Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pope Rockefeller the First

In recent news, an Arizona state legislator has come up with the novel idea that the federal government should force people to attend the church of each person's choice once a week. Alert readers would think that I would object to this jack-booted federal overreach seeing as how I tried to avoid church whenever possible as a kid. But these dear readers would be wrong. No, I don't want to be forced to go to church every Sunday, but I would like to own and operate churches in a country where citizens are forced to attend church.

What is almost as much fun as going to church on Sundays? Watching sports of course, especially football. Welcome to my new church: The Church Of the NFL or CON for short. As the first Pope of this church, I have taken the name Pope Rockefeller.

Allow me to sermonize:

"In the name of Lombardi, Shula, and Halas, let's huddle up. Amen. A preacher once said, 'If Jesus played football, he'd play it hard-nosed but within the rules. He wouldn't hesitate to run over you, but then he'd shake your hand after the game win or lose.'

"You know what else Jesus would have wanted if he played football? He'd want you to watch. On a 75 inch high-def big screen. Welcome to our CON sanctuary featuring 60 big screen televisions and a plush leather recliner for each worshiper. Our altar has 17 taps featuring the finest Abbey Ales, Trappist Ales and of course every flavor from St. Arnold Brewery.

"Start the day in our confessional where you can confess your sins or discuss the upcoming games and point spreads with Father Bookie. (Wink, wink.) What's better than professional cheerleaders on a big screen tv? Live cheerleaders Altar Girls. They'll come around with the collection plate and for a special price will take you back to the VIP room confessional where you can negotiate an even bigger donation.

"At halftime and between games, you'll be invited to take part in the holy sacrament of Buffalo Wings and Nachos. Wash it down with some holy water from our own Bishop Jack Daniels. And then we'll pray, 'May the coin toss be with you.'

(Response: 'And also with you.')

'You may now fist bump your neighbor.'

"The only singing in our sanctuary is that old 'Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers...' song. Chanting and foul language are allowed - when you feel the holy spirit of Curly Lambeau coursing through your veins, you can ask to be saved and baptized under a shower of Natural Lite.

"All of this can be yours for the small tithe of $39.95 per week plus a 2-drink minimum of our sacramental wine or beer."

As Pope of this new style of Sunday morning worship, I would offer other franchises denominations as well:

First Baseball Church

Major Church of the NCAA (Major CON )

NASCAR Witnesses

National Cathedral of Hockey (Canadian licensing available)

First United Basketball Church

Anglican Church of Lesser Sports

So now hiring, Bishops, Rooks, Arch-Bishops and altar girls.

For more info, contact me at pope.rockefeller@con.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Another Love Letter to Las Vegas

Long time readers will remember our affinity for Las Vegas, if not, you can find it here, here and here or just go here for all of them. Anyway, we spent another spring break in the adult Disney World and came away with these observations/incidents:

Early Winners
On the plane, we treated ourselves to cocktails with some complimentary drink coupons. Since it was vacation, we ordered a second round without the coupons. We offered the credit card to the airline hostess who just looked away. Free drinks! Winners already!

In pretty much every major city these days I believe, you can find people dressed in superhero costumes that will pose for pictures with tourists (which begs the question, "shouldn't you be out fighting crime?"). Downtown Las Vegas (Fremont Street) takes this to another level. You can pose with showgirls, strippers, beefcake guys, women in catsuits, guys in thongs and some guy that operates a dancing wooden Indian puppet. I'm pretty sure you could lay down in the street, put out a tip jar and a sign that says, "This is what Elvis looked like when he died", and you could make a small fortune.

To top it all off, we saw a 60 year old woman wearing angel wings, jean shorts, and exposing her large, long, pendulous breasts with only duct tape covering the nipples. I'm not sure if you could pose for pictures with her, but one could argue the duct tape resembled a Captain America shield. We just moved out of the way because I'm pretty sure she could have kicked my ass even if she wasn't Captain America.

One night while playing blackjack in a casino, an old hippy-ish gentleman with a long beard came rolling by in a wheelchair with a sound system blasting "Jackson" by Johnny Cash.

The Chinese blackjack dealer sighed, "Only in America."

"Only in Vegas," I corrected her.

That Guy
We went to brunch at Bouchon which is a nice restaurant at the Venetian. We were seated next to a large man in a track suit with a Donald Trump knockoff toupee and bare feet. Now, yes, this restaurant is near the pool, but really, he couldn't slip on some sandals at least? Then we overheard this conversation on his phone:

"So yeah, we can get your wife on the board. I mean with your help and mine, we can do it. And then we have zero liability."

Yeah, that doesn't sound fishy coming from a barefoot guy in a track suit in Las Vegas.

Bring Your Own Broads
One night we finally ventured into "Oscar's Beef, Booze and Broads" which is a steakhouse owned by the ex-mayor.  Apparently, the broads part of the name referred to the fact female hostesses would sit at your table and engage you in conversation.  Kind of like if Disney World had a "Hooker Experience" ride.

Anyway, we finally asked our server where the broads were. 

"Oh she only comes in on weekends," she replied.

She?  There's only one?  The sign promised us broads damn it!  I guess we'll bring our own next time.
Reason #3879 Why I Love Las Vegas
So I'm sitting at a bar next to a couple of local guys boozing it up on St. Patrick's Day. Their conversation went something like this:
"You want a shot, bro?"
"You know it, bro."
"Man, that was a good shot."
"You know it, bro."
"You want another one, bro?"
"You know it, bro."

Later one of them said to the bartender, "Hey did you see that protest on the news? What was it, anti, anti, what do you call it? Anti-seminism."

"Uh-oh," I thought. "He means anti-Semitism which means he's probably about so say something disturbing or at least grossly inappropriate."

Then he started talking about pregnant women, and I realized he actually meant, "artificial insemination." Or maybe "anti-semenism."

Friday, March 13, 2015

Jessie's Friend

Today we have another episode of: Songs I Find Perplexing.

If you grew up in the eighties, you are quite familiar with soap opera star turned pop star Rick Springfield's hit song "Jessie's Girl." Or maybe you just currently listen to an oldies station, and you are now familiar with that song. The song was a massive hit because to be honest it had a good beat, and I guess you could dance to it. But I'm not sure anyone ever paid much attention to the lyrics.

Quick synopsis (full lyrics or song): Rick is jealous of his friend Jessie's new girlfriend. And being the good friend that he is, Rick kind of would like to make that girl his girlfriend. Or just talk dirty to her, I'm not sure.

It's one thing to be envious or even a little jealous of a friend's lover, but when you start fantasizing and scheming, you're crossing the line into creepy stalker territory. Because of that, I felt I needed to write the rebuttal song from Jessie's point of view (to the tune of the original song):

Jessie's Friend

Rick is an old friend
Yeah more like some guy I know than friend
But something changed when I dated Chiffon
Now he follows us around like a lost puppy

And he's watching us with that telescope
And he's doing something with his hand, I just know it
He even knocks on our door, late late at night

You know I wish that Rick would go away
We never have time to ourselves
Where can we find a hiding place?

Chiffon told me 'bout the calls
Some guy breathing heavy then hanging up
I did some CSI, found the payphone booth
Saw Rick coming out, said "you seem out of breath"

He said hey I was looking to have a beer with you
I said Rick I think the beer is kind of moot
And he said, no you mean Moosehead

Why am I having a beer with Rick?
Why's he asking 'bout Chiffon's underwear?
Where can I find a hobby for Rick?

And we look in the mirror all the time
Wondering if he's coming up behind us
He brings Chiffon perfume and wine
Winks and tells her she needs a napkin
cus she seems dirty

You know I wish that Rick would go away
He's creepy and gettin' pretty scary
Why must I be Chiffon's bodyguard?

So we went to the police
Told them about Rick the stalker
They laughed and said that's impossible
Rick's a big soap star and makes so much bank

He's banging every Hollywood starlet
They just know it
He's still on the radio 30 years later

You know he'll never go away
Rick could have had any girl
Chiffon's asking 'bout his riches
Where can she find net worth like that?

Friday, March 6, 2015

How Can I Help?

Almost everyone has had a memorable/horrible experience dealing with technical support on the phone. But you might be surprised at how awful some of those technical calls go on behind the scenes for the technical people.

For example, let's pretend I work for a large company that runs the gas pumps at 70,000 gas stations across the U.S.A., Canada and Australia. One day, you swipe your credit card at the pump and start pumping gas. Suddenly, the pump just stops after about a gallon. You look at the station attendant who just shrugs his shoulders. You can't decide if you should just wait or leave and hope the next customer doesn't get to use the credit card you swiped.

Meanwhile, far, far away, my phone rings:

Operations: Hey Dexter, we got a problem. Your gas program is sending alerts that it can't connect to the gas station server. Can you look at it?

Dexter: Sure. (after a few minutes of looking on the computer) Well, looks like we got a networking issue. The program keeps trying to connect but gets refused. Can we get someone from networking on the call?

(Suddenly we hear haunting religious music and a Gregorian chant on the phone)

Network Manager: Yeah, what can I do for you?

Dexter: What's that music?

Network Manager: Sorry, that's my theme music. I'll turn it down.

Dexter: Yeah, well we can't connect to the gas station server. Can you take a look at the network?

Network Manager: Hold on. (a few minutes later) Looks good here. I don't see any errors in the log files.

Dexter: Still can't connect. Can you get a sniffer on there to see what's happening?

Network Manager: Hooh boy. That would take some work. I can't do it without a work order. And since there's no errors in the log file, I don't feel much like putting out a work order.

Dexter: Fine, I'll do a work order.

Network Manager: Well you can, but I won't respond until next week since there's no errors.

CEO (joining the call): Hello. What the hell is going on? Who's got this? Who's got this? Who's on this?

Dexter: We're all working on it sir. Seems like a networking issue.

Network Manager: Woah, woah, woah. That's downright sacrilegious! Or slanderous or libelous or at least really mean. (in the background, "There, there. He didn't really mean it." and the sound of purring) There's no errors in our log files!

Dexter: Well we got a network error in our log files.

Network Manager: Sounds like your program is broken.

CEO: Okay, can everyone hold on for a minute. My boat is about to go under a bridge, and I'm going to lose reception.

(While CEO is gone)

Operations: Should we hang up and say it's good?

Dexter: Well it's not. Aren't you getting a lot of customer calls about this?

Operations: Yeah so I just put on a recorded message that says we're all out on a team building exercise.

Dexter: You can't do that. Just leave a message that we're having trouble and we'll get it fixed as soon as possible.

Operations: That would just make people madder, and they'd keep calling back.

CEO: Alright, I'm back. Let's get the database folks in on this.

Operations: Roger.

Dexter: We don't need them. This has nothing to do with the database. They can't help. It's a network issue. Look I can't even connect to the server from my laptop. Can we at least run a trace to figure out where it's dying.

Network Intern: Sure, I can do that.

Network Manager: What? Who said that? Asok is that you? Get down on your knees and bow down to the mighty T1 line. Then say ten Hail Mary's, and we'll pretend this never happened.

Network Intern: Sorry.

Network Manager: Yeah, we could run a trace. And you know what it would say? It would say your program sucks!

Database Administrator: Hello? I'm here. Do you want me to restart the database?

CEO: Yeah, let's do that.

Dexter: That's not going to do anything! It's going to drag out the process.

Operations: Well at least she's trying something.

Network Manager: Yeah, Dexter.

Dexter: Fine. Operations, restart my program and see if that changes anything.

CEO: Alright, sounds like we're making progress. In the meantime, let's get the hardware vendor on the call.

Database Administrator: Okay, I bounced the database. It will be back up in an hour.

Operations: Program restarted. Still can't connect. Must be broken.

Hardware Vendor: Hi, how can I help you?

CEO: Yeah, we're having some problems with our system and thought maybe you could help.

Hardware Vendor: Oooh, looks like we never got your last payment for support.

CEO: Is that important?

Hardware Vendor: Critical. When you pay for support, I'm like your co-pilot, mechanic, architect, and gardener all rolled into one. I'm with you every step of the way to solve your problems.

CEO: Alright, we'll send a check next week.

Hardware Vendor: Great. I'll go ahead and give you a freebie. How can I help?

Network Manager: Well knucklehead's program stopped connecting to the network.

Hardware Vendor: Oh, your software?

Dexter: Yeah, but that's not...

Hardware Vendor: See, we guarantee our hardware as long as you don't do anything to it. You know how when you drive a new car off the lot and it depreciates by 50% when you cross the curb? Hardware is the same way. As soon as you put your crappy programs on it, I can no longer be responsible for it. Look if you hadn't done that, I'd put a new server in my car and drive out there right now to replace it. But you poisoned my baby, so I can't help you. But hey, look forward to your check next week. Bye!

CEO: So where are we on this? Wind is picking up, and I gotta drop the jib.

Dexter: Network is still down.

Network Manager: I've about had enough of you! I can't remember the last time I've seen an error in my log files. You know I got a sign on my door that says, "No Network Errors in 747,520 days!"

Dexter: What? That's gotta be like 1000 years!

Network Manager: Over 2000 actually. You know where the network comes from don't you? It was a gift from Jesus. Yep, he built the first router out of some fish, bread and wine. And since then he has passed down his infallibility to his networking disciples of which I am one.

Dexter: I thought it was the Pope who was infallible?

Network Manager: He was until he sold his soul to Novell.

CEO: Look Dexter, he's right. The network and all network engineers are infallible.

Dexter: What? Wait, didn't you start your career in networking?

CEO: Well yeah, but then I went into marketing. Look can you please fix your program?

Operations: Hey everyone, we're connected and running again! Gas is flowing!

Everyone: Woohoo! Alright! Good job everyone!

CEO: Great! So what'd you do to fix it Dexter?

Dexter: Nothing!

CEO: Alright, I don't want to keep everyone, but we're going to need someone to write an After Action Report. Who's got it?

Network Manager: Ooh, I just remembered another meeting I gotta get to. Bye.

(Silence for a minute)

Dexter: Since it was a network issue...

CEO: Great, thanks for volunteering Dexter. Remember as per our operating procedures, you need to have that done in four hours. Of course, I'll be fishing until Monday, but shoot me an email anyway.

Database Administrator: Database is back up!