Damn Patriots

I was talking to a friend after the AB circus was cancelled in Oakland, leaving the deranged diva as the most toxic free agent since Kim Kardashian filed for divorce five minutes after marrying some NBA player.

“As long as Brown doesn’t sign with the Patriots, I’m good,” I joked.

“Dude . . Brown just signed with the Patriots . . ” My friend replied.

Of fucking course he did.

If there was any debate as to the most reviled franchise in professional sports, the New England Patriots just won it, again. Seriously . . gimme a more hated group than the boys from the 508. And no, ISIS doesn’t count.

Once upon a time, my beloved New York Yankees held that title with a seemingly eternal grip. In a swath of history that began with the Murderers Row lineup of 1927 and plowed through war torn lineups in the ’40’s, the golden age of baseball in the ’50’s and expansion in the ’60’s, the Yankees remained the most recognizable symbol of enmity in sports. They were immortalized on stage and screen as Damn Yankees, harmonized in Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson and despised by opposing fans everywhere.

They answered an eleven year championship drought- from 1964 to 1975- with a bunch of mercenaries and sons of bitches when the “Bronx Zoo” iteration won three straight pennants and two World Series titles in the late ’70’s. After which came ever more creative rivals to their most hated throne. The Los Angeles Lakers held a time share for most hated team in sports in the eighties, but Magic buffered any possibility of nuclear enmity. The Dallas Cowboys took up Mickey’s mantle in the ’90’s, but not for long enough a time to breach the gap.

The Russian hockey team was hated whenever the Winter Olympics came calling, but that was a matter of Stalin and Sputnik more than sport. The Edmonton Oilers were hated until Gretkzy was traded to America, after which all was forgiven. The Mets moved out of the Yankees basement in the mid eighties and became a renegade team of hate-worthiness, but their hard partying ways derailed any chance of a long term reign.

By the time the James Gang Miami Heat went Banksy on the Association in 2010, it was too late. The Yankees had already lost their Evil Empire to the New England Patriots. And it wasn’t even close.

The nexus of this changing of the guard came in the fall and winter of 2001-2002. The Yankees were at the height of their villainy entering a campaign in which they had added ace pitcher Mike Mussina from the rival Baltimore Orioles to a team that was favored to win a fourth straight title. When September 11th happened, it muted the national hatred for the pinstripes. Some fans even forged a temporary alliance with the Yanks on account of a city’s gaping wound. When the Yankees lost the World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks, it signaled both the end of a dynasty as well as their title as the most hated team in sports.

We just didn’t know it yet.

In February of 2002, the Patriots upset the heavily favored Rams in Super Bowl 36. To that point, Bill Belichick had been a middling disappointment as head coach and Tom Brady was a little known backup QB turned starter. The irony is that the Patriots shouldn’t have even made it to the Super Bowl that year, but for the “Tuck Rule Game” in which a Tom Brady fumble was ruled . . get this, an incomplete pass. Oh, and the team they beat in that infamous game? Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders. You really cannot make this shit up.

Fast forward seventeen years and the Patriots just screwed Gruden and the Raiders again with their signing of Antonio Brown. Unlike that first Super Bowl victory, the Patriots are no longer a feel good story. They have presided over an unprecedented run of success and scandal in the time since, collecting 6 Super Bowl titles, 9 Conference titles 16 division titles and more -Gates than the poshest neighborhood in Hollywood.

So now the most hated team has the most hated player. It’s the sporting equivalent of the Manson family adopting Pennywise. And okay yes . . Tom Brady is probably going to start acting his age this season and the Patriots can’t possibly make it back to the Super Bowl again and oh wait . . hold on I’ve got a phone call. Hey! It’s me calling, from this time last year!

Hey what’s up? Oh really, I said the same shit this time last year? 

Umm . . . never mind.

It doesn’t seem possible that a team birthed by monarch butterflies on a farm (I read it on the dark web) . . a team that once wore uniforms straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting . . a team that calls itself Patriots, could elicit the sort of rage my Yankees once took for granted.

It’s gotten so bad that after my pal Big Papi’s Orioles were basically eliminated from postseason play back in June, he told me he would be rooting for my Yankees to win it all. To which I replied with “Fuck you,”

I wonder if Antonio Brown plays baseball.

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Joker

Welp, the NFL decided to come back for another season, so I would be remiss if I didn’t give you some quick shot predictions for betting purposes only. A top five? Why not . . .

1- Antonio Brown will be traded to the Hollywood Wives
2- Jerry Jones’ quest for a Super Bowl comes up short again. So he buys the Patriots.
3- A 350 lb lineman who’s somehow faster than Carl Lewis is suspended for PED’s. Fans and commentators are shocked!
4- The Dolphins win the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in peaceful co-existence on the field of play after winning one game, by accident.
5- Roger Goodell announces the league will eventually have teams in London, Madrid, Paris and any other European city that doesn’t give a fuck about American football

Autumn Johnson has one cool name, but his outlook on life is even cooler. The six year old South Carolina boy was saving his birthday money for a trip to Disney World when Hurricane Dorian hit Florida. So he took his money and used it to feed evacuees instead- one hundred in all. Run for office, kid . . please?

An American woman tried to board a plane with a six day old baby in her carry on bag. Authorities at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila detained the woman, who claimed she was an aunt. If only all human traffickers were this dumb.

Prez Tweet Funny

Sarah Yerkes just published her first collection of poems (“Days Of Blue And Flame”) at the tender age of 101. Proving that time can be a prison or a gift. The choice is ours. (Shout out to the Delectable Q for this get.)

On April 12, Emmanuel Aranda threw a five year old boy over the third floor railing at Mall of America. The boy suffered head trauma and multiple broken bones but is recovering. Aranda was sentenced to first degree attempted murder and will serve nineteen years in prison. Imma pick him up when he gets released . . .

Disney Streaming Service
Disney Streaming Service! Just Shut Up And Take My Money!

I didn’t realize Popeye’s chicken sandwich fever was a thing until I read about the imbecile in Houston who pulled a gun on an employee when he was informed they had sold out. This follows the imbecile in Tennessee who sued Popeye’s, alleging “deceptive business practices” after driving all over town looking to score a sammy but coming up empty. Here’s an idea, eat a fucking salad.

Bria Montes pens hand written letters. I dig the posterity of her austerity but I really dig the recipient in this instance: An Odessa, Texas police officer. Montes left the handwritten note along with some flowers on his police cruiser to show her appreciation for his service. The good guys won a day, thanks to Montes.

NY POST Cover

On Wednesday, Google agreed to pay a $170 million fine after YouTube was found to have been collecting information . . . from children. Which led to this brief conversation:

Me: Shit like this really pisses me off, because I love YouTube.
Mellow Harsher: You don’t have to use the site, you know.
Me: Are you out of your mind?

Police in Glasgow, Scotland foiled a game of hide and seek that was to be played out in a local IKEA after three thousand people signed up on Facebook to participate. They stopped any customers who looked as if they were there to play a game of hide and seek, which is the funniest Goddamn case of profiling I’ve ever heard of.

Crazy cat ladies best move over and make way for Chella Phillips, ’cause she’s got plenty of company. When Hurricane Dorian touched down in the Bahamas, Phillips took 97(!) dogs into her Nassau home, providing them with food and shelter. Just call her the patron saint of paws.

Coming up next week, I’ve got a special September 11th issue featuring nothing but heroes. Because when the good guys win the day, it feeds the world.

Heroes Of The Week!

Black Widow

Last week’s episode proved that mashups ain’t no joke. I was able to fit in more stories than in any previous Heroes post. This isn’t to say there weren’t glitches, because any good thing comes with glitches. Just ask the peeps at Apple. Using the Speaking Of format caused ‘rollover’, in which one positive or negative story bled into the next with precious little room for a segue salve. But don’t fret, my maintenance crew is looking into the problem and you can look forward to a new and improved version sometime soon.

And now, the news.

Fidel would’ve loved this chick- If lies really do set your pants on fire, they’re gonna need dental records to identify Kayleigh McEnany. In an interview with Chris Cuomo, the press secretary for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign insisted Trump has never lied, after which she went back to the tired old well of blaming the media for every single thing. Kudos to CC for cutting it short with K Mac before she could blame the media for her cluelessness.

What impossible dreams may come- Imagine losing your right leg as a newborn in a chemical fire, after which you spend the next eight years in a state run orphanage in Nanjing, China. That was Scout Bassett’s reality until her entire world changed when she was adopted by a Michigan family in 1995. Some people rest on their good fortune, while others use it as fuel. And that’s what Scout did, winning three medals in the Para-triathlon and two more in the Para World Championships. She recently made ESPN’s “Body Issue”, where she proves that you shouldn’t be afraid of your scars. You should own them.

Luck ’em all!- Andrew Luck’s retirement took most football fans by surprise. But that didn’t make it alright for Colts fans to boo him as he left the field after last week’s game. And it doesn’t mean that Adam Schefter, who broke the story for ESPN, should have waited for Luck to announce it in a presser. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean Dan Dakich gets to rip Luck’s commitment, and people with mental health issues on his sparrow shit of a radio show. Maybe a little high road would’ve done everyone involved some good.

Ain’t no mountain high enough for these two- In 2010, Marine Staff Sgt. Jonathon Blank was serving in Afghanistan when he lost both his legs to an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). His friend John Nelson was nearby when it happened, and while that memory will never leave them, they’ve made sure to make plenty of much better ones in the time between. Nelson recently climbed Mt. Timpanogos in Utah, with his pal Jonathon on his back. 14 miles and 4,500 feet in an epic tag team hike. And they’re not done yet. Next up, they’re going to hike up the tallest mountain in California, Mount Whitney. And they’re gonna do it on Veteran’s Day. Because they can.

The tykes keep teaching us how- Eight year old Christian Moore didn’t think twice when he saw his classmate Connor Crites struggling on his first day of school. He didn’t laugh, shake his head or judge Connor for having a meltdown right in front of their whole class.

Hero Kid

Moore didn’t know Crites has autism or that he finds it extremely difficult to fit in with other kids. All Christian saw was a friend in need. So he did what any good friend would do. He sat with Connor as he cried, and then he held his hand and walked with him into school. No shaming, no blaming. Just love, in a not so random act of kindness that made all the difference in the world to one little boy.

That’s the problem with us adults. We tend to forget the power of compassion, and that it is every bit as much of a currency as all that dope we peddle to make us smarter and richer and stronger and younger. The difference with compassion is that the stuff has no expiration date. It will never leave us broke. Or empty. Or alone. And it is full of the kinds of nutrients that do a body and soul the most good. Lessons.

That picture is worth a thousand of ’em.

 

First Draft Horoscopes- Virgo!

 

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Your adventurous side might decide it wants to come out and play. So don’t make any appointments tomorrow, because your idea of adventure starts with gin and ends with bail. In fact, you should play it safe: Call in sick, order delivery for dinner and don’t answer your phone. Limit all human contact.

The stars insist you have a hidden talent for an activity other than sleeping with your secretary. Maybe you could try your hand at something extreme: White water rafting, mountain climbing, skydiving, bullfighting, alligator wrestling, rooting for the Orioles, trying convenience store sushi, or shoplifting at Cabela’s. Just be mindful that if you decide to skip with those waterproof thermals, you best have a getaway driver because Cabela’s team members shoot to kill. Those fuckers don’t play.

It’s also a good time to tackle new projects. Like maybe paying off one of your twenty eight credit cards. Maybe it’s time to return your next door neighbor’s prosthetic leg that you’ve been using as a doorstop. Learn how to open the hood of your car. Replace the artificial plants you placed around your house. Prune those middle fingers off the shrubs outside your front door. The sky’s the limit, homie.

Matters Of Little Consequence

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit in the wind, and you don’t rekindle a spark that led to a five alarm fire that burned down your whole fucking house. But hey, morbid curiosity happens to be my weakness, and I have a closet full of chips to prove it. It’s not like I can help it. Besides, I had to experience what a second act was going to feel like. I imagined Beethoven coming back to finish his unfinished business. With lots of acrimony, ill gotten meds, screaming passion and obscenely constructed adult beverages tossed into the mix. 

I missed her over those forty six days, yes. But I missed the craziness of it all just as much. When you suffer from depression and you ride up on something that makes you feel differently, you crave more of that drug, because you need to keep that high going.

It wasn’t about being happy inside our time together, because for me it never is. But with her, I was bending the edges of the milky way and cunning the logic out of madness in a plush Al Green spill of narratives and events and twists and turns that perplexed and sometimes even confounded me. When you ain’t gonna find happiness, you become expert at finding an even more potent secondary market fix. And she was it.

I had lied to her in the early going of our first go round. Silly little fabrications that were polymer laden cliches from dollar bin romance novels that would’ve made Hemingway shoot himself in the head all over again. And yet, it felt appropriate to do so for the purpose of our inevitable expedition.

I’d say stuff like how I wanted to sleep in the same bed with someone for more than a night or two. And how I liked Dave Matthews, and movies with sub titles. And gin. These were not awful lies. Let’s just say they were renderings of negligible parody; symmetrical flourishes that helped fortify our connection, and whose obsequious nature would make me seem less contented with bachelorhood than I really was.

Truth is, I loved sleeping alone and I hated Dave Matthews and movies with sub titles. And I wasn’t all that crazy about gin either. But if love teaches you anything, it is to lie with prudence. Never, ever lie about fidelity. But stupid shit? Have at it.

See, searching for the truth and telling the truth are mutually exclusive concepts. We tend to the former as if a prized topiary; we devour self help books and then crash diet on the tenets of stoicism whilst strengthening our unsteady legs with Zen exercises compiled by people with thousand dollar tan lines. It numbs us to any kind of honest perspective to such an extent that telling the truth is forced to take the bus.

I never lied to the Dame about another woman, because fidelity has always been my genuine kitsch. I have done some extraordinarily fucked up shit in my life, but I’ve also never cheated inside of a committed relationship. Even made up committed relationships with married women. Even those. I blame the fact that I was raised on sitcoms with thirty second lead in tunes. And Barbara Streisand.

Our breakup in November was opera, but it was her opera. She was stranded on an island of infidelities forged by her caveman of an ex husband. And so when I came along, of course she filled in those gaps as if she were the post mistress of Tombstone. After which came the accusations she threw at my head like an Aroldis Chapman fastball that was double dating with the grim reaper. She accused me of messing around and she had a laundry list of license plates. And I didn’t take too kindly to being accused of something I wasn’t enjoying, so we had our what’s what moment. And it ended rather abruptly.

So this second time around thing was, to put it mildly, dubious. But so everlastingly worth figuring out just the same. Just because it was so much more worth it than pulling some cheery high note from a website clearinghouse of feel good quotes in order to make Mondays go down a little smoother.

Never mind there was a good chance she was gonna kill me for real the second time around.

I wasn’t holding it against her.

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (Speaking Of Edition)

Spider Man

It was only a matter of time before one of my shticks ran into another one of my shticks, after which they grabbed a drink and then decided to get a room and make snarky. So this week, Speaking Of meets Heroes.

We’ll start with Presidente Trump, who’s back again. This time for reneging on his ‘promise’ to push all his chips for tighter background checks on gun purchases. For all his bluster, he’s looking mighty weak.

Speaking of . . . weak. Baker Mayfield threw shade at New York Giants rookie Daniel Jones in a GQ article. And then social media sushi rolled his critique into spicy bites, and then he walked it back and blamed the media for taking him out of context. That’s a punk move.

Speaking of . . . punk move. Ezekiel Elliot is holding out for a big payday two years short of free agency . . by vacationing in Mexico. Never mind he’s been a knucklehead off the field since getting to Dallas. Now little Zeke is upset because Jerry Jones made light of his holdout. Oh little Zeke, grow up.

Speaking of . . . little boys. I have no interest in watching the Little League World Series. Because I’m a grown man, and as such, I ain’t down with watching little boys play baseball. But ESPN never met an endeavor they couldn’t exploit.

Speaking of . . . exploitation. Union workers for Shell received overtime pay for attending a Trump rally at a Monaca, Pennsylvania plant recently. Those who didn’t attend received nada. Officials for Shell said it was a ‘bonus’ that didn’t affect the workers not in attendance. But when pay for yay! gets political, we’re going the way of Norman Jewison’s Rollerball.

Speaking of . . . derbies. The peeps in Chitown have this really cool tradition where they flood the Chicago River with rubber ducks. The event helps to raise money for the Illinois Special Olympics. Last year’s races raised $425,000 dollars for the cause.

Speaking of . . . raising money for a good cause. Diesel Pippert is a seventh grader from Ohio who has this philanthropy thing down cold. After earning $15,000 in livestock premiums at the county fair’s animal auction, he donated all of it to St. Jude Children’s Resarch Hospital. The kid is a businessman with a soulful bottom line.

Speaking of . . . bottom line businesses. The NFL actually put its money where its mouth was with next gen helmets that will keep players safe. The new helmets were good enough for every player but Antonio Brown, who makes our Heroes post for the third week in a row. First AB threatened to retire and then he threatened to sue the league, before finally giving in and showing up to camp. For now.

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Speaking of . . . happy campers. Ali and Linds B adopted a pit-bull this week. He’s a year and a half old and his name is Fig. He has an amazing smile, gives great kisses and he happens to be one hell of a sous chef. He hung out with me in the kitchen as I constructed my loaded nachos for their get together. What a mighty good boy.

Speaking of . . . good boys. Darby White is a 100 lb pit-bull pup who was chilling in the family Jeep when he saw his owner James being attacked by a shark he had caught while fishing in Sonoma County, California. Darby worked the car handle open and then loosed the shark from James’s leg. From now on, James should take up chess.

Speaking of . . . sharks. Jeffrey Epstein signed a will just two days before . . . umm . . killing himself. His estate was valued at more than half a billion dollars, but his playlist of scumbag friends won’t be nearly as available now that he’s gone.

Speaking of . . . spineless snots. Recently, a neighbor of Randa Ragland sent the struggling mom an anonymous note bitching about the condition of her property and how it was affecting the resale value of other homes in the neighborhood. Never mind that Ragland’s husband had lost his job, she was dealing with health issues and her three year old son was just diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. After Ragland posted the note on Facebook, her Pinson, Alabama neighbors sent her a different kind of message: A lawn service took care of her yard, while others tidied the house and bought the family some groceries. That’s how you dollar bill a nickel and dime fool.

Speaking of . . . bills. Wesley Ryan of San Antonio had plenty of them back in 2001 when his wife Laura was battling an aggressive form of ovarian cancer. So he made the decision to sell his beloved ’93 Mustang GT in order to cover the medical bills. Last September, his kids tracked down the car on Craigslist and bought it back for him. And that right there is a good story, but it gets better. Executive Chairman Bill Ford of Ford Motor Co. saw video of that reunion, after which he enlisted Hennessey Performance to give it a complete makeover and bring back its old school purr. Wesley took it for a spin earlier this month after a surprise unveiling at Ford World Headquarters, wife Laura at his side.

Speaking of . . . better days. Eleven year old Ruben Martinez of El Paso, Texas is challenging everyone in his hometown to do twenty two good deeds- one for each victim of the Walmart shooting earlier this month. The #ElPasoChallenge asks peeps in the 915 to do some good, any kind of good. It could be in the form of mowing a neighbor’s lawn, buying someone a cup of Joe, or checking in on an elderly neighbor. Basically, anything that’ll brighten up a person’s day. 

It wouldn’t be the worst idea if the folks in Washington played along. They could even take credit for it. As long as it got us somewhere better, I’m sure the kid wouldn’t mind one bit.

First Draft Horoscopes- Leo

A change that is muy importante is taking place as we speak, so pay attention. It seems that the moon in Aries (another fire sign) is throwing down with Pluto. These are the kinds of details you will overlook, since you happen to think that astrology is the study of the rectum. Thing is, this battle could very well leave you stranded if you choose to ignore the warring signs. Yes, that was an astrology pun . . and no, you probably didn’t get it because you’re more clueless than a Seventh Day Adventist at Christmas mass.

The punchline to this internecine battle between Aries and Pluto is that you are supposed to watch out for control freaks. I’m figuring that maybe those signs didn’t get the memo about Leo, because if they had, they’d know that you come face to face with a control freak every time you look in the mirror. So maybe don’t look in the mirror today. Just kidding . . you can’t help yourself.

Alas, the forecast is not entirely gloom and doom. Mostly yeah, but not entirely. The moon does make a harmonious connection with your ruling planet, the Sun. It’s the astrological version of shagging, without the bottle of bub or the R&B cranked up for good measure. This connubial convergence of the cosmos should inspire you to be brave and to do something completely different along your path. And by different, we mean to say that maybe you can stop being so self involved. Try it on for size a couple minutes at a time and see how it feels. If it’s too painful, just go back to your regularly scheduled programming of being a selfish twit.