Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

That Dirty, No Good, Cheating Tom Brady

The Super Bowl is coming up this weekend. I shall be avoiding it at all costs, given that I find it nearly as tedious and boring as golf, tennis, and soccer, but here's my take on the overblown affair.

Super Bowl Weekend Approaching; Patriots Dodge Uncomfortable Questions

Minneapolis (AP) The biggest party of the year, as it is sometimes called, is set to go off this weekend in Minneapolis. Super Bowl LII, the fifty second edition of the championship for the NFL- about the only organization still using Roman numerals for some bizarre reason- is being hosted this year in Minnesota, featuring the perennial favourites the New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles, who haven’t won a league championship since before the Super Bowl era- 1960. This reporter, who has never seen much point in the game at all, has been doomed to cover it this week by a cranky, volatile, and violent minded editor who really needs to (editor: shut up!)

This reporter, whose grouchy editor is the subject of an ongoing restraining order preventing any contact aside from email (editor: what did I tell you about shutting up? Shut up!) has been in Minneapolis as of late where the winter is cold and the U.S. Bank Stadium is getting ready for the big game. The annual extravaganza, which seems to take forever and is filled with spectacle, music, endless big commercials (and a really boring game) somehow manages to pull in huge audience numbers.

NBC is broadcasting the game this year, taking its turn as one of the three broadcasting networks affiliated with the NFL. The pre-game broadcast will start many hours before the evening kick off, and no doubt will feel far longer, while the game itself will of course stretch interminably, interrupted regularly for commercial breaks featuring overly expensive commercials meant to stand out from the crowd. In the days leading up to the event, tailgate parties and other special events have been taking place in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, with fans of many NFL teams streaming into the area

Along with this reporter, who frankly hates the game and is being punished by a grouchy editor (editor: I hate you! Oh, do I hate you!). Having had already been doomed to be at the Super Bowl by the aforementioned grouch in previous years (honestly, the paper has plenty of sports reporters who are already here, and I’m not a sports reporter), this reporter is here, putting up with plenty of cold temperatures, grateful for two things: distance from his cranky editor and the awareness that he is also equally far from another frequent assignment- press conferences by Michael Bay.

Most sports pundits are predicting the Patriots will repeat yet again as Super Bowl champions. They note that with an asterix, given the frequent charges in recent years of the team cheating in one way or another. Led by quarterback Tom Brady, looking to add a sixth Super Bowl championship to his name, the team has dodged questions in recent days about their tactics, which have included spying, surveillance, and deflated balls, all of which have caused a shadow on recent championship years. Head coach and dark lord of the Sith Bill Belichick has gone out of his way to dodge the press and the questions.

Businessman and team owner Robert Kraft, who isn’t quite as quick on his feet as the surprisingly swift Belichick, shrugged off the allegations of previous cheating when cornered by the press. “Look, it’s not that big a deal. Everybody plays at least a little dirty from time to time. And if that’s the worst thing a football team can be accused of, how bad is that? Do I have to remind you that we’ve seen football players commit murder?”

“Yes, your former player Aaron Hernandez,” this reporter reminded him.

Kraft looked irritated. “Dammit, why did you have to bring him up?”

“Well, you’re the one who started it by saying it,” this reporter noted.

“Yeah, sure, but… look, that’s all in the past, doesn’t matter, not to anyone, even to the families of whoever the **** Aaron was accused of killing.” Kraft strode off, perhaps regretting signing Hernandez.

Anonymous sources suggest that Belichick and Brady have been busy in the run-up to Super Bowl Sunday spending time with a voodoo witch doctor. “It’s like this, you see,” Don’t Use My Name admitted. “They’ve got voodoo dolls made of the entire starting lineup for the Eagles, and they’re talking about whether or not they should use pins or lighters on them. It’s spooky, man, real spooky. And I know spooky, all right? I was in ‘Nam, and I’ve seen some real scary ****. Wait, don’t quote me on the ‘Nam thing, there are only so many vets in the Patriots organization. You’re not quoting me on that, are you?”

Entertainment has been lined up for the big event. Two singers will open things up: Pink will do the national anthem, while Leslie Odom Jr. is scheduled to sing America The Beautiful. The halftime show, often described as outdoing the game on pure spectacle, is to feature Justin Timberlake, back again after being featured twice previously (including the infamous Nipplegate halftime show of 2004). This leads this reporter to wonder what it is about Justin Timberlake that has anything to do with football, but that’s usually been the case with Super Bowl shows. (editor: shut up! Lots of people like him!)

Someone else has been wandering around Minneapolis in recent days, trying to get attention. The one time football legend turned one note actor turned notorious murder suspect on trial turned convict for another matter entirely O.J. Simpson has been seen in recent days prowling the official functions and the tailgate parties. The seventy year old former resident of the Lovelock Correctional Center, who was released in October, having had served a few years of a 33 year sentence for a fumbled armed robbery and kidnapping conviction (this years after the so called Trial Of The Century for double murders in regards to his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman) has been seen here. He’s spent time signing autographs, drinking with cronies, and ignoring suspicious glares from wary people. This reporter has some previous history with the Juice, who has threatened to kill him before.

“It’s like this,” Simpson told a crowd of reporters, looking worn out and older than his years. Prison has not been good to him. “I’ve ****ing got to have something to ****ing do. The Juice has got to make a ****ing living. So I’m here to shake hands with those ****ing team owners and make my ****ing case. You want me to coach the team? I’ll coach the mother ****ing team. You want me to play? These ****ing legs have still got it. You want me to consult with the ****ing players on how to get away with horrible acts? I’ll do that too. Wait, don’t ****ing quote me on that last one, okay? I was just joking, right?”

He laughed, being the only one doing so. The reporters gathered round were looking uncomfortable. Police officers assigned to security at the pre-game festivities were watching carefully. Simpson fell silent, as if realizing he was the reason for the uncomfortable tone in the air. Then his gaze fell on this reporter. He stared, and stared, and stared some more. And with that, recognition seemed to dawn in his eyes. “Hey! It’s you!” Recognition changed to anger. “You’re that mother ****er of a mother ****er who ****ed me over by saying I threatened to ****ing kill you, mother ****er!”

The police started moving in while Simpson kept raising his voice. “Get the **** over here! I wanna get my ****ing hands on your ****ing throat, mother ****er!” By now, four police officers were closing in on Simpson, wading through the reporters. “You ****ing take that back, you ****ing hear me? I’ll ****ing kill you if you don’t take that back!” Simpson was pulled away by the police, out from the crowd of reporters, kicking and screaming incoherently.

His official spokesman, Kato Kaelin, stepped in, and simply said, “No comment. Except a reminder to watch my new reality show, coming soon on MTV. We’re calling it Mooching In Style.”

And with that, the scene was at an end. Simpson spent the night in custody and was put on a plane back to Florida in the morning, after being told not to return to Minnesota ever again. Brady and Belichick continued to evade reporters. Hordes of fans continued to pour into the city in anticipation of what is sure to be an endless, boring, pointless game that will not go down in memory. And this reporter, doomed by the aforementioned cranky editor…. (editor: shut up, or I give Simpson your home address)

In the opinion of this reporter, his editor needs a really big bag of weed.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Day In The Life Of A Cat

And so it is time, since the dog had the first say, for the resident cat to have the last word. Your Grace? The slobbering hound is gone.

7:09 AM. Waking up at home. Taking a big stretch. Yawning. Dreamed of endless fields of catnip. One of my favourite things. Along with belly rubs- three strokes only- followed by breakfast, and taking over my staff’s lap at times that are most inconvenient to her.

7:13 AM. Sitting on the back of the couch, peering out into the early morning. Brooding as I gaze out on the vastness of my domain. A look at the calendar. Not many days left in January. Which means we’ll soon have stories about groundhogs dragged out of their burrows by guys in top hats, seeing or not seeing their shadows, and people grumbling about six more weeks of winter. I don’t know what they’re complaining about, but then again, let’s face it, I don’t spend much time outdoors when the temperatures drop around the freezing mark. 

7:18 AM. Pacing on the back of the couch, looking upstairs. Okay, I can hear the sounds from upstairs, so I know the staff is up and about getting ready for the day. Come on already, staff, it’s high time you get started on my breakfast.

7:23 AM. Wondering what point is sufficient for me to go up there and start meowing loudly.

7:27 AM. The staff finally comes downstairs. I greet her with head bonks to the legs and meows. Now then, staff, it’s time for my breakfast, and I have certain demands that must be met. Now first and foremost, I know you ignore my repeated informing you that I don’t care for field rations, so for the love of Isis, stop putting down a bowl for me. Second, why are you up this late? You should have been downstairs a full half hour ago just to put a plate in the fridge, because I like lightly chilled plates for my morning meat. Third, despite what you might think, I am not high maintenance.

7:28 AM. Expectantly watching my staff preparing my breakfast. Licking my lips in anticipation.

7:30 AM. The staff has put down my breakfast. A bowl of milk and a plate of chicken is to my satisfaction. True to form, she persists in putting down a bowl of field rations too. Staff, I will simply have to train you better.

7:32 AM. Finished my breakfast. I have left the field rations alone. I shall let the staff have some peace and quiet while she gets to her own breakfast. After all, she has work today, and she can’t be late for that. Because if she’s late for that, she’s late to get home and spoil me rotten.

7:38 AM. Muffled barking in the distance. That vile hound, no doubt, out for his run. I wish he’d see his shadow and disappear for six weeks.

7:46 AM. Bidding farewell to the staff as she’s on her way out the front door. Now then, staff, don’t you even think of procrastinating in terms of getting yourself home this evening, because I fully expect to see you promptly back so that you can spoil me.

7:48 AM. Watching the staff depart in her car. Still hearing distant barking. The mutt sounds furious. Maybe he’s chasing his tail and can’t understand it’s attached to him.

8:27 AM. Still sitting on the back of the couch. Barking persists. Is he trying to set a record for longest consecutive barks?

8:52 AM. The barking has finally ceased a few minutes ago. Time, I think, for a nap.

11:39 AM. Waking up. Yawning and stretching. Feeling quite well rested.

11:49 AM. Wandering into the kitchen. Eyeing that bowl of field rations. Considering options.

11:50 AM. Despite my better judgment, I help myself to some of those field rations. It’s a long time until dinner, after all, and I was feeling hungry.

1:31 PM. Barking from down the road. A glance at the clock confirms my suspicions. The mailman must be dropping things off. Why dogs persist in their hostility towards mailmen is beyond me. If you want to bark your head off, bark at the vet. They deserve it and worse.

2:02 PM. Giving my claws a workout on the scratching post. In doing so I have triggered some residual catnip on the carpet and it’s about to set me off into a catnip frenzy in five, four, three…

2:37 PM. Coming down from my catnip frenzy. Have sprinted through the whole house, upsetting scatter rugs as I have gone along. I have no idea how I ended up on top of the fridge though. I’ll say this much: a catnip frenzy certainly does tucker you out.

4:54 PM. Waking up from my nap, still on top of the fridge. This is not my usual napping spot. Though I am rather fond of the contents.

5:09 PM. Watching something on the History Network. At least what used to be the History Network, because I fail to see what much of its programming has to do with history. It’s about Groundhog Day, and there’s some frazzled looking academic going on about the Sacred Order Of The Groundhog. Oh, brother. Turn this off, there’s no way I’m going to dumb myself down with something even less plausible than a Dan Brown plot.

5:30 PM. The staff walks through the front door. I greet her with head bonks and hellos and all that fun stuff. Tell me, staff, did you happen to pick up any catnip while you were out? I’m just saying, one can never have too much catnip.

5:55 PM. Supervising the staff while she’s making dinner. Whatever it is, it smells good.

6:36 PM. Dinner with the human. She’s cut me up some lamb strips. Very good, staff. I must say, why you insist on having kale with yours is a mystery. I mean, isn’t that something rabbits would enjoy instead?

8:27 PM. Lying on the staff’s lap, interfering with her attempts at reading. Life is good.

11:42 PM. The staff is off to bed. Very well, staff. Sleep well. I shall maintain a watch down here overnight. In between naps. But don’t close your door. You know and I know that neither of us like it very much to have me meowing my head off at four in the morning demanding to be let in.

I prefer to pounce on you with no warning.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Day In The Life Of A Dog

It is time once more for the perspective of the dog and the cat. As always, the hound gets to talk first.

7:12 AM. Waking up at home. Dreamed of chasing a groundhog over and over and over and over and over again. 

7:17 AM. Staring out the front windows at the pre-dawn. Looks pretty cold out there. I’ll be glad to get out for a run. But first things first, of course. Breakfast must be my top priority. Speaking of which, should I be patient and wait for the human to come downstairs, or head up and make inquiries through barking?

7:19 AM. After some consideration on the matter, I have chosen to be patient and behave myself and be a good dog and just wait. Because I am a good dog. A very good dog. Just as long as you don’t ask the mayor or mailman or vet for their opinion, because between you and me, they’re all liars.

7:26 AM. The human comes downstairs. I wag my tail. Hello, human! Fine day, isn’t it?

7:28 AM. The human obliges me by pouring a big bowl of kibbles in my bowl. Thumping my tail in anticipation of my impending breakfast…

7:29 AM. Licking my chops after devouring breakfast. Boy, was that good. Yum yum yum!

7:30 AM. Inquiring with the human about letting me out. It’s time for my run, after all.

7:38 AM. Sprinting through the back fields, barking my head off. Lots of fresh powder all over the place. Nice and cold. Feels good to be out and about. 

7:45 AM. Trotting through the woods. Movement in the snow up ahead. Is it…? Yes it is. It’s that damned squirrel!

7:46 AM. Chasing the infernal vermin through the woods. Get back here!

7:47 AM. The despicable squirrel has successfully evaded my chase by climbing a tree. He’s up on a branch right now chattering away, taunting me. Hey! Why don’t you come say that to my face, you little bastard????

7:51 AM. Pacing around the tree, listening to that vile dirtbag going on and on. He’s laughing at me! Count yourself lucky that dogs can’t climb trees, you glorified rat, because if I could, I’d be up there right now making your life into a living hell!

8:23 AM. Continuing to pace. Looking up. The squirrel is sticking his tongue out at me. That results in more barking from me.

8:39 AM. Okay, he’s obviously never going to come down here. And I can’t stay out here all day. I’ve got better things to do with my time. Like naps and mooching. Okay, you little bastard… you might have gotten lucky today. But luck runs out. And guess what? When yours runs out… that’s when I’ll be there. And that’s when you’ll regret ever getting on my bad side.

8:40 AM. Walking away from the scene. Hearing the squirrel continue to chatter away and laugh at me. Cursing the day he was born. Vowing revenge. Nobody teases Loki and lives to brag to their friends about it!

8:52 AM. Returning home. Barking to alert the human to my presence.

8:53 AM. Let in by the human, but not before she applies the Towel of Torment to my fur.

8:58 AM. Circling around three times on the living room floor before settling down for a nap. I need it after the morning I’ve had. Hopefully my dreams shall consist of revenge plans upon that despicable squirrel. Oh, how I hate squirrels… 

11:44 AM. Waking up. Glancing at the clock. Oh, good, I haven’t missed lunch.

12:05 PM. Mooching from the human while she’s having lunch. A ham and cheese sandwich really hits the spot.

1:31 PM. Out on the front lawn, barking at the mailman as he drives off after leaving a few things in the mailbox. Get lost, you evil villain! Don’t you ever come back here again!

3:29 PM. The human is having tea. She’s been kind enough to give me a tea biscuit. My patented sad eyes expression certainly helped that.

5:02 PM. The Weather Network is on. One of the meteorologists is chattering on about how Groundhog Day is coming. That probably explains a lot about my strange dreams. Human? Why do humans rely on a rodent for weather predictions? Isn’t that just a bit, I don’t know…. Silly?

6:31 PM. Dinner with the human. She’s provided me with some nice tasty chunks of roast beef. I don’t know why she’d want to eat hers with potatoes and carrots, but then again, humans can be a bit strange, can’t they?

8:53 PM. Lying on my back in the living room, pondering the aerodynamics and maximum velocity of a squirrel in top speed. How do I compensate for that? 

11:37 PM. The human is off to bed. Very well, human. Good night. Sleep well. On the off chance that you hear a storm of barking downstairs at four in the morning, it’ll be because that despicable squirrel decided to pay a visit to our windowsill and stick his tongue out at me.