy's unstoppable!  Winning!  News flash - he just likes to hear himself talk and is desperately trying to get laid.  It's all a fake.  The panting, the moaning, the screaming....  fake, fake, fake (Elaine on Seinfeld).  The gambling, the betting, the wagering.... fake, fake, fake (Saf in his living room).

And there are other kinds of stylistic phony Superbowl bettors.  I call them Super-ballers.  They tell you about some absurd amount they placed on the Giants.  "Yeah, I took out a g-note on the g-men."  I want to scream at the top of my lungs,  "Fuck you, you super-stupid-baller-piece-of-shit.  You is a liar and straight-up fool."  Seriously, you should be watching the Superbowl with Rosie O'Donnell sharing a monster bag of pork rinds.

Or how about the infamous flip-flopper... This guy won't tell you which team he bet on.  He'll shift opinion and root for both teams depending on which team scored a touchdown or recovered a fumble off a sack.  Any shift in momentum whatsoever... don't worry, he's on it.  This one's really maddening because it's non-stop for the duration of the whole game.  And if it goes down to the wire???  Rest assured, douchebag won a bundle in the final seconds.  Wait a minute.  That's not enough.  If the game goes into overtime???  Yep, you guessed it.  Douchebag-zilla forgot to mention that he made that bet too... a hundred bucks at 8-1!  First ever Superbowl to go to OT.  He's rich.  Maybe he'll buy a round of drinks and cement his status as a gambling hero - I call him Gamblor (Homer Simpson).  Hey, at least the beverages were real.

To be honest, I think that might be a good bet.  Fake or real.  We're due for an overtime Superbowl.  Hell, it has to happen eventually.  This game seems like a decent candidate.  I'll place 2 bets this year - the prospect of OT and if Madonna will wear the "pointy headlight bra" during the halftime show.   That's what being a real football fan is all about.  When I win, the JSL will break into song... "Saffy don't preach!"