Friday! Round Bus time! This week we’re joined again by friend-of-The-Barnstormer Melissa Bull, who’s all kinds of awesome. This week, we tackle the MLB playoffs, Balkan political history, binders full of women, and more. Well, don’t just sit there staring — it’s awkward and more than a little creepy — climb aboard the bus and be amazed!
Are these the most exciting baseball playoffs of all time? In recent memory? Are you even watching?
Ibeas — If it is, and I’m not saying it is, I’d guess it has something to do with the second Wild Card slot. And if it does, and I’m not saying it does, I guess I’d have to credit Bud Selig.
I really, really, really, don’t want to credit Bud Selig for anything. Even if he has managed to bring baseball back from its greatest modern crisis by acknowledging changes needed to be made to the game and then actually making them.
So, no, this is not the most exciting baseball postseason of all time. Shut up.
Spry — Last year is hard to beat, the infamous night of 162 and all. But the first two rounds were great. The Yankees got swept tonight, and there’s nothing quite as boring as a sweep. A Tigers-Cards World Series would be great. Nothing like the Midwest’s fandom for baseball. Also, as a heavy social smoker, seeing a longtime tobacco whore like Jim Leyland sneak in and out of the dugout for smokes is so anti-MLB, so anti-sport, that I love it. I want to see a manager huffing on a Camel and knocking back JDs in the dugout. Managing in the postseason is stressful. I need a drink just watching. I read the boxscores the other day, and had a vodka and OJ just to calm myself down. It was 7am.
Forbes — I once had a girlfriend whose mother — a small but opinionated woman from Columbia — used to rile me by claiming that baseball was all fixed, wrestling-style. Totally scripted from the first pitch on Opening Day right on up to the final out of the World Series. She would claim this and then take great glee in watching me squirm, because you don’t want to pick a fight with your girlfriend’s mother, do you? I would politely offer examples of amazing things that had happened on baseball diamonds as proof that the only guiding force in baseball was chance, or the whimsy of the gods, or the ping-ponging odds of literally millions of factors at work simultaneously. She would shrug her shoulders and say, “They like it that way. Makes people believe and buy tickets and shirts.” It drove me INSANE.
If she were nearby now, I would say, “SEE? DO YOU SEE ALL OF THE BATSHIT CRAZY THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED THIS YEAR? There is NO WAY they could have written this stuff!” And the argument would be settled, right?
Bull — My grandma (Hilda Bull) liked baseball. I remember her telling me about the Jays, the Orioles, the Cardinals, and that’s all I remember because we mostly talked about birds. Also, she taught me to tie my shoelaces. And to blot my lipstick after I apply it. And to count. And to tell the difference between pine trees and spruce trees. And how to wash my hands with yellow soap if I touched the poison ivy by accident. Not in that order.
Orti — I’m with Melissa here. That is to say, I’m more into mining the memories I have with my grandmother for baseball related stuff than watching baseball. Not having a TV doesn’t help much either. My grandmother played piano, and then married her piano teacher. Most of her stories came to me as she entered dementia and I heard the same ones a lot. I could tell her all about the Jays winning in ‘91 and ‘92, but then I would have to tell her again five minutes later. For this reason, and her blindness, we never watched much baseball together.
Livestrong drops Armstrong in wake of doping scandal — the final indictment?
Ibeas — Lance Armstrong is now, in every sense, a failure. He managed to score the ultimate pass for being an asshole – “survivor of a life-threatening disease” – and still managed to be asshole enough to render that pass completely useless. All you had to do was live, man. All you had to do was live.
Spry — Armstrong is the worst kind of asshole: devoid of humility, and convinced of his virtue. Good luck doping in hell, prick. Also, bike racing? Why is this still a thing? Get a car.
Orti — Livestrong never dropped Armstrong, rather he stepped down as Livestrong’s director. Typically, charities which experience the fall of a chairman/figurehead as big as Armstrong’s experience a similar demise. This is not the case with Livestrong as it retains a four star ranking in charities/foundations. Livestrong is a good thing. It promotes healthy living and is one of many dogs in the fight against cancer. For Armstrong to step down from the thing he headed is extremely noble. So the guy did drugs and lied about it, huh? Who here hasn’t done that? There’s a large part of me that thinks he even had the longevity of Livestrong and its employees in his mind when he did lie, and this means that he was partially motivated to lie to save the jobs of employees – Well, I salute the guy. Yeah, unpopular position, but meh.
Forbes — Lance Armstrong has regrets, more than a few, but when the night is darkest, the wind its coldest, and hope the most distant of beacons, his greatest regret has to be saying goodbye to Sheryl Crow, don’t you think? In the face of that, this and every other embarrassment he has suffered is as but a curt slap across the cheek.
Bull — Holy moly, we’ve been waiting for this to happen for a bajillion years already. I can’t believe we’ve seen Lance Armstrong’s demise in our lifetime. Anything could happen now. The Pope’s gonna sanction abortions, we’ll start using cabbage for car fuel, we all sing kumbaya and stop killing each other forever and ever. Yeah, I think this is a sign the world’s on the brink o’ change. Someone call the Jevoha’s Witnesses and get a date set for the selling all our worldly goods garage sale already.
Fights break out after England-Serbia under 21s match over racially charged game, fans direct “monkey chants” at England’s Danny Rose, and it is Rose who is suspended. What gives?
Bull — Okay forget what I said about the kumbaya. This is profoundly shitty. That said, Serbia has some issues with racism going back a long ways.
Ibeas — The best part of the story is the official response from the Serbian FA, basically denying that anything racial took place and placing the blame solely on Danny Rose and the English team. According to Serbian FA president Tomislav Karadzic, “The Serbian people have never been, nor will be racist.”
And no, I’m not saying that Serbians are any more racist than anyone else; you can find racial ugliness anywhere, if you look hard enough. What I am saying is that the Football Association of Serbia is laughable at best and pitiable at worst with this brainless attempt at damage control.
Spry — Soccer fans are idiots. They sully the sport of the future Mrs. Mike Spry, Kelley O’Hara.
Orti — “The term Bosnian Genocide refers to either the genocide committed by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica in 1995 (which was at the end of the war) or the ethnic cleansing campaign that took place throughout areas controlled by the Army of the Republika Srpska during the 1992–1995 Bosnian War.
The events in Srebrenica in 1995 included the killing of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys, as well as the mass expulsion of another 25,000–30,000 Bosnian Muslim civilians, in and around the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, committed by units of the Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić.”
Sorry, I cut and pasted that for Ibeas from Wikipedia after Googling Serbian war crimes. Evidently the Serbian FA’s Tomislav Karadzic has never heard of history. Racism is the only sport in Europe more popular than football. Did Rose deserve the red card at the end of the game — well if you strip away all context, then yes. He booted a ball at fans after the game. You can’t do that. Would it have made more sense if he’d just lobbed a grenade in the direction of racist fans chanting at him like he’s a monkey? Perhaps.
Forbes — “The Serbian people have never been, nor will be racist.” They must have a different word for it.
Bull — I think the word is fucktards.
The NHL owners make an offer. Is it a legitimate attempt to end the lockout, or just PR?
Forbes — Total PR. A transparent, cynical move. I wish both sides would just lock themselves in a room with a big long table, a whiteboard, and a takeout menu, and not emerge nor so much as whisper to the media until the thing was done. Nobody cares how — just fix it. In the meantime, like I’ve said before, there’s baseball. Boy howdy, is there baseball.
Bull — How come Candice Cameron got to marry an NHL player? Talk about kumbaya. You know what I hate about that situ is how she probably believed in her heart that if she prayed for a nice rich husband god would give her one and then it happened, so she thinks god loves her more than the entire Middle East, and that’s just fucked up. Also, Kirk Cameron + banana logic is still incredibly funny.
Ibeas — All of it is PR. The moment any aspect of these negotiations are publicized, it’s very clearly done in an effort to sway public opinion. This shit is calculated and tiresome, and I wish people would care about more important things like climate change. Fuck you and fuck this.
Spry — PR. Total PR. It may lead to an agreement, but I’m so tired of the NHL and the PA. Thank the god Lord for baseball.
I’m really at the point where I’m done with hockey. The total lack of respect for the fan from both the NHL and the PA is astounding. They may never recover from this. Canadians will come crawling back, because we’re crack addicts and hockey is our sweet sweet rock. But many markets could see this as the moment where their franchises fell, never to return to the mediocre glory of their past.
Orti - The league has been asking for the players to roll back their share of league revenues which is in the high 50’s to low 40’s and for the owners’ share to go up. With everyone and their dog knowing that asking players to take a rollback in salaries when the league has never been richer makes you look like a dick. So the league hires a PR machine last week, test drives a new term called ‘shared sacrifice’ on a focus group and then asks for players to accept a 50/50 split. This sounds great on the surface but in actuality it means the owners win, the players take a rollback and the league calls it a tie. This strategy would have worked before the Internet.
Canadian men’s soccer team suffers humiliating 8-1 defeat to Honduras to end World Cup hopes. Should we just stop trying?
Orti — I feel this is a loaded question as it is evident we did stop trying. I don’t know what the excuse is. We’re a nordic country? Well so is Sweden and they just tied Germany the other day and are frequent visitors to the major Cup tournaments. As is Denmark and Norway. Russia. Very cold. A hockey country. Also major contender. In Canada, soccer is the most popular sport, even more played than hockey amongst youths, but still we produce men’s teams that can’t compete on the international level. For this problem to be properly addressed – people have to care first. They don’t. Unless it’s women’s soccer. That stuff is the shit.
Forbes — They don’t excel because there is no total national commitment to the sport in Canada. We don’t hold massive public rallies, we don’t gather in public squares to watch the games on giant screens, hell, we don’t even talk about men’s international soccer on any significant level. Or is this a reflection of the team’s lacklustre play? Chicken and egg argument. I can’t settle it. You can’t settle it. Let’s agree to ignore the whole issue, okay?
Bull — I once interviewed some dudes from the Montreal Impact. Everyone knew they weren’t really A-game material. But they were really muscular and handsome and it was the first day of spring, or early spring or something, and there was a random old jobless dude in a bedaine sunbathing on the soccer field East-end Montreal style, and these dudes were running around and coming back all breathless and telling me things like, “You gotta push yourself 110 percent!” It was kind of inane, but that’s how athletes talk. They also told me about what they eat. A lot of salmon. Maybe what they need is something with more protein. Like some spicy chicken maybe.
Ibeas — I’ll tell you the secret of sport, now and forever: it’s not about winning. It’s about the chance to win. That’s why everyone loved the Jamaican bobsled team. We can be those guys, with a movie and everything.
Spry — Kelley O’Hara.
I mean, I’ll watch the womens soccer any day. That was a complete fail on the part of the mens team, to the point where dissolving the team and certainly putting an end to any public funding should be considered.
Binders full of women — discuss.
Spry — I got a binder of women — in my pants.
Orti — Spry just got his wisdom teeth out and is coming off the drugs. He says shit like this whenever he comes back from the dentist.
Spry — Opiates are my new girlfriend, sorry Kelley.
Forbes — In Canadian politics, a man drops a thrown football, and his chances of winning the nation’s highest office evaporate. In the US, a walking, talking fake grin makes a boneheaded statement like this, and there are still women considering voting for him? I prefer the Parliamentary system.
Bull — Computers used to take up entire rooms. When I was a kid, my dad would take me to his newsroom at the Canadian Press, and he’d show me into the computer room. It was dusty and weird and full of wires. Now I have a Galaxy S 3 and the computer’s in my pocket. Likewise, women used to be normal-sized. But with the advent of digital technology, they’ve been reduced to the size of duo-tangs, or binders. Itty bitty ladies. Handy for transporting. A binder cartel, if you will.
Okay I was hoping that would get to some funny apex but it didn’t. The binder meme is completely retarded on lots of levels and if I see one more picture of binders with a helvetica-ironic sentence on top of it I’ll puke.
Ibeas — The only thing that pisses me off more than everything to do with this Binders gaffe is the fact that, according to the American media, this gaffe is the one thing that will cause Romney to lose women voters. Not the ridiculously Cro-magnon sentiments expressed by multiple members of his party on multiple occasions, but this fucking Binders meme.
For that, I have no one to blame but the mainstream media, who by and large will tolerate dangerous and evil bullshit like “legitimate rape” as worthy of anything but the deepest, most profound scorn.
Fair and Balanced Assholes: stop treating the election like it’s a fucking tractor pull or hot dog eating contest, and start treating it as if the future of your goddamn country – the country your daughters and sons will grow up in – is at stake. Because it fucking is.
Orti — Ibeas! Testify!
The Final Word
Ibeas — Love fiercely or not at all.
Spry — Happenstance.
Orti — Lately, I’m all about this open A tuning on my six string ukelele. I do a pretty badass cover of “Livin’ on a Prayer” on it. In my opinion only though. No one’s heard it.
Forbes — I just watched the Yankees fall in 4 to the powerful Tigers, and I was… pleased. But the ecstasy I expected never materialized. It is because Ichiro is a Yankee now? I think it was because the Yanks looked so un-Yankee-like, and every compelling narrative needs a strong villain. Without Jeter, or functioning bats, they were just another team that I could dislike but not truly hate. I’m sorry if I’m rambling, but we expect certain things from the institutions which have given meaning and shape to our lives, and when they fail to live up to their roles, it leaves us in spiritual flux. I’m drifting here. Just floating nowhere. Just…
Bull — Orti, I have never once in my entire life heard you sing. Myself, I’m learning ‘‘Only Fools Rush In’’ on the uke. It’s sentimental, it’s terrible. I want to sing it the way sounds when the credits are rolling at the end of Some Kind of Wonderful.