Friday, March 8, 2013

Moving On Up

Almost 3 years, 583 posts and 25,000+ page views later, I’m moving to my permanent virtual home:

Please set as your new home page.  The new platform is more appealing, easier to navigate, and will still host my fabulous treatise on Music, Sports, Religion, Politics, and everything in between that you have come to expect and dread.  This Blogger site will remain in suspension as a monument to my humble online beginnings, but it is time to upgrade (the platform at least).

If you currently receive automatic email announcements when I post new material, you’ll need to set that notification up on my new site.  It is so easy to do, I figured it out on my first try.

Please visit early and often, share it with like-minded family, friends and enemies, and most of all – let me know what you think.  I will wait patiently for you on Twitter as well - @TheMSRP.

Not gone – just moved.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Shooting Jumpers

Last week, I watched the home team Virginia Cavaliers upset their hated rival Duke Blue Devils 73-68.  It’s early March so I tuned in for a little pre-bracketology scouting on the ACC.  Virginia looked inspired.  Duke looked overmatched.  Come mid-March and tournament time, those descriptions will likely be reversed for both teams.  Besides, whether I have watched any games or not does not determine my bracket’s success.  Of the 32 opening round (now called the 2nd round but it will always be the first to me) games, I’ll hit on 23 and miss 9.  Happens every year.

The game was exciting for me because you can never count Duke out of a basketball game and the prospect of Duke losing a game, a rarity the past 20 years, is gripping TV.  What made it even more exciting was the atmosphere in the arena.  There’s nothing like a close college basketball game in March.  

I didn’t really care who won.  The fans in attendance, however, did.  When the final buzzer sounded, the fans streamed down the aisles and onto the court to create an impromptu mosh pit of bouncing hysterical collegians, faces painted UVA blue and orange, getting in a final work-out before drinking ‘til dawn and throwing up on the quad.  Ah, college.

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski (pronounced ‘Coach K’) was quite upset at the Virginia fans storming the court after the game.  He was more upset than if Ryan Kelly had been called for a blocking foul in the final 2 minutes of a 2 point game.  His primary concern was player safety.

"Whatever you're doing, you need to get the team off first," Krzyzewski told the Raleigh News Observer. "Look, celebrate, have fun, obviously you won, that's cool. Just get our team off the court and our coaching staff before students come on.

"Look, do you know how close you are to. ... Just put yourself in the position of one of our players or coaches. I'm not saying any fan did this, but the potential is there all the time for a fan to just go up to you and say, 'Coach you're a [expletive],' or push you or hit you. And what do you do? What if you did something? That would be the story. We deserve that type of protection."

The Atlantic Coast Conference has stated that it will review its security protocols in instances when fans appear ready to storm the court, but a more powerful body has already weighed in.  The National Rifle Association has recommended that all coaches and trainers be allowed to carry concealed firearms during all away games.

NRA mouthpiece Wayne LaPierre described the plan that he argues should provide adequate protection for visiting players and coaches as well as give any drunken frat boy pause before running onto the court.  LaPierre believes the fear of guns, preferably high capacity semi-automatic guns, in the only answer.

“Lethal force must be met with lethal force,” LaPierre told the assembled media over the phone from his underground bunker.

When a reporter told him that fans storming the basketball court after a team victory is not an example of lethal force, he had a ready rebuttal. 

“Tell that to all those trampled soccer fans in Ghana.  Tell that to all the Who fans in Ohio.  Had the visiting coaches, trainers and roadies been armed, the only dead ones would have been the trample-ers, not the trample-ees.”

“We need more guns to protect those kids, those poor student-athletes.  Fans storm the court because they have no fear of being shot and killed.  I say it is time to change that mind-set, if you really want to make the court a safer place.”

Former coach Bobby Knight immediately endorsed the NRA plan.

“Nothing enforces student discipline like the threat of popping a cap in their ass.  Fear works,” barked Knight.  

When a local reporter tried to ask a follow up question of the winningest coach in NCAA history, Knight just stared at the questioner before suddenly throwing a metal folding chair into the crowd of assembled media personnel.

“See?  You’ll never ask a stupid question again now, will you?  Now imagine if I had been armed.  Press conference over.”
"If you limit the American public's access to semi-automatic technology, you limit their ability to survive," LaPierre said. (That’s a real quote, by the way)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sticks on a Plane! Sticks on a Plane!

It turns out all those ominous warnings that sequestration would cause a decrease in airline safety were not exaggerated.  Today the cracks in the system have started to appear and all plane passengers have a legitimate reason to be afraid. 

Keep your head up, frequent fliers:  The TSA has announced that hockey sticks may now be carried aboard commercial airline flights.  No more gate checking that composite Bauer One or the trusty vintage wooden Koho.  These tools of the hockey trade can now share a seat with their hockey player owners in the cabin.  An unintended consequence of sequestration no doubt.  

Hockey players everywhere are tapping their sticks on their tray tables in approval of the move but there are dangers present for other passengers.

Look out!  Steven Stamkos has been described as a “sharp-shooter” and now his signature L-6 firearm will be with him on board wearing a custom seat belt low and tight around its’ shaft.  Hopefully pucks are still banned from being brought onto the plane.  When Stamkos’ stick is loaded, he can do real damage.

If Tiger Williams is seated near you in first class, I suggest moving back to coach.  He fashioned a Hall of Fame career swinging his stick recklessly.  That guy with a hockey stick would make Mohammed Atta seem mellow by comparison.

Oh, flight attendant, you’d better get those headphones over to the surly brute with the toothless snarl in seat 7-C.  He looks like he’s taken a few spearing penalties in his day.  

It is so dangerous to fly now that sticks can be on planes that Pierre McGuire has asked for a Madden-type bus to ferry him to weekly games unless his can be guaranteed a seat behind the glass on all flights.

After the TSA announcement, Delta announced the addition of Sin Bin Seating on all of its flights over 2 hours in duration.  Any customer who does not have control of his stick at all times will be forced to sit in this new section, accompanied only by a Gatorade squirt bottle and an elderly Canadian in a crested blue blazer, for a minimum of two minutes (4 minutes if the hockey stick draws blood from another passenger).  Hitting an in-flight attendant will be cause for immediate ejection and at 30,000 feet, that is one harsh penalty.

For everyone’s benefit, I hope that flight attendants will now be required to complete special training in order to maintain order in the cabin.  It’s bad enough that hockey players are allowed on planes at all.  Now they’ll have weapons.  Breaking up a fight between hockey players is a difficult skill but when you add a stick and high altitude to the mix, things can get ugly fast.

Airlines of America, brace yourselves.  Starting today, all northern air routes will need a few extra sky marshals, preferably marshals fluent in English, French and Russian.  It is important to speak the language if you need to separate two motivated combatants. 

The wearing of goalie masks continues to be prohibited on commercial flights and there are no plans to allow freshly sharpened skates in carry-on luggage at this time.  As the impact of sequestration continues to ripple, this may change. 

If the TSA loosens these restrictions further and allows that foul smelling hockey equipment into the overhead compartments, we’ll know it is time to start taking the train.  That stench is not safe.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Next Target

The GOP’s overtures to women in 2012 were rebuffed convincingly at the ballot box last November, thanks in no small part to the party’s romantic embrace of older white men with little or no knowledge of women, biology, or common sense.  When your party becomes synonymous with the term “legitimate rape”, it’s time for an intervention – a non-invasive one of course.

It is too early to tell if Republicans as a political party learned anything from their disastrous embrace of far right candidates for vacant Congressional seats in the last cycle.  But what remains crystal clear is that those people who hold extreme social views are most comfortable identifying themselves with the Grand Old Party.  

To wit, so far in February 2013, Republicans have been busy working towards smaller, less intrusive government, unless you have the misfortune of being a pregnant woman:

·         Michigan Republicans have introduced a bill requiring all women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before obtaining a legal abortion.  The bill states that the “performance of a diagnostic ultrasound examination of the fetus at least two hours before an abortion is performed” is required by law (not by medical necessity). 
·         A bill approved by Indiana’s state Senate Health and Provider Services Committee would require clinics to conduct trans-vaginal ultrasounds on women both before and after dispensing the pill RU486.  The bill would require two medically unnecessary ultrasounds – one before and one after, to double the shaming no doubt.
·         The Alabama Senate is debating a bill that will require women to undergo either an external or transvaginal ultrasound, and women would not have a decision as to which procedure would be used.  I guess that’s up to the doctor or the governor.  Transvaginal ultrasounds are needed to detect an embryo in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.

To improve the party’s electoral fortunes, it’s time the GOP stops focusing on women and turns their attention to men and their contribution to societal decay.  Maybe disgraced candidates Akin and Mourdock from 2012 could lead the charge in the not so distant future on men’s issues.  Then we’ll be reading about attempts to kill the real demon seed of all sexual and moral impropriety:

GOP Moves to Outlaw Male Masturbation as “Assisted Suicide”

The Republican Party’s favorite candidates from the 2012 election cycle are back in the national news, and this time, they plan no apology tours.

Former Rep. Todd Akin (MO) and former Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock have teamed up to combat the scourge of male masturbation in America, calling the legal practice the moral equivalent of “assisted suicide”.  They have drafted a bill for Congress that would outlaw the practice and carry heavy fines and mandatory jail time for habitual offenders.

Akin and Mourdock explained that life begins at ejaculation and must be respected at all levels of civil society.  Opponents believe that this sticky issue will haunt the election campaigns of fellow Republicans in 2014, and they are mounting an aggressive thrust against what some describe as too rigid a position.  

Richard Hertz, an unemployed GOP political consultant specializing in building the party’s credibility with young voters, said, “Clearly these gentlemen have chosen to take a hand’s on approach to a private and personal issue, and I believe that is what rubs voters the wrong way.  They should stop spouting off and resist the urge to touch on this sensitive subject.”

Akin and Mourdock appeared defiant at the announcement news conference.

“No potential life should be choked off before it has an opportunity to grow into a child.  It’s in the Constitution, I’m pretty sure.  The right to the pursuit of happiness does not give a person the right to kill,” said Akin.

Questions about enforcement problems being a slippery slope towards sanctioned privacy invasion were brushed off by the pair.  “We have a firm grip on this issue, trust us.  If a man cannot delay his own gratification at the expense of thousands of little potential human lives, he deserves to go to jail.  Jail is the only solution to stop this madness,” Mourdock said, choking up while he spoke.  “The only way to teach these deviants that masturbation is murder is to send them to prison.  That experience will teach them never to do that again.”

Akin and Mourdock stated that they hope this focus on men will help repair their standing with women.  In order to demonstrate the party’s renewed focus on the women’s vote, the pending legislation would only target men who Akin explained have a genetic predisposition to exercise more self-control than women.

Akin said, “The male body has ways of shutting that whole thing down.”

Democrats were in a tight spot, now having to defend an act as legal and natural that nonetheless makes people feel icky talking about.  Sen. Harry Reid focused on the challenges that would face law enforcement.

“I do not believe in the concept of nullification and I believe that question was settled by the Civil War; however, I can tell you that, should this proposed measure become the law of the land, it is likely that authorities in my home state of Nevada will refuse to enforce the law and will publicly take a hand’s off approach,” whined Reid in remarks to an empty Senate chamber.  “Nevadites or Nevadians believe it is a man’s choice.”

It could happen.

The GOP: when it comes to women’s rights, GOP should stand for Got Other Priorities.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Great American Secluster

In order to understand the status of the secluster talks, you only need to review the official transcript of the meeting this morning between the President and the Republican leadership.  The text makes it crystal clear that we are in for an entertaining and economically painful few months.  

From the White House:  Summary from meeting today between Congressional leaders and the President on the Secluster cuts scheduled to take effect today:

Obama:  Thank you for coming.  We need to stop the secluster.  It is bad for America and a dumb way to govern.

Boehner and McConnell:  We are happy to be here.  As far as the secluster, you started it.

Obama:  I suggested spending cut triggers that would be so distasteful to both parties that a grand bargain on deficit reduction would be reached.  I wrongly predicted that the threat of these draconian cuts would force a compromise.  I was wrong.

Boehner and McConnell:  Yes you were wrong.  

Obama:  I just said that.

Boehner and McConnell:  And we agree.  We are agreeable.

Obama: So let’s replace the sequester cuts with a balanced plan that addresses spending and revenue.  We can include Republican ideas and Democratic ideas.

Boehner and McConnell:  Why won’t you lead?

Obama:  I am trying to do just that.  The American people voted for me in November.  I campaigned on a platform of a balanced approach to deficit reduction.  I am trying to fulfill that promise.

Boehner and McConnell:  No you are not.  You are a tax and spend liberal.

Obama:  No I’m not.

Boehner and McConnell:  Yes you are.

Obama:  I think it was the Republican Party that approved of fighting two wars and adding a prescription drug benefit without asking for any revenue offsets.

Boehner and McConnell:  You are mischaracterizing our limited government principles in action.

Obama:  Look, are you guys willing to compromise?

Boehner and McConnell:  Yes, we are not obstructionists.

Obama:  Good.

Boehner and McConnell:  We will compromise by offering to double the amount of tax increases we have already offered.

Obama:  But you have offered zero tax increases.

Boehner and McConnell:  Fine, then we’ll triple it.  We can be reasonable.  If you don’t accept that, you are the obstructionist.  Why won’t you compromise?

Obama:  What about closing tax loopholes?  Governor Romney campaigned on a platform of closing unnecessary tax loopholes as one way of getting our balance sheet in order.

Boehner and McConnell:  Closing loopholes is a tax increase.  That is bad.

Obama:  So Romney campaigned for a tax increase?

Boehner and McConnell:  No, he campaigned to close loopholes that unfairly benefit the 47% takers in society.

Obama:  But if it is a loophole, it is by definition something that circumvents the intent of the actual tax law that was passed.

Boehner and McConnell:  We support the rule of law.  Tax loopholes are in the law.  If you want to close loopholes, you do not respect the law.  Why do you hate America?

Obama:  I don’t hate America.  I am trying to find a balanced approach that protects America for the long term without sacrificing our short term economic needs.

Boehner and McConnell:  The secluster was your plan to gut our military and make America weak.
Obama:  Actually, I suggested automatic tax increases as the trigger if a deal wasn’t reached, and your side said, “No, let’s use defense cuts.”

Boehner and McConnell:  No we didn’t.

Obama:  Yes, you did.

Boehner and McConnell:  We are rubber and you are glue.

Obama:  Gentlemen, this meeting is going nowhere.

Boehner and McConnell:  We are waiting for you to lead us.

Obama:  OK, then I will lead you to accept a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes revenue increases, targeted investments, and spending cuts.  The polls all show that the country is with me on this.

Boehner and McConnell:  Stop campaigning and lead.

Obama:  Let’s try another approach.  What do you suggest that we cut from the budget to replace the secluster?

Boehner and McConnell:  Spending.

Obama:  What spending?

Boehner and McConnell:  Government spending.

Obama: What specific type of government spending do you recommend we cut?

Boehner and McConnell:  Wasteful government spending.

Obama: What government spending is wasteful, in your opinion?

Boehner and McConnell:  Spending money we do not have.

Obama:  Look, will you get specific?

Boehner and McConnell:  In this time of crisis, we need you to eliminate uncertainty.

Obama:  That’s what I’m trying to do!

Boehner and McConnell:  We are not certain you want to remove uncertainty.

Obama:  It’s time we stop managing our nation’s business from one self-inflicted crisis to the next.  It is not what the people have sent us here to do.

Boehner and McConnell:  We don’t like leading by crisis.  You do.  Why are you always scaring people with phony crises?

Obama:  Explaining the impact of the secluster is not scaring people.  In fact, you have used the same language I have to describe the impact of the cuts.

Boehner and McConnell:  No we didn’t.  You created this crisis.  That’s what liberals do.  Stop leading us into crisis after crisis.

Obama:  So you admit I am leading?

Boehner and McConnell:  Stay away from our guns.

Obama:  I thought we were talking about the secluster.

Boehner and McConnell:  Because of your secluster cuts, we will need more guns.

Obama:  Now you are using fear to scare people.

Boehner and McConnell:  Explaining the impact of the secluster is not scaring people.  It’s called defending liberty.

Obama:  I think this meeting is over.

Boehner and McConnell:  We are sorry that you will not agree to compromise and do exactly what we propose.  We are trying to lead since you will not.

Obama:  Doing whatever you want is following, not leading.

Boehner and McConnell:  We think this meeting is over.

Obama:  I’m not sure it ever started.  

Boehner and McConnell:  Thank you for seeing us.  Would you mind leading us out?

Hiding the Sausage in Milwaukee

Sports enthusiasts across the greater Milwaukee area are asking themselves tonight, “Who is hiding the sausage?”  It could be anyone.

Guido, one of the 7-foot tall Italian sausages that participate in the Milwaukee Brewers’ mid-game sausage race, has gone missing since February 16th.  It seems that the big sausage was slipped out of the backdoor of the Milwaukee Curling Club while attending a promotional event and remains at large.  Police are hoping that the giant piece of meat will be hard to keep under cover and will reappear soon.

The disappearance of the sausage occurred during a beer tasting event when presumably the bar patrons were too intoxicated to notice a giant sausage slipping through their midst.  Police were surprised that no one saw or felt the sausage come or go that night.

“A sausage that size has a mind of its own.  It could have slipped in anywhere and may still be there,” said a police spokesperson.  “Someone is hiding the sausage and we will not rest until we check every crevice and we find the missing link.” 

Local residents are dumbfounded.  “I’ve lived in this town for 25 years and it is hard to hide a sausage in this place,” offered Dick LeStange, a regular lecher at the Curling Club.  

“Believe me, I’ve tried with something much smaller than a 7-footer and it’s not that easy.”

There were some picture being posted online of women at other local watering holes with their arms around the sausage that same night, and the meat appeared to be in good spirits and standing at attention for the cameras.

Security around the other Milwaukee giant sausages has been increased.  “The last thing we need around here is some other drunken fan to try and grab another giant sausage in public.  Milwaukee has a reputation to protect.”

Authorities warn that if you come into contact with the big sausage, do not panic but seek immediate protection.    

UPDATE:  The sausage has been found.  According to the Milwaukee Journal , it was dropped off at TJ Ryan’s bar in Cedarburg on Wednesday night.  The bartender was asked by the men who returned it to pretend that she had not seen anything, and she then gave the paper the quote of the year describing the mysterious return of the mascot costume:  

"Like I didn't just see two guys plop a sausage on a barstool."