Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Where are All the Billionaire Candidates?

Mike Bloomberg is not running for president.

Let that sink in.

This means we only have Howard Schultz. We only have one fatuous billionaire to not vote for on the Democratic ticket in 2020.

How are we going to get through the election cycle with only one narcissistic, out-of-touch, ignorant, bloviating, pontificating, flatulent, misguided, egocentric, shit-for-brains, fuckwit billionaire to mock and spew our bile at? We’re doomed.

This is the American form of democracy. It all breaks down if billionaires aren’t trying to buy the presidency. I know that the rest of the 73 candidates are likely millionaires. So what? A millionaire compared to a billionaire is like watching the Andy Griffith Show after Don Knotts left or requesting to listen to heavy metal music and they play Bon Jovi. It’s not the same.

We need more clueless, unwanted, nefarious, criminal, uncaring, pettifogging, arrogant, oily, humorless, morally bankrupt assclown billionaires to revile and send home to cry in their bitcoins.

CNN, MSNBC, FOX and other news outlets have hours of airtime to fill with the recitation of stupid ideas, made up stories, false equivalencies and lies wrapped in prevarication. Who better to present this literally unbelievable information than billionaires who haven’t spoken to a regular American since they excoriated the parking valet at their private club for leaving a palm print on their Bugatti.

The Democrats are going to run a thousand different candidates up the flag pole to see which one can flap in the breeze strong enough to defeat Captain Meathead in 2020. More of them need to be billionaires to show us definitively who not to vote for, who can’t run the country, and who needs to hide away in their mansion and shut the hell up.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

When Bad Football Happens to Good People

This past Sunday we were all hurt. Go ahead, let it out, we’re all feeling it. Football season is over and that, that is how it ended.

We expected some discomfort because we were being forced to watch the insufferable Patriots again. But the level of pain we were subjected to was a shock. Missed field goals, dropped passes, bad passes, bad officiating, missed blocks, missed tackles, punt after punt after punt, no scoring.

At the party I attended people were openly weeping, begging deities of all religions to save us. My brother converted to Rastafarianism thinking the music of Eek-a-Mouse would calm his transient nausea, but the last I saw he was in the corner mumbling about not having enough hair to grow dreadlocks. The rest of us called in a pastor for an explanation. We had done nothing wrong, so why were we being punished? As the seconds wound down on the first quarter the pastor himself was on his knees crying to the heavens “Oh God why hast thou forsaken us? They can’t even kick a field goal!”

Mid-way through the second quarter we were so lost we called in a philosopher to help us with our existential dread. His Jean-Paul Sartre quotes of “man is a useless passion” and “nothingness haunts being” were not helpful. By the time he was deep into Nietzsche’s treatise on the abyss we were angry. Punching him wasn’t soothing so we kicked him instead which acted as a mild balm for our wounds. We left him outside contemplating the puddle of snot pooling around his nose and mumbling Heidegger nonsense.

The game was a brutal examination of ineptitude that we dragged behind us like a boat anchor. “Maybe the half time show will cheer us up,” we thought. Music is a great healer.

I think it was my sister who snapped first. “Turn it off, turn it off!” she yelled. “Music isn’t supposed to sound like that!” Every note was like a pill caught in our collective throats. The air became heavy and unbreathable. With each article of clothing Adam Levine took off, the songs got exponentially worse until it sounded like a combination of Mongolian throat singing and Coldplay.

We were barely hanging onto our sanity by the time the second half started. We watched the whole 3rd quarter under the influence of peyote, hoping to hallucinate a good game. It started off ok as I saw Joe Montana riding a white stallion, throwing passes with both hands to a thousand receivers named Jerry. Unfortunately, a dragon from my niece’s delusion invaded mine and ate Montana. After that the field melted into an ice cream bar filled with trolls, loose change and multiple Walter Matthaus.

The end of the game was chaos. One of my brother’s had his head buried in the cheese dip murmuring “I can’t watch anymore, I can’t.” My sister, on the edge of a nervous breakdown since halftime, was reading Dickens loudly to drown out Tony Romo’s voice: “ ‘IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES, IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES . . .’ ” My other brother was on eBay trying to win an auction for an ICBM to blow up the stadium but kept getting out-bid by a penny by some Russian account. My niece took more peyote and was lying prone on the floor. “I’m righteous,” was all she said when asked any question. I was outside walking the neighborhood ringing a bell shouting “10 o’clock and all is not well, 10 o’clock and all is not well.”

What happened to all of us on Sunday was unfair. As football fans, casual gamblers and people who just like eating at parties, we deserved better. Baseball season starts in a few weeks. Perhaps the boredom of that will erase the bad memories of Super Bowl 53.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Death of Journalism

By the title of this piece you’re probably thinking it’s an erudite, in-depth look at print journalism through the decades and how it has affected all of our lives, from “Dewey defeats Truman” through Watergate to present day treatises on our divided population.

Nah. I’m not smart enough to write that 5000 words of scholarly insomnia cure.

This was an actual headline on the NY Post web site today:

Leonardo DiCaprio keeps his sunglasses on indoors at Lakers game

I searched the entire site but couldn’t find a follow-up article called:

Leonardo DiCaprio wears pants to Lakers game

Of course, what I really wanted was the scintillating story of:

Leonardo DiCaprio packs bag lunch to Lakers game: egg salad and applesauce

What has happened to our nation’s newspapers? How did an actor wearing sunglasses indoors become a story? It wasn’t just a headline, there were several paragraphs breathlessly detailing Leo’s entire sartorial ensemble. The writer’s conclusion was he was wearing the sunglasses indoors to stay incognito. But that didn’t work. Another celebrity, comedian Kevin Hart, spotted Leo right away, giving him the secret Hollywood handshake and double wink of celebrity Illuminati.

Where was this headline:

Thousands watch Lakers game with doctor-prescribed eyewear or contacts

Or this:

Hundreds occasionally look up from phones to watch moments of Lakers game

I’m all for light hearted entertainment news, I read Entertainment Weekly. But this. This isn’t “news” of any kind. This is an ego-centric douche wearing sunglasses indoors like ALL egocentric douches do. It’s evolution. Once Leo was human, but with increasing fame and success he metamorphosized to a clothes-wearing douche. Once that happened, the sunglasses indoors were part of his DNA.

The NY Post didn’t have to write about it, they chose to because journalism is dead. The Post didn’t kill it, they just drove the knife in a little deeper.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Another Story about Mom

This will be my family’s first Christmas without mom. A weird feeling has inhabited me knowing there are no gifts to buy for her and not seeing her stocking shaped like a teddy bear hanging over the fireplace at my sister’s house. Certain Christmas songs have left me weepy when listening to them which never happened before. We’ve been combating that by telling stories about mom that make us smile. This is one of mine.

Mom loved tennis. She watched every tournament on TV, even the older, retired players who developed their own tour. She always wanted to go to one of the 4 majors. Three of them were ruled out because they were overseas in England, France and Australia and mom was afraid to fly. She once asked me if it was possible to get to Wimbledon by boat.

That left the last major of the year, the US Open in New York which is a convenient 3-hour train ride from where we live in Pennsylvania. Mom found a travel agency whose whole business was booking tennis tours. They get you tickets, hotel rooms and have a shuttle to take you to and from the tennis center in Queens. The last piece of the puzzle was someone to go with her because this was something mom would never do on her own.

It was 1998 and mom caught me at a time in my life when I had money in the bank, so I agreed to go with her. Our tickets got us assigned seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium, but we could sit anywhere we wanted at any other court. One day we got to the Louis Armstrong Stadium early to sit in a courtside box to watch Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden and Cedric Pioline of France. It was a great match. It went 5 sets, and the quality of play was very high.

At some point during one of the change-overs where the players change sides, Bjorkman was directly in front of us facing the other way. Mom leaned into me and said, “You know, Jonas has a really cute butt.”

Now, understand . . . I know . . . I mean, I get . . .

Look, I know she had every right to admire Jonas Bjorkman’s backside. It’s just not what I expected my 70-year-old mother to say to me. I believe I responded “Ooooookay,” which made her laugh. Then she doubled down.

“I know it’s a silly thing to say, but he does have a really nice butt.”

So, I looked for myself.

“Yeah, ok,’ I said to mom. “You’re right. He does have a nice butt.”

This made her laugh again.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A New Theory

In my department at work we have a mix of introverts and extroverts which can make for interesting conversations and vivid reactions to life events. Recently a team member got married and didn’t tell anyone. When another team member found out, a week later, there was a rainbow explosion of questions, accusations, congratulations, more questions, incredulous expressions and open-mouthed staring. Guess which one was which, vis-a-vis extravert vs. introvert?

The whole scene was extremely amusing, and a vision popped into my head of how introverts and extroverts exist and interact.

We introverts live in our own private bubbles, meandering through space, sometimes bumping into one another. A quick wave or head nod and we’re on our way into the opposite direction.

The extroverts exist in the theoretical space between our bubbles, zooming all over with jet packs, yelling to one another, screaming with delight as they tell each other absolutely everything they think or feel, absorbing each other’s energy to fuel their rockets.

When an extrovert sees an introvert bubble they can’t help themselves. They fly over and pound on the bubble begging “Let me in, let me in, let me in, let me in, let me in, let me in . . . .” We try to float away but our bubbles do not have jet propulsion. We glide on a wave of peace and quiet contemplation. We try to hide behind our books or iPads but the extrovert knows we’re home because we’re always home.

“Let me in let me in let me in let me in let me in let me in.”

Eventually, through sheer force of will, the extrovert bursts the introvert bubble and the onslaught begins.

“Oh my God, you got married? Why didn’t you say anything? When did this happen? Why did it happen? How did you decide? Why didn’t you say anything? Where did you go? Is that your ring? Why didn’t you tell us? What is wrong with you? Are you happy? Why didn’t you tell me? How long have you been planning this? Was it your idea? Was it her idea? Why didn’t you say anything? Oh my God!”

Finally, the extrovert will run out of steam, leaving to find another extrovert to tell the story to so they can re-fill their jet pack. The introvert repairs his bubble and floats away into the ether.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Story about My Mom

My mom passed away a few months ago, in August. I miss her every day, but this is not to mourn my mother. I’ve done that, so now it is about celebrating who she was. To give a small illustration of that I’m going to tell a story that happened about 15 years ago.

Mom was all about her family, taking care of us, being with us. There was no one she’d rather spend time with than her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

My siblings and I like to get together and play games. We’ve had poker nights or hours of 500 Rum. We also enjoy board games, especially trivia games like Trivial Pursuit. Mom always played too. She was good at cards, pulling out a full house when you thought your 3-of-a-kind was good or laying down 3 aces in 500 Rum with a sheepish smile. She struggled more with the trivia but liked to play because she said she learned so much during the game.

One night, years ago, we were playing Trivial Pursuit and one of the questions mom got, followed by the answer she gave, will remain with me forever because of the boisterous laughter it produced.

This was the original version of Trivial Pursuit. Mom landed on the science category and I was reading the question:

Where is the medulla oblongata located?

The answer is the brain. My brother, sister and I gave each other looks that indicated we all knew the answer so we’re just waiting for mom.

I watched mom’s face as she scrunched up her mouth and said “Oh boy” under her breath. She dropped her eyes to the floor as she thought. After about 30 seconds she looked at me and said, “I don’t know . . . Italy?”

The laughter that followed was unrestrained, and after her children’s heads dropped to the table because we couldn’t breathe, mom joined in. Soon all our faces were red from lack of oxygen. I looked at mom and she said, “I guess that’s not the right answer.”

I found enough breath to say “No, no it’s not.”

Bad jokes were bandied about like:

I hope to get to Italy someday to see the medulla oblongata.

I hear the medulla oblongata is beautiful in the spring.

Is that where the Pope sleeps in the Vatican?

When I was finally able to speak I said, “The answer is the brain.”

Mom replied, “The brain? I’d rather go to Italy.”

And the laughter started all over again.

Miss you mom.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Jeff Flake and Susan Collins Go to Dinner

Waiter to Susan Collins: What can I get for you?

Susan Collins: Nothing too spicy, but nothing too bland. Not sure yet.

Waiter to Jeff Flake: Are you ready to order sir?

Jeff Flake: I don’t need a menu, I’ll have the alfredo.

Two women behind Flake begin chanting.

Two women: Jeff Flake he’s the best, he would never order without seeing the rest.

Jeff Flake: Perhaps you’re right. I will look at a menu.

The women begin swaying in unison and singing.

Two women: Jeff Flake we love you, oh yes we do . . .

Jeff Flake, eyes misting: This is such an important decision. I don’t want to be locked in a room and forced into anything. I’d like to bring my wife down to the restaurant and get her input.

Waiter: What?

Susan Collins: Hmmm, such a difficult decision. I’m going to call Chuck Grassley for advice.

Collins gets out her cell phone.

Susan Collins: Chuck?

Chuck Grassley: Can’t talk now Susie Q. Just told a democrat to piss off and it gave me a hard-on. First one since ‘06! Taking advantage and jerkin’ it as we speak.

Susan Collins: Jerkin’ it?

Chuck Grassley: You know what I mean; you’ve been doing it to Maine for years. Ohhhhh Louie CK! Damn that felt good.

Susan Collins: Well, he was no help.

Waiter: I just need a dinner selection . . .

Susan Collins: I need time to study this menu. It’s so voluminous it’s like being assaulted. And this separate list of specials keeps staring at me.

Jeff Flake: My wife is here.

Waiter: Why don’t you just have the salmon? It was Mr. Weinstein’s favorite.

Jeff Flake to his wife: Honey, could you please investigate the dinner choices? Take your time.

Two women: Jeff Flake, he’s our man, he listens to women . . . sort of

Flake’s wife: I’m doing this against my will. I’ll be back in five minutes.

Jeff Flake: That’s fine, but if the beef looks fraudulent in any way, I don’t want it.

Susan Collins to waiter: What do you think?

Waiter: I wish you two weren’t my customers.

Susan Collins: Do they massage, braise, bruise, touch or lick the chicken breast before cooking it?

Waiter: Why would they . . .

Jeff Flake: Oh good. My wife is back.

Two women: Jeff Flake . . . we thought he’d do the right thing

Flake’s wife: Get the Cobb salad.

Jeff Flake: Did you check out the kitchen?

Flake’s wife: No.

Jeff Flake: Did you sample any of the food?

Flake’s wife: No.

Jeff Flake: Did you speak to the chef?

Flake’s wife: No.

Jeff Flake: Good enough for me. Waiter, I’ll have the Cobb salad. I feel drunk with power right now.

Flake’s wife: I feel used. I’m going home.

Two women: Jeff Flake, he was our man, until he let us down . . . again

Waiter: One Cobb salad. And for the lady?

Susan Collins: This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had.

Waiter: It’s dinner.

Susan Collins: The chicken would be the intelligent and respectable choice. But the T-bone steak just keeps yelling at me. It makes me feel dirty.

Waiter: So, the steak then?

Susan Collins: I’m leaning that way but . . .

Mitch McConnell walks by . . .

Mitch McConnell: Get the ghost pepper chili Suze, it’ll put hair on your chest.

Susan Collins: I don’t know.

Susan’s seat is surrounded by Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, John Cornyn and Joe Manchin

Lindsey Graham: Get the chili Susie, it’s good for you.

John Cornyn: Get her a bowel of the chili.

Orrin Hatch: It’s what she wants, and she knows it.

Mitch McConnell:  Even Manchin ordered it and he’s a liberal.

Susan Collins: All right, I’ll take the chili.

Lindsey Graham: That a girl.

Mitch McConnell: Come on boys, let’s get some beer.