Sunday, December 5, 2010

Odd Bits - The Ratbird Edition

Tonight’s “The Big Night” here in Baltimore; in Pittsburgh too, I expect.  The Steelers and Ravens are slated to play on Sunday Night Football, with the winner a heavy favorite to win the AFC North division.  As the Ratties are at the very top of the Unholy Trinity, much is riding on this game; not only playoff implications but more importantly (to me) bragging rights for the next week or more.  
Suffice to say that if the Steelers lose, it will be very uncomfortable for me when I go back to work.  I’ll have more on the game later, but first…

Helping the Economy, One Click at a Time
I did the bulk of my Christmas shopping on Cyber Monday, this year.  Went pretty well, too.  I did delay some purchases, so they won’t all show up on one credit card bill.

I hardly ever actually go out to stores for Christmas shopping any more.  Believe me, I got more than enough of that when I worked in the record stores; malls or otherwise.  Most years, when I was a store manager in Cleveland, I did 100% of my Christmas shopping in 2 places: my store, or the liquor store.  It’s amazing how efficient you can be when your both broke and pressed for time.

The biggest problem I have with the online shopping is leaving it at gifts for others.  This is especially true when I’m shopping for my dad, brother or brother-in-law, because I’m usually looking for NFL or NHL stuff.  I almost always spot some things that I want my own self.  And hey, sometimes you just need that one more purchase to get the free shipping.  God only knows how many times I’ve spent that extra $20.00 so I could save $7.00 on shipping.  But it’s the best way I know to be sure I get what I want for Christmas.

Tis the Season to Say NO
I am NOT looking forward to the next 2 years of political inaction.  It’s too depressing to even write about any more.  The Republicans, who are sooooo concerned about the deficit, have slammed the brakes on all legislation until their cherished 1%, ie, gazillionaires get to keep their massive tax cut. 

Of course they SAY it’s to create jobs and spur growth, which denies the painfully obvious observation that if these tax rates THAT CURRENTLY EXIST AND HAVE FOR THE LAST 8 YEARS are so great at triggering growth, why are we in such a jobless cluster-fuck right now?  (And have been since 2007)  Companies are pocketing the extra cash and sitting on it.  And paying bonuses to the execs… after all, we wouldn’t want the Lexus dealers to go under, would we?

Yeah, twits like Sarah Palin are going to lecture us about economics.  Sarah Palin thinks "fiduciary responsibility" means “using Summer’s Eve on a regular basis.”

And now the party that is supposed to be so concerned with National Security is also playing politics with the START treaty with Russia, who says that if it doesn’t get passed, they’re going to begin a massive re-stockpiling of nuclear weapons.  This is a party that’s so obsessed with reclaiming power that they are willfully putting this country in mortal danger.

And the even funnier thing is how many of those Republicans are trying to keep from repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell by claiming it hurts military readiness.  Here’s a reality check for those guys: Tiddleywink policies like DADT don’t matter a lick once the bombs are in the air.  Get over it, like most of the country has, and accept the service as offered.  We all bleed the same red.

Congratulations, America, you got what you voted for.

I do football picks every game, through the local newspaper’s website.  You get points for each correct pick, which you can collect and spend on virtual tickets for lottery prizes.  So there is no money involved and the picks are basically just for fun.

I look at doing the picks as a lesser evil than Fantasy Football.  I think FF sets up too many contradictory impulses, especially when there are guys on your team who play for teams that you need to fail in order for your own team to succeed.

The picks have a way of doing that too, because I always try to pick with my head rather than my heart.  So many times I’ll be watching a game and rooting for a team that I picked, when its loss would benefit my Steelers.  Usually this involves teams that aren’t in the Steelers’ division. 

I think it just goes to show that we, as a people, would rather be “right” than help our own causes.

The Mojo Boogie
I was going to do a bit on some of the comments I’ve seen on the local paper’s blogs about the Steelers/Ratbirds game, but it’s really just too depressing.  I’m not talking about the sentiment as much as the complete lack of spelling, grammar, or even the presentation of a coherent thought.  If you’d like to see what I’m talking about, you can click here.  I especially like how two different Rattie fans misspell the word “inbred”, as they apply it to Pittsburghers.  And they’re still talking about a town that existed in the 60s and 70s, rather than the sparkling center of medicine, science and education that was named Most Livable City in America this year.

Yo, Butchie.  The smokestacks are gone, just like your front teeth.  If you stepped out from inside the Beltway once in a while, you just might notice that.  Meanwhile, your city leads the league in homicides per capita, STDs and poor English skills.

I had to think long and hard about tonight’s game mojo.  I consulted the Mojo Spreadsheet for data from this year and prior games against the Ratties.  There is no clear pattern.  I can tell you that for the past two Steelers “away” games, I wore my white Polamalu jersey, with white Steeler sweat pants and a white long-sleeved tee shirt.  The Steelers won both games, but both went down to the wire and one went to overtime.

So because I wore the all white, is that the reason we ultimately won?  OR, is that the reason the Steelers struggled the way they did.  Like, would they have had it in the bag and not made so many mistakes if they weren’t fighting against my dreaded Ghost Mojo?

It’s a lot to consider, for a man of science.  (snork!)

So I’m on the fence for this one.  I’m definitely going with the white #43; I just don’t know if I’ll change up the pants and sleeves.  That will have to be a game time decision.

I took tomorrow off, because I knew this would be a long, draining night.  Now I just have to think of something to do to occupy myself this afternoon, while I wait for 8:20 to roll around.

Hey, it’s not like I don’t EVER have chores to do… In fact, I have to go out and get beer for tonight.  So there!


Oilfield Trash said...

Do you really think we were any better under the Nancy Pelosi regime? Really? I can understand that you are a Democrat (I am an Independent) and you believe what you believe, but neither of those two parties are good for America. I could babble on all day about the evils of both of those parties for you.

Oilfield Trash said...

Oh and please for the love of my hometown, don't mix politics with my Steelers. lol

bluzdude said...

You needn't.

The two parties may not be perfect but it's what we have and what we will have for the foreseeable future. Decrying that fact helps nothing.

I have no problem with Nancy Pelosi. She did what a Speaker of the House is supposed to do: get her party's stuff passed.

By an overwhelming margin, the laws that I want passed are the ones that the Democrats support. The Republicans aren't even close, in fact, they move in the opposite direction. While I am generally in favor of a balanced budget and paid bills, these are extraordinary times. A lot of shit needs to be fixed. Sadly, I don't see any progress in either direction on the horizon.

I'm trying to be mindful that there are those that read me regularly that either don't like sports or don't care about Pittsburgh sports. As I just did a completely sports based post yesterday, I'm trying to switch it up a bit. Whenever you see an "Odd Bits" post, keep in mind that I'll be talking about a number of topics.

Sorry, it's the nature of the "full-service blog" beast.

Oilfield Trash said...

No problem.

And I have a serious problem with Democrats when there is a full blown recession and they grow the size of the number of government employees. In the last 2 years the number of employees in the Fed who make 6 figures has doubled. Now 1 in 5 Feds make 6 figures when 1 in 5 private sector americans do not make 6 figures. If I (or anyone else has to tighten up their budget) during a recession, than the Fed should have to as well. And these current Dems do not have that mentality as they have proven. Quit forcing the gay issue, quit forcing the amnesty issue, and focus on getting us back to the great nation we once were, the other things can be taken care of later. The last 3 presidents (including the current one) are/were clueless. Right now both of the parties are only worried about their $$$ and giving money to their friends.

Oilfield Trash said...

Oh and to get ready for todays game, I am wearing my black #43 jersey and getting pizza for the game for dinner tonight.

bluzdude said...

Game time decision: White #43 jersey, black plaid flannel Steelers sweatpants, white long-sleeve Tee underneath. It's about time for kickoff. Go Steelers.!

Jessica R. said...

Watching the game right now and thinking about you! I'm rooting for the Stealers on your behalf. :)

And I'm with you on the Christmas shopping. 95% of mine gets taken care of online. I do venture out to Walgreens or Target to get some stocking stuffers.

And this: " Sarah Palin thinks "fiduciary responsibility" means “using Summer’s Eve on a regular basis.” Nearly made water come out of my nose. Hilarious! But also very very tragic.

bluzdude said...

I appreciate the support. We need all we can get because as of halftime, they look like shit out there. I've spent entirely too much time yelling at the TV.

Glad you liked the "fiduciary" line... I thought that up a couple days ago and was looking for an excuse to use it.

Oilfield Trash said...

What a damn good game.

bluzdude said...

Great Flaming Jesus, I'm spent. Freakin' Polamalu with the late strip/sack. Defense holds on late... Unbelievable.

Can't wait to see what bullshit the Ratbird fans talk about how they were robbed this time. Must be something... Couldn't possibly be that the Steelers made more plays. Must be some sort of injustice involved...

Anonymous said...

I hope to God my very conservative dad doesn't try to talk politics to my anti-politics recently turned Democrat husband while they're here for Christmas. *sigh*

I saw a few news programs yesterday that had ideas that showed some promise in this otherwise thickly split gov't. One talked about changing the Dem's goals to much more moderate ideas so they'll get some cooperation, and the other was to change the focus completely and turn to some of the other BIG stuff like improving infrastructure and investing in alternative fuel development (both of which would create jobs) and things like that.

I think the folks that harp on Obama for either "giving in to Republicans" or "not being tough enough with Republicans" aren't offering any clear solutions to the problem. As I see it (and I'm the first to admit that I'm only mildly informed and educated on these things), the system has us stalled. our own government is getting in our way. Continuing the way we are, namely, Obama going for the strong Dem policies and getting them partway there, then having to compromise with the Reps in order to get anything passed, isn't working. New strategy is needed... desperately. I have faith in him as a president, but I think he's trying to put out a house fire with a garden hose right now - not going to work. He needs to drastically change his approach. Guess we'll see.

DG said...

I was going to encourage you to enjoy your gloat today at work, but you're not there today! So, enjoy it tomorrow. I'm sure the Ratbird fans will still be crying tomorrow. At least they can't say the officiating cost them the game. How exactly does one break a man's nose without a blow to the head?

bluzdude said...

Intra-family political squabbling is definitely a mine field to avoid, especially during the holidays.

As long as the Republicans oppose everything Obama tries to do, solely for the purpose of making him fail, even over principles with which they've agreed in the past, we will never see anything done in Washington.

I can dial in and gloat via remote access!

No, seriously, I tend not to "gloat" because it's bad karma. It just sets you up for a later fail. For example, the Steelers are really banged up now. Our O-Line is in shambles, Ben's busted up... we could very well lose one or more of the next 4 games.

Not that I won't post some choice press clippings on the outside of my cube wall...

Couldn't believe the non-calls. I spotted Harrison and Woodley getting held a bunch of times, other than the one or two they called. And obviously the shot in the nose should have been penalized.

Facie said...

Wait, so what did you wear (or did my tired eyes miss that?)? I am guessing it must have been the down-to-wire all-white attire. What a game. Who could sleep after that?!

I agree about the tax crap. I and many people I know who were laid off over the past few years would love for someone to tell us how these tax cuts to the richest have helped us get jobs when most of us have not found full-time employment. But if they don't pass, you just know the Repubs (not including me) are going to blame the worsening economy on that.

That said I know I am being cynical, but I just don't think there are too many decent people in politics in either party. Corruption and self-serving interest abounds. :-(

Facie said...

Oh, wait. I forgot to say how much I love the unholy trinity pic. Though I do have to say, my hate for the Crybabies has really lessened over the last few years. Time heals all wounds, I guess.

bluzdude said...

I listed my final game day Mojo in comments earlier... White 43 jersey, white long-sleeve T, and black plaid flannel pants.

It must be the white under white that cause the acid reflux-inducing tight finishes.

The last 30 years or so has shown that "trickle-down economics" don't work. The money stays at the top. If you want to fix things, spread the money to the middle and lower classes, who will then put the money back into buying goods and services that keep the wheels turning.

Lastly, I kind of agree with the Cowboys thing. I don't have the hate for them that I used to. I still can't stand Jerry Jones, but I'm kind of "meh" about the rest of that lot. Personally, if I had to create my own Unholy Trinity, I'd list the Ratbirds twice... once for being the Browns, and once for them right now.

Unapologetically Mundane said...

I definitely set aside Christmas money using a kickass goal that earned me interest while I waited to use the money, but once the gift-buying time actually came, I definitely decided to put gifts on my credit card instead so I could throw things for myself into my virtual shopping card. I've become a normal, living-above-my-means American! But you can bet I got my free shipping, too.

Cassie said...

Hey, the way I see it, I'd rather get merchandise than spend money to get it to my house. So I'll spend that extra 20 to not spend 7 on shipping. Word.

Anonymous said...

I just imagine you walking into work today... all chipper and cocky and proud. Makes me smile. Enjoy your wildcard, Baltimo'. (I am a bit nervous about losing our FG holder for the year tho'.)

Only thing that makes me madder than obstinate Republicans are the chicken shit Dems who give away the store and are afraid of their own freakin' shadows. And Obama, the Great Capitulator.

I'm taking partial credit for yesterday. In my computer picks, I took Baltimore because I knew if I took the Steelers it would be the kiss of death. I'll take that loss for the team. You're welcome.

bluzdude said...

Free shipping is quite a lure, isn't it?

And Cassie, you're right. Paying for shipping is like paying for parking. Much better to sink the cash into actual goods.

I took today off, so I'm delaying the gratification until tomorrow. I have some clippings from the local paper I plan to tack up on the outside of my cube... Just in case someone on the floor didn't hear about the game. I'm real considerate like that.

And thank you greatly, for picking the Ratbirds. That could have been the mojo that put us over the top.

bluzdude said...

Bagger (Pt 2),
I forgot this part... The fucking Democrats piss me off too. When will we ever get some Dems in there with some balls? First sign of trouble from the Republicans and they all turn around and grab their ankles.

Of course the last guy that called them out, in no uncertain terms, Rep Grayson from FL, got voted out after one term.

Mrs. Bachelor Girl said...

Congrats on getting your Christmas shopping done! Not surprisingly, I've barely started.

Mary Ann said...

If SP uses Summer's Eve regularly, no one will refudiate her 'feduciary responsibility. She's counting on that.
'Inbread'!!! 'Imbred'??? 'We seen...' Good Grief.
As Michael Moore says, "This is the dumbest electorate in the world."
Beer in hand, belly full, work done, enjoy our Birds.

bluzdude said...

Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
Not QUITE done, but a solid start... I'll take it. And I'll feel much better once it's delivered. I've already had one shipment where they sent the wrong item. It was correct on the invoice, so I know it wasn't me.

Mary Ann,
I swear the first draft of those comments were written in crayon on their computer monitors.

Judie said...

Stop it, Bluz! You did it again with "fiduciary!" You made me wet my pants!!

bluzdude said...

Some sites raffle off gift cards. I'm going to start raffling off packages of Depends. ;o)