Retro Relapse: In Defense of Sarcasm

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

I’ve read a few things recently online and in books that have spoke about sarcasm in a negative light. It has been painted as mean-spirited and a low brow form of humor – a quick attempt at a humorous response more often than not used in an effort to shield an emotional blow or to indirectly or passive aggressively pick fun at someone. While I get and understand the point these authors are trying to make, I don’t necessarily agree with it.

One of the books I read is about the subject of “manliness”. It’s author feels that a “man” shouldn’t use this sort of comedic device. Well, I think sarcasm is fine when there is a proper need for it and if it isn’t the only humor discipline that a manly wordsmith employs.

You see, the problem with sarcasm is that it has evolved – poorly. Sarcasm was once a witty and often times intellectually vast form of humor. Only some really smart and clever motherfuckers could use its power and get their audiences’ panties to drop. Anyone could say something funny but it took a lot of thought for someone to drop some really sarcastic pipe bomb.

It wasn’t as common back in the day and that is probably why it has become a comedic discipline that was almost an art form.

I think that the oldest form of sarcasm that I have experienced was expressed from many of the old badass comedic legends of yesteryear. Watching a lot of the old greats with my granmum throughout my childhood gave me a pretty solid understanding of their form, their timing and their delivery – not to mention pure wit.

Two things that really come to mind are the old Dean Martin roasts, which were a thousand times more classy and intelligent than the roasts today, and the old school game shows that always had funny celebrity contestants. One celeb contestant that immediately comes to mind is Charles Nelson Reilly.

Throughout the years however, as can be seen in the evolution of ludeness, crassness and dick jokes galore in modern celebrity roasts and just general mainstream comedy, the utter genius and hilarity of thought provoking comedy gold is pretty much non-existent. And not just through sarcasm but all comedic fronts; being mean and nasty in general is thunderously applauded.

There is still intelligent comedy but even shows like ‘Parks & Recreation’, ‘Party Down’ and ‘Arrested Development’ fall victim to the overabundance of the dense and obtuse witless vulgarness of our modern culture. Comedy in general now is just atrocious and sad. And unfortunately this just bleeds over into the masses. The class clown today is usually just a bully with a laugh track comprised of thirty other students.

You see, it’s a problem when the key to what we find funniest is poking fun at others or just laughing about penises and ass noises. Have we really become that dumb and unrefined? I’m guilty of this too – most of us are and in ways those things can be funny but in our superfast intellectually lethargic culture, they have been put on a pedestal. It’s like we don’t want to think too hard anymore in this Google and Wikipedia-filled world and so we cheer a cheap pop over real genius. We don’t have time to mentally decipher real genius apparently. As a culture, that is what I find frightening.

So no, I don’t see sarcasm as a thing men shouldn’t practice, I just see a form of comedy that has been bastardized by our overwhelming acceptance of low brow culture in general. Luckily there are still a few good comics out there practicing their craft. I mean, there is a reason I watch Dylan Moran over that shitbird shill who calls himself “Carlos Mencia”. There is also a reason why I generally gravitate towards British television over American. The question really is, what are we missing in America that these other countries aren’t? Why does Britain not overwhelmingly accept intellectually void entertainment but we do? Shit to think about, I guess.

As my cousin Cameron once stated, “Sarcasm, it is a tool of ingeniousy!” He was brilliant at 12 years-old.. before the accident (puberty).

Retro Relapse: You’re Not a God, You’re a Fucking Bartender

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

You’re a bartender, dude – a bartender. You’re not a god, you’re not something special and you certainly aren’t Ryan Gosling with Ron Jeremy’s cock. On the flipside, hey female. You’re also just a bartender. You’re not some hardcore porn star, you’re not a badass like Ronda Rousey and we’re not all crowded around you because of your dynamite personality; it just so happens that we’re drunk and your tits are in our face. They’re nice tits, by the way.

Bars are a great place; they are where we go to unwind, have a good time, chill with our friends, meet new people and often times get inebriated. It’s not a place we go to, to have some smarmy fuck of a douchenugget look down upon us because he/she holds the bottle and is god over his/her asinine little kingdom. There’s a whole street full of other kingdoms and they go on for blocks and cities and states and countries. You’re worth significantly less than a dime a dozen, my lord.

You know the bartender I’m talking about. They think they’re cooler than a dead penguin’s dick, they judge you by everything you order, they ignore you for twenty minutes even though they’ve made eye contact with you multiple times, they turn their back from a busy bar because they got a text, they act pissed off when you’re handing them money, they blow Pall Mall smoke in your face while dropping ashes into your shots, they act like they’re some sort of highly desired sex god/goddess, they parade around like the kings and queens of high fashion yet many of them are wearing a generic uniform, they react to a drink order like a Rottweiler getting a steak torn away and usually they are fucking around with their co-workers when money is being waved around at the bar from all angles.

Sorry, I just like money. It is a necessary and awesome evil that the world revolves around. Apparently, many bartenders are allergic to it or something. How dare they be inconvenienced by you trying to help them pay for their kids’ care, their rent and their car. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard some chick bartender bitching about being broke to some guy staring at her tits that she has no intention of fucking, only to have her roll her eyes when I ask for a drink – handing her money and usually, even if the service is bad, a pretty decent tip. Yeah, I’m that kind of nice guy that usually tips more than I should, even if the person I’m tipping is a total asshole. I get it, people have bad days but a customer doesn’t pay for you to add your shit on top of their shit of a day. We go to bars to forget about the bullshit, not get shitted on by some self-absorbed dickhead that looks at us as some sort of cancer.

Also, I don’t care how hot you are. Yes, you may be more than pleasant to look at but your hotness doesn’t excuse shitty service. The fact of the matter is, if I just wanted hotness in my face, I’d go to a strip club and stare at girls who are actually naked and get drinks from bartenders who are actually more competent and have a much better attitude. At least strippers, for the most part fake sincerity and act like they want your money, even if they’ve had a bad day or are pissed about something. Comparatively, shitty, bitchy, scantily clad bartenders are pretty much prude strippers with a bad attitude. No thanks, I’ll go elsewhere.

The dudes that think they’re Jesus Christ Superbartender are usually just grumpy fucks who can’t do anything else for a living. They may make decent money but as time goes on, those cute college chicks flirting with you for free shots and discounts are going to stop hitting on you and either move to another bartender or another bar. Your game of bringing drunk sluts home for a game of the old “in-out in-out” will be thwarted by the oppressive hands of time. You’ll be left aged and tired, a dude who never really settled down, figuring out that it is most likely too late to change that. I’ve seen it happen.

To those self-important motherfuckers calling themselves “mixologists”, you are the bar industry’s version of the Subway “sandwich artist”. No one takes you or your bullshit title seriously. You are a bartender. So what, you know how to make a few signature cocktails. That shit isn’t hard, I’ve invented about six dozen just making mistakes while mixing shit throughout the years. Do I call myself a “mixologist”? Fuck no, I call myself “Rob” because that’s my fucking name. I’m not even a bartender anymore but even when I had that title, it wasn’t something I pronounced to others like I’m some sort of miraculous motherfucker. “I’m a bartender!” Cool, go wash those glasses.

There are some fantastic bartenders out there with amazing personalities, many of whom are good friends of mine. There is a lot of money and I mean a lot of money to be made for those who ply their craft the right way. A friend of mine, who was an awesome bartender, with awesome personality, made over $80,000 in a year. Who’s going to argue that that isn’t a pretty fucking lucrative position to be in. If one were to save and manage their money at that level, they could retire at a decent age and potentially even leave the bar industry behind to start their own business, which is what she is working towards.

Unfortunately, most of these entitled “world owes me something” ass clowns will never turn their shit into anything close to lucrative or respectable. They’ll continue scraping by their entire lives like they’re still 20 year-olds trying to earn their way through community college. They’re in a pit that there is no way out of because they don’t even seem to care. Some of them are expecting someone to walk into their bar one day and pull them out. Well, for the most part, no one just hands you shit in life, you’ve got to earn it.

If those of you who are struggling – that have worked in the bar industry for a long time – would just get your shit together and be more focused on your job, you’d make more money, probably get some recognition from better bars in the area and in turn, get a better paying gig. There is nothing wrong with having fun at work but many bartenders see their job as a constant party and not a job. You don’t get paid to party, you get paid to pour liquor. If you can party while you do it, fine. Just know why you’re supposed to be there. And if this “paid to party” bartender is you, don’t bitch and complain about how you can’t pay your rent. The world belongs to those who hustle.

Retro Relapse: Bitch, Eat a Cheeseburger

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

I am fortunate enough to have a lot of attractive female friends; I don’t say that to brag or to paint myself as the pimp of the year. I just happen to know pretty chicks and have built up a good rapport with them because it really isn’t that hard if you are yourself and not a complete douche or an emasculated wuss. But trashing douches and wusses isn’t the point of this post, the point is to discuss what I’ve noticed and experienced with some of these ladies and their apparent body image issues.

A lot of women seem to think that starving themselves and being as skinny as possible is attractive. Well, it isn’t. In fact, it is kind of gross. To be clear, skinny girls in general aren’t gross. I’m talking about that special breed who obsess over their thinness to the point of looking like a starving child in a third world country. To be blunt, most guys I know don’t want to fuck a bag of bones. Truthfully, your apparent fragility frightens us.

So what is responsible for this disturbing trend? One could blame the trash magazines at the grocery store checkout or reality television or whatever other pop culture scapegoat that is too easy to point at. The problem is much deeper than that, however, and I think that those things aren’t the root of the issue. They certainly magnify it and add to the crisis but the root seems to come from a massive desire by many women to live up to impossible expectations, not set by men but set by other women. In the way that dude bros are overly competitive in the gym at becoming freak beasts, many women are overly competitive at trying to look as thin as humanly possible without actually dying. Well in most cases, because some women have died from this behavior.

Now they don’t do it to attract a mate, even though they might believe that that is their real motivation, they do it to be better than their friends – to look the thinnest and hottest at the beach or the tofu barbecue pool party. It certainly isn’t for us guys and if it was, it’d be pretty idiotic considering that most of us aren’t envisioning ourselves as the male co-star in some sicko starvation porn.

Personally, I like a woman with curves and hips and a shapely figure, not a woman that looks like tits on a stick. Most normal dudes I talk to, feel the same way. I do have one friend though that likes anorexic looking girls. But that’s just because he sees such girls as hot due to the fact that it implies that they’ve got issues; he’s attracted to unpredictable and crazy birds. I mean, if that’s the dude you want, ladies, then stick to your plan of eating raw kale with celery flakes while trying not to pass out from exhaustion on the elliptical.

I’m not saying all this to be a dick, I’m saying it so that you stop trying so hard to become a living fantasy. Us guys don’t care and those of us who may press you into harboring these insecurities that you aren’t good enough because you simply looked at a Thin Mint, are assholes. Besides, those guys, like you, are just trying to compete with the impossible standards they’ve built up in their own minds in order to compete with the other like-minded fools of their same sex. Essentially, I guess this is just as much a post for those guys as it is for you starving girls.

Strive to be healthy, strive to have a good figure but know what that is. Because just as you can be too big and unhealthy, you can also be too small and unhealthy. Instead of silently and passive aggressively competing with your peers who are doing the same, why don’t you all just accept reality and support one another. Be healthy together, not insane against one another. And most importantly, enjoy life and eat a fucking cheeseburger once in a while.

Besides, a great cheeseburger is better than sloppy mediocre sex with one of those jacked up pretty boys that you think you’re doing all this for. You know the dudes I’m talking about; the ones who are looking in the mirror instead of at you during your weekly one night stand.

Retro Relapse: Let’s Talk About PEDs and Character

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

*Be forewarned, this is going to be a long one. So grab a bottle of Lagavulin and a couple porterhouses. This is something I’ve wanted to write for a long time but put off because I knew it would be massive.

1. Introduction:

I’ve never been one to shy away from controversy. Hell, I wrote a highly successful blog for several years about politics and economics where I shared views that pissed off both sides of the spectrum. I’m not a stranger to speaking my mind, even if it challenges the system in power and the indoctrinated bullshit that warps the masses’ minds: detaching them from logic and reason. That being said, I am sure that this will probably be the most polarizing thing that I’ve published on this website.

To start, I am talking about the use of PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) in baseball. My feelings and opinions carry over into other sports too but this is focused specifically on baseball, as it is the sport where the use of PEDs is the most demonized.

In fact, even if a player’s name is simply mentioned in the same sentence as PEDs or steroids, regardless of proof or evidence, that player is stuck with a very negative stigma for the rest of their life. In many cases, they are looked at like they’re Satan and regardless of whether there was proof to any accusations, the chances are pretty high that they will never get enough votes to get into the Hall of Fame. The reason given, by the sports writers who are the ones who vote on the Hall of Fame, is that these players have no integrity, character or morals and they are cheaters. And again, it doesn’t seem to matter if anything was even proven. Innocent until proven guilty? Not in baseball.

But why are PEDs the ultimate evil in baseball? Why are the athletes who have taken them or just been accused of taking them treated like they are Nazi war criminals?

2. Who Votes and the Process:

Well, the BBWAA (the Baseball Writers’ Association of America) along with the Veterans Committee are the groups that vote on the players who get put into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It is a complicated and confusing process like many things related to baseball but ultimately, the power of who gets into Cooperstown is held by the elite baseball writers. In case you didn’t know, Cooperstown is often used as the nickname of the Hall of Fame, as it the location of the Hall itself (in New York state) and it is where baseball is said to have begun.

As stated above, the writers have a lot of reasons for not voting these players in. Usually they cite cheating and lack of character. The reason they cite these things, is that they can, as there is a clause in the voting guidelines that states that “character” is one of the many factors to consider when voting a player into the Hall of Fame. I get where that is important but the fact of the matter is, what one considers to be “character” is subjective and if you are going to treat the use of PEDs as the ultimate evil and a complete destruction of one’s character, then you had better find a way to justify why some other really shitty people have made it into Cooperstown.

3. Contents of Character:

3A. Bigotry:

To start, let’s talk about Cap Anson, who was considered at one point to be the greatest first baseman of all-time. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in its first year in 1939. He is a legend and was a god to many. Looking at what he did for the game, while on the field, is worthy of the Hall. But what about his character?

Well, Anson was a racist piece of shit. He refused to take the field against black players in exhibition games in the 1880s. He even went as far as to use his star power and influence to strengthen the color barrier that existed in baseball until 1947. Sure, you could be an asshole and say something like, “Well, those were the times.” Well, fuck that, I could point to the ’90s and in regards to steroids say, “Well, those were the times.” It is a weak bullshit argument and anyone with a bit of sense knows that. Yeah, slavery was just “the times” too.

Speaking of racist pieces of shit, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis had a cool name but he was also a bigoted shithead. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1944. He is also the man who wrote the Hall’s clause about “character”. Kind of hypocritical as his character is polluted by the fact that he was another man instrumental in upholding the color barrier. What power did he have? Well, he was just the first Commissioner of Baseball from 1920-1944.

Another Hall of Famer, former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey (inducted in 1980), was the last team owner to integrate. He didn’t do so until 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. Yawkey passed on signing Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays even though his scouts overwhelmingly urged him to. He also hired managers Pinky Higgins and Joe Cronin, both of whom were known for being overtly racist.

To you Yankees fans sneering at your rival Red Sox and their lack of integration, you may want to hold back on your criticisms. Hall of Fame (inducted in 1971) and beloved general manager George Weiss also held off on integration for a long time. He didn’t integrate until 1955, being the 13th out of the 16 MLB teams to do so. In fact, in 1952, Weiss said that he would never allow a black man to wear a Yankees uniform. He went on to say, “We don’t want that sort of crowd. It would offend boxholders from Westchester to have to sit with niggers.”

Legends Tris Speaker (inducted in 1937) and Rogers Hornsby (inducted in 1942) were both card carrying members of the Ku Klux Klan. Speaking of the KKK, one of the greatest players of all-time, Ty Cobb (inducted in 1936), was also alleged to have been a member. Now alleged doesn’t mean that he was but since the PED witch-hunt doesn’t seem to understand the difference between alleged and proof, lets just say he was because that’s fair, right?

That’s not the only thing that makes Ty Cobb a giant piece of shit though. Out of the things we can prove, there was that time that he climbed up into the stands to assault a heckler that just so happened to be handicapped. Then there were multiple times where he deliberately drove his shoe’s spikes into the shins and knees of opposing players while sliding into base. I guess maiming your opponent is a good example of “character” and not “cheating”.

Smithsonian Magazine once pointed out that “Violent confrontations were a recurring theme in Cobb’s life,” and “stories of Cobb’s racial intolerance were well-documented.” Man, he sounds like a swell guy with impeccable character!

3B. Drunkards and Prohibition:

Let me stop using racism as an example, as I think I’ve beat that point pretty hard here. Let’s look at the guy who many, if not most, consider to be the greatest baseball player in history, Babe Ruth. Now sure, I may get some shit for tarnishing the Babe’s legacy but all I am doing here is pointing out the facts. Facts that were well known about the guy when he was inducted in 1936.

Babe Ruth was an alcoholic, overeating, womanizing machine. He also had a shitty attitude most of the time and was so high on his own ego that he had no idea how to treat those in his life. He cheated on his first wife, repeatedly. He left her for one of his mistresses. He probably cheated on her. Hell, he probably cheated on those he was cheating with. He was a big alpha dog and he had to do what big alpha dogs do.

He also drank himself into a stupor repeatedly and was often times shit-hammered when he was on the field. Could you imagine the uproar if a player constantly showed up drunk for games in today’s world? He wouldn’t be allowed to play, let alone have the opportunity to even attempt to have a Hall of Fame worthy career. How many times did Ruth put himself and others at risk in a game, just because he liked to play three sheets to the wind?

Also, look at the era when Babe Ruth was doing this. It was during Prohibition, when alcohol was outlawed. Just as PEDs and steroids are outlawed now, alcohol was a big no-no in that time. The thing is, everyone knew Ruth was a drunkard but no one cared. The sports writers may have criticized it here and there but ultimately his legacy on the field is what was most remembered.

Then there were Hall of Famers Hack Wilson (inducted in 1979) and Grover Cleveland Alexander (inducted in 1938) who were both known drunkards. Wilson broke the law during Prohibition and even passed out on the field and in the dugout during games. Alexander was believed to have been inebriated when he closed out Game 7 of the 1926 World Series. Being a big drinker myself, I lift my glass to that. Being a responsible adult and a lifelong baseball fan, I shake my head and again, like with Ruth, think about how horrible that would go over in today’s world and how both guys would be out of the MLB and forced into substance abuse programs. And with it being the Prohibition Era in both cases and Ruth’s, it puts their “character” violations on par with the PED users of the last two decades.

3C. Drugs:

Moving on past alcohol, let’s look at other drug issues in relation to Hall of Famers.

There was Dennis Eckersley (inducted in 2004), who battled alcoholism and was identified by a convicted drug dealer as a regular customer of his that bought cocaine. Of course, a blind eye was turned, he was inducted into Cooperstown and has been a baseball analyst for quite some time.

Brewers great Paul Molitor (also inducted in 2004) was known to be a cocaine and marijuana user early on in his career. He was also big on the party scene and at one point, got so coked up that police were called out to his home to see if he was even alive. Pretty hypocritically, Molitor opposes Alex Rodriguez being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I guess cocaine is okay but PEDs are the devil.

One of my favorite pitchers of all-time, Ferguson Jenkins (inducted in 1991), a Chicago Cubs great, was arrested in 1980 for 3.0 grams of cocaine, 2.2 grams of hashish and 1.75 grams of marijuana found in his suitcase by customs agents. Jenkins was immediately suspended but that suspension only lasted two weeks. He was not punished further by the MLB and he went into Cooperstown, although it is believed that the drug issue delayed his induction. Regardless, he still made it.

In 1976, Orlando Cepeda (inducted in 1999) was arrested for drug smuggling. He attempted to bring 150 lbs. of marijuana into Puerto Rico. His punishment was ten months in a Florida prison. However, he was also arrested a second time for allegedly pulling a gun on a man. Once he got out of prison, he was instructed not to return to Puerto Rico, as the mafia would kill him.

Before moving on from drugs, let me just throw out some names of Hall of Famers who illegally used amphetamines at some point during their careers: Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and several others. Are we prepared to kick these legends out to make an example to the PED and steroid users out there?

3D. Cheaters:

Other than substance abuse issues, there were also cheaters who made the Hall of Fame. Why is this important? Well because most of the people with the voting power consider PEDs and steroids to be cheating. Well, let’s look at some cheaters who made it to Cooperstown.

First there is Gaylord Perry (inducted in 1991) who confessed to cheating. In his autobiography Me and the Splitter, he admitted to using saliva, sweat, mud, Vaseline and KY jelly to doctor the baseballs that he pitched. Did he really earn those two Cy Young Awards and five All-Star appearances? Did he cheat his way to that no hitter? We may never know for sure.

Then there was pitcher Don Sutton (inducted in 1998) who was often times called “Black and Decker” because he was infamous for defacing baseballs with sandpaper and other objects. He’s gone on to making a nice broadcasting career for himself after his baseball career that saw him become a four-time All-Star and an All-Star MVP.

Whitey Ford (inducted in 1974), regarded by many as one of the best pitchers of all-time, defaced baseballs by using his wedding ring. He also planted mud pies on the mound that he used to alter the ball. He was also known to use something he called “gunk”, which was said to be a mixture of baby oil, turpentine and resin. Ten All-Star games, six World Series championships, a World Series MVP, a Cy Young Award and a retired number later, no one seems to care about this guy’s penchant for winning by any means necessary – even if that means to win by cheating.

Then there is famous and beloved manager Leo Durocher (inducted in 1994). He managed the 1951 Giants who pulled off an amazing comeback at the end of the season. How did they do it? They mastered the art of sign-stealing. It wasn’t just any sort of sign-stealing though. You see, they developed a pretty elaborate system of illegal sign-stealing. What made it illegal? The tactics used in accordance to what baseball deems as okay and not okay. There is a thin line there but regardless of how you feel about sign-stealing and how far one can go with it, by most of those with the power of the pen, what Durocher and the 1951 Giants did was cheating. Cheating for him and legend Willie Mays, in this case, was good enough to get both of them into Cooperstown without mountains of disdain.

3E. General Pieces of Crap:

Other than racists, drunks, drug users and cheaters, there are also Hall of Famers who are just pieces of crap as people. The two that stick out the most in modern times are Roberto Alomar (inducted in 2011) and the late Kirby Puckett (inducted in 2001).

Roberto Alomar was accused of domestic violence by his wife, Puerto Rican model Maripily Rivera. She alleged that she was the victim of spousal assault three times. She told the tale of Alomar threatening her and pulling a knife on her. She also claimed that Alomar gave her HIV, as did a former ex-girlfriend. All of this was out in the open before Alomar was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Now while none of it was proven, in regards to PEDs, proof doesn’t really matter.

The late Kirby Puckett, who died in 2006 from a stroke, was deemed a model citizen for the majority of his career and won the Branch Rickey Award in 1993 for his lifetime of community service work. However, even seemingly good people have flaws.

After his retirement, a lot of strange things came to the forefront. To start, Puckett was accused of multiple incidents of violence against women. In 2002, a woman alleged that his wife threatened to kill her over an affair she had had with Puckett. That same month, another woman claimed that Puckett had shoved her around in her condominium on multiple occasions during their 18 year secret relationship. A few months later, Puckett was accused of groping a woman in restaurant bathroom. He was charged with false imprisonment, fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and fifth-degree assault. He was found not guilty of all accounts but had to relinquish his role as Minnesota Twins executive vice president. Additionally, Puckett’s wife told Sports Illustrated that he held a gun to her head and once tried to strangle her with an electrical cord. Dude sounds like a real fucking winner and Hall of Fame worthy in that character department.

4. The Hypocrisy:

Not all of these players that I’ve discussed have been voted in by the BBWAA and not all of the character flaws I’ve described were public knowledge at the time of their induction. However, does that mean that they should stay?

If a big part of what makes a player Hall of Fame worthy is “character”, should not all of these names come under serious scrutiny? Should there not be a system in place that allows those with the power of voting to go back and examine a Hall of Famer’s character and their inclusion in Cooperstown if some big character flaw comes to light after the fact? Because what are the rules telling us now? That you can be a big shithead and as long as you get away with it before the voting process or you are lucky enough for them to turn a bling eye, you’re considered an okay person worthy of universal admiration? It’s bullshit.

You can’t hold the players of this era to a standard that was never upheld before steroids and PEDs came into the mix. You can’t all of a sudden go “yeah okay, this issue right here, this is the big one, this is totally evil” when you’ve turned a blind eye to every major character flaw some legend before this issue committed. I mean, how much of a piece of garbage was Ty Cobb? Yet you’re going to shit on Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire because they “cheated” and have questionable “character”?

The biggest hypocrisy of all, is it is these baseball writers that stir the fucking pot and get the people fired up over this issue. They’re the ones serving the hate-flavored Kool-Aid and hammering this anger into the minds of Americans too daft to put down the newspaper or turn off the Internet, television and radio. And why is this the biggest hypocrisy?

Well because when this shit was really going on, steroids and PEDs I mean, many of these reporters and sportswriters were aware but said nothing. These passionate and boisterous voices who want to burn Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun at the stake, were exposed to the truth before the truth came out into the light. Now I am not accusing all sportswriters, as most probably didn’t know but there are many who did and said nothing about it. Why are they so passionate now? Well because that’s the trend and if they yell and point the finger, they absolve themselves of the guilt and the blame. Besides, most of them don’t have the balls to say what’s real. It’s easier to join the crowd and follow the trend, as opposed to going against it and being honest.

At least Buster Olney took some responsibility for what he felt was his part in it. In a 2006 New York Times op-ed piece, he wrote:

I could have done a better job of reporting how people in baseball thought the game was being changed by performance-enhancing drugs . . . I had a role in baseball’s institutional failure during what will be forever known as the Steroid Era. But I was only part of the problem, because just about everyone in baseball is to blame.

These arguments about “cheating” and “advantages” can’t be taken seriously unless both sides realize that people in baseball always cheat and each generation has an advantage over the previous one.

I’ve written in previous posts about the secret code and hidden language within baseball. Everyone in some way cheats, the thing is, there are ways to cheat and ways not to cheat but it has always been a sport where cheating is at the forefront. And that’s any sport really. Every time a manager comes out to bitch about a bad call that he knows was a good call, that is a form of cheating. Every time a pitcher sneaks some substance onto a ball, that is cheating. Every time a player knows he was out but argues with the umpire that he was safe, that’s cheating. You take what you can get and that is all a part of the game. To bitch about cheating as some ultimate evil, means that you have to demonize just about everything in baseball. These people cry about the integrity and the soul of the sport but apparently have no idea what that is.

As far as PEDs and steroids giving these modern players advantages, let’s talk about that.

5. Now and the Future:

Do PEDs and steroids give the players an advantage? Signs certainly point to yes.

However, playing in the modern era in general is advantageous over playing in previous eras. Why? Modern medicine, other supplements that aren’t illegal and general knowledge on health, diet and training. PEDs or not, we have never had better athletes than what we have right now and for the most part, this is due to their training regimen, their strict diets and the amazing doctors and trainers that every major league team staffs.

Tommy John surgery has come along and extended the careers of many pitchers, does this mean that they have inflated career stats because their career’s would have ended sooner in the 1920s? I think it is a ridiculous proposal but one could theoretically make that argument.

When it comes to PEDs, why are they bad? The main reason is because they are illegal. But going back a few sections in this article, so was cocaine, marijuana, hashish and alcohol during Prohibition but the legends who partook in those vices have a place in Cooperstown.

There are plenty of legal supplements, when compared to PEDs, should probably be illegal as well. At some point, they probably will be but that doesn’t matter all that match because science is always making new miracles and baseball players who want that extra boost will cut corners and do what they feel they need to do. I’m not saying that any of this is right on their part, I’m just saying that it is reality. In fact, I don’t know why more of them don’t seek out the still legal versions of performance-enhancers instead of taking the risk of getting caught with something outlawed by their sport.

And moving forward, the future is always bright and new medicine and new medical techniques will be implemented as time goes on. In a few years, athletes may be using nano-machines and other things that seem like science fiction to repair their bodies and heal them faster. Hell, we could be on the cusp of an era where medical science allows players to play well into their forties or even longer. What then? With a long enough career, we may get a guy that hits 1000 career home runs. I guess we’ll be able to stop worrying about Barry Bonds and the proverbial asterisk. Or will we stop worrying? This brings up a whole other argument now.

The point is, the world changes and baseball, whether it wants to or not, has to adapt to these changes. It doesn’t mean it tarnishes records of old, it just means that we, as human beings, will always enhance ourselves and our society. We will always find better ways to do things and to improve. Baseball can’t escape this truth.

Going forward, players are going to look for things that enhance them. Hopefully science provides us with things that won’t harm their bodies long-term and lead to illness and premature death.

6. Conclusion:

I’m not calling for Babe Ruth to be kicked out of the Hall of Fame. Hell, Ty Cobb can stay for all I care. Frankly, the Hall of Fame has become more of a political shit show than a true place to honor the game’s greats. Besides, if a guy like Pete Rose isn’t in there because he gambled a little, I can’t take this whole thing seriously anyway.

I’m not saying that, shit show aside, it isn’t an honor to go into the Hall of Fame but if they are going to be managed like a fascist dictatorship by hypocritical sportswriters calling way too many shots, I really don’t care who is in there and who isn’t. Because frankly, there are a lot of deserving players that have missed entry and a lot who probably don’t need to be there. I’m not going to get into specifics on that because there are a few pieces I plan to write about that in the future.

The thing is, the people voting have tremendously huge bugs up their asses about the Steroid Era, something they helped perpetuate until the cat was out of the bag and they had to flip the script, absolving themselves of their responsibility and trashing the sport in order to save their own hides like a bunch of weasels. I’m not trying to generalize and blame all baseball writers but there are a lot of them that fit the bill and they know who they are. I guess they can seemingly live with themselves but ultimately, they are bigger pieces of shit than the PED users they are trying to trash and demonize, in my honest opinion anyway.

You want to call them addicts? Well, fine. But then you have to call Babe Ruth and Paul Molitor addicts. You want to call them cheaters? Also fine. But then you have to call Whitey Ford and Gaylord Perry cheaters. You want to attack their character? Fine as well. But then you should also attack everyone else that I have mentioned in section three of this article. You can’t just pick and choose who you think is a shithead and you certainly shouldn’t ostracize someone who has either done nothing wrong or that you don’t have any proof of wrongdoing. Many of these writers with the right to vote have refused to fill out ballots because they claim that they don’t know who is clean. Well, if you don’t know, vote as if they didn’t do anything. In America, one is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Besides, look at all the people with poor character who got in and I don’t see any baseball writers crying over the fact that they voted in Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb or Kirby Puckett.

And even if a player is guilty, they are being held to a standard of persecution that baseball has never really exercised before. Going beyond just the Hall of Fame, guys like Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are booed out of stadiums by angry fans and that is their right, as we have freedom of speech and expression in this country, but that hatred is pretty unfounded if you ask me and these people are surrendering to emotion and indoctrination and not employing logic and reason. I get that people are upset about this but throwing an object at a player’s head on the field is inexcusable.

Besides, professional athletes are just people. That may irk some people to read but it is true. I’m sorry that you angry entitled crybabies don’t have millions like A-Rod but you also probably can’t play baseball for shit. Anyway, athletes like all human beings, make human mistakes. How many knuckleheads in an uproar in the stands have never done drugs or smoked weed? Fuck that, how many baseball writers have lived sober lives? People make mistakes, does that mean it is worth condemning them for life? Absolutely not. Sure, some people don’t learn from their mistakes. Others do however and frankly, a lot of these guys being condemned have never been proven to have made any mistakes.

What’s the solution?

Stop being crybaby pussies and move forward. Does Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Mike Piazza and Alex Rodriguez deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? You bet your ass they do. If you disagree, you apparently didn’t watch them play or you’re prepared to kick out all the Hall of Famers who have exhibited bad character, which is probably most of them.

Retro Relapse: Ladies, I’m Not That Guy

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

I’m not going to start this with some disclaimer to overly placate to the easily offended or apologize for what I haven’t even said yet. Most of you probably won’t like what I have to say but I don’t care. You’d prefer honesty over pussy bullshit, right? Well probably not, which is why things have gotten to the point where I deem such a blog entry necessary.

Ladies, I am not your white fucking knight. Nor do I want to be. In fact, that guy doesn’t exist and I’d hate to break it to you but neither does Prince Charming. Disney lied to you; get over it. Of course, that doesn’t mean that some guys don’t try to put themselves in that role, albeit miserably.

The men of yore are dying or at least they’ve been hit with a genocidal level of complete emasculation. This is due to a combination of things but feminism, not the ideal but the movement, has been the biggest contributor to this loss of badass grizzly motherfuckers. Deadbeat dads are to blame too but I’ll write on that topic another day.

I understand what was the need for feminism and female pride and a fight for what should be considered and valued as equal; I support that myself. Where the problem lies however, is in the fact that what the feminist movement wants in its extremist position isn’t an equality of sexes per se, it is domination. Domination to the point where men are no longer men, women are the ruling class and we’ll have to reproduce via petri dishes because the government will have classified all sex as rape. Men would be deemed unfit as parents, their sperm would be property of the state and women would pick out their clothes. To many embracing the militant feminist ideal, this is what they envision as justice for their victimization. The victim becomes the oppressor because apparently one injustice needs to be rectified with a larger injustice.

Sure, these are extreme examples but they aren’t that far outside of reality with how these women feel and how our society is being indoctrinated with their feminist bullshit. You don’t believe that point? Well look at how many men are no longer men. Guys spend their time placating to girls incessantly. Their entire existence and thought process from the moment they wake up each day is centered around “the hunt”.

However, the hunt isn’t what it used to be where women were out trying to attract the best beau – not that that was a great formula either. I hate to generalize but nowadays it is dude’s standing in the corner of a bar, bobbing their heads, hoping that some girl will come talk to them because they walk on eggshells trying not to offend women with their advances or they are so afraid of them they don’t know how to just walk up to one and talk. Yes, there are guys who don’t give a shit and have no reservations about walking up to a woman and spitting their game. In many cases those guys are douchebags; in other cases they are good guys but that is becoming a rare thing. In retrospect, this is probably why women to a big degree get caught up in douchebags and drama because good guys are seemingly less accessible and all they are approached by are “pigs” – their words, not mine. And frankly, good guys are sick of that “all men are pigs” sentiment because it isn’t true.

What needs to be realized, is that there are guys that fit the good guy mold but choose not to play the game and have just opted out. Ladies, you probably can’t find them or don’t even notice them because they aren’t competing for your attention 24/7 and flashing you their glorious plumage. They’re not douchebags and they aren’t the weakling saps who you’ve labeled, cataloged and organized onto your “friend zone” shelf. These are guys that know what they want, do what they want and really don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about it. That doesn’t make them assholes, that just makes them self-assured and strong, confident men – something that should be applauded among the free-thinking individuals of the world.

On a personal level, when it comes to women, I want someone that has the same qualities I just talked about regarding the type of man above. Someone who is confident, strong and free-thinking. Someone who sees the folly of trying to eliminate masculinity and demonizing it but also doesn’t try to wrap guys around their finger and use them for whatever they see fit because they feel that it is justice being served or they just don’t know anything different because weakling saps pledge their allegiance to them the moment they develop semen. To be honest, I don’t blame women for acting this way. But that also doesn’t mean that I have to accept it as just a part of life. I see it as inherently wrong and hypocritical. In my life, I don’t accept it. When confronted with it, I usually call the girl out.

There are a lot of guys I have talked to lately who feel similar. There is a growing number of men who just don’t care about playing the game anymore and would rather direct their energy into more fruitful pursuits. Being one of those men, I feel that whether most of us realize it or not, it is one of the consequences of this world that the feminist movement has shaped. No we don’t hate women but we aren’t going to be bullied or mistreated by them either, as women shouldn’t be bullied or mistreated by men. At the end of the day, I don’t care and I can’t devote that much time to it. Time and energy are limited and I’d rather not waste either.

You see, it’s about working together not against one another and speaking not just for myself, I don’t think many of us care about the battle or what one side of the coin feels that they have to prove. We’re not all bigots and assholes and because of that, refuse to be treated as such or to harbor some sort of male guilt, causing us to be total pussies because being who we really are isn’t seen as politically correct or attractive anymore. Moral of the story, we don’t fucking care.

As far as I personally feel, at least right now, I don’t want to ever get married, I don’t want to get a girl pregnant and I want the freedom to do what I want to do. That doesn’t mean that I’m selfish or incapable of compromise, it just means that I have needs of my own that must be met. As far as marriage, being a man, I don’t see the point. Marriage is a lose/lose situation for men with the ways the laws have evolved and heavily favor the woman. Same thing goes for child custody. This doesn’t mean I am against a lifelong relationship or turned off by women who already have kids. But call me a “man child” or whatever bullshit derogative terms you have because that is easier than understanding some oppressive man’s diatribe about his point-of-view.

I now look around and see that more men are coming to similar realizations. Our attitudes are shifting because they have to. You get to a point when that survival instinct kicks in and it is happening. I see this as a good thing because truth is better than some manufactured societal lie about what men are now supposed to be. To those “men” apologizing for their kind, fuck you – you are part of the problem and are just fucking yourselves and all of us, really. I don’t expect a woman to apologize for her shit. If they’re assholes I just keep walking and don’t give them the time of day.

While men and women as vast groups may never truly understand each other at a core physiological and psychological level, individuals can understand one another. As long as there is that respect between you and your partner, that is really all that you need. There’s no gender war or at least there doesn’t need to be. Just be who you are and respect who others are too. But until that happens on a larger scale, women can enjoy their douchebags and pussies and those of us who don’t have the time to give a shit can work on being the badass motherfucking grizzlies we were born to be.

Funny enough, I always find someone when I’m not even trying.

‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Bullshit

*The Bullshit Series started on an older blog but I wanted to bring these articles back here, as I have new installments for the series that I want to release over time. The series focuses on things that I think are bullshit… like filet mignon, Zubaz pants, the Pro Bowl and diets.

*Written in 2015.

We’ve all heard it before, probably while in a rut too. Some famous know-it-all enlightened asshole with a platinum album at an awards show says it about two dozen times in a two-hour span. In fact, it is one of the trendiest things to say nowadays. People who haven’t even accomplished anything all that great like to espouse this nonsense as well. If everyone is saying it and it is found in endless memes, it must be true.

The nonsense I am talking about is the mantra “follow your passion.”

For starters, don’t tell me what the fuck to do. Also, shut the fuck up because you don’t know me or really what’s inside of anyone else and what they have been through and what they are currently going through. “Follow your passion” isn’t the answer to all of life’s problems and in fact, it can be horrible fucking advice. People are suckers for horrible fucking advice.

This marketing slogan for life resonates with people because it is simple and daring and thus, perceived as profound. It doesn’t matter that this seemingly profound enlightenment has become so common place that I have to scroll through it a half dozen times in my Instagram feed every morning.

Sure, following your passion can lead to great things and you may end up happy, successful and with everything you want. It may also leave you broke, confused, worse off than you were if you had just kept your job and pissed off at the universe because you followed pop culture’s sagely advice and aren’t a billionaire zen Buddhist with a house full of angeldust and passed out prostitutes.

I’m all for doing what makes you happy. That is kind of the point of life. In fact, people often try to figure out what the meaning of life is. I don’t know why that is so difficult. The meaning of life is pretty simple. The meaning of life is to LIVE IT. That’s it.

You have a life, now fill it with what makes you happy. But you also need to be realistic. So, here comes the part no one wants to hear, especially when “follow your passion” sounds so fucking cool.

There has to be a balance. Most of us aren’t talented like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was talented. We can follow our passion but that doesn’t mean that we will have success. And the thing is, not everyone’s passion is a money maker. My passion is eating ribeye, drinking bourbon, having as much sex as possible and telling people to fuck off. What exactly can I do with that to make some serious money?

Additionally, many people, and I would say most, don’t have a real passion. And by real passion, I mean something that calls them to the point that it burns in their belly. We aren’t all singers and actors and great writers. Hell, most of us suck at arts, crafts, building things and pretty much a whole lot of other cool shit.

My passions are about eating good meat and putting my penis in something and that’s probably because I don’t have a real burning desire to do anything else. And again, this is most people. The vast majority of Earth’s population weren’t born for some mystical purpose with a Frodo Baggins destiny to fulfill. The world isn’t Middle Earth or a galaxy full of Jedi. We aren’t meant to drink from the Holy Grail, we are meant to live our lives and to try and enjoy it as much as we can in the limited time we’re given.

For most people, a passion is a hobby they like doing. For many, doing a hobby as a job is a horrible idea. Let me give a few personal examples.

A friend of mine loved cooking amazing food, as a paid chef in a fine restaurant, he hates it. He told me that he regretted that big life decision because it ruined what he once loved.

In my case, I went to school for computer programming because I enjoyed fucking around with code in high school. A semester and a half into college, it dawned on me that I didn’t want to write code for the next thirty years of my life.

Moving forward, I have always been creative and artistic and found myself working in that field. I now do graphic design and other artistic stuff for a living but I am not happy doing it – I am just really good at it. And maybe I am naturally an artist but it isn’t my passion. I just happen to have a high skill level, the talent and at the end of the day, it pays me well enough. And I’m not sure what I could do better.

That brings me to the other old adage that often accompanies “follow your passion” and that is “do what you love.” Both mean the same thing but the point is, doing what you love isn’t a key to happiness. Sometimes, doing what you love makes you love it less.

My friend is a chef because he needs to pay bills. I am a professional artist for the same reason. In both cases, what we love to do has become a curse of sorts.

When my friend cooks for himself and his family and friends, he is happy. When I am creative for myself, I am happy. But doing these things as a job is a totally different scenario. And if they were pretty hardcore passions, they have certainly lost their luster.

Contrary to popular belief, most people don’t have preexisting passions. Additionally, happiness in the workplace is quantified by many factors other than personal interests and passion. I like that I get three weeks off every year, to use that time to focus on whatever I want to without interruption. I also like that my job allows plenty of free time so I can dabble in more things that actually interest me. Plus there is a lot of freedom at my place of employment that I wouldn’t have elsewhere. These are happiness factors that work for me.

Also, sometimes a passion happens later. We may not know what we love because we haven’t experienced it yet. I often times joke that I could be the best golfer in the world but I’ll never know because I don’t have much interest in golfing. But if I golfed and found out that I had that skill, a new passion could flourish. This is why I always like trying new things outside of my comfort zone. But really, I have no interest in golfing despite my amazing putt-putt skills.

Elaborating on that, passion doesn’t necessarily exist naturally and often times it takes hard work and cultivation. And sometimes, passion can be born from cultivating a skill set that you initially didn’t have much interest in until you had to do it.

A personal example of this, is that I recently had to confront an engineering issue with a product in my company. Everyone was baffled at how to make the product function properly. I took it apart, analyzed it and figured out how to modify it mechanically. I found out that I really liked solving this problem and discovered a passion for mechanical engineering that I never knew I had because I had never been confronted with it. Now I love taking on these sorts of tasks and if I had a time machine, I might go back and tell my younger self to follow that path. Not that I can’t follow it now.

But there is no guarantee that I would enjoy mechanical engineering as my actual primary job.

As time moves on, people change and grow and with that, their passions may alter. I was passionate about a lot of different things in the past that I am not passionate about now. At first I wanted to be a firefighter, then a G.I. Joe, then a mad scientist, then a comic book artist, then a rapper, then a computer programmer, then an MMA fighter, then a gigolo, then a paid artist. Point is, shit changes.

So lets be adults here. “Follow your passion” all you want but you have to make money to survive. If you are a special breed that can do what you love for a living and find happiness in that, good for you. But for the rest of us, we have to take care of living expenses, families and other things.

Does that mean you ignore your passions?

No, not at all. Unless you are chained to your desk for 168 hours per week, you have free time to spend however you want. If you don’t have free time, maybe you need to find a job that allows you to have a life away from work. The secret isn’t following your passion, it is work/life balance. With proper balance, your passions can flourish.

Now if your passions start to make you money, enjoy it. But keep your damned job until you know you’re alright financially. Quitting tomorrow because you have a burning desire to paint trees is probably a bad life decision.

I’m all about passion but I am about setting goals, preparing and having a plan of attack. I’m not telling you not to take risks but just like “follow your passion” is mostly bullshit, so is “risk equals reward.” While great reward can be born from taking a risk, there is no guarantee. It is called risk for a reason and it is better to be prepared and to know what you are walking into than to just leap off of a cliff into the fog below.

“Follow your passion.” Sorry, life is too complex for that.

Go ahead and make your life meaningful, we all should strive for that. Just don’t be an idiot.

Retro Relapse: Full English Breakfast: The Fuel of An Empire

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2010.

It should be no surprise, at this point, how much I love waffles or breakfast food for that matter. So one particular breakfast item that I’d like to talk about and pay homage to, as my homie Greg calls it, is a “proper” full English breakfast. The Red Coats definitely created one of the greatest feats in the history of mankind when they assembled this culinary miracle.

The “proper” full English breakfast is comprised of many fine treats and can be presented with several different options. Generally, it is served with two eggs (I like 3-4 myself), “proper” English bacon (which is different than American bacon), fried tomatoes, fried mushrooms, toast, “proper” English sausage (which is much larger than American sausage) and black pudding. Some versions come with baked beans in tomato sauce, some variation of potato and other vegetables. The breakfast is usually accompanied by “proper” British tea (hopefully free of tariffs).

After discovering this awesome monster of a breakfast meal, I now realize why the Red Coats were so hard to defeat during the American Revolution. I wouldn’t want to fight anyone with a full breakfast in their stomach. It is no wonder why the British were able to nearly take over the entire world. That’s why I am glad that they are now our ally and we have the luxury of sharing our breakfast food with each other. Between full breakfasts in the UK and Waffle Houses in the US, there is nothing our two peoples cannot accomplish.

I’m sure the British swashbucklers used to eat these everyday, no matter what side of the law they were on. Full English breakfasts have been known to quicken swordplay, increase jumping height, enhance acrobatics as well as making someone literally impervious to musket balls. Merlin actually existed and was powered by full English breakfasts and the blood of trolls, whose blood was used to make black pudding before they became extinct. Now they just make black pudding with the blood of pigs and cows; I guess dragons and orcs are hard to find. King Arthur, the greatest warrior king ever, used to bathe in full English breakfasts for hours. Excalibur was forged in the same fires where the first full English breakfast was cooked.

If only the British could properly harness the power of the “proper” full English breakfast, as they did before troll extinction, they might have the power to destroy all evil in the world! If the whole world ate “proper” full English breakfasts, than we’d all be liberated and powerful yet peaceful due to the spiritual balance that the meal brings at the start of the day.

Sorry, I’ve been writing this while drunk on a “proper” full English breakfast. But it could also be the bottle of Scotch I just used to rinse out my liver.