Can We All Stop For A Minute And Tell Oscar Pistorius To Shut The Fuck Up?

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

“Alleged” murderer and Olympic Roid-Fraud Oscar Pistorius is on a PR tour in anticipation of being tried and probably found not guilty on a technicality by a supremely messed up South African judicial system.

A sickly piece of journalism journamalism that only a celebrity-fuckwad like Pistorious receives, CNN’s Robyn Curnow got a chance to interview Pistorious as well as his Uncle and agent.  She opens her column with this drivel:

Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) – Oscar Pistorius is a heartbroken man who has to live with the fact that he killed the love of his life, his uncle has told CNN in an exclusive interview.

For the past three months, the double amputee sprinter has been living at his Uncle Arnold’s house in Pretoria. He has grown a beard because he doesn’t want to be recognized, and has surrounded himself with photos of Reeva Steenkamp, his uncle says.

Pistorius is charged with murdering the 29-year-old model and law school graduate early on February 14, and faces a court hearing next Tuesday.

Arnold Pistorius described the runner’s grief as “unthinkable” and says his heart bleeds for his nephew. “He’s got photos in his room, photos all over the place. He’s housebound, you know. He doesn’t go out in public places.”

pistoriousYeaahh, he doesn’t go out. Except for that time in April when he was out taking sad whiskey shots and grief flirting with the blonde ladies of Johannesburg.  But c’mon – he had mourned for a solid 6 weeks.  Have to move on at some point.

Way to call him on that.

The rest of Curnow’s article is entirely about the psychopath’s beard-growing and crocodile-crying. Not one question about the logic of why your 1st reaction to a hypothetical intruder is not to locate the “most important person in your life,” and instead just unload 4 shots into an occupied bathroom.

And if the parameters of the interview limited questions to Pistorious being a sad sack, why even bother?  So great “exclusive” CNN.

Almost forgot…Oscar: STFU

 

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One Sentence Album Review Via Wine Descriptors – The Black Angels

Posted by Matt on Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Indigo-Meadow-frontThe Black Angels – Indigo Meadow

While the tannic structure is painfully ordinary and fails to rise to the classically tempered albums of yore, at times it evokes faint juicy acidity and an assertive finish.

Grade:  B-

Listen to this while:  deciding whether or not to toss that homemade birthday card into the garbage.

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Hurricane Season Doesn’t Give A Damn About Austerity

Posted by Matt on Monday, June 3rd, 2013

One Time.  Just once I’d like to hear a GOP leader say, “Yes, we recognize man-made Climate Change is real. I just don’t give a shit,”  or “Yes, I recognize the scientific consensus and the dangerous course we’re charting, but I want to get reelected.”

But no. Dug in like ostriches with dropsy, the tools of the fossil fuel fucks continue to kick the can down the road to their grandchildren. Thanks!

(Everyone should listen to this episode of This American Life, particularly the part with former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC).  I mean everyone-who-might-give-a-shit-about-this-issue.)

So in light of an overall failure to take steps to combat climate change, we’re stuck dealing with the increasingly volatile and unpredictable weather patterns that result from our CO2 emissions.  Combine that with the budget cuts, obstructionist Republicans, and an overall lack of political will, and things will likely remain interesting.  Thus, Oklahoma won’t be the only place to get ravaged in 2013 as NOAA predicts hurricane season will be “active or extremely active.”  So good luck Coasters.

As coastal communities are increasingly vulnerable to more severe storms, across-the-board cuts mandated by the sequester could undermine the ability of federal agencies to keep communities informed and prepared for severe weather.

The National Weather Service, already cash-strapped and under scrutiny for sub-par computer modeling, will be grappling with a hiring freeze and mandatory furloughs as it heads into a potentially daunting hurricane season. The NWS office in Tallahassee, which typically has 18 meteorologists on staff, is down to 14 due to the cuts.

Though officials say they can maintain adequate staffing to provide critical services, such as forecasting at the National Hurricane Center in Miami and sending aircraft known as Hurricane Hunters into storms to measure speed and pressure, the staff and crews will be forced to take turns being furloughed.

In addition, nearly 1,000 Florida national guardsmen and civilian technicians will be furloughed beginning in June and lasting to September, which Governor Rick Scott says will impact their readiness and ability to respond to a major storm.

So everyone please keep those blinders on there’s nothing to see here please disperse go home and get that mattress to the bathtub we’re all fucked…

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One Sentence Album Review Via Wine Descriptors – Daft Punk

Posted by Matt on Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

daft punk  Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

My palate may be unrefined as most at the table gushed about the album’s devilish range of fruity and earthy flavors that were persistently harmonious.

Grade: B+

Listen to this while:  bubble-wrapping a toddler.

 

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George W. Bush Helped Save Lives – It’s The Truth

Posted by Matt on Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

looks great o'hai sequester.

looks great o’hai sequester.

Amidst a constant stream of poor and destructive 2003 decisions, George W. Bush did something that should be considered his crowning achievement (unless you’re a billionaire or esteemed magnate of the military-industrial complex or Both!).  In fact, it might be the only substantial and positive contribution he made to the planet before picking up a mirror and a paintbrush.  However, chronic boobery aside, he deserves to be lauded.

10 years ago, the United States expanded on Bill Clinton’s global initiative to combat HIV/AIDS, when on March 27th, 2003, President Bush signed the US’ President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, better known by its acronym PEPFAR.

At the time that PEPFAR was conceived of and then established during the George W. Bush administration, the world was witnessing first-hand the destruction of an entire generation of individuals in the prime years of their lives and the reversal of remarkable health and development gains, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and to a lesser extent in other developing nations. Rates of new HIV infections were rising rapidly, and hospitals, communities, and families were often too under-resourced and overwhelmed to cope with the enormity of this burden. At that time in 2003, despite the availability of life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in most countries in the developed world, in southern Africa and other regions of the developing world, an HIV diagnosis meant a virtual death sentence, since few had access to such drugs.

This is a notable issue.  Many government officials balked at providing wide-scale treatment, and wanted to instead focus solely on prevention.  One US government official said that Africans wouldn’t be able to take their medication consistently because “they didn’t have watches.” The seemingly arbitrary differences in pharmaceutical pricing of ARTs were also a hang-up. However, they persevered.

Today, as we mark the 10th anniversary of PEPFAR, the situation has changed dramatically. Plummeting life expectancy rates in much of Africa have been reversed; HIV-infected, but healthy, fathers and mothers who are receiving therapy are able to return to work, care for their families, and spur economic development. Doctors, nurses, and community health workers, who once had little to offer their patients beyond a more dignified death, are delivering life-saving ART to millions of people. AIDS-related mortality has declined by more than 26 percent since its peak in 2005. Where despair once cut a devastating swath through so many communities and countries, hope has been renewed.

With regard to the prevention of HIV infection, globally, in the decade since PEPFAR began, new HIV infections have declined by nearly 19 percent. Between 2009 and 2011, new HIV infections among children, still an important component of the epidemic in many southern African countries and other regions in the developing world, declined by 24 percent globally, compared to a 23 percent decline in the previous six years. Not only is progress happening, but its pace is accelerating.

PEPFAR is not perfect.  In its early days, too many resources were pushed towards abstinence-only programs. There are issues with family planning and contraception access as well.  Condom distribution is part of the program, but that’s it.  Still, look at the numbers below:

PEPFAR now estimates that it has provided life-saving treatment for more than 5.1 million people—a number that is set to go up and likely exceed the 6 million target set for the end of 2013.  In 2012 alone, it also provided treatment for 750,000 HIV-positive women to help prevent the transmission of HIV to their babies and support and care for more than 5 million orphans and vulnerable children.

The term “American Exceptionalism” makes me cringe, but if we’re looking for true examples of high-minded ideals, isn’t this it?  A bipartisan achievement that brought together names like Durbin, Santorum, Pelosi and Isakson in order to assist in saving a generation of people from deadly disease. When conservatives scoff about ‘soft power,’ or the relatively small amount of money spent on foreign aid, they do so derisively – decimating the discourse and dehumanizing those this country has helped. Isn’t this the type of undertaking the richest and most powerful country in the world should pursue?

PEPFAR has also been a common cause of three US Presidents: President Bush, whose steadfast political leadership was critical in PEPFAR’s early years; President Obama, who has expanded treatment and prevention targets; and President Clinton, who has championed the program since leaving office.

Here’s to another 10 years of growth, program improvements, and ultimately saving more lives.

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Any Given Meatball – The Bears Retire Another Number

Posted by Matt on Monday, May 27th, 2013

ditkaOn Friday, the Chicago Bears announced Mike Ditka’s number will be retired during halftime of the Bears’ Monday Night Football game against the Cowboys on Dec. 9.

Ditka’s “89” will be the 14th number retired by the Bears’ organization, the most in the league.  In light of this, Bears CEO George McCaskey indicated, “after this, we do not intend to retire any more but we thought if there is going to be a last one, there is no more appropriate one than 89.”

In a city that has plenty of blind Ditka-supporters, I don’t necessarily disagree with McCaskey’s point.  There has never been the mass realization that Ditka was a terrible coach or that his entire manufactured mystique is really all about him  – the orange tinted icon that will slap his name on any product and never miss an opportunity to proclaim himself representative of the city.

My bias against Ditka as a coach and human being is evident.  But if we’re leaving Ditka’s coaching career out of it, does he deserve that final spot?  And if not, is there someone who’s more deserving?

Let’s take a look.

#89.  There’s no doubt that Mike Ditka’s greatest contribution to the game of football came on the field.  He was a badass tight end in an era that was still coming to terms with the forward pass.

He played 6 seasons with the Bears before George Halas traded him to the Eagles.  He earned Rookie of the Year, 5 Pro Bowl selections, and a ring on the 1963 NFL Championship team.

He helped evolve the position, similar to what we’re seeing with Gronk and Jimmy Graham, etc. (and Sharpe and Gonzalez before that).  Before Ditka, the TE was almost exclusively a blocking position.  While he’s generally not revered to the extent of John Mackey, he’s an all-time great tight end.  A deserved Hall of Famer, Ditka ended his Bears’ career with 316 receptions for 4503 yards and 34 TDs.  He’s 4th on the Bears’ all-time receiving list (which might say more about the historic ineptitude of the team’s passing game.)

Regardless, that’s a very solid 6 seasons.  However, it’s only 6 years. Ditka spent 2 years with the Eagles and 4 more with the Cowboys, where he won a Super Bowl, before retiring in 1972.

Should the fact that he only spent 6 years with the Bears be taken into consideration?  Supporters would say Gale Sayers’ number (40) was retired despite playing only 7 injury-riddled seasons with the team.  However, Sayers spent his entire career with the Bears’ and though he flashed brightly before burning out, he a Bear through and through.  It’s not the same.

So if not Ditka, then who?

One Point:  There are Bears’ numbers currently retired who are less-deserving than Ditka.  For instance, I might be a callous prick, but I would not have retired numbers of guys like Brian Piccolo (41) and Bill Hewitt (56) – players whose numbers were retired following tragic deaths, but whose on-the-field accomplishments wouldn’t rate as legendary. (Where’s Gaines Adams’ love?) However, assuming the franchise won’t “unretire” these numbers, we’ll leave these guys out of it.

#54 – An argument can be made that Brian Urlacher is the 2nd best linebacker of his era.  In 13 seasons, he anchored a defense that had a lot of great years.  Statistically he’s hard to assess because he played so many years as the Cover-2 Mike whose primary job was calling the defense before sprinting backwards 10-20 yards in coverage.  Still, he was an athletic freak who probably could’ve played any LB position.  I would’ve loved to watch him play a season as a 3-4 OLB.  While he stuck to blockers on occasion, it’s hard to say anyone was better in coverage and only Ray Lewis was better in pursuit.

Listening to the quotes of his peers, especially Rodgers and Favre (I guess), I think it’s clear the recognition of Urlacher’s greatness is not just centered in Chicago, and resonates throughout the league.

Ditka supporters may argue that the passage of time dictates that Urlacher should “wait his turn.” Personally, I don’t understand why teams take so long to retire numbers.  For instance, Sayers and Butkis (51) didn’t have their numbers retired until 1994.  To me, if Butkis retired on a Monday morning, his number should be retired before the sun goes down.

54 v. 89?  Verdict:  54.

 

#99 – When it comes to Chicago sports, few are more underappreciated than Dan Hampton. That he had to bide his time and watch Mike Singletary get to the Hall 4 years ahead of him is an absolute travesty.  He was the best player on one of the best defenses in league history.  He played every position on the line, and was routinely double– and triple-teamed at a rate that only Julius Peppers can appreciate.  He made Mike Singletary.

Yes, he doesn’t have huge sack numbers (57), but he was a ruthless run stuffer, even at DE.  Plus he definitely gets bonus points since Mark May thinks he’s overrated.

Hampton’s teammates all recognized his greatness.  On no knees he anchored one of the most iconic defenses in league history.  4 Pro Bowls. 1 All-Pro selection.  11 seasons vs. Ditka’s 6.

99 v. 89?  Verdict: 99

 

#95 – Super Bowl MVP Richard Dent finally received his call to the Hall in 2011.  His 1985 numbers are absolutely ridiculous: 17 sacks, 2 Int, 7 FF, 2FR, and his 1985 postseason domination is the stuff of Bears’ legend.  While we can’t ignore that he benefited from playing opposite of Hampton, Dent was an insanely gifted and productive pass rusher.

The “Sackman” ended his career with 137.5 career sacks, including the most in Bears’ history – 124.5 in 12 seasons (with 34 forced fumbles).  Like Hampton, he had 4 Pro Bowl selections and was All-Pro once.

But Ditka went to 5 of 6 Pro Bowls?!?! Yes. There were also like 14 teams back then.

He also gets plus points for his astute (albeit bitter and hindsight) analysis of Ditka’s ridiculous coaching decisions:

Bringing Doug Flutie in and thinking that he’s gonna come in and be on a team for three weeks and start him in a playoff game? Hell, I mean you’re trying to change the name on the Super Bowl trophy to Mike Ditka (from) Vince Lombardi when you do something like that.”

And…

And we came back three years in a row and had home-field advantage,” Dent said. “Our coach couldn’t figure out the right quarterback to play. The disappointing part to me is that we only got one out of it. We should have been the first team ever to win three Super Bowls in a row. It was there for the taking, but we didn’t manage that one position right.”

I know I said I was going to leave Ditka’s coaching out of it, but Amen, Sackman. Amen.

95 v. 89?  Verdict: 95

 

#74 – I chastise fellow Bears-fans for living in the past and romanticizing an era of Bears’ team that ultimately disappointed (see Dent’s comments above).  Still, the concentration of individual greatness occurred during this era.

Often overlooked in comparison to Ditka’s Buddy Ryan’s dominating defense, the mid-80s Bears’ had a great offensive line.  Not good. Great.

Left tackle Jimbo Covert was the best of the bunch.  Drafted with the 6th pick in the legendary 1983 draft, Covert received 2 All-Pro selections, was 1986 Offensive Lineman of the Year and was selected to the “All-Decade Team” by the Hall of Fame Board.  From 1983-1986, the Bears led the league in rushing a record-setting four consecutive seasons.  The Bears finished second in rushing twice, 1989 and 1990, and third in 1988.

Following back surgery, Covert retired after the 1990 season.  He is not in the Hall of Fame, though I wouldn’t be surprised if that call came somewhere down the line.

When I woke to the Bears’ announcement on Friday, my indignation and Ditka-prejudice led me to get out over my skis in some early twitter proclamations. I think I had Curtis Conway (80) and Ted Washington (92) in line in front of Ditka. (Not really)

Anyway, this is a real tough call.  The franchise’s best TE versus their best O-Lineman.

74 v. 89? Verdict: Too close to call. (Cop out)

 

#50 – The most irritating part about Ray Lewis’ and Urlacher’s retirements is having to read “all time great MLB lists” that include Mike Singletary’s name with the likes of Lewis, Urlacher, Butkis, Nitschke, etc.  Mike Singletary was a very good MLB.  His accolades are off-the-charts:  2 DPOY awards (1985, 1988), 10 Pro Bowls, Hall of Fame and a shitload of tackles.

However, is Singletary the product of greatness, or the cause?  As mentioned, the Bears’ DLine was relentless.  For much of his career, the terrifying Wilbur Marshall (3 Pro Bowls) and Otis Wilson (1 PB) flanked him.  But since he was the vocal leader of Buddy Ryan’s defense, he was the easiest to assign all the credit.

(Though numbers don’t tell the full story, Urlacher:  41.5 sacks / 22 INTs;  Singletary: 19 sacks / 7 INTs)

The funny thing is that “Samurai Mike” Singletary and “Iron Mike” Ditka are incredibly similar.  They’re essentially caricatures. They evoke blind devotion from the Meatball-fan contingent:  Singletary has his crazy eyes. Ditka is fowl-mouth screamer immortalized by classic late night television.  They were both terrible head coaches.

When it comes to Bears’ LBs:  (1) Butkis; (2) Urlacher;  (3) Lance Briggs (Yep!); (4) Singletary

50 v. 89?  Verdict: 89.

So do I get why Mike Ditka is receiving this honor?  Yes.  Do I agree with it? Not really. Will I put my dislike aside, stand up and give him his proper due for his on-field accomplishments when 12/9 comes around?  Absolutely.

After all, I’ll be in a good mood because the Bears will be up 17-6 at the half on the hapless Cowboys…

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Homeowner Pays Loan Early, Gets Foreclosed On Because Bankers Are Thieving Bastards

Posted by Matt on Saturday, May 25th, 2013

wellsfargoWells Fargo – bank, investment advisor, manager of my IRA (yes, I’m part of the problem) and corporate citizen extraordinaire has found a new way to fuck over its customers.

ORLANDO, Fla. - A man who made loan modification payments on time and early said Wells Fargo stopped taking payments and started foreclosing on his house.  Etienne Syldor said he’s worked his whole life for a home in Orlando for his wife and three children. Syldor is an immigrant from Haiti and a bus driver at Walt Disney World. At times, he said he has worked multiple jobs to make sure he never missed a mortgage payment.

Oh hey great story America.  Wells Fargo cares about its customers. We’re all in this together.

Last year, Wells Fargo offered him mortgage modification, and he was told if he made four monthly payments during a trial period, the modification would be permanent. Court records show Syldor not only made the payments on time, but paid early and more than he was required to.

It’s why Syldor said he was in disbelief when the bank suddenly stopped taking his payments and sent him a letter telling him Wells Fargo was starting foreclosure proceedings.

Yeah, that’s something. So this guy who works his ass off and probably doesn’t have time for this bullshit can’t get an answer to a logical question about how he can lose his home by overpaying his debt.  So he has to hire an attorney.  Speaking from pure conjecture as an attorney who has dealt with Wells Fargo in similar circumstances (though my client was Nigerian), I’m guessing the attorney had a hard time getting a definitive answer from Wells Fargo, whose slogan is – I shit you not – “Together we’ll go far.”  So the lawyer contacts the press, who rightfully decides, “Hey this is fucked up,” let’s contact the bank.  Finally faced with the prospect of bad press that might draw more attention to their shady, deceptive and fraudulent business practices, Wells Fargo issues a statement.

Three days after Eyewitness News contacted Wells Fargo, bank representative Veronica Clemons sent a statement:”For some loans, completing trial payments is a significant step toward a permanent modification; however, in this instance, the loan was part of a mortgage-backed security and in a protected pool, with specific payment guidelines. We are working with Mr. Syldor to explain the guidelines and explore options that may help.”

The bank told Eyewitness News Syldor didn’t follow the modification guidelines because he paid early and sometimes his payments were sent one on top of the other.

That’s right. “Together we’ll go far” until you violate the derivative calculation of some complex security. Then we’re gonna hop off and I don’t give a shit where you go, even if it’s to the couch at your widowed aunt’s house.

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“Thank Dead Reagan For Electing Obama,” Says America’s Favorite Congressman

Posted by Matt on Friday, May 24th, 2013

In 1986, Ronald Reagan signed an immigration bill that included amnesty for about 3 million undocumented immigrants and secret Russian agents.  The consequences were twofold:  Having to press “1″ for English and the election of President Obama.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that President Obama would not be president if it weren’t for the 1986 amnesty bill that Ronald Reagan signed into law.

In an effort to dissuade Republicans, King argued that the 1986 immigration bill that Reagan signed into law is estimated to have brought amnesty to three million illegal immigrants.

He said conservative estimates show that, on average, each of these people brought in five others, leading to 15 million more people in the country, most of whom voted for Obama.

If these illegals aren’t in jail or busy pushing a Jarritos cart (without a permit!), they’re getting their vote on for “anchor president” Barack Obama.

Steve King is so against immigration reform he’ll throw Saint Zombie Reagan under the Greyhound and then build a fence made out of unsubstantiated election statistics.

You may remember congressman King from such gems as, The Only Congressman to vote against acknowledging slave labor built the capitol (and also elected Obama, amirite?); hating on hate crime protections; hating on Messicans (v.I to v.MMLM); hating on Messico and even hating on traveling to Messico.

Set your clocks to Teh Crazy. Steve King will be back.

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Vinny Del Negro Receives Exciting New Opportunity To Get Fired By Spring Grove High School

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Spring Grove, IN – New Spring Grove High School basketball coach Vinny Del Negro is ecstatic about his upcoming opportunity to get fired by the Indiana school. Meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Del Negro said, “I’m expecting big things out of this program. We’re going to put forth nearly maximum effort for the next 2 to 3 years before everyone realizes I’m in over my head and I move on to the next opening.”

The school officially hired Del Negro on Tuesday, hours after the Los Angeles Clippers declined to renew his contact.  Del Negro replaces former head coach Teddy Blake, who retired after 20 years and over 300 wins with the Blazers.

Coming off of an 18-8 season, SGHS returns 4 starters who should languish in Del Negro’s system that deemphasizes offensive movement and defensive discipline.vinny

“To take over a successful team with strong community support is very exciting,” Del Negro said. ”I expect Spring Grove to stand behind this team until the second time I burn our last time out with seven minutes left.”

Spring Grove Athletic Director Ben Simpson spoke to the press about the hire. “Well, it’ll be great for these kids to learn from a coach who has failed so spectacularly at such a high level.  By consistently getting so little out of talented players, he’ll be a great example to these kids not only on the court, but off the court as well.”

Added Simpson, “If a guy like Vinny can get to the big time, that’s a great confidence boost for these kids as they move forward in their academic and athletic pursuits.”

The Blazers open the season with 4A Champion Carmel on November 17th. Del Negro promises to play all 12 players and at least 57 different lineup combinations in the opener.

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Where I Talk About Being A Cubs’ Fan

Posted by Matt on Thursday, May 16th, 2013

April 29th marked the 30th anniversary of former Cubs’ Manager Lee Elia’s epic locker room rant. It seems like an opportune time to reflect on an excruciating character flaw – my Chicago Cubs’ fandom.

Of the minor missteps my mom took, influencing me to be a Cubs’ fan might be the most egregious.  In general, red wine has treated me better and fostered slightly smarter decision-making.  Let me take you back.

It didn’t have to be this way.  Having recently moved from Kansas City where I was a four-year old George Brett fanatic, pictures from Halloween 1983 show a child in a Carlton Fisk White Sox jersey, complete with a Big League Chew habit that was the gateway to junior high escalations. But a tacit White Sox endorsement from my city-raised Pops was not long for this youngster, whose farm-raised mother was ready to pull the South Side weed and plant the seed of pain and broken dreams.  A Cubs fan was born.

To put it into context, my mom is from central Illinois, where the accents are thick and they use the word  ”feed” as a noun.  I can sense conflict in her upbringing as well.  Mom talks about her grandfather taking her to Cardinals’ games.  My Uncle and her cousins are psychotic, plan-vacations-around-baseball type Cardinals fans.  Yet due to my grandfather, and for what it’s worth, Mom evolved as a Cubs’ fan, but without the passive-aggressive racism that was standard issue for populist farmers of my grandpa’s ilk.  (He used to call Lee Smith “Big Ugly,” which isn’t necessarily racist on its face, but…)

Mom loves baseball (and college basketball), so Dad conceded and that was that. But it was so close. I could’ve been a Cardinals’ fan – which would’ve meant timely hitting and championships (the reason why sports nerds love sports).  But, still – Cardinals’ fans.  I could’ve been a White Sox fan and been bred to be a low rent, excuse-making fusspot. But fusspots with a ring.  Still…Sox fans.

But enough about me.

Back in 1983 then manger Lee Elia ripped into Cubs fans following a loss that dropped the team to 5-14.  It is an epic rant.  Elia demonstrates the moxie of Earl Weaver without any of the managerial chops.  Take a listen.

1983 was a shitshow. That’s a theme. 1984 was heartbreak. That’s another theme.  For all the grief heaped upon Bill Buckner for his infamous 1986 error, Leon Durham was the original Buckner.  The Cubs’ had the NLCS. Had it. Then right through the Bull’s wickets went the season and Steve Garvey celebrated by impregnating a stranger.

I remember Game 5. Remember it well.  Holding onto my initial Royals’ fandom, I was able to celebrate their ’85 title.  I remember both these postseasons vividly – which is weird considering I was 6 years old and I can’t remember the last time I got the oil changed in my car.

On and on it has gone.  Years of spectacular ineptitude interspersed with heartbreak (2003) and disappointment (1989, 2008).

However, is it possible that the eternal optimism of Cubs’ fans may finally be warranted?  We’ve entered a new era – new ownership, and more importantly, 21st Century Management.

Full disclosure:  I’ve been to maybe 2 game in the last 4 years (down fr. a height of about 20/yr).  I can’t bring myself to watch them on television.  So how can I finally be optimistic?  It seems like grownups are in charge and the organization is evolving.  Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are astute and have a track record of building champions.  Tom Ricketts, though he has made some missteps, is interested in updating the garbage ballpark and bringing in new revenue so that, pending a new tv deal, the Cubs will be able to financially sustain success without having to throw huge money and no-trade clauses at overrated free agents.

Here’s the problem.  As Wrigley renovations creep forward, some of my fellow Cubs fans are bucking, reluctant to give up a “tradition” that has ruthlessly and repeatedly stomped on them before annually kicking them to the curb.  Honestly, forget tradition. The Cubs’ laughable and losing tradition is so ubiquitous that it’s the butt of jokes for late night talk shows and people who don’t even know how many innings are in a game.

They don’t want the electronic scoreboard. No elevated seating.  No more night games.  Don’t build a hotel. Please don’t block the rooftop leeches!  They want to retain all the  urine-soaked mystique of 1983, the ”playground for the cocksuckers.”

These people – who include the grown men who wait on Waveland Ave. for a home run to exit the park 81 days a year so they can run after it with their gloves like the stupidest chickens in the henhouse – these people are who Lee Elia is talking about (“the motherfuckers don’t even work!”)  and they persist to this day.

They talk about how it can be done without change. How it can be done without touching one men’s room trough.  They talk about how the Red Sox won championships in Fenway Park. You know what? Fuck Fenway Park. Fenway is one of the most overrated venues I’ve ever attended, but it’s great if you want your seat to face the right fielder instead of home plate.

When I read op-eds like this one bemoaning the addition of a video scoreboard and increased signage (revenue streams), I get pissed.  When I hear about the “poor roof top owners,” I boil with rage. Have you ever watched a game from up there? Trick question. You can’t. And they’re already a ripoff so seriously fuck them and fuck the homeowners.  Quite frankly, I like having the stadium in the middle of Doucheville, but you can knock it down and build it next door (like the Yankees) or move it to another part of town.  Wrigley is a shithole with shitty facilities, shitty scoreboards, and garbage food. US Cellular is a better place to watch baseball.  I’ve always maintained that people who argue “the Cell” is in a bad neighborhood are more likely to get in an altercation with some drunk meathead around Wrigley.  But that’s a red herring. Sox fans will look for any excuse not to come out to the ballpark.

The point is: forget tradition. The Cubs’ tradition is losing, and doing it in spectacular fashion.

From a baseball perspective, Theo and Jed have already turned one of the worst farm systems in baseball into an average one.  That’s no small feat. Savvy signings like Pat Maholm and Travis Wood are not the future of your rotation. They’re trade bait to build internally.  Rizzo and Castro signed long term deals that are extremely beneficial to the organization. I’m not sure people understand the extent of the damage that the Tribune Co. and Jim Hendry and his No-Trade-Clause dispenser did to the organization.  Piece by piece, build from within and then you have money to timely throw at free agents when you’re ready to contend.

In conclusion: Burn. It. Down. As it rises from the ashes, Theo and Jed will cultivate the most overdue of championships. Print it!

Happy anniversary, Mr. Elia. Hit the ball. catch the ball. and get the fucking job done.

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