Saturday, January 31, 2009

The AfroSquad in Super Bowl City: Part 2

(Continued from Part 1 of Adventures in a Super Bowl City.)

When we last left our hero, he was wandering the soggy streets of Tampa, absorbing the enthusiastic insanity of the 2009 Super Bowl.

Scene 1: A Friday. The tide has changed. What was once a benign tourist movement has become an invasion. Although the influx of Steeler Faithful outnumbers the Cardinal Crew by nearly 100 to 1, both parties have taken over our hero's city, leaving him to be a pawn in the great game of advertising promotions and drunken revelers.

Our hero yearns to have his city back.

Setting: The mythical land of Bow Wow Wonderland. Similar to Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land (three part refresher: One, Two, and Three), our hero is lost, with only his wits to guide him.

"Mighty strange," our hero says as he enters the bacchanalian complex.

Our hero is approached by four carnival giants, who together speak with one mind, each only saying one word of a sentence. Our hero is forced to put the giants in the correct order to find his way.

"Go to the BootyVille," they instruct our hero.

Scene 2: BootyVille. An area within Bow Wow Wonderland, BootyVille's inhabitants are stuck in a rhythmic trance. They are unable to stop their movements, gyrating, twisting, and turning until the break of dawn. There are also many worshippers in BootyVille, all of whom are also in a trance, unable to stop staring at the inhabitants, transfixed by their hypnotic moneymakers.

The dancing inhabitants speak in a vibrating rhythmic cadence. They tell our hero that he must visit the Highizzle Chiefizzle of Bow Wow Wonderlandizzle, Snoopizzle D-O-Double Gizzle. Only the High Chief knows how our hero can make his city safe and stop the invading hordes.

Scene 3: The Temple of the High Chief. The High Chief is not unlike The Who's Tommy, with his ability to sing insightful life lessons in front of the thousands who flock to hear his words. The High Chief knows of the ways of the street, the ways of the ladies, and the sweet science of hydroponics.

Our hero asks the High Chief how he can reclaim his city. The High Chief responds by singing three important lines.

First, "It ain't no fun if the homies can't have none."

Second, "baby boy looks just like you".

Third, "the princess was starin, while holdin a drank / Reflected from her eyes was gold tank
She waved her hands like, 'Hello! Hi!' / Then gave another gesture like, 'Come here, guy!'

Enlightened, our hero finds his way out of Bow Wow Wonderland, knowing what he has to do to save his beloved city. But he does not have much time.

Check out the exciting conclusion in Part 3 of Adventures in a Super Bowl City!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The AfroSquad in Super Bowl City Part 1

Setting: A dark and rainy Thursday night in Tampa, Florida, host city of the Super Bowl. The city was decorated for the event and the partiers had already arrived.

Scene 1: Our hero, along with several friends, meets NFL Hall of Famer and television personality Michael Irvin at a Florida Championship Wrestling event.

Being the affable fellow that he is, Mr. Irvin responds to their fanaticism with a Coke and smile, minus the coke.

Scene 2: Our hero leaves the FCW arena and decides to walk the historical Channelside District looking for celebrities and Super Bowl-related set-ups.

He discovers a giant illuminated football, the guardian of the ESPN studio area. Here our hero must pass a rigorous test that only he can ask himself, while he himself is the only one who knows the answers.

After deciphering his self-created riddle, our hero passes through the threshold of the illuminated guardian, valiantly claiming the ESPN area as his own domain and marking his territory with photo opportunities.

Prior to leaving the ESPN domain, our hero attempts to intercept the transmission of ESPN's flagship broadcast with his own visage.

To paraphrase the words of the great DJ Khaled, our hero "is taking over, one city at a time".

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 as our hero travels to the Land of Bow Wow Wonderland, Home of the High Chief.

Click here for Part 2 of Adventures in a Super Bowl City.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Zen and the art of mailing it in

Sometimes there is nothing.

Sometimes nothing is everything.

Sometimes all we have is idea that we will have something more than nothing.

Sometimes we beg for anything.

Then there are the few times when we think we can scrape up all the remnants of past thoughts and attempt to concoct a gumbo worthy of being what we want.

Sometimes we stare a blank screen.

Sometimes the keyboard stares back.

Sometimes looking for that first thought is like looking for a word that rhymes with "orange".

Sometimes we attempt to break the silence.

Of course, the wizened philosophs of yesteryear would say that no thought should be captured lest you dwell on one issue. It is far better to let it go and keep your mind at peace.

Sometimes it is far too late for conscious thought.

Sometimes walking away seems like the better choice.

Sometimes the well looks empty.

Sometimes the spigot runs dry.

In these situations, time often becomes your worst enemy. The clock ticks away the seconds, minutes, hours, pecking on your cerebral cortex like a vulture on carrion. Yet the need to do what is required pushes you forward, weighing on you all the while. You wish you never took on this voluntary responsibility. But you are the best for the moment. And the moment is yours.

Sometimes repetition becomes your best friend.

Sometimes literary devices provide the ideal crutch.

Sometimes you mail in a blog post.

Sometimes you let it ride, writer's block be damned.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Have you ever been NFL experienced? Well I have ...

One of the best things about the Super Bowl coming to Tampa is the wide array of events that accompany the big game. There are autograph signings, free concerts, parties with celebrities and debutantes, and plenty of fun and games that help get the mind right for football.

One of the most interactive of these events is the NFL Experience, the National Football League's exhibit extravaganza that allows fans to get into the game and learn about football at its most grand scale. This year's NFL Experience is located right outside Raymond James Stadium is definitely worth the $18.50 admission cost (plus $10 dollars for parking).

Here are a few pics:

Welcome to Raymond James Stadium, home of Super Bowl 43.

A giant inflatable Lombardi Trophy.

A giant inflatable football.

The rings of champions.

Zen and the art of football assembly.

Memorabilia for sale. About 10 times as much Steelers stuff as Cardinals items. Everything from jerseys, to autographed pictures, to expensive artwork. Speaking of, fans in Steelers jerseys outnumbered fans in Cardinal jerseys by about 200 to 1.

A short film about the Super Bowl. During the film, fans obviously cheered their teams' highlights. Oddly, a clip of Tony Dungy received the loudest cheer. I guess he still has some fans here in the bay area.

One last pic of Raymond James Stadium on a beautiful day in Central Florida.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

George Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Funk in the White House

Funkateer, Prophet, and you knew it was going to happen eventually.

George Clinton was right. The funk has finally taken over. The White House has changed. We left The Man holding his sore butt out on the curb and we partied the night the away.

Hey, uh, we didn't get our forty acres and a mule / But we did get you.

Way back B.O. (Before the New Pres, you know who), the Real Clinton sang about foregoing the 40 acres and mule and going straight for the Chocolate City. It was no dream. Banishment for the establishment, you know what I am saying?

You don't need the bullet when you got the ballot / Are you up for the downstroke, CC?

The Real Clinton spoke of a day when the Greatest of All Time, Cassius Clay Muhammad Ali, would be in the White House and Miss Aretha Franklin would be the First Lady. Thirty-three years later (the lifetime of Christ, by the way), Ali was at the Capitol and Miss Aretha sang for the First Lady. It all makes sense. This is the way it was destined to be. Too bad Richard Pryor left for brighter pastures. You know he was smiling down on us.

And when they come to march on ya / Tell 'em to make sure they got their James Brown pass

Three-quarters of a score plus one year ago, the Real Clinton again dropped a bomb on The Man. Along with Cube, Dre, Kam, Yo-Yo, the Chilis, Flav and Chuck D, G.C. had us hoping for a new color at the lead domicile. The hope of the Funk was still burning in hearts of the true Funkateers. New generations were marching to the beat, one million strong rising to the street. But like Gil Scott said, "things were better, things were changing, but things were not together".

Picture this, paint a picture picture perfect, paint a perfect picture, paint a picture.

Then it all came together. The stars aligned, a smidge more than half the people rose as one, and the Funk beamed through the interplanetary cosmos down to Washington, DC and tore the roof off the sucka. It rode in on an Atomic Dog, came full blast through the Bop Gun, and forced The Man to bow down to the movement. Even Sir Nose knows what's up now. You see him dancin', doing the Aqua Boogie. It's cool.

Although this week represented a huge step, we still have miles to go. We have not yet achieved collective Funkentelechy. The Zone of Zero Funkativity is still prominent in many parts of our worldly habitation. But we are moving in the right direction and if we keep going The Man won't be anything more than nothing.

Long live the Funk.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is Cheerleading a Dwarf Tossing Loophole?

Last weekend, prior to watching a college basketball game, I watched a cheerleading squad put on an impressive display of balance and acrobatics. Besides the flips, leaps, and dance moves, the cheer squad's choreographed performance included multiple occurrences of people-tossing, where young women were thrown about and thankfully caught by their fellow cheerleaders.

Although most fans cheered the cheerleaders and gave them a round of applause upon completion of their performance, I did not. I was too horrified. Horrified that the thousands in attendance would blatantly allow these young men and women to make a mockery of the Florida legal system.

Way back in the ancient days of 1989, the State of Florida banned dwarf tossing. Despite the legal pursuit of Dave the Dwarf, this law is still in effect. Yet apparently rules enacted for the safety of our nation's vertically challenged population do not apply to those engaged in cheerleading activities.

According to Wikipedia, a dwarf is defined as "a person with an adult height of less than 4 feet 10 inches". The average high school or college cheerleader is barely taller. Yet they are tossed, thrown, and heaved like rag dolls during legally sanctioned cheerleading performances. I find this preposterous.

According to, the rules of dwarf tossing are as follows: "you pick up your selected midget (who will likely be adorning some kind of safety helmet and vest), take a three step run-up and throw the little bugger as far as you possibly can". How is this different from cheerleading?

If anything, dwarf tossing is actually safer than cheerleading. In dwarf tossing contests, dwarves often wear "special padded clothing or Velcro costumes" and "are thrown onto mattresses or at Velcro-coated walls", according to Wikipedia. Cheerleaders, on the other hand, are thrown dozens of feet in the air without padding and with only their teammates to prevent serious, or perhaps even fatal, injury.

(For example, compare the awkward cheerleading falls seen here, here, or here with the dwarf tossing exploits seen here, here, or here. Which is more dangerous? Hint: not the dwarf tossing.)

What if a dwarf dressed him or herself in cheerleading outfit? What if he or she did a cheer before being picked up and tossed on to a padded mat or heaved into a padded wall? Would that still be against the law? If it is legal for the cheerleading team I watched and other cheerleading teams nationwide to endanger the lives of young women by tossing them high into the air with minimal safety precautions, shouldn't the throwing of a similar-sized dwarf be of similar legality? Aren't those who applaud cheerleaders but denounce dwarf tossing blatant hypocrites?

There are only two options available to us that would alleviate this perplexing conundrum. Either we legalize dwarf tossing or we ban cheerleading. It's one or the other. There is no middle ground.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Finally enlightened on Bull Durham

Countless bloggers quote it.

Sports-loving girls live by it.

One of my favorite blogs is gets its name from a quote in it.

Yet 20 years after its release, I had never seen Bull Durham.

Until yesterday.

And I call myself a baseball fan.

Name another popular baseball movie and I bet I've seen it. The Natural? Check. Major League 1, 2, and 3? Check, check, and sadly check. The Scout, The Fan, Pride of the Yankees, The Babe, The Sandlot, etc., etc.

(Side note: check out this extensive and expansive list of baseball movies. Wow. From the famous to the obscure, there have been quite a few movies about baseball.)

I don't know why it took me 20 years to see Bull Durham. If I would have to explain it, I would say that because it came out when I was 10, a movie about sex and baseball just wasn't on my movie list. I was more interested in Major League-type flicks, movies about the game and not the relationships. To be honest, at 10-years old most of the wit and wisdom of Bull Durham would have slipped by me.

Years later however, that excuse went flying out the window like a Nuke LaLoosh fastball. Especially given that I would eventually learn the type of stuff Annie Savoy talks about. All of it. The quantum physics, the Hindu/Buddhism/philosophical babble, etc., etc. Ok, maybe not the breathing through the eyes thing, but you get my point.

It still took me far too long to see Bull Durham.

It wasn't like I didn't want to see it. Not like Titanic or Sex in the City, where I don't care if they the last movies on Earth and I was chained to the chair like Alex in Clockwork Orange, I would rather stab my eyes with pencils than watch. No, I just neglected to ever see Bull Durham.

But now I know what the hoopla is all about. Bull Durham is a pretty good flick. A bit outdated (especially in the handling of Nuke LaLoosh - do bonus-baby pitchers in the minors still throw complete games?), but overall, pretty good. Did it immediately make my top five baseball movies? Probably not.

My top five:

Cobb (1994)
The Sandlot (1993)
The Natural (1984)
Major League (1989)
Soul of the Game (1996)

Somewhere in the top ten: Bull Durham (1988)

Notice something about those movies? They were all made in a 12 year span, from 1984 to 1996. Before steroids, before advanced statistical analysis, and before pitch counts. Before we attached too much emotional value on a player's ability beyond that of a replacement player.

Where are the stories now? Yes, the Rays were a great story last year, but could you tell it without basing the movie on the ownership? How interesting would a movie on Andrew Friedman be? I'll admit, I've met Friedman and he is a nice guy, but not someone whom I would base a movie on, nor would I pay money to see a movie based on him.

Sadly, I don't see another Bull Durham-type of movie being made any time soon. Baseball has become too surgical, too analyzed, and the players have become too damn boring.

Maybe in these poor economic times it's time baseball encouraged the cereal-types to rise back to the top. You know, the flakes, the fruit loops, and the nuts. The kind of players we can base a movie on.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Strippers on Ice and Buying Stock in Smut

Let's talk about ice skating. Wait, just hear me out before you moan and groan. The other day I was flipping the channels and caught one of those ice dancing perfomances, you know, the Brian Boitano-Kristy Yamaguchi-specials, when I had an epiphany.

Strippers on Ice.

Why not put stripper poles on an ice rink? The similarities are there: the dancing, the tight uniforms, the performance routines. All I am advocating is for a little more skin and some pole usage.

Think of the advantages: attendance for ice dancing events goes up, pole dancing becomes something you and your grandmother could watch together, and super-hot women gain respect and credibility as athletes. This is so "win-win".

(Note: apparently Kelly Ripa's husband has seen something like this and there is this blog called "Strippers on Ice" that has posted once ever.)

On a somewhat, kinda, sorta related note, I was thinking of a way to make some additional income during these down times and another idea hit me: why don't I invest in the adult industry? After all, I am a regular consumer. (Kidding, of course.)

So here is my idea. Which, by the way, would require a bunch of people, but I think we may be able to make some quick cash.

Step 1: We, my group of trusting financiers and I, need to buy a few shares of one adult entertainment company.

Step 2: Then we all need to buy some media from this company, be it magazines, a movie, an online service, whatever.

Step 3: Then we all visit our local sperm bank and donate. I know it sounds disgusting, but did you know, according to a sperm donation site, "there are hundreds of thousands of people in the United States (millions worldwide) who want to have children, but cannot"? So we are helping someone out. And making a few bucks doing something we would probably be doing at home for free.

Step 4: We split our donation earnings, buying more adult products from our selected company with part of our money, and purchasing more stock with the rest. The increase in sales should drive up production and make the company more profitable, driving up their stock and our initial investment.

Step 5: Donate, purchase, repeat. Donate, purchase, repeat.

We keep doing this until we, as a group, decide the price has gone high enough. Then we stop investing, but continue purchasing. This will keep production and demand up until we can sell our stock for a massive profit. Then we stop buying porn and unload our collections on Ebay at a discount.

Again, it's a win-win for everyone.

Do I have to think of everything?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My 2009 Super Bowl Financial Favorite

Last year, I looked at the mythical “Super Bowl Indicator” and tried to predict what NFL playoff team’s victory would be best for the stock market. For those who may have forgotten, the Super Bowl Indicator states that "if an old AFL team wins the Super Bowl, the stock market will decline during that calendar year and if an original NFL team wins, the Dow Jones industrial average will rise".

Out of the 12 teams in the 2007 playoffs, the Super Bowl featured the worst for the market (the New England Patriots) and the 3rd best (the New York Giants). Unfortunately, the market failed to react to a Giants’ Super Bowl victory as it had in the past. Whereas the market had previously increased an average of 9.5% following a Giants win, in 2008 the market decreased nearly 34%, according to

The disastrous ride of 2008 stock market does not fare well for the Giants, who are one of five teams making a return appearance from last year’s playoffs. Other teams returning to the playoff from last season include the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans, and Pittsburgh Steelers. New comers to the playoffs include the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and Carolina Panthers.

So assuming the Super Bowl Indicator is still a valid way to pick a winner (despite the 2008 failure, the Indicator is still holds a 78% success rate), which team should be the market’s favorite to win the NFL championship?

Not to be trusted: The teams of the old AFL – current AFC

12. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins are the absolute worst team for the market to cheer for. Following their Super Bowl victories in Jan 1973 and Jan 1974 the stock market fell a whopping 45%. According to Wikipedia, it was “one of the worst stock market downturns in modern history”. Despite Wikipedia’s reasons that the crash was a result of “the collapse of the Bretton Woods system”, the 'Nixon Shock', the “United States dollar devaluation”, and the “outbreak of the 1973 oil crisis”, the impact of an original AFC victory must not be underestimated.

11. San Diego Chargers – Although the Chargers have never won a Super Bowl, and have never been the cause of a drop in the stock market, they are an original AFL team and hence should not be rooted for.

10. Tennessee Titans (originally Houston Oilers) – The Titans, like the Chargers and Dolphins, are also an original AFC team. Like the Chargers, the Titans have never won a Super Bowl. Unlike the previous two franchises, however, the Titans shed original identity as the Houston Oilers in 1997. As I mentioned last year, this fact puts them slightly ahead of the Chargers. But not by much.

The new AFC team

9. Baltimore Ravens – The Baltimore Ravens provide an interesting case. In 1995, the Cleveland Browns, an original AFC team, moved from Cleveland to Baltimore and became the Ravens. This should mean the Ravens are an original AFC team. However, due to public outrage, the Ravens do not carry the Browns franchise history, making them an “expansion team”. Unfortunately, their detachment from their AFC roots did not preclude them from negatively affecting the stock market after their 2001 Super Bowl win. According to Wikipedia, the NASDAQ dropped 21.05% in 2001 and the Dow lost 5.35% of its value.

The new NFC team

8. Carolina Panthers – As an NFC team (albeit not an original), the Carolina Panthers get the benefit of the doubt. Although they have not won a Super Bowl, they should be rooted for before any of the AFC teams with similar histories.

Current AFC – Former NFC teams (repeated from last year)

7. Indianapolis (originally Baltimore) Colts - Although originally an NFC team, the Colts' affiliation to their current conference does put them in bad company. However, they are provided a respite thanks to recent history. Perhaps their realignment after the AFL-NFL merger can explain why 2007 was such an extremely volatile year in the stock market, with numerous triple-digit gains and losses, mortgage industry problems, rising oil prices, and a downtrodden housing market. Despite the inconsistency, the Dow Jones did conclude the year 6.43% higher.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers - Similar to the Colts, the Steelers are also not an original AFL team, having similarly moved from the NFL to the AFC. The franchise's roots may explain the market's friendliness to Steelers' championships. For example, following Steelers' victories, the market climbed 27% after 1974, 15% after 1975, 4% after 1978, 13% after 1979, and 14% after 2006. Despite these successes and subsequent market performances, as a current AFC team, the Steelers remain a risk.

The original NFL teams

5. New York Giants – As I mentioned, last year the Giants were one of the best teams to root for. The market had increased after their championships in 1986 and 1991. Although two out of three isn’t bad and Giants are an original NFL team, the market’s abysmal 2008 performance brought the Giants overall impact to a negative 14%.

4. Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons enter the 2008 playoffs without a title to their history, even prior to the AFL-NFL merger. Despite their lack of championship pedigree, the Falcons should be rooted for based on their history as an original NFL team.

3. Minnesota Vikings – Like the Falcons, the Vikings have not won an NFL Championship since the 1970 merger. However, they did win their only championship the year before in 1969. Following that season, in 1970, the market increased 5%.

2. Arizona Cardinals – The Arizona Cardinals are also one of a few teams that have not won a Super Bowl. They did however win two championships before the merger, in 1925 and 1947. In the years following Cardinal championships, 1926 and 1948, the market had approximate overall increases.

1. Philadelphia Eagles – Despite zero championships since the AFL-NFL merger, the Philadelphia Eagles won championships in 1948, 1949, and 1960. Following their '48 title, the market increased 11.2%. The following year, after another Eagles championship, the market climbed 15.4%; and after the Eagles won it all in 1960, the market soared 15.7%.

Although I had to scour the record books, dust off some ancient market results, and consider pre-Super Bowl Indicator data, I did what had to be done to find the best team for the market. In these troubled times, we can not be misled by teams with mediocre market impacts. We need a team with a proven record of positive market influence. That is why I am throwing my support behind the Philadelphia Eagles in their quest for 2008 NFL glory.

Go Eagles.