Saturday, September 11, 2010

Buster Posey and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Well, here we go yet again. The NFL season is beginning, and once again I’m completely up in the air as to whom to root for. The logical choices, since I now carry a New York passport, would be either the Giants, who have strangely few fans here in the Hudson Valley, or the Jets. I understand the Jets’ veteran fullback, Tony Richardson, is a terrific guy, but Hard Knocks on HBO left me with the impression that I wouldn’t want to sit beside any of the coaching staff on a long bus ride. Of course, far, far better the exuberantly profane Rex Ryan than the Giants’ Tom Coughlin, who looks perpetually as though he just took an especially nasty-tasting medication.

I am in New York, but yet of it, not nearly. Eight years and change after leaving the Bay Area, I still find myself wanting to root for the Giants and 49ers, though I don’t think there’s a single player on either team who was there when I left. The fact that there’s no trace of Barry Bonds adds greatly to their allure, of course, and how not to love a team with a rookie star catcher called Buster Posey? Still, though, it’s the Yankees who are on every night as I eat my dinner, and I have been a big fan of their vivacious young catcher Francisco Cervelli since I saw him risk his life to snag a foul ball into the team’s dugout.

As noted here before, I would instantly switch my allegiance to any team that closed ranks behind a teammate who revealed himself to be gay, but it doesn’t appear there’s much chance of that happening while I’ve still got my marbles, so I’ll make it easier. Many teams in the largely black sports, football and basketball, have a Muslim, if only a converted one. I’d root enthusiastically for any team that collectively endorsed the A-Few-Blocks-From-Ground-Zero Mosque, as I would for any team that collectively condemned the demagoguery of the Republican politicians who oppose it, but I think the most I may be able to hope for is one whose running backs don’t point up at the sky in acknowledgment of The Creator’s intervention on their behalf when they score a touchdown. Comparably, I could never knowingly support a team I knew to have a mass prayer for victory before taking the field.

I might as well get whimsical. I would pledge my allegiance in a heartbeat to any team that, on ascertaining that victory was assured, doused its unwitting head coach from behind not with Gatorade, but with hydrochloric acid. Would it be grisly? Of course it would, but football isn’t a sport for sippers of pink tea, as Ty Cobb might have put it. The team would have to promote one of its assistant coaches to the top job after every victory, but I’m arrogant enough to think that would be a small price to pay for my allegiance.

I would become a fan of any teams whose players defied current tradition by ceasing to bump chests after a terrific play, but by exchanging firm traditional handshakes. And I would be more inclined to support a team with fewer, rather than more, fanciful given names, like Visanthe and D’Brickashaw. Such names make me sad, because I always suppose they were dreamed up by unwed teenage mothers.

I suppose in the end I will wind up rooting yet again for the first team I ever loved — the 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers, whose season-opener against Vada Pinson’s Cincinnati Bengals I will watch tomorrow from kickoff to signoff.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Me and Pastor Jones

All I’ve ever asked in my youth was that everyone — or at least everyone in the cool, desirable group — love me and be in awe of my genius. Late in my twenties, it occurred to me that I might, owing to certain increasingly undeniable personality flaws, have to settle for being universally regarded as brilliant. As the decades have flown past, I have come finally to accept that maybe the most I can hope for is local fame, or even infamy.

In this regard, I don’t see why Pastor Terry Jones, who’s become globally famous because of his intention to incinerate the Qu’ran, has all the luck. Even if he doesn’t light a match, he’ll almost certainly be offered a book deal, and be asked to pose for Playgirl. I won’t be remotely surprised if he turns up a guest judge for next season’s American Idol. He will not be able to eat a restaurant meal anywhere in the Redneck Belt without being told at the end that it was on the house. He will receive proposals of marriage and offers of fellatio from women with artificially inflated breasts, in the same way that convicted serial murderers do.

I am green with envy.

I don’t have the numbers in front of me — that is, I’m too lazy to consult Wikipedia — but I’m willing to bet that there are nearly as many Roman Catholics in the world as Muslims, and I am more than happy to offend them grievously. You may recall that, when I lived in northern California in the mid-1980s, I briefly owned a papal supplies shop, most of whose clientele consisted of delusional Catholics. If it will get me interviewed on CNN, I would be prepared to desecrate the autographed photo of Pope John Paul I proudly displayed behind the shop’s cash register, above the first dollar we took in.

Oh, Christ. You know what I just remembered? That Sinead O’Connor tore up a photo of His Holiness on Saturday Night Live several years ago. How about the Zoroastrians then? I could draw a mustache or even devil horns on a painting of the prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra, as in Also Spake). Or, since Zoroastrianism is known also as Mazdaism, I could snap off the antennas of a few MX-5 Miatas. I’m willing to work with you here, world media!

This just in: Donald Trump has selflessly offered to buy the building that was going to house the A-Few-Blocks-From-Ground-Zero Mosque for 25 percent more than the jihadists had offered. If the building’s owner accepts the offer, it’ll solve the problem of our great nation’s Palinists being mortally offended by Muslim insensitivity. My hunch, though, is that it’s a done deal, and that the Donald, as usual, is just showing off. But I have a wonderful idea involving him. How about if, instead of lighting Korans on fire, the Rev. Jones is offered the opportunity to burn the Donald at the stake? I think everyone would come out ahead. The Muslim World sees both that we Americans respect their holy text, but that we do burn exemplars of greed and self-aggrandizement. And we, as Americans, have to hear no more about the motherfucker, with his stupid pout and ludicrous coiffure.

In other news, I have admitted to enjoying Mad Men recently, but there’s one thing I can’t pretend to understand. Key characters are forever smoking, and then leaping into bed with each other. Said leaping, you would think, would involve what used to be known as French kissing. I remember kissing a young woman smoker in 1979, and feeling, in the words of Kim Basinger (describing her experience with Mickey Rourke while shooting 9-1/2 Weeks) as though putting my tongue into an overflowing ashtray. How, in the days when everyone chainsmoked, did anyone bear it?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Viva Arizona!

Do you think we don’t know where all this is heading? You’ve bribed the New York Jets God knows how many billions of dollars to make Mark Sanchez their starting quarterback — even though they’ve got a perfectly good white guy in Mark Brunell — and he’s handsome and charismatic, and can’t even speak Spanish, and if the Jets do good this year, he and his sparkling white teeth will probably start turning up on TV, endorsing a lot of the same stuff white guys currently endorse. And then a lot of people, being stupid and lacking any racial pride, will think you’re all OK, and the next thing we know, you’ll be flooding across the border by the millions, rather than the present tens of thousands, and raping our women and taking our jobs and renaming our cities, and everybody’ll be eating churros and milling around in droves in front of Home Depot, and the whole idea is so alarming and disgusting that I can barely go on writing.

Well, it didn’t work with Erik Estrada, and it’s not going to work with Señor Sanchez either, so why don’t you crawl back under the fence to where you came from?

Have you noticed, by any chance, that unemployment is way up in our country? Has it occurred to you that might be because you people keep sneaking over here and taking all the minimum wage jobs no self-respecting American teenager would consider anyway, as well as virtually all the major league shortstop jobs? So you remove all the asbestos! So you wash pretty much all the dishes that get washed in America in 2010, and field a large percentage of the ground balls, and pick pretty much all the lettuce. You suppose that entitles you to put little Maria or Jesus (and don’t think we’re not plenty offended by your taking The Lord’s name in vain!) in our already crowded public schools? Like hell it does!

Don’t suppose we haven’t noticed that you reproduce at a much faster rate than normal people, and that in some cities you’re actually the majority now. And all because decent white Americans do it only for procreative purposes, whereas you people do it because you can’t afford most other forms of recreation, and there’s only so much Spanish language TV anybody can watch before they get sick and tired of not understanding a word anybody’s saying.

Don’t suppose we’re not wise to the fact that many of you aren’t Hispanics at all, but Muslims trying to take advantage of the fact that all the so-called mud races look so much alike. You tell us your names are Jose and Alejandro, but we know they’re really Muhammed and Ali, and that al-Qaeda has been bankrolling you. Next thing we know, there’s going to be a mosque on every corner, where there used to be a Wendy's or a Subway.

And don’t think we don’t realize the 7-11 chain is on the whole thing. Do you suppose it’s escaped our attention that it’s nigh onto impossible to get a Slurpee anywhere in America anymore without having to interact with a Pakistani terrorist pretending to be from Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or one of those other curry-reeking hellholes? And while we’re at it, we might as well disabuse you of the notion that we’re unaware that the Jews are behind the whole thing, just as they’re behind every plot to destroy America, and have been from Day 1.

Underestimate us at your own peril, José! We're not stupid!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Selfish Bitch

We hope you’re very pleased with yourself, getting our star player up to his bottom lip in hot water. Never mind that because of your selfishness, countless hundreds of thousands of our fans are going to suffer horribly this season, and a great many of them will lose their livelihoods. But you did what you thought was right, and that’s all anyone can ask for.

So our star player came into the restaurant where you’re a waitress back in January, and he made a few unwelcome remarks about your breasts. Is he really the first guy who’s ever said those things to you? And then, when you were leaning over to serve the nachos, he grabbed a handful of them and squeezed. I suppose that had never happened to you either, right? That’s what we’re supposed to believe?

Have you ever heard the expression It comes with the territory? Has it ever occurred to you that if you’re going to be a waitress in that kind of place, wearing those skimpy outfits, those form-fitting tanktops and shorts, you’re probably going to get your hooters squeezed every now and again? Is it really the end of the world?
Talk about the territory! Do you have any idea how much stress our players are under? Humungous, sweetheart — humongous. Stadiumsful of people shouting at them every weekend! And don’t think the ones shouting encouragement are so much better than those shouting abuse. They’ll turn on you in a heartbeat. Fumble the ball, throw an interception, fail to get a first down, you’re Osama bin Laden and that North Korean guy and half a dozen of the other worst villains you can think of rolled into one. They drive up into your gated community and empty bags of dog shit on your lawn. They call into radio shows and call you a faggot.

OK, so there was more than just a little squeezing. After he’d had one too many, he pulled you into the little boys’ room and tried to push you down onto your knees with one hand while taking his dangler out with the other. Like this same thing doesn’t happen 10 million times in America every hour of every day! This just in, missy: boys will be boys! Like there aren’t hundreds of girls much better looking than you, sweetheart, and bigger-chested even, who wouldn’t have given anything to have been in your position! All the girls in town, and he choosses you! You should have felt honored!

But you just had to make a stink, didn’t you? And the league office had to do the politically correct thing and suspend {star player] for the first third of the season, though I know for a fact they hated to. And all the hard-working little people who live and die with the team…what are we supposed to tell them when we lose our first five games, as we almost certainly will? But their pain probably never even occurred to you, did it?

And neither, did I suspect, that a lot of people are going to lose their homes or be unable to send their kids to college now because you can’t take a joke. Attendance is sure to suffer, which means that a lot of vendors and what-not are going to have to be let go. We’ve already seen a 35 percent drop in sales of [star player’s] replica jerseys. We’re going to need fewer security guys. I wonder what they’ll tell their children at Christmastime when they haven’t been able to afford presents. But hey, that isn’t your problem.

Let me go way out on a limb here and speculate that you’d prefer if all your customers were gay. They’d be grabbing each other then, and not you, and then probably demanding the right to marry each other. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Or maybe not, because then you wouldn’t be able to make yourself powerful by getting our star player suspended, and I know how special that must make you feel.

Bitch. Selfish bitch.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Two Groups Funded by the Devil

I woke up this morning thinking of one of my favorite Ray Davies lines. “If life is for living, what’s living for?” But moments after I’d stumbled morosely downstairs to the basement and turned on my beloved iMac, I was hugely heartened by the news, as reported by Yahoo!, that two groups I’d never dared dream would find common ground have joined hands on behalf of what I believe to be a worthy cause.

According to Yahoo!, a spokesperson for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has announced that Park51, also known as Cordoba House and the Ground Zero Mosque, have agreed to allow the Tri-State area’s Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered Coalition for Tolerance to stage a benefit on behalf of greater understanding between Muslims and infidels. A GLTCT spokesman promises that Elton John, Scissor Sisters, Melissa Etheridge, Rufus Wainwright, Rob Halford (once of Judas Priest), Ted Nugent, and the late Freddy Mercury are all likely to perform at a gala festival in Central Park in October that could raise up to $3 million for the cause.

This will surely shock those aware of the views of homosexuality expressed in the Hadith, a collection of sayings attributed to Muhammad, the spiciest of which may be "When a man mounts another man, the throne of God shakes."

“Hey,” the Park51 spokesperson explains, “it’s 2010, high time that we as Muslims re-evaluated our harsh assessments of a lot of things.”

Dr. Terry and Sylvia Jones of The Dove World Outreach Center — which recently protested the homosexuality of Gainesville’s mayor and the inescapability of the woefully mediocre music of Gainesville native Tom Petty — expressed disgust when informed of the gay and Muslim collaboration. “Wow, big surprise,” Dr. Terry Jones told Yahoo!, snarkily, “two groups funded by The Devil joining forces. Who’d have guessed?” To commemorate the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and other Christian symbols, Dove has been planning a huge Koran-burning festival, which the commander of American forces in Afghanistan believes will make the Taliban and others more intent than ever on butchering them.

Onward, Christian soldiers!

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Sandwich, My Recipe, My Shame

Since I mentioned here several weeks ago that I’ve been eating a lot of meatless Reuben sandwiches for lunch, readers have been bombarding me with requests for the recipe. I have been slow in honoring their requests not because my heart isn’t swollen with love and gratitude to my readers — the best people on earth! — but because I write out recipes very much more painstakingly than most people, and the process can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. Just as many people believe that the positions in the heavens of distant stars influence the behavior of persons with particular birthdays (astrology, you see), I believe that every step in the preparation of a dish, starting with shopping for its ingredients, influences the way it will ultimately taste.

Drive to the nearest Aldi, the German-owned discount supermarket chain. Whenever possible, drive to the one on Route 17 in Newburgh, New York. En route, ignore the Check Engine declaration on your instrument panel; if you ignore it sufficiently tenaciously, it will eventually fade away. Look forward to a time, several weeks hence, when it won’t be suffocatingly hot and humid anymore, and the foliage will have begun to turn astonishing colors that you can admire from the Hamilton Fish Bridge. Take your mind off it’s having been a relentlessly beastly summer by thinking about how much you’ve come to admire Andre Agassi, who came across on his recent interview with NPR’s Teri (she can spell it her way, and I will spell it mine) Gross as bright, humble, articulate, thoughtful, soft-spoken, and even altruistic.

Once at Aldi, tower over the rest of the clientele, who are predominantly latino and petite. Hope they have sauerkraut, your impulsive purchase of which got you making your sandwich in the first place. Feel an elitist as you note that Sea Queen, a lot of whose fish products Aldi offers, puts approximately 4,000 more ingredients, many of them sinister-sounding, in its breaded cod fillets than Trader Joe’s puts in their own. Curse Michael Pollan for having advised against eating any packaged food containing more than five ingredients. Get some sliced mozzarella cheese, some butter (because you’ve come to believe that margarine is actually worse for you), and a loaf of multigrain bread. Stand in a very long checkout line, and marvel, as you always do, at the crap that your fellow New Yorkers are willing to ingest.

On the way home, brood about the Obama presidency. Recall how you literally danced in the street the night he was elected. Recall too how you wished Ralph Nader would give it a rest when, a day or two thereafter, he predicted that Obama would turn out to be a spineless corporate puppet. Wince now at the realization that Ralph was pretty much right. Find yourself incredulous at how Obama has extended some of the Bush administration’s most egregious civil liberties abuses, how he refuses to unleash his wit and intelligence on the lower life forms we know as Republicans, and how he goes all mealy-mouthed and politiciany at the mention of gay marriage, the so-called Ground Zero mosque, and Arizona’s xenophobia. Gnash your teeth thinking how in 2012 your only real choice is going to be between him and someone like Mitt fucking Romney or, God forbid, Palin. Nader, or someone like him — someone with ideals — will surely be on the ballot, of course, but voting for her or him will essentially be voting for the Republican. Were you pleased with the result when you voted Peace & Freedom in 1968, and Richard fucking Nixon began his reign of terror? How about 2000, when your vote for Nader was a vote Al Gore didn't get? In American presidential elections, you don't vote for someone, but against someone.

Notice, as you pull into your driveway, that after last week's basement-flooding rain, the weeds need whacking. Recall with a shudder, though, that every time you use your weed-whacker, you forget to wear long trousers, and manage to stripe your ankle with lacerations. Wonder if the fastidious Jim, two houses north, thinks you’re ruining the neighborhood.

Once inside the garage, ignore the growing mountain of cardboard you never quite get around to taking to the recycling center. Lightly butter two slices of the multigrain bread. Put one and a half slices of cheese atop one of them, so that the bread is covered. Now put some sauerkraut on the cheese, and shove it around so that the cheese is nearly covered. Put a little oil in a pan, put the second slice of bread on the sauerkraut, and now put the assembled sandwich in the hot oil. Turn it over when you feel the moment is right.

Serves one. Serves him right.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

FAITP's Annual Roundup of the Most Interesting Towns in the USA

Klezmer, Arkansas. The municipality’s having become the first in the country to make divorce a capital crime, Mayor Vicki Gomez explains, stems from the city council’s realization that “forbidding perverts of the same sex to wed goes only so far toward protecting the sacred institution of marriage.” Unhappy couples have been slipping out of town by the hundreds since the November 2009 execution of Jack and Mysti Ryan, who had filed for annulment of their marriage on the grounds of their mutual realization “that they were two very different people,” according to court documents.

Oral, Nevada. This town was formed by a group of former employees of legal brothels whose whores-don’t-kiss rule they decided they could no longer obey. The town comprises a post office, a nail salon, a convenience store, a McDonald’s, a Wendy’s, a Taco Bell, a Burger King, a Subway, and a Frederick’s of Hollywood that’s open only Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. For $20 an hour, lonely men and lesbians can hire a “girl” to go “neck” with them in a secluded spot in the desert in the back seat of a large American sedan with vinyl upholstery. For an additional $10 per hour, they’ll let patrons remove their brassieres and put their hands under their skirts, but genital contact (“heavy petting”) is strictly forbidden. “We’re all about helping our older customer return to a time before universally accessible pornography,” explains Trixxxi Taylor.

Anesthesia, New Hampshire. Some 82 percent of the town’s residents are employed by providers of hospice care. Things get pretty crazy on weekend nights when workers suffering compassion fatigue get drunk in one of the town’s two bars, and then try to disfigure one another. The town boasts a 100 percent employment rate for specialists in reconstructive plastic surgery.

Ground Zero, Utah.This newly incorporated (as of July 2010) town, which has the highest concentration of mosques in North America, was funded by a consortium of Arab oil trillionaires who presumably wanted to irritate right wing demagogues. It is listed as the only North American stop on the former Cat Stevens' 2011 world tour.

Pine Ridge, South Dakota.The town can attribute its being the fastest growing in North America to the Supreme Court’s July 2009 ruling that, as a sovereign nation, the Ogala Sioux have the right to cultivate Papaver somniferum (better known as opium). The town has recently become as popular with foodies as with international drug cartels as a result of a May 2010 article in Ostentatious Consumption magazine about Oyúȟpe Thiyóšpaye, whose range of dishes involving prairie dog the magazine’s correspondent described as "breathtaking."

Binge, Arizona. Twenty miles north of the Mexican border, this town boasts the country’s highest SAT scores — in significant part, Superintendent of Education Rex Rymond speculates, because students are told as they enter the testing area that they can either score over 1200 or be driven across the border and left there without access to their birth certificates. It's Norwegian sister city, Purge, can boast of no comparable academic success.

Prejudice, Idaho. Formerly a bastion of white supremacism, the town, which once banned the use of the exclamation yo and baggy clothing, now boasts the country’s highest percentage of residents in the federal witness protection program, which might explain why, since it was featured on the National Geographic channel in August 2008, it has also had the highest homicide rate west of the Mississippi. A move to rename the town Payback, spearheaded by the town’s wag, was narrowly rejected by voters in November 2009.