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[California Seething] FIFA is Terrible And So Is Everything Else

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Ahhh, the Swiss. Early in the morning of Wed, May 27, Swiss police descended very politely upon the 171 year old Baur du Lac hotel in pristine downtown Zurich to arrest a number of high ranking FIFA executives on corruption charges. As bundles of newspapers were dropped on the front steps, and the hotel’s marble floors were being buffed and polished, nattily dressed detectives walked through the hotel’s revolving doors, quietly approached the front desk, presented documents and asked for the room numbers of select guests. A concierge quickly called up to one of the rooms and said: “Sir, I’m just calling to say that we’re going to need you to come to your door and open it for us or we’re going to have to kick it in.” Seriously? Are you fucking kidding me withCal Seething- 060315- ray this shit? In my mind a police raid should be wild, chaotic, dramatic affair- a fantasia of Scorcese cliches, if you will. Fed burst in, guns drawn, doors smashed, barefoot Ray Liotta with shirt half tucked in thrown to the ground by agents in FBI logo windbreakers, a grim faced Leonardo DiCaprio restraining a big haired, coked out, blue eye shadow wearing Lorraine Bracco as she screams and claws the air, Gimme Shelter blaring on the sound track- now that’s a fucking raid! But oh no- not in Switzerland. Nooooo, they don’t want Scorcese directing their raids- they prefer a Wes Anderson approach to mass arrests. You know, police quietly approach perfectly constructed 3’ scale model of the Baur du Lac (only for some reason, this one has a funicular), all of them dressed in suits except Officer In Charge Edward Norton who is wearing a dress Alpine scouting uniform including a small green hat, which seems to remain on his head despite all the laws of physics with a yellow feather protruding at a suitably jaunty angle. He approaches Owen Wilson at the front desk, and shows his papers (a calligraphied scroll with a large gold seal). Owen calmly calls up to F. Murray Abraham’s hotel room and explains the predicament and, a few minutes later, F. Murray Abraham appears in the lobby, resplendent in tight black turtleneck, immaculately tailored, but slightly worn, muted plaid jacket, herringbone grey slacks and bright white loafers with a small gold tassle. He is surrounded by agents and led out the door by Edward Norton in slow motion,accompanied by an obscure Kinks song performed in Portuguese (natch!), as Mysterious Hotel Guest Bill Murray, wearing a rumpled grey suit and trench coat looks on intently, a single tear running down his cheek for reasons that will never be explained. And they leave the hotel with such great discretion that not even the orphan girl deliveringCal Seething- 060315- mendls pastries from Mendl’s is aware that something is out of sorts. Oh, you Swiss. Well, what can you expect from a country who’s most sophisticated weapons system has a removable toothpick.

And, of course, we, as Americans get to read about these doofy Swiss and their wacky distaste for police brutality, as well as the staggering level of corruption at FIFA and snicker with detached amusement. Hell, that’s the whole point of world news- to make us feel better about being Americans by making the rest of the world look worse (which is also how the Swiss feel when they read about Baltimore, Rick Perry and the Kardashians. Congrats BTW to Caitlin Jenner on her fabulous Vanity Fair cover. Not only is she the hottest of all the Kardashian women, she’s also had the least work done. I know a lot of people are having a hard time getting used to this- but, seriously everybody- it’s not that hard. Instead of saying “oh, that Bruce Jenner- he’s such a cheesy, fame-grubbing, reality show whore” you say “oh that Caitlyn Jenner, SHE’S such a cheesy, fame-grubbing, reality show whore” – you see- it’s who you are on the INSIDE that counts.) I mean- sure, the NFL is so absurdly hypocritical that they spent millions on a campaign addressing violence against women the same Cal-Seething--060315--jameiyear they selected a known rapist as the number one pick in the draft, so they’ve had to change the name of the campaign from  “No More” to “Oh, Maybe Just This Once” but they can’t approach the level of corruption of FIFA. Hell, if the NFL were as corrupt as FIFA, they would mysteriously choose Branson to host the next Superbowl over Phoenix and Miami (after Roger Goodell received a series of mysterious enormous bank deposits from a mister “Y. Smirnoff”),  in the dead of winter in the Ozarks in a brand new 250,000 person outdoor stadium built at a cost of 45 billion dollars and 5,000 Guatamalan lives (as an eerie silence descends over the parking lot at Branson’s only Home Depot), which will never be used again – probably a good thing because the bathrooms aren’t hooked up.

So yeah, sure- I’ve been following this story closely- can you blame me? Feeling good about America in comparison to other countries is my FAVORITE, hell that’s the only reason I watch the Olympics, but and lately America’s been making it just SO…FUCKING….HARD. We’ve got anti-vaxxers on Cal Seething- 060315- joshthe left, climate change deniers on the right and the TLC Network like a 24 hour infomercial for the decline of the American empire. Come on, TLC executives, don’t deny it. You’ve just had two of your biggest hits taken off the air cause of child molestation. 19 Kids and Counting and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo- TWO! Most people in your position would be like “huh. This isn’t good. Maybe I should seriously evaluate my programming choices”. But not TLC! You guys are probably thinking “Hello- SPIN OFF!! Josh Duggar and Mama June’s molester ex-boyfriend move to the big city- and they have to share an apartment in the only building that will take two sex offenders. It’s The Odd Couple meets Megan’s Law! We can call it 19 Allegations and Counting– logline: ‘Show me on the doll where TLC touched you’- BRILLIANT!” Alright, maybe they wouldn’t go that far- but they sure as hell didn’t wasteCal Seething- 060315- bates any time finding a shiny new family of fertility obsessed religious fanatics to replace the Duggars just as soon as Joshie’s indiscretions couldn’t be covered up anymore. Seriously what the fuck? The Duggar and Bates families are dangerous religious extremists with a terrifying ideology- and yet, somehow, we’re just supposed to overlook their hate-mongering, misogynist, repressive views because of the cutesy antics of their disturbingly numerous kids???? Only Christians could get away with this. This would never fly if the shows were on Al Jazeera and they were called “Daddy’s Lil Jihad” or “Blowing Up Bates” (firing rockets of love into living room every Thursday at 8). And that’s cause this is America- and we like our extremists the way we like our half-Chinese, half-Hawaiian female lead characters in Cameron Crowe movies: WHITE. Look, I feel a little bad for Emma Stone- she’s a talented actress and seems like a totally lovely person but she really should have known better. This is 2015 people- if you’re a white actor and someone wants to cast you as an Asian character – JUST SAY NO. Seriously, Emma- if you want to be ethnic so damn Cal Seething- 060315- rachelbadly, just work for the NAACP and be done with it. You’ll certainly get lots of media attention! The Rachel Dolezal story is so big that Caitlyn Jenner has changed her name to “Shaniqua”.

Of course, I’m acting like this FIFA thing is just some crazy story about wacky foreigners that has nothing to do with the U.S. of A- but that’s not really true is it? Cause the U.S. is actually responsible for the investigation that busted these crooks- and they’re gonna be extradited back here and tried on American soil. That’s right- we may not host the World Cup- but this is the next best thing. Hell, it’s better, cause this we might actually win! You see, there have been rumors swirling for decades that FIFA officials are corrupt- accepting bribes from countries to host the World Cup, taking kickbacks from sports marketing companies for preferential treatment, misappropriating funds- all that nasty stuff. And most countries have chosen to deal with these allegations by looking FIFA officials straight in the eye and asking them three tough questions:

  1. Hey- are you one of those FIFA officials that take bribes? If so- let’s talk!
  2. Come on, dude, you can tell me, I’m cool. You’re one of those officials that takes bribes right? Right? Right?
  3. Ok ok ok, fine. I get it. You’re NOT one of those officials that take bribes wink wink. So…OK….let’s just say hypothetically I had a gigantic 600-00954719briefcase full of money, right- just hypothetically. And let’s say I left this hypothetical brief case full of money on the table- you know- right here- and then, oh, I don’t know, let’s say I walked out of the room for, oh, let’s say…three and a half minutes while you were still in here. And- you know, when I came back, this hypothetical brief case was just, like, gone. You know, POOF magically disappeared into thin air. So…yeah…my question is…you know, hypothetically, how much money would I have to put in this brief case so that I could HOST THE MOTHERFUCKING NEXT WORLD CUP???? You know- just hypothetically. Wink wink.

But not the U.S.- no siree Bob. In the grand, American Interventionalist, who-asked-you-guys tradition of George Cal Seething - 060315- shatnerBush, James T. Kirk, John Wayne, and George Bush, the U.S. decided to clean up FIFA. Because if there’s one thing we can’t stand in this country it’s INJUSTICE (elsewhere). So we investigated our little brains out until we had enough info to charge in and drag 7 of the top FIFA scumbags out of their comfortable five star Swiss hotel beds and into, slightly less comfortable, five star Swiss jail beds (the Aryan Brotherhood leaves a mint on your pillow. A Junior Mint, which is ironic, cause it’s half black- but I don’t recommend you tell them that.). And, it’s not even like the U.S. had to make up some reason for going in, like, oh let’s say, lying about the fact that these guys had a secret stash of yellowcake Uranium (a Weapon of Mass Deliciousness). No- these FIFA idiots actually conducted their dirty business on U.S. soil- and funneled their money through U.S. banks. Seriously- how stupid do you have to be?? I mean, I know these guys are aware of a little country called… SWITZERLAND- did they not know there are banks there??? What- did they think all the billionaires just come for the cheese and chocolate? Cause they needed to replace the tiny tweezers on their knives???? Maybe a shiny new cukoo clock for their underwater lair so they have a kitschier way to count down the seconds until they launch their Doomsday Device and end the world (appropriately signaled by a hearty “koo-koo!”)???? No- they come for the banks. Because the Swiss still value “Privacy” and “Anonymity” – concepts which in the U.S. take a backseat to “Homeland Security”, “Counter-terrorism” and “Adding bacon to foods that previously did not have bacon incorporated into them, with mixed results”. And, actually- Privacy and Anonymity don’t even get the back seat- they’re shoved in the trunk, bound and gagged, and dragged to a CIA black site in Buttfuckistan and as a result the U.S. Government knows everything these FIFA scumbags were doing here and so do the Chinese.

A word, if I may, about James T. Kirk. How did this guy break the Prime Directive (“No interference with the social  Cal Seething- 060315- kirkdevelopment of the planet. No references to space or the fact that there are other worlds or civilizations”) every single goddman week for three fucking years and never get in trouble for it? Seriously- dude- is it the Prime Directive or the Prime Suggestion?? Other Starfleet officers must have hated that guy- they must have been like: “Oh, sure, I end up on a planet full of freaky ass mountain people wearing fake fur who worship the U.S. Constitution for some baffling reason even though they don’t understand what it means and can’t even pronounce all the words right, and I’ve gotta be all like ‘Cool. OK. E Plemnista. Sure that’s what it says. Whatever you say freaky Mountain Man.’ But not old Jim – he’s all like ‘Oh, you silly little Mountain folk- it’s not E Plemnista it’s WE THE PEOPLE – and this is what the rest of it says, and this is what it means, and this is why every single thing that you hold dear as a civilization is wrong. Cool? Right- gotta go back to space- later gator!’ It’s ridiculous! ‘He’s all like blah blah blah I’m James Kirk I’m gonna undermine the entire basis of your civilization and then drop the communicator and beam away and totally get away with it blah blah blah’ What a dick.”

And yeah- I know I’m talking about a 50 year old TV show- shut the hell up before I start dropping truth bombs on Twilight Zone. Seriously- there’s an alien race from a distant planet that flies all the way across the galaxy Cal Seething- 060315- aliento the planet Earth- to do what now? Turn off the power in a few suburban neighborhoods and watch us turn into assholes??? Is that, like funny to them? I’m seriously asking here- is space really as boring as that? Cause maybe if those dicks spent a little less time developing intergalactic hyper-drive and a little more time developing Netflix they could just binge watch the new season of Orange is the New Black and leave us the FUCK ALONE.

So, sure, we rounded up some of the top crooks at FIFA, but the King Rat himself, FIFA president Sepp (short for “Septic”) Blatter (short for “Bladder”) is still at large. How do we know Sepp is a rat? Well, I could go on and on about his sexism, racism, homophobia, and countless allegations of bribery, corruption, kickbacks, nepotism, abuse of his power, shady electioneering, vindictive behavior and general assholery- but, suffice it to say, that the only Cal Seething- 060315- vladprominent world leader who spoke out on his behalf after the arrests was Vladimir Putin and, by some totally strange and random coincidence, the next World Cup is in….you guessed it- Russia! Which- if I were Sepp, I’d be kind of “thanks, but no thanks” about- cause- let’s face it- even under the best of circumstances, a character reference from Vlad is like a babysitting referral from Josh Duggar- but with the World Cup being in Russia- well, it’s hard not to be just a teensy wit cynical about Vlad’s agenda. Look, Vald- I get it- you paid good money for the World Cup and you want to keep it- but honestly dude, you’re not helping here.

Of course, Vlad may have a point by suggesting that the U.S. was trying to influence the FIFA Presidential Election. Let’s keep it real- it can’t be a coincidence that this scandal broke a few days before the election, and the U.S. was supporting Blatter’s opponent Price Ali of Jordan, who had campaigned long and hard to be the very first ever character from Aladdin to be president of FIFA (“It’s a Whole New World for FIFA with Prince Ali”) . The FIFA election, BTW, is a mysterious process- similar in many ways to the election for Pope. Delegates gather from all over the world in a single location and cast their vote in a series of secret ballots. Then, if Sepp Blatter wins, the world finds out by seeing the U.S.’ chances of ever hosting the World Cup again go up in smoke.

Or….maybe not- cause after winning the election decisively and pledging to clean up FIFA, ole Sepptic Bladder resigned as President…so- hey- maybe he was serious about cleaning up, FIFA after all! And, even though he’s not actually leaving office for a few months he is COMMITTED to WORKING HARD to reform FIFA- and to prove the point- he posted THIS Instagram photo of himself WITH A PEN.

Cal Seething- 060315- sepp

Wow! Look at him go! I know I’m inspired- Here’s me working hard on getting in shape for summer:

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And here’s me working hard on finally cleaning out the shed in the backyard

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And here’s Punky working hard on not freaking out like a tiny adorable furry idiot every time someone goes by the house on a bike. Or a skateboard. Or a scooter. Or on foot. Or AT ALL. OH MY GOD – WHY ARE YOU FREAKING OUT ABOUT EVERYTHING??? CHILL THE FUCK OUT! HOW CAN SOMETHING AS ADORABLE AS YOU BE SO TERRIBLE?? Oh don’t look at me like that. You’re so adorable. You’re so cutey-wootey-wootey-wootey. You don’t have to work hard at changing anything at all. Which is good. CAUSE YOU’RE NOT. But here’s what it would look like if you were.

Cal Seething- 060315- punky

So – what does the future hold for FIFA? Who knows? And- more to the point- who cares? The fun part of the story is done- time to move on to the next big thing and forget all about it- we’ve got escaped convicts to worry about! I mean, come on- did Malaysian Air improve its radar guidance systems? Are we in Arab Summer now or is it Arab Fall? Is Ebola still, like, a thing? We don’t know cause we don’t care. Hell, we don’t want news, we want NEWS. If we really heard about what was wrong with the world, we’d never stop crying and stockpiling some canned goods- so BRING ON THE RUNAWAY CONVICTS!

Even ESPN- which covered the entire FIFA Presidential Election live while pumping Bob Ley full of all the black coffee Cal Seething- 060315- bobthey could find to keep him from seeing pink elephants and drunk texting pictures of his balls to his ex wife (“nothing deflated here, you ungrateful whore :) :) :)”) has downgraded the FIFA story to a mere item on the crawl at the bottom of the screen- right between Stanley Cup scores and Tiger Woods’ latest round of futility. It’s been a bit sad, by the way, to watch Tiger Woods struggle so mightily at the game that once came easily to him, but then it’s also kind of inspiring and uplifting to all of us who aren’t all that great at anything and fucking hate people who are. Ha! Fuck him.

Still, for the billions of people around the world that live and die by the beautiful game – I do hope that FIFA can cure it’s nasty case of Seppsis and find a way to move forward without corruption. And for the thousands of World Cup players – I do hope that they move the 2022 World Cup the fuck out of Qatar cause otherwise you’re all gonna die like a bunch of Thai workers. Oh- and – all of you bloated, corrupt fat-cats at the IOC – you’re next bitchez! Sleep with one eye open in your comfy Swiss hotels- cause Edward Norton is, very politely, coming for you.

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Right- that’s enough blogging for today- time to get to work!

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Special Thanks to Geoff Rice- I stole the idea for the Wes Anderson police raid from him. I know, I know. I’m like the Sepp Blatter of unpaid bloggers.

[Images from the Id] – So I Have Been Gone for a While

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Images from the Id – So I Have Been Gone for a While

How about some ranting? Sorry but I have always been a sceptic but as I get older I am becoming more and more cynical. As a liberal youth, I had a firm belief that the world would change and the future was bright. Now I know it’s bull shit! NOT liberalism but the possibility of a good future for the human race. Humans are not naturally good, as I used to think, but bad,bad bad. Please forgive me for generalizing those of you who are good and caring but there seems to be less and less. Luckily, I have millions of examples to work from. Let’s start with football.

Ball Pressure. Can you believe it! Just try to figure out two things. First, why is it so important? The only reason I see is big money and gambling. Second, why is there a problem? Duh, we learned years ago the fair thing to do was share the balls. It would be a non-issue if everyone used the same footballs. Am I stupid or?

I just love, love, love Super Bowls. Crap, I REALLY hate them. I guess my general dislike of the 1% who own the world spills over into the advertising campaign called the Super Bowl. Much of population watches the game but most watch because of the commercials. Do they really make you buy the product or is it entertainment? I can’t believe that much money is spent on something that causes the herd to buy, buy, buy. Is Bud really that good? I know of at least 100 breweries that make better beer and produce for flavor not sales but everyone loves horses. Present day football is designed for the gambler and the ad agency. It has nothing to do with sports competition or good values. I can remember when the touch game in the front of the vacant lot was more important than Florida verses Alabama. The problem started when sports became spectator instead of participation. Even in high school less students are participating and in those schools without the hype, less are spectating. I see about 15 high school football games a year and typical crowd is just several hundred. These kids play for all the good reasons. OK, sometimes the Super Bowl is a good game even when you’re rooting against both teams.

Something from this morning

Eagle 2a (1 of 1)

Image #1 – “ Bald Eagle”  I some places this is considered a pest but for me it is still a great shot.I have hundreds of Bald Eagle shots. They are very common here in the winter. Some of them are migrants from the north and just spend the winter. This morning was beautiful. The light is early so I was one site by 7:15. I have a pattern I follow at the lake, usually counter clockwise, to the dam then to the picnic tables on the edge. Today, I saw several at long distance  and they were just sitting, so I spent some time talking to other photographers. I have a short attention span so that helps. Some decent results. I changed plans and revisited the dam but this time went to the picnic area near the swim beach. A great choice, two eagles doing good things. Keep the shutter speed up, 1/1000 sec or faster. Try to use an aperture above f/7. Lenses are better not wide open. Adjust ISO to work with the rest to the exposure triangle, the relationship between the aperture, shutter and ISO to get a good exposure. Watch the light and the shadows. Shadows hurt bird shots. Try to keep the tree branches out of the frame. Result 110 good eagle shots and about 30 spectacular shots. Shot with the Nikon D7100. 1/5000 sec, f/6.3 good choice for this lens, 0 EV, ISO 400 (great light), The Nikor 80 mm – 400 mm lens at 400 mm, 600 mm with the crop factor of the camera . Minor processing in Lightroom.

Eagle 2b (1 of 1)

Image #2  – “Majestic” The same Bald Eagle. This is a 4th year immature, it will lose its white body feathers and back head feathers, possibly in the next molt. Shot with the Nikon D7100. 1/2000 sec, f/6.3 good choice for this lens, 0 EV, ISO 400 (great light), The Nikor 80 mm – 400 mm lens at 400 mm, 600 mm with the crop factor of the camera . Minor processing in Lightroom

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Monkeys Riding Dogs

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They’ve become one of the hottest NFL halftime shows and they’re lighting up social media.  Jersey Joe checks out the best NFL halftime show ever – monkeys riding dogs!  Could a crowd of rowdy football fans be captivated by such a sight?

THE 411

What: monkeys riding dogs

Name: Team Ghost Riders

Performance venues: sport stadiums and arenas

Website: http://www.teamghostriders.com/

JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:

You have to share their videos with your friends.  It will at least give you a good laugh to share at a bar, at a party, or at the office water cooler!

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[Citizen Filter] Seriously, NFL, Seriously

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Guys, I have got to figure out a better way to navigate all the shitty news that demands our attention, because getting ragey this routinely is so not good for my blood pressure, and dropping dead of a heart attack is a great way to stymie your career.

So I’m going through the news stories about the NFL, because for serious, it is a non-profit organization that makes billions upon billions of dollars, the kind of money that would make even Scrooge McDuck blush with shame at his own greed, and it’s covering up horrific instances of domestic violence, along with some pretty spiffy drug use, and some run-of-the mill violence. But life’s too short for facts and figures, so let’s just agree on the following:

It’s taken how many years for a major moneyed organization to figure out that hitting your head a lot is bad for your brain? That’s crazy. That’s as crazy as taking 500 years to figure out that tobacco products are bad for you (except for people at-risk for colon cancer, because life is nothing if not full of fun little surprises). That’s as crazy as realizing that helping poor people not die is good for society. That’s as crazy as providing free education to everyone because someone figured out that an educated population makes other people a lot richer (and in Sweden, creates an army of pop songwriter magicians). That’s as crazy as something else really obvious and then experiencing the good effects of changing one’s ways. Something something, thank you Captain Obvious, etc.

Seriously, NFL, having employees that get the crap beaten out of them all the time and often results in major and minor head injuries AND those employees having much higher rates of substance abuse, domestic violence, and general criminal activity didn’t tip you off to some sort of connection? Correlation is not causation, but correlation is often worth looking at more closely. I mean, Christ, was it a racist thing? Did the people in charge look at their players, people of color, and just go, “Eh, they’re black. Black men are thugs”? Because that I would kind of believe, as that’s just the world we live in.

Please be distracted by this adorable child in adorably oversized but unsafe protective gear.

Please be distracted by this adorable child in adorably oversized but unsafe protective gear.

Really, I’m throwing stones (poorly, because I don’t sports), and I’m not a real football fan, so I’ve got nothing invested in this, but what the hell, guys. Why are we condoning the violence, the injury, the whole kit and caboodle of football? Isn’t there a better to watch people beat each other up? Isn’t there a more satisfying bonecrunch to be had? Why are we training children to go into a career that gives them no financial security and also mixes their brains up like a fruity drink at a sorority cocktail hour? No one wants that cocktail when it is raising its hand against a family member. That is not a delicious cocktail. That is a cocktail that will make you sad-drunk instead of happy-drunk.

I know, I know, there’s a feeling of camaraderie and kinship, there’s the sense that you’re part of the tribe, the us, I drank the blue and green vodka and yelled at the TV during the Superbowl last year.

This is that vodka. It's been dyed with Skittles, because class has no place in PNW fandom.

This is that vodka. It’s been dyed with Skittles, because class has no place in PNW fandom.

I was superexcited that the Seahawks were in it, let alone that they won. Football games are our national weekly thanksgiving, and I get that it makes you feel like you are more than the sum of your parts when you are rooting for a team. But what if your team is totally off the rails? What if your team allows some bad stuff to happen? How bad does your team have to get before you decide that you are disappointed with them and can no longer associate with them? At what point does your team become that friend who you think about often and care for but has continued to choose the exciting, transient life of self-destruction so you have to step back and care for yourself first? Where is your line?

My line is in the elevator where a woman got knocked out and then apologized for being in the way. My line got thicker when a child went home to his mother with bruised and scarred legs. My line became a pretty tall wall when a certain someone named Goodell put the good of the dollars above the good of the people. Newsflash: If your organization supposedly does so much good for society that it doesn’t pay taxes on its (say it with me) billions in income, you should really make an effort to at least make it look like people are your priority. For-profit companies are obligated to make as much money as possible–if they’re public, they are legally bound to do it. If you are not making society better, you should not be a non-profit.

This accurately sums up the levels of frustration and confusion Americans are feeling right now.

But seriously, does someone have any answers on this one? Seriously, anyone. Because seriously, I can’t even with the NFL right now. For serious.

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Top 100 TV Themes (11-20)

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We’re at the top 20 mark of my 100 favorite TV themes summer countdown.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I!  These top 20 opening themes are some of the best that ever appeared on television.  Let’s check out 11-20 and see if you were a fan of these shows, too…

 

#20 THE JEFFERSONS

Airdates: 1975-1985 (CBS)

 

 

They’re movin’ on up!

 

What started out as a spin-off from All in the Family, The Jeffersons took on a life of its own.  Anybody remember George Jefferson as on of Archie Bunker’s neighbors?

 

After hitting it big in dry cleaning, George and his wife Weezy purchase an apartment in New York City’s Upper East Side.  The mismatch between not only the couple, but also their neighbors, and smart mouth maid kept this sit-com on the air for 11 seasons.

 

The first set of opening credits perfectly set the tone of the series.  You see the Jeffersons leaving their Queens home, driving over the 59th St. Bridge to the Upper East Side and entering the front elevator door to their new life.  Later versions of the credits kept the same song, but used hilarious b-roll shots of the series.

 

 

The Jefferson’s apartment building is a real life apartment building in the Upper East Side.  I know, I work around the corner, and pass it all the time!

 

I also found this unusual version of their opening credits when the show was aired in Italy.  I have no idea why it was edited this way, but the retro shot of Manhattan is kind of cool… the still shots of the actors are not!

 

 

#19 FAMILY FEUD

Airdates: 1976-1985 (ABC), 1988-1993 (CBS), 1977-1995 & 1999-present (Syndicated)

 

 

You know a game show is good when it is still on the air after 35+ years!  Originally developed as a spin-off to Match Game, Family Feud has kept the pulse of America since the 1970’s.  You ask 100 people a question and contestants have to guess their top answers for cash.  It’s a pretty simple concept.

 

The best part of Family Feud’s theme was the original opening where the families would pose behind the large yellow door.  When the show returned in 1999, the producers got rid of the doors, but the families still had that freeze frame moment.  Sadly, they have abandoned the big family intro in the past couple of seasons and they really need to bring it back.

 

Everybody knew Richard Dawson as the original and probably the greatest host ever for this series.  He kissed every woman and even married one of the contestants!

 

When the series returned in 1988, it was with a new host Ray Combs, who was never as good as Dawson.  After a few years of ratings decline, they brought Dawson back with a new version of the original theme and a new set.  This only lasted one season, as the ratings took a major hit during the OJ Simpson trial that caused the show to routinely be preempted.

 

 

The show was brought back again in 1999, this time with Louie Anderson as host.  He got the job after Dawson turned it down.  Louie was hilarious during his first season, but during his second and third seasons, he seemed to lose interest.  With Louie as host, the original theme song was abandoned and a cheesy new theme was created.  The little riddles to introduce the family are absolutely embarrassing.

 

 

After three seasons with Louie, the producers hired Richard Karn (Al from Home Improvement.)  He was terrible!  I went to a taping once while he was hosting and he lost his place and they had to retape part of the round.  He also made a ton of mistakes.  For a brief time during his hosting, they brought back the original theme, but then returned to the Louie Anderson music.  After three seasons of Karn, producers hired John O’Hurley (Mr. Peterman from Seinfeld) as host.  I think O’Hurley was the best behind Dawson.  He was funny, personable, and easy to understand.  It was during his run that they finally brought back the classic music and had the families pose again!

 

 

Since 2010, Steve Harvey has been the host of the show with Joey Fatone as announcer (although he only reads one line that they use over and over again at the opening, so that kind of doesn’t count as announcing.)  Production of the show moved first to Orlando and now to Atlanta, where Harvey lives and hosts his radio show.  The latest version keeps scoring high ratings, but many of the questions are now quite sexual in nature.  I’m not sure I would let my kids watch the latest version of the show.

 

 

But, no matter what… Family Feud is still an awesome game show and I hope to see this one on the air for many more years to come.

 

#18 LAW AND ORDER

Airdates: 1990-2010 (NBC)

 

 

Dun… dun…

 

While the awesome theme and the style of the opening credits to this show haven’t changed during the 20 seasons, the cast sure did.  None of the cast from season 1 made it all the way through to the end.

 

Law & Order detectives take on the hardest criminals in New York City’s mean streets.  The series has also spawned four spin-offs including, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Trial By Jury, and Law & Order: LA.  The latter was an attempt to continue the series, but it was a massive ratings flop.  Each version of the show used an opening credit theme similar to the original, except for the LA version, which then changed to the classic style credits once the ratings were already in trouble.

 

 

 

 

Law & Order takes full advantage of the NYC streetscape and really can’t work anywhere else (see LA flop version).  There’s always crime and there’s always a story on the streets of the Big Apple.  You also get to see the gentrification of the city as each season passes.

 

I love the theme song, I love the color palette, and I love the editing style of every version of the credits.  There’s still lots more stories to tell.  Even though SVU is still on the air, I think they could bring back the original with a new cast.

 

#17 ROSEANNE

Airdates: 1988-1997 (ABC)

 

 

Roseanne was the working class family that everyone could relate to.  At least they did until the weird last season where the family hit the lottery.  Anyhow, this show was a ratings blockbuster that I’ll still watch if I catch it flipping through the channels.

 

Roseanne’s opening credits were also quite original.  For the first few years, it featured the cast sitting around the kitchen table and would be reshot every season as the kids got older.

 

 

In the later years, they switched to morphing headshots in a photo frame, but kept the sax.  The kitchen table shots were still the best.

 

 

For the final season, most of the cast and producers wanted to end the show, but ABC threw a boatload of money at them, so they pressed on for one more.  This was where we got all the fantasy episodes… remember Roseanne as a super hero saving a train that was taken over by terrorists?  The last season’s intro was pretty cool and that’s where we finally get words to the theme song!  Thanks John Popper!

 

 

#16 THE BIG BANG THEORY

Airdates: 2007-present (CBS)

 

 

Four geeks trying to make their way in the world is the theme behind one of TV’s current ratings leader. The Big Bang Theory has been renewed for several more seasons and can give anyone hope that they can make it in the real world, no matter if you have common sense or not.  While these guys may be geniuses, they have very little life skills… and that’s where the comedy comes from.  I would love to challenge them to a round of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock!

 

The original pilot for the show had a much different set of opening credits and featured the 80’s rock song “She Blinded Me with Science.”  I like how the song and the look of the credits take us quickly forward from the Big Bang to the present.

 

#15 THE SIMPSONS

Airdates: 1989-present (FOX)

 

 

I thought for sure there would be a zillion different Simpsons opening credits uploaded to YouTube, but it turns out that’s incorrect.  They too, most police for their videos.

 

The Simpsons has broken just about every TV milestone and can be considered America’s favorite family since they made their debut on The Tracy Ullman Show back in 1987.  Remember those shorts?

 

I love the opening credits and they really haven’t changed much over the years.  The biggest was when the show finally went to HD a few seasons ago.  With the upgrade, the credits were reorganized with more sight gags added.

 

The best part has been Bart’s funny lines he’s writing on the chalk board and the couch gag, which are reworked for each and every episode.  It’s not every show that does something unique for their credits each time!

 

I’m a huge Simpsons fan, but the comedy has gone down hill in the last few seasons.  I’m not sure if we’ve done all that we can do with the characters, but the writing and jokes just aren’t on par with the earlier seasons of the show.  It almost feels like they’re trying to be too much like The Family Guy.  The show did better when they focused on one character and went for the little sight gags.  I hope they can do something to boost the creativity and keep this show on the air for many more years.  The movie was hilarious, but the weekly series is now lacking.

 

#14 MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Airdates: 1970-2005 (ABC), 2006-present (ESPN)

 

 

So, what ABC affiliate general manager is not kicking himself in the butt for letting this big money show go to cable?

 

This selection in my countdown may shock a few people, but it earned its place for two reasons.  It has kept the same general opening theme music for decades and also has featured the Monday Night Party intro as well, which is changed each week and reshot each season.

 

While I love the FOX Sports theme music, ABC’s football theme was first, and I’m glad that they still use it on the ESPN broadcasts.

 

When Monday Night Football was on regular broadcast television, local stations earned big bucks by selling their share of commercial ad time that was provided by the network.  However, many affiliates complained that the long length of the games would delay their 11pm newscasts and cause a drop in ratings.  After hearing so many complaints, ABC moved the series to ESPN, where it’s been airing ever since.  Sadly, the ratings these stations got back for their 11pm news was short lived.  Ratings for all 11pm newscasts are down, now that people get their info off the internet and none of ABC Monday night programs have earned the same ratings.  This really was a horrible move on the part of ABC affiliates, who have no one to blame but themselves.

 

I’m not sure of the exact year ABC started using their now iconic football theme, but check out the game open from 1970 – that’s brought to you by CIGARETTES!

 

 

While football on Sunday is awesome and the occasional Monday night matchup is great, both the league and network TV are doing themselves a disservice by adding games on Thursday and Saturday nights.  It’s too much football, spread out during the week.  NFL games should be more of an event.  I, like most people, have to get up for work on Friday… (even some Sunday night games can be painful!)  Let’s keep the party where it should be… to two nights a week.

 

But, let’s check out on more ABC themed MNF open… this one from Halloween 1994!

 

 

#13 PARTY OF FIVE

Airdates: 1994-2000 (FOX)

 

 

I have to admit, I was not a major fan of this series – but I thought the short opening credits sequence rocked!

 

Party of Five was a teen drama, which focused on five siblings who had to find a way to live together after their parents are killed by a drunk driver.  The show barely escaped cancellation due to low ratings after the first season, but FOX kept it on, and it eventually found an audience.

 

They must not have been able to secure the rights to use “Closer to Free” internationally.  Check out the overdubbed opening credits as seen in Mexico!

 

 

#12 DIFF’RENT STROKES

Airdates: 1978-1985 (NBC) 1985-1986 (ABC)

 

 

Does anybody have any real idea what the lyrics to these opening credits mean?  I get it’s the story of two orphans from Harlem who go to live with a rich guy in a New York City penthouse… but is the word Strokes a metaphor for a painting on a canvas and that no two are alike?  I guess so, because everybody’s got a special kind of story.

 

Does the voice behind the song sound familiar?  That’s actor Alan Thicke, the eventual star of Growing Pains.  Thicke actually created the theme song for a number of sit-coms and game shows.

 

The video shoot from the first season, is similar to The Jeffersons, as it shows their journey from poor to rich in about one verse.

 

As the series went on, the opening would change to feature new cast shots and b-roll.  The kids grew up after each season, Mrs. Garett the original housekeeper left for The Facts of Life, and finally Mr. Drummond gets married and a new woman and her son move in.

 

Here’s a look at the last NBC season opening:

 

 

After NBC cancelled the show, ABC picked it up for one more season.  Dixie Carter left after fighting with Gary Coleman on the set, so they brought in a lookalike.  Since the show changed networks, a new remixed version of the theme was required.  Since there are only a handful of episodes of this version of the music, you could say it’s a little rare.  It was a cool idea to use all the picture frames, which was high tech at the time!

 

 

And I found this awesome clip of a Diff’rent Strokes / Knight Rider crossover!  I don’t ever remember this…  it was clearly a very special two part episode!

 

 

#11 FRIENDS

Airdates: 1994-2004 (NBC)

 

 

Another show that I wasn’t a big fan of, but I clearly get they’re a group of friends, trying to figure out life in New York City.

 

The theme song became so popular, it was rewritten with extra verses added, so it could be played on radio.  The show lasted for 11 seasons, but the credits were shortened to just the main verse in the later years.  Sad, the playing in the fountain opening was kind of unique to this show.

 

 

Another big ratings show for NBC, but the time had come to say goodbye.  The network was eager to keep some form on this show alive, so they spun-off Joey and sent him to LA to become an actor in his self titled series, Joey.

 

 

The show was awful, but yet somehow got renewed for a second season.  It was so bad, Family Guy made fun of their character Cleveland when he was spun-off into his own show, wishing him better luck than this.  I think we can all say we learned something from this blog this week.  It’s not a good idea to send shows from NYC to LA.  Just ask Law & Order, that’s a tough change for audiences to handle!

 

THE 411

 

What: TV Theme Songs

 

Use: themes used to open a TV series or cartoon

 

Purpose: introduce main cast and introduce audience to the theme of the series

 

Numbers reviewed: 11 – 20

 

JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:

 

Well, some unusual choices for my top 20, don’t you think?  Next week, I finally reveal my top ten.  No spoilers this time, though.  See if you can guess who I picked for my number one theme!

 

I don’t own any of the rights to these, nor did I upload them to YouTube.  This blog is presented for educational and informational purposes.

 

Image credit – Paul-W

[California Seething] My World Cup Runneth Over

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How big a deal is the World Cup? Well, when Costa Rica won their first game or “match” as the pinko commie Hilary Rodham Stalin types would want you to call it, the British announcer- possibly Ian Darke or Steve McManamanananananananman declared that it was the greatest moment in Costa Rica’s history. Not their soccer (or “football” as it’s known in poor deprived nations where they don’t have real Football) history or even sports history- but the history of the whole damn country. Now, admittedly, this is Costa Rica’s history we’re talking about, and moments 2 – 10 are all House Hunters International episodes. In fact, the win vs Cal Seething- 071414- houseUruguay displaced the episode with the retired fireman and his family who lost their home in Southern California and had to move to Costa Rica so they could live on his pension. You know the one- it’s the episode where they wanted a  place that had historic charm and character but was also fully renovated with brand new appliances and that was right on the beach but also had a pool and an amazing view. Remember- there was that CRAZY twist where- get this- SHE had super high standards and wanted to make sure she got everything she wanted regardless of cost but HE – and this is the crazy part- HE was all obsessed with the budget and making the numbers work. Wild right? I bet you never saw THAT coming.

Later on, Costa Rica played Greece in the “knockout round”, after beating soccer powerhouse Italy (Mamma Mia! That’s a spicy upset!) and playing England to a 0-0 tie. Yeah, that’s right- a 0-0 tie- (or “nil-nil” as they say in poor deprived nations where they Cal Seething- 071414- costagreecedon’t have the word “zero”) . That’s like, a thing, in soccer. No wonder Ann Coulter says this sport is un-American – I mean- two teams beating up on each other under the sweltering sun for an interminable length of time with nothing to show for it??? We expect that kind of futility from our wars but NOT from our sporting events. Anyhow, the fact that Costa Rica and Greece had to play each other is one of the things I love about the World Cup. Isn’t it amazing that the World Cup can take two countries, thousands of miles apart, who’ve had almost no historical contact with each other (Google Greece- Costa Rica relations and you’ll go straight to Tindr) unite them on a global stage through the majesty of sport and teach them to loathe and despise each other? Yes! It is amazing! Thank you for asking! It’s like some crazy zoo, where the giraffes and penguins have to wrestle for food while thousands of fans cheer them on. (I oppose cruelty to animals in all its forms. Except, I mean, for eating them cause let’s not go nuts here.)

Just think about how much these two countries learned about each other. Why, I bet you that two weeks ago, the Costa Ricans hadCal-Seething--071414--greek no idea that the Greeks were a bunch of lazy, obnoxious, chain smoking mamma’s boys (according to Google, anyhow) and the Greeks couldn’t begin to guess that the Costa Ricans were a bunch of…highly literate, extremely polite, lovely individuals (don’t look at me- ask Google). I know this may not seem weird to you – I mean, learning to hate far away countries for no reason is nothing new to us Americans- hell, it’s the corner stone of our foreign policy. At least in sports, we don’t have to spend a fortune rebuilding the countries we beat, cause if we did, we’d buy Team Iraq the best cleats in the world and they’d use them to run off the field as soon as ISIS got the ball.

And of course, for the Greeks, being hated is no big deal. Everybody seems to hate them. Don’t believe me? Well- here are the some of the search results for “reasons to hate the Greeks”:
Why do Turkish People hate the Greeks?
Do Germans really hate the Greeks?
Why do Albanians hate the Greeks?
Jews hate Greeks
The Dutch hate Greeks even more than Germans
Why do so many people hate the Greeks?
Why do I hate the Greeks?
I hate GreeksCal Seething- 071414- hanks

And can you blame them? Greece is Europe’s drunken uncle. You know – the one who pretty much invented Western Civilization back in high school, like 4,000 years ago, but now he’s just a ruin of his former self, showing up late at night reeking of smoke, in that old Varsity toga that doesn’t fit over his gut anymore, to borrow money that you just know he’s never gonna pay back. And sure, you think he’s fun at first because he’s always sunny and stays up all night, but then you catch him in the kitchen drinking vanilla extract (or, worse yet, ouzo) and you realize what a mess he’s become.

But Costa Rica? Nobody hates Costa Rica. They’re like the Jimmy Fallon of Latin America. If ever there was a country that could “Mom Dance” with Michelle Obama one day and “Dad Dance” with Chris Christie the next- it would be Costa Rica. Seriously, Cal Seething- 071414- jimmyJimmy – you can’t love EVERYBODY “This next guy, I just love him so much. He’s a good friend of the show, from the Khmer Rouge-we’ve got the architect of the Cultural Revolution himself- – POL POT (Roots play funky version of Holiday in Cambodia. Jimmy and Pol play “Counterrevolutionary Beer Pong” and the winner guns down everyone in the audience who wears glasses).

Still- despite their disgusting likability- the Greeks still managed to work up a frothing, violent, seething hatred for Costa Rica. And why? Seriously-have you not been paying attention? CAUSE IT’S THE MOTHERFUCKING WORLD CUP, PENDEJO! It’s the SUPERBOWL of sporting events….that aren’t, you know, already the Superbowl! It’s like the Winter Olympics if they just did biathalon and the whole world was Norway and wouldn’t that make an awesome Will Farrell movie?? (no) It’s games without frontiers, war without tears- and if looks could kill- THEY PROBABLY WILL!! It’s like a gigantic QUIDDICH tournament if I actually knew what the fuck that meant and wasn’t just saying it to suck up to the millenials  I lost with a RANDOM AND SLIGHTLY OBSCURE PETER GABRIEL REFERENCE!!! It’s the love child of World War Three and March Madness with Brazil as Kentucky, Germany as Duke and the US AS FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY! IT’S THE PINCHE WORLD CUP, MOTHERFUCKER!!!!! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!

Now, for those of you that still have no idea what I’m talking about- and if you think the word above is pronounced “ghoul” – than you’re who I’m talking about- here’s a breakdown of why this is the world’s greatest sporting event. Or, at least, the best one in June & July.

It’s the most dramatic

A couple of weeks ago, I watched the U.S. – Belgium game with a bunch of co-workers as part of a Work Approved Morale Building Activity. It was awesome. We prayed and screamed and gasped and sighed. For 90 terrifying minutes we held our breath as our Cal Seething- 071414- bloodsportboys withstood wave after wave of attacks from the ferocious Belgians (wow- nobody has said that sentence since the reign of King Leopold II- or at least since Bloodsport) and we screamed in frustration as the US came within INCHES (or “millimeters” as they say in poor deprived nations where they have to use the metric system. Shudder. Twitch. Shudder.) Throughout the game, our viewing party grew and grew as co-workers would stop in to see what all the hubbub was about and find themselves transfixed by the action, unable to move, frozen in place like ancient Greeks in the glare of Medusa or the Greek goalie trying to stop a Costa Rican penalty kick DAMN! OH NO I DIDN’T! The company ground to a halt- for 90 minutes phones went to voicemail, emails went unanswered, meetings were missed (on the other hand – morale surged by 8.6% – up to its highest level since Proposition 8 was overturned. We are a theatre company after all.) And as the clock wound down- or, up whatever on the game, and it became clear we had survived the worst the Belgians had to throw at us (at least, the worst since Universal Soldier: Regeneration) we sat back, untwisted our guts and prepared for Extra Time. Oh- and what was the score at the end of Regular Time? 0 – 0. That’s right. Nil-Nil, Zilch-Zilch, Bupkiss-Bupkiss, The Number of Valid Scientific Reasons for Not Vaccinating Your Children vs the Number of Seconds I Would Respectfully Wait before Laughing my ASS Off if You Told me Jenny McCarthy had Polio. Like the audience of a Beckett play, we had just sat mesmerized for 90 minutes Desert- 052814- godotwatching some weird foreign drama we didn’t understand in which nothing actually happened. Unlike, Beckett, though, in the knockout round of the World Cup, they do keep playing until the game is decided- and wouldn’t Waiting for Godot be like a million times more satisfying if it was resolved with penalty kicks?
Is Godot a metaphor for God? GOAL!
Is he ever going to come? NO GOAL!
Is the world simply a meaningless void of despair where hope is an illusion, human endeavor is doomed, and life is a pointless, undignified, agonizing interlude between cradle and grave? GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!! Also you should hang yourself now with your belt.

Of course, some of the drama and excitement of World Cup soccer, (or futbol as it’s called in Spanish speaking countries because evidently there’s no Spanish word for “foot” or “ball” so they have to come over here and take our words which is just so typical) is due to the announcers. Now I know everybody loves to talk about the histrionic GOOOOOOL screaming dramatic flair of the Telemundo commentators- but I’ve grown very fond of the British announcers with their bizarre Cockney rhyming slang bastadizations of 1940’s American tough guy lingo and the rat tat tat Tommy Gun “live from the front” delivery of a Wold War II radio broadcaster commenting on the Blitz. These guys could make anything sound amazing:

Cal Seething- 071414- ianIan Darke: And the blue paint on the living room wall is starting to be a little less shiny. This is a critical point here. If anything goes wrong here we could have a crack in the paint and have to start all over again and that would spell CURTAINS for our living room renovation. And- wait- I see a bubble. Is that a bubble?  That could be a bubble. A bubble could be trying to pull of a daring flood light robbery the new blue paint. This could be the end RIGHT HERE. THIS COULD BE IT. No. Just a bump in the wall. It looks like the blue is getting dry around the edges. This is a critical time. Just a few more minutes. Anything could happen here. A piece of dust. An unsupervised dog. A kid with peanut butter on his fingers walks by and IT’S LAST CALL AT THE LAST CHANCE SALOON FOR THE LIVING ROOM WALL. But no. it’s almost dry. We’re into stoppage time now. It’s drying. It’s drying. We have a resultIt’s… (change channel to Telemundo)

Telemundo Announcer: DRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!”

But you can’t blame the announcers for being dramatic- the game is relentless – they don’t even stop for commercials- and with the stakes as high as Cal Seething- 071414- catthey are in the World Cup at every second of play- it’s bound to make you a little crazy. It’s like a horror movie with only one killing but dozens of cats that wait until the perfect moment when everything is quiet and you let your guard down and then JUMP OUT OF THE BUSHES AND SCARE THE CRAP OUT OF YOU FOR NO GOOD REASON. Or creepy, laconic stringy haired janitors who sneak up behind you in absolute silence and then, when you least expect it TAP YOU ON THE SHOULDER AND ASK YOU IF EVERYTHING’S OK CAUSE THEY SAY THEY HEARD A NOISE.

So- go ahead. Grab a snack. Take a leak. Check your email. I dare you. I double dare you. Cause, you just know, you just know that the SECOND you look away KER-SLASHO the hockey mask wearing serial killer will come leaping out of nowhere and BRUTALLY CHOP UP THE OVERSEXED TEENAGER WHO SAID “I’LL BE RIGHT BACK” WITH A CHAINSAW INTO TINY LITTLE BLOODY BITS. Or- you know, somebody’ll score a goal. Either way- you missed it. And now- it’s nothing but cats for the rest of the game.- or “match”. Whatever, HILLARY.

Plus- like any good horror movie- it’s never over when you think it is. Just when you see the clock hit 90 and you think- ok, it’s fine, we made it, we’re through, we beat Portugal- BAM! The referee puts 3 extra minutes on the clock, Renaldo scores a last second goal to tie the game and the SERIAL KILLER JUMPS OUT OF NOWHERE COVERED IN BLOOD right behind the idiot policeman who never believed the kids who said they were being chased by a killer and thought they were all whacked out on Angel Dust and KER-SLASHO!!!! THE SERIAL KILLER HACKS THE POLICEMAN TO PIECES before somebody inexplicably blows him up with an oxygen tank and a lighter. Now THAT’S SOCCER! Or “football”. Whatever HILLARY.

Cal Seething- 071414- teddyIt’s a great time to be an American!

Look, it’s not easy being an American. Wait- sorry, let me rephrase that- it’s absurdly, disgustingly obscenely easy to be an American- it’s just hard not to feel like a dick about it – except during the World Cup. Aside from the aftermath of a terrorist attack- there’s simply no better time than the World Cup to feel great about America! Because, while the US is way ahead of the world in pretty much every area, we’re still not great at soccer. Sure- we’ve got super goalie Tim “The Congressional Republican” Howard (he never lets anything pass) but in the grand scheme of things- we’re pretty much on par with Ghana. How exciting is that? We’re neck and neck with a nation with the GDP of Tulsa. Awesome, right? What fun to slum as a scrappy underdog! We’re that bloated record executive in the mosh pit at Coachella with fake hair on his head and real hair on his ears whooping it up with all the kids, losing ourselves in the exuberance of the young nation we once were and not the purple faced sclerotic ruin we’ve become. Plus, come on- nobody chants like the American fans. We may be middle of the pack in soccer- but – when it comes to chest-thumping face-painting hat-wearing jingoism- WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN! WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!

It’s actually been a lot more fun to be the US at the World Cup than to be Brazil. This time, we get to be the wacky upstart BRIC style nation celebrating after a 1-0 LOSS to Germany and they have to be the aging superpower in shocking decline. It’s a glimpse into the future of American mediocrity  and it’s glorious. Let somebody else solve all the world’s idiot problems for a change- time for us to be the Jamaican bobsled team- just happy to be here – enjoying the world’s ride downhill!!! Weeeeeeee!!!!

Of course, the other possibility, is that soccer is yet another thing the US is getting progressively better at and that pretty soon we’ll be the same domineering douchebags at the World Cup that we are at everything else. So- hey- Win-Win or us! I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN-WIN! I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN-WIN!

And the US isn’t the only country whose fans paint their faces and wear stupid costumes. Why, every participating nation from Argentina to Uruguay had fiercely proud contingents of fans decked out in their nation’s colors looking like idiots. And this is another great thing about this tournament – no matter  how powerful a nation or dignified it’s history- the World Cup makes Oakland Raiders fans of us all. I’d say more about how awesome it is when teams lose and their costumed fans look sad, but Mandy Ratliff already rocked that subject here– so I’ll just include what is perhaps the greatest sad fan photo of all time.

Cal Seething- 071414- trophyhug

Hug that trophy, my friend. Maybe if you hugged your children that way, they’d still be talking to you and you wouldn’t have to face defeat so alone. Maybe not.

Have you seen Baseball?Cal Seething- 071414- kevin

Let’s keep it real for a second- the World Cup takes place in June & July. All of the real sports are over by June. After that, it’s pretty much just World Cup or Baseball- and have you seen baseball?? If World Cup soccer is a thrilling horror movie that you watch through your fingers at the edge of your seat then baseball is a Kevin Costner movie- corny, sentimental, earnest and agonizingly dull (and I’m not just saying that because Kevin Costner actually made a movie about baseball that was corny, sentimental, earnest and agonizingly dull but because everything Kevin Costner makes is corny, sentimental, earnest and agonizingly dull.) Hell, baseball’s not even a sport- it’s a “pastime”- it’s like stamp collecting for steroid enthusiasts. I mean, the average soccer player runs like 7.5 kilometers (or “a bunch of miles”) over the course of a game. Prince Fielder’s barely run 5 kilometers in Cal Seething- 071414- princehis entire career, and most of that was chasing the ice cream truck. I mean, sure, Yasiel Puig looks like he works out –but that’s just so he can fight off those Mexican smugglers he owes money to. I sure hope those guys don’t decapitate him- or, if they do, at least they can wait til after Bobblehead night.

And the baseball announcers don’t help matters any. If soccer announcers can make boring stuff interesting, baseball announcers can make even the most exciting events seem painfully dull:

Old White Man Baseball Announcer #1: And it’s a beautiful night here over Tokyo. The stars are out, the moon is bright, and Godzilla is stomping through the Shibuya neighborhood crushing cars and buildings and devouring train cars full of tourists. Heh heh. He sure is a big fella, isn’t he Ralph?

Old White Man Baseball Announcer Who’s Evidently Named Ralph: You got that right!Cal Seething- 071414- godzilla

Old White Man Baseball Announcer #1: And now – I think we’re starting to see just a little bit of fire come out of his mouth. Yup. That’s fire alright. And there goes the American embassy. Up in flames. How about that?

Old White Man Baseball Announcer Who’s Evidently Named Ralph:  That sure is something.

Old White Man Baseball Announcer #1:  And this is the most damage done to a City by an artificially enlarged mutant lizard since Jose Canseco left Oakland in 1992. Of course most of the damage he did was to the game of baseball.Cal Seething- 071414- jose

Old White Man Baseball Announcer Who’s Evidently Named Ralph:  Heh heh. You said it.

Old White Man Baseball Announcer #1: Oh- it looks like Godzilla is headed for the heavily populated Shinkuju neighborhood. And we’ll be right back to see what kind of destruction he perpetrates after this message from Pep Boys.

It’s like death- except death comes with suspense of wondering what’s going to happen after death and the only suspense in baseball is wondering WHEN IS IT GOING TO END ALREADY? And the other summer sports aren’t much better- here’s a post I wrote about just how much I hate all of them. Read it, if you want, or just take my word for it that the World Cup is soooo much better than all of them combined. Actually, forget that- definitely read it. I need the validation.

Well, the World Cup is over. Germany beat Argentina 1 – “nil” in the final game. It was a match up that would prove extremely difficult- both for the players and fugitive Nazi war criminals trying to figure out who to cheer for. Like the product in his hair, Lionel Messi worked hard right up until the end- but unlike his hair, Messi’s efforts fell flat. Still- Messi was awarded the “Golden Ball” for his efforts as the best player, the German goalie received the Golden “I’m Grabbing My Own Tit” Award,

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and the German team was presented with the surprisingly teeny World Cup Trophy by the flight attendants of Emirates Air.

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Oh, that’s not a joke BTW- those are actually the flight attendants from Emirates Air, one of the primary sponsors of the World Cup, presenting the trophy. I know. It’s disgusting. Roger Goodell is already on the phone with Southwest about Superbowl XLIX as we speak, though I don’t think it’ll be quite the same:

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God help us all.

Anyhow, it’s over now. And I’m terrified. I’m not really sure how I’m gonna make it until August 3rd when Pre-Season Real Football begins. Still, it was great to see so many Americans getting wrapped up in the World Cup and learning what the rest of the world calls “football”. And I think that we all learned that we’re not so different after all. They had 11 men on the field and we have 11 men on the field. They have passionate fans who paint their faces to show pride in their nation’s colors and we wear Styrofoam cheese on our heads.  FIFA doesn’t give a crap about concussions and the NFL just pretends like it does. We’re all so similar!  We’re like one big happy brain damaged family!

But maybe the next few weeks won’t be so bad. Hey- I can use this time to catch up on important world affairs- like- oh I know- the war in Gaza, or- maybe the war in Iraq, or….hey- maybe the immigration and deportation crisis – that’s a good one- or the catastrophic drought right here in Southern California! That could be…..fun? Huh. Hey- wait- isn’t the Home Run Derby on Cal Seething- 071414- homerunderbytonight? Alright! Let’s hit some dingers! Or…you know, whatever they say in poor, deprived areas of the world where they only have baseball. Maybe this baseball thing isn’t so bad- better than dealing with reality, anyhow. Maybe they just need the right announcers:

Ian Darke: Yasiel Puig steps up to the plate. It’s a critical time here. This could be last call at the last chance saloon for the National League team. Here’s the pitch. Here’s the swing. It’s going, it’s going it’s

Telemundo Announcer: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!!!!!!!!!

And so is the World Cup. See you in Russia for the first game in 2018. Or, “match” WHATEVER, HILLARY.