Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Annual Overblown Waste Of Time

The Super Bowl is this weekend. I will not be watching, as I would rather crawl on my hands and knees through a mile of broken glass. But it is my tradition to poke fun at the event regardless. And so here we are...

Super Bowl LIII about to be unleashed; Patriots Swindle Their Way Into Game Again

Atlanta (AP) It happens every year this time of year. The bloated, tedious, inane sporting league otherwise known as the National Football League holds its over the top championship game, the Super Bowl. A broadcasting event known for over the top theatrics in a half time show, endless commercials, and a tendency to take hours longer than it should, the Super Bowl mysteriously brings in big ratings each year while boring the hell out of anyone with a working brain and/ or good taste.

This reporter, condemned for the rest of his career to take assignments from a cranky editor who hates him (editor: for good reason! So shut up!) has come to Atlanta, which is hosting the big game for the third time this year at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. A side note: corporate branding rights are tacky (editor: they are not! Now shut up or I’ll have your columns branded with the Tombstone Funeral Homes name!) A week long of celebrations lead up to the game, with tailgate parties and Super Bowl themed decorations everywhere to be seen, while this reporter wishes he had an ocean between himself and this spot (editor: shut up or I’m dropping you in the ocean). This year is particularly controversial, a common theme for recent Super Bowls.

The New England Patriots, who keep making regular appearances in this event despite allegations of cheating and dirty tricks, are led by fading quarterback Tom Brady and Machiavellian dark lord coach Bill Belichick. The Los Angeles Rams, formerly of St. Louis before moving west for the 2016 season, come into the big game under a stormcloud of controversy after the NFC final against the New Orlean Saints. It was a final particularly plagued by an incompetent no-call on a pass interference by an official. For many fans it might be impossible to pick a team this time out. Outside of New England, the Patriots are widely despised, while the Rams combine the elements of being a team that pulls up stakes and alienates their fans on the one hand, with the controversy of the NFC final on the other, making them quite unsympathetic.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, often the target of much scorn from the public and from pundits over how he handles the League, his inability to deal with the issue of players kneeling for the anthem in any meaningful way, and many other reasons. In the wake of the no-call controversy, the calls for Goodell to resign have carried on from many quarters. Goodell has been visible this week around Atlanta, but refuses to take questions from reporters. When cornered by several, including this reporter, his response to a query on his tenure met with a short two word response that cannot be reprinted in papers, but ended with the word you. (editor: well that much I get! I’d be inclined to say **** you if I was face to face with you, and one of these days, I’ll get past that restraining order and end you!)

On a side note, this reporter would like to point out that his cranky editor, forbidden by legal restraining order from being in the same vicinity as him, and who must thus only communicate by email, has once again threatened the life of this reporter. It would be advisable of the authorities to take this into consideration. And this reporter would like to suggest to his publisher that perhaps it might be ideal to put the cranky editor out to pasture once and for all (editor: shut up! I’m not a cow!)

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a close friend of the individual currently squatting in the Oval Office, is pleased by his team’s return to the big game when he spoke with reporters. “Everything came together just like we planned. We cheated and swindled and stacked the deck and got all our cards in place and here we are, about to cheat our way through the big game. Wait a minute… did I say that out loud or just think it?”

Tom Brady, the longtime Patriots quarterback who has been described as a real American hero by Patriots fans (note to the fans: an athlete is not a hero. A soldier, a cop, a teacher, a doctor, a nurse… anyone who works to put food on the table and keep a roof over the head of their family- that’s a hero) is returning once again. At 41, he’s fading as a talent, dismissive of any concerns that he might just be human after all, and ignoring the past controversies and scandals that have dogged his team (editor: shut up! Brady still has it in him! And he’s as honest as the day is long!). “Can’t we get past Deflategate?” he asked at a press conference earlier this week. “I mean, in two years when we’re right back here again, you’ll all be asking questions about Goffgate.”

A reference to Rams quarterback Jared Goff? “What’s Goffgate?” this reporter asked.

“It’s about the broken leg we’re gonna give Goff on Sunday in the first five minutes of the game,” Brady said before realizing he was saying it. “Wait a minute, wait a minute. I didn’t say that, okay? I never said it and you can’t prove it and it never happened!”

“You just said it on live television,” another reporter pointed out.

“I did not!” Brady protested, clapping his hands on his ears and yelling, “la la la la la la” before handlers took him out of the room.

Bill Belichick, the head coach of the Patriots and occasionally mistaken for the Emperor from Star Wars, has been elusive for answers from reporters. It has been said that witnesses have seen him tampering with the Gatorade supply for the Rams, conducting blood sacrifices at midnight to favour his team, and signing a deal with the Prince of Darkness to ensure the Patriots would prevail (editor: whatever it takes to win! And I’ve got a grand bet on the Patriots to take it all!). Regardless of glares of death coming from the head coach and words of rage coming from the cranky editor (editor: shut up!), this reporter sought another opinion or two. Reached for comment from his offices in the Seventh Circle Of Hell, Satan would not confirm or deny the allegations. “The truth is I don’t even like football. Now golf, that’s my sport.”

His counterpart in Heaven has a different point of view. God, otherwise known as The Almighty, and sometimes known as the Big Guy, is often invoked by athletes to favour them with a victory. It seems quite common with football. When reached for comment, God shrugged. “You know, if I let everyone who invoked my name win a game, there would never be a defeat. And sometimes losing a game is about building character. It’s not just how you win that counts, it’s about losing gracefully. And by extension, I don’t even like football. I find it very silly. Oh, by the way, the Patriots are cheats, cheats, and big time cheats, and they’d better watch it or I’ll forego my usual non interference status quo and go all Old Testament on them.”

From the sublime to the vile. Another face that’s been seen in Atlanta this week is a one time legend who ended up becoming infamous for all the wrong reasons. Former football star and inept actor O.J. Simpson, who was the central figure in what was often described as the Trial of the Century (as if no one had ever heard of the Nuremberg Trials), has once again turned up at the scene of a Super Bowl in the wake of his release from prison on theft convictions. The faded old player isn’t what he once was on the field, not even what he was during the murder trial that captivated the country. Nor is he invited to the game in any capacity by the NFL. A surprising gesture, given that the NFL often turns a blind eye to domestic violence and other crimes committed by their athletes.

This reporter, having had been the subject of previous hostility from The Juice, stayed at a distance while he was speaking with a crowd of reporters- a crowd he had sought out, as opposed to being sought out by them. “It’s like this,” Simpson promised. “You could just have The Juice run the big ****ing show. Name me the ****ing NFL commissioner already. It would be ****ing epic. Can you imagine, with my ****ing history and my ****ing prestige how ****ing big it would be? Or you can just keep going with that ****ing ****er Goodell. **** Goodell! Yeah! I went there! **** that ****er!”

Simpson smiled, paused for a moment before continuing. “So that’s what the **** I’m here for. I want Goodell overthrown, and I want the **** back into the game, running the whole ****ing thing. That’s called respect, baby, that’s what The Juice deserves!” He paused again, his eyes falling upon this reporter, and his expression becoming hostile. “You! It’s you!” he said, his voice rising.

This reporter shrugged. “Yes, it’s me. And it’s unfortunately you.” After all, The Juice was at this point twice the age of this reporter, with bad knees and fading eye sight.

“Shut the **** up, mother****er!” Simpson yelled. “You kept writing that I was ****threatenin’ to ****in’ kill you, mother****er! Take that back! You ****ing take that the **** back, mother****er!” He started to advance through the crowd, oblivious to the sight of three cops closing in on him. This reporter was not. “You ****in’ take that back, or I swear to ****ing God I’m gonna ****in’ kill you, you mother****er!” Before Simpson could break through the crowd, the police officers intercepted him and pulled him away. This reporter, inspired by a moment of juvenile behaviour, gave Simpson the finger.

It was enough to make Simpson scream in incoherent rage. Perhaps the gesture might come back to haunt this reporter some day, perhaps not (editor: The Juice won’t have the opportunity to end you, you bastard… that’s going to be mine and mine alone to do.)

This reporter would like to note that once again, he has been threatened by a cranky editor who should be tossed into a padded room for the rest of his life. (editor: I hate you! Oh, I hate you! You are so dead! Do you get that? You’re a dead man!)

This reporter will close off by saying that he has heard that before.

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Day In The Life Of A Cat

And now it is time for the cat to have her say...

7:04 AM. Waking up at home. Slept exceedingly well. Dreamed of vast fields of catnip.

7:05 AM. An inspection of the pre-dawn exterior suggests that it is very cold out there today. A look at the thermometer confirms that impression. If my staff was of the inclination to park outside, she might find that she would have difficulties starting the car today, but she does hook the thing up inside the garage this time of year.

7:09 AM. Sounds from upstairs confirm my general impression that the staff is up and about and that therefore I don’t have to go upstairs and meow incessantly at her to wake up. 

7:10 AM. I have turned on the television and tuned into the Weather Channel. For whatever reason, the channel has brought back that lunatic forecaster who keeps having winter panic attacks and predicting the end of times every time snow falls. You’d think by now they’d know better.

7:11 AM. And now he’s using terms like HypothermiaGeddon and Snowpocalypse to describe the forecast for the next few days, suggesting that none of us are going to survive. Someone yanks him away from the camera before he can keep up with his delusions.

7:12 AM. The anchor apologizes for her colleague’s behaviour. Yes, well, an apology is only good if you remedy the situation. And by remedying the situation that means correcting the problem- in this case no longer employing the services of a demented idiot who keeps advocating cannibalism every time we get fifteen centimetres of snow.

7:19 AM. Still waiting on my staff to come downstairs. Wondering if that idiot hound from down the road will be spending much time outdoors today. Not likely, but you never know.

7:23 AM. The staff comes downstairs. She takes a long look at the outside thermometer and shudders. Yes, staff, it really is that cold out there. First, I would prefer it if, when you leave, that you ensure I’m not in the path of an incoming draft when you open the door. Second, if you worked remotely from home, you wouldn’t have to go out into that kind of cold today. And third, it is time for my breakfast.

7:25 AM. Supervising my staff as she prepares my breakfast, explaining my requirements. Now then, staff, as I’ve said many times before, I do not have any need for those field rations you insist on providing. So let’s just keep it to the milk and the meat this morning, okay? And would it be such a trial to ask you to wake up a half hour early and put a plate in the fridge? The optimal dining experience for a feline is to have her breakfast plate slightly chilled. I know I’ve explained this to you many times before, and for whatever reason you never listen.

7:27 AM. The staff puts my breakfast down. The bowl of milk and plate of chicken meet with my approval. But she persists in adding a bowl of field rations as well. I sigh and start on the first two.

7:29 AM. Finished breakfast. I shall leave my staff to have her breakfast in peace. No doubt she’s pondering calling into the office and seeing if she can get out of coming in today. 

7:30 AM. Distant barking from that foul mutt. Well, with things this cold it’s not terribly likely that he’ll come over here today to irritate me by walking on my property, so that’s a good thing, at the very least.

7:37 AM. Passing along instructions to my staff before she goes. Now then, staff, do remember to bring back some milk from the store on your way home tonight. Don’t even think of doing so before work, because if you leave the milk in your car all day, it’s going to freeze. And would it kill you to buy a couple more boxes of catnip? We’re down to three boxes.

7:38 AM. The staff unexpectedly opens the front door while I am still in the path of the incoming draft. I feel the cold air hit me like a sledgehammer and bolt away as fast as I can. That was not funny!

7:40 AM. Sitting on the back of the couch watching the staff pull out of the driveway in the car. Still feeling the cold. Well, I think a moment like this requires a good deal of time spent near the fireplace. Fortunately my staff does leave it on through the day.

10:05 AM. Waking up from a nap. My time by the fireplace has done me some good. Warmed me up considerably and put me right to sleep. But as I’ve always said, a cat can never stockpile too many naps.

10:09 AM. Examining the calendar indicates we’re in the last days of the month. Which means Groundhog Day is right around the corner. Which means that the humans are going to be preoccupied with the forecasting abilities of a grouchy rodent. Humans are weird, if you ask me, and of course you are asking me.

12:16 PM. Walking into the kitchen and feeling hungry. Unfortunately the only thing out in the open are those field rations I’ve been avoiding.

12:18 PM. After much reluctance, I help myself to the field rations.

12:35 PM. Watching the local noon news. The sportscast is on. They’re talking about that whole Super Bowl thing happening in a few days, showing footage of that Patriots coach who’s pretty much evil incarnate, like Emperor Palpatine reborn. And this guy’s the hero of countless fans in New England? Cats know if someone’s pure evil. Even dogs know it. And I know evil when I see it. Besides which, it’s a silly, pointless game that goes on for way too long.

12:37 PM. The commissioner guy is going on and on about the officials being more vigilant in their duties on field and not letting a repeat of the pass interference fiasco happen again. Whatever you say. Maybe the fiasco that happens at this big game will be something completely different, like both teams coming down with the measles at the same time and being unable to play. I wonder how many sports fans would be driven nuts by that.

2:41 PM. Currently engaged in an outright sprint to see how fast I can dash through every single room for absolutely no reason other than to upturn the scatter rugs. The only better time of day to do this is when my staff is present, so she can wonder if I’ve lost my mind.

4:27 PM. Waking up from a nap, looking at the clock. It’ll still be another hour before the staff comes home. Assuming her car starts at that work place. I don’t know if they’ve got a garage or anything there, having had never been there. We shall see. Well, she can always take a cab home otherwise. Because I will be requiring dinner.

5:26 PM. The staff arrives at home. Having had seen the arrival of the car in the driveway, I have had the good sense to make my way back to the vicinity of the fireplace and away from the draft coming in from the front door. I call a meow when she steps inside, but don’t move until the door is closed and a few seconds have passed. Cold air does have a way of lingering, after all.

6:32 PM. Dinner with the staff. She has cut up some lamb into nice bite sized chunks for me, while insisting on having hers with cauliflowers. Human beings can be such a peculiar species if you ask me, and of course you are asking me.

11:27 PM. The staff is off to bed. Very well, staff, good night, sleep well. But keep the door open. On the off chance that a frostquake goes off in the night, I might be obliged to take shelter beneath your bed. That, or jump up on top of you and scream at the top of my lungs.

Friday, January 25, 2019

A Day In The Life Of A Dog

It is time once again for the point of view of the dog and the cat. As always, the dog gets the first say, as he is so easily distracted.

7:04 AM. Waking up at home. Slept quite nicely. Dreamed of chasing a groundhog.

7:06 AM. An inspection outside of the predawn light. Not many birds around the feeders. A glance at the thermometer gives me pause. Wait a minute, it’s how cold?

7:08 AM. Turning on the television to the Weather Channel, which confirms that this area is indeed that cold today, and that wasn’t just a malfunction in the thermometer. Debating to myself if I should go outside today. Aside from the call of nature, which will have to be attended to.

7:10 AM. That silly forecaster who keeps getting pulled off the air for going into panics and predicting the end of the world every time we get a snowfall is back. You’d think they’d keep him in the asylum after his last recommendation that everyone has to eat from the dead, even if that means killing your great aunt Gladys. Come on, man, we’re Canadians, we can deal with a little snow and cold. Though to be fair I’m planning on sticking close to home today.

7:11 AM. The forecaster goes on and on about something he’s calling HypothermiaGeddon and how we’re all going to die and how nothing can survive the Snowpocalypse. And then he’s pulled off the air. Maybe this time the channel will actually follow through and not let him back.

7:12 AM. Another forecaster comes back on and promises that her colleague will be getting the help that he so clearly needs, urging people to merely take precautions while out in the cold. See? That’s sensible. Going all Donner Party isn’t productive. Which reminds me, I’m hungry.

7:16 AM. Waiting on my human to come downstairs. Because after all, it’s not as if I can open doors by myself or anything. 

7:19 AM. Wagging my tail and greeting the human. Good morning, human! Say, it’s a really cold day today, so I don’t think I’ll spend too much time out there. I’ll even make it easy on us both and not roll around in the snow so you won’t have to bring out the whole Towel of Torment thing. But first things first! Have you given any thought to my breakfast? Because I’m hungry enough to eat a horse. Which is a weird expression. Not as weird as that forecaster saying we’ll have to eat Aunt Gladys. I wonder if he has an Aunt Gladys and this was some sort of subliminal statement of hostility coming to the surface. Anyway, that’s not important! What is important is breakfast!

7:21 AM. Thumping my tail as the human pours me a big bowl of kibbles. Oh boy oh boy oh boy…

7:22 AM. Licking my chops after finishing off breakfast. That was good!

7:25 AM. Asking the human if she can let me out for a bit. I’ll be right back!

7:27 AM. Outside. Definitely as cold as it was predicted. Okay. So let’s take care of business and scramble right back inside again.

7:30 AM. Barking at the door to alert the human to my wanting to come back in. Come on, human, you know how cold it is, I heard you use that colourful vocabulary when you let me out.

7:31 AM. The human lets me back in. I scramble into the living room and to the fireplace. As warm as the house generally is, it’s always warmest by the fireplace. I lie down with my belly to the fire. There’s nothing quite like lying with your belly to a warm fireplace. Unless it includes belly rubs, but as the song goes, we can’t always get what we want.

8:23 AM. The human is out the door to do some chores around the barn. She’s wearing five layers of clothes. Hopefully that’s enough, but I’ll keep an eye out for her return.

8:37 AM. An examination of the calendar indicates we don’t have many days left in the month. Which means February is coming. Which means Groundhog Day near the beginning. I wonder why humans put so much faith in a cranky rodent’s weather predictions. It’s winter. It happens. It ends when it ends, and not based on what a groundhog has to say.

9:02 AM. The human returns inside with icicles hanging off her clothing complaining about the cold. I muse on whether or not I should apply the Towel of Torment to her, but then again, I lack the opposable thumbs to hold it. Well, think of it this way, human. At least your farm doesn’t include animals- except for me, of course- because you’d have to be going out to the barn multiple times a day on a day like this. 

10:33 AM. Mooching a cookie off the human while she has her morning coffee. Yum yum yum!

12:09 PM. The human is having lunch. I am using my patented sad eyed doggie look to convince her to give me a dinner roll. Ham and cheese. Oh boy!

1:29 PM. Barking up a storm at the mailman as he drops off mail out at the box. Whether or not he hears me is another matter, as I am barking from the warmth of the indoors. But a dog’s duties include a serious barking at enemies like the mailman.

4:11 PM. Waking up from a nap. Looking outside. Still looks cold outside. Wondering how many people actually believe in the weather forecasting skills of a groundhog.

5:38 PM. Sitting in the living room while the human is busy cooking. Smells good, anyway, but I’ve seen her handling broccoli. Well, just as long as she doesn’t expect me to eat that.

6:25 PM. Dinner with the human. She’s given me a plate of stewing beef. For whatever reason she’s made hers into what she calls a casserole. I don’t know about you, but a casserole sounds like a totally made up word.

7:31 PM. The human is watching a sportscast with chatter about a Super Bowl and anger in some place called New Orleans about a pass interference. Whatever that is. I don’t know why humans take that game so seriously. They throw a ball around and don’t even let a dog catch it.

8:20 PM. Lying on my back in the living room, staring at the ceiling while my human reads. Pondering the great mysteries of life. Who made up the word Snowpocalypse anyway, and can we give them a swift kick in the pants?

11:43 PM. The human is off to bed. Very well, human! Sleep well, dream good dreams, and I’ll be down here faithfully guarding the place. Unless a frostquake goes off in the middle of the night, in which case I’ll be bolting up those stairs and hiding under your bed.