Monthly Archives: July 2020

Remembering to laugh

There’s a guy named Lou WIlliams who plays for the Los Angeles Clippers. He broke the NBA’s quarantine bubble earlier this week to attend a funeral. On the way back, he was hungry and stopped for wings. At a strip club called Magic City.

Magic City. The catfish nuggets are amazing, they say.

“No,” he claimed. “The wings are really good there.”

Then, Fox Sports host Shannon Sharpe defended Williams, saying you have to stop in for Magic City’s one-of-a-kind catfish nuggets. (Strip club, catfish nuggets–the jokes write themselves.)

Apparently, high-end strip club food is a thing. I know this because of Gary and Shannon, a talk radio show I listen to covered strip-club food via call-in and social media all day Wednesday.

Gary and Shannon. And beer. What could be better.

It was silly and frivolous, and necessary. It made my day a little lighter.

That’s so important right now, when everything is serious. When every Facebook post seems to be a valiant last-ditch effort to set the record straight, lest we plunge into chaos and pestilence.

Saving civilization since 2010 or so.

We’ve forgotten to laugh. We’ve forgotten to be silly and frivolous.

Not every thought needs to be about Trump, Fauci, the Covid, the conspiracy that will surely doom us all.

Sometimes you need to cut the tension. Sometimes you need something completely without socially redeeming values.

To that end, here’s Leslie Nielsen insulting the Queen and relieving himself with while wearing a wireless mic.

Enjoy your weekend.


People. Can’t live with ’em, pass the beer nuts.

My big trips out these days are to Publix.

It’s like an event for me. I look forward to it. There are other people there. Not people on a screen. Not people driving their cars past me as I run early in the morning. Actual living people. I may start dressing up for the occasion.

The problem is, there are people there. Friggin people.

Publix has the one-direction aisles, like everywhere else. One of the aisles had five people in it–me and four people going the wrong way. I passed one guy going the wrong way three different times. He’s a proud graduate of the University of Kentucky. I’m not certain how proud the University of Kentucky is.

“I paid a lot of money to get a degree from the same school as that guy.

At least this time, all but one person had their mask on correctly. One guy had it down below his nose. No one wore theirs around their chin. No one walked around naked, mask-wise. Yay.

“What? Tom Brady wears his mask that way.”
“Dude, it’s a chin strap.” (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

You can basically do what you want at Publix (though unlike Walmart, I think they will say something if you shop with no pants). You could drive a double semi filled with groceries into the express lane and Publix and the cashier would smile and ask if you found everything okay.

Damn right I’m using the express lane. I’m in a hurry.

Of course they found everything okay. Every damn thing in the store is in their cart. And I have a carton of eggs my wife sent me for.

They’re schmucks. Everywhere. All of the people. Schmucks. I often return from Publix rooting for the giant meteor that will certainly spell our collective doom some day.

In fairness, it’s not up to the cashier to provoke a brawl with the flaming…uhhh, child of God who decided they couldn’t wait for the three people with fifteen items a piece, but we should wait for him and his 1300 cans of cat food.

And, though a lot of people went the wrong way up the aisles, more people went the right way. Everyone had their mask on. Everyone had pants on–a regular occurrence at Publix. To the best of my ability to smell, everyone had bathed at some point recently. No one hoarded all the ice cream so no one else could have any.

Publix. Where even the protesters wear pants. (PS — I can’t give you change, you used an ATM card.)

The people who piss us off for the schmucky things sometimes seem like they’re legion. But they aren’t.

Most people are decent human beings trying to get to the end of the day, same as everyone else.

We notice the schmucks because they’re schmucks, but also because they’re the exception.

It would be good to notice the people who aren’t schmucks as often as the people who are.


I’ve had it with cockadoodie fake news

I’ve had it with the fake news all the time. Everything…EVERYTHING…is geared to making the American people live in fear. For instance, look at this.

This is the forecast for a storm that’s not even a tropical depression yet. It’s a potential tropical cyclone that’s supposed to hit Florida maybe over the weekend. Here are the spaghetti models for this storm.

What the hell is this? Spaghetti models? What the hell does Italy know about hurricanes?

One model has it going to Mexico. What’s with that orange line? Did Scotty beam it to the mid-Atlantic? One of the models is named after Albany. I lived in Albany. It has as much to do with hurricanes as Kikkoman has to do with meat and potatoes!

That’s a plateful of America food right there. Not a damn vegetable in sight (except the ketchup).

I’m tired of everyone just taking what they’re told at face value without thinking it through. Is it raining outside? No. Is it windy? No. Do the “scientists” even agree with each other? No.

Wake up, America!

I read. I read a lot of damn books. So who’s so smart now? Huh?

What I know is that a lot of people want to make us all afraid so they can take over the country and make us do unAmerican things. Like eat burritos and suchi and all manner of unAmerican foods.

And if you believe these forecasts, you’re just playing along.

You can stay inside all you want. Buy water. Buy batteries. All that wussified crap.

Me? I’m going golfing Sunday. That’s right. I’m taking a metal stick and hitting a damn ball. Probably gonna drink some beer, too. America beer.

A cold bottle of American freedom

Actually golf sucks because there’s no tackling. So I’ll probably just drink the beer. On my golf cart. Outside.

I’d probably take some sun screen to protect me from the storm, except I sun burn. Like a man.


Baseball’s Covid Balancing Act

It started with two Miami Marlins players testing positive for the Covid. Then yesterday, the number ballooned to either 13 or 14, including two coaches. Given the current roster size of 30, that’s as much as 40% of the current Marlins roster.

The Marlins. More social distancing may have been useful.

Based on initial information available, it’s thought the team was exposed either during an exhibition game last Wednesday in Atlanta with the Braves or during travel afterwards. Although the team played a three-game series with the Phillies over the weekend, no one on the Phillies has tested positive yet.

Also, with the exception of catchers Travis d’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers, who were held back with Covid symptoms last Friday, no one on the Braves has tested positive. The presumption is, if d’Arnaud or Flowers has the Covid, Friday may be too soon to exhibit symptoms. The Braves played a three-game series in New York, but no Mets have tested positive at this point. (And to be honest, as bad as they are at catching things…)

In theory, given their inability to catch things, the Mets should all be safe.

Sunday’s Marlins-Phillies game wasn’t postponed in spite of two positive tests, but at least the next two Marlins games against the Orioles and at least one Phillies game against the Yankees is postponed. The visitors clubhouse at Citizens Bank Ballpark, where the Phillies play, is being disinfected.

The return of Major League Baseball was a massive hit over the weekend to sports fans starved for content. It was a giant sigh of relief–a chance to have something feel normal–for those of us yearning for the game.

Players and coaches with underlying medical conditions were allowed to opt out without losing pay or service time. A few other players have also opted out. At least one coach with an underlying condition–Mets hitting coach Chili Davis–is working remotely. Given the money the players make, no one had a gun to their head telling them to come back. Teams have been supportive for players without conditions who’ve opted out. And it’s not like no one knew the risks.

Dodgers pitcher David Price isn’t high risk but opted out anyway. More may follow.

That said, Dodgers pitcher David Price tweeted, “Remember when [Commissioner Rob] Manfred said players health was PARAMOUNT?! Part of the reason I’m at home right now is because players health wasn’t being put first. I can see that hasn’t changed.”

Price’s union agreed to the rules that were put in place. And his fellow players haven’t exactly followed the rules they agreed to.

In short, both sides have been making it up as they go. And baseball’s gone first, letting the NBA, NHL, and NFL go to school on what MLB does. The baseball experiment has relevance for college sports, as neither will use a “bubble” or self-contained neutral location to play games.

While no one involved in this mess is discounting the importance of human life, a lot of people depend on major sports for their livelihoods. In baseball, as much attention was paid to the health protocols as to the financials of a shortened season. At the time a decision was made to restart, the risk level seemed reasonable. Only time will determine if that was right.

So, for now, baseball will continue.

However, rules about distancing and celebrations that violate social distancing will probably be more harshly enforced.

It’s possible, maybe even likely, that baseball and all the other sports are doomed to failure. But this isn’t a bunch of nincompoops running around Costco without masks.

It’s a reasonable attempt to try to go on, taken with caution in mind and open eyes by all involved.

Even if it doesn’t work, it was worth trying.


Putting me aside

I get irritated far too easily. Most of the irritation revolves around something someone did to me. It’s taken me 20 minutes to get the stupid laptop booted up for work. Things were going pretty well then this guy was a jerk to me. This woman blew up my morning and put me in a bad mood all day.

In most cases, if you waited a year or even a month and asked about the thing that got me upset, I wouldn’t remember.

Right now, we’re all carrying a pretty heavy load. Covid, economic upheaval, racial tension. Everything’s a litmus test and if you answer incorrectly bad things will happen.

In short, carrying angst about stuff you won’t remember in a month or even a year is a luxury.

For me (there’s that word again), the best way to remove myself is through God. And for me, that’s the Christian God.

The real path to peace, to not getting set off by all of life’s indignities is to recognize what’s right in front of me. How is God best served in a situation? Is he best served when I’m impatient with the guy on the phone? Does he get glory when I use my faith as a bludgeon against the idiots who don’t see things right? Am I portraying the God of the Prodigals when I’m right (dammit) and God agrees with me*?

The indignities will always come. They’re in the job description. But if I can put myself aside and try to see things as God does–the God who loves all his children–if I can realize that God will take care of me, too, if I just let him…

If I can do those things, then my stress will be reduced and I can reduce the stress on those around me.

Basically, if I can say I’m taken care of, I don’t have to wage a World War over every ant hill along the way. I don’t need to worry about myself with every stupid thing.

I’m not saying it’s easy, or I’m good at it, but it’s a worthwhile pursuit.

(*– God is always the prime mover. You can agree with God, but God never agrees with you. If God agrees with you, odds are, you’re both wrong.)


Sometimes when you’re running, you have to walk. That’s okay.

Last week, I returned home from vacation charged up and ready to go. On Monday, I added a mile to my morning run–six miles. Tuesday morning, I went three more. Then at run group Tuesday night, another five. Fourteen miles, baby.

The goal was to run three more on Wednesday–a recovery run, very slow. About two miles in, the needle hit E. So I walked the rest. I gave myself credit for the distance, thought.

I don’t walk easily. But now I will do it. Or stop and take a bit of a breather. While I used to think walking (or stopping) was a cop out, now I see it for what it truly is. When I walk, that’s hardcore because I’ve exceeded the easy part. I’ve spent myself to the point where my body’s saying, “Dude, give me a minute.”

That’s particularly important in 2020. This crap is hard and it’s not going away. It’s a long, steep hill that we’re running up.

If you insist on running the whole thing while your body tells you it needs a break, it’ll just get harder. And that last steep part, rather than being another obstacle you can manage, will be absolute hell.

I made my goal that night. And then I took two days off and was back at it this morning. It wasn’t easy today, but I ran the entire distance. And now I’m back into my routine.

Maybe you’re reading this and saying “You don’t understand. People are counting on me. I have so much I have to…”

You can’t do the things you have to do if the wheels come off. Those people would find a way if you didn’t exist.

This year, more than any other, it’s time to take care of yourself. To walk when you need to. To stop a minute and catch your breath when you need to. And to take a day off when you need to.

Ultimately, it’ll be better for you. And for the people who count on you.


Now especially, find something that brings you joy

About a month ago, when it looked like there would be no Major League Baseball this year, this was me concerning MLB. It wasn’t a fun time.

Two days ago, Major League Baseball returned for the beginning of what everyone hopes will be a 60-game season. I wore a baseball cap Thursday on calls, a replica Mets jersey yesterday. A replica Brooklyn Dodgers jersey today.

My current shirt, a replica of the powder blue satin jerseys the Dodgers wore when night baseball started

My Mets beat that hated Atlanta Braves yesterday, 1-0, on a monster home run by Yeonis Cespedes. The Mets starting pitching is suspect. The bullpen looks good on paper, but it could be a mirage. Even at 60 games, it could be a very long season.

In the words of one of those rock and roll boy bands, “Bye bye bye bye bye.” Now get off my lawn.

But for now, even though there are cardboard cutouts in the stands and piped-in crowd noise–for now, there’s something to hold on to, a hint of normalcy.

I can accurately say yesterday was the first time I’ve actually felt gleeful since the Covid hit. I don’t care who kneeled and who didn’t. I don’t care that the NL has the designated hitter. I don’t care about the stupid rule changes.

For now, I can put on a ballgame.

I don’t know what it’s been for you. Maybe it’s been the Disney Sing-a-Longs. Maybe it’s binge watching one of your favorite shows from back in the day.

But if it you don’t have something that brings you joy, find it. For right now, it’s baseball for me. Just having the games has modified my mood.

Sure, there are vaccines that look promising. But they canceled the Rose Parade. It’s gonna be a while.

Find something that brings you joy. It can help take you from being angry, profane Robert DeNiro to some semblance of your pre-Covid self.


Baseball’s start lays bare a glaring disparity

As baseball’s 2020 season (finally) starts this week, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Mookie Betts to a 12-year, $365 million contract to most likely finish his career at Dodger Stadium.

Dodgers $365 million man, Mookie Betts (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

His contract extension was announced while Congress is arguing about the contents of another stimulus package while the $600 bump in unemployment payments runs out and most rent and mortgage protections expire.

The announcement was clearly timed to build interest in a season in which the Dodgers will be very good. In a few weeks, they’ll be competing with the Lakers in the NBA playoffs, not to mention the Rams and Chargers preparing for the NFL season. This was the time to make a splash.

And yet, as much as I believe in capitalism, something’s wrong with this picture.

There’s nothing wrong with someone getting the most money possible for their services. And Mookie Betts is clearly a very good baseball player. So are Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, other recent megacontract recipients.

The cumulative value of the contracts for Betts, Mike Trout (L), and Bryce Harper (R) is more than $1.1 billion.

But at a time when unemployment is at historic levels, when governments at all levels are strapped for income, but paying out to keep society afloat, the normal conservative argument about lowering taxes doesn’t hold water.

Clearly, our federal government has no clue how to operate within a budget. But these expenditures aren’t for $600 toilet seats. While liberals shove the word socialism in conservatives faces at every opportunity these days, clearly help was required. That’s not socialism, it’s responding to an unprecedented crisis.

Assuming we move past the pandemic, someone needs to be serious about pulling back on government spending. Just become something seems like a good idea doesn’t mean it has to be done. And it clearly doesn’t always have to be done by the government.

But if there is a social contract, it’s not a terrible thing in these extraordinary times to expect a more from Mookie Betts, Jeff Bezos, and whoever winds up buying the New York Mets than from the people struggling to keep the mortgage paid or getting by in spite of reduced hours or pay cuts.

If we ever regain a sense of restraint in federal spending, then we should revisit this discussion. But these are extraordinary times.


Kneeling is disrespectful and something must be done!

The Great Trilogy is God, country, and family. In other words, for all right-thinking people, God–our great, great God–comes first.

A group of people–they call themselves Christians, but I don’t know. I guess they’re Catholics or something. They aren’t regular Christians, that’s for sure!

They’re disrespecting our great God every time they gather. It’s wrong. And it’s very bad!

They gather on Sundays and sometimes during the week and show disrespect to God. Every one of them. And they kneel, which is very disrespectful! Right before and right after snack time, they kneel! I’ve never seen anything like it.

As a group, they do this. And it’s very wrong. Even their leaders do it sometimes.

In this country, you stand to show respect to God. Kneeling is for losers.

In this country, you stand to respect God. When I see someone kneeling, I say, excommunicate the son of a bitch.

They disrepect Jesus and God and the great, great prayer–my favorite prayer, Our Mary Tis of Thee. I know it. You know it. I said it at church last week. It was the greatest prayer anyone ever heard. Very classy.

Every good Christian and American does and we say it with respect. We stand. To show respect for God and Jesus and all the great Christian martyrs through the year. Stephen. Perpetua and Felicity. Peter, Paul, and Mary. And the great Joan of Arc, pictured below.

The great Joan of Arc, from when she was on Knots Landing, a very holy show. My favorite holy show.

So I call on my fellow Americans and my fellow God…worship…people to return respect to church, which I love. I love it. God is a God of order and you must respect him.

LAW AND ORDER!

I call on you to boycott these disrespectful fake Christians. I call on you to boycott fish fries and Bingo, which is a great song–my favorite song. Last week at church, I sang all 16 verses. They told me it was amazing what I did. They’d never seen anything like it. I aced it.

And all call on you to let these disrespectful people know they are wrong.

Thank you and covfefe.


Childish member of Congress calls AOC a “f***ing bitch.” Not acceptable.

In the workplace, there are rules. You don’t pretend your boss’s desk is the rest room. Pants (or other lower-body coverings) are required. And when addressing colleagues, even the ones you don’t like, you pretend you’re a professional.

Rep. Ted Yoho is a Republican from Florida. He and Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) were coming down the Capitol stair afters voting. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was going in to vote and a, uhh, spirited discussion ensued.

Rep. Ted Yoho, Congressional potty mouth

Yoho said Ocasio-Cortez was disgusting for blaming the recent spike in violent crime in New York City to poverty and unemployment. AOC, among the more left-leaning members of Congress, isn’t going to tell them “(yip yip yip mum mum mum) get a job.” AOC told Yoho he was being rude. As Yoho walked away, he called her a “f***ing bitch.”

“You talkin’ to me? Are you talkin’ to me?”

If you ask a member of Congress, they’ll tell you it’s a full-time gig, that there’s a learning curve involved that means they add more value the longer they stay. In short, we’re supposed to view them as professionals.

Sadly, there’s a shortage of professionalism from our, uhh, leaders these days. Mr. Nice guy, we’re told, won’t cut it.

Most Americans want our elected representatives, our supposed leaders, to represent us in their jobs. But we want them to be effective. Acting like a vulgar four-year-old who missed his nap doesn’t help anything except to deepen the divisions among us.

I don’t like AOC. I think her commitment to things like political compromise and free expression is paper thin. I believe in her view, progressive policy is the only legitimate form of government and should be implemented without worrying about compromises. If you have to stifle some free speech along the way, keep the greater good in mind.

She’s also a member of Congress. Enough people supported her that she earned her seat. And, to be honest, a bartender becoming one of the 546* most powerful people in government is proof that the American dream isn’t a lie.

In a shining city in a hill, you’re supposed to admire people for achieving their dream, not belittle them for their humble beginnings.

To do right by this country, people like Rep. Yoho need to work with people like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. Regardless of his personal dislike for her or her policies, there’s a bigger job–doing the right thing for the country. As you may have noticed, we have an issue or two right now.

If Mr. Yoho can’t handle that, perhaps he can get a job where he can stay home and yell obscenities in his Twitter account, rather than helping craft the legislation that governs us.

Rep. Yoho’s avocation?

* — 535 members of Congress, the President and Vice President, and nine Supreme Court Justices.