Flaming the Fans

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has banned alcohol in certain tailgating areas for football games.  Why?  Because a group of drunken idiots got in fights at a recent game.  Of course, the idiots are apoplectic about this, because that’s how idiots react.

President Capilouto also banned DJs in those same areas. They may not have anything to do with the fights.  Maybe it’s just a nod to good taste.

(Apropos of nothing, I should note that a friend of mine and I always refer to the President as “Doctor Copulate-O.”  Oh, how we laugh when we say that)

This recent edict got me thinking about my own history as a fan and various fan personalities.  I don’t have much to say about fans acting like fools.  My friend, Meisterblogger, wrote an excellent piece on that subject.  I have nothing to add to that.  It does, however, make me ponder the behavior of fans, behavior in which I have engaged on some level my entire life.

I’m a sports fan.  Always have been.  When did it start?  I can’t really remember, but I know it started with baseball cards.  The one I remember best was a 1966 Willie Mays card.  For some reason, I loved that card.  I kept it under the desktop glass of a desk in our house.  I would sit and just look at it.  I loved it right up until my little brother managed to get it out from under the glass and tear it in half.  It was then replaced by a 1969 Willie Mays, which I kept in my pocket for safekeeping.

I carried the Say Hey Kid in my pocket for years.

I’ve cheered my teams.  I’ve screamed myself hoarse.  I’ve also cried.  Yes, cried.  Literally.  Who are my teams?  At various times, I’ve been fanatic about:

  • Los Angeles Lakers:  I’m not talking about the “Showtime” Lakers of the ’80’s.  These were the Lakers of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  Why?  Wilt Chamberlain.  Wilt was the first basketball player of whom I was aware.  He was bigger than life.  Headband; knee pads (on his shins!); tape and rubber bands on his wrists–he had swag before there was swag.  In those days, there was only one NBA game a week on TV.  The Lakers and Knicks dominated.   I remember when the Lakers won 33 games in a row.  The starting line-up was Wilt, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, Happy Hairston and Jim McMillan.  Wilt retired, then West, then my interest in the NBA.

There was only one Wilt.

  • Kentucky Colonels:  After Wilt retired, my interest shifted to the American Basketball Association.  Kentucky had a team.  Dan Issel, Artis Gilmore, Louie Dampier, Darrel Carrier and many others.  We rarely got to see them on TV, but I followed their every exploit.  The ABA was great.  Red, white and blue ball; three pointers; big Afros.  I loved it.  A couple of times, ABA barnstorming teams came to Harlan and played exhibition games.  We’d get Dampier, Carrier and a few other stars.  They were great guys.  They even let one of our local basketball coaches, John D. Wilson, play in one of the games.  Great stuff.  When the ABA merged with the NBA, the Colonels folded.  THAT was a sad day.

Artis Gilmore was everything cool about the ABA

  • Cincinnati Reds:  When I became a baseball fan, it didn’t take long to become a Reds fan.  Everyone in Kentucky was a Reds fan in those days.  You didn’t have much choice in the matter.  Johnny Bench was my icon.  He could do no wrong in my eyes.  I followed the Reds as closely as one could during the 1970’s.  I listened to the games on the radio.  I cut the box scores out of th paper. When they finally won the World Series in 1975, I was as happy as a kid could be .  My fandom continued in earnest through the mid-1990’s.  I’ll confess that it burned off through a combination of things.  One, free agency in baseball took away the concept of “my” team.  Rosters change too much and too quickly. Second, I’m one of those who never got his passion back after the 1994 players strike.  I still follow it, but I don’t live and die with it.
  • Dallas Cowboys:  From Craig Morton to Tony Romo.  Calvin Hill to Demarco Murray; Bob Hayes to Miles Austin; Bob Lilly to DeMarcus Ware, I’ve followed the Cowboys.  Roger Staubach was the hero of my youth.  I’ve reveled in the salad days of the 1970’s and 1990’s and suffered through the 1980’s and 2000’s.  Jerry Jones is the bane of my existence, but I still watch and hope.  Mostly, I long for the day when the Jones family dies out.
  • The University of Kentucky:  I save this for last, but it is certainly not least.  This is the one where my fandom has not waned.  Oh, being older, I’m not as psychotic as I used to be, but I’m still a card-carrying member of Big Blue Nation–basketball and football, of course.  I’m a two-time alum, but that doesn’t really matter.  You don’t have to be a grad to belong to BBN.  Hell, you don’t even have to ever set foot on campus.  It’s bigger than that.  It IS Kentucky.  My obsession with all things UK has evolved, but it has never died.

Against this backdrop, I’ve learned a lot about fans.  I am one.  Who are they?

THE DRUNK

I’ve been this guy.  He shows up at 9:00 a.m. to tailgate for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.  He drinks and drinks and drinks.  He’s loud and obnoxious.  He freely uses foul language.  He’ll insult opposing fans.  He’ll insult his friends. He’ll pick fights.  He’ll randomly vomit.  He watches the game–maybe.  It doesn’t matter if he does or not, because he won’t remember it.

Here’s how I used to do it.  Show up several hours before kickoff with a grocery bag full of beer.  Drink the beer.  Wander from the tailgate to tailgate bumming more beer.  Watch the football game.  Try not to pass out or puke.  Drink more.

I would find myself with people I didn’t know.  Drinking and cheering.  High-fiving and hugging.  Once, I was tailgating and a woman asked of me and a friend:  “Do you mother****ers wanna dance?”  We declined. That’s the crowd we were in.

Drunk Fan isn’t to be confused with his cousin, Drinking Fan, a mostly amiable fellow who occasionally goes over the edge.  He’s okay.

Fortunately, the strongest thing I drink these days is coffee.  The good news is that I remember all UK’s basketball games.  The bad news is that I remember all the football games, too.  Nothing is perfect.

THE DEMENTED

This guy believes he’s part of the team.  More accurately, he is the team, and the team is him.  They are one.  WE win.  He wears jerseys of his team.  He paints his face.  He names his kids after players.

If his team wins, this guy is a better person.  Not only that, he’s just better in general.  Healthier, happier, stronger.  Better.  He will gloat.  He will post things on Facebook like:

Cats win!  Yeah, baby, we’re rolling!  Suck it, Louisville!

Of course, he can also lose.  Losing is crippling.  He can’t face the light of day.  He won’t read the papers or watch TV, lest he be exposed to the terrible truth of his own failings.  Losing makes him a lesser person.  Unworthy.  Yet, he will tweet this:

U of L fans suck!  Chipstrapped losers!  Enjoy your one win, because we’re still BIG BLUE!! #UofLblows

The Demented Fan sees each game as a personal triumph or failure. It never dawns on him that he isn’t playing and has no stake in the outcome of games played by others who are not conscious of his existence.  Sadly, I’ve been there, too.  Why, oh, why, dear God, did they lose???  My cheering, my clothing, my very presence should have made the difference.  They did not.  I have failed.  Life sucks.

THE PSYCHOTIC

He rants.  He raves.  He yells obscenities.  He throws things.  He does all of these things just watching on TV.  I’ve been that guy, too:

  • Christian Laettner’s shot hits the bottom of the net to beat UK in the Regional Final.  In one seamless motion, I sweep a full ashtray into my hand and hurl it against the fireplace.  It shatters into a thousand pieces.  A stream of obscenities follow.  I can’t sleep for days. It takes 20 years for me to watch a replay of the shot.
  • Colt Jim O’Brien’s kick splits the uprights to beat the Cowboys in the Super Bowl.  I cry.
  • Remember Dwight Clark’s famous catch against the Dallas Cowboys?  The “Catch?”  I screamed and fell to my knees.
  • LSU beat UK on a Hail Mary pass with no time left.  I was watching the game at home and drinking.  I stepped outside, pick up a basketball and hit it with a baseball bat.  Not understanding the immutable laws of physics, I did not know that the bat would fly back, instead of the ball flying forward.  The back cracked me in the middle of the forehead.  I immediately went into a swoon and puked up about 2 gallons of beer.
  • North Carolina beats UK in the regional finals.  I am so deranged, I don’t know what to do.  First, I punch the door.  A steel door.  Bad move.  Then, for reasons I don’t understand, I tore my jeans in half–while wearing them.  You know how the Bible talks about people “tearing at their robes?”  That was me.
  • I once spit on the TV screen.  By “once” I mean innumerable times.
  • I have used every foul word and phrase in the English language watching games–even when my team is winning.
  • In a futile effort to protect our possessions, my wife bought me foam bricks to throw.  Not enough heft to them, but I did shred one.

Remember what I said above about fans acting like fools?  Burning couches and fistfights are for fools.  My actions were acts of passion.  Fortunately, I’ve outgrown this behavior–for the most part.  Now, my wife acts worse than I do.  At least I get to see what an annoying pain in the ass I was.

THE CASUAL FAN

I really have nothing to say about this guy.  He is just one step above the contemptible Fair Weather Fan.  The Casual Fan only pretends to be a fan.  He never loses sleep or acts like a jackass over a game.  He doesn’t know the players’ birthdays or their hometowns.  He’s a fraud.  I’ve never been him, and I won’t be.

I have crawled from top to bottom of the Fan’s Tree of Life.  I’m now a passionate–yet mostly normal–fan.  I still get agitated and take it too seriously.  But, I tell myself that the sun will still come up tomorrow and life is good.  I even believe that sometimes.

So, what kind of fan are YOU?

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012

First posted back in the Spring. I’ve updated it some on the anniversary of Richard’s death.

Coal Troll's Blog

Richard Kent Williams was five years younger than me.   He was my brother, and he’s been dead for over 25 years now–more than half my life.  “Been dead” isn’t exactly right.  He is dead.  It took me a long time to say that.   Passed, passed away, gone or lost were much gentler terms.  Eventually, I could say that “he died.”  Something about the past tense took the edge off it, as though one could die and that be the end of it.  This ignores the obvious:  those who die remain dead.  They are dead.  That’s the case with my brother.  He would be middle-aged now, but he isn’t.  He was 20 when he died, and 20 he remains.

Richard died in the early morning hours of September 26, 1987, but I’ve always thought of the 25th as the right date.  That was his last day.  He was a student at the…

View original post 1,552 more words

Debating 101: A Primer

My father was fond of saying “This isn’t a high school debate!” whenever I took exception to anything he said.  It was his way of saying “Shut the hell up!”  That’s pretty much how I would handle a debate if I were a Presidential candidate.

I have never participated in a debate.  I’ve argued a lot and even yelled at people, but that’s different.  I have been married for almost 25 years, so these types of encounters happen on occasion.  That said, I’m sure I would do poorly in a real debate.

I don’t pay that much attention to politics, except for the few issues which interest me.  As a result, I’m not fan of political speeches or heated back-and-forth on the issues of the day.  I do, however, watch quite a bit of television.  Presidential debates are, after all, made-for-TV events. As such they neglect one basic element of good television:  Entertainment.

Despite some thinking that 47% of the public has made up its mind about the election, I doubt that.  My guess is that 45% are in the bag for Obama and 45% are on the Romney bandwagon.  That leaves 10% to decide the leader of the Free World.

Chances are that these folks aren’t much interested in politics, but–like all of us–they want to be entertained.  Something has to resonate with these folks–draw them in.  I don’t think two stiff politicians droning on about political minutia will do it.

The few debates I’ve watched have been dreadfully dull, like most of the candidates.  Given the critical nature of the upcoming presidential debates, I’ve thought about what could be done to spice them up a tad.

The first thing needed is a change in format.  Rather than one dullard as a moderator, I would pick a panel of controversial blowhards.  My initial thought is to have Keith Olberman, Ann Coulter and Simon Cowell.  Instead of the usual mundane questions, they could take turns introducing hot button topics, such as:

  • You, sir, are a damned liar!
  • Tell us about Bill Ayres!
  • Where are your tax returns?
  • Where is your birth certificate?
  • Sing your favorite song!
  • I hate you!
  • You are a communist!
  • You are a rich sonofabitch!
  • You are a Muslim!
  • You are a Mormon!
  • You don’t have star power!

After each topic is introduced, each candidate will have two minutes to respond.  Our panel, being pathologically unable to stay quiet, will be free to interrupt the responses with their own inane rants.

These changes, while helpful, won’t fix things unless the candidates themselves are willing to make some changes to their own approaches.  Below are my suggestions for both candidates:

For Obama:

  1. If asked about the economy, light up a Marlboro and mutter “I don’t know.  I just don’t know….”
  2. Demand that Romney make public all his tax returns…and his wives.
  3. Invoke Patriot Act; Declare Romney an Enemy Combatant.
  4. Announce that Biden is being replaced with The Turtle Man so that someone more qualified will be in line for the Presidency.
  5. Throw Osama Bin Laden’s head into the audience, screaming:  “I didn’t say anything about not spiking his head!”
  6. If asked about taxes, respond with:  “I’m taxing you bastards into the Stone Age.”
  7. Plant Bill Clinton in the audience.  Have him interrupt to answer any difficult questions.
  8. At some point, say:  “KARL Marx?!?!  That’s completely different!  All this time, I thought I was following GROUCHO!”
  9. Counter any valid argument with “I’ve got your predator drone, right here!”
  10. Announce plans to end war in Afghanistan; start war in America.

For Romney:

  1. Enter stage with Honey Boo Boo on his shoulders, thus insuring ratings bonanza and currying favor with the 47%.
  2. Announce that he’s legally changed his name to “Mint” and wear gigantic gold dollar sign around neck.
  3. Pointedly challenge Obama:  “If you’re really Kenyan, then explain to the public why you can’t run faster than Paul Ryan!”
  4. Draw hilarious caricature of Mohammed.
  5. Drink first cup of coffee ever during debate.  Go mental.
  6. Announce plans to invade Canada.
  7. Take vow of poverty, then laugh uncontrollably until time is up.
  8. Respectfully address Obama as “Commissar Commie Pinko Obama.”
  9. Wear a monocle.
  10. Undermine Biden’s inroads with biker-voters by referring to Ann as “my old lady.”

In addition to these specific pointers for the candidates, there are also general tactics which can be used by either candidate. These will insure lively back and forth while not turning off the viewer with wild, controversial stands on important issues.

A tried and true approach is to redirect the question toward a topic you’d really like to discuss. I call this “Debate by Diversion.”  Here is an example:

QUESTION: Sir, you have been accused of being vague on specifics. How exactly will you balance the federal budget?

ANSWER:  I’m glad you asked that question.  A balance budget is vital to our future–and that of our children.  I will balance the budget, but–speaking of children–the more important question is why does my opponent continue to deny that he authored a series of erotic novels for children? 

This outlandish and baseless accusation will subtly divert the viewer from the mundane budget issues, focusing his or her attention on the more inflammatory topic of adolescent erotica.  The opponent will be on the defensive for the remainder of the debate, plus viewers will remain glued to their TVs for the remainder of the debate.

There is also the irrelevant point:

QUESTION:  Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was long viewed as a staunch ally of the United States.  With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt, what will you do to re-build our relationship with Egypt?

ANSWER:  A strong, democratic Egypt is vital to our interests in the Middle East.  I will work with all Egyptians to build a strong relationship based upon mutual respect and peace.  Of course, the biggest issue facing us today is the rampant abuse of bath salts, both here in the United States and in Egypt.

The candidate has defused a potentially devastating lack of knowledge of the Middle East by injecting an irrelevant issue into the middle of the debate.  Many more undecided voters are likely to be addicted to bath salts than to actually know someone in Egypt.

Then, there is the non-response.  If your opponent makes an especially stinging comment, respond:  “WhatEVer!” Then, storm out of the room and refuse to speak to your opponent until he apologizes, even though he did nothing wrong.  Okay, I’ll admit that won’t improve ratings, but it works.  My wife does it all the time.

Finally–and most importantly–do not take a position on anything, except being “Anti-Terrorist” and “Pro-America.”  Don’t screw up and become “pro-crime” or “anti-God.” Your ratings will plummet.

Trust me, when you watch the debates, you’ll wish they’d read this.  Of course, you can always check out Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and watch the debate highlights on the news.  That’s my plan.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012

Hunting Big Foot

This should read “Loyall, Home of Big Foot.”

I grew up in the Golden Age of Big Foot–the 1970’s.  I also grew up in the Land of Big Foot–Harlan County, Kentucky. I realize that the proper spelling of the species is “bigfoot,” but I prefer “Big Foot,” as his proper name.  I never saw Big Foot, but he was around, lurking.

Some 40 years later, my contemporaries ponder the state of the World.  They grieve over politics and social issues.  They worry about such mundane topics as prostate health and cardiovascular disease.  I, however, still think about Big Foot.

Eastern Kentucky has always had its share of tall tales.  There was Old John Shell, reputedly living to the ripe of old age of 130.  He killed a bear with his bare hands in a creek.  Thus, that creek is now known as Greasy Creek from the grease left by the bear’s carcass.  My Papaw used tell of a headless man who roamed the woods in Island Creek in Pike County.

We now live in a new era of Big Foot.  He’s making a comeback.  The History Channel used to be devoted to subjects like war–you know, history.  Now, it has shows about Big Foot.  Big Foot is on the Science Channel, The Learning Channel and others.   He’s a star again.

I first became familiar with Big Foot’s cousin, The Abominable Snowman.  The Abominable, of course, was one of the stars of the classic Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  He terrified me, even after Hermey sadistically pulled all his teeth.

I learned of the real Abominable through a magazine article–it might have been in Boy’s Life.  Someone had made plaster casts of his foot prints. They were huge!  He had to be real.

It was around that time that I first heard of Big Foot.  He might be known as Sasquatch elsewhere, but in Harlan County, he was–and will always remain–Big Foot.  Harlan County had Big Foot.

To be precise, Loyall had Big Foot.  Loyall is where I grew up.  It was–and is now–a small town.  For years, the sign into town said “Population 1100.”  I guess that was right.  I don’t know how long Loyall has been there, but I’d guess since 1911, the year the first trainload of coal was shipped out of Harlan County.

Loyall is a railroad town, home of a railroad yard.  Originally, it was the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.  Today, it’s CSX.  The “Yard” is huge, full of old relics and buildings which haven’t been used in decades, but it still runs trains.  It seems like most folks in Loyall worked for the railroad.  My uncle Jack was the Trainmaster at the Yard.  He made sure the trains ran on time–literally.

The Loyall Yard, many years ago. It looks pretty much the same today.

I lived most of my childhood in Rio Vista, a subdivision of sorts just outside Loyall.  It was 5 blocks of houses and a nice, quiet place to live.  Nice neighbors, you slept with your doors unlocked, etc–typical small town USA.  The only downside was that we lived right by the railroad tracks–as did most folks in Loyall.  Even today, I’m sure I could sleep soundly right by a train track.

Just outside Loyall is a mammoth cemetery, Resthaven.  That’s where my parents and younger brother–and many others–are interred.  Near the cemetery was a curved railroad bridge, which I was told was the first curved railroad bridge in the country.  I doubt that, but I like to think it’s true. So, Loyall was pretty ordinary.  Our biggest claim to fame was being saluted once on Hee Haw.

Even though Loyall was ordinary, it had its mysteries.  For example, there was Good Neighbor Road.  For the most part, it was just a little road at the foot of Park Hill lined with houses.  After about a half mile, the road ran out and turned into dirt.  People lived on that stretch, too, but I don’t know who they were.  Their dogs were vicious and would chase you like a pack of wolves.  Past those few homes was the sewer plant.  Past that was a big old house full of people.  We didn’t know them or what they were about.  A friend of mine and I used to go into the woods above that house and look at it with binoculars.  It looked like the house in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  We never saw anything interesting going on, but it was still creepy.  We knew they were up to no good.  My knew those folks and said they were alright.  I’m sure he was wrong about that.

Then, there was Old Loyall which really was no different from “new” Loyall except that’s where the Yard was located, and I guess it was older.  It’s also where City Hall and the fire department were–and still are–located. But, on the other side of the Yard was a strange stretch of road running behind the Yard.  In the back of the yard were a couple of old school buses with stove pipes in the windows.  People lived in those buses.  At least, I think they were people.

Our biggest mystery was Long Hollow.  It is above Park Hill, where I moved at age 12.  We lived–literally–on the side of the mountain.  The city of Harlan was on the other side of the mountain.  On our side of the mountain was a holler (“hollow” for you city folks).  That was Long Hollow, land of mystery.  To get to it, you had to hike straight through the woods above our house, maybe 500 feet.  Then, you hit the old mine road which you could follow for about a mile.  When it ran out, you just hiked.  Long Hollow was shaded, cool and more than a little eerie.  This is where Big Foot resided.

When I say I lived on the side of the mountain, I mean it.

I think my friend Norman first made me aware of Big Foot.  Norman was a font of information, some true and some false.  He knew of Big Foot, because Big Foot lived up above his house, deep in the woods.  Deep in Long Hollow, the mysterious cove well back in the mountain.

An aerial shot of Loyall showing Big Foot’s last known whereabouts.

It was probably in the 3rd or 4th grade that Norman described the great beast to me.  Big Foot had “the eyes of man; the nose of a bear; the ears of a man; the mouth of a bear; the hands of a man; the feet of a bear.”  Whew.  That’s one scary-sounding abomination.  Even at that young age, I could recognize exaggeration or outright lying, but it was an entertaining tale.

Norman and I saw the movie The Legend of Boggy Creek at the Margie Grand Theater in Harlan.  It was sort of a mock-documentary about the Boggy Creek Monster, kind of a poor man’s Big Foot.  This film had production values that would embarrass a pornographer, but it terrified me.  If Big Foot was anything like the Boggy Creek Monster, we were in trouble.

As an aside, the atmosphere of the Margie Grand made the film all the scarier.  The Margie Grand was an old theater–really old.  Plaster hung in big chunks from the ceiling.  The balcony sagged dangerously overhead.  The only time I was ever in there when the balcony was open, some kid peed off it–on to the audience below.  That’s a special effect George Lucas never thought of.  It had an old stage in front of the screen.  Norman and I would throw popcorn on the stage and watch the rats run out to eat it.  It added a certain grimy creepiness to anything you watched.  Years later, I watched The Legend of Boggy Creek on TV.  It wouldn’t frighten a preschooler.  But, at the Margie Grand, you half-expected the Boggy Creek Monster to be selling tickets.

We hunted for Big Foot.  Imagine, two small 10-year-old kids, heading into the woods, with knives on our belts seeking a beast which would tear us limb from limb.  We would stab him to death if it came to it. We were ready to take him on.

We walked the mining road, occasionally stopping to play with the old equipment.  Hey, we might have been Big Foot Hunters, but we were still kids.  An old dump truck was pretty cool.  Sometimes we encountered feral dogs or “wild” dogs as we called them.  Skinny, mangy and growling–they were damn scary.  I don’t care what kind of dog-lover you are, these mutts would scare the hell out of you. Sometimes, we’d go inside the portals of the old coal mines, an action far more dangerous than Big Foot.

I made several treks into Long Hollow to look for Big Foot.  I never found him.  Oh, occasionally, I saw his footprints or heard him off in the distance.  But, I never had the chance to take him on with my knife, which, incidentally, my cousin brought to me straight from Vietnam.

Some 40 years later, I still have my Big Foot hunting knife.

Even though we never saw Big Foot, people still had some fun with him.  I knew a kid who was obsessed with, and terrified by, Big Foot.  His father sawed huge feet out of plywood, strapped them to his feet and stomped around in their yard when it snowed.  He made tracks right up to his son’s bedroom window.  The kid didn’t sleep for weeks.  That’s a good way to assure years of therapy.

A friend of mine and I once took another kid in the woods to show him where we “saw” Big Foot.  We had another kid waiting to jump out and scare him.  Of course, we had no Big Foot costume nor were any us 9 or 10 feet tall.  Our ersatz Big Foot leaped from behind a tree screaming his best Big Foot scream and whacking a tree with a stick.  It sounded kind of like “YOWWWWWYAAHHH!!”  He had improvised his own Big Foot costume by combining a football helmet with a green Army poncho.  Strangely, it worked and our poor dupe ran screaming out of the woods.

Mostly, Big Foot disappointed me.  Honestly, I never saw him.  I also never saw any footprints.  I tried hard to imagine that I did.  I had seen the eponymous Big Foot film (known as the Patterson Film to us Big Foot-philes).  That’s what I wanted to see, but I didn’t.

Truthfully, I’ve always been a bit of a coward.  If I had really believed he existed, I probably wouldn’t have set foot in those woods.  Nevertheless, it was fun to think about it.  It still is.

Eventually, Big Foot became like the Wallins Creek Panther.  I heard for years that there was a panther in Wallins.  A HUGE panther.  After awhile, I realized that if that many people had seen it, someone would have killed it.  Big Foot–being gargantuan–couldn’t have hidden that long. Say what you will about Harlan County, but our people won’t hesitate to kill something.

Gradually, Big Foot left my consciousness.  He became a thing of memories, like 10 cent cokes and baseball cards.  When I visited my parents, I would sometimes look up toward Long Hollow and think about hiking around.  Mostly, though, I thought about how my parents must have been crazy to allow an 10-year-old to wander off into the woods.  I wouldn’t allow my kids to walk to the corner at that age.

One night, my sons and I watched an atrocious film called Yeti on the SciFi Channel.  Yeti (or Yetti) is another name for the Abominable Snowman.  This Yeti was a maniac, able to leap 40 feet in the air and cover 100 yards in a single bound.  He slaughters most of the football team from “State University” whose plane crashed on his mountain.  Eventually, the Yeti falls off a cliff.  Of course, we find out in the final frame that there were two Yetis, setting the stage for a sequel.  It did, though, bring back my memories of Big Foot.

I’m not sure what has caused the rest of the world’s renewed interest in Big Foot.  Maybe he’s just making a comeback like zombies have done in last few years.  I hope no one captures him.  Capturing is for wusses.  Stab him to death.  That was my plan.

One thing that has always puzzled me is whether there are multiple bigfoots (bigfeet?).  I mean, there have to be, right?  They re-produce, I guess.  Or maybe Big Foot is 130 years old like Old John Shell.  That might make more sense.

So, there you have it.  An actual Big Foot hunter right in your midst.  Oh, by the way, the men’s room at the Margie Grand had its toilet at the bottom of a long flight of stairs.  You had to stand on the steps to pee.  Weird.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012

You Can Quote Me On That

If I were as clever as Wilde, I could get away with dressing like this.

Like most people, I’d like to do something memorable, to be known for something.  Something good, of course.  It’s easy to be remembered for some horrid thing.  Those are fairly easy to do, but I’m not of that stripe, fortunately.

As with most lawyers, I think I could be a writer or even should be one.  Writing–good writing, that is–requires work ethic and inspiration, neither of which I possess in plentiful amounts.  To write well, or “good” as a poor writer might say, research are at least interesting life experiences are also required.  Plus, writers often must suffer for their art.  Suffering holds little interest for me.  Writers are also often unappreciated during their lifetimes.  I have absolutely no interest in that type of attention.  Thus, I lack the basic skills required to be a successful writer.

I recently thought that I could make my mark by coining pithy sayings.  I’ve been known to turn a phrase or two on occasion.  Sayings, memorable quotes and random witticisms are much easier to compose than entire books or even novellas.  Many people are known for saying things.  Oscar Wilde, for instance, said many things, most of which were pretty funny.  Of course, they also seem to have been designed to show that he was smarter than everyone else, which he probably was.

Here’s one I came up with:  Ambition is the devil’s anvil.  That was just off the top of my head!  Amazing, huh?  What does it mean?  I don’t know.  Maybe it means that if you are too ambitious, Satan will hammer you on his anvil into whatever he wants.  It’s not very good, is it?  Why?  First off, you have to think too much about it.  Second–and most importantly–no one knows who I am.  What would I know of the Devil?  If C.S. Lewis had said this, we might nod our heads, reflecting upon the wisdom of the great Christian apologist.  If I say it, people ask me questions like “Does the Devil have an anvil?”  or “What are you, a Communist?”

Thus, I am now perplexed by how to break into this world of wisdom.  In this age of sound bites and brief attention spans, there should be ample opportunity.  This post summarizes my thoughts on this complex subject.  To determine where I fall short, I studied the vast universe of the quotable.

Literary quotes, of course, are fantastic.  I could fill many volumes with the witty, inspiring or profound writings of others. Here’s a good one:

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

This is a zinger.  It’s not really a saying, as much as it is a literary quote, but it’s a good one.  The main character in the book pretended to be a Nazi, and it turns that’s exactly what he was.  Good stuff, but Vonnegut was a great writer.  He could probably come up with things like this all day.  Like I said, if I were a writer, this would take care of itself.

Already being well-known certainly helps.  In fact, it may be the number one advantage you can have.  If you have a certain amount of fame or notoriety, you can say things and people will like those things.  How about this one:

“Winning isn’t everything.  It’s the only thing.”

Vince Lombardi

Lombardi was not a writer, but was a great football coach.  Although he’s been dead for over 40 years, he’s still thought of as the prototype for coaches–tough, demanding and a stern taskmaster.  This is his most famous saying.  It’s been quoted thousands of times.  Alas, it makes little sense.  If winning is, indeed, the only thing, isn’t it, by definition, everything?  Also, winning isn’t really the only thing, is it?  There’s losing.  When Lombardi said that, there was no overtime in football.  So, there was also tying.  What was his point?  He didn’t need one.  He was Vince Lombardi.

Thus, it may be more about who says something than what they say.  Try this one:

“A long time ago, being crazy meant something.  Nowadays, everybody’s crazy.”

That’s so-so.  But, if I tell you that Charles Manson said it, you pay attention.  If Charlie thinks that, what’s the world coming to?  Of course, we must be careful.  Freely quoting Charles Manson isn’t advisable, even if he has the occasional gem.  More importantly, looking to Charlie for wisdom is a bad, bad sign.

This last example points out a truism.  Attribution is important–maybe the most important thing.  Let’s say that I’m fond of this one:

“No one ever went broke spending other people’s money.

If that was spoken by Barack Obama, many folks would become apoplectic.  It would be quoted on social media and in campaign ads as proof of his socialist agenda.  What if Ronald Reagan said it?  Those same folks would think of it as wise counsel warning us that the government is stealing our money.  What if–as is really the case–I said it?  Then, you don’t give a damn.  Of course, it may not be original to me, either.  There are so many sayings out there that sometimes I’ll think I’ve come up with a pearl, only to realize that someone else said it or I heard it on TV.

A friend of mine recently said “I’m tired of wearing things.”  Now, this makes little sense, especially considering that it was said in response to someone offering him a campaign sticker.  If it had been said by–let’s say–William F. Buckley, it would be thought-provoking, perhaps.  As it was, it only created an uncomfortable few moments of silence.

Some sayings have been around so long, we don’t who said them, like “A stitch in time saves nine.”  What the hell does that mean, anyway?  I think it means that if I’m industrious enough to sew up a small hole, it will save me the work of fixing a much bigger rip later.  I’ve heard that, but I’ve never used it, and I probably won’t.  With these types of adages, we just say “Someone once said…”  or “You know what they say….”  They and someone have much more credibility than, say, you or I do when it comes to wisdom.

There are snarky quotes, like Gore Vidal or Dorothy Parker might have said.  “When a friend of mine succeeds, something inside of me dies.”  Vidal said that, and I agree, especially if a friend of mine comes up with a catchy saying.  But, one must first have a reputation of being either an intellectual snob (Vidal), a curmudgeon (Andy Rooney) or maybe just a bit disturbed (Truman Capote) for these to mean much.  Otherwise, you just seem hateful and must be relegated to talk radio for your audience.

There is the Malapropism, as when Dan Quayle bemoaned that “It is terrible to lose one’s mind or to have no mind at all” or when President Obama referred to “56” states.  In order to be known for a Malaprop, however, one must already have achieved some fame.  Who cares if a nobody says something wrong?  I had a client who once repeatedly said on the witness stand “that’s a mute point.”  It wasn’t funny.  It was annoying.  If he had been the President, it would have been funny.  Pretty simple.  If you’re going to be famous for sounding like an idiot, be famous first.  It is difficult–but not impossible–to become famous for one’s stupidity alone.

Movies are a great source of memorable quotes.  Here are 10 of my favorites:

  • “I’ve always been lucky when it comes to killin’ folks.” Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven
  • “It’s my way or the highway.”  Patrick Swayze, Road House
  • “They don’t even know I’m not in their f***ing Army anymore.”  Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now.
  • “Avenge me!!”  Harry Dean Stanton, Red Dawn
  • “Look what your brother did to the door!” Jim Sedow, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • “Lick my plate!” Bill Moseley, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Part 2
  • “Luca Brazi sleeps with the fishes.” Abe Vigoda, The Godfather
  • “She had good judgment if not particularly good taste.”  Tim McIntyre (As Blue the Dog), A Boy and His Dog
  • “You humans are stupid!  STUPID!!”  Dudley Manlove, Plan Nine from Outer Space

Since I am neither an actor nor a screenwriter, cinema isn’t available to me.

We quote songs.  I like MacArthur Park (“Someone left the cake out in the rain….”).  Bob Dylan had many good one (“Don’t wanna be bum you better chew gum”).  The Doors alone will give you a vast library of quotes.  There is an endless supply.  Alas, I have no musical talent.  This is not a possibility for me.

Of course, there are also the inane, useless sayings that no one claims, like:

  • Whatever:  I’m convinced this was coined for the sole use of my wife to make my flesh crawl.
  • It is what is.  This is the long form of  “It is.”  So what?
  • We’ll agree to disagree.  Really?  Doesn’t that just mean we disagree?
  • Too much information!  If I were to post on Facebook that my new hemorrhoidal ointment was caused a severe rash, I would soon get this comment.  There is no such thing as too much information.  The more the better.
  • Just sayin‘:  This gem is added to the end of things that people say to reinforce that they are saying them, as opposed to acting them out in pantomime or interpretative dance.  Most times it follows a caustic comment  to connote that “just sayin'” is some type of qualification of the statement.
  • “Know what I’m sayin’?”: This is a variety of the older “You know what I mean?” and the newer “Feel me?” If you could speak clearly, you would not have to ask me repeatedly if I know what it is that you just said.
  • God is good.  Okay, I know I’ve just offended a whole bunch of people, but I only hear that when good stuff happens.  Of course, God is good!  If God is a god, you better not being saying that He’s not.  Don’t forget the smiting.

We also have famous last words.  Some, like actresses Tallulah Bankhead (“Codeine…bourbon”) or Joan Crawford (“Dammit. Don’t you dare ask God to help me!”) are less than inspiring.  Others are odd (James Thurber–“God bless. God damn”).  Some are funny (Gen. John Sedgwick–“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist….”).  And some are spooky (Victor Hugo:  “I see black light.”).  Regardless, they all have one thing in common.  THEY ARE LAST WORDS!  I’m not saving the good stuff for my last breath.

So, what do I do now?  Well, I’ve come up with a short list of sayings, quotes, catchphrases and witticisms for all occasions.  At least one of them has to catch on, but in case you don’t want to quote me, I’ve included in bold a more prominent person for attribution:

  • He’s as useless as a blind guide dog.   Walter Brennan
  • A camel is just a swayback horse turned inside out.  Junior Samples (Actually, I might have heard that on Hee Haw).
  • Charity is God’s way of robbing us blind, assuming for a moment there were, in fact, a God.   Ayn Rand
  • The Government protects freedom like a jackal guards a meerkat.  Ronald Reagan
  • Never swim with sharks where there is a perfectly good boat. Harry Truman
  • Never fight a man with a glass eye (I mean don’t fight a man who HAS a glass, not don’t use a glass eye as a weapon, although that’s good advice, too). Mark Twain
  • Don’t trust a woman who… aw, hell, just don’t trust a woman.  Albert Einstein
  • An atheist is a man whose God doesn’t exist.  Billy Sunday
  • Leave me alone (that’s not really a helpful saying.  It’s just something I say a lot).  J.D. Salinger
  • You beat a man with a whip and that man likes a whip, you’re just making a fool out of yourself.  (Okay, actually Charles Manson said that, but you can’t quote him, can you?).  Andy Warhol

Feel free to use these any time, just be sure to give me proper attribution, unless of course you want to be taken seriously.   Notice how I cleverly used only dead people as potential sources.  As we lawyers know, the dead are defamation-proof.   Remember, though, that I am a lawyer, and I will sue you if you steal my material.

So, I’ve made my contribution.  Now, it’s up to the public to seize upon it.  If they don’t, to Hell with them.  You can quote me on that.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012

No Joke: I’m the Man for U.K. Football

My good friend, Roger, and I sat through the entire, sorry University of Kentucky/Western Kentucky University football game last night. It was just another of many inexplicable UK losses we’ve watched over the years. UK football games are like watching Old Yeller. You know how it ends. You know you’ll be sad, but you watch it anyway.

Inspiration is the bastard child of bitter defeat. No one ever said that. I just made it up, but feel free to quote me. After the game, we were bemoaning the loss–on a trick-play, two point conversion that a high school team could have stopped. Of course, we need a new coach. Except for a few random seasons, that’s pretty much the constant state of affairs for our beloved Wildcats.

My optimism for this season was short-lived. Coach Joker Phillips has jumped from the hot seat into the cauldron. A coaching changes seems inevitable now, as does a two win season.

Our first thought was to go contrarian and hire the worst coach we can find. Maybe Bobby Hauck at UNLV (4-21 in his first two seasons). How about Indiana’s coach, Kevin Wilson? He went 1-11 in his first season. Just hire the worst we can find and accept our fate. Then, Roger had inspired thought: Why not hire someone who’s NEVER coached football on any level?

He suggested hiring himself, which is just foolish. He lives in another state. It would be very inconvenient. I, on the other hand, live right here in Lexington. I officially declare myself a candidate. Not only a candidate. The only candidate.

QUALIFICATIONS

Except for some limited experience in my backyard, I’ve never played football. I never even seriously considered it. I was too small, and I don’t like getting hit. I also don’t like getting dirty. This is an advantage. Many great athletes make poor coaches because they don’t understand why their players can’t perform at a high level. This won’t be a problem for me. Almost anyone would be a better athlete than I ever was. I’ll be impressed by pretty much everything.

I’m 50 years old. That’s the prime of the my professional life. After 25 years practicing law, I’m ready for a new challenge. Bring it on.

I’ve watched a lot of football. I mean A LOT. College, NFL, Arena League–even Canadian Football. I even watched the XFL. According to the radio call-in shows, watching football makes one an excellent football coach. I’ve also played a lot of Madden Football. Hundreds, if not thousands, of games. I’m a good strategist.

I’m also a UK alum–two times, in fact. Add to that my 40 year allegiance to the football program, and I bring an every man quality to the job that other candidates lack. I remember all the bitter defeats. I’ll cry and carry on after every loss just like a fan, because that’s what I am. In fact, I’ll call for my own firing if we lose. Fans will love me.

CONTRACT

My contract will be simple. Here are my terms:

  • $500,000 base salary–easily the lowest in the Southeastern Conference.
  • $100,000 bonus for each win. I’ll guarantee you that I’ll do anything to win if I get 100 large.
  • Discretion to hire my friends as assistant coaches.
  • Two days a week off. I’m used to working 5 days a week. I can’t really change that at my age.
  • A provision that excuses me for NCAA violations. As a low-paid coach, I can’t be expected to learn all that legal mumbo jumbo.
  • No long-term deal or buyout needed. If you want to fire me, do it. I don’t care.

We’ll have this deal wrapped up in about 15 minutes.

RECRUITING

You probably think I can’t recruit. Oh, how wrong you are on that one. First, I’ll completely ignore the NCAA rules and be open about it. We know that all coaches operate in the gray areas of the rules, anyway. I’ll head straight to the black area. You want a car? You got it. Cash? Sure. A house? You’ll have to be pretty damn good for that, but it’s doable. Now, if I give you this stuff and you suck, I want it back. That’ll be some good incentive.

The best part is that my lack of coaching skill will be a selling point. The first thing I’ll do is ask some recruiting nerd to identify the best quarterback in the country. Then, I’ll go to his house. Here’s my recruiting pitch:

Okay, son, here’s the deal. If you want to be the best quarterback in the country, UK is your school. Why? Because you’ll call every play we run. All of them. Why? Because I don’t know a damn thing about football. You can throw it every down if you want. Trick plays, everyone out for a pass. I won’t give a shit. And don’t worry about that headset I wear. It’s hooked to my iPod. If you want a nanny to wipe your nose or someone to treat you like an idiot, go to one of these “power” schools. I’ll admit that UK isn’t for everyone, but you’ve got what it takes. Want a car?

We’ll have so many quarterbacks, I wouldn’t know what do with them even if I actually did know what I was doing. If I need an offense lineman, here’s the pitch:

ME: How much you weigh?

PLAYER: About 260, sir.

ME: If you can put on 100 pounds, we want you.

PLAYER: Sir, I’m willing to work hard in the weight room.

ME: Weeeellll, that’s one way, I guess. Really, if you can just eat like a pig that will work, too. We want the biggest players we can get. I don’t care if they’re fat. I want the offensive line to average 350–or even bigger. We don’t really waste a lot of time on things like “technique” and weird blocking schemes. We’re going for bulk. Want a car?

What kid could resist that? A full scholarship and permission to eat like a horse. Plus, a car. They’ll line up.

COACHING

I don’t have the patience to deal with a bunch of know-it-all so-called football “coaches.” Besides, we’ve had entire staffs full of these guys and still suck. I’ll hire whomever I want.

I won’t have offensive or defensive coordinators. That’s too complicated. The quarterback will call all the plays. On defense, they can just line up however they want. As far as I know, there aren’t any illegal defensive formations. 10 linemen? Let’s give it a shot. Blitz on every play? Why not? I’ll have only one defensive play: TACKLE THE GUY WITH THE DAMN BALL! How you do that is up to you. I need self-starters–not a bunch of mama’s boys who expect me to figure out everything for them.

There is one play I will run–the strongside toss/stiff arm. Years ago, Roger and I were both quite good at EA Sports NCAA Football. At the time, Anthony White was UK’s tailback. In my games, the toss to White to the strongside always resulted in large gains because of his crippling stiff-arm. If I recall correctly, Roger once rushed for 700 yards in a game using that play. It’s all in the timing. I may even bring Anthony in to teach it or I can just show it on a video game.

One thing won’t do is punt, except on first down sometimes. Then, it will be a quick kick by the quarterback designed to stun the defense and to put up ridiculously long punting yardage averages.

I also won’t waste a lot of time on practice. Our teams have practiced and practiced over the years and have almost nothing to show for it. Here’s what we’ll do. All the big guys will hit each other. All the fast guys will have balls thrown or handed to them. All the white guys will practice kicking. After a couple of hours of that, we’ll talk about our next opponent to see if anyone has seen them play and has suggestions. That’s it. Oh, and all the practices are open to the media and fans, even to opposing coaches. I’ve got nothing to hide, plus someone might have some ideas.

I won’t be a disciplinarian. I have three children whom I dearly love. I’ve not been much of disciplinarian with them. I can hardly be expected to be one with someone else’s kids. In fact, I won’t really care what they do. They can smoke and drink if they want. During games. We’ve played many games over the years where our players (and coaches) appeared to be drunk. Why not give it a real shot and see what happens? Imagine the shock if a huge Alabama defensive tackle lines up and sees our lineman dragging on a Marlboro. We’ll win the psychological war before the ball is even snapped.

I do expect some effort in class. Just enough to stay eligible will be fine. I don’t want a bunch of eggheads who think they’re better than I am.

MEDIA/FAN RELATIONS

This may be my one weak point. I am overly sensitive to criticism, especially when it is valid. One might also say that I’m volatile and dangerously so on occasion. I am subject to unprovoked fits of pique. I tend to hold grudges over both real and imagined slights. I will need tamp down these and other psychological problems. To build strong media and fan relationships, I will do the following:

  • In an effort to stay in a good mood, I will never watch game film. If we’ve won, I’ve obviously done a good job and don’t need to do anything else. If we’ve lost, I’ll just get depressed if I see what our next opponent looks like. Obviously, as a fan, I’d never watch any of our own defeats. Why subject myself to that?
  • Personally recruit the greatest flautist in the country to prance about the field playing the entire Jethro Tull catalogue at each game. Aqualung will become our fight song.
  • Take my medication.
  • Engage the fans by asking for play calls via Twitter during the games.
  • Insist on being introduced as the head coach of the “Greatest Program in the History of College Football.”
  • Have Nike make an array of garish uniforms. Each player can wear whatever he wants each game.
  • Punch Steve Spurrier in the throat.
  • End our decades long losing streak to Florida by constant prayer that their entire team be stricken with a non-serious disease that will debilitate them for only 3-4 hours.
  • IF we lose a game, I will start my post-game press conference by saying: “We meant to lose.”
  • Buy O.J. Simpson’s Heisman Trophy and then claim that I won it.

These are but a few of the things which come to mind. Mostly, I’ll try to be like the fan I am. If we lose, I will call-in to radio shows and demand my own firing. I’ll tailgate before and even during games. I’ll treat the media with disdain by calling them “ink-stained wretches” or I’ll kiss up to them depending on my many moods. I’ll call our fans the greatest in all the world until I get booed. Then, I will consistently refer to them as a bunch of miserable jackasses spoiled by success. I promise that it won’t be boring.

RESULTS

I predict great things. I’m certain I can win two games or so a season, which will make me quite successful by UK standards. Even if the heat is on, I’ll get 4 or 5 years to implement my system. By then, I’ll have knocked down a boatload of money anyway.

If things get really bad, I’ll wreck a motorcycle or start betting on games or coach a game naked or something that will make it easy to get rid of me. Then, I’ll get a gig at ESPN as a football expert–the last bastion of washed out coaches.

Even if we only eke out one more win this year (I hope Samford is REALLY bad), we all have something to look forward to now. Go Cats!

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012

Why I Love Being An American

Our flag is cool. No weird colors or animals on it. Just the good old star and stripes.

I am an American and proud of it.  By that, I mean I’m glad to be an American.  I’m saying not that being American makes me superior to other nationalities, but I’d like to think it does.  Why?  Here’s why:

ENGLISH

We speak English.  English is the international language of business.  Plus, it sounds good.  Foreign languages sound like gibberish.  Have you ever eavesdropped on foreigners having a conversation?  It’s incomprehensible!  I recently overheard a couple of people speaking Japanese, I think.  I’m convinced they weren’t really saying anything–just making a bunch of sounds.

I come from strong German stock, but I wouldn’t want to speak German.  They always sound mad shouting in guttural grunts.  That’s probably why they’ve started so many wars.  If you said “Please pass the salt” in German, you could start a fight.  Some languages, like Hebrew, make you spit while speaking them.  Others, like Russian, sound evil.  English just sounds sensible.

Now, of course, the English speak English, but it’s a smarmy, stuck-up version–not like ours.  Plus they say things like “loo” and “lorry.”  That’s just weird.

English also looks more sensible.  Our vowels are A, E, I, O, U and Y (sometimes).  Here are the Korean vowels:

Korean vowels. Are these even letters? They’re more like a bunch of poorly drawn stick figures.

Good luck trying to work a crossword puzzle with that pile of emoticons for an alphabet.  Russian is even worse:

The Russian alphabet. It’s so screwed up that they have two “E”s and a frickin’ 3 included.

What can you say about this mess?  The Russians are fond of strong drink.  I can only assume that this was some drunk guy’s effort to copy the real alphabet.  “Awww, what the Hell? I’ll just throw in a number to fill it out!  No one will notice.”  One time in college, I was drunk and wrote a note to girl to apologize for vomiting in her sink.  It looked like the picture above (I mean the note, not the vomit).

Those are just two examples.  Other languages are just as bad, I’m sure.  Hungarian, for instance.  Here is the longest word in the Hungarian language: legeslegmegszentségtelenítetthetetlenebbjeitekként.  You know what it means?  “like those of you that are the very least possible to get desecrated.”  You don’t speak English, and that’s the kind of useless crap you go around saying. 

WARS

We’re the best at war.  We spend all most as much money on the military as every other country combined, but we win.  We’re the New York Yankees of warfare.  No one can touch our payroll, and we have the results to back it up, too:

  • Revolutionary War:  Win
  • War of 1812:  Win, but I don’t know whom we fought.
  • French and Indian War: Win.  I assume we fought in this.  We must have won. Otherwise, we would be French and would have surrendered in the rest of our wars.
  • Civil War:  Win (for most of us).
  • Spanish-American War:  Win
  • World War I:  Win
  • World War II:  Win
  • Korean War:  Win. Okay, technically we won.  The war isn’t really over.  They just declared a truce.
  • Vietnam War: Forfeit
  • Gulf War:  Win
  • Iraq War:  Win
  • Afghanistan War (or whatever they call it):  Winning.
  • Canadian War (planning stages)

Anyone would admit that is an impressive record.  This doesn’t even count our skirmishes like Grenada and Panama.  Even someone like me who has never been in the military and would be unfit to serve anyway can swell up with pride about our military.

SPORTS

American sports are just better.  Okay, I know that soccer is the most popular sport in the world.  Big deal.  We took soccer and it’s more violent cousin, rugby, and turned them into football.  Let’s see some Euro-trash do that.

Baseball is a vast improvement over the foolish looking game of cricket with its rounders and batsmen.  Basketball is all ours.  Invented here. Perfected here.

What have they given us? Soccer.  Bullfighting, maybe.  That’s it. Jai Alai? That’s only watched by degenerate gamblers.  Hockey? Hell, no Americans play it.

We’re better athletes than the rest of the world, too.  Eastern Bloc countries used to challenge us. The Soviet Union was a group of like 20 countries–no wonder they won a lot of Olympic medals.  Each on its own can’t match us.  Now, the East Germans (yes, kids, there used to be an East Germany) gave us massive she-male swimmers.  We could have done that, but we like our chicks hot.   And female.

East German mad scientists did this to their women in an effort to compete with Americans.

MONEY

American money is just better.  It looks like money.  That’s why it’s the international choice for business exchange.  Look at what other countries have to use:

The poor Albanians. I don’t even know if this is a lot of money, but wouldn’t you be embarrassed to pull this out at Walmart? It looks like it was drawn by a third grader.

Of course, dictators always mar their money:

It’s bad enough that Ghaddafi oppressed everyone. He didn’t even have enough respect for his citizens to use a decent picture. It looks like he just got out of the shower.

Our money has former presidents and other impressive dignitaries (with the possible exception of Salmon Chase) on it.  Plus, our One Dollar Bill has a weird, mystical-looking image on the back.

The freaky backside of the One Dollar Bill.  Note the foreign gibberish.

Some foreign money looks like napkins.  Some of it looks like old paper bags.  Ours is just much better.  Plus, it’s American.  Stuff  a 1 Dinar bill in a stripper’s g-string, and you’ll not only get ignored, but a bouncer will probably beat the bejesus out of you.

Finally, we have the $2 bill, greatest of all monetary denominations.  It’s worth two dollars, of course, but if you use one, look at the faces light up!  If you give a stripper a $2 bill she’ll dance for you all night, at least that’s what I’ve heard.

MUSIC

We invented rock ‘n’ roll.  And country music. Nuff said.  Oh, I know about Mozart and Beethoven and Bach and those other haughty composers.  But, we flat rock.  The rest of the world is still trying to catch up.

The British have made inroads in rock, of course, but they speak English.  Plus, when they sing, most of them do so without that goofy accent.  That’s counterbalanced by their shameful ending of Jerry Lee Lewis’s career.  Apparently, the Brits have a problem with someone marrying his cousin–unless that someone is called a Prince or King.  By the way, who had the number 1 single in the UK for 11 weeks in the 1950’s?  Slim Whitman, American.  That little record only lasted 36 years.

Australia and Scotland gave us AC/DC.  For that, we are forever grateful.  Beyond that, the rest of the world can’t say much.

There is one area where we failed miserably.  Christian Rock.  It’s like milk and Coca-Cola.  Separately, they are both excellent.  Combined, they’re awful.  Christian rock works the same way.  It’s like Soviet hair bands during the Glasnost Era.  It just doesn’t work.  We apologize for trying.

ENTERTAINMENT

Here’s what we have:

  • Sports (see above)
  • Music (see above)
  • Movies (no subtitles)
  • Tractor Pulls
  • Celebrities
  • Rodeos
  • NASCAR
  • Eating contests
  • TV (again, no subtitles)

Here’s what they have:

  • Goat-carcass polo
  • Royal Families
  • Hockey
  • American Flag burning
  • Telemundo (actually, it’s pretty good)
  • Incomprehensible Swedish films
  • Anti-American chanting
  • Vodka (Russia only)
  • Loathsome diseases
  • Civil war

I’ll admit that they hold their own in pornography (that’s what I’ve been told).  Otherwise, all our stuff is better.

EDGINESS

We’re edgy.  We’re like a neighbor who is a nice guy, always friendly, but you find out that he’s beaten the crap out of a bunch of people.  That’s us.  Nice people.  Generous to a fault.  Cross us, and we’ll kill you.  We’re like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. Stay off our lawn.

We speak our minds, even if our minds are full things best kept quiet.  Right now, there’s great controversy over an anti-Islamic film made here in the USA.  We do that kind of thing.  We make insulting films. I watched a couple of clips of that movie.  Not since Manos The Hands of Fate has there been such a poorly made film.  We don’t care.  It’s controversial.  The Last Temptation of Christ is a great film, but it made people go nuts back in the 1980’s.  Fortunately, no one tried to kill Martin Scorcese for making it.

We have Nazis in the U.S.  Some countries have outlawed the Nazis but not us.  You can be a Nazi here.  Or a Communist.  Or a Socialist.  Anything.  You can start a cult or join an established one.  You can speak your mind about damn near anything.  If a bunch of tools want to protest at funerals, they can.  Of course, others of us might beat the crap out of them.  It’s the American Way.

Once you speak your mind, everyone else is entitled to get pissed off.  And we do.  We’ll yell right back at you. Now, we usually don’t go completely mental and attack each other.  Usually.

Who’s the only country to nuke another country?  U! S! A!  If you didn’t want nuked, you should have thought about that before you bombed our naval base.  That’s how we roll.  Think about this:  We didn’t want to be in WWII.  The economy was a wreck.  We didn’t have a fighting army or many weapons.  Less than four years later, we build a freakin’ atom bomb!  Stay off our lawn!

If it weren’t for us, they’d be speaking German in London right now and goose-stepping in front of Buckingham Palace.  Think about that.  What’s German for “lorry?” We kick ass and take names.  Why?  Because we’re edgy.

I AM AN AMERICAN

Mostly, I like being an American, because I am one.  I always have been.  I’m not a foreigner.  I also haven’t traveled to foreign countries.  Well, I did once.  I went to Mexico, and I got severe diarrhea.  That should tell you something.  Not that I haven’t had diarrhea in America, but that’s different.  It’s American.

In the great book, Catch-22, a character observes that there are 50 countries fighting in World War II and that not all of them can be worth dying for.  I agree.  Only America is worth that, but I must confess that I would hate to be put to the test on that one.  Of course, I’ll say it anyway.

There are other things I like about America–leggy supermodels, good candy, Waffle House, gas-guzzling cars and many other things.  It’s good to be an American.  At least I hope so, because that’s what I am.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012