Friday, December 29, 2017

Strictly Business

People in Steeler Country are sharply divided about James Harrison, one of the Steelers finest linebackers getting released by the club and signing with the arch-rival New England Patriots.  Some look upon this move as a personal affront .  That he has betrayed and sold out Steeler Nation and has joined the enemy.  Some would almost equate Harrison's signing as akin to treason or aiding and abetting the enemy. I'm pretty sure that a few of Harrison's #92 jersey will end up in a few roaring fireplaces during this current cold snap. Of course, fans are blaming everyone within arm's length about this debacle. The Rooneys, Coach Tomlin, Trump, Obama, no one has escaped blame. Many people think that Harrison was signed by the Pats so Belichek can pick his brain to find out the Steelers defensive plays and strategies.  Thing is, Belichek has plenty of game film in the Pats' many wins over the Steelers to pore over.  I doubt that there isn't much more Harrison can tell him about the Steelers defense than he already knows.

The Steelers have played Harrison sparingly this season. He's only seen 40 snaps thru 15 games.  And who knows how much more he'll see with the Patriots. Harrison is 39 years old, his best years are behind him. He's a beast in the weight room. But he is 39 and not the intimidating presence he once was.  Questions popped up after the release about how all this went down. Did he ask to be let go? Did the Steelers just cut him without any input from him?

Well, acccording to a statement released by James Harrison on his Instagram feed, he asked the Steelers for his release multiple times and all he got from the team was lip service.  They didn't call him after he cleared waivers, and New England called him and he signed.  I pretty much figured that he asked for release, although I thought that pertained to the most recent events.  But he made what he thought was a business decision. And I have no problem with it. I'm still a Steeler fan, although I don't see the world thru black and gold lenses. I do not consider myself a Yinzer that looks at the Steelers as my personal warriors or defenders.  I see the team for what it is: a professional football organization dedicated to winning. They use their players to achieve that end, and the players get paid handsomely for their services and can come and go as they please. Once a player is cut or released, they are free to try and find a gig with another team. Professional sports is a business. Nothing more. I root for the jersey first before the player who wears it. The players owe me nothing.  Like it or not, yinzers. To the Steelers and the other 31 teams in the NFL, the players are expendable . Some more than others. And please don't say that Art Rooney would not have done this. He let Franco Harris go to Seattle back in the '70s. Good luck to James Harrison in his future endeavors.

If he decides to come back and retire as a Steeler, I'll welcome him back. But I have no animosity towards James Harrison or any other player who leaves the team for presumably greener pastures. They are doing what they have to do to survive in the NFL. Every player has a window of opportunity in order to make as much money as they can while they are able to play in this league. The average life span of an NFL player is about 3.5 years.  Some players stick around for 15-20 years, some barely make it out of training camp.  During that time, they're trying to make money to support their families. Some will take the 'hometown discount' to stay with their chosen team because they like the city, the fans, etc. They hope to retire as a member of that team.  And while those players are becoming few and far between, such loyalty is laudable and it makes the fans happy. Others, are looking to make as much money as they can during that limited window of peak earning potential and if that means getting a better deal from another team once their contract is up or they get let go, so be it. Pro sports are a business. Players come and go. Teams exploit players and players exploit teams.  Root for the jersey.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Small Dogs and Gentrified Mutts.

All right, let's cheese off some dog lovers. Especially those who love those little yippy critters that look like the love child of a mutated rat and a dust mop.  I don't know what you call those little canine freaks, but they ain't dogs.  To me, a dog has to weigh at least as much as a case of beer. Bottles, not cans.  A case of beer goes between 15-20 lbs.  If your dog does not weigh at least that much, it ain't a dog. I don't know what the hell it is, but it ain't a dog. The Denise's old, fat, Dachshund, Snickers clocks in at just over 20 lbs.  Her deceased Beagle, Buck, we had to weigh his fat ass on a truck stop scale.  They are dogs. They are both batshit cray-cray, but they are dogs.  These little misfits that can be stuck in a Kardashian's bag, them ain't dogs.

And another thing. What is it with all these crazy assed mash-ups? Labradoodles, Schnoodles, Doberdoodles,  whatever! People be taking any two funky looking breeds, throwing them together and coming up with something that shouldn't exist outside of Frankenstein's lab, and they're getting major coin for them! WTF! In my day we had a another term for artisanal, small-batch, reserve limited edition collector critters.  MUTTS!!! And you went to the Animal Rescue League, gave 'em $20.00 and took his ass home. That same dog of indeterminate parentage now goes for a couple grand! I'm waiting for the day some nut puts a Chihuahua and a Bull Mastiff together. Oy!!!  I am definitely in the wrong line of work!  Even I can take a couple dogs, stick 'em in a room, throw on some Barry White and let nature take its course. And sell the pups for big money!!!  I gots to get in on this bandwagon! I smell major income enhancement potential. Uncle P's Canine Mash-Up Shelter and Crab Shack!  I could franchise this!  I SMELL MONEY!!! 🐶🐶🐕🐕🐩🐩💲💲💲💲💲

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Geeked up for the holidays? Nah.

I don't get that geeked up about the holidays anymore.  I don't put up a tree or hang lights on the house. I don't fix a special dinner or exchange presents. I don't sing Christmas carols or watch those insipid Hallmark Christmas movies.  I'll go to church on Christmas Eve. I might just stay home and binge watch Star Trek and Elementary on my phone.

Most of my family has passed away. Those who are still alive, I never felt that close to.  Other than hanging out with friends, I don't see the need to get worked up over holidays if you don't have a lot of family and loved ones to spend them with. 

My oldest brother and last sibling died about this time 10 years ago. He was my last close family member. Since 1976, I've lost: parents; stepfather; siblings; grandparents; assorted cousins; nieces and nephews. I have a few family members still alive, but we aren't all that close and I haven't talked to them in a while. I have no immediate family left.  Not that I'm angry at them. Our family was just not that close.

Other than a few close friends and my Facebook family, a few of whom I have met and spent time with in the real world, I spend most of my time alone. Which I tend to prefer. I'm a loner by nature. I like to live by my own schedule and come and go as I please.  I get a little depressed sometimes when I don't have someone to spend time with. But lack of contact with others does not debilitate me. I won't say that I'm in the soundest of mind, but I could be a helluva lot worse.  You don't have to have a bake sale for me. I'm functioning fairly well on my own.

All I'm saying is that during this holiday season, if you have family and loved ones that are still around, spend time with them. Give them just a little tighter and longer hug. Tolerate just a few more of their bad jokes and weird quirks.  Put up with their annoying kids and/or pets for just a little longer.  Choke down just a little more of the science projects that pass for their cooking.  Because that's what the holidays are for. Strengthening the ties between you and the ones you love.

And if you know of someone who, like me, doesn't really have anyone to spend time with, check in on them. Call them up, go visit them, at the least, send them a text message saying that you're thinking about them.  That contact might be the difference in their lives between hope and hopelessness.  This time of year can be tough for those who have no one.  If you can, ease their burden, just a little.  #JustSayin

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fun with Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster is the infernal love child of Satan and  Donald Trump!

So, I'm trying to get a ticket to the 3 Rivers Classic hockey tournament at PPG on December 29-30.  I'm going both days so I hit the Ticketmaster app on my phone. They have two day tickets in my preferred location (between the blue lines halfway up the lower bowl) for $57. A bit steep for college hockey, especially for where I'm sitting, but your boy don't sit in the corner, or behind no goal,  and I ride or die for RMU. No big deal.

But this is Ticketmaster we're talking about, kids.  Tack on a $3 'facility' fee, a $10.50 service fee, and that kicks up the price to $70.50! Add on the $4.95 processing charge.  And what makes matters worse, they don't offer e-tickets for this event. All they have are paper tickets which they'll deliver for between $4.75-$18.50. Add all that up according to Park Place math and the max total comes to f*****g $93.50!!! Wrong effing answer, Recruit!!! Tell you what. I work right next to the arena. I'll go over to the box office and buy the damn things after work!!!  At least I'll save some of the fees!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Flipping the script on Religion

Something I've been thinking about the last couple. The majority of Americans hold some kind of religious beliefs. Whether it's the God of the Abrahamic religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, or some other faith. I think the number is about 70 odd percent. But I may be wrong. 

But the number of people who identify as atheist, or agnostic, or simply non-religious or some variant is on the rise.  But let's flip the script. Say one day the majority of Americans no longer believe in God, or embrace some sort of religious beliefs. Say that number gets to about 70-80 percent.  Maybe higher. What happens to the minority of those who still hold to their beliefs. How will the majority treat them.

Our Constitution guarantees freedom of and from religion. But will the majority seek to change that? Will they try to eliminate those who practice religion? Will they shunt them off to the side and regard them as freaks to be laughed at and made fun of as unenlightened backward folk who refuse to put aside their superstitions and myths?  Or will they be allowed to still exist and be ignored, their houses of worship slowly moldering away as fewer and fewer people use them except for the odd wedding or funeral. Their religions allowed to become  more and more irrelevant.

I tend to think the latter. I think that sometime in the future, religion will become a thing of the  past. It'll still be around, but its relevance will be a shell of what it is now.  #JustSayin

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

COVFEFE!!!

In the middle of the big ocean, there be COVFEFE!! A lot of Covfeve. Beautiful Covfeve. Wonderful Covfeve, Winning Covfeve. The best Covfeve ever. The American people demand only the best and finest Covfeve. And we're gonna get Mexico to pay for the Covfeve.  Obama never gave us this much Covfeve, or this good Covfeve. I'm the only one who can give the American people this much wonderful Covfeve. Believe me, you'll get so much Covfeve, you get tired of winning all this Covfeve. I know more about Covfeve than the generals do.  Mexico isn't sending us their best Covfeve, they're send the Covfeve of rapists, murderers. We're only going to admit the best Covfeve. The finest Covfeve.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Patriotic Theater on teh Facebook.

So much patriotic theater on teh FB today. Everybody's getting their Star Spangled  indignation on. I just laugh.

So many problems this country is facing. Natural disasters, racial division, a health care  crisis, economic inequality, mistrust of law enforcement, an incompetent President heading an equally incompetent Congress, the possibility of war with North Korea, with China waiting in the wings, and people are getting their panties in a bunch over a group of football players kneeling at the playing of a song that has to be one of the worst national anthems ever created.

Give me America the Beautiful over the clusterf**k that is the Star Spangled Banner any day.

It's like one of those meetings where the participants spend most of their time passionately arguing over the color of the paper the agenda is printed on, rather than the subject of why they were meeting in the first place.

People swearing that failing to stand for the National Anthem will bring about the downfall of the republic. Nonsense.  Neither the flag nor the anthem are holy objects that must be worshipped. Honored, revered, respected, yes. But not worshipped.

In case you're wondering about how I react when subjected to the National Anthem.  When I'm at an event, and the national anthem is played, I stand, remove my hat, and reverence the flag. Sometimes I take advantage of a little- known clause in the National Defense Allocation Act signed by Pres.  Bush the Younger in 2008 that allows veterans to remain covered and salute the flag as if they were still in uniform. Either way when the song is over, I recover, give a salute to the flag, and sit back down. I do love this country, I'm proud of my service , as undistinguished as it was. I did what I did.

Understand one thing. In the oath that US military personnel take upon induction, there is only one thing that we are charged to support and defend...the Constitution. Not the flag, not the anthem.

Don't get it twisted. I respect the flag, I honor the flag,  I'm not a fan of the Star Spangled Banner, it's not my  choice of music for our National Anthem, but it is what we as a country decided on so I'll stand  for it.   But there is only one American institution that has earned the distinction of explicit support and defense by those who served in this country's Armed Forces. And that is the Constitution. The document that seals the rights of every American to peacefully protest against those things that bother them or that they feel is unjust. And I tend to think that police brutality against unarmed​ citizens in general, and Black people in particular falls under that category.

Colin Kaepernick said that when he first knelt at the anthem that his protest was about police brutality against Black people. He said that he was not disrespecting the military or vets until he was blue in the face.  But because he upset the apple cart by not standing like a real patriotic 'Murican, everyone jumped to the tired conclusion that he was disrespecting the flag, the veterans, military personnel, etc. I really do wish that people would stop using vets and military personnel to advance their political agenda. We're not a monolith, nor are we fetishes that must be handled with kid gloves. As many vets took a knee with Kaepernick as decried his actions.

But I don't get bent out of shape if someone chooses to kneel, or sit, or turn their back to the flag during the anthem. I don't get angry, or self righteous. It's none of my business. Your patriotism (or lack thereof) is none of my business. That is between you and your God or your conscience. I've got a helluva lot more important things that make my hair gray than what you do at the anthem.

If you choose to refuse to stand, because you feel your cause is just, God love you. That's what living in America is all about. The right to peacefully assemble and or protest. Emphasis on PEACEFUL. Kneeling at the National Anthem instead of standing qualifies as peaceful protest.

All I ask is that you be peaceful and don't try to FORCE me to accept your reasoning. Tell me politely how you feel and what drives you to take the action you take. I'll respectfully listen. I may not agree, but I owe you at least the opportunity to be heard.

I saw a bumper sticker on a car that said 'Wag More, Bark Less.'   I agree wholeheartedly.  We need to stop shouting and do more listening.  You don't have to agree, but I've never heard of anyone being hurt by listening. #JustSayin