Mixed Nuts

Make Opening Day a National Holiday!

As far as American government goes, I can really only be sure of one thing. Whoever makes the laws in Florida should probably be arrested. I’m also confident plastic should be made illegal and we should allow Republicans and the state of Texas to secede with the help of Russia and create their own super colony… If they want to. Just don’t be surprised when you’re eventually conquered by Mexico.

But I’m pretty sure the greatest idea ever was recently proposed on whitehouse.gov: Make Opening Day a National Holiday.

Basically, this needs to be put into law ASAP. With only a few weeks to go and 37,000 more signatures needed, America needs to step up their game.  Let’s get into why this is perhaps the best proposal ever, and why our government is just the government to make it happen.

MLB Opening Day is more than just the beginning of the season. It’s a symbol of rebirth. The coming of spring. The return of America’s national pastime.” Actually, I’m pretty sure our national pastime was subjugating and oppressing other groups of people against their will, but I’m happy to run with baseball instead. It’s easier to sleep at night thinking our legacy is rooted in frankenmeat and steroids rather than slavery and genocide.

It’s a state of mind where anything is possible. You can feel the electricity in the air.” I love this. It would replace the de facto American state of mind, which is ‘New York State of Mind’ by Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys. Anytime there’s a chance to usurp the most tragic American anthem since that jazz infused diddy about our 1922 refusal to outlaw lead, I’m for it.

Opening Day brings with it the promise of a new beginning. Every fan is in good spirits. It’s a day of celebration. It’s a day of hope.” Yup. I’m in complete agreement. Let’s face it; America is in a downward spiral. We’ve been there, well, for close to 300 years by my count. I’m all about new beginnings. True, we can probably do better than beer and peanuts. But who knows? Maybe that will lead to a hike and exploring the amazing realm of nature from whence we came. For now, watching a bunch of overpaid men cheat their way to a 1-0 win will have to do.

“It’s a day that, for generations, has been looked forward to by baseball fans every off-season. It’s an American tradition, and it deserves to be recognized as an American holiday. ” I’m increasingly beginning to believe that this proposition was written by someone who’s lived underground since 1935, but everybody needs something to look forward to. Our government sure isn’t giving us much in that department, so I say, why not? I could always use a day off work, and so could the hard working Americans, and everybody else who helps run this country from China.

“Join us in our quest to make sure every American can exercise their inalienable right to celebrate the day those two magical words are uttered for the first time: “PLAY BALL!” To be honest, my first time wasn’t all that memorable. Or magical. There were definitely far less than two words uttered in that bathroom but I take the fifth and that is my inalienable right. But that’s what first times are for — to forget and pretend they never happened. Every time should be like the first, so I’m all about a holiday that makes us feel new and whole again.

Look, I hope this law gets passed. I really do. I mean, we have a holiday for a guy who arrived in the Americas, thought he was in India, and was like, “Hi, I’m Chris, everything that used to belong to you now belongs to me, so thanks. PS, here are some smallpox.”

The least we can do is work a little less and get back to our roots and enjoy a sport that used to be a unifying force in America. We’re all about excess, so what’s wrong with an excess holiday that has some American relevance? Plus, it will only lay precedent to the other petitions I have in mind for this great country of ours, which include legalizing all firearms when in the presence of bacon and genetically modifying water.

Happy Fourth of July, America.

The Insufferable Scorecard of Tiger Woods

Newsflash.

There is this new golfer who is infamous for being good at golf. He’s not terrible, he’s just merely good but he’s usually out of the running come Sunday in majors. He keeps making ESPN top stories despite never winning said majors. He even missed a cut once at Torrey Pines.

Despite this assured good but not greatness, ESPN always keeps us updated on his status. If anything remotely compassionate or motivating was broadcasted to us as regularly as this guy’s ‘shots off the lead,’ world hunger would have been eradicated. If ESPN tackled global issues they way they tackle this guy’s assured descent into the middle to the back end of the pack, Ukraine, South Sudan, Syria, Palestine and Israel would all be throwing hug and cuddle parades right now.

Sadly, ESPN is always throwing its lot in with the less than one percent of things that literally do not matter in any way shape or form. At the top of that list?

No, not golf.

Tiger Woods’ tournament status.

Tiger, -1,789 off the lead. Tiger drives 19th hole green from 1st hole tee. Tiger swears while missing cut. It’s the never-ending story. He’s everywhere. It’s not hard to find a bevy of clips about Tiger as irrelevant as my human existence. He’s always talking in polite monotones. He’s always feeling good, too. Always feeling good out there today.

Jeez, if I felt good as often as this guy, I wouldn’t be drinking so much wine and eating painkillers like Cheetos. Is he Buddhist? Is he Buddha? Whatever magic pills he’s taking, it’s working. People must still care a ton about this guy because ESPN is all over him like an FBS school on a sexual assault case. And by that I mean the opposite of that.

Look, we don’t have to hear about Tiger all the time. He barely made the cut at the Honda tournament thing on Friday. According to him (via ours truly, ESPN)  “it was a grind.” That’s great. Honestly, great. Who’s in second place though? Third? Fourth? Any of the 78 players that finished in front of Tiger?

Having to hear a whole bunch of meaningless chatter about a dude who was great six years ago is even less interesting than watching that same dude hack his way to a good but not great 71. It’s not like he has anything new to say either. Woods, when pressed on why he shot a 65 on Saturday, responded like every other golfer ever in the history of golf — he said that he hit the ball well and he made some putts.

Fact: Tiger was on top of the world six years ago. Fact: No longer. Leave the #1 ranking out of it. It’s the same excuse everyone used when Roger Federer was metaphorically lapped by Djokovic and Nadal.

Why do I have to keep reading about Tiger like he’s still the same guy who won those 14 majors? Why do I have to watch the man hole out his par putt on the 13th hole when he’s constipated and down by 6? I typed in Honda Classic on Sunday (after it was over) and the first thing that showed up on Google was Tiger having to withdraw due to a back issue. Not who won the actual tournament.

Here’s a list of things I would rather see than Tiger not win anything: The Los Angeles Lakers try to play basketball. Golf. Hot dogs. Oatmeal cooking on a campfire stove. A water fountain that doesn’t work. A frog doing the throat inflation thingy. Paper. An organ that plays itself. Shoes.

No more constant newsflashes, please. Or interviews. Even if he conducts A-Rodian news conferences of the highest caliber, he still needs a PR facial hair rep.

If we stopped caring about his descent into average joe-ness, who knows? Maybe he’d win another major. The lack of constant, undesirable, pressure probably doesn’t help. But as of now, there’s no point in keeping us updated on the inevitable. There’s a reason no one wants to be reminded they’re going to die eventually, everyday.

It would be more interesting to watch me play golf. If not winning majors is what it takes, sign me up. I can swear with the best of them. I wasn’t kidding about the wine and painkillers either. I’ll crash a car too, just so long as someone else supplies it. I’ve got what it takes to miss the cut. I promise you that.

Day in, day out; the best slice outside of PepsiCo and the raddest hook since the Capn’ and I’m guaranteed to make it happen.

Sochi Apocalypse

 

The Winter Olympics are supposed to be a lot of things. A celebration of the world. An opportunity for us all to come together and not kill each other. A chance to not be a completely terrible and invasive species. Fine sporting and spectating. Binge drinking. Skeleton. Ice coitus dancing. Sweeping brooms in front of giant stones.

Most of all, the Winter Olympics are supposed to be cold. They’re supposed to be as snowy and frigid as Russian-American relations in the mid 80’s. Because that’s what winter is — it’s dark, it’s depressing, it’s cold. It’s bone numbing. Siberian (and Chiberian) misery of epic proportions. Think Lillehammer. Snow, ice, Nordic sweaters, and red noses. Think snow. The cold stuff that you can actually do things on. Not slush. There’s a 7-Eleven down the street.

There should be a new test for the Winter Olympics, one I propose should be effective immediately. The locations should be cold and snowy enough to spur the desire to consume massive amounts of alcohol. Winter should make you want to drink. That’s obviously why alcohol was created — to numb the misery of the human existence when it’s hypothermically low on vitamin D.

Winter should be painful. Your head, shoulders, knees, and toes should hurt. You should always feel a few short steps away from death. Otherwise, you’re doing it wrong. There shouldn’t be dolphins and palm trees. None of this should be happening.

It’s not like Russia isn’t cold — honestly, I couldn’t think of a finer country for the Winter Olympics. Some of the best vodka in the world? A country whose winters are so bad, their severity has defeated numerous enemy invaders? Give me that winter. Not this bizarro, 60 degree thing.

Having mountains and snow isn’t enough. Mountains always have snow on them. That’s just how it works. It’s science. They’re really high in the air. Get close enough to your creator and of course he’s going to want to spit on you. That’s why all the humans are down near the ocean. We’re an embarrassment, the proverbial ostrich and we belong in the gutters.

The point of the Winter Olympics is to have something to look forward to during the miserable, cat nights of winter. We’re banking on them being miserable. But if it’s 76 in Miami and it’s 63 in Sochi, who’s going to want to watch the Olympics?

The Vancouver Olympics were the warmest games EVER. The average temperature was nearly 45 degrees. That’s what you get when you host them in a city that’s basically a Canadian version of Seattle and Portland: moderate winters, a ton of rain, and a much higher Canadian quality of life.

Obviously, this is happening because the world is ending. Global warming is real. Everything is dying and it’s our fault (and the cows’ too). Because of this unchecked destruction, we might not have the Winter Olympics soon. Not because it’s too warm, though. Because of the zombie apocalypses. Things are going to get The Walking Dead bad…

Here’s the thing though: if we continue to destroy everything (and at this point, nothing, not even Eric Gagne circa 2003 is a surer thing) contrary to popular belief, the world will actually get much, much colder. Global warming will melt the glaciers, adding a significant amount of fresh water into the ocean, which will disrupt ocean currents, which will cause global temperatures to plummet, which will cause an ice age.

So by all means, when 2016 rolls around, make sure to drive that car two blocks to the grocery store, idle it while your wife runs in to grab a whole bunch of factory farmed, dead animal product and drive back and crank the AC in the house and watch the Summer Olympics. Because in the end, you’re really just contributing to the future of the Winter Games. Long live the Age of Ice.

But all that is beside the point. The world isn’t over just yet. There is still summer, fall, spring, and most importantly, winter. There are plenty of places on this earth that still suck. Where it’s miserably cold and people are downing shots of their national liquor and complaining. Where the drama of the Winter Games should play out.

We owe it to ourselves to find those places.

What I Learned From Not Watching the Super Bowl

Not Watching the Super Bowl

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl!

Blasphemy, I know. It’s not because of my progressive leanings or my preference for circular sporting objects. I love guacamole and have been known to drink some craft beer from time to time (hello, Portland!).

Plus, it was Seattle. That’s like two minutes away from Portland, and us PNW’s have to share teams when David Stern lets Clay Bennett take them away from us we don’t have them.

No, I didn’t watch the Super Bowl because I was busy investigative journalist-ing.

The Richard Sherman fiasco? The Marshawn Lynch “media snubbing” junk? Peyton’s wounded ducks? Genius, Roger Goodell. Genius. Nobody wondered about that $765 million concussion issue when there were way cooler things to focus on!

Anyway, not watching the Super Bowl turned out to be very enlightening. Here are the things I learned about the Super Bowl from not watching the Super Bowl.

It Was Lame

Okay; seriously. How terrible was that game? Having not watched it, I can say with 100% certainty that it was totally not good. I can’t begin to quote all of the things I was reading on Facebook and Twitter, but there were so many gems!

Wow, this is lame” or “How much closer can it get???”  or “Don’t look now! Things just got WAY more interesting.”

How bad is a game when people can’t even say anything funny about how bad it is?

My favorite was an acquaintance’s reference to Peyton Manning — “When you touch darkness, sometimes it touches back.”

I don’t know what that means. But at least it made me laugh.

There Were Commercials!

Did you know there were commercials? Those things between the game breaks during the Super Bowl? Apparently, there were a lot of them, with everything from Chevy trucks and cow prostitution to Axe body spray. Did they spend more money on that Axe commercial than on the entire movie Nymphomaniac?

World peace sounds pretty swell. How simple it would be if the solution to the world not being such a terrible place was really as simple as not casting Shia Labeouf and spraying yourself with a bunch of Sex Panther pure gasoline?

Speaking of which; if these companies have enough money to shoot commercials that are better works of art than Lars von Trier movies, can’t they make products that don’t contain the stuff people use to scrub blood off highways?

Okay, okay. Just kidding. But seriously, Coke, would it kill you to use a little bit of sugar?

People Love Puppies and Horses

Okay, so apparently there was a really cute commercial about a puppy and a horse. I refuse to watch it because I don’t want to firewall my miserable, cynical, pessimism.

Everybody was raving about it, though. I heard way more about the puppy and the horse than that poor guy on the Broncos and the wounded duck. One tandem was cute; the other was sad and Manning-faced.

Budweiser always makes some good commercials, which apparently makes it all okay that a certain beer company is throwing all these American things at us — Clydesdales, puppies, beer —  and it isn’t even American! And it makes terrible beer.

Kudos to Belgium for making world class beer in their own country and bad American lager in ours! Did you know they save over $50 million a year by using cheap, non-quality hops and broken rice grains? Way to go Budweiser!

It Wasn’t Cold in New York

I knew more about New York’s weather than my own weather (it was sunny, thank you for asking).

It’s not like we have the Weather Channel or anything.

That would have made the whole “Peyton Manning can’t play in the cold” scenario way less interesting.

Pete Carroll is the Coach of the Seahawks (or, Richard Sherman is a CB on the Seahawks)

Yes, he is. Everybody, we know he is.

Yes. Him as well.

Thank you.

Peyton Manning is Bad (or, Football Inspires Illogical Nonsense)

This one is funny. Did he not win the MVP? Did he not have the greatest regular season ever?

I’m sorry, but for all the mean things I see written about poor Peyton, they’re mostly not fair. Coming from a guy who didn’t watch the Super Bowl — even I knew about how the Seahawks presented the worst possible defensive matchup for Peyton’s Broncos.

Not to mention, even if he didn’t score more than 8 points (haha, haha) was he really going to score more than 43 POINTS against the best defense in the league?

Wasn’t the entire Broncos defense starring in the Walking Dead? Weren’t they worse than that show? Is that even possible? Yes, yes it is.

Did we all forget that Denver usually just kicks the ball into the end zone on kickoffs (and is bad at special teams)? Because of that thin air of theirs in Colorado?

Was that Peyton’s fault? Maybe Peyton stinks in humidity. That’s why Seattle won!

Face it — the Seahawks were the Sunday lineup  on PBS Masterpiece (Sherlock, Downton Abbey) and the Broncos were AMC… Post-Breaking Bad.

Yuck.

Breaking Bad: Football’s Power Overdose

(Warning: contains Breaking Bad spoilers)

When I was in the sixth grade, I attempted to sign up for football and started crying instead. One of the coaches saw me and told me football wasn’t about judgement or being strong. It was about “heart” and “believing in yourself.” He was a liar, but I’m glad I listened. I signed up, played defensive end and wide receiver, recovered a fumble, broke a bone, and was nicknamed “Legend.”

I quit two years later, mostly because I discovered running. I have really long legs and it’s just easier in life to run away from things. I was joking about Legend. He existed, somewhere — most likely in Santa Barbara for his sexual hot-tub prowess — but not me, not then, not football. But I’ll always be grateful for that coach who helped out a crying kid and didn’t tab him $15,000 for the Vegas bro-trip.

It’s a pretty powerful thing, football. Check out a map of the United States according to the highest paid public employees. Forty-one states claim a sports coach — a whopping 30 of those are football coaches. We care a lot about it. More than libraries, obviously.

There is that other thing, though, that comes with great power — the thing football doesn’t seem to know much about.  Instead of embracing its great responsibility, football has collapsed inward and upon itself. The result is an overwhelmingly powerful black hole.

By now, we’re sick of hearing about Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, anything to do with CTE and concussions, sexual assault and Jameis Winston, or homophobia and ex-Viking punters. We’ve been exposed to every reaction possible, from stubborn denial and anger to hopeless pleas for institutional change.

Last fall, when the Martin/Incognito Bullygate went down, someone went all Nostradamus on us and said, “all hell is going to break loose.” Smart guy. Here’s the thing — hadn’t hell already broken loose?

There’s that book, League of Denial, after all, which is about football-related brain injuries and the NFL discrediting scientists and claiming the concussion issue in football, “was one of those pack journalism issues, frankly.”

Here’s the truth: Football broke bad a long time ago.

This isn’t Walter White deciding to cook meth. It’s him killing Mike. Picture Adrian Peterson dying beside a river with Roger Goodell mumbling about how all those hits just didn’t seem so bad at the time. “Shut up Roger,” says Adrian. “Let me die in peace.”

Chris Kluwe is football’s latest sacrificial lamb, a punter who was allegedly booted off the Vikings squad for being opinionated about human beings deserving basic civil liberties. He even aligned his situation with poor Tim Tebow’s, saying “Because he (Tebow) brings this other stuff with him, just like I bring my other stuff with me, teams look at it like, ‘We don’t want it. We don’t want players speaking out. We don’t want players doing anything other than football.’

It’s a good point. After the obligatory, “we don’t condone discrimination in any way and will investigate this immediately” statement by the Vikings, speaking out truthfully seems more relevant than ever. The obligatory “we had no idea this was going on” quote has become the de facto “we clearly knew about this and we know you probably know this, so whatever, here’s a lame statement about how we didn’t know about this” NFL guilty plea.

What will most likely follow is the firing of someone, perhaps the glorification of Kluwe, the denunciation of the Vikings, or the fourth coming of Richard Timothy Tebow. The thing is, none of that really matters. Not in the grand scheme of things. This is – and always has been – about the establishment.

Who do you think the Vikings answer to? The Catholic Church? Football is an incredibly profitable machine that has a whole bunch of cogs. It’s not rocket science. Kluwe < Vikings < NFL. The thing is, why are we punishing the low men on the totem pole? Go after the coaches and the organizations all you want, but if a kid goes into his first day of organized school and punches every other kid in the face, is it right to hold the parents completely unaccountable?

All these “transgressions” amount to is football never having to answer for anything. Football – as a whole – gets off scot-free every time. Yet somehow, that’s always overlooked in our (and the media’s) rush to get on the proverbial moral high horse.

Sadly, this isn’t just a professional issue either, as the lack of responsibility can get downright educational. I’m no law expert, but it seems very obvious (and experts agree) that Florida law enforcement completely bungled what should have been an incredibly serious investigation that involved Jameis Winston and the alleged sexual assault of a young female.

Look, there was something sad about watching that National Championship game. Especially the way it ended. It’s sad because there is no such thing as black and white and it’s not like handling sexual assault cases atrociously and ignoring victims is an isolated incident in college football.

I don’t know what happened with Jameis Winston and that girl. Everyone deserves to be treated as innocent until proven otherwise, but the thing is, football – professional and collegiate – really is a black hole when it comes to the evaluation of truth. You can speculate all you want about what happened, but you’d never know the truth until you became a part of the system. Once you’re in, however, there would be no way for you to report back on anything. Nothing escapes football. Not light, not gravity. Certainly not truth.

That’s what is so disappointing — that truth and justice in football will always be warped and clouded by the powers that be.

Some of this is on us, of course. Football is very dear to us and we turn blind eyes when things get ugly. But we have to take some responsibility. We have to stop dragging the red herrings  — Richie Incognito, the Kluwe-haters, the Minnesota Vikings, even Jameis Winston — to the gallows. Because as long as we punish the cogs and not the machine, football will never be threatened because we will have failed to shine our moral flashlights on its rotten core.

Everything is always a product of a bigger environment. There is always a higher power. It needs to answer for something too. Ironically, for all the fuss about the Redskins, there’s something else football stole from Native Americans — tribal sovereignty.

Football is a sport, not a sovereign nation. A judge recently rejected the NFL’s $765 million settlement of concussion claims. It’s a small step in the right direction, sure, but still — is it any wonder $765 million wasn’t enough?

Football needs to be held held accountable, but more importantly, it needs to take some responsibility. And not just financially. The sport I played in sixth grade seemed to be about knocking people down and helping them back up. Not kicking their skull in.

So it’s up to you, football. Your move.