A crappy parable

Let’s say you wake up one morning and decide you hate your neighbors. In your infinite wisdom you decide to stroll up and down the street screaming at the top of your lungs about how they’re degenerate assholes and losers who can’t be trusted, and the next time any of them even touches a blade of your precious grass you’re getting the hose or maybe the paintball gun.

You make sure to do this every day so they don’t forget. Occasionally you single one of them out for being particularly lazy or disgusting. “Ron’s a useless slob and his wife is ugly!” you shout. “The Worth kids are never going to amount to anything but meth heads and their father’s a diddler, I just know it!” You feel good.

Next, you build a fence. Not just any fence. The best fence. You pay for it out of your family’s vacation funds without any second thoughts and your useless, no good neighbors are going to reimburse you once it’s done. They’ve never agreed to do so, and they’ve told you over and over to pound sand, but you insist they’re going to pay up anyway and you boast loudly of your brilliant plan to anyone who will listen. You give the job of building the fence to your brother-in-law, who you pay extra because he’s family and it’s not like you’re using your own money to pay for it, not really.

The fence takes three years to build because your land’s kind of uneven and your brother-in-law’s kind of a lousy scumbag. It winds up costing a lot more than you thought. No family vacations until at least 2025. Your kids don’t really hate you; it’s just a teenage phase they’ll grow out of. They’ll understand when they’re adults.

You look out proudly upon your fence. It’s done. Your friends and family didn’t believe you’d actually do it, but you did. Now you realize you have to watch it, carefully, lest one of those ne’er-do-wells surrounding you tries to climb it or vandalize it or throw stuff over it. So you do. You start losing sleep. Your work life suffers. Your wife, feeling neglected, starts sleeping with Mr. Worth, the supposed diddler, who’s family got to go to Disneyland three years in a row. None of the neighborhood kids will trade Pokemon with your little bundles of joy. Your house gets egged on Halloween. The Homeowner’s Association “forgets” to invite you to the summer block party. No one will give your wife a cup of sugar when she goes asking around for one, ruining your daughter’s Sweet Sixteen and directly resulting in five years of steep therapy bills.

Maintenance costs continue to climb. Your beloved fence needs a fresh coat of paint. It’s crooked and sinking a bit over in the corner. Your neighbors continue to ignore the invoices you leave in their mailboxes, except that god damn Mr. Worth who tries to pay in Monopoly money. And somehow, despite your magnificent fence and your tireless vigil, you find dog shit on your lawn all the god damn time. Your daughter comes home from school in tears because all the other kids won’t stop making fun of her crazy ass father.

A massive storm hits the area, toppling trees, damaging roofs, the works. The neighborhood bands together to help Mr. Worth patch up his garage. You remove the fallen tree from your driveway, alone, while your wife glares at you through the kitchen window and sexts her secret lover. You throw out your back.

But you wouldn’t actually do all of that, right? That sort of thing would make you the town joke because only a crazy person would be that fucking nuts. You know being neighborly will pay off in the long run. You know there are better, cheaper ways to protect your beloved lawn. And you’d try to instill all those positive values in your children and make sure they get to go to Disneyland at least once.

Soooooooooooooo…

The six most annoying people you meet on the MBTA

This one needs no preamble, but I’m going to waste your time with one anyway. See, I’m a veteran of the MBTA. I’ve seen some things. Things that’ve made my blood boil. Things that’ve made my stomach churn. Things that have made my head ache, my eyes roll, and my jaw drop. Things I’ll never be able to unsee. But I’ve survived. I’m better for it, despite all the alcoholism and sleepless nights it’s caused. And so I’m revisiting a few of those moments to assist you, dear reader. Perhaps my words will give you an invisible shoulder on which to cry and an imaginary internet pal with whom to commiserate. Perhaps they’ll encourage you to walk or catch a cab. Perhaps you’ll simply feel better about yourself because at least you’re not a shitty blogger who thinks writing about crap like this is a good idea. Regardless, dear reader, this half-assed list of terrible archetypes is for you. Hey, at least it’s not a slideshow!

6. Early Stand Up Douche – Got ants in the pants. Refuses to stay seated until train stops. Must stand up and push eighteen people out of the way three minutes before next station while train is at maximum acceleration. Probably does not last long in the sack if you know what I mean.

5. Giant Backpack Bro – Basically carrying a refrigerator on his back. Failed geometry three times and thus has no concept of spacial relations. Won’t put his god damn pack on the god damn floor regardless of how many people walk right into it. Backpack might contain smaller bro with smaller backpack.

4. New Colonel Sanders – Purely hypothetical. Nothing would make me get off a train or a bus quicker than Darrell Hammond in that creepy get up. It’s finger. Lickin’. Wrong.

3. Drunk BU Kid – Saturday night special. Northface 4 Lyfe. Long nights of practice have blessed this individual with the skill required to run off the train, vomit in a trash can, and get back on before the doors close. Has more sex and a brighter future than you do. Got drunk at a shitty bar downtown after a beer and a half.

2. Stinky Homeless Guy – Walking, talking manifestation of cat piss. Likely sprawled out across four seats with a bag of empties taking up a fifth. Beard contains eighteen species never before catalogued by science. Will talk to you; you won’t enjoy it unless you’re weird. Got drunk at a shitty bar downtown after a beer and a half fifteen years ago and hasn’t been sober since.

1. Middle-Aged Tourist – Fanny pack central. Thinks he can disembark at Harvard Station and follow the Freedom Trail to Fenway Park. Pairs a ghastly pastel polo with inappropriately short shorts because “Larry Bird lol.” Stands up at every stop and glances around as if searching for the black helicopters he knows have been stalking him. Does not understand that inbound is always towards Park Street no matter how many people he asks. Will be drunk at a shitty bar downtown after a beer and a half.

Dear Santa: The Great Grocery Grumble

Dear Santa,

You know who deserves some big ol’ lumps of coal in their organic stockings this year? The dirty hippies in charge of Whole Foods. You see, Mr. Kringle, those assholes bought out Johnny’s Food Master and closed the location closest to my residence.

Now I have to walk to the Shaw’s in Porter Square to do my grocery shopping. This inevitably leads to me attempting to hand the cashier my Stop and Shop card because who the fuck ever knows if they’re in a Shaw’s or a Stop and Shop, and then said cashier always gives me the stink eye and gets snippy. Those judgmental jerks deserve coal too.

The closure of Johnny’s Food Master has also severely limited my choices in Dannon Fruit on the Bottom yogurt. Shaw’s only has strawberry and blueberry; there is nary a raspberry, mixed berry, peach, or boysenberry to be found. I don’t even know what the fuck a boysenberry is, but it’s damn good in yogurt. I think it might be some kind of grape. This is why Johnny was the Food Master and this Shaw fellow is undeserving of any similar title of grocer nobility.

Closing Johnny’s Food Master, sir, is about as naughty as it gets.

Merry Christmas,
Scott

P.S. I wouldn’t mind getting some of that boysenberry Fruit on the Bottom in my stocking. Keep it in mind.

Cliff Diving, Fiscally

The so-called fiscal cliff looms at the end of the year like…well, like a hundred foot high precipice. Said cliff is the dumb ass term coined by dumb ass news people to describe the dangerous alliance of revoked tax cuts, healthcare cost increases, and spending reductions in important assistance programs that’ll go into effect at the end of this year if the government doesn’t do anything about it. Congress, in this situation, is Kevin Bacon running headlong toward the edge as a subterranean graboid bares down on him. Will he throw the dynamite and get out of the way in time so he can bang the geologist and get himself in National Geographic?

Perhaps there’s a question even more pertinent than the fate of the heroic Val: why the fuck does Congress wait for the absolute last fucking minute to deal with everything? Suspense works great for cheesy science fiction movies, but it’s fucking annoying when it comes to fiscal policy.

This fiscal cliff thing reminds me of bowling. For the sake of this analogy, candlepin, duckpin, tenpin, and even tiny plastic kiddie pin will work just fine as long as there’s alcohol involved. Just as tax cuts can stimulate business, it’s scientifically proven that drinking makes people bowl better–but there’s a sudden point where additional alcohol suddenly leads to strings filled with gutter balls, stumbling releases, and complaints from neighboring lanes. Both fiscal cliffs and alco-bowling cliffs can be seen coming from a long fucking way away; neither is a surprise, unless you’re a fucking idiot.

Is it too much to ask that the people who dictate fiscal policy at least pretend that they aren’t fucking idiots? Maybe they’ll understand if we take them all bowling. The first few gin and tonics are on me.

How to Fix Weddings

I’ve been to a handful of nuptials in my time, and I’ve always thought there was something missing. But what? There’s always a groom, a bride, a bunch of people affiliated with one or both who get to stand in front, a few people annoyed that they didn’t get to stand in front, a cake, awkward dancing made even more awkward by people used to drunken dancing who don’t want to make it too obvious that they’re professionals at being drunk and at dancing in front of a mixed crowd, and an open bar (because if there isn’t, at least for a little while, fuck that). Despite all of those components, something still seems amiss.

A recent tequila binge helped me sort it all out. The problem with modern weddings is that the entrances are boring. The bride always comes out to the same song. The groom comes out to some other sappy number that does nothing to establish his awesomeness. Neither gets spotlights, fireworks, or a crowd of rednecks singing along with his or her entrance theme. Needless to say, if you’re about to get married, you really ought to take a closer look at the WWE and how its competitors travel to the ring. Below are a few examples to get you lovebirds started.

Shawn Michaels, Wrestlemania XXV

Few superstars knew how to make an entrance like the Heartbreak Kid, the Show Stopper, Mr. Wrestlemania…the one-and-only Shawn Michaels. This one is useful for two reasons: number one, it proves you’re devout, that you’re a saintly, good little church boy who certainly would never have done anything naughty with the white clad bride to be; number two, it immediately establishes you as the sexiest boy in the room, which could be useful if there’s an ex or a forever-alone-admirer of your bride-to-be lurking anywhere nearby.

The Funkasaurus

 

Foregoing the church for a secular display of affection on the beach, in your parents’ backyard, or in the local VFW? To hell with ceremony; show all those gathered here today that your ass knows how to get down and nip any potential objections in the bud by pretending to be a man-dinosaur from Planet Funk. Just be careful as to your choice of Funkadactyls; boogie-ing down to the alter flanked by the biggest skunks in town will surely put a damper on the honeymoon.

The Bushwhackers

 

Do your future in-laws think you’re nuts? Sure they do. Don’t waste your time trying to change their opinion when you can discourage regular visits with a bit of help from Down Under! They didn’t know a headlock from a body scissors, but Luke and Butch were always a shit ton of fun. Sadly, I couldn’t find a video that included the best part of their entrance: licking the heads of random fans in the front row. That’s not a joke. Lick Aunt Sally’s head on your way to the altar and there’s no way in fuck you’ll have to deal with unwanted Christmas fruitcake ever again.

Hollywood Hogan

Are you a bad motherfucker with bad motherfucking friends? Get yourself some black shades and a limo and fire up the Hendrix. Bonus points if you can get Dennis Rodman to walk down the aisle with you. By the Force, I miss the days when evil Hogan was cool.

Melina

Here’s one for the ladies and a few brave men (although I once saw a man try this; it didn’t end well for poor Santino). I’m not sure what you’d be doing the splits under in a traditional church wedding. Jesus’s outstretched arms? Maybe slide in between the preacher’s legs? I’m going to hell. Hopefully Melina will be there and she’ll want to be friends.

And, if I ever get tricked into marriage by a beautiful heiress with a giant boat who doesn’t want a pre-nup…I’m doing this, regardless of how much that blinking jacket costs:

2012 NFL Preview: NFC

I’m going to just lump the entire NFC together. Got to get this shit done, yo.

East

1. Philadelphia Eagles – Last season’s supposed super team fell flat on its face. Football’s a game where players and coaches need time to get used to each other; that’s one of the reason you see so few player-for-player trades in the NFL. The Eagles have had a year to get to know each other. If Michael Vick manages to stay on the field, look out.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Eve Torres. The WWE Diva didn’t do much for me last year, but now that she’s putting some stank on everything she does because she’s evil…yowza.

2. Dallas Cowboys (wildcard) – Perennial underachievers, the Cowboys probably don’t have much time left to get their shit together before owner Jerry Jones blows things up. Tony Romo catches a lot more flack than he deserves; don’t tell me there aren’t twenty other teams in the league that wouldn’t love to have him. This is the year Big D finally makes a little playoff run.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Chelsea Handler. One of my favorites, and I don’t care what you say about it.

3. New York Giants – I’ve got a lot of respect for the G-Men–except for their goofy-ass quarterback–and they did a hell of a job winning a tough division. It’s tough to catch that kind of lightning in a bottle two years in a row, especially when you’ve got a secondary recruited from the local soup kitchen.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Olivia Munn. Wouldn’t be surprised to find her leading an important show on network TV. Also wouldn’t be surprised to find her on Skinemax next year.

4. Washington Redskins – Poor Robert Griffin III. He’s got no defense and no one to whom to throw the ball. Sounds lonely.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Jenny McCarthy. Wrong about so many things that seem so simple.

North

1. Green Bay Packers – The only thing that could stop the Pack from winning this division is an asteroid strike to Lambeau Field–or maybe BJ Raji accidentally sitting on Aaron Rodgers’s throwing arm.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Kate Beckinsale. There’s nobody better.

2. Chicago Bears (wildcard) – An excellent all-around team with quality skill players, a stout defense, and a quarterback that’s probably good enough if the media leaves him alone. But they’re not the Packers.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Jessica Biel. Great in her own right, but she’s no Kate Beckinsale. Watch the new Total Recall if you don’t believe me. Nine-out-of-ten heterosexual adult males would prefer to receive a Total Recall-style sliding-crotch-to-the-face from Beckinsale.

3. Detroit Lions – I trust this team to stay under control and out of trouble about as much as I trust an American who says he can Gangnam Style. They’re talented, but they need to grow up.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Amanda Bynes. Three traffic accidents this year mean I don’t want to get in the car with her.

4. Minnesota Vikings – Who cares?
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Honey Boo Boo Child.

South

1. Atlanta Falcons – The most boring good team in the league might suddenly become entertaining thanks to receiver Julio Jones and a new no-huddle offense. Matty Ice’s boys are still screwed in the playoffs, though.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Anne Hathaway. Always in the conversation, but not quite elite.

2. Carolina Panthers – Great defense, but I don’t trust Cam and that offense yet. 9-7 isn’t out of the question, but that’s not good enough to make the playoffs in the loaded NFC.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Emma Stone. Ready to take the league by storm…next year.

3. New Orleans Saints – Too much drama. Too many missing coaches and players. Sad.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Mrs. Dog the Bounty Hunter.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – All they’re missing from their good old days of constant suck are orange pants and Bucco Bruce. They spent some money this offseason–but they spent it on the likes of Vincent Jackson. You can get a slightly above average receiver for a lot cheaper in the third round of the draft.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Keira Knightley’s Pirates of the Caribbean stunt-double. They dress like a good Bucs team, but they are not a good Bucs team.

West

1. San Francisco 49ers – Not the 13-3 juggernaut they were last year thanks to a tougher schedule and the proclivity of vastly improved teams to come back down to earth. In the NFC West, 9-7’s all it takes.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Megan Fox. Overrated, but a big run isn’t out of the question.

2. Seattle Seahawks – I hate Pete Carroll. I kind of like both Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn. I’m conflicted. Smells like 8-8.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Laura Prepon. Just kind of there.

3. St. Louis Rams – Over/under on the first story questioning the Rams’ decision to trade the second pick that became RG3: 4 weeks. I’ll take the under.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Lindsay Lohan. Kind of interesting from a distance until you realize she’s going to steal everything in your house.

4. Arizona Cardinals – Choosing between John Skelton and Kevin Kolb is like picking which one of your nuts you’d like to put in a vise. Ken Whisenhunt’s the first coaching casualty, sometime around week 7.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Your choice of Bayou Billionaire.

Superbowl: Green Bay over Houston.

Fire Bobby V

If you had told me a month ago that Bobby Valentine would still be the manager of the Boston Red Sox on Labor Day, I would’ve punched you in the face. Your knuckle sandwich would’ve been delivered courtesy of two reasons: number one, in the hopes that a few rearranged bicuspids would help you see the error of your thinking, and number two, because I feel the overwhelming desire to hit something whenever someone brings up the local nine’s muppet-faced manager.

There is no way to justify keeping this loser around. None. Unfortunately, the Red Sox are run by a bunch of rich white guys, and rich white guys think rich white guys never make mistakes. Fire the manager? But that would imply we hired the wrong dude, and that’s just not possible! Look at all our money! That proves we’re smart! Mr. Washington, Mr. Lincoln, and Mr. Franklin all agree!

Rich white guys don’t admit to being wrong, they simply buy evidence that they were right and whatever piss-poor decision lead to the downfall of one of their pet projects was, in fact, someone else’s fault. In the event Bobby V is dismissed, keep your eyes open for a Forbes article revealing Theo Epstein’s “secret files” that list Valentine as some sort of Tommy Lasorda/Joe Torre hybrid whose mere presence would turn Dice-K into the second coming of Cy Young and would help John Lackey adopt a Vegan, straight-edge lifestyle.

I don’t know what pisses me off worse: watching Bobby V in the dugout, or knowing that ESPN will pay him millions to come back to commentary after he gets shit canned. It’s like how I cuss out Fox’s football coverage every time Matt Millen, the guy who built that 0-16 Lions team, pops up on the screen to teach me about the NFL. And now, to explain the Baltimore Orioles’ recent surge, is a guy that wrecked a much more talented team in just five months! Maybe the key is to listen to what he says and realize that the opposite of his analysis is probably correct. I just hope they put him on the same show as Francona so Tito can smack his shit right down the way Orel Hershiser used to with Joe Morgan. Nomar needs to get in on the act, too, just to make me smile.

Granted, the Sox suffered a ton of injuries this year, but injuries don’t wreck your clubhouse’s culture and make people not want to come to work. Kelly Shoppach and Adrian Gonzalez didn’t text ownership because they were angry about Cody Ross’s bunions. It’s not like Kaz Matsui was anally bleeding in the whirlpool.

The Sox need to just end it with Bobby V. Doing so would prove to the players that are going to be here next year that ownership gives a shit about them. Ok, maybe it wouldn’t prove it, but it might trick a few of them into kind of believing it. Maybe.

Oh, and Cody Ross probably doesn’t have bunions. That was just a joke. I’m sure his feet are pristine, like little Elysian Fields with toes.

2012 NFL Preview: AFC West

The biggest collection of shitshows, underachievers, and also-rans in the NFL, the AFC West promises to be wide open yet again. Every one of these four teams is loaded up for a 9-7 season capped by an embarrassing first round exit and a tumultuous offseason of finger-pointing. It’s the Bachelor Pad of the NFL. Hooray!

1. Kansas City Chiefs – I firmly believe that Romeo’s crew was better than last year’s 7-9. Add Peyton Hillis to complement Jamaal Charles and remove any chance of Tyler Thigpen playing by letting him go to Buffalo and suddenly you’ve got a competent offense to go with a decent defense.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Anna Paquin. Nothing special, but she takes all of her clothes off three or four times a year.

2. Denver Broncos – The second most important Peyton in this division will give the Broncos a definite jolt if he’s anywhere close to the player he used to be in Indianapolis. Problem is, I think it’ll take him a little while to get going, and he doesn’t have much talent around him. Despite how great Manning could be, I can’t help feeling that Tim Tebow’s smash mouth style was a better fit for this team and this coach.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Olivia Munn. Should’ve just stayed on G4.

3. San Diego Chargers – Another team with a good quarterback and not much else. Given the haul the Bolts could get for Rivers and his fantastic angry faces, maybe it’s time to trade him and blow this crew of underachievers up.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent:  Kirsten Dunst. Not what she used to be and not showing any signs of turning it around.

4. Oakland Raiders – You know what’s not good for a football team? Constant coaching and management changes. I firmly believe that any coach in the NFL should be given a minimum of three years to show what he can do: one year to examine the existing talent and cull the herd, one year to bring in new players and teach them the system, and a final year to see how it all goes when it’s in place. Oakland hasn’t done that. You know what else is bad for a football team? Carson Palmer.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: J-Woww. Just a mess.

2012 NFL Preview: AFC South

This one’s easy, right? The South consists of one great team, one team that could be decent, and two giant terds. Should just be a replay of last year, right?

Mostly.

1. Houston Texans – 10-6 and a win in the playoffs with a JV quarterback leading the way at the end of the year? I smell a repeat and a first round bye, even with Mario Williams off to Buffalo.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Keira Knightley. Kind of an acquired taste, but you can’t deny the talent.

2. Tennessee Titans – 9-7 and a playoff spot certainly isn’t out of the question for this talented young squad, but I can’t see them leap-frogging Baltimore and I’m sticking by my choice of Miami as the other wildcard.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Marion Cotillard. Current muse of important industry players and likely the next big thing.

3. Indianapolis Colts – Having successfully sucked for Luck, the Colts now get to wait a season or two for their new QB to hit his stride while finding players who can actually play defense and don’t just look good in the uniforms. They can’t possibly be as terrible as they were last year, so that’s something.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Lindsay Lohan. Former trainwreck trying hard to put it back together.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Just move to LA all ready.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Snooki. Nobody wants to smush with the Jaguars.