Sunday, December 21, 2008

End of 2008 Deep Ponderments: Homeless dogs, multi-wife violence, and foreign flags

Expect to see a few random thoughts as I clear out the brain and my notebook for 2009. Some I may bundle together, but I think most will deem their own post.

First a question:

Why are dogs the pets of choice for the homeless? Why don't homeless people wander the country with cats, lizards, turtles, or fish? Where do homeless people get these dogs? Does the humane society let homeless people have dogs? Or are there that many stray dogs out there that strays and the homeless make a natural match, like peanut butter and chocolate?

Now another question:

Is the rate of spousal abuse lower in polygamist households? Could that be an advantage to polygamy, that perhaps one wife can talk the husband out of assaulting another wife? I would think that if there was someone to diffuse the situation or even come to the physical defense of the assaulted, there would be less violence. Unless of course there is wife-on-wife violence, or one wife convinces the husband to assault another wife, or perhaps the husband assaults all his wives.

A third question:

What is the proper method of disposing of non-U.S. flags in the United States? There is rules and protocol for the destruction of an American flag, but what about flags of other nations? Does the American Legion or VFW take foreign flags? Do these organizations know flag destruction protocol for all 200+ nations? Are there any countries that require the owner to mail the flag to the U.S. embassy in that respective country? What about countries that don't have a U.S. embassy, such as Iran? This is why I don't own any foreign flags.

(About the image: way back in April, someone in Seattle was shooting darts at pigeons. I thought the picture was interesting in a Steve Martin-wild-and-crazy-guy sort of way.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What happens to breast implants when the implantee dies?

Archeology, Anthropology, and Breast Implants

Something I have always wondered is what happens to breast implants when the implantee dies. Do breast implants follow a person into the crematorium?

According to this website, implants do get cremated. But there might be environmental consequences. That's not good.

But can breast implants be kept by the surviving as a memento?

I hate to sound too materialistic, but there are women who are best known for their breasts. Dolly Pardon, Pamela Anderson, and a wide array of artificially enhanced porn stars comes to mind. What if a husband wants to keep them as a way to remember his wife? Or what if a museum is willing to pay an exorbitant amount to display them? Depending on the amount, that money could help pay for burial services or help the inheritance of future generations.

Can breast implants be buried with the person?

Something about burying people with artificially enhanced body parts just seems weird to me. Not that someone shouldn't be buried with a fake leg or an artificial arm; those are essential body parts. But I would think cosmetic pieces such as fake teeth, fake breasts, or hair extensions should be removed.

Imagine a time 10,000 years from now, a time when the human race has died off due to any one of many catastrophes (war, famine, etc). Imagine a race of aliens comes to Earth and discovers there was at one point a dominant species on our planet. Imagine they start alien archaeological digs to find out who this species was and what their culture was like. Along the way, a few of the graves they open have two silicone orbs among the bones of the deceased. How are they to ever imagine that these orbs were attached to the breast area? What conclusions will they come to on the orbs' place in human culture?

This is the type of stuff that worries me. Not because I have a fascination with death or boobs, but because I care about humankind's image 10,000 years from now. Even after we are all gone, I still think we should put our best foot forward. I wouldn't want an alien race thinking those with breast implants were some sort of royal elite ruling class. That would be weird.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Defending Ebenezer

'Tis the season for cliches. It is the time of year when we spout overused sayings promoting feelings that should permeate year-round. Yet for some reason only around the holidays do we recall stories of the perils of loneliness and claim to make an effort to increase general goodwill.

Or is it all grandstanding?

Do we really believe what we are saying? "Peace on Earth"? "Goodwill towards Man"? "God bless us, everyone"? Unfortunately, I think it's all a bunch of malarkey.

We don't really want peace on Earth, do we? Do you realize how many people would be out of a job if everyone on Earth instantly got along? We wouldn't have threats to our person, to our resources, or to our nation. That means no Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines. No need for a Department of Defense either. Everyone knows war is good for business. Where would these people work if peace broke out tomorrow?

Nothing represents the hypocrisy of the holiday season more than Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. We all know the story: grumpy old loner transforms overnight into celebrated philanthropist. Nice, neat, and packaged for our consumption.

According to the Blogger News Network, last year the Chicago Sun-Times claimed that Dickens' protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge, was at first some sort of evil early Republican monster. This of course, set off the political blogosphere, with each claiming that the Scrooge of the end of the story represented their point of view. Because for whatever reason no one wants to be associated with the early Scrooge character.

The problem is that Scrooge is misunderstood. In defense of the Chicago Sun-Times, Scrooge was absolutely a social conservative. He worked within the system and succeeded. He saw nothing wrong with the socio-economic system as it was. The system didn't need changing, the people in it needed to change. That's the definition of conservativism.

Early in the book, Dickens portrays Scrooge as a miser, unwilling to put another piece of coal on the fire. But, as we know now, burning coal is bad for the environment. Scrooge was merely ahead of his time in his attempt to minimize the use of unrenewable resources.

Dickens also depicts Scrooge's desire to succeed as a bad thing. Today we would call him a workaholic. In a world where people are pulling Ponzi schemes to get rich quick, is working hard really such a bad thing? What Dickens doesn't mention is that Scrooge was honest. As far we know, he made his own money and never swindled anyone. Yet he is looked down upon.

Third and most importantly, Scrooge stayed within his limits. Since the days of Dickens' England, people have been bombarded with industrialized manufacturing. This uber-production is only now beginning to slow down. In its wake, we have millions owing credit companies and a trillion dollar national debt. My guess is that Scrooge never bought anything on credit, nor did he have outstanding debt. He was recession-proof, which in today's society is quite enviable.

So why shouldn't we emulate Ebenezer Scrooge? Remember, we are told not to be Scrooge-like by the same machine that tells us to buy more cars and eat more casseroles. The same machine that publishes Dickens's works every year and broadcasts his story between commercials on cable TV.

This year, fight the power. Stay real year-round. Embrace your inner Ebenezer and be like Scrooge.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

AfroSquad Exclusive: Diaper Maker Celebrates Astronaut Connection

After last week's legal decision to allow personal evidence in the trial of former astronaut Lisa Nowak, the manufacturer of Nowak's diapers has decided to unveil a new campaign highlighting the product's role in the NASA love drama.

According to Claude Beefro, CEO of Globalpu, Inc, producer of the Homies line of diapers, the company couldn't turn down the free press.

"We knew our name would eventually be in the headlines," Beefro said. "We decided to pre-empt the late night jokes and maybe move some product in the process. After all, that's what it's all about, right?"

Besides putting Nowak on the latest line of diapers, Globalpu is also in negotiations to use Nowak in commercials and other public appearances.

"We tried to get her to wear another pair if or when she goes to trail," claims Beefro. "She balked at that. But we will have her signing diapers at the next ComicCon."

Although small, and a minor player in diapers and other products, Globalpu is used to thinking out of the box. Back in 2005, the company attempted to capitalize on the Terry Schiavo case by briefly putting her name on their line of produce.

"We had her promotion angle all lined up before her people pulled the plug, literally" said Beefro. "Who would people trust more about veggies than a vegetable?"

Time will tell if the Homies line will continue to use Nowak's name on the product, or whether a resulting stink could mandate the diapers be changed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Remembering Dimebag

Four years ago today, Darrell Abbott, better known as Dimebag Darrell, was heinously murdered on stage by a deranged fan. Dimebag's murder was immediately compared to that of prominent jazz musician Lee Morgan, also killed on stage during a performance.

The difference between Dimebag Darrell and Lee Morgan however, was that I never saw Lee Morgan in concert. I did see Dime. Five weeks before his murder, I saw Dimebag play in Tallahassee as a member of Damageplan. Without a doubt, Dimebag was one of the best guitar players I have ever seen.

I still regret not grabbing a shot or two with Dime. That would have been one hell of a memory.

One of the weird things about the Dimebag Darrell murder was how close I was to it, timewise. Following a Rhode Island nightclub fire during a Great White show in 2003, a friend of mine commented that had the show happened in Tallahassee, he and I probably would have been there. The same is true with the killing of Dimebag Darrell. I would have been at that show had I lived in Columbus, Ohio. No doubt about it.

Rest in peace, Dimebag Darrell.

Oh yeah, John Lennon was also murdered on December 8th, in 1980. Dare we call this day the worst in rock'n'roll history?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Did WWE's Sheamus shoot Plaxico Burress?

Most sports fans have heard about the plight of New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress. According to the "mainstream media", Burress shot himself in the leg with a firearm last weekend.

Fortunately for those of us who seek the truth, the Weekly World News, the "best damn investigative reporting on the planet", tells us a completely different story. According to the WWN, Burress was actually firing at an Irishman named Seamus O’Shaughnessy.

A quick google search of this mysterious "Seamus O'Shaughnessy" brings us to the web site of a WWE pro wrestler, aptly nicknamed "The Irish Curse". Could this be the man Burress intended to fire at? Was there a tiff between the WWE prospect and the disgruntled Giants star?

According to the NY Daily News, Burress needed the firearm due to his possession of "expensive jewelry". This maybe the missing link.

Perhaps it is too stereotypical, but maybe, just maybe Mr. O'Shaughnessy confronted Mr. Burress over the ownership of a certain piece of gold. According to reports, the WWE was in Albany, NY just days prior to the night of Burress's shooting. Could Burress have taken O'Shaughnessy's Florida Championship Title and brought it back to New York City? Anyone who has seen any of the Leprechaun movies knows the Irish get sensitive when their gold is missing. Especially if the Irish gentleman in question claims to have been involved in conflicts against "Viking tribes of the North, Germanic, Norman and Anglo-Saxon armies from the East, and The Moors and The Romans from The South".

No offense, Mr. Burress, but if the Weekly World News is to be believed, and I don't see why they wouldn't be, stealing from Mr. O'Shaughnessy was not a wise move. Be glad you escaped with only a self-inflicted wound.

Of course, curious readers might question why the Weekly World News did not make the appropriate connections, and why did they claim O'Shaughnessy was a leprechaun? My answer to this is that we should never underestimate the power and influence of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. Could Plaxico Burress merely be a pawn in a Vince McMahon attempt to finally avenge the failed XFL? Will we see more pro wrestler "hits" on NFL players?

(Note: Brad Curran of also made the Seamus O'Shaughnessy connection. Unfortunately, he dismisses the Weekly World News investigation.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Did Joe DiMaggio order John F. Kennedy killed?

This past Saturday marked the 45th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. According to scholars, historians, politicians, The Government, and the History Channel, Kennedy was gunned down by Lee Harvey Oswald, a mysterious goon who was both an ex-Marine and a Communist. These powers that be claim Oswald acted alone, entirely driven by his own delusions of grandeur. Or so the story goes.

Of course, you could believe the conspiracists. The ones who believe Oswald was set up. They believe it could have been any one of the following:

- The Cubans
- The Russians
- The CIA (check out this wild link!)
- The FBI
- The Mob
- Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson
- The Israelis
- The Illuminati
- Tonya Harding

But the one person who seems to get off pretty easy on the conspiracy front is the Yankee Clipper himself, Joe DiMaggio. No one seems to question his lack of involvement. Consider this:

Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe in 1954. Despite being divorced only nine months later, for years DiMaggio continuously put flowers on her grave. He had an undying commitment to her. Monroe, who died of an overdose in 1962, supposedly had affairs with both John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. According to this article, DiMaggio truly believed the Kennedys killed Monroe to end some of her verbal transgressions. What Monroe said or learned from the Kennedys is up to dispute, but according to rumor, she told Frank Sinatra about some of the CIA's dealings in Cuba and their actions against organized crime. Her loose lips may have spelt the end for her.

So here is what I believed happened:

For whatever reason, the Kennedys, possibly through the FBI, had their hand in the death of Marilyn Monroe. After her death, DiMaggio immediately accused the Kennedys and plotted his revenge. Knowing he couldn't possibly get even with John Kennedy by himself, DiMaggio talked to Sinatra and his entourage of seedy elements and garnered their support. Of course, being the most famous Italian in New York for nearly a decade, DiMaggio had to have ins with some of the more powerful families in New York.

So after a year and half of plotting and planning, DiMaggio decided to have Kennedy killed in Dallas in November, 1963. For DiMaggio, Dallas was the perfect spot. It was far away enough from New York or DiMaggio's home city of San Francisco to cause heat. All DiMaggio needed was a patsy, someone to take the shot.

According to court records, Oswald spent a short time during his childhood living in Texas, where he was the captain of his local baseball team. Shortly thereafter, he moved to New York City to live with his half-brother. During this time, DiMaggio was wrapping up his legendary career. If Oswald kept the passion for baseball, whose to say he didn't ever attend a Yankee game and grow to admire the great Joe D?

Fast-forward to 1963. DiMaggio, with his mind set on revenging Monroe's death, learned about an impressionable young ex-Marine who has travelled the world supporting Marxism and the Cuban Revolution. DiMaggio ordered one of "his guys" to talk to Oswald, convincing him that the murder of the President would not only be good for the world, but also would ease the pain of his former baseball idol. As needy as he was for admiration, acceptance, and attention, Oswald would have been an easy sell. He had the tools, the how-know, and now the incentive. The rest, as they say, is history.

Oh, and in case you are curious as to why DiMaggio was never really considered a suspect in Kennedy's death, just imagine the fear a few visits by New York's most friendliest families would have had on the members of the Warren Commission. There was no way the Yankee Clipper was even going to be questioned, capiche?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Pleasant Night of Bodyslams, Afros, and Southern Championship Wrestling

It was dark, I was 15 miles outside of Orlando, I had half a tank of gas, and I was wearing sunglasses. And an Afro.

Last Saturday night was my turn yet again to represent the Afro-Squad at an independent professional wrestling show. For years, the Afro-Squad has been one of the galaxy’s premier fan gimmick organizations. You could almost say the Afro-Squad and pro wrestling have gone together like cheap wine and Taco Bell. Trust me, once you get past the low budget stigma, it’s not a bad way to spend a night.

I have to be honest here. I’m the new guy in the Afro-Squad. Like I said, they have been around for a while. They have been involved in pro wrestling, crazy photoshops, and amateur movies, all in an attempt to foil the omnipotent bugaboo they call “The Man”. Yet like all great supergroups, there have been a few line-up changes along the way. Officially, there have been two Snowmans, two KrazyMans, and now a Jordi (I really should find a funky handle.). Unofficially, I’m probably one of nearly 5,000 in the Afro-Squad Army, a ragtag gaggle of non-practicing pimps, pornstars, practical jokers, and pro wrestlers. Which brings me back to why I was just outside of Orlando in beautiful Altamonte Springs, Florida.

For those not familiar with the geography of Florida, Altamonte Springs is a suburb of Orlando. That’s it. There is nothing special about Altamonte Springs. As a matter of fact, if you wanted to be environmentally correct, there is quite a bit wrong with Altamonte Springs. It is one of Florida’s many urban sprawl cities, destroying natural Florida one subdivision at a time. But for my purposes, Altamonte Springs is home to the Eastmonte Civic Center, the venue of choice for the night’s festivities.

Not to use the slightest bit of hyperbole, but Saturday night’s wrestling spectacular had every right to be festive. For 10 years Southern Championship Wrestling had entertained the masses throughout Central Florida. Yet now, on their 10th Anniversary, they were closing up shop. Saturday night was the end. The end of their elaborate plans, of storylines and slobberknockers, pinfalls and promotions. Needless to say, butts were in the seats, and faces lined the walls when seats could not be found. SCW’s final event was a big deal to a lot of people. So of course the Afro-Squad had to be in attendance, represented not only by myself, but also by the afro-clad Bryan Maddox and AfroBoy.

That’s the thing about pro wrestling. It’s easy to be involved. It’s easy to feel like part of the show. Whereas some people work concessions, others boo or cheer, the attractive walk ring cards, and the legendary ring bells, the Afro-Squad heckles. We put on our afro wigs (except AfroBoy, his is real) and our cheap sunglasses and we become masters of the heckling art. You might even say the transformation from mild mannered fan to fanatical heckler is worthy of the label “Heckle and Jekyl”. But don’t say that, someone might think you are old. Does anyone remember Heckle and Jeckle anymore?

Anyway, there I was in the Eastmonte Civic Center. Thanks to a mishap with Google Maps, I arrived shortly after the first match, but right on time to see the entrance of Mexican stereotype Ben Deho. Being the upstanding internationalist, Mr. Deho immediately sparked the ire of the crowd with his anti-American rhetoric. So of course I responded with a “You love tacos” chant.

The next recipient of the Afro-Squad’s attention was SCW superstar Slick Sleazy. Mr. Sleazy, a true gentleman and a scholar, goes back a ways with the Afro-Squad. Earlier this year, in a prior SCW event, Sleazy, a promoter of raw, unbridled sexual deviance, was among the Afro-Squad’s top targets of hecklization (that might not be a word, by the way). At the Eastmonte Civic Center neither heckler nor hecklee (also possibly not a word) forgot their role.

The moment Sleazy made his entrance, I immediately yelled “You still suck!”, and began laying into his loud green wrestling attire. Sleazy, recognizing my afro’ed persona, gave me a few choice words and, once in the ring, taunted me with several semi-homo-erotic hip thrusts. Unfortunately, our battle of wits was sidetracked by Slick Sleazy’s mohawked and tattooed opponent, the vicious Tribal, who due to the fact that he may just cut his own head with a weed whacker, was also the subject of several Afro-Squadian comments.

Here I must admit my most embarrassing moment of the evening. After Slick Sleazy pinned Tribal, I walked to the aisle railing with the intent of peppering Mr. Sleazy with some farewell insults before he went backstage. Unfortunately, Sleazy engaged in an unexpected counterattack, snatching my afro and sunglasses from my visage. Ashamed, I fled to a far corner of the arena, leaving the victorious Sleazy with a trophy to go along with his victory. Thankfully, a kind ring worker recovered my cherished accessories.

Learning a temporary lesson in humility, I stayed relatively quiet through the next three matches, letting other members of the crowd jaw with the parade of heels and faces. Then Aaron Epic entered the ring area.

Like Slick Sleazy, Aaron Epic was a favorite Afro-Squad target from prior events. Also like Sleazy, the illustrious Mr. Epic was known for taking action against certain afro'ed hecklers. This pattern would continue unabated.

Prior to learning his ring moniker, the Afro-Squad used to loudly refer to Aaron Epic by the color of his wrestling trunks (“Hey Aqua Pants, you suck!”). Now knowing his name, my chant of choice quickly became “Epic Failure”. But of course, that wasn’t all.

Knowing I was in his head, I frequently told Mr. Epic to “Do Something!” immediately after he struck his opponent. Being told to “do something” apparently set Epic off as he motioned for me to come into the ring to settle our differences. Knowing the boundaries of performance, and also being a bit of a pansy, I told Aaron Epic to come to me, thinking he wouldn’t dare enter the crowd. But yet he came close, pausing in his battle with Nooie Lee long enough to roll out of the ring, lean over the railing, and feign spitting on me. Our war of wits settled to his satisfaction, he re-entered the ring and proceeded to win the SCW Light Heavyweight and Florida Heavyweight Championship. Which he would then lose five minutes later.

Following Slick Sleazy and Aaron Epic, the final Afro-Squad target of the evening was Mr. Robin Donahue, manager of SCW Heavyweight Champion Thomas Marr. With his semi-bald head, broken left arm, and consignment shop-bought suit, Donahue was an easy target. In a world where managers are supposed to create hostility and fan heat for their wrestlers, Donahue is one of the best. But even he is no match for the Afro-Squad as I took him apart, from his un-Bic-ed head to his cheap bowling shoes. The champ had to go it alone, as I was all in Donahue’s head from the second he stepped towards the squared circle.

With or without his manager, Thomas Marr concluded a great night of wrestling with a fantastic 30-minute match with challenger Slyk Wagner Brown. In a battle that spilled into the crowd, returned to the ring, went back into the crowd, and then back into the ring, Marr defended his title thanks to his mix of athleticism, grit, and determination, with of course a smattering of cheap shots and low blows.

Despite the comments, the insults, the jeering, and the jawing, as the night drew to a close I stood and applauded each and every wrestler as they gathered one last time in an SCW ring. SCW had a magnificent run as one of the best sports entertainment promotions in Central Florida. But now the past is the past and the show must go on. To the owners, operators, bookers, and brawlers of SCW, I give you my heartfelt thanks. Thank you for the great shows.

And to targets of Afro-Squad ire, I hope to see you again soon. Even you, Aaron Epic. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What Happened to Sirius 43 Backspin?

Like nearly everyone, I am a creature of habit. I get up in the morning, eat breakfast, shower, get dressed, brush my teeth, etc, etc, before I head to work. And in part because my office does not allow us to bring in radios or anything that might entertain us, I have to listen to a few good tunes on the drive to the daily grind.

Unfortunately, my music selection has taken a horrible turn for the worse. Sirius Satellite Radio, for some inexplicable probably profit-driven reason, decided to cut their old-school rap station, Backspin. Totally not cool.

Granted, I understand Sirius is in the final stage of merging its programing with XM Satellite Radio. They have integrated several stations, dropped some redundancies, and attempted to streamline their offerings. But in a lot of these cases, they've always made sure the genre was in some way, shape, or form covered. But in the case of old-school hip-hop, they have well ... nothing.

So in remembrance of the songs I won't be hearing on Satellite Radio again, here is "Tearz" by the Wu-Tang Clan, re-written to reflect my recent musical loss:

Yo check yo yo, check the script
Yesterday my satellite radio flipped
Got in my truck, hit the switch, and started to trip
Had a box, 'Boom Boom' Backspin would blast
Pumping Run, KRS, PE, and Skee-lo to all who passed
Heavy rotation, kickin' the crates with the dust
Hey yo, you know playing Dana Dane is a must
Aw yeah, I'd play it every time I got in the car
Reciting rhymes on my way home from the bar
Not knowin, exactly what lied ahead
Just making sure my old-school memories were fed
I never wondered that one day in the fall
Didn't expect, I wouldn't hear old-school beats at all
"We are sorry, but your Backspin station had to go"
Despite my shock, I called up Sirius and said "No!!"
Money I was giving them, BOW! I snatched it back
For my pockets, and to the record shop down the Ave.
I'm steaming, with no noise up and down the block
(Hey, Sirius!) What? (Your new programming sucks c**k!)
I stopped frantically, then I dropped down to my knees
Like Bushwick I started punching the hard concrete
I looked to the heavens and put together my hands
Where else can I hear old school beats throughout the land?
Aw man! How do I say goodbye?
It's always the good stations that have to die
Memories in the corner of my mind
Flashbacks, of me listening all the time
That sound was as nice as the bees and birds
Now I have to conclude with these three words:

Bring back Backspin!

And while we're at it, how about a channel dedicated just to the Wu-Tang Clan and their 5,000 disciples? I know they have more songs than Elvis.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Erin Andrews pitches FSU merchandise

I'm sure hundreds, if not thousands, of fellow Florida State alumni received this image in their e-mail boxes recently. And of course, the company probably uses the same image to pitch their product to other universities. I just think it's great, being that Erin Andrews is a former Gator dancer and all. If I ever needed something for her to autograph, it would be this.

By the way, I know I haven't written much about the Seminoles of late. In my effort to propogate the entire blogosphere with my literary seed, I should be popping up on a popular Nole-centric blog with some writing soon. More to come later.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives

The hands have been shaken, the babies kissed, and the speeches given. Today is the day. Today is the day America will elect a new president. Plenty of people have said the two main candidates can not be further apart. I agree. There is no mistaking Barack Obama as anything but a liberal and John McCain as anything but a conservative. There is no middle ground this year.

Throughout the campaign, and by watching people and hearing their opinions, I have settled on a few key definitions of liberal and conservative political thought in America. The problem with these philosophies is they have different beliefs in regards to man and society, and because of this, there is little to no middle ground, making compromise nearly impossible.

Conservative thought:

Conservatives believe in the evil intentions of Man, especially of those outside of their borders. They believe conflict between nation-states lead by Man is inevitable, no matter how much diplomacy is conducted. By nature, they do not trust treaties and alliances and hence preach the need for a strong common defense.

Conservatives also believe in the right of private gun ownership. This supports the idea that Man is again by nature an untrustworthy, evil creature who will eventually attempt to take his neighbor's resources. Positive relationships among neighbors are a condition of social environment, not natural evolution.

(Continuing with gun ownership, however, I would argue that the idea of a strong military and private gun ownership are contradictory. Private gun ownership supports a belief in the ability of the people to provide their local (household) defense as well as cumulatively provide a national defense through militias and national guards. A strong military takes away one aspect of the need for private gun ownership, while at the same time reducing the ability of the people to overthrow the government with their private arms if at any time they deem the government has become corrupt.)

Conservatives believe in the goodness of neighbors to take care of each other. This is contradictory to the idea that neighbors are not to be trusted. But within the conservative ideal there is a sense of community, where small, strong family units are encouraged. Here conservatives believe Man will take care of his fellow Man, ensuring for his well-being.

Conservatives believe the role of government should be minimal at best, except for in the realm of the common defense, where bigger is better. Conservatives do not trust the large government mechanism, instead relying on the smaller unit to police and care for itself.

Liberal Thought:

Liberals, on the other hand, believe in the overall goodness of Man. Underlying liberal philosophy believes it is Man that is good and it is society and Man's environment that makes him do bad things. Liberals believe that by tinkering with or altering the environment of Man, they can produce positive societal results in the action of Man.

Liberals believe that Man should be evolved from the conflict of animals. To revert to violence and conflict is to revert to the ways of ancient Man and to learn nothing from the history of civilization. Strength in the belief in Man fosters the liberal belief in treaties, organizations, coalitions, conferences, and allegiances.

Liberal belief in the goodness of Man also explains the liberal tendency to support a smaller military organization. Liberals believe the threat of aggression begets more aggression and that a less aggressive pose negates the need for a large military.

Liberals believe a government made of Men is the most efficient way to help Man. Through the mechanism of government, more people can be helped and aided than without the ability of government. Liberals believe we have not yet reached a point where Man will help his fellow Man without the facilitating reach of government. Liberals believe that if government were to withdraw itself from providing a social safety net, Social Darwinism would occur and the poorest and less fortunate among us would be left behind.

In closing, I am sure there are plenty of other fundamental differences. These and other basic philosophies drive most people's choice for the two major political candidates. Although in some years the differences are slim, this year they are quite drastic. Personally, although I see some merit to conservative thought (especially in regards to a strong family unit that could eventually govern itself), I believe the liberal platform, the liberal philosophy, and the belief that Man is by nature good is what is best for America at this point.

That is why I am voting voted for Barack Obama.

P.S. Check out this article by a heavy metal guitarist on his views on the election, the political process, and how he defines the differences between liberals and conservatives. Very well written.

To quote:

"The fact is that I am no more qualified than anyone else to be given the soapbox to ventilate my views. What I, and other working artists like me, do have is a slightly altered paradigm than the average Joe. Artists get to spend their time creating with the sole purpose of sharing their work with others. My band and I spend months creating a piece of music, and than (sic) spend months or years traveling the world, symbiotically connecting with other people with purely positive energy, or taking negative energy and channeling it in a positive way. This exchange is highly emotional and, some may say, spiritual. I’ve had conversations with friends where I’ve compared the concert going experience to the church or religious experience. The emotional expenditure and purged release leave one feeling powerful and cleansed afterward.

This frame of mind can free one from the worker bee, consumerist, capitalist ideals that are beaten into our heads in school and reinforced when we grow up and enter the workplace. When you (are) able to go to all the corners of the planet, you see that there is much more that binds us together than divides us. When your life revolves around creation and positive exchange, you tend to open up and see the potential of humanity. I think this is why most artists tend to be liberal, which is why supporting Barack Obama or being anti-Bush might be seen as a cliché at this point.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hide your cash with Mighty Mickey M

Economy got you down?

Kicking dirt as your house drops in worth?

Don’t know the difference between bailing out the economy and bailing out your Uncle Charlie?

Then come see me.

I’m Mickey Morandini and I would like to introduce you to Mighty Mickey Morandini’s Magic Money Mattresses.

You remember me, right? I played for the Cubs many moons ago.

Unfortunately, my money slowly disappeared in a few unfortunate investments. (Damn you, Enron!)

But like the scrappy middle infielder I was when I played, I get back up when I get knocked down. And now I am back with a great new idea!

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And don’t worry about losing the combination to your mattress safe.

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Safe opening service sold separately.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Deep Thoughts on the 2008 De Bate

Branching out for a bit to talk politics. I know everyone else is doing the same, but I doubt you'll read the same stuff on other sites. I'm out of the box like that.

For those who might have been watching anything else, tonight was the presidential foreign policy debate. Because I take an interest in foreign affairs, I made sure not to miss this debate. The others, eh, depends on what else I am doing that night.

- First, there is an inherent problem with the foreign policy debate. Foreign policy is the arena of the elite, the educated, or those with a direct stake in foreign actions (i.e. the military, Dept of State, etc). I'm willing to wager that most of these people are also astute politically and have probably made up their minds on who they are going to vote for. Doubtful there are many undecided voters in these groups. So all the foreign policy debate does is articulate what each candidate is planning to do and solidify the opinions of their support.

- Second, anyone who thinks the conflict against Muslim extremism will be over during the next president's four or possibly eight years is a fool. Extremism can be contained, but it takes generations for it to die out, if it ever does. Case in point, Wahhabi extremists have been around since the mid-17th century and our own Klu Klux Klan has been around for nearly 150 years. To borrow a SportsCenter catchphrase, "You can't stop them, you can only hope to contain them."

- Third, I cannot buy Iran as an catalyst for a new Holocaust, even if they did have the bomb. I know there is traditional dislike and rhetoric spoken by Iranian leaders against Israel, but I don't think Iran would ever attempt to physically "wipe Israel off the map". Believing in the Iranian boogeyman is to assume that if the US threated the absolute destruction of Iran in the case of an attack, that Iran would still attack Israel anyway. This would only be logical if you assume the Iranian government is on a suicide mission and that it would sacrifice it's own regime existance for the sake of one attack. Although the ground troops might not have much else going for them (assuming their would be ground troops - I doubt they would see the light of day), those in charge probably like being in charge and don't want to lose it all in exchange for one missile hitting Tel Aviv.

- Fourth, the fact that Sen. Barack Obama correctly pronounces the name of foreign nations is big for me. It is not pronounced "I-ran", it is pronounced "e-ron". I learned that the first day of Middle East History 101. Not that pronounciation should influence a vote, but I think it shows not only intelligence, but also respect.

- Fifth, the campaign to bring the troops back from Iraq concerns me. Currently, the US economy is in the crapper. If we bring all our deployed military members home as well as all the contractors and government workers currently in Iraq, we will need immediate job growth to compensate for the flood of job seekers. Without a real world military mission, we might see less re-enlistment amongst our current ranks. Being in the military will be boring and lack purpose. So where would these former military members work?

What about the government civilians and contractors in Iraq? If you brought them home, where will they work? What if the government claims those contracts or positions are no longer necessary and cuts the funding? That would lead to even more unemployed Americans. And we don't need that.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pitchback potification and memories

Five minutes ago I started thinking about my childhood baseball career and specifically the many "pitchbacks" I went through. I don't know why these thoughts came into my head. They just popped in there. Kinda like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters. Anyway, for those who were not aspiring left-handed junk-ballers, let me explain what a pitchback was. It was a curved net, about four feet tall and about 2.5 feet wide, that would force a thrown ball back to the thrower (see picture).

(For more childhood memories regarding the pitchback, and a few more pictures, check out this blog: (Sidearm Delivery: Disappointing Childhood Toys: The Pitchback.)

Although I never had the problems the writer from Sidearm Delivery had, I did go through at least four pitchbacks while between the ages of 9 to 13. To tell the truth, I don't remember why they broke, probably from overuse. Hopefully from overuse. I do remember however my friends and I trying to carry a pitchback all over town, from neighborhood to neighborhood, wherever we could find a spot to play ball. Imagine the sight of a bunch of kids, pre-teens I guess is what we would be called now, riding their bikes through the suburbia of Central Florida, with one lugging a large net over his back. That was us.

As Sidearm Delivery kinda hints at, pitchbacks weren't very good for baseballs, which is probably why he hated his so much. But it was killer for "Tennis Ball Baseball", the game of choice in the 'burbs, where cars and houses often defined the parameters of the field of play. Why we never went to an actual baseball field is beyond me. If I remember right, I think the real fields were too far away. A whopping five miles or so, tops. But that's a long way when someone has to carry a pitchback.

To this day, I wonder if any big leaguers ever started with a pitchback. Most kids I knew that were really good (besides me, of course) had dads who built them batting cages, or in one case, one kid's dad was Minnesota Twins trainer. A bit of a slight advantage when you are being taught your curve ball from Burt Blyleven. Yeah, that's fair.

Another big problem with the pitchback was it didn't really help. It didn't teach you how to throw fast, it didn't teach you how to field, and it sure didn't teach you how to hit. It didn't even come with a book on how to throw different pitches. I guess the one thing the pitchback did was teach me good control, but being able to move the ball in and out on hitters isn't really appreciated in Little League and other pre-high school levels.

So this my ode to the pitchback, an essential part of my young baseball dreams. Dreams that would have been so much cooler had they come true.

Pitchback, back pitch
I wish you could have made me rich.
But you were only metal and net,
Not a great teaching bet.
Looking back I needed a coach
Someone who could make the most
Of this tall skinny lefty with a rubber arm
but a fastball that could do no harm.

Oh pitchback, how you failed me
I could have been a Met, a Marlin, or even a Yankee
Instead my career amounted to zip
And I am stuck writing about you on The Serious Tip.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Serious Tip Turns 2: A Reflection

Here is to loyal readers.

Two years ago, a friend of mine asked me to blog what's on my mind, so I started this blog that I'm still writing, the wise words were wisdom, meant to enlighten.

Wow. I must say I impressed myself with that Run D.M.C. "Down with the King" paraphrase. Maybe I have a future as a songwriter.

In all honesty, that was the only pop culture reference to "two years ago" that I could think of. I didn't want to start with the cliched "Four score minus 78 years ago". But I digress ...

Anyway, The Serious Tip is officially two years old today. And, as many people who peruse the Internet know, two years is a long time for a blog. So instead of sharing what would be a completely biased The Serious Tip's Best of Year Two, I wanted to talk a little bit about how I started blogging. Think of this as one of those sitcom flashback episodes.

A long time ago (I think it was sometime near August 2006), in a land not so far away (depending on where you live), I was listening to ESPN Radio. Now I'm not an avid sports radio listener, but I was driving and needed some variety. So I tuned in to the local ESPN Radio channel. On the air at the time was a show featuring Doug Gottlieb and some other guy, not sure who, but it's not important. After discussing the news of the day, Gottlieb began to describe his daily routine, how he learned his news and how he figured out what was going to drive his topics of the day. During his description, he mentioned Always curious about new websites, I scribbled "" on a receipt I had crumpled in a cup holder. Little did I know I was about to totally change my sports-viewing experience.

Like seemingly thousands of other sports fans, I found in late 2006. Also like thousands upon thousands of other sports fans, I read some of the blogs linked to and thought, "That looks fun. I wonder if I can do that?". Then one day linked to Jenn Sterger's blog. No offense to Jenn (who I have met a few times and who seems nice), but after reading her blog, I knew I could blog. Not that I thought I was a better writer than Jenn, but all her blog was was her thoughts on sports. Well, I had thoughts on sports too, so I figured I should be able to pull off this blogging thing. And so it began.

My first post: Day One: Growin' All Up In The Ghetto

Way back when I first started, I had no idea where I wanted to go with The Serious Tip. With a name like The Serious Tip, I knew I could go anywhere. Should I write only about sports? What about some of my other interests, like music or politics? And if I was going to write about sports, should I keep it team-centric and just write about the Mets, Noles, Knicks, or the (then Devil) Rays? I was lost. So I did what I think most bloggers do: write other bloggers.

The best advice I received about blogging came not from Will Leitch or The Big Lead or any other the other major sports blog writers, but from Chip Wesley of Thunder Matt's Saloon. In a response to my email query, Chip gave me a few great pointers:

- Blaze your own trail: "Instead of rehashing the same stuff the other sites are doing (and doing a better job at it as well), we try to blaze our own trail. And if we lose some people with a salute to Freddie Mercury, so be it."

- Provide original content: "So many people start up a blog where 75% of their content becomes nothing but quotes from other people's sites or movie clips from YouTube."

- Keep the site fresh: "So many blogs will post content regularly for a few months and then just stop for weeks at a time without posting anything."

So that's what I have tried to do. Of course, when I first started I forwarded quite a bit to and The Big to try and get a link and maybe even reel in a few re-occuring readers. But I quickly learned unless I geared my site for their readers, asking for a link was only at best good for a temporary spike in the numbers. Loyal readers to a small independent blog that talks about everything could only come through reaching out.

From reaching out via comments and emails, I like to think I've developed quite a few "Friends of The Serious Tip". For them I'd like to say "thanks". Their constant feedback, encouragement, and ideas have kept me going. And of course as I've gone on, several bloggers have even asked me to contribute on their blog, either through cameo or regular appearance. To me, that is the ultimate compliment and many thanks goes to these bloggers as well.

Sadly, as I mentioned before, blogs don't last forever. During two-year life of The Serious Tip, I've seen several great bloggers quit or go on indefinite hiatus (The Cav, Jack Cobra, among others). It is the sad reality of blogging. Like life, it moves on, and leaves dust of us all.

However, as many of you might know (at least those who read loyally, or at least on occasion), I've been recently working with a few sites of whom I have been long-time friends with: the aforementioned Thunder Matt's Saloon and The Afro-Squad . And be on the look-out for collaborations with several other bloggers in the upcoming weeks and months.

So even though The Serious Tip isn't the most successful blog in the world (yet), I'm still enjoying this. Blogging has given me an outlet to say what I want and write how I want. In conclusion, I'd like to paraphrase Joe Dirt in a quick interview with myself:

Me: So was the last two years a complete waste?

Myself and I: No one's really put it like that, but I don't think so. I've had good times, met cool people, cruised around, cranked some tunes. And blogged the best I could.

Hope you've enjoyed it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What if the Cubs won the 1918 World Series: The Rise of Sweetbread

Ninety years ago today, the Boston Red Sox defeated the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of the World Series and won the series 4 games to 1. But how would baseball history be different if the better team won?

(Cue the Scooby Doo alternate ending)

September 11, 1918

The Chicago Cubs, the best team in baseball, won the 1918 World Series by defeating the Boston Red Sox 4 games to 1. The Cubs battered Red Sox pitching to a tune of 4 runs a game, slightly under their league leading 4.11 runs per game. It was the Cubs’ third title in 11 years.

Among the heroes of the Cubs was Fred Merkle, who atoned for his “boner” during the 1908 Series by hitting nearly .300 against the Red Sox and driving in game-winning runs in Games 2, 3, and 5. Merkle quickly became a Cubs favorite, as fans all across Chicago chanted his name and dubbed themselves “Merkle’s Marauders” or “Boner Buddies”.

On the mound, Cubs left-hander Hippo Vaughn proved himself to be one of the best arms in the National League by winning Games 1, 3, 4. Vaughn’s wins, including a five-hitter in Game 4, solidified his reputation as one of the best-big game pitchers in the early 20th Century. Vaughn pitched 27 innings during the Series, allowing only 3 runs. Vaughn would continue his dominance throughout the next few years, and would be elected into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans’ Committee during the 1970s.

For the Red Sox, most of the burden for loss fell on 23-year old Babe Ruth. After losing three games for the Sox, the Boston press dubbed Ruth “a fat loser”. After the Series, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee forbid Ruth from playing right field, claiming, “Ruth needs to focus more on his pitching than his hitting. Any player can hit, and he is a burden on the basepaths.” Ruth would stay on the mound for his entire career with the Red Sox, never recovering from his embarrassment in 1918 and eating his way out of the league by 1928.

Following their 1918 championship, the Cubs continued their dominance in the National League. With ace Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander returning to form following his year-plus stint in World War I, the Cubs pitching staff was the mainstay of the new Cubs dynasty.

Under Alexander's guidance, the real hero in the Cubs continuing lock on the National League was young right-hander Abraham Lincoln “Sweetbreads” Bailey. Bailey, who debuted the year after the 1918 championship, paired with Grover Cleveland Alexander to form not only the most Presidential duo in baseball history, but also the most dominant. A one-time hero in the Joliet, Illinois City League, Sweetbreads Bailey dominated the National League like no one earlier, throwing 5 straight no-hitters, winning 30 games every year until 1938, and inspiring then-Mayor Edward Joseph Kelly to declare everyday “Sweetbread's Day”.

Sweetbread's popularity would grow so epic, he and the Cubs would be the biggest draw in baseball throughout the 1920s. Presidents would know his name, and in WWII Japanese soldiers would attempt to torment American troops would chants of “To Hell with Sweetbread”.

If only the Cubs’ bats hadn’t gone silent 80 years ago today.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Musing about politics

I know I have been all over the map with my topics lately. With the election season in full effect, there are a few things on my mind I wanted to put into words.

1) A few weeks ago BBC News and several other news outlets reported that White people of European descent will no longer be the majority in America by the year 2042. What effect will this have on the Republican party? As America becomes more multi-ethnic, will the Republican Party - stereotypically known as the party for White males - be able to adapt? If they don't, what will happen when they are mathematically eliminated before an election begins? Evolution is normal in political parties, but I think the Republican Party has to start planning for change now if it wants to be relevant in 50 years. That could be difficult for a party that touts itself as traditional and conservative.

2) On a related note, don't be surprised if the Democratic Party breaks apart and a new party emerges when a minority group decides the party line isn't best for them. We almost saw a splinter faction this year, but the solidarity of the GOP is forcing Democrats to vote as one bloc. If the GOP ceases to be relevant, the Democratic Party might not be able to hold the monopoly on their many diverse voices. It should be interesting.

3) A lot was made last week about Gov. Palin's pregnant daughter. What bothered me most was the young girl's boyfriend was immediately labeled Miss Palin's "husband-to-be". There is a verse in one of the songs of socially conscious hip-hop group The Coup in which Boots Riley raps:

I heard a lot of bad things about teenage mothers
From those who don't really give a fuck about life
She said "It ain't so much that they startin' out younger"
"It's just they supposed to be more like a wife"
Meanin' you ain't shit without a man to guide you
If ya mama tried to feed you that she lied too

The Bristol Palin controversy seemed eerily familiar to the family-first stance Dan Quayle took against Murphy Brown. Oddly, not much of the mainstream media is making that connection (this blog comes up first in a Google search). Maybe they are scared. Whatever the reason, in a land where a man without a solid nuclear "mother and father" family unit is running for president, does it really matter that a child is raised with a husband and wife in an average house with a mini-van and a white picket fence, as long as the child is raised with good morals and ideals and is hopefully a productive member of society?

4) I enjoy talking politics with a few people at my work. Sometimes, however, they baffle me. The other day, for example, one of my co-workers, a staunch conservative, said he liked watching Fox News because it "reaffirmed his views".

That is the exact reason NOT to watch.

I always try to keep an open mind, whether in discussions or in the media I absorb. My personal library is a smorgasbord of various philosophies, opinions, and mantras from Islam to Christianity to Buddhism to 1960s-era Black Nationalism to theories on warfare to books on the beatnik and hippie movements. How can someone understand the points of view of others if they only stay in their lane? Even if someone lives by one view, they should at least understand the mindset of other views. Anything less is ignorant.

5) Last but not least, fellow blogger MC Bias, a longtime friend of The Serious Tip, has a really good post on the dearth of conservative views in the sports blogosphere. He is definitely right. Although sports and politics don't mix too often, when they do the opinions tend to lean to the left. Although I commented that perhaps the reason was merely due to demographic and technological adoption (John McCain doesn't use email, remember?), perhaps it is also because sports is usually more progressive than most of society. This is especially true socially (Jackie Robinson came long before the Civil Rights Movement) and economically (isn't revenue sharing basically socialist?).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Vote for me for Afro-Squad Man of the Year

2008 has been labelled a year of change. A year we throw away the faulty ways of the past, those misguided notions of ill-advised and confused leaders. Leaders who did not know or understand the feeling and will of the people.

In this year of hope we must shed the misdirection that has mired us in the dismal situations we now find ourselves in. We must take the high road, the road less traveled, and the road to prosperity.

For too long the Afro-Squad Man of the Year has been won by candidates without your best interest in mind. These winners have been only out for themselves or their supporters. They refused to see the best interests of everyone, no matter what side of the aisle, side of the fence, or side of the Force.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that this year's other candidates don't care, it's just that they don't understand battling The Man ain't easy. It takes hard work and a system that fosters and allows for success. The necessary skills of pimping aren't acquired through a corner, a feather hat, or a fancy mask, despite the beliefs of my opponents. They still believe in a broken mantra. They have clung to an antiquated system that doesn't understand you, your situations, or your hopes. Those other candidates think you should support yourself, even if you don't have a cane to lean on. They think you should find your own transportation, even if your Cadillac has been repossessed.

The other nine individuals in the running for Man of the Year might show you their smiling faces, their skills at kissing hands and shaking babies, or their aptitude for being in front of the camera. But don't believe their false promises and don't believe the hype. Only one candidate will keep your best interests in mind.

People, in this year of hope, change, and the future, we can no longer tolerate the misdirections of the past. You need a candidate that can form a better Afro-Squad Nation, an Afro-Squad Nation under one voice, with one heart, one soul, and one effort. An Afro-Squad Nation that stands up to The Man and finally puts him in his place. A candidate that will make The Man work for The People, not the other way around. I am that candidate. That is why I am asking for your vote.

(I am Jordi Scrubbings and I support this message.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Tale of Joe Quest

In a world where every night was dark and stormy, in a galaxy far, far, away, one brave soul took on a new life in a new place with new people. Things were new. He was scared. This is his story (r.i.p. movie trailer guy) ...

Darkness had fallen on the city of Chicago. After a glorious start, the Chicago National League Ballclub had been overtaken by hard times. No longer were they the zenith, the alpha, and the pinnacle of prestige in the new National League. They were an average team, wallowing in the mire of mediocrity.

Then the following year, everything changed.

The Cubs were unbeatable. Led by an upgraded pitching staff and the emergence of young stars, the team scored more than two runs more per game than their opponents, and hit more than 20 points higher as a team than the rest of the league. They were once again a juggernaut.

Leading the charge, well, actually somewhere in the rear of the movement, was a scappy, diminutive infielder named Joe Quest. Despite his diminutive size (5'6 150lbs), Joe still wasn't close to being one of the smallest men in the league. He wasn't even the smallest on his own team - ace pitcher Larry Cororan was 5'3, 127lbs.

But what Joe Quest lacked in recognition, he made up for in .... ummm ... not much really.

The truth is, Joe Quest wasn't very good. Even considering the fact he played in the "dead ball era", Joe couldn't hit. He averaged a horrible .217 during his ten-year career. And he didn't take many walks either, drawing only 104 during his time in the majors. To top it off, Joe was also atrocious in the field, even for his day, averaging nearly 37 errors a season for his career.

So why did I choose to write about Joe Quest?

Because he has a cool name.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Snowman of the AfroSquad Writes about Wrestling

Once again he is back with his 'fro intact.

Got The Man shakin' and quakin' from his quick attack.

Florida wrestling fans, this blog is for you!

I had another great Thursday night at Florida Championship Wrestling.

Last Saturday I ordered a couple afros for some of my homies, and they arrived via UPS just as I was leaving my driveway on my way to the show. This marks the second emergency shipment of afros that UPS has delivered "just in the nick of time."

When I got to the show, I traded a few afros with the Bourbon Street Mafia for a BSM shirt. Now the BSM and the 'fro Army have officially formed an unholy union. (The only thing that could make us more powerful would be the assistance of a Gargoyle and a Zombie Pimp!)

At the beginning of the show, I tossed Dusty Rhodes an afro. He donned the 'fro, and it was quite possibly the greatest moment in Afro-Squad history! (Does Dusty need a special Afro-Squad name?)

In my eyes, Afa stole the show again for his reckless ass kicking of Stu Bennett. The most entertaining part is that Afa seems to be the most "over" guy in the building, but he is supposed to be a heel. I hope having an entire Army of afro-wearing lunatics chanting "fear the 'fro" doesn't hurt your popularity.

I was also impressed with Natalie Neidhart and Beth Phoenix's style as a tag team. They even finished with the Hart Foundation's "Hart Attack." I wonder if we'll see them working together in the future.

Kafu's wife sat by us. Although she wasn't too excited about having her picture taken, she was a fun addition.

I'm really starting to enjoy Kafu's gimmick as well. He is the "master of the Claw hold," which is a great throwback to the '80s. Jordi Scrubbings saw Kafu in the grocery store last week, so we tried to harass Kafu about his shopping list. (He apparently loves cheese!)

I also have to hand it to Angela Fong for posing for pics with the Afro-Squad Army.

I got to talk to Diana Hart for a few minutes too. She seems like a really sweet lady. As Georgia Smith joked about her mom, "she talks just like Bret." (Their accent is almost identical.)

Once again, FCW Andy (AKA Original Jit) and his Dad epitomized what wrestling fans should be. Those guys breathe wrestling.

Finally, will somebody tell Jack Gabriel to put some pants on? Hey, Eric Perez ... if you post a blog comment ... I'd reply "Oh Yeah!"



Gone with the wind like Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Stay tuned next week for even more Snowman ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Meet a Bartender: New Staff Edition


Real Name: Jordi?

Where are you now?
Tampa, FL

Favorite Sports Teams:
New York Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, Brevard County Manatees, Florida State Seminoles

Favorite Current Player(s):
Kerry Wood (token Cub), Tim Wakefield, R.A. Dickey, Prince Fielder (calm down, he went to my HS), Tim Lincecum, all LOOGYs.

Favorite All-Time Player(s):
Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish, Rusty Kuntz, Howard Johnson, Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez.

Memorable encounters with MLB players:
When I was 10 I went to a spring training game, got myself a hot dog, lathered it up in mustard appropriately, when ex-Met Roger McDowell came up alongside me and said "Excuse me." Well, of course, I moved out of the way.

Then like twenty years later I crashed the 2006 General Managers meeting in a Disney hotel. I met or saw Tommy Lasorda, Ozzie Guillen, Cal Ripken, Jim Leyland, Darryl Hamilton, Bryan Harvey, and Scott Boras. I hate Scott Boras.

Player(s) you'd sit and have a beer with:
Joel Zumaya, Nolan Ryan, Ralph Kiner, Billy Brewer, Roy Hobbs, Rube Waddell (do they have to be living?), Hack Wilson, Ty Cobb, and J.O. Sampson.

Player(s) you absolutely despise:
Bobby Bonilla, Chipper Jones, Kenny Rogers, Vince Coleman

Best baseball video game of all-time:
I am going to go with Little League Baseball for the NES. Just slightly over Basewars. Yeah, I haven't played much video games since the reign of George the Elder.

So whatcha drinkin? This being a saloon and all:
La Fin Du Monde. It's French for The End of The World. Before you get your panties in a bunch that you let in someone who speak a wee bit of Francais, rest easy. La Fin is brewed in the mean streets of Canada. Probably in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

What about Beecake?
Never much of a fan. Until he did the Barbershop and Shawn Michaels kicked Marty Jenetty through the glass window. Or like when he got in that motorcycle accident and smashed his face into a million pieces. Wait, B-e-e-c-a-k-e? I don't know no Beecake, I thought you were talking about Brutus "The Barber".

Favorite sports card(s) you own:
Sorry. I was fortunate enough to sell my cards and have them pay for my college education. Oh, you didn't do that? What, no one wants your eighteen 1993 Mike Piazza Topps regular edition rookie card? Sucks to be you.

Ketchup on a hot dog. Yay or nay?
You don't put ketchup on a hot dog. That's like putting the Spicy Brown on a steak.

Who do you consider your nemesis?
The Man. Somma bich constantly holding me down. One day I'm gonna stick it to The Man and give The Man some whatfor. Oh, and Bryan Maddox.

If you could be any movie character, who would it be?
Elliot Richards in Bedazzled. Or Joe Dirt.

Favorite thing you've written for TMS?

Well, due to process of elimination, it would have to be this. Either that or a comment. I do like to bring the humor in the comments. Yeah, remember that one comment? Yeah, that was cool.

Thing you've written you're most ashamed of?
Dear Thunder Matt Crew,

I am just starting my own blog. I found yours and thought it was really funny. Can you give me any pointers?

*This is referring to an email Jordi sent us nearly two years ago asking for advice. Because we being a 6 month old blog obviously had all the answers. I still have that email saved but I'll spare him the embarrassment of posting it here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tending Bar over at Thunder Matt's

Way back in my younger days, many, many, many moons ago, I worked in a bar in Tallahassee. Actually, to be honest, I didn't really work. I just kinda stood behind the bar, played music, and handed beers to the few friends or homeless vagabonds who showed up. After two weeks of this routine, the bar told me they were going with the "hot-girls-behind-the-bar" strategy and that I wouldn't be working there anymore.

And that was the end of my life as a bar keep. Until now.

Last week, I received and accepted an invite to write for one of my favorite blogs: Thunder Matt's Saloon. I've long been a patron of Thunder Matt's little corner of the blogosphere and it's an honor to be welcomed into such a circle of greatness.

If you are not familiar with Thunder Matt's Saloon, they are the geniuses who brought us such legendary posts as:

Underrated/Overrated: Condiments

The Fantasy Hurricane League

The Thunder Matt Beer Project

and 50 States/50 Bands

So what will I bring to the Saloon? Well, I'm not quite sure yet. Hopefully, I'll bring my legion of two or three faithful readers. But other than that, as long as they don't decide to replace me in two weeks with pictures of hot chicks, I think I'll be alright.

By the way, don't worry - The Serious Tip is not going away. I'll still be here. I'm just branching out.

(P.S. That's not really Thunder Matt's Saloon, that's a picture of a place called "Matt's Saloon" in Prescott, AZ.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

The AfroSquad and Florida Championship Wrestling

All wrestlers have to start somewhere. Contrary to popular belief, the warriors of the squared circle don't magically appear buff, bad, and quick with the mic. Although some ride the tail of a comet to quick success, many toil in the trenches seemingly for eons awaiting their chance. They wrestle in flea markets, fairs, VFWs, YMCAs, and any other place a promoter can set up a ring.

Perhaps the highest level of "minor league" pro wrestling is Florida Championship Wrestling, the WWE's training school. Recently relocated around the corner from my crib in beautiful, sunny Tampa, Florida, FCW is the starting point for many wrestlers, male and female, trying to make it to the absolute pinnacle of their profession.

Needless to say, being that wrestling and the Afro-Squad go together like lamb and tuna fish, the Snowman and myself have been frequent patrons to FCW's weekly events.

So now, without further ado, I bring to The Serious Tip the first appearance of the Snowman. Hopefully this goes better than "Hercules in New York".

The FCW show last night was a lot of fun. In fact, this may have been the most enjoyable show that I've seen to date.

The Afro-Squad Army was in full force, and the crowd was a blast. A group of fans known as the Bourbon Street Mafia have joined alliances with us, so our posse is getting bigger.

I am finally getting to know some of the spouses and family in the audience. Big Titan's wife Desiree sat next to me for a while. I haven't seen him wrestle yet, but he is billed at "7 foot tall and 340 pounds." He is recovering from surgery, and should be back in a couple weeks.

Afa's match was a blast too. The ringside announcer Bryan Kelly (WXJT Channel 4) was also a lot of fun. He interacted with the Squad a lot. It was his birthday, so we got a happy birthday chant going.

Since it is a small crowd, we were able to interact a lot with in-ring announcer Angela Fong and Dusty Rhodes. We cheer when Angela bends over to get into the ring. We also cheer when Dusty sits down. (Wait for it… - Shhhhh - Yeah!) Dusty, Angela, and Bryan were a lot of fun. Interaction is part of the game.

We've also figured a way to make Eric Perez's matches "interactive." "Oh Yeah" is said whenever he hits somebody.

D.H. Smith (Davey Boy's son), Eddie Colon (Carlos's son), Joe Hennig (Curt's son) and Afa Jr. are some of the organization's second generation wrestlers. Nattie Neidhart (Jim's daughter) and Ted DeBiase Jr. are recent second generation folks from there.

"Extreme Dan" and FCW Andy (AKA Original Jet) sported 'fros throughout the night. They made that stuff look good. "Electric Cami" also looked smashing with her long curly dew.

At the end of the show I got to meet Diana Hart and Georgia Smith. Diana is Davey Boy Smith's ex-wife (and Stu Hart's youngest daughter) and Georgia is their daughter. They just moved to town from Calgary, and will be attending the shows from now on. I gave them an invitation to join the Afro-Squad Army at ringside. They were also accompanied by another Hart daughter, but I missed her first name.

Anyway, that's it for this week's report. Please check out the pictures and leave comments. Hopefully some of the spouses and wrestlers won't be too shy to comment.

Thanks, Snowman. Wait, no mention of the Great Jordi? Maybe next time.

And oh yeah, Mr. The Man, we haven't forgotten about you. Quit holding people down or else.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thoughts on The Dark Knight

I know this is way past its point of relevance, but I wanted to wait until everyone had a chance to see The Dark Knight at least twice before throw my thoughts out for consumption.

- Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am in the middle of reading a biography on Albert Einstein. The idea that Einstein believed that there was a rule for everything is similar to ideology of Batman. Throughout The Dark Knight and other Batman stories, Batman sides with organization, process, and order. There is a formula to life. A routine to be followed. Batman's outlook on life can almost be summarized with Einstein's famous quote, "God doesn't play with dice".

Batman's villains in The Dark Knight, on the other hand, represent the various stages of chaos. Two-Face is chance personified; and hence represents life and our existence on Earth. To date, we still can't figure out why the third rock in our solar system was the one to spring life. So far, the odds are against life in the universe. We are the result of chance.

Then there is the Joker - utter chaos. There is no definable rhyme nor reason to the Joker's actions. He is the big bang theory personified. He is the quantum mechanics to Batman's theory of relativity.

- One more point: Several other sites, most specifically, called the Joker a terrorist. Others said The Dark Knight is a statement on the war on terror(ism). What these writers barely mention is the origin of the Joker's tactics. The writers of The Dark Knight had clearly studied the courses of action of successful insurgencies and guerrilla fighters.

(Warning: If you have not seen The Dark Knight, you might not want to read any further. I'm about to mention parts of the movie.)

For example, the flaming firetruck? Ripped from the streets of Mogadishu or Fallujah. The attack on the helicopter? Although the Joker didn't use an RPG, that was from Mogadishu, site of the book "Black Hawk Down". The cell-phone activated bomb? Only seen time and time again by U.S. troops in Iraq; they call them I.E.D.s - or improvised explosive devices. And then of course, there was the exploding hospital. That can be traceable to either the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the Oklahoma City bombing, or even the attack on the World Trade Center.

What Batman and the authorities of Gotham City never attempt to do, and this honestly surprised me, was to go after the Joker's logistics. To quote Jack Nicholson's Joker, "Where did he get those wonderful toys?" The bombs, the guns, the rocket launchers - they had to come from somewhere. The Joker either had a warehouse full of munitions or he was being supplied by somewhere. Attempting to eliminate that source would definite have put a hamper on the Joker's ability to cause chaos.

But then again, "The Hunt For The Joker's Logistics" would not make for a very exciting movie.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Joining Forces with the AfroSquad Again

Once again, I joined forces with the fine upstanding gentlemen of The Although it has been a while since the last official collaboration between the legendary "Snowman" and myself, during the past few months we have had numerous lawyers, agents, and other affiliated moneymen crossing the "t"s and dotting the "j"s to facilitate a final merger. And now I have proud to announce The Serious Tip and The Afro-Squad have officially come together and are out to put "The Man" on notice.

So what does that mean for you, loyal reader?

Well, first, you can expect more content. That's always a good thing, right? For those unfamiliar, The Afro-Squad specializes in pure funkiness, with a smattering of beautiful women and a touch of pro-wrestling commentary and interviews.

Is The Serious Tip going away? Will it be taken over? No and No. This merger is merely cross-promotional. The Serious Tip will be linking to new content on The Afro-Squad and The Afro-Squad will be linking to new content on The Serious Tip. On those occasions where we collaborate on a project, well, expect that to be on both sites.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

LL Cool J in St. Petersburg, FL, Aug 2nd, 2008

I am going to go out on a limb and say that LL Cool J is underrated.

How many performers (rock, rap, country, whatever) have continued to be mainstream for 23 years?

23 years.

Think about that. In 1985, "We Are The World" was recorded; Mike Tyson made his professional debut; Wrestlemania began; New Coke was released; the original Nintendo hit the market; Reggie Bush, Kiera Knightley, T-Pain, and Dwight Howard were born; and LL Cool J dropped "Radio".

Granted, LL has had some albums that weren't all that good. But his name carried weight. If Run DMC is the Beatles of rap, then LL Cool J is the Rolling Stones.

Yet, unlike the Stones, LL Cool J isn't charging 200 dollars for a live concert. As a matter of fact, thousands of Rays fans got to see LL perform Saturday night for only the cost of admission. That's right, for the cost of a ticket, I got to see LL Cool J, pretty much for the great cost of "Free".

(Question: who pays for these shows? Are they sanctioned by MLB? Or are the summer concerts paid for by the teams themselves? These are the things I wonder about.)

Although the accoustics of Tropicana Field are not the greatest, LL put on a really good show. He performed somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 songs, to include "I'm Bad", "Radio", "Mama Said Knock You Out", and his verses from the "Flava in Your Ear" remix and the "I Shot Ya" remix. He also did a few songs from his upcoming Exit 13 album.

Overall, I was impressed. Even though the show was a safe, family-friendly mix of his classics and new songs, LL Cool J still has the ability to rock a mic and move a crowd. Given his continued appeal, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few hits on his new release and LL kept on going for another few years.