Thursday, February 19, 2015

Your Pre-Primary Presidential Prognostication Primer.

Wow, that snuck up on me. Sorry for being a little slow on the uptake this time around.

Maybe you didn’t realize this, either, but were you aware that less than a year from today—next February 1—the Iowa Caucuses kick off the 2016 presidential campaign season?

What’s that you say, friend? You care as much about the Florida primary as Chevy Chase cares about what happened to his neck? Understandable.

But for better or worse, this is the way our storied republic whittles down its lengthy list of oligarchs, leaving two battle-worn billionaires to throw down in November. It’ll be another bloody cage-match to see which smarmy suit wins the privilege to age ungracefully at 1600 Penn for the next four years.

Since my only motivations for this analysis are a well-informed electorate—and some easy jokes—I’ve decided to break down the race based on today’s front-running candidates. And while gambling on elections is illegal in Nevada casinos, it isn't in Europe, where several British sports books have posted the 2016 presidential odds. 

A popular wagering site called Ladbrokes, currently lists Ms. Clinton as the overall favorite at 6 to 4. We’ll go ahead and save the party of donkey for another time, because currently, Hillary Clinton’s closest challengers are Elizabeth Warren at 25 to 1 and Backrubbin' Joe Biden at 33 to 1 odds.

In my opinion, the biggest obstacle Hillary faces is herself—and that freaking voice of hers. With each decibel raised above a normal conversational tone, its earsplitting pitch makes another part of my exterior retreat hastily into the rough-hewn recesses of my body. 

So let’s talk about the Republicans, since this one is wide open. I had no idea how huge this field was, but according to, no less than sixteen G.O.P. hopefuls are already carving circles in the corn crops of Iowa in hopeful anticipation of a good showing next winter. Barring any major gaffes (which should never be barred with these folks), here are next year’s likely front runners:

Senator Ted Cruz, Texas

Current odds: 33 to 1

Why he may be our next president: America likes cool names and Cruz is a cool name, as opposed to Cruise, which implies Napoleonic douchery.

Why he won’t be our next president: In April of 2012, Cruz threatened to throw his body in front of a train to stop Obamacare. Should that ever happen, chances are he won’t be president. Plus he looks too much like Joe McCarthy, with many of the same attitudes about “us” and “them.”

Inspirational quote: “If you hate Jewish people, you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ.”

What he was also thinking: “But those Muslims? Different story.”

Prediction: Out before Super Tuesday. 

Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana

Current Odds: 12 to 1

Why he may be our next president: Governor Jindal continues to support a constitutional amendment to define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. 

We know America is champing at the bit to get that done. 

Why he won’t be our next president: If you’re going to run for our nation’s highest office with a name like “Bobby,” you better be as good as the original Bobby. 

Don't think so. 

Inspirational quote: “Members of Congress must live according to the same laws as everyone else.”

What he was also thinking: “That’s why I’m a governor.”

Prediction: Jindal’s momentum will carry him through the Arizona Primary on March 22. 
Unfortunately, he’ll be profiled, pulled over and jailed on his way out of a Cheesecake Factory in Yuma and completely drain his war chest proving he really isn’t Latino.

Senator Rand Paul, Kentucky

Current odds: 8 to 1

Why he may be our next president: Again, the guy’s got a great name, one that reminds us of Almond Joys, Butterfingers and maps.

Why he won’t be our next president: Paul is a self-avowed Libertarian who opposes a woman’s right to choose. That’s like opening a restaurant with awesome food but no plates.

Inspirational quote: “I’m not someone who’s sort of still trying to figure out what I believe in.”

What he was also thinking: “You know, sort of.”

Prediction: Senator Paul’s campaign will implode prior to a televised debate in Indiana. Not knowing his microphone is live, he’ll refer to the former Arkansas governor as “Mike Fuckasheep.” Chris Christie will be seen silently snickering, leading to a surge in his poll numbers.

Governor Jeb Bush, Florida

Current odds: 11 to 2

Why he may be our next president: Because he deserves it, goddammit. How many late nights did he lie in bed, woken up by his eff-up older brother drunkenly screaming at Poppy while Mom tried to sooth his angst with back rubs, her pearls cool against the small of his neck?

Why he won’t be our next president: He’s an idiot, like all the rest of these people.

Inspirational quote: “Our children can achieve great things when we set high expectations for them.”

What he was also thinking: “Not too sure about your kids, though.”

Prediction: Governor Bush will lose the general election to Hillary Clinton on November 8. He'll get the silver medal, besting the largest field of challengers in recent memory, from Trump to Walker to Santorum to Perry to maybe even good old Grizzly Mom. 

Good God, what a shit show.

I hope this primer has helped. The goal of course was to save you a bit of homework, while providing some timely gambling advice.

Game on.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Oh yeah, and one last thing: I hate the Patriots.

I need your help today. 

Okay, and probably tomorrow, too. 

Actually, yeah, I’m going to have to ask for your assistance until—let’s see—next September. 

Seriously, after that game Sunday night, I managed to nail down a nice little table for one at the Blue Funk CafĂ©, and I don’t see the check coming any time soon.

I know, it’s ridiculous. On the scale of bona fide trauma, watching your team lose the Super Bowl should fall somewhere between the sudden extinction of wine coolers and no wi-fi in the Snappy Lube waiting room. Sure, it hurts. And yes, it’s very, very disappointing.

But for the love of Pete, this relatively trivial American athletic contest has turned me into a capital “J" jackass. Ask my family.

That’s us in happier times. It was taken last Thanksgiving Day, just prior to watching our Hawks peck the nuggets out of the Forty-Niners.

But since Sunday, I’ve elevated grumpiness and mood swings to royal status. Starting immediately after the game, neither my spouse nor either of my wee nestlings has wanted any part of Tim, Duke of Doucheberry. 

And the thing is, I’m over fifty. I should be a little better at this by now. As with my fellow Northwest pentagenarians, Super Bowl XLIX wasn’t the first time my heart’s been gouged out like a plastic spoon to a frozen puck of Ben & Jerry’s. The image from 1994 of Dikembe Mutombo, lying prostrate against the green Seattle Coliseum paint, still makes my undercarriage itch. It took a lot of positive self-talk and the whole O. J. thing to really hoist me out of that malaise.

The result of Super Bowl XL in Detroit provided another piercing hangover, the game handed to the Steelers with costly turnovers and felonious officiating. Thankfully, if it weren’t for “Sexyback,” released later that year, I never would have summoned the strength to dance my way out of the dark. Thanks, JT.

Time will heal, Hawk fans. Slowly, methodically, we’ll all become a little more philosophical, a bit less emotional. The days will get longer. Maybe we’ll begin bathing again or perhaps even return to work for half a day. We’ll stop mourning one loss and begin celebrating an era of Pete Carroll football still in its infancy. 

But that time has not arrived, not even close.

Every morning, we wake to the realization that our wound is still weepy, the Band-Aid soaked through again. That moment we pry open our crusty eyes to reveal the murk of a new day, it’s second down from the Patriot one. Before we can even put toothpaste to brush, the movie’s looped three times, we’ve rattled off six F-bombs and shredded the Fourth Commandment like a roadhouse full of off-duty scout masters.

Listen to sports radio while I shave? No thank you, I’ll enjoy the BBC on NPR for now.

What’s that? Spring training and March Madness are just around the corner? What’s your point? Basketball and baseball just remind me of football.

As you’ve probably seen, prior to every game, the Hawks huddle in small groups, sway back and forth and get each other jacked up with various chants. Here’s my favorite one from the Legion of Boom:

“We’re all we’ve got…

“…we’re all we need.”

Okay, that, and a second down do-over back in Glendale.