Monday, April 30, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
For what it's worth, I like Bodemeister for his eye-catching win at the Arkansas Derby.
Enjoy your Sunday!
Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Take this past weekend. I spent $75 to attend a professional football game between my hometown Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Now, when it comes to brazen money-grubbing organizations, the National Football League has few rivals. Already awash in billions in profits, the ownership continues to find new and creative ways to squeeze money from their diehard fans.
They think nothing of charging attending fans $50 to park, $7.50 for 12 ounces of lite beer, insist we pay full price for meaningless pre-season games, and hold entire cities hostage by enforcing cruel TV blackouts if the stadiums don’t sell out.
They showed their contempt for fans on Christmas when they scheduled an 8 p.m. game between the Tennessee Titans and the San Diego Chargers. Fans in Nashville had to choose between leaving home and hearth on the holiest day of the year or sitting outside in near freezing temperatures to watch professional football.
So the stadium was about half empty. More and more fans with better and better big screen TVs are wisely opting to stay home.
That’s why an increasing number of games are being broadcast on the premium cable channel, The NFL Network. If fewer people are going to attend the games, they need to make money off those who like to watch it at home.
Pay-per-view professional football, brought to you by The NFL Network, is already here.
So why would I bother trying to make such a greedy, nefarious organization even more money? I guess I just can’t help myself so here goes:
The NFL needs to start selling replica Throwforward uniforms.
That’s a term you’ve never heard before. But most fans have certainly heard of the obnoxious Throwback uniforms.
Once nearly every fan in America had purchased for about $250 an authentic replica NFL-issued jersey of their favorite team, the NFL realized the apparel market was saturated.
So in a greedy panic they turned on a time machine and began forcing teams to wear throwback jerseys from the olden days. That way the truly obsessed fan would need to spend another $250 for a jersey that represented their team in, say, the 1930s. Then the 1940s. Then the 1950s, and so on.
And here’s the thing: the uniforms are uniformly hideous. I’ve seen plenty of archival pre-1970s footage of professional jerseys. In faded black and white photographs, the uniforms appear drab.
It gives the impression that our ancestors grew up in a time when no one smiled and everyone wore hand-me downs from folks with the fashion sense of bitter Pilgrims.
But when our favorite teams raced out onto the field wearing their throwback jerseys we were stunned to learn we were wrong.
Our ancestors weren’t boring. They were insane.
The jerseys had psychedelic stripes, odd insignia and bewildering color schemes that jarred the senses. It’s a shameless marketing ploy that interferes with the enjoyment of the game.
The genius of the Throwforward jersey is that NFL flacks could unveil jerseys that will be worn by the home team in, say, the year 2029.
It would let daffy fans of teams like the perennially hapless Miami Dolphins delude themselves into thinking that maybe by then -- cross your fingers -- the Dolphins will be competitive.
And the best thing from the NFL perspective is that they’ll be able to justify charging $1,250 per jersey because that’s what the actual price will likely be in the year 2029.
So there you have it. Throwback. Throwforward. For an increasing number of disgusted fans like me, there’s only one direction we feel like throwing any more.
And that’s up.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I’d like to hear testimony that the girls were, yes, prostitutes, albeit reluctant ones, but were also great admirers of America, President Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.
For parochial reasons, it’d be cool if they said they were Pittsburgh Steeler fans, too.
And that it’s all just a big misunderstanding. They weren’t in those luxury suites for party sex.
They were there for civics lessons and things got way out of hand. That’s what can happen when enthusiasm for constitutional checks and balances is unleashed.
Given the trajectory of society, I fear that won’t be the case.
If there were any stalwart bastions of integrity and discipline left, I figured they had to reside in elite branches of the federal government.
Geez, let down by the Secret Service and the General Services Administration both in the same week.
A compelling argument’s been advanced that this couldn’t have been a first-time thing, that this sort of behavior is woven into agency lore.
That simultaneously dismays and titillates.
The service part has enjoyed a stellar reputation that seemed authenticated by the secret part.
Now it looks like we have a one in 11 shot at finally getting a good tell-all book from a former Secret Service agent. And those of us who savor randy entertainment can all hope he served as far back as the Clinton presidency.
I can only recollect three good portrayals of the secret service in action and all of them coincided with Clinton’s presidency.
The first was Clint Eastwood and John Malcovich from “In the Line of Fire” from 1993. It’s highly entertaining but seemed contrived. Eastwood didn’t have any real relationship with the president, choosing instead to have one with fellow agent Rene Russo.
Good call, Clint.
A really great movie, also from 1993, featured an interesting and warm relationship between a stoic secret service agent and a friendly body double who assumes the presidency when the real thing has a stroke while screwing an underling.
Yes, there was something about Clinton that really ignited Hollywood imaginations.
Anyway, that film is one of my favorites. It’s Kevin Kline’s “Dave.”
The third wasn’t a film, but a Saturday Night Live sketch and one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. It starred Phil Hartman as Clinton and Kevin Nealon as a secret service agent who accompanies the then-tubby president elect on a morning jog that detours into a McDonald’s.
Here’s the opening dialogue:
Bill Clinton: “Alright, boys, let’s stop here for a second. I’m a little parched from the jog.”
Secret Service Agent: “Sir, we’ve only been jogging for three blocks. Besides, Mrs. Clinton asked us not to let you in any more fast food restaurants.”
BC: “I just want to mingle with the American people, talk with some real folks, maybe get a Diet Coke or something . . .”
SSA: “Fine, but please don’t tell Mrs. Clinton.”
BC, erupting in buddy-buddy laughter: “Jim, let me tell you something -- there’s gonna be a whole lot of things we don’t tell Mrs. Clinton about! Fast food is going to be the least of our worries!”
It’s absolutely uproarious. Check it out here.
Twenty years later, we have a Clinton in Columbia under Secret Service protection being photographed dancing and guzzling beer and the visit results in a huge scandal involving, not the Clinton, but our most vaunted security forces.
I guess that’s progress.
Of course, we may have to go back to the future for real progress.
Ancient history reveals rulers once insisted on castrated guards because they were unlikely to trifle with the harem or engage in thoughts that distract men imbued with testosterone.
It’s something to consider. This is a potentially catastrophic breach and the bi-partisan condemnation means our legislators are taking it seriously.
Best part of this eunuch solution is it wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime and no one ever need know it’s even been done.
I’m sure wives of the straying agents will be happy to keep the service secret.