Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Super Controversy

This blog has always tried to tackle the controversial topics of the day. Today is no exception, despite how much I wanted to pass on the "Deflategate" saga of New England Patriots. I even considered punting and running a "Best of " Humor Me or even handing off and allow my trusted assistant and Vice President of Humor Me Inc, Gracie Manis to write this week's blog. However since Gracie is a cat and technically does not know how to read, write, or type, I called an audible.

It is imperative for this blog to comment on "Deflategate" because it involves the most important subject in the history of mankind: The Big Game. (This blog is not a sponsor of The Super Bowl and therefore cannot use the words "The Super Bowl" unless I want to have the blog shut down by "The Super Bowl". Please do not tell "The Super Bowl" that I used the words "The Super Bowl" in a post about "The Super Bowl". Thank you.)

This is the story. In a pro football game, there are twenty four (24) different footballs used. The home team provides twelve (12) and the visiting team provides twelve (12). The footballs must all weigh 12.5 pounds per square inch (psi).  Eleven (11) of the footballs provided by the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis-But-Still-Baltimore-Colts-To-Me were under the league requirement of 12.5 psi. A ball that weighs under 12.5 psi is supposedly easier to grip by the quarterback and easier to catch by a receiver.

This is what we are interested about in America today. Air pressure.

I've wondered what has been "driving this story" as we people in the media (even those that wear sweatpants while they write with their cat, er, Vice President, in their laps) say.  I've come up with a few reasons for the constant attention.

One and to deal with the biggest elephant in the room, we are a country of twelve year olds.  The word "balls" is a slang term for testicles/gonads and we laugh at anyone who says it.  I have a friend that was on an intramural football team in college called "The Nads". Their cheer: Gooooooooo Nads! The story always cracks me up.

It is the same with this story. Everybody on television is talking about "balls" and soon you see everyone beginning to get a little smirk on their faces. Even the Vice President of The United States:

I don't know whether to be happy that we're not all so uptight or worried that we have to ask the Vice President of The United States about under inflated footballs.

I think the biggest driver of this story is that everyone hates The New England Patriots and especially Coach Bill Belichick and Quarterback Tom Brady.

There are basically two opinions about Bill Belichick. One: he is an amoral pirate who is only interested in winning football games and would run over his own grandmother if it meant he would win the game. Two: he is a total jerk in a hoodie sweatshirt. He is one of those humorless adults that only thinks about one topic and unfortunately for the rest of us, he is a genius about that topic.

The thought that Belichick would try to bend the rules is not something that is out of the question. He videotaped the Jets in 2007 trying to figure out their defensive signals in something called "Spygate". He was caught and it cost The Patriots some draft picks and a fine.

You know what happens when you get caught: no matter how many times you apologize, people are not going to believe anything you say. That's were Belichick is now.  Since it doesn't involve wins and losses, I'm not sure he cares.

Tom Brady is another issue. I'm secure enough in my masculinity to say he is a good looking young man. I wished I looked like Tom Brady when I was a young man. I wished I looked like Tom Brady now. My wife says so too. (Wait a second...)

Besides having three Big Game rings and playing in two others, Brady was a player, if you know what I mean. While he was "dating" one Super Model (and making her pregnant) he began dating another Super Model, which puts him in The Horn Dog Hall of Fame. A man that cheats on a Super Model with another Super Model is a man who apparently thinks these quaint little things called "morals" are actually malleable and you could see him bending the rules to make it to The Big Game because he's not getting any younger.

Belichick and Brady held a joint new conference. Belichick, of course, threw Brady under the bus, because maybe he was jealous that he didn't think of deflating the balls first. Brady, for the first time in his life, just seemed like another dumb jock.

However, just because you are an amoral pirate and/or a guy that was a cheater on a Super Model with another Super Model doesn't mean you actually did anything wrong. This time.

Robert B.Charles, a former assistant Secretary of State has published an article showing that the deflated balls were an act of physics and not an act of malice aforethought.  You can read it here.

Okay Bill and Tom, if you say you didn't do anything wrong, I believe you. But, I've got my eye on you.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

So Much For Satire

Like most hard hitting socially relevant satirists, I have refrained from commenting about Islamic extremism because I am very attached to my head and would like to ensure that it stays on my neck.

Therefore, I choose to mock, make fun, sneer, taunt, jab, put down and generally deride any group whose response would be a sharply written letter rather than a bomb. The fact that these groups tend to be middle class, Protestant and white just happens to be a coincidence.

However, the attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was a game changer. Even us in the humor world have to acknowledge that the people killing other people due to cartoons are not Methodists or even Southern Baptists, but rather, radical Islamic extremists. 

First, a little English lesson. When someone says "radical Islamic extremists" that are not saying "all follwers of Islam". In other words, it is really cheesing me off when someone says the Charlie Hebdo attack was the work of radical Islamic extremists but not all followers of Islam are radical. Um, duh, that's why we add "radical" and "extremists" to the word "Islamic".

No wonder they are not scared of us. We don't even understand the language we speak.

Last Sunday, The New York Times reported "More than a million people joined over 40 presidents and prime ministers on the streets of Paris on Sunday in the most striking show of solidarity in the West against the threat of Islamic extremism since the Sept. 11 attacks". You might have seen it on television.

The report lists "world leaders — including President Fran├žois Hollande of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain — joined the march in a solemn line."

It is funny. One country's leader is not listed because he was not there.

Okay, you can make an argument that there are security concerns wherever the President of the United States goes and he just can't flit off to Paris like he can Five Guys Burgers. But he has other people he can send like, oh, say, a Vice President who would have loved the attention. Or a Secretary of State who fancies himself as French so much you almost are surprised that he's not wearing a black turtle neck sweater and a beret.

He could have sent Attorney General Holder who was already in Paris. I don't know, maybe Attorney General Holder was waiting to see what Al Sharpton had to say about the attacks.

This is how big of mistake not sending the President or a major senior official in the administration to the Paris March was:  The White House admitted they were wrong.

I was trying to think of another time when a major world leader seemed so feckless on the world stage. For some reason, Neville Chamberlain comes to mind.  It was just surreal to see the United States so disengaged from such a major event.

You Might Need To Google This, Kids

The President seemed more passionate about one of his faculty lounge buddies getting hassled by THE MAN than he did about the attack of Charlie Hebdo. He is supposed be an expert on The Constitution and should feel strongly about freedom of speech and the press. But, he just seemed sort of miffed that it took attention away from his latest and greatest BIG IDEA: Free Community College.

Then we were treated to the spectacle of people saying Charlie Hebdo had it coming because they offended people.

As a matter of politeness and courtesy, of course people should refrain from making fun of people's deeply held religious beliefs. But, if they do, and this is important. you do not have the right to shoot them. I thought everybody knew this.

Over the past five years of Humor Me, occasionally I've heard negative comments. My favorite: "It was a very biased article". (It is a blog, skippy, not a term paper. It is supposed to be biased.) I've had a couple of people imply that I was a racist because I didn't support President Obama. And don't make a joke about anybody's favorite college football team. Trust me on this one.

Yet, I've never worried about the reaction to my blog. Maybe I should start.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Best

The Marietta Daily Journal (Motto: It Comes Out Daily. In Marietta) recently in a supplement did a "Best of Cobb County". You know: "Best Pork Chop", "Best Place to Get A Slushie", etc, that type of article.

I would like to add a category: "Best Human Beings Ever To Step Foot In Cobb County". The winners would be my graduating class of 1977 at Wheeler High School.

It has been almost 40 years since I've graduated high school. Back in 1977, if you asked me what my life would be like in 2015, I probably would have said I would have a jet pack and be not nearly as sexy.

What 1977 Me Thought 2015 Me Would Look Like

Well, here it is 2015 and if you have an elastic definition of the word "sexy", I'm doing pretty good. However, still no jet pack.

My class was unique. It was really the first graduating class of the great migration. The migration of Northerners to Cobb County. I have always felt a lot of sympathy for those folks.

As I have mentioned before, I will always remember seeing a "new" girl being introduced to the class. Her name ended in a vowel. She was from Massachusetts and she spoke an entirely different language than we did. It was a form of English-an English that ignored the letter "r".

Oh, there were others. People who came from Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, and we always seemed to have a boat load of people from Ohio. They all seemed to be well-to-do and just a little bit better than us originals.

But actually, they were just kids and they were something that a lot of kids, even back in the good old days, were not:  they were nice.

I don't know if it was the water. I don't know if it was the planets all aligned and created an Age of Aquarius  in that zip code. I don't know if it was the parents. I knew someone the parents. Many of them were great. Many of them were nuts.

But the 70's are long gone. Joe Cocker died a couple of weeks ago. John Belushi, who did a spot on impression of him, died 32 years before.  East Cobb, while parts of it are still very tony and nice, the neighborhood Wheeler is in, is showing its age.

The other day, my wife and I met a guy I went to high school with for dinner. He was in town for a funeral, Another member of our class was there too.

I was sitting there thinking, "I'm finally sitting at the cool table".  My two classmates are doing well. One went to Duke. The other went to Georgia Tech. While little old me went to Kennesaw State.  But here's what was great. There was none of this "pretension" of "Oh, you went to that little school on I-75". Rather, it was acceptance of who I was and who I am.

As you might have guessed, I didn't have the greatest self image back in my high schools days. Back then, people really didn't care. I always thought, and I have the numbers to back this up, that I just wasn't good enough.

What I didn't know then is that all the kids felt this way, for some odd reason. We just had different ways of trying to cope with it. Some took drugs/booze. Some went sex crazy. Some turned to God. Some turned to trying to be the smartest student on earth. Some turned to making snide snarky remarks in the back of the class.

But now we are at the other end of life. And I look back and I realize I can't think of anyone I went to high school with that I don't like. They just are all great people. The best.

My classmates have encountered significant challenges. Their lives have not been "easy" by any stretch of the imagination. Their challenges were just different than mine. I am happy to report that if I had to grade their responses to their challenges, I would have given each one an "A". But, then again,  I am prejudice.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What Men Really Think

Do not let anyone tell you that the internet is not helpful. There is a website called What Do Men Really This website states it offers "advice on love and attraction, dating and marriage".

The home page of this website is very instructive. It has several links which give important love, attraction, dating and marriage advice. Such as: "Top Ten Cute Nicknames Men Love".  One cute nickname is "Cuddle Cakes". I've been married for almost twenty nine years and I have no idea what that means. If my wife called me "Cuddle Cakes", I'd think she's making a crack about my weight.

I can verify that men do love cute nicknames. Which is better than the usual nicknames our loves call us like "Noisemaker", "Flush The Toilet, Why Don't You", "Limpy" and, of course, a name that rhymes with "Gas Pole".

Here was something I found interesting. They had a "tip" section for creating a nickname. That says more about the American educational system than any SAT score. It says, "You can make a nickname out of his name, but be careful as some guys might find it offending. For example, Miggy for Miguel and Jake, Jakey for Jacob and Dally for Dallas".  But the writer goes on to say this: "You can also consider a combination like 'Ally Bear' or 'Ally Poo' for Alex and 'Andy Roo' for Andrew." 

For the record, my closest, oldest friends call me "Poo" for "Ally Poo" which was given to me by my college roommate. It was an experimental time.

The problem with the nickname "Poo" is "Poo" is now a term for excrement. Girls, you might want to wait on nicknaming your boyfriend something that reminds others of feces until after you break up with him.

Inside The Male Brain

One link is titled "How To Know If A Man Is Checking You Out."  Again, don't mothers teach this to their daughters?

One tip: "He Stares At You". Great, this guy is either the love of your life or a psychotic axe murderer.

Another tip: "He Is In Awe Of You". The writer says, "Guys do get awe struck when they see a beautiful girl in their vicinity. It is quite common for them to gawk with an expression that says “wow”. It’s almost like he is in a trance, because as soon as you look at him directly he will snap out of it and almost look embarrassed. Most guys don’t have the ability to stay conscious when they are struck by the attractiveness of the opposite sex – so they just go blank for a while and stare like a sheep".

Just a word, ladies. The fellow described in the paragraph above may have a medical problem.

To make this article fun, I've added the letter "r" and the word "breasts" at the end of each tip. "He Stares At Your Breasts", "He Is In Awe Of Your Breasts", etc.

Hey, I'm just cutting to the chase ladies. I have been a man all of my life and that's about all men think about.

I am not exaggerating but men think on a constant basis about every women they have ever seen topless and this includes pictures in National Geographic.

Not all men are obsessed with breasts. We call these men "deceased".

Besides breasts is there anything else men think about? Why, yes, thanks for asking.

Men think about sports. A lot. They have very passionate feelings about sports. I once worked with two guys that got into a shouting match over the best defensive back in the NFL. It was during the off-season.

Men think about their job. Mainly how much they hate their job and wish there was some job out there where you could just sit around and do nothing. Like they did when they were teenagers and didn't have girls looking at the internet wondering what is on their minds.

Men think about traffic. I obsess over traffic and how I wish everyone would just stay home and let me drive.

They think about other men. They place other men into three categories: "I like him", "He's okay" and "I hate his guts".

That's about it. Just remember gals, you're not dealing with an highly evolved intelligent creature. You're dealing with a man. You may want to smack him in the nose with a newspaper.