Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

“Da hell?”

Everyone is familiar with the social media folks who are always pulling the old humblebrag schtick, amirite? I wrote about this in the blog Facebook, Twitter and the Art of the Humblebrag  and yes, it was a classic. Here’s an excerpt from that gem:

Here’s a humblebrag I read the other day:

“Took some homemade cookies over to the Snortlik’s this morning. I know they’re grieving and food always helps.”

This one is fairly common. Somebody is going through a terrible tragedy and you get humblebraggers trying to inject themselves into the situation to get attention. And guess what? It works. You usually see responses from unwitting enablers saying things like, “Oh, you’re so sweet for doing that!” which is exactly the response the humblebragger was looking for. And oh, by the way, if you were a really good person you wouldn’t announce what you did on social media. Another common humblebrag is when people post things like, “I feel so ugly today!” or “I hate it when people stare at me. So rude!” Uh, it’s pretty clear what sort of responses they’re looking for, right?

I recently noticed another phenomenon has reared its ugly head, and that is the “blessed” social media user. Everywhere we look we see it:

“Check out my new Hyundai Accent!” #blessed

“Blessed to announce I’ve decided to accept a scholarship to Southeastern Texas University of South Dakota South Central after narrowing it down from 27 schools!”

[posts photo from beach in the Dominican Republic] #blessed!

I got a 4.0 this semester! #blessed!

[posts photo of rock hard abs] “Hard work pays off!” #blessed!

“Today I gave a homeless man a sandwich, volunteered at a leper hospital, and rescued a homeless baby kitten from a drainpipe.” #blessed!

But have you been “blessed” or are you “bragging”?

If you say you are blessed, I’m assuming you believe your situation has been all a part of God’s plan, right? That God has blessed you? That you’re being rewarded for being a good person?

But aren’t people sometimes just lucky?

“Hey! I hit the lottery!” #blessed

Really?

I guess what these people are saying is that the all-powerful, all-knowing absolute deity of the universe has focused on their well-being more than others because they are just that terrific?

I also wonder about the person who worked just as hard as you did and didn’t get that big reward—if you’re so blessed, is he or she cursed? Because in order for you to be so special there must be people who are not so special. That means that you must consider your life to be better than others in some way, right?

No?

And if being able to get into those old jeans again make you “blessed” doesn’t that minimize more meaningful blessings like the birth of a healthy baby or recovering from a disease? Hell, I once saw a Twitter pic someone posted of her ass with no comment, just “#blessed”. Really? I guess God doesn’t bless a woman with a small booty?

And really, if you truly care about others and wish to add value to their well-being, why is there a need to proclaim that you’re blessed? Is anyone following me here? Bueller? Bueller?

Bueller?

Finally, are we even using the word “blessed” correctly? Do we really even know what we’re saying? Let’s take a look at what the word actually means:

 

Oops. That sort of changes everything, doesn’t it? So you were made holy by that new condo in the Ozarks? You were consecrated by your new rock hard glutes? No, I didn’t think so.

So let’s pump the brakes on all this “blessed” talk, everybody. Maybe throw in a “grateful” or a “thankful” instead. Sweet mercy.

#yourewelcome

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So Major League Baseball had its big Home Run Derby the other night. You know, the one where they use “different” baseballs for “entertainment purposes”. Anyway, the derby was won by Bryce Harper of the hometown Nationals (insert MLB conspiracy theory here) and he was fawned over for his performance in a meaningless contest even though he’s hitting .215 and can’t lead his team to any success in the playoffs. He was also called a patriot, a nationalist, and dare I say an American hero for sporting Old Glory on his headband, arm sleeve, bat, and presumably his underwear.

HOWEVER . . . I hate to be a party pooping killjoy here, but Bryce Harper is showing blatant disregard for the official United States Flag Code. Weird, man. It seems like the biggest flag wavers are also the most blatant violators of the Flag Code. Let me pluck one of the rules for public presentation of the flag:

No part of the flag should ever be used on a costume or athletic uniform, the exception being a flag patch affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.”

Uh-oh.

PS- I don’t really care if athletes wear images of the flag on their uniforms or helmets or anything. People get really self-righteous about the flag so I thought this was sort of funny in a hypocritical sort of way.

PPS- The Party Pooping Killjoys would be a great band name.

Oh. Also this:

So this hypothetical question has been rambling along the worldwide interweb the last couple of days, and I must say it begs for insight from my crack staff here at Shoe: Untied. Remember, my people were asked to replace any movie cast with The Muppets and keep one human character. I sent the question around our world headquarters via our group email, and what you’ll find below are some of the results. Oh boy. Let’s just say it took an ugly turn. Enjoy. Or perhaps not. My comments follow the choices.

Ancel Pinsky (Account and Finance) 

Titanic. Keep the Titanic.

Wait. What? Did Ancel understand the question? The Titanic isn’t a character. Good God. On the other hand, Kermit reciting the “I’m the king of the world!” line would be stellar.

Hank Moffit (Quality Control)

Jurassic Park. Keep Jeff Goldblum.

Not bad, Hank. Not bad at all. Dinosaurs eating Muppets has a certain fascination to it. I think. I mean, Camilla the Chicken might be tasty. And there’s Miss Piggy. I’ll stop now. Wait. Do you like frog legs?

Hoss Merkel (Security)

Avengers: Infinity War. Keep Scarlett Johanssen.

Damn it Hoss. Everyone knows about your fixation with Scarlet Johanssen. Hell, you don’t even try and hide it anymore.

Luigia Voltolini (Human Resource Management)

Halloween. Keep the dude who plays Michael Myers. 

Well, that took a dark turn. First velociraptors eating Muppets and now Michael Myers slicing and dicing them? Yikes. Prediction: The Swedish Chef would be the first to go, but not after a vicious knife fight.

Sim Hao Xiang (Legal)

Any Bruce Lee movie. Keep Bruce Lee.

What’s with all the violence regarding the damn Muppets, man?

Mia Lefluer (Graphic Editor)

Star Wars. Keep Darth Vader.

I like it. I think Beaker would make a great Hans Solo.

Molly Simpkins (Copy Editor)

The Shape of Water. Keep the Fish Man.

I don’t even know what’s happening with my staff anymore. The world is a complex, confusing place.

Bobby Limpett (Marketing)

Fight Club. Keep Edward Norton.

Again with the Muppet beatings. Sigh. On the other hand, Animal would be a tough out.

Ariella Levinsky (Fashion Editorial Assistant)

Predator. Keep The Predator.

WHAT THE HOLY HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Wait. Sam Eagle might just give The Predator a run for his money.

Fawn Collingwood (Personal Assistant to the CEO)

Forrest Gump. Keep Tom Hanks.

Violent? No. Weird as all hell? Yes. Yes it is. Thanks Fawn?

Parvez Abassi (Tech Services)

Taken. Keep Liam Neeson.

Aaaand we’re back to the murder and mayhem. I really need to reevaluate my hiring practices.

Arnold Poindexter (Runner)

Toy Story. Keep Slinky Dog.

What? Everyone’s a Muppet except Slinky Dog? Why Slinky Dog, Arnold? Why? I’m getting a headache.

Bernie Hogg (Content Strategist)

Any Rocky movie. Keep Sylvester Stallone.

Didn’t take long to get back to the ass whippings did it? Note: Word on the street is that Fozzie Bear can take a punch.

Merle Bodean Herbert (Interaction Designer)

Debbie Does Dallas. Keep Debbie.

Oh for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus. Tell me I didn’t just read that.

Bradley Davenport (Intern)

Deliverance. Keep Ned Beatty.

WHAT THE . . . listen, if you haven’t seen Deliverance don’t watch it after reading this. If you have, please accept my deepest apologies.

I’m out of here.

PS- I’m so sorry.

PPS- I had a Miss Piggy joke to work in on that last one but I just couldn’t pull the trigger.

 

 

 

I know, I know, this has all been discussed before on some level. I mean, we bitch daily about terrible drivers, right? It’s sort of an American national pastime. Still, nothing seems to be changing. People still suck at driving. That said, myself and my crack staff here at Shoe: Untied compiled a list, narrowed it down, and are set to present our Top 12 Driving Pet Peeves.

Note: Our staff is comprised of people from several nationalities, and the consensus is that although bad driving is universal, Vietnam definitely has the worst drivers. I’m not sure though. Watching this video makes me think they might just have the best drivers.

And now, on to our list . . .

Not Using Your Turn Signals

This one is pretty common, right? Idiots who can’t reach their hand 4-inches over and flip a simple turn signal switch to let you know they’re about to make a turn? Is that too much to ask? For some lazy asses, the answer is apparently yes.

Driving Side-By-Side On a 4-Lane Highway

Yep. Nothing worse than some jackwagon in the left lane driving right beside somebody in the right lane, going at exactly the same speed. Dude, drive faster and get back in the right lane! Or, slow down and get back in the right lane! Either will suffice! Do it man! You’re holding up traffic!

Going Too Slow In The Left Lane

This is another common one, amirite? Dude, move the hell over. How hard is this to understand? How many times have you driven by some guy in the left lane, just oblivious to the fact that cars are whizzing by him on the freakin’ right? Jesus God, this is not hard folks.

Slowing Down When Merging

Oh, this one kills me. You’re merging into a slew of cars going 75-mph, and you expect to seamlessly blend in with them by starting at 10-mph? Hell, I’ve even seen people come to a complete stop! You have to get up to their speed to merge you twatwaffle! I need to take a break. Gimme a second.

Ok, I’m fine now. Let us proceed.

Speeding Up When Someone Is Passing You

Why, oh why, do people do this? Do they somehow feel less of a human being because they’re being passed? Are they losing their self-worth? Or are they just huge dipwads? I vote dipwad. I swear to God I fight the urge to ram them every time but I haven’t.

Yet.

Slowing Almost To A Stop When Making a Turn

Am I the only one who sees this? People slowing down to a speed of 1-mph to make a turn into a gas station or something? Do they think they’re going to roll their 1983 Chevy Citation and end up in a fireball of death? Hell, I’ve even seen people STOP before turning. For the love of all that is holy, make it stop.

Sitting Too Long At Green Lights

You know why this has gotten worse, right? Because of our damn cell phones. We can’t let 60-seconds go by without checking to see how many Facebook likes we got for that photo of the Braised Leeks with Mozzarella we had for dinner last night, right? Jeebus.

Crossing The Line In Double Turns

Ok, let me explain. Let’s say two lanes are turning left on a 4-lane road. Inevitably some crackerhead on the inside lane will take a wide turn and run the outside guy into a damn guardrail. OR, the outside guy will turn too sharply and force the inside guy into the opposite lane of oncoming traffic. For you locals reading this, it happens on the exit ramp from 35 East to Bridge Street North daily.

Pulling Out In Front Of Me And Then Driving Too Slowly

This just happened to me today. I’m cruising comfortably at 60-mph when some woman in a Subaru Impreza pulls right out in front of me. Now, if I accidentally pull out in front of someone the least I can do is get up to speed as quickly as I can. However, this lady proceeded to poke along at a blistering 40-mph. Did I ram her? I did not. Did I think about it? I did.

Hitting Your Brakes Constantly

Do some people drive with both feet? One on the gas pedal and one on the brake? Serious question. Because I’ve followed schmuckbags on freeways at 75-mph with their brake lights popping on and off like a goddamn emergency flasher. And I don’t know about you, but my first reaction when seeing brake lights is to hit my own brakes. That’s not good on a busy freeway, dude. Lay off your brakes.

People Who Don’t Take Ownership of the Intersection

Here’s the deal. You’re sitting at a light, ready to turn left. The light turns green but you can’t turn until oncoming traffic passes through. Please, in the name of all that is holy, pull up and take ownership of the intersection. That way, even if the light changes you can make your turn. Otherwise you could sit there through several lights, man! Think about the people behind you!

Note: I have no idea if this is even legal. I don’t care. Do it.

People Who Ride My Bumper

Another age-old problem. I’m sure people in old England looked back from their carriages and yelled zingers like, “Hey, back off ye olde mutton headed dolly-whomper!” Seriously, you can brake check a guy that’s all up on your ass but I prefer the old windshield wiper fluid method. Just hit that fluid and watch them have to use their wipers too. It pisses people off, especially those redneck hee-haws who hate to get anything on their giant trucks.*

*In reality I usually just slow down and pull over a little to let them pass. See how I’ve matured and whatnot? Good for me I guess.

People Who Change Speeds

You’ve seen these douchesticks, right? I saw several when I took my east coast trip last fall. Even though I have my cruise control set for 75, some jackass will inevitably fly by me, then slow down, then I pass him, then he passes me with a dirty look, then he slows down again, and this goes on ad nauseum, all while I’m continuing at a steady speed of 75 mph. Sweet baby Jesus.

So there you go, my Top 12 Driving Pet Peeves. Did I overlook something? If so hit me up in the comments. And drive safely kids!

PS- I just had a great idea. Scrolling signs for the back of vehicles. You could have pre-programmed messages on it to flash at people like, “Get off my ass you assturd!” or other witty jabs. You could even send a message to that cute guy or girl you just passed, something like, “Meet me at the Wawa Gas Station off exit 39?” You know, stuff like that. I think I’m on to something here.

 

To me, the Rock Hall of Fame has become a bit of a joke. I mean, some of the artists who have made it in are a bit of a joke. I mean, Chic? Really? Anyway, what follows are 10 bands or artists that I think should be in, some obvious, others not so much. Let us commence . . .

Todd Rundgren

How is Todd Rundgren not in the Rock Hall of Fame? HOW? Todd Rundgren not only recorded what is in my opinion one of the greatest albums in history, Something/Anything?, he’s an amazing, ground-breaking producer as well. He produced the albums Straight Up by Badfinger, Stage Fright by The Band, We’re An American Band by Grand Funk Railroad, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf, and New York Dolls by the New York Dolls among many, many others. Folks, those are some amazing, historical albums.

Todd was a forerunner in creating music videos, and his video for the song Time Heals was one of the first videos played on MTV. In addition, his song “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” has had a major influence on artists in the power pop musical genre.

Oh, and in 1985 Todd recorded the incredible album A Cappella, which was recorded using his multi-tracked voice, accompanied by arrangements constructed entirely from programmed vocal samples. Again, no instruments, just his voice imitating instruments. I’d like to see Hall of Famer Robin Zander of Cheap Trick try that.

Rundgren has also played nearly every instrument on many of his albums, and he’s played them well.

If you want to read my blog about his greatest album, click this link:

Something/Anything?: Todd Rundgren’s Magnum Opus

Todd needs to be in The Hall, man.

The Replacements

Quite simply, The Replacements are considered one of the pioneers of alternative rock. Paul Westerberg, Bob and Tommy Stinson, and Chris Mars formed the group, and their catalog is one of the most admired in rock. From the high octane “Kids Don’t Follow” and “Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash” through their mid-period stuff like “Hootenanny” and “If Only You Were Lonely” they never let up. And everything that contributed to the band’s failure to achieve breakthrough success — contempt, self-doubt, drug and alcohol abuse, and pure hatred for each other — also contributed to their mythology. This is one band that deserves a Hall of Fame nod precisely because they didn’t make it big. Westerberg’s solo stuff is amazing as well.

Big Star

Big Star’s potent mix of power pop, psychedelia and adolescent angst made them the definitive cult rock band and informed generations of indie rockers. They were formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1971 by the legendary Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel. The group broke up in 1974, and reorganized with a new line-up nearly 20 years later. So damn good. Groups like REM and Pearl Jam bow at the feet of these guys. Give a listen to September Gurls and tell me they’re not great:

The Pixies

The Pixies became a defining leader of alternative rock in the 1990’s, which ought to be enough for the them to earn consideration for a place in the Hall. The Pixies introduced introspection, poetic absurdity and killer hooks into punk rock, establishing a template for those to follow like Nirvana, Pavement, Guided by Voices, Liz Phair and, even later, Weezer and Green Day. Formed in 1986, the original line-up comprised Black Francis (who performed awesomely solo as Frank Black), Joey Santiago, Kim Deal and David Lovering.

The Smiths

The most English of England’s major ’80s alternative-rock bands, the Smiths never rose above cult status in the United States. But their unique style — nostalgic, understated, sarcastic, a little snarky — has been enormously influential, especially in Scotland (Belle and Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub, the Vaselines). But whatever chemistry went into the Smiths’ brief, electric career has never been rediscovered — not even by former Smiths Morrissey or Johnny Marr.

Television

The offbeat guitar heroes of New York’s original CBGB scene, Television defied the punk ethos with long, intricate songs that were part prog rock, part New Wave, with elements of garage rock and jazz fusion thrown in. Television owes an obvious debt to the Velvet Underground, but dozens of other important bands — from U2, R.E.M. and Sonic Youth to XTC and the Talking Heads — owe something considerable to Television. Television was AMAZING. Check them out and tell me if you agree:

Kraftwerk

Electronic music has been such an important part of rock music in the ensuing decades. Can’t these guys get in under the “influences” tag if nothing else? In fact, where are any of the great German bands, like Fury in the Slaughterhouse? My first introduction to Kraftwerk was in the 1981 when I heard “Pocket Calculator” on the album Computer World. Classic stuff. Listen up:

New York Dolls

Madonna made it in. David Bowie made it in. Iggy & The Stooges made it in. What kind of grassroots push is it going to take to put in these guys? Or will Buster Poindexter be admitted first? Can they at least be considered “influences”? Good God man. I am proud to say I once saw The Dolls at the Fairgrounds Coliseum in Columbus as part of the really weird lineup of the New York Dolls, The Babys and REO Speedwagon. Crazy stuff.

Warren Zevon

I swear to God I had to research this because I was convinced Zevon was in. How? Why? And do you know how many times he’s been nominated? ZERO, although he’s been eligible since 1994. This makes no sense on any level. With songs like “Werewolves of London”, “Excitable Boy” and his final song just before he died of cancer, “Keep Me in Your Heart” he just has to get in soon. Artists like REM, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty have all publicly agreed with me. Fun Fact: I was in the Serene Lounge just off Ohio State campus in 1978 when a friend walked in and told me he had an extra ticket to see Warren Zevon at what was then Zachariah’s Red Eye Saloon. I’d never heard of him, but I said sure and was blown away. Anyway, put him in!

The Hoodoo Gurus

OK, maybe the Gurus are a stretch. Still, I believe these guys are one of the most underappreciated bands in rock history. In fact, I wrote about them in a blog called The Best Band You’ve Never Heard: The Hoodoo Gurus. The Gurus style is based on straight ahead rock ‘n’ roll, no doubt about it. From 1960s power pop to garage punk to hard driving rock and funky psychedelic kitsch their music pretty much covers the spectrum. The kicker for me though, as always, is the hook. Gotta have the hook in my opinion, and the Gurus deliver them in abundance. They also are a lyrically intelligent group who invariably bring a smile to my face whenever I hear them. So, if you want to hear some good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll peppered with a dash of wit, catchy hooks, jangly guitars, and some occasional scathing social commentary, The Gurus are for you. And although they won’t get in, they should be considered.

So, who ya got? Anyone you think needs to be in? Then again, like I said, KISS, Donovan, Chic and ABBA are in there, so what does it all mean anyway?

It may be the most epic baseball playoff matchup in history, and it didn’t even involve a pitch. As reported by GametimeCT.com, a Southern Connecticut Conference baseball quarterfinal between Amity and North Haven was postponed due to weather, but still earned a result when the two teams decided to play rock-paper-scissors to decide a winner. The lighthearted battle went 11 rounds, with North Haven eventually emerging with a 6-5 upset victory with a deft use of scissors.

The issue is that whether the teams wanted it or not, the result won’t count in the official SCC logs. Per GametimeCT.com’s Peter Paguaga — whose “game story” may be the most epic piece of baseball prose of the past calendar year — the SCC commissioner’s office is now determining whether to accept the rock-paper-scissors result as the equivalent of an actual baseball game.

The odds of that ruling coming down in the affirmative are probably small. In short, it ain’t happening. Still, the creativity employed by both teams, and the enthusiasm of using a unique way of deciding a result during a time crunch, likely brought more enjoyment than anything else either could have done. And if enjoyment is the entire goal for high school sports, which is allegedly the most genuine and earnest form of athletics, shouldn’t that be enough to justify accepting a rock-paper-scissors battle as a bona fide baseball quarterfinal result?

Uh, no. No, it shouldn’t. But let’s digress a little. Soooo, you’re saying that winning a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors would be more fun than, you know, actually winning the game by using the skills you developed in practice to get better at the game you love? What’s next, deciding a basketball game by playing a game of Hungry Hippos?

Sweet Mother of God.

On a related note, if the SCC Commissioner allows this to stand he should be beaten with rocks, stabbed with scissors, and suffer a thousand paper cuts.

Heaven help us all.

Here’s the hotly contested, intense, character building contest:

Note: I refuse to believe these kids thought this would actually count as a game. No way.

CBS Boston – Julia Hartwell loves her dolls, arts and crafts, and like most four-year-olds, she has a best friend. However, that’s not a term Julia can use at Pentucket Workshop Preschool in Georgetown. Her mother, Christine Hartwell, says, “The teacher told her she couldn’t say that in school.”

The Georgetown preschool offered an explanation to Julia’s parents, saying the term best friend “can lead other children to feel excluded” and it “can ultimately lead to the formation of “cliques” and “outsiders.” The preschool wrote, they “encourage children to have a broader group of friends, and foster inclusion at this particular age.”

Oh, for the love of God. Now the schools are telling our kids they can’t have “best friends.” Hey, I met my best friend Dave Allen in second grade and we remain best friends today. Sure, he’s a highfalutin (that’s how you spell it, I looked it up so shut it) doctor in the big city who only sees me at his convenience, but still.*

My point is, who in the hell can tell us who our friends are? Answer: Nobody. If you have no friends you need to take a look in the mirror, amirite? Newsflash: Everyone is not popular in preschool. Some are better at coloring, others are really good at somersaults or counting or drawing circles and stuff. Figure it out, man. Carve out your niche. Learn how to make friends without your damn school’s help. Sad really. Get it together, America!

*Just kidding, J.R.

Is weirdly a word? I really don’t know. Anyway, pro golfer Phil Mickelson wore this button up number at the Masters practice round and golf fans everywhere are all going insane. It’s not traditional, he looks like an insurance salesman, blah-blah-blah. Hey, maybe it’s because I did a lot of golfing growing up at my local course where half the guys playing wore bib overalls and no shirts, but this look doesn’t bother me at all. I mean, it’s not like professional golf hasn’t had its share of sartorial daredevils.

Loosen up, golf.

 

So the NFL’s annual league meeting was held in Orlando this past weekend and 29 of the 32 coaches posed for a spectacular photo. Bill Belichick did not pose, ostensibly because he thinks he’s too good to be photographed with his lowly contemporaries, or perhaps he’s still embarrassed from the ass-whipping he took at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. Whatevs. Anywho, let’s take a look at the photo and then I’ll give you my predictably snarky yet hilarious comments. First, take a gander . . .

Phew. Alright, let’s do this. And don’t forget to click on the photo for a better look at it in all its awesomeness. First off, let’s just get this out of the way right now. Andy Reid (second from right, front row) simply dominates this photo from the get-go, because that Tommy Bahama number just screams “I don’t give a damn.” And those slip-ons and white shorts are the height of style, man. And check out little Jon Gruden at the top middle. Dude is sportin’ that trademark scowl like you read about. And hey, how about our guy Marvin Lewis in the white shirt, front row just right of center. He has that same look he has on the sidelines, and that is a look of absolute confusion and dismay. And man, I don’t to be politically incorrect but Matt Patricia (3rd from the end on the top right) has really packed on the poundage. He makes Andy Reid look like an Olympic gymnast, and those poofy, spectacularly billowing pants don’t help. Finally, if there’s one guy who wants to get out of there it’s Mike Zimmer there in the front row, second from the end. Scowl for days, man.

Seriously though, doesn’t that photo look like the worst season of The Bachelorette ever?

Yeah. This view right here.

Just a quick note for all you guys out there that drive those giant trucks. You know, the ones that have tires taller than my little Veloster that I affectionately call Ruby. Yes, I named my car. Deal with it.

Anyway, here’s the deal. Today I was pulling onto Bridge Street getting ready to turn right. I was on a two-lane road going one way, so Giant Truck Guy could pull up beside me to turn left. Now, I had to simply turn right onto the street, but Giant Truck Guy had to cross traffic to turn left. Do you have the visual or have I completely screwed this up? OK, to the 12% of you that are still with me let me proceed.

What does Giant Truck Guy and 99% of all Giant Truck Guys do in this situation? They pull up right beside me, or maybe a little bit in front of me, so I can’t see a damn thing. See, Giant Truck Guy, you can literally see over me, but all I can see is the writing on the side of your giant front tire. Hence, I cannot turn left without risk of getting t-boned by an oncoming soccer mom van, all because of your inconsideration. Is there a solution to this problem, you ask? There is. Simply stay back a tad so I can see around the front of your giant grill. After all, from your vantage point you can undoubtedly see to Lake Erie, so this shall come as no inconvenience to you.

See? Easily fixed. Thank you and good day.

So here we are. It’s 2018. Apparently everything has to be a big production now, amirite? I mean, we actually have something called Kindergarten Graduation. What, little Miles stayed within the lines when he colored that dragon? Aren’t you supposed to graduate kindergarten? Has anyone ever failed kindergarten? Yet we have a graduation? Why? And what are kindergartners graduating into? First grade?

Anyway, back in my day we had one graduation – when we graduated high school.

And I know, I sound like one of those “get off my lawn” guys lamenting about the good old days. To that I say deal with it, it’s my website. And hey, you are reading this, so there’s that.

But back to the point that everything has to be a big production nowadays, and how it differs from when I was in school. Let’s do this . . .

Today, there’s such a thing as a “promposal.” I’m being serious here, it’s a real thing. Let’s say a dude wants to ask a girl to the prom. Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be somebody he’s never dated, it can be his girlfriend of 7-years. Doesn’t matter. He still has to come up with a promposal to ask his girl to the prom, and it has to be spectacular, like a unicorn showing up with the invitation taped to its horn. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but you do see a lot of stuff like this:

Please. You know how I asked Tonya Primer to the prom when I was in high school? Honestly I can’t remember but I’m guessing it happened when we were watching The Towering Inferno or something at The Fiesta drive-in theater:

“Hey, the prom is in a few weeks. You wanna go?”

“Sure. Hand me a slice of pizza.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my promposal, circa 1974.

Note: Kids also do this for Homecoming, the Christmas Dance and when going to Krispy Kreme for some Apple Fritters. OK, maybe I made that last part up.

And hey, what about the new “Gender Reveal Parties” that are all the rage? [Insert your own Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner joke here]. You can’t simply find out if your baby is a boy or a girl and tell your friends the next time you run into them, you have to throw a party and have the big reveal! Woot! It’s a boy! Or girl! Whatever. I actually read about one such party where the woman smashed a piñata and it exploded with pink confetti, revealing to all that the baby was a girl. I got chills typing that, except not really. Honestly, not only do I think these parties are dumb, I think that watching couples trying to out-cute each other with party ideas is the height of comedy. Seriously folks, not everyone is as excited as you are about every detail of your child’s life, let alone its pre-life. Just because it’s important to you doesn’t mean it’s important to everyone else. B-a-a-a-c-k it up a little.

Back when I was born I’m pretty sure I popped out, the doctor held me up, took a look, said, “Hey, it’s a boy!” and that was that. Mom then took me home, put me in a crib and went out to chop some wood or something. Hey, people were tougher back then.

Anyway, promposals and gender reveal parties? Not a fan.

PS- This is sort of hard to believe, but it wasn’t until the latter half of the 1980’s that women in the United States began routinely finding out the sex of their babies before birth. Seriously, I looked it up. That’s wild, man.

 

 

So Tom Brady sent this gem out yesterday, just to remind us that he’s Tom Brady and we’re not, that he’s married to a super model, and they’re about to get cozy on some island in the Caribbean. Just cocky as all hell. But hey, Tommy? You can’t deflect attention from the fact you lost that Super Bowl, big guy. Plus your shoes and shorts combo sucks.

Careful, kids. Think it through. V-e-r-y interesting.

Regular readers of Shoe: Untied know well of my love of words. Hey, my acclaimed blog Word Up: Snorkel, Curds and Uranus was an international hit, man. Another popular offering was Cool Beans! Words and Phrases That Need To Make a Comeback. I also wrote a little piece about our old buddy Willy Shakespeare that seemed to strike a chord with folks across the globe.

Anyway, you get the picture.

My latest idea regarding words once again takes us back to days of yore, to a time when people wrote and spoke with much more class and dignity than we do today. By the way, their penmanship was also better. Check it:

Not even kidding.

But back to the words. I’ve chosen 14 of them to share with you, my loyal followers. Let us begin. By the way, feel free to use these words copiously but judiciously.

Ultracrepidarian

Somebody who gives opinions on something they know nothing about.

We all know an Ultracrepidarian, do we not? I know several, but I shall not name names. Yet.

Fudgel

To pretend to work while actually doing nothing.

See? That’s cool man. I shall henceforth stay in my office and fudgel tomorrow morning.

Twattling

Gossiping idly about unimportant things.

Today twattling is known as “shooting the shit.” You’re welcome.

Uhtceare

Lying awake and worrying about the day ahead.

We’ve all experienced uhtceare for sure. We just didn’t know what to call it.

Groke

Someone who stares at you while you eat, hoping you’ll share.

I’ll never forget the moment 3-minues ago when I first realized my best friend was a groke. Sorry Spark.

Snollygoster

A shrewd, unprincipled politician.

You can bet I’ll use this one liberally in future blogs. Pun intended.

Philogrobilized

Having a hangover but without admitting to actually drinking.

Oh, I had an ex who fit this definition to a T.

Dysania

Extreme difficulty in getting out of bed in the morning.

How many people do you know that suffer from the horrors of Dysania? Yep. That’s what I thought. Now you know what to call it.

Kakistocracy

Government by the least qualified or worst people.

[Insert your own Trump administration joke here]

Grumbletonians

People who are angry or unhappy with their government.

Lemme tell ya, kids, it’s hard not to be a grumbletonian when you live in a kakistocracy.

Lanspresado

Someone who always shows up conveniently with no money.

Again, all these years and I’ve been calling these guys moochers. Lanspresados sounds so much cooler.

Callipygian

Having beautiful, well-shaped buttocks.

Well, well. We need this word in today’s world, amirite? On a related note, you could probably get away with calling a woman this without getting in trouble so there’s that.

Shivviness

The uncomfortable feeling of wearing new underwear.

I gotta be honest here. I’ve never felt uncomfortable earing new underwear. Thus, I’ve never experienced shivviness.

Cacoethes

The irresistible urge to do something inadvisable.

Oh, have I felt cacoethes before. Many times. And to my chagrin, the urge has won. At least I know the name for it now.

So what do you think? Some of these words need to be brought back into modern lexicon, right? And it’s up to us, my friends, to make it happen. We got this. Let’s do it.

TALLAHASSEE — About 1 a.m. Thursday, 20-year-old Shane Missler wrote on Twitter: “The power of positive thinking should not be underestimated!”

By that time he already knew he had won the lottery.

And not just any jackpot, but $451 million.

Missler bought five quick-pick Mega Millions tickets last week at a 7-Eleven store in Port Richey, where his family lives. One was the sole winner of the fourth-largest Mega Millions jackpot of all time, lottery officials said. Missler, grinning widely and clutching a yellow envelope, turned it in Friday shortly after noon at the Florida Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee. He was with his dad and a lawyer, and said, “I’m only 20, but I hope to use it to pursue a variety of passions, help my family and do some good for humanity. If there is one thing I’ve learned thus far in my short time on earth, it is that those who maintain a positive mind-set and stay true to themselves get rewarded. I really wasn’t surprised. I actually expected this.” 

Man, what a heartwarming story. A young man walks into a 7-Eleven, buys a lottery ticket and wins $451-million, all because of the power of positive thinking and staying true to himself. What a wonderful . . . I can’t do this. This kid makes me sick. He’s 20 and naive and actually believes his own bullshit. Listen, thinking positively works when you’re doing physical or mental things like shooting a free throw or taking a test. But buying a lottery ticket in a total game of chance where no skill is involved? Son, it had nothing whatsoever to do with your outlook on life or “being true to yourself”, whatever that means. You got lucky. Oh, and to say you “expected this” after winning $451-million is the height of arrogance. Nobody believes you.

PS: Shane Missler can go straight to hell. 

 

A few years ago I wrote a lukewarm widely acclaimed blog called 9 People I Hate at Rock Concerts. It included idiots like people who sing too loud, text during the show, bitch about the opening act, stuff like that. Do yourself a favor and read it. Well, recently another habit has reared it’s ugly head at concerts, and it is not pretty. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Tablet Guy:

I kid you not Americans, the Mad Tweeter, also known as The Leader of the Free World, elected by a minority vote of Americans, unleashed the following tweets yesterday. I swear this man’s skin is as thin as the ice on which his presidency now stands. Here are his three tweets word-for-word, because you cannot make this stuff up.

Deranged Tweet #1

Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence…..

Nonsensical Tweet #2

….Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star…..

Batshit Crazy Tweet #3

….to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!

What amazes me the most is that he simply cannot get over his Hillary Clinton fixation. He knows he beat her, right? And no offense, prez, but “Top TV Star” might be a stretch. And the whole being elected President of the US on “his first try” is so juvenile it hurts. But hey, everything will be OK because he’s, “like, really smart.” I swear to God this man is a blogger’s dream. Just endless material. Keep being you, Donnie.

PS- My dream is to have our president respond to one of my blogs and call me out. Tell me with certainty he won’t. You can’t.

I’ve been an unabashed lover of the Electric Light Orchestra since the early 70s. Man, when I first heard the opening to Roll Over Beethoven it was on. Later, the band just kept getting better. Over time Jeff Lynne proved himself to be a musical genius, and in addition to his ELO stuff he produced some amazing music for George Harrison and was a member of the legendary super group The Traveling Wilburys with George, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison.

Elite company indeed.

And yes, this past summer the Electric Light Orchestra was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sure, they were elected about 25-years too late, but still.

Which leads me to the point of this blog – my favorite ELO songs. Since Jeff Lynne was ELO, I’ll include his solo stuff along with his group releases. Let us commence:

Save Me Now – This is a great tune hidden at the end of Jeff’s great 1990 solo album Armchair Theatre. It’s a simple, acoustic little number about the environment, Just beautifully written and gorgeous in its simplicity.

If you liked that, here’s an electric version. You’re welcome.

Mama – From ELO II in 1973, it’s a long, haunting song about losing your mother. Again, just achingly beautiful.

It’s Over – From the great Out of the Blue double album in 1977, this song was played by yours truly after every gut-wrenching break-up of my young, relationship troubled life.

It’s all over now, and the way you look don’t even mean I’m down.

Oh yes it does, Jeff. Oh yes it does.

Can’t Get It Out Of My Head – From 1974’s ungodly album Eldorado. I’ll let Jeff Lynne himself describe this one – “It’s about a guy in a dream who sees this vision of loveliness and wakes up and finds that he’s actually a clerk working in a bank. And he hasn’t got any chance of getting her or doing all these wonderful things that he thought he was going to do.” Fun Fact #1: The song does NOT include the line, “Walking on a wave she came” but rather “Walking on a wave’s chicane” which is the peak of a wave. That line is widely misheard and often repeated even when you look up the lyrics. Fun Fact #2: The album cover to Eldorado, a screenshot of Dorothy’s shoes when the witch tried to take them in The Wizard of Oz, is one of my all-time favorites.

Poker – A little-known but blistering track from 1975’s Face the Music, this tune begins, continues and ends with straight-ahead rock fire.

Showdown – An ominous, sort of threatening song, also from 1975’s Face the Music, about a looming conflict.

She cried to the southern wind,

About a love that was sure to end, every dream in her heart was gone, heading for a showdown.

Roll Over Beethoven – As I mentioned before, this is the song that introduced me to ELO back in 1972. A cover, it begins with those strings, followed by Lynne’s searing guitar. An American classic. So. Damn. Good.

Steppin’ Out – Another song from Out of the Blue, this song has always struck a chord deep inside me. The lyrics speak of getting away, just packing up and rolling out. And not only that, you’re going to prove all your doubters wrong.

Did you hear what he said?

He said they sold me down the river,

They thought I thought I was a fool,

They said the rain would fall,

What did they know?

Hold On Tight – A rocker from 1981’s Time album about holding on tight to your dreams. Who can argue with that sentiment?

When you get so down that you can’t get up,

And you want so much but you’re all out of luck,

When you’re so downhearted and misunderstood,

Just over and over and over you could.”

Hold on tight, man.

Do Ya – An absolute rock and roll song that blows the roof off the joint live. And oh, those lyrics:

In this life I’ve seen everything I can see woman
I’ve seen lovers flying through the air
Hand in hand
I’ve seen babies dancing in the midnight sun
And I’ve seen dreams that came from the heavenly skies above
I’ve seen old men crying at their own grave sides
And I’ve seen pigs all sitting watching
Picture slides
But I never seen nothin’ like you.

Evil Woman – ELO’s first big-time hit, this is a song that rips a poor former girlfriend to shreds. The lyrics are brutal, man.

Evil woman how you done me wrong
But now you’re tryin’ to wail a different song
Ha-Ha funny how you broke me up
You made the wine now you drink a cup
I came runnin’ every time you cried
Thought I saw love smilin’ in your eyes
Ha-Ha very nice to know, that you ain’t got no place left to go.

Ouch.

Telephone Line – Just a simple, beautiful song about trying to contact somebody you love and not being able to get through. It sort of has an old, 50s doo-wop feel to it, and Lynne’s vocals and harmonies are stellar.

Note: Now that I think about it, he actually sings the words “doo-wop” in the lyrics. Cool.

Rockaria! – A rock opera of the highest order, complete with, well, an opera singer. It’s hard to explain, but the song begins with a woman singing opera, she’s soon joined by ELO, and then they all come together for the ending. Hell, just listen:

Shangri-La – This is the last song of the great 1976 album A New World Record, and I love these lyrics:

My Shangri-La has gone away
Faded like The Beatles on “Hey Jude”
She seemed to drift out on the rain
That came in somewhere softly from the blue.

I’m getting out of love . . .

Just a very, very pretty song.

Oh No Not Susan – From the band’s third album, On the Third Day. It’s about a young woman who lives amongst the wealthy in a society she despises.

Susan met the lords and dukes of everywhere
Smiling kissing wishing that they’d go to hell
And then she’d laugh – wonder why
Take a nap – sit and cry
Oh no not me – I wouldn’t
Oh no not me – I couldn’t
That’s all she says, her money and her place
They just don’t mean a fucking thing.

Rock and Roll is King – Another Lynne rocker from the underrated 1983 album Secret Messages. It’s just a simple song about a girl who loves her some rock and roll.

It rolls like a train that’s comin’ on down the track
She rolled over Beethoven and she gave Tchaikovsky back
Oh, she loves that drivin’ beat, she goes dancin’ on down the street
She said rock ‘n’ roll is king.

Bluebird is Dead – Another great, relatively unknown song from On the Third Day. It’s a song about a lost love, one who passed away, and man is it sad . . .

Why do they say, Bluebird is dead?
I can still see her, touch her, my Bluebird.
The love that she gave, I don’t believe, no, no, I don’t believe . . .

Moment in Paradise – From the amazing comeback album Zoom in 2000, this is a song about finding a new love that gives you a new perspective on life. Lovely melody.

She said that it’s your duty to save your soul,

To save it for someone . . .

Stranger – Another beautiful song from Secret Messages, it’s sort of a an enigmatic tune about seeing the world through the eyes of someone else. Love the guitars in this song.

The streetlights looked so pretty
As they spread into a town
I was lookin’ for another sundown
And my head was spinnin’ round and round
Round and round . . .

When I Was a Boy – This was the single from the band’s 2015 album Alone in the Universe, and it’s basically the story of Jeff Lynne’s life. Love it.

When I was a boy, I had a dream
Finding out what life could really mean
Don’t want a job cause it drives me crazy
Just wanna sing, “Do you love me, baby?”
When I was a boy, I had a dream.

PS- After seeing ELO live several times from 1973 to 1985, I’m going to see them again next summer in Detroit. Can. Not. Wait.

 

The other day on Pardon the Interruption sports talking head/jock sniffer/name dropper Michael Wilbon said that NFL teams are “like plantations.” Wilbon, who used to have some credibility but lost it when he started sucking up to professional athletes like Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson and others, now mostly defends athletes and brags about having dinner with them.

Anyway, he was trying to point out that owners don’t have the right to tell players what to say and how to feel just because they’re employed by them. While that’s partly true, the plantation comparison was terribly misguided.

Wilbon, let me give you a short history lesson, for they apparently didn’t teach it to you at Northwestern. See, plantations were places that were usually inhabited by slaves and the owners who held them against their will back in the not-so-good old days. Slaves were kidnapped, beaten and forced to work without pay. On the other hand, NFL teams are businesses with employees who are compensated quite handsomely to play a game once a week, and are free to work in the NFL or not work in the NFL as they please.

To conclude, NFL teams are in no way similar to a plantation.

Thank you. That is all.

We’ve all heard the arguments for and against the guys who are kneeling for the anthem – it’s unpatriotic, it’s not about the flag, it’s showing disrespect to our soldiers, it’s pointing out racial injustice, blah-blah-blah. Everyone knows where I stand on the issue (pun intended) because I posted a thread that got about 10-million freakin’ responses. Anywho, check out the jackass in the photo below with the “I Stand For The National Anthem” shirt and what he’s doing. This is blasphemy of the highest order, an ultimate sin and outrage to all true citizens of the United States of America. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that man is drinking beer through a straw.

 

How may of you knew the United States had a Flag Code? We do. I kid you not. Read on readers . . .

On June 14th, 1923, the National Flag Code was constructed by representatives of over 68 organizations, under the auspices of the National Americanism Commission of the American Legion. The code drafted by that conference was printed by the American Legion and given nationwide distribution. The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for display and care of the national flag of the United States of America, because damn straight it does.

We have a flag code that we all should follow and obey, being the good Americans that we surely all are. That said, we don’t always follow. I shall now give you some highlights of the code, along with some examples of how we blatantly disregard them. Let us begin . . .

All present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.

Take a look around you the next time you’re at a professional sporting event and the National Anthem is playing. What do you see? People going to the restrooms, guys and girls with hats on, concession workers doing a brisk business, people talking, couples with arms around each other, not to mention people yelling at the quietly kneeling players. And what about you folks at home? During the Super Bowl anthem, does your party stop as everyone stands respectfully with their hands over their heart? Just asking.

Factoid #1: In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Eichman that prohibiting burning of the U.S. flag conflicts with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and is therefore unconstitutional.

Let’s move on . . .

No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.

Did you read that? NO PART of the flag. Nobody EVER does that, right? And I’m pretty sure a football team doesn’t qualify as a “patriotic organization.” Still, check ’em out:

That’s just awful. Throw them out of America, man!

Factoid #2: Contrary to urban legend, the flag code does not state that a flag that touches the ground should be burned. Instead, it is considered disrespectful and the flag in question should be moved in such a manner that it is no longer touching the ground.

Huh. I did not know that. Anywho . . .

The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

Nobody would ever hold our flag horizontally, right? None of us have ever seen a giant American flag covering the entire football field held horizontally, have we? Sweet other of God! Sacrilege!

That’s a blatant disregard of the United States Flag Code, man. Just spitting in the face of America. Pa-thetic.

All men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.

Well, well. NO HEADGEAR, MAN. Somebody needs to tell this to Hank Williams, Jr. among others, amirite? Dude sang the anthem with a cowboy hat perched upon his noggin. And have you ever been to an NFL game and seen the unpatriotic shenanigans that take place? Hey! That Packer fan left the cheese on his head during the anthem! Un-American! Go back to Europe ya foreigner!

I sincerely hope they removed their headgear during the anthem.

The flag should remain in its original state and should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature. 

No way any good American would disfigure the flag, right? It has to stay in its original state! Wait . . .

Oh, and here’s a bonus photo of a red-blooded American patriot showing respect for our flag as some of his home team knelt during the anthem. That’s a real American right there, man. Respect like ya read about.

Dude, put your hand over your heart. Follow the protocol.

So, have you ever disrespected our flag? Unless you stand at attention with your hand over your heart every single time the anthem is played, whether you’re at the game or watching on TV, I don’t want to hear it.

During the anthem we have people wearing the flag as a shirt, pants and God knows what else. We have people downing beers, buying nachos, wearing weird hats and everything else during the anthem. Still, you’d better not kneel quietly and respectfully or you’ll be branded a communist and a outright traitor.

Let’s be honest. This isn’t about disrespecting the flag and never has been. It’s about racism and resentment towards millionaire athletes being uppity enough to use their position to take a stand.

God bless America. We need it.

So some bro created a cloud lamp that reacts in real time to the tweets of Donald Trump, because of course he did. This connected lamp is capable of reacting in real time to messages posted on Twitter, creating a thunderstorm every time a hilarious, self-congratulatory, delusional Trump tweet is posted. It’s the perfect gift for those of us who’d like a warning before a Trump Tweet slaps us in the Twitter Face, or for those who enjoy and approve of The Donald’s wacky, childlike antics. As for me, I’m going to purchase one and have the Looney Tunes theme song play with every Trump Tweet.

Photos and video below.

ggggggggg

So true.

So the Donald was absolutely eviscerated by those damn pansy-ass Hollywood liberals at the Emmy Awards last night, and the Trumpians are up in arms. How dare these people criticize our president publicly! Outrageous! Un-American! You can’t belittle the Leader of the Free World! First, let’s watch the video:

Damn you actors to Hell! The highest ranked official in the land of the free and home of the brave would never stoop to such a level! Our president would never be so petty, mean-spirited and undignified! Wait. Never mind.

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California – Controversy erupts at Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom over students chanting “USA.”

It’s a popular way to for students to show pride during sporting events and rallies, but school and district officials are now warning students that the chants could appear inappropriate and intolerant. The chants are now causing chatter campus-wide after school staff brought up the topic to a leadership class.

The school’s principal told students and parents that sometimes “We can communicate an unintended message.” She also said USA chanting is welcome, but it may be best to do it at what she says are appropriate times, like following the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance.

The district says there has never been a complaint about USA chants at the high school. Students say there’s likely to be a lot of chanting at this Friday’s football game, where the theme is USA pride.

Well for the love of all that is holy and good WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? We can’t be proud of out country? And who in the world is a USA chant going to offend? The three foreign exchange students from North Korea? The ISIS guy hiding under the bleachers? I’d say no to both because they’re not at the game and if they were we should do it anyway because WE’RE IN THE USA! Sweet Mother of God.

PS- The first person who blames this on wimpy liberals is going to get punched in the throat by this non-wimpy liberal.