Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another Turnover for J-Kidd

From the last post you'll see that I was clearly unenthused by the Beijing Olympics. To me, the feel-good stories were few and far between while the discomforting stories were much too prevalent. I am talking mostly of the discomfort of getting kicked in the face by a Cuban Taekwondo-er (Taewond-ist?). This morning, however, I saw a story that by its opening would indicate some potential for salvation, a glimmering light that the spirit of the games could shine through. The story starts with "Jason Kidd gives his gold medal to...". Immediately you would surmise that the sentence would end with "earthquake victims", "destitude orphan" or even "the guys who carried his son's hats from the cab to the hotel room". You would be wrong on all accounts. In fact, Jason Kidd gave his gold medal to Elaine Wynn. Who's that you ask? Here's a picture of the deserving recipient:


That's her in the middle standing beside the world's 277th richest man in the sunglasses, her husband multi-billionaire Steve Wynn. Well done J-Kidd. I'm sure that your unwanted Gold Medal could have fetched a good five or six figures at auction for some charity. Hell Knicks owner, Charles Dolan, would have probably paid a couple million for it given that he's spent substantially more than that unsuccessfully trying to buy a championship in the past. But who cares? Clearly Mrs. Wynn needs another coaster. Wait a minute....Elaine's husband runs a casino. People gamble at casinos. Sometimes people lose money by gambling and are required to make restitution for those losses. Other tawdry activities happen in casinos. Sometimes that tawdriness is arranged and requires payment. An Olympic gold medal is made of gold. For centuries gold was used as currency in addition and still today acts as a store of value particularly as a hedge against inflation, making it an ideal form of payment. Am I going somewhere with this? Absolutely not. That would besmirch this man's good name.

For some reason Jason Kidd has always been given an abolsute free ride by the sports press. You would think a guy who has worn out his welcome on three different teams and slapped his wife around wouldn't be lionized the way he is, yet that's exactly what has happened and I, for one, don't understand it. Whether he was just flippantly disregarding the symbolic (not to mention, financial) value of the medal or setting things straight with the house this move is pure J-Kidd. Then again, maybe I'm being too harsh. There is the possibility that he offered it to his son but had to take it back after he was unable to get it over his giant head. Now I'm definitely being too harsh.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2008: The Summer of Cockburn

By 8:00 o'clock the sun has all but set, TV commericals feature backpacks and pencil cases, and the Jays are, for all intents and purposes, eliminated from playoff contention. Yes, once again summer has begun its exit. It seems like this is becoming an annual event. You could almost set your calendar by it.

I, for one, am relieved to say goodbye to the summer of 2008. Here are the highlights so far, in no particular order. Tim Russert, Bernie Mac and Estelle Getty all die suddenly. Part of the city explodes due to a misplaced and poorly maintained propane facility. Ironically this happens on the only night all summer that it isn't pouring rain. Some poor Carny gets his head cut off on a bus ride. The price of gas goes through the roof. Manufacturing jobs are lost en masse. People start to drop dead because of tainted lunch meat. Russia goes retro and starts invading countries again. Sweet, how about another Cold War? Just in time for the Red Dawn remake.

Then we have the Olympics which were supposed to lift our spirits as we witnessed the world celebrating how wonderful everyone is. It was China's turn to host the spectacle and show the globe how far their nation has come. In many ways they've not only caught up to the world, but they've surpassed them. Well done China. Not even the Americans would ask a 7-year old girl to lip sync a song because the actual singer wasn't "cute" enough. Welcome to the developed world, jerks. You'd think they would be a bit more senstive to the little girl's feelings after having already cut her from the gymnastics team for being too old.

Canada's efforts at the Olympics were fairly mediocre. Sure we ended up with a decent medal haul but that was padded by our top-3 finishes in a bunch of contrived sports. Starting about 3 or 4 Olympics ago events started showing up that seemed like nothing more than watered-down derivatives of existing sports. Since when did the Olympics become about mass inclusion? Now there seems to be a sport for everyone even if you weren't good enough to make it in a traditional event. Suck at diving? Try sychronized diving. All you have to do is find someone who can suck exactly as much as you do, at the exact same time. Our flagbearer, one Karen Cockburn, distinguished herself on the trampoline. You know who else did that? A bunch of drunk high-school kids who snuck into their neighbors' backyard. By 2016 the Olympics will look a bit like a company picnic. I'm sure we'll put up a few personal bests with the potato sac and could medal in the three-legged race.

No offense to Ms. Cockburn but she didn't even win a gold medal. While her second-place finish may have been a big deal to the 25-30 people that make up the Canadian Trampolining community it's quite sad that we awarded her the honour of carrying the flag, essentially acknowledging her bouncing around as the most remarkable feat by a Canadian at the games. While equestrian doesn't look like a sport in the traditional sense at least there's some history there. Why not give it to fellow silver medallist Ian Miller, who's shared the Olympic stage with both Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps, or the druggy who won the two horsey medals? At least those two are better stories. Hell, give it to the woman who finished third in hurdles. Now that's a legitimate sport. There should be a threshold of achievement that must be met in order to carry the flag. If no one meets that benchmark then the honour should be given to either Wayne Gretzky, Jack Bauer or whomever is the best looking amongst the contingent. At least that way we're truly putting forth the best our country has to offer.

So that was the summer. Goodbye and good riddance. Let's get things turned around in a hurry, 2008. So far this has been a bit of a shitshow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

We beat the Colts! We beat the Colts!

What? That was just a pre-season game? Well, that's a buzz kill. You'll forgive the confusion as I had to turn off the sound. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put three ex-players in the booth together (without anyone who went to broadcasting school) needs to be permanently banned from working in television. Sterling Sharpe, Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk combined for what was likely the worst broadcast team ever and I'm including those public access midget hockey tournaments along with the Joe Carter experiment by the Jays a few years back. They were the Dream Team of mispronounced names and avoiding insightful comments. You would likely find more hard-hitting analysis during the broadcast of the Santa Claus Parade than you received last night from these three. At least they seemed to be enjoying themselves as we, the viewers, certainly were not.


As per most national broadcasts of Buffalo games, the Bills players were relegated to the background as to focus on whoever it is they're playing against. Significantly more attention was given to the status of the Colts' backup Jim Sorgi than any of the players on the other team who, unlike Sorgi, actually appear in regular season games before Indianapolis has homefield advantage in the playoffs sewn up. It's grown rather tiresome but probably won't change until we start winning playoff games. The other option is to pique the network execs interest by signing a couple of yesterday's stories like Brett Favre or Jason Taylor. Hopefully people start to care about the Bills because of the former not the latter which would be nothing short of a desperation act.

Bills backup QB JP Losman appears to be especially upset by how the Bills are constantly ignored outside of Western New York so much so that he has made a spectacle of his face to call attention to this injustice. That's the only possible explanation for Losman's messed-up facial hair. Check it out for yourself:


Sorry that's a terrible picture but I don't have the time to find a better one. It's clear enough, however, to make my point. He's got a bit of a pornstar 'stache with wolverine-ish chops, which inexplicably flair out at the cheeks. The lower beard is trimmed in a rather standard fashion although there's no connection between it and the 'stache or the ridiculous soulpatch. To top it all off he's forgone his moppish haircut for a straightlaced side-part providing even more confusion. None of it makes any sense together. There's absolutely no cohesion. I've heard that Joe Biden is arguing for his face to be broken up into three separate, autonomous regions. He's got equal parts Sunni, Shiite and Kurd going on there. Perhaps a breakup may be the only answer to deal with this mess.

Besides the announcing and Losman's sideshow of a face, Bills fans have to be quite content with how things looked in week 3, which is traditionally the closest teams get to a regular season game during the pre-season. Let's hope the news on the injury/holdout front doesn't worsen between now and the September 7th opener against the Seahawks. In the absence of that it's hard to not get excited about the team's prospects.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bills in Toronto: Well, that certainly sucked...

...so what you're saying is that in order to be stigmata it needs to be from your hands and/or ankles...and it has to be blood? Never mind, then.

***
I remember the advice my father-in-law gave to my wife-to-be just before we were engaged: "have low expectations and you can only be disappointed so much". Thankfully she listened and we're well into our fifth year of marital bliss. With this sage advice in mind, I strolled into the Rogers Centre for Thursday's Bills game expecting something awful. I imagined one endzone bigger than the other, scads of tickets handed to Christian school groups, breakdancers on the field at every break in play (a constant at Rogers Centre for some inexplicable reason), Katherine Humphreys doing the in-game announcing and the concessions exclusively selling vegan fare. Presumably they would have also invited the Steelers mascot and had him walk out with Billy Buffalo hand-in-hand. That level of crappiness was about where I set my over/under.


Steely McBeam made his first solo Toronto appearance since leaving the Village People

Having had a couple days to evaluate the event I'd say it was a push. I pretty much got what I expected. Most importantly the first team offence looked unstoppable against a real defence. This outweighs anything the Rogers Centre and the crowd could do to annoy me. Trent looked comfortable, the line held in reasonably well in the absence of Jason Peters (stop f-ing around. this isn't funny anymore, Peters) and no one made any drive-killing mistakes. There was very little else Bills fans could ask for from the starters on offense or, the slightly less-impressive, defense. Throw in an ankle-breaking return by Leodis (who should clearly just switch to one name like a Brazilian soccer player) and all's looking good at this stage of training camp.

That being said, there are plenty of Bills fans but only one Bills in Toronto Ombudsman so I should focus on that role in this context and leave the team analysis for those more qualified. Here's what needs to be addressed if we're to make the regular season game against the Dolphins look and feel like an NFL football game. To be fair I have also interspersed a few thumbs up. Luckily, its not all bad:

Use of the word "Historic": I'm all for hyperbole but the constant reference to the game as the first in the "Historic" series was a bit of a stretch. The surrender of the Japanese aboard the USS Missouri was historic. Jackie Robinson breaking the colour barrier could be referred to as such. Anything that involves a second-string punter cannot legitimately be called historic, regardless of how many touchdown passes Robert Royal catches. Let's tone it down a bit for the December game.

Beer prices and policies: While exorbitant by all logical precedents at least they didn't goose the prices to Leafs levels. It's amazing what living in this city can do to your standards for what is an acceptable price for beer. Shockingly I'm commending the Rogers Centre for selling me a bottle of Blue for what I paid for a pitcher back in University. At 10 PM it was kudos to the fact that beer was being served until the beginning of the fourth quarter. By 10 AM Friday I was changing my tune. In terms of tailgating, there's nothing that can be done. Blame the politicians. I doubt local bars will be much help pre-game in December either as they'll be only a brief window between wen they start serving and kickoff. Do like we did and put something together in your backyard.

Paint the endzones: Marshawn didn't score a touchdown, albeit in limited action. You want to know why? The endzones weren't painted. He had no idea where to run to. Give the man a big red target, people. At least they wrote Bills in the endzones but for Beast Mode to happen we need a big splash of red. Let me know if you need me to run by Home Depot and grab some paint.

Where's Gurtler?: John Gurtler, the regular Bills in-game announcer was nowhere to be seen or, more importantly, heard. There was nothing the replacement guy said that produced the warm, familiar feeling that the dulcet tones of Gurtler's voice would have. Plus, whoever it was told 48,000 people that Lee Evans went to LSU. Americans are quite attached to their Alma Maters. I imagine this would be akin to introducing Martin Brodeur as a former member of the Barrie Colts. Presumably Gurtler's legal issues prevented him from coming north. Hey, New York State Legal System! Let's get this cleared up in time for "Squish the Fish".

Why close the roof?: This one's all on Coach Jauron. I'll assume that Rogers has no role in this. He wanted the roof closed to simulate the exact experience of what the team will face in December. Fair enough, although an easier way to simulate the experience of playing in front of the Toronto crowd is to tell your real fans to show up in business casual, hand out blackberries and then pump a powerful sedative through the ventilation system. The more important question is, why will the December game be played with the roof closed? You are the Buffalo Bills. They are the Miami Dolphins. It'll be mid-December. The Bills are 6-2 all-time when hosting Miami in December including shellackings the last two seasons. Why make them comfortable? They'll already feel too much at home given the prominence of our transgendered community and the abundance of pilates studios situated around Toronto. Why not whip up a fresh batch of mojitos for their arrival and pump salsa music through the city?!

The least we can do is let the elements in and give ourselves some advantage. Sure players come from all over the country but where you play most seems to be where you play best. Brett Favre, better in the cold than warm, is from Mississippi. Dolphin "legend" Dan Marino is from Pittsburgh, but became quite mediocre outside of Miami's tropical climate. How many of Hall of Famer Dan's last five games in Buffalo did he win? (Hint: it rhymes with sweet buck all). Late season games in Buffalo come with two decided advantages for the home team. The first is the 12th man (wake up people, that's you) with the second being the inclement weather. Both are being significantly neutralized by having the game in the indifferent confines of the ex-Skydome with the lid on.

Regardless of the sport, the Rogers Centre is much more palatable with the roof open. A football game, specifically, will take on more of an authentic feel if played outdoors. If people complain about the cold or wet then send them home. They're not the sorts you want anyways if you're trying to create an event that feels even remotely like an actual football game. Thursday's game was about as authentic as Suri Cruise (it's an animatronic puppet, so I've heard). Opening the roof would be a step in the right direction for both the team and the experience.

Tickets handed out to Servicemen:
This is a big thumbs up. Our men and women don't get near the credit they deserve particularly given the danger of their current mission in Afghanistan. A couple free tickets to a pre-season game is a nice start. It's also something that would happen at a real NFL game. Seeing people in uniform says four-down football much more than VPs from the mobile phone division with their ties slightly loosened.

People wearing random jerseys: The Bills were playing the Steelers, so why would I see a handful of Tomlinson, Brady and Owens jerseys? Because people are idiots, that's why. This is not "wear your jersey" to the office day. It's an actual game. Pick a team or face the catcalls of the actual fans. In a related matter its time to upgrade those Bledsoe, Flutie and McGahee jerseys people. I'm looking at you, Mom and Dad. I'll refrain from beating a dead horse by critiquing the wardrobe choices made by the vast swaths of douchery that filled much of the stadium. I just hope that the December weather will keep the sleeveless shirts and giant sunglasses at home. You douchebags are embarrassing your city, not to mention your country.

Be a fan, not a spectator: For Trent's sake people, loosen up a bit. When the home team does something good stand up and make a bit of noise. A sporting event is meant to be a release from your mundane workaday world. Most of the attendees probably display more passion discussing cottage traffic than they did during the game. Trying losing yourself in the game. When Poz starts gesturing with his arms trick yourself into thinking he absolutely needs your help on third down. When he breaks free on a blitz and breaks the QBs ribs give yourself a big pat on the back. Sure its ridiculous but where else do you get the chance to be a part of something that is this big, even if it isn't that big and you may not actually be a part of it. It doesn't matter either way. I know that Torontonians have been taught from the time they were young that its not cool to act like you care about something but I'm here to tell you it is. Project if you need to. Tell yourself that the Bills are Radiohead, the Jonas Brothers, the cast of Design Inc. or whatever the hell you're into. Pretend its the fuckin' Antique Roadshow. I really couldn't care less what your motivations are just get up and sing along with "The Bills Make me Want to Shout" after they score and give some random guy a high five. Your douchebag buddies may turn their noses up at you but forget them. They'll leave you and the game in a heartbeat once something cooler comes along anyways. The Bills, for all their faults, with always be there for you.


Those that showed any sort of passion were the sprinkling of actual fans (there were as many players' parents as there were unrelated fans, much like a little league game) or those that used their free tickets as an excuse to get stupid drunk. Here's another piece of advice from a seasoned football fan, getting loud and drunk does not immediately make you "a fan". This is a common misconception held by many who don't actually attend NFL games. If you're a sloppy drunk you're still acting like an asshole, regardless of whether the field is 100 or 110 yards long. Enjoy a few, but try to keep some control. There's a game being played and you're team needs you to at least be in some condition to follow along.

Well that's about it for now. It was a pre-season game which may justify some, but not all, of the apathy. Calling it a complete disaster would be a bit harsh but we've certainly got a long way to go if we're to do our job and create a proper home field advantage. Luckily there's almost four months to get our act together for when it really counts. Rogers, you should pay attention too. While you'll be getting our Bills over my, Luke Russert's, Jim Kelly's, The Goo Goo Dolls' and Chuck Shumer's dead bodies you may still have a chance to convince the NFL to steal another team or hand you an expansion franchise. If you're to maintain any hope of this happening you'll need to put on a much better show than you did on Thursday so listen to what I've told you. We can work together here to both our advantage. (Pssst, don't worry NFL fans I highly doubt any of this happens but Rogers people can be easily tricked, just ask Ralph).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Don't worry B-Lo. We'll have them back by 10.

Well, tomorrow is the big day. The team is in town, the alumni have gathered and the tickets have been sold or handed out to members of the Rogers politburo. All we need is a cute little Chinese girl to lipsync while Bryan Adams sings the anthem. People are giving the Chinese crap for their Vanilli-esque sleight of hand but maybe they're on to something. We Canadians have had to look at the likes of the aforementioned Adams, Luba, The Arcade Fire, The Barenaked Ladies, Rita McNeil, Randy Bachman and Geddy Lee over the years. While all fine singers they're a little hard on the eyes. To be honest I'm not sure why this hasn't become more widespread, unless it has and the guy signing "Tom Sawyer" all these years actually looks like this:


While I am undoubtedly excited about tomorrow's events there is a lingering bittersweet element to my preparations. The core of this is the empathy I'm feeling for the good people of Buffalo. There seems to be a growing sense of inevitability that tomorrow's game is the beginning of the end for the franchise in Western New York. Even with assurances from the commissioner, local politicians and Bills brass that the Toronto games are an effort to regionalize the fan base and that the team's future is secure, fans are worried. In all honesty, I don't blame them. I was a bit worried myself. As I've said countless times before, I (along with my friends and family) are Buffalo Bills fans. Sure we're thrilled for the chance to see them once or twice a year without fighting through customs but we don't want the team's identity to change. Starting with the maniacal look on Uncle Ted's face at the first press conference and continuing with the unrestrained desire to land an NFL team expressed by Godfrey, Lind and the rest of the Rogers cronies, there is clearly an image being painted that Toronto is ready to pounce once Ralph Wilson dies. I'm sure the people of Buffalo are feeling a bit like Woody Harrelson in Indecent Proposal. Sure, they need the money but are they ever going to get their true love back once they've handed it over to the dapper rich guy? Even after they physically return there will always be the worry that their heart is elsewhere. Will Marshawn be happy with a night out at Applebee's after he's been wined and dined at Susur? Sure he'll say he had a nice time and enjoyed his mini chicken ranchers but will he really mean it?

In reality, the end may not be nigh, in fact it may be very un-nigh. As a recent Toronto Life article aptly pointed out, Ralph Wilson appears to be the big winner in the deal here. Think of the Bills current situation versus just a year ago. They raised ticket prices and have set a record for season ticket sales. On top of that they got a nice fat cheque from Uncle Ted for $78 million for 5 regular season games and three pre-season games. The Bills get the windfall from this while at the same time they have a much easier time selling out the games at the Ralph. Fans only have to pay up for 7 regular season games and one pre-season game. Plus, seeing your team playing elsewhere is a bit of a wake-up call for Bills fans. To go back to my movie metaphor, seeing Demi Moore with Robert Redford is what finally gave Woody Harrelson the motivation to dunk the basketball and win his girl back. The impressive sales numbers coming out of One Bills Drive is a sign that Bills fans are taking the threat seriously. Given this new reality, the Bills are in the best position financially they've been in for some time, if not ever. Would they be better off with 8 home games a year in Toronto at an average ticket price of $300? Sure, but so far the indication is that this isn't going to happen. They're having enough troubling selling tickets for two games nonetheless a whole season.

What I see happening is this, Rogers struggles just to breakeven on their big five-year bet. Bills ticket prices in Buffalo will creep up each year but stay under the league average as the looming move and, hopefully, a steadying economy push demand higher. Obviously Rogers (not Ted necessarily, but those around him) would want to buy the team today but may be less enthusiastic in a couple years. Regardless of whether or not Rogers stays on, the next five years will hopefully have proven how viable the franchise can be in its current location. Even if a case can be made that the team would be worth slightly more in Toronto the league and Buffalo-era politicians will do what it takes to bridge that gap ensuring the team stays where it is. This is by no means a certainty as there is clearly an element amongst the Toronto backers that wants a team here regardless of how little sense it may make financially. Luckily, the guy actually signing the cheques is driven purely by dollars and cents not by any desire to become the next Bob Kraft or Jerry Jones. All indications are that Uncle Ted doesn't even like sports. Five years of making little return, if any, on $78 million may be enough to convince him (and Ted Jr.) to stick with the cable and cell phone bundling.

Now I feel better. With everybody's fears put to rest I can go about my gameday activities unburdened by the guilt that I'm part of some larcenous conspiracy to steal the Bills. The ribs are being rubbed, the beer is being chilled and the jersey has been laid out on the bed. Enjoy the game everyone and don't worry Buffalo. I'll be a gentleman.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Food Chain: Us...then Everything Else

Let me start out by saying, I am not an animal person. I didn't really grow up with pets or have any affinity for wildlife/farmlife. We had a cat for a couple years. He ran away one day in a decision that was clearly mutual. In general, I just never really saw what the big deal was. While occasionally likable, most animals came with far more responsibilities than were justified by the odd game of fetch. At times they seem more a smelly nuisance than something worth tending to. That being said, I had recently softened my indifferent stance towards animals. This was mostly a result of seeing how much little Charlie's eyes lit up whenever a dog came near. She was quite taken by her furry, four-legged friends. Even I couldn't help but share in her excitement. The thought even crossed by mind, albeit for just a millisecond, that one day we may get her a dog of her own.

That was then, this is now. The last few days have put me firmly back into the anti-animal camp. Sorry Charlie, but don't blame me. Blame the dog people of Withrow park and the asshats at PETA.

Earlier this week I decided to take her for a quick walk after work. Everything was going swimmingly until a couple of dogs approached us. This was mildly irritating at first as the dogs were off leash in an area clearly marked as an "on leash" area. These signs are uniformly ignored with the offenders never punished. City Hall seems to view the dog lobby as the one constituency you don't want to mess with. They are to Toronto what the religious right is to the States. As I was saying, this started as just another typical act by someone in the city ignoring those around them, much like the subway rider with the iPod playing so everyone is forced to listen to their crap or the douchebag who needs everyone on the patio to hear his conversation. These are the everyday annoyances that one who lives here either learns to deal with or spends their days punching people. The two owners leisurely strolled up to collect their mutts. One of the dogs, some sort of reasonably harmless-looking poodle/terrier thing, suddenly came right up to Charlie's stroller. Before I could react it was poking her with its paws and nose. The poor little thing was petrified. There was the heartwrenching pause at the beginning of her cry where she goes beat red, open hers mouth and is completely silent. All I can hear is the bitch's owner playfully saying something like "Molly, what are you doing?" as he saunters over to collect his dog. Charlie is so distraught it seems almost like she forgets how to breathe. It took so long for her to make a noise that I was almost happy when the screaming commenced. I'm not exactly sure what happened next. Caught up in a dizzying mix of emotions, extreme sadness for my terrified little girl and burning rage at the two dickheads who couldn't control their mutts, I yelled a few choice words while moving around in what would have appeared to be a very erratic fashion. I had conflicting impulses to console her (it had started to pour rain adding another element to the mix) and let the guys and their dogs have it. Presumably my actions prevented the guy from the standard "oh, I think she likes her". You know what I don't like? You and your fucknut dog.

As much as I can recall I didn't say or do anything that was offside. I'm pretty sure I didn't utter any threats of physical harm or make any reference to sexual orientation, race or religion (these guys were clearly Episcopalian). As long as I stayed away from any of that anything else was fully justified. I'm sure my somewhat menacing behaviour may have caused some consternation on behalf of the two owners, which I'm more than fine with. You two jackasses made a one-year old girl cry! The fleeting fear of a deranged 31-year old Dad coming to beat the snot out of you hardly constitutes an eye for an eye.

This left me quite shaken. Screaming at a couple random dudes is not something you expect to be doing on a weekday, nonetheless while sober. By the same token I wasn't expecting to have to console little Charlie who rarely gets that upset. Both were a bit of a shock to my system. It took me longer to calm down than it did Charlie. She's clearly the more resilient of the two of us. Before any of you mention it, I have no connection to the dog poisonings of a few years back. Now if you hear a story about "local dog owners threatened by 5-iron wielding baby girl" then I'll take the fall for that one. Charlie has an alibi.

Now on to PETA, which stands for People who can't think straight bEcause They don't hAve enough protein in their diets. Many of you have by now seen their latest ad that ludicrously attempts to equate the gruesome murder of Tim McLean with the slaughter of animals for human consumption. The offensiveness of this is obvious and intentional. PETA knows that such an opportunistic act of inappropriateness will bring them more press and attention than any number of C-list celebrities picketing a KFC ever could. I will not dignify their cowardly move by arguing against it, which is exactly what they want. Instead I will attack them at their very core as I believe we all should. If you don't like their ad, go buy yourself a hamburger or, better yet, une Foie Gras entier to nibble on at your desk. Protest their idiocy by hitting them wear it hurts. If they want to go offensive, I can do offensive. Maybe there's a way to force feed baby seals with a funnel that will make their livers plump and delicious. Hell, it can't hurt to try. If PETA can be "provocative" so can I. Time to go coat shopping!

"Finally, something for all those Smart Casual parties"


PETA's agenda is an absurd one, particularly as it relates to their desired prohibition of meat. If God hadn't wanted us to eat steak he wouldn't have invented blue cheese or rosemary-sage lemon compound butter. Actually I invented the latter. Lathering it on a steak is a buttery homage to the great Bistecca Fiorentina. You're welcome. He, being God not me, also wouldn't have made meat look, smell and taste like this (you can almost hear Marvin Gaye's "Lets get it on" playing softly as these images scroll by):







It's simply unimaginable that the vision of such delectable treats could be outweighed by some polluted ideology. Just sit back and think of a beautifully medium-rare duck breast with the crispy layer of fat glistening. Or a perfectly braised rack of shortribs falling off the bone. How could that not be appetizing. Or that same duck breast in the shower beside the shortribs after a long day at the sorority charity car wash. A knowing glance, a toss of the hair and then the headmistress pulled pork walks in....

OK, that got a little weird. Anyways, people of PETA you have lost any remnant shred of respectability with this last stunt. They've truly gone too far and, to utilize a horribly overused phrase, have "jumped the vegan fish sticks" here. Thanks to you, my answer to the question "would you like bacon with that" will always be an unqualified "yes!"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Favre and Away the League's Biggest Jackass

...so, as it turns out my uncle was right. The correct sayings are "Does a Bear shit in the woods?" and "Is the Pope Catholic?". It took the whole weekend to prove him right. In the end, we dropped Benedict off with a bus ticket home and our sincere apologies before heading off to pick the bear up at St. Mary's. What a crazy weekend that was!

***

Is there anything more tiresome than the Brett Favre saga? Do people really care that much about will or he won't he play (and where) or are we simply in the worst lull in sports history? For the two of you who aren't familiar with the story let me fill you in. Here you'll get one of the few honest accounts of what has actually transpired. The traditional sports media covers Brett Favre with the objectivity of a Pageant Mom telling you about her daughter. I've been told that Peter King takes twice as long to write a column about Favre versus any other subject as he only has one free hand. I actually doubt that's true as, to my knowledge, King has never written a column that doesn't center around Favre.

So, here goes. Favre is a horribly over-rated quarterback who's ego has surpassed his accuracy for at least five years. After ending last season with a championship game-losing pass that even Rob Johnson would have had second thoughts about throwing, some sliver of humility crept into Brett's head convincing him that his gunslinging days were over. With that he announced that he would retire at the ripe old age of 38. A few months later he discovered an "itch" to play again. Instead of doing the respectable thing and scratching that itch with a round of golf and a six pack of High Life, Favre decided to force his way back into the picture. This put the Green Bay Packers, who had understandably decided to move forward with Favre's understudy Aaron Rodgers, in a very awkward position. Favre, who is still under contract, made it clear that he didn't want to share the spotlight with anyone and would rather be traded than have to go to camp as a back-up. Favre refused to consider a trade to out of division teams (the Jets and Bucs being two teams with apparent interest) forcing the Packers to keep him or trade him to a division rival (believed to be Minnesota or Chicago). Basically he is saying either I'm your starting quarterback or I will attempt to destroy you with every ounce of my being. What a competitor! For those of you who don't watch a lot of sports, "competitor" can be loosely translated to "white guy who's an asshole". The term "gamer" can also have the same connotation. Think of what would have happened had Manny Ramirez demanded a trade to the Yankees. Would his efforts be respected, nonetheless commended, by the national media? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Favre has taken "me first" to a level that Rogers Clemens, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss have been unable to. For that he deserves far more scorn than he is currently receiving. I wouldn't expect that to change anytime soon, however, as the sports journalism fraternity's love for him is truly blind.

One point of interest from this story, Favre's preferred method of communication is text messaging. Apparently, besides being an over-the-hill egomaniac he's also a 14 year-old girl. Who knew?