America the Beautiful, Nauseating Gauntlet

Pols were stunned to see Doug Williams win a Super Bowl MVP award in the ’80’s-let alone take a snap. This was also around the time one lobbyist predicted Eastern Washington would go on to become a wine-industry capital.

‘Nam stun-gunned us. Booze and Mad Science are bringing Mighty Kong to his knees. Here comes a sample of how the Reagan-era brainstorming for Morning Again in America went down: Picture a suburban D.C. bar on a December school night if you can…it’s 20 degrees, blustery and the current time of six ‘o clock looks and feels more like 10 pm. Good scotch-sipping weather to work with, while half-watching anyone but Greta Van Susteren read you the news…

Politician: So how do we make this happen? Feasibly?

Lobbyist: China, India…and we’re working on a few others. We move our headquarters to Switzerland with long term protection and we’ll make sure to send you back some cheese.

Politician: And you say I’ll be able to take a picture of my chest and send it to any broad in the world?

Lobbyist: Within a minute. And she can send you a shot of her yams right back. But the Chinamen think you’ll need a good sized mirror to do it in front of. That way it’ll look straight, sharp. You’re a congressman for God’s sake. You can’t be sending crooked pics of yourself…(laughs)…I don’t care how old she is!

Politician (his head now even further into the gutter, thinking, “Of course that’ll work, but don’t ask him about it! How’s he gonna know if the picture will do it justice?”)

Lobbyist (imbibes, then begins thinking after signaling for another round of Bushmills, “I know what this ‘ol sailor really wants to take a picture of. No, no, don’t joke about it. I got this one in the bag. Riggo’s already got his hundy. Just take a knee.”)

Politician: Anything else?

Lobbyist: (What the hell?) What do you think about wine?

Politician: I think my mother-in-law drinks it.

Lobbyist: (laughs casually) Boxed wine in the ’90’s, Jon? We have areas in the Northwest that share the same latitude and altitude as France.

Politician: (Gives a bitter-beer-face in response before asking the barkeep to bring the phone over.)

Lobbyist: Easy money if you can get border patrol down in the desert to bury their heads in the sand for a few years. (He then winks at the corner end of the bar. It’s a brunette with a perm, smoking a Virginia Slim.) It will explode, I assure you.

Politician: Yeah and a DeAndre is going to quarterback the Redskins to a Super Bowl ring. Stick with technology kid. You may have something there.

What I had, even before Occupy Wall Street began, was my first American epiphany: it reminded me that life still isn’t fair and that postwar 1945 through the 1950’s, the days when everyone who wanted a slice got one, are never, ever coming back. Goodbye yellow brick road. Hello old bedroom.

Occupy Times Square, 1945.

The overall complexion and outsiders perception of the Stars & Stripes has flip-flopped. America is no longer a proud, bulletproof democracy, but rather a great big con job-a business, a used car; with liberty and patriotism being used as bullet points in the sales pitch. Ask any congressman what our priorities as a country are and they’ll say, “Creating more jobs.” That’s business.

Thanks to what Princeton professor Cornell West often refers to as “warped priorities,” poverty along with obesity and woe is now at a pandemic state. This is a byproduct of the little guys’ once very reliable babysitter, the American Dream going kaput (or when it opted for early retirement post Vietnam). The elite decided we needed a new babysitter, so Reagan’s people did what all lousy parents/supervisors do: handed us a bottle (it practically rains booze in America to the point where we’re no longer a land of functioning alcoholics like Korea) and stuck us in front of the tube (advent of cable TV has evolved to the point where Cheers reruns can be viewed from a cellphone in a Greyhound station occupied by mostly winos).

In the end, nobody is a winner. If watching highlights of a political rally gives any indication what kind of people whom our country is comprised of-schemers, clowns, pigeons, the poor and the poorest-then I fear for the kindergarteners of today.

Speaking of schemers, politics no longer function as a public service, but stands first as the world’s campiest rivalry; pinning the Donkeys and the Elephants. Each side will tell you they have the right formula. Meanwhile, party brass on each side is out looking for their next puppet. Advisers are conjuring up a clever counterpoint to spin wheels with, and the male poly-sci intern is assigned to Google Map the golf course with the finest cocktail lounge.

Limousine Liberals spit on and mock the bible (the same book that gave us a B.C. head start, when it warned us that money is the root of all evil) and cheerlead for social progress and human rights all while confirming to stand with the status quo on Roe v. Wade. Conversely, when you think of Republicans, you think of disparities such as shotguns, pro-life, the death penalty and along with the real kicker: christianity and capitalism? Bible thumpers with (bloated) bank accounts, huh?

When you start to talk about how humanity’s current state reached a crisis level in the United States of America, the touchstone element one should closely examine before taking a side should rest with the human condition itself-which really isn’t all that complicated: for every man who eventually rises to a seat of power, at an early pivotal point in his life when he knew he could, someone in position to help engineer his progress went ahead and told him no. So then the individual typically proceeds to react in a emotional, compulsive fashion, and eventually that leads to self-demonization (that can go as far as Hitler) or even organized malice by those he associates with (that can go as far as John F. Kennedy).

Then there’s the guys who turned out okay, he who gets drunk the very evening of rejection. He’ll sleep it off, and in a few days kept doing whatever it was the authority figure already rejected, with limited feelings of resentment. These are the good guys. Prolific, resourceful and not overly sensitive. Know any like this anymore? Go ahead, be honest with yourself and name 10 men that you know whom you would feel perfectly comfortable running the country for the next eight years, let alone babysitting your kids. Most of us thought Obama was this guy. I’m still holding my breath.

So who can you trust to help further advance society in America?

We’re going to have to learn to trust and depend in ourselves. Participants of Occupy Wall St. are on the right track, but you can’t be down there with a chic phone in one hand and a Pumpkin Spice Latte in the other. Action speaks louder than words, and if I may use one more cliche, all protesting on Wall St. does is remind me of this old expression, “The ass looks at the well, and the well looks at the ass.”

Protesting is commendable. But in the end, its loud noise that only finishes half the marathon. Men with deep pockets aren’t losing lunch money or sleep because of Occupy Wall St.

The only solution as this point is to declare war against corporate America and its bedfellows, the political parties. Starve the beasts to death. Don’t look, don’t touch. That goes for everything. For one year: No NBC of any kind, no Fox News, no newspapers, certainly no attending the campaign trails, no new shoes, and may I even suggest you don’t vote in 2012?

Ancient Chinese philosopher Sun-tzu once wrote, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

We will be at war with each other again. Imagine how powerful a statement it could be, if most of us across this land ignored our government along with its hired guns and talking heads from now until 2012.

No more wants, only needs. I’m not asking you to give up beer or wine, I’m asking you to brew your own or support locally while still paying your taxes. Democracy thrives when obligations to citizens are being met. So until that is happening, let’s just freeze ’em out. We need roads fixed. We need to shed weight. We need students to become booksmart again. We can get this done by outwitting the Mitts of the world.

We may never get these jobs back. Let’s face it, America is already overpopulated, and even if half the jobs that are outsourced come back home, technology is still more dependable and practical for any business owner to work with. That’s an undeniable, sobering formula that anyone who is running for president wouldn’t bring up on the back end of a pickup truck.

Think of all the manual labor jobs that’ve been lost due to an insecure U.S.-Mexican border over the years. Those are jobs American-born teens should be occupying in order to save for college with. What’s the alternative look like? Video Games!

Having recently spent a year outside the country, I couldn’t wait to get back. I still love it here, even if it is the Titanic. Pigpen America is the only America I know. So strangely, the day it gets easy to succeed in the pursuit in finding happiness and daily comfort is the day I know longer want to live here.


Halloween Special ’11: Trick or Treating With Tito and Hoody

Long before the days man discovered deviled eggs even, artists of the written word have continuously passed on the idea that debt harbors a gloomy cycle of resentment, greed, insecurity and hyperbole, until ultimately, someone gets squashed.

After his 90 win team channeled the South Bend Blue Sox for the month of September, Terry Francona reached a mutual agreement to step down as manager of Boston’s own Red Sox last week. Judging from the media and fan reaction to the historic meltdown, the old skipper sure owes Red Sox Nation an explanation-or does he?

Papi was the October hero. But when Francona got the axe last week, it also symbolized the end of the greatest Sox era.

Before he won his first World Series championship in 2004, he was known as “Fran-Coma” by the millions of diehards. Since October of that year, he was often referred affectionately as “Tito.”

With Christmas of ’04 fast approaching, Santa Claus’s phone bill had suddenly begin to parallel A-Rod’s gentleman’s club tab. In order to keep up with the growing demand to deliver Red Sox trinkets for good kids from Bean Town to Seattle, St. Nick had no choice but to hire more and more elves from out of eastern Asia.

By late 2007, Boston no longer had just a professional baseball organization-they were like revolutionaries passing out something reminiscent of “I Voted” buttons that instead read, “Red Sox Nation” with “Tito” as its spokesman.

But now, October 2011, it’s all over. And all that’s left is an aging DH, a knuckleball pitcher, and some smaaaught kid whose responsible for handing out more dollar bills to Carl Crawford than the amount of times 81-year-old Willie Mays has ever blinked.

So the kid gets a fresh shave today. He’ll wake up in his “Rain Man Suite”, scan his closet for the right match of Tommy Bahamas and Hush Puppies, splash on some Banana Republic, think about spinach for lunch and soon send a few joshing texts to his Northwestern cronies about his thoughts on The Windy City.

Meanwhile Fran-Coma, the unemployed manager briefly known as Tito, most likely starts his day scrolling through text messages from veteran journalists seeking confirmation that pitchers did indeed drink beer during games.

The day cats and dogs get along is when the skipper of the Red Sox isn’t scrutinized around the clock.

“Throw me one name for whose responsible in reporting this to begin with, and I’ll give you publishing authorization to my bio, I promise ya” Francoma replies to Joe, an ESPNWorcester-AL East blogger.

“If I don’t protect my sources,” the blogger replies, “I’m doing a disservice to my profession, Terry.”

Now Francoma hobbles over to his bathroom-not because he has to go-but because he’s in need of the patch, located in the medicine cabinet, in order to calm his annual Autumn craving for a Lancaster wrapped in Dubble-Bubble.

After a bowl of Captain Crunch with the kids, he drives them to school, then its over to the city to pick up his paycheck. After today, the cashflow will cease, but the yellow journalism never takes a day off.

Text #2 comes from a female television personality whose known to brake for clichés, pinot grig and flamethrowers. Ms. Thunderlips wants to get Fran-Coma’s thoughts on his former captain Jason Varitek, along with an assortment of other teammates, popping late-night bubbly in a Boston club upon returning from the season-ending loss in Baltimore.

Fran-Coma immediately says a four-letter noun to himself. But ever the diplomat, he reminds Ms. Thunderlips that a.) they don’t have to play tomorrow and b.) finishing a 162 game season is merit enough for a little cough medicine outside the clubhouse keg-erator.

“Jeesh!” Fran-Coma said, hours before Bigelow Tea will send an email to his agent passing altogether on moving forward with contract negotiations. “Eight years of dealing with nincompoops. When will this debt be paid already?”

Finally, while he was picking up the wife’s dry-cleaning, his most respected local counterpart, Bill Belichick, head football coach of the New England Patriots, leaves a voicemail from his desk in the Ivory Tower of Gillette Stadium out in Foxborough.

In the NFL, a head coach is only as good as his quarterback and vice versa. Hoody had the benefit of winning with Tom Brady early, but where his shrewd intelligence shines through is his ability to continuously give the media nothing but nuggets of coal.

Foxborough = Winter Wonderland

When hired by the Jets post Parcells in ’99, remember how Hoody instead ran a go-route in under 4.3 out of the Big Apple? Patrick Ewing probably reminded him that the press in that town has the longest winning streak in sports.

For pro sports in Boston, there’s rarely a delay in traffic; where a baseball game is more important than parent-teacher conferences, it’s the Red Sox taking the top two spots, with AAA Pawtucket a very distant second, of course. For the common sports lover in New York has more teams that they can-and certainly do-choose to invest their time with. New Yorkers’ favorite teams are the Yankees followed by the Democrats and the Mets.

Yawkey Way = Chop Shop

Once his lunch has settled, Fran-Coma finally collects enough fortitude to listen to Hoody’s voicemail a few hours later.

Belichick says, “Terry you’re a good guy and a better representative of the game of baseball. Someday you’ll be re-admired in Boston, I promise you. Just remember when you go to Chicago, like any big city, the media uses its own beauty to destroy. Good luck and keep in touch.”

So the media told you someone had to go, and you, Red Sox nation, choose to cut loose the meat and potatoes manager instead of the egg-whites and ricotta general manager.

Job well done, Tito. Debt paid and you were a model spokesman for years in New England.

Job well done, Hoody. You just may have the best job in pro sports.