Future Mascots for Professional Sports Teams

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This piece was submitted to a veteran-oriented writing publication in 2018. It didn’t place.

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After many years of debate and discussions about the offensive mascots for some professional sports teams, Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL joined together in a joint press conference to announce an effort to eliminate any and all potentially offensive mascots.  The first move by each league immediately tagged Native American-themed teams for changes.

After that swift move, the leagues began internal discussions about how to not offend fan bases and discovered that many more teams required renaming. 

Because of objections rumored to come from Islamic communities, all mascots featuring crusaders, knights, and templars are now flagged for new names.  Additionally, victims of and the descendants of victims of vikings, pirates, and other barbaric tribes have expressed concerns about teams following those naming schemes, all of which are now identified for redesignation.

Allergy sufferers voice questions about bees, yellow jackets, and vegetation-based names causing the leagues to point at those for mascot changes as well.  PETA and other animal rights activists suggested that animal mascots were giving the public an unhealthy fear of those animals as well and those should be eliminated as well, which the leagues also agreed to out of fears of violence. 

Military themed names were found to be objectionable by peace activists and patriot labeled teams made convicted traitors Manning and Bergdahl nervous and require relabeling.

Colorblind activists found color-based mascots offensive to those who are unable to view the color spectrum.

Monsters, aliens, and mythological and cryptozoological creatures were deemed by pseudoscientists to be potentially offensive as well.  The alpha centaurians and sasquatch also voiced objections, so those names are right out.

Mascots based on state and regional names are also identified for relabeling initiatives due to objections voiced by residents of Colorado who insisted that the failures of teams from Denver should not be used to degrade the rest of Colorado residents.

In a joint statement at the end of their press conference, Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL have announced that all professional sports teams shall be identified solely by the city in which they play in and the sport they participate.  For example, the St Louis Cardinals and St Louis Blues will now be identified as St Louis Baseball and St Louis Hockey, respectively. 

The leagues expect this new naming scheme to remain in place for a full two to six weeks or so before additional unexpected objections emerge and require the whole plan to be scrapped.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.

Pork on the Saudi Menu

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This piece was written for the local VA Creative Arts Festival in 2018. It took 2nd place in the “humorous poetry” category.

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Beef, chicken, pork again
Same menu in Saudi everyday
Isn’t pork forbidden by Islam
I’ve never seen a pig here anyway

Same menu in Saudi everyday
Maybe it’s camel or scorpion
I’ve never seen a pig here anyway
Haven’t seen cows or chickens

Maybe it’s camel or scorpion
Mike always gets the grilled cheese
Haven’t seen cows or chickens
Maybe Mike’s onto something

Mike always gets grilled cheese
Isn’t pork forbidden by Islam
Maybe Mike’s onto something
Beef, chicken, pork again

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.

You Suck by Christopher Moore

I just recently finished reading You Suck: a Love Story by Christopher Moore. Christopher Moore is one of the few nongenre authors who I actively seek out the works of, but unfortunately have not read enough of.

While this book is a sequel to a previous book, Bloodsucking Fiends, you can actually read this one without having read the first book, with minimal confusion or lostness. Trust me on this, it’s exactly what I did. Through a handful of techniques, the previous book’s story is summarized within the first few chapters without taking the form of a boring summary.

As the titles indicate, it’s a story about vampires. Which, for me, can be a hit or miss topic. Dracula, hit. The Passage series, hit. David Weber’s Out of the Dark, huge miss – save your money and time, the alien invasion of the earth is stopped and humanity is saved by vampires who overrun alien base camps, hijack their drop ships, kill the alien commander, and fly the alien invasion ships back to the alien homeworld.

You Suck is a definite hit. Think Douglas Adams, Monty Python, the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost movies, and some of the funniest Doctor Who moments and you’ve got a pretty decent start of a hint of the comedy of errors that makes up this story.

This book is a must read if you’re a humor writer of any sort. Well, not necessarily this book, but any book by Christopher Moore is a must read.

Letter Home from the War

29 April 2119

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know you’ve been waiting to hear how I’m doing in the war and it’s been a few years since you’ve heard from me. I just completed the newest version of our operations security (OPSEC) training and the new papercut prevention training yesterday and only got the authorization to write this letter this morning.

When we first deployed out, I had the latest smart phone with system-wide long distance included and a the latest Panasonic Toughbook computer with system-wide net access, but there were some complications upon arrival at the current location preventing previous contact.

It seems a lieutenant from the finance office got bored and wandered onto the flightline and used his smart phone to take pictures of the latest stealth dropships and aerospace fighters. Then he wandered over to the ground force staging area and took pics of the stealth tanks, subterranean personnel carriers, and missile artillery. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then emailed those pics to his fiancé, who’s the daughter of a Russian Colonel. Even though the colonel was an exchange officer who worked on all of those programs while assigned with the U.S. Space Command, it’s an issue because Russia and China are the enemies in this war. Within 24 hours of the LT’s email going out, they collected the phones and computers of the enlisted and limited our access to a handful of computers on the training network. They also increased our computer-based OPSEC training requirement by one hundred hours. The lieutenant, on the other hand, is now the captain in charge of the intelligence office for headquarters.

Shortly after that, our new unit Colonel and Chief arrived.  The new colonel met with all unit members, told us of her faith in us should the shooting part of the war kick off any time soon, and replaced within 48 hours by the headquarters general for loss of confidence.  That colonel’s replacement announced his new program to have everyone run a 5K on a weekly basis to keep in shape for our power armor. When the chief tried to explain to the colonel that’s not how power armor works, he was promptly replaced by an E-9 personnelist whose only experience with power armor is putting his own on backwards twice since he got here.

About six months after that incident, it looked like the shooting part of the war might actually start up.  Then a Russian, drunk on vodka, wrecked the Russian equivalent of a Humvee.  That resulted in all forces, on all sides, including the Russians and the Chinese, being required to attend another hundred hours of driving-under-the-influence training, which delayed the start of the war by another three months.

Around the time we were expecting the war to start, a pilot, borrowing a work truck, ran over two of our maintainers outside one of the maintenance hangars.  The pilot was reassigned to the standards and evaluations office and promoted two months after that.  For the maintainers, all of our power armor was repainted to fluorescent pink and fitted with fluorescent pink lights to ensure we’d be seen day and night.

Over on the ground forces side of the base, there were concerns about the environmental impact and personal injury danger of the ammunition in use.  Ultimately, the decision by the general was to have all explosive ammunition replaced by paintballs to lessen personal danger.  So far, this change has only resulting one serious injury after a couple of the infantry troops took turns shooting at each other and one of them managed to shoot out the eye of the other one.

I know back on Earth the Secretary of Defense talks about shock and awe, but so far, the only shock and awe we’re experiencing out here is the shock of all the training requirements that multiply by the week and our awe of the faster computers the Spec Ops troops are using.

Fortunately, if the shooting part of the war ever starts, it looks like it will be relatively safe and see minimal casualties.  Assuming we all survive the peace to see the shooting side of the war, that is.

So, as you can see, while people want to believe Joe Heller was writing a fictional satire of the military, he was actually writing an accurate history.  Somewhere along the way, the top brass decided to turn it into a how-to and training manual for U.S. military officers and then through the School of the Americas and officer exchange programs succeeded in exporting it to the rest of the Earth’s militaries.

Love,

Your Son

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.

Some Observations of the Absurd

Truth is stranger than fiction.  Albert Camus and Soren Kierkegaard both observed life is absurd, in general.  However, in some cases. life can be even more absurd than usual.  These are some of my observations over the past few days:

  • Sometimes absurdity is the only proper response to the absurd.
    • Using logic to counter the absurd will just result in a headache.
  • Any time life appears to be under control, it’s just the universe’s way of signaling that an unplanned car repair is in your near future.
    • It’s usually something I need to last just one more month.
  • Even when the brain knows something is pseudoscience, it will still collect “observable evidence” to try to scientifically prove it.
    • My brain does this with depressed days and full and new moon cycles.
  • There seems to be a direct correlation to the amount of prep work for a project and the difficulty in finding the motivation and inspiration to actually do it.
    • I’ve got a couple of projects planned out that I just can’t get started.
  • Any time there is a tough choice between what we want to do and what we need to do, life finds a way to manufacture a third option of what we can afford to do.
    • Option three is usually just me not getting do the first two options.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.