Thursday, March 31, 2011


IT IS HERE! As I write today I am listening to the ESPN broadcast of the Yankees/Tigers opening day match-up. As such, we can throw out all of the hype and stats from spring training. It matters not how well your favorite player did in Florida or Arizona. How many times have we seen a guy light up the Grapefruit or Cactus Leagues only to lose his stroke once the games were played for real?

I am using all of my senses today because to go along with the game I am listening to the Philly group Sister Sledge singing their biggest hit, "We Are Family" in honor of my new beloved team - who I will reveal a bit later. Last years beloved team, the Royals didn't disappoint me as they enjoyed yet another shitty season. They improved themselves during the off season and while they still won't challenge anyone for division title, they should jump up in the standings and that is why they had to be sent packing. I want my beloved team to be pitiful, and the Royals may be better than that.

Let's open up the season by warning one and all to avoid drinking the red kool-aid. You will have plenty of time later for such nonsense. Yes, the candystripers have an amazing starting rotation that if they can stay healthy should keep the Phillies in most games. I'm not ready to predict that we will see four 20 game winners like the Orioles gave their fans in 1971 but, if healthy, they should all at least bring in high teen wins with Halladay and Lee crossing the 20 win mark.

My problem with the rotation is, once again, Cole Hamels. I have to acknowledge that he was lights-out at the end of last season - but he is Cole Hamels. Whatever demons cause him to screw up can appear at any time. He looked lousy yesterday against the lowly Pirates and I'm hoping against hope that was not the Hamels we'll see during the season. I'm actually glad that Blanton is still with the team because we can pretty much count on him to keep the team in the games he pitches. The guy seems to have a lot of heart, and that is sometimes enough.

The bullpen scares the shit out of me, especially with Lidge hurt. That means that Charlie will have to use Contreras or Madson in the closer role, at least until Lidge is ready to come back. Contreras did a good job last year but he is the oldest player on the club (12/6/71) and one has to wonder how much he has left in the tank. Madson, while doing the job in the set up role, has not yet proven that he has the psychological wherewithal to be the man who gets the job done in the ninth.

As for the rest of the staff, perhaps Kendricks will contribute, and perhaps Romero will find what he had a couple of years ago, but we'll need the starters to go deep in order for the middle relievers not to blow up games. Like I said, it's too early for the kool-aid.

Who knows what Lidge will bring to the team once he gets back since he has lost a few miles off his fastball and he'll still be throwing breaking stuff into the dirt. He will be a question mark for this long suffering fan all season. I want him to do well, but I'm not counting on it.

All in all I am thrilled with our starting rotation. In any likely scenario, they will be in the top 2 or 3 in the majors and should insure that the Phils are competitive all season. As I said earlier, I don't believe we'll see four 20 game winners and, even if they did manage to accomplish that, it wouldn't guarantee a World Series win. The '71 Orioles lost to the Clemente-led Pirates in the '71 series even with their four 20 game winners. Yes Virginia, the Pirates used to win championships!

Turning to the starting eight and the bench gives me additional cause for concern. The obvious is Chase Utley. Utley has been unable to stay healthy for the past few seasons and it would not surprise me if the guy isn't able to play very much if at all this season. Without him, the Phillies will have all sorts of problems scoring runs, and it isn't reasonable to expect the staff to throw no-hitters in bunches. Filling in will be Mike Martinez, Wilson Valdez and some guy named Pete Orr who already has a bus ticket to Allentown for when Utley comes back. I hope Orr enjoys his cup of coffee with the team, since I can't imagine he'll be here at the end of the season when the Phillies are chasing the Braves, who I believe have improved enough to be mentioned as possible division winners. Valdez provided good solid baseball last year but if he is subbing for Utley he can't also take over for Polanco when his elbow acts up - as I believe it will.

When Polanco is healthy he has shown that he can provide excellent offense and credible defense. The key will be keeping him healthy.

This long suffering fan also has concerns at the shortstop position. Jimmy Rollins has been able to stay healthy this spring, but we need him to stay healthy all season and to play up to his capabilities. He needs to set the table and he can't do that when he is hurt. I suspect he reported in good shape since this is the last year of his current contract - and we all know how that usually motivates players to overachieve in the hopes that somebody will pay them a whole lot more than what they are WERTH. Rollins has many off the field interests and enterprises that could compete for his attention. Charlie needs to stay on top of him so that he can focus on baseball and not on buying the publishing rights of hip-hop singles as has been reported. This fool went and copyrighted "J-Roll" which also speaks to where his head is.

I've saved my biggest infield concern for last. I have never been a part of the crowd that considers Ryan Howard a superstar. He is a wonderfully talented athlete who, in my opinion, has never played up to his potential abilities. The long suffering fan acknowledges that Howard has hit a ton of home runs, and that he has improved his defense, but last year the guy hit .276 - and that just doesn't say superstar to me. I'll take the risk of sounding like the old man that I am by mentioning names like Williams, Musial, Aaron, Mays, Ruth, Gehrig, and others who showed that it is possible to hit home runs and for average at the same time. Howard needs to do so before I will confer superstar status to him. The Phils are going to need their highest paid player to pick up the team and carry them. They need him to lead by example and that example is to learn to lay off bad pitches and take care of business when he sees a good pitch to hit. Say what you will about Barry Bonds, but he was the most selective hitter I have ever seen. He had the discipline to wait for the pitch that he wanted. When he saw it he was able to juice it into the ionosphere. Howard needs to learn how to do that. He'll never be the complete player that this former Pirate was, but he should be able to improve his hitting - and he'll need to considering that he won't have Werth backing him up in the line-up. My fondest dream would be for Amaro to trade him to St. Louis for Pujols, who will not be signed by the Cardinals. It won't happen, so Howard needs to find a way.

The outfield is what it is, Victorino will be fine and Ibanez, if healthy, will do his job. So far I am pleased with the early play of Francisco. I think we all know that catching should be a strength for this team as well.

I am pleased to report that the long suffering fan did not miss the Luis Castillo era as a Phillie. One day last week I broke my rule of not watching pre-season games and saw Castillo have an at bat for the candystripers. I saw him in a Phillies uniform - I really did. His being let go the other day will no doubt please many Phillies fans who did not want to see a former New York Madoff play for our team. Those who saw him play believe that he can still contribute with the stick, but having the range of a statue in the field would have been a problem. On the bright side, now he won't be expected to pretend to care about wounded veterans. As he stated after skipping a Mets hospital visit in 2010, "You see people with no legs and with no arms, being in a hospital like that, I don't like to see that."

I have now listened to "We Are Family" more times than I should have. This was one of the biggest hits of the disco era when the long suffering fan wore nylon print shirts, tight pants, and platform shoes. The shirt had to be unbuttoned to mid-chest showing off both chest hair and a gold chain (with a gold spoon pendant, but I won't mention what that was for). The long suffering was chest hair challenged so all I could show was the required chain. We all thought we were as cool as John Travolta was in "Saturday Night Fever" and we went to clubs like The Library and Page I. Dancing was a problem since I could hardly walk in the platforms let alone dance in them. Back in the 1970s, the dominate team in the NL were the Reds followed closely by the Phillies and my newest beloved team who played at the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers.

If you haven't figured out by now that I am speaking of the Pittsburgh Pirates you didn't see the clues I've left all over this post.

The Pirates of the '70s were a great team led by Willie Stargell who adopted "We Are Family" as their theme song. In the coming weeks I'll pass along anecdotes about those great teams and some of their colorful characters - like Dock Ellis. I have selected them because, after the teams that included Bonds, Bonilla, and for a brief time Moises Alou, the Pirates have shown that it is possible to suck for two decades. They will suck again this year, and that is why I love them.

Enjoy the opener tomorrow if you can, and remember NO KOOL-AID!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

So, how is YOUR NCAA pool doing?

ESPN reported last night that out of 5.9 million NCAA bracket pools submitted to them, only two had correctly named the actual final four teams. I would not be surprised if some of you had put UConn or Kentucky in the final group - but please don't tell me you had VCU or Butler because I will have to say - liar liar pants on fire.

I thinks it's great that these two mid-majors are dancing with the stars for a variety of reasons, not the least being that our wonderful pundits are as clueless as the rest of us in picking thee things. Obama was doing well until this past weekend, but now his pool is as cold as the reception he would get at an Iowa Tea Party fundraiser.

Not being a big college basketball fan, the first action I saw was the second half of the VCU-Kansas match-up. I was actually kindly disposed to Kansas because they have two brothers from our fair city on their squad. At the end I was thrilled that they won. I like when David dumps Goliath.

One of my friends asked me the other day why I don't much like college basketball. First. Watch an NBA game. Last night I watched the Mavericks-Suns game and as bad as the Suns have become, they would tune any of the final four teams. NBA players are the best b-ball players on the planet and I like watching the best do their thing as opposed to watching kids who for the most part can't shoot well, can't create an open shot, and don't have the stamina to keep it in full gear for the entire game. They also make dumb mistakes. Kids are allowed to make dumb mistakes, but I'd rather watch the best athletes in the world than most college players. Oh sure, there are always a few college players who can bring it all the time, but they are few and far between.

Second, the college game is not about the players and hasn't been for many years. The game is about prima donna coaches wearing $2,000 suits and acting like they are gods of some sort. To me, they are overpaid egomaniacs lacking in character who for the most part fail as pro coaches, because the NBAers just won't put up with the happy horseshit dished out by the likes of Pitino and Calipari. You know that I dislike whiner Coach K of Duke, but at least his kids graduate. Guys like Pitino and Calipari have piss poor graduation rates and Calipari has already had two programs censured by the NCAA. He is slick enough that he has avoided any sanctions, but his tenure at Kentucky is still young. The guy's picture is next to the word "scumbag" in the dictionary.

Speaking of Kentucky, they have a habit of hiring nasty people as head coach. In one of his previous stops Pitino coached Kentucky before moving on to much greener pastures. Long ago the school had a guy named Adolph Rupp. Rupp ran the program from the late 30's until the late 80's. Adolph Rupp didn't believe that black kids could cut it - so until he had no choice, there were no black players at Kentucky. In fairness, there were no black players at most of the other southern schools either. It was the era of segregation but Rupp and the other SEC and ACC coaches wouldn't even travel north to play the eastern powers unless these schools would promise not to use their black players. I hope Rupp is slowly roasting on a spit somewhere in the nether regions of hell.

Kentucky has been to the final four many times over the years, but I thought it would be fun to get in the Wayback Machine and travel back to the 1966 championship game between Rupp's Wildcats and the Miners of what was then called Texas Western (now, UTEP). Since it's 1966 that we are headed for I have put in one of my favorite 8 tracks - The Temptin' Temptations. So settle in and listen to David Ruffin since "Since I Lost My Baby" while we travel back to watch this historic game.

The Wildcats that year beat Dayton, Michigan (led by Cazzie Russell), and Duke and were listed as heavy favorites to beat Texas Western, coached by Don Haskins. It was the legend against the unknown Haskins and nobody thought that the Miners would even get to the game let alone beat the established elite that KY was.

Kentucky fielded an all-white squad led by 6'0" guard Louie Dampier and 6'4" forward Pat Riley - Yes, the same Pat Riley who coached the Lakers in the 80's and more recently the Heat. The other KY players were what you might call journeymen white guys who all pretty much looked and played alike. As I've said before - not the cream of the crop.

Texas Western beat Okla City, Cincinnati, Kansas, Utah and Kent State to get to the championship game. They were led by 5'10" guard Bobby Joe Hill, 6'6" center David Lattin (1st round pick by the Warriors and 7th round pick of the NFL Chiefs), Orston Artes, Harry Flournoy, and 5'9" guard Willie Worsley who played the 68-69 season with the ABA Nets. If you hadn't already figured out the beauty of the story, all of the starters for Texas Western were black, and the won the game 72-65.

The Miners were the first team to start an all-black line-up of starting players in the NCAA. They beat a team that wouldn't have their first black player until 1969 (7'2" center Tom Payne) and a coach who didn't think black players could cut the mustard.

When coach Haskins was asked about his line-up he said, "I didn't think about starting 5 black players. I just wanted to put my five best players on the court. I just wanted to win that game."

Bravo to the late Don Haskins for doing it the right way.

If you get the idea that white guys can't play basketball, that is not the message I wanted to send. There are many great white players, some who are stars in the NBA. Different communities embrace different sports at different times and in different ways. Jews were once so predominant on professional basketball courts that contemporary sportswriters attributed it to some sort of natural advantage. Times have certainly changed, but Newsweek missed the point when talking about Jewish athletes in 1934 and Jimmy The Greek missed the point when talking about African American athletes in 1988.

Enough of basketball because as of Thursday the world will be where it should be - watching baseball games that matter. ESPN is showing 3 games that day and I will watch all of them. Stay tuned for my opening day posting where I will reveal my new beloved team. As you know, I decided to adopt the Royals in 2010 as an expression of my frustration with and in protest of the 2010 Phillies season. I have dropped the Royals and have chosen new heroes for the 2011 season.

Here's a hint - my new beloved team does not wear candystripes or have an overpaid underachieving bum playing first base!

Monday, March 14, 2011


The NCAA Tournament Selection Show is now over. The field of 68 has been revealed, and this long suffering fan is appropriately LIVID! Why am I livid you ask? The two college teams I hate the most are both in the tourney. Duke, coached by the smarmy, whiny Coach K was given the #1 seed in the West. Just because they won the ACC tourney today with a win over UNC doesn't mean they deserve to have a #1 seed. The ACC was a weak sister this year and many of the Blue Devils' 30 wins came against schools you and I have never heard of. Surely the committee could have found a more deserving #1, and probably threw it Duke's way so as not to have to hear Coach K whine like the bitch that he is. Duke plays #16 Hampton in their first game - what a beautiful thing it would be if Hampton became the first #16 to beat a number 1. It won't happen, but it would be sweet if it did. Coach K is fortunate that I am not a referee in that game as I would hit him with T's every time he grimaced at a call. He would not get away with that bullshit with me. After his second T, I would have the police escort him to the locker room in cuffs, and if he protested at all I would have him tasered.

The other travesty by the selection committee was giving Villanova a 9 seed. Whatever those guys were smoking - I want some. The local pussycats haven't won a game in recent memory and, in my very humble opinion, didn't even belong in the tourney let alone being given a fairly decent seed against #8 George Mason. The LSF will stop at a Modell's tomorrow hoping that they have a George Mason Tee-shirt. If they don't I will take a magic marker and make my own!

My problem with Villanova has nothing to do with their pretty boy coach Jay Wright. He seems like a decent guy even though he is too pretty. A few prominent zit scars would make me like him - or perhaps if he didn't have such a full head of hair. Yes I am jealous. My problem with the Cats has to do with the assholes who attend the school. Their level of smugness is offensive, especially when they are drunk - which is often. The school promotes itself as an elite institution which I also don't understand. It is an overpriced average school that doesn't compare with Penn academically even though the tuition and fees are about the same as Penn. It's professional schools are horrendous - especially their law schools and business schools. Penn undergraduate is itself overrated, but the law school, medical school, nursing school, veterinary school, and the Wharton school of business are considered to be some of the finest in the country - so where do the good fathers who run Villanova get off with their elitist attitude?

In the West, Temple copped a #7 seed and will play #10 Penn State. Villanova gets to stay close to home for their one and done game while Temple and PSU have to schlep to Arizona to play. There is no justice.

In the SE division the #3 seed was awarded to BYU. Duh! The Cougars did go 30-4 this season but that was mostly when they had Brandon Davis, a young man of color on the team (and we know how the Mormons feel about the brothers). Davis was suspended for breaking the BYU honor code. What was his high crime and misdemeanor you ask? He violated the honor code by having sex with his girlfriend. I couldn't make that up if I tried. Why would anyone go to a school that requires celibacy of its students? There must be an awful lot of very nervous and edgy kids on that campus.

So now is the time to fill out your pool or pools if you lack the conviction of your ability to pick the winners. The LSF will not do a pool this year because it is embarrassing to be out of the running after the first two rounds. If you feel that you can win your office pool, perhaps I can interest you in something a little more big boy than a pool. I'm talking about the 19th Annual NCAA Tourney Auction, sponsored and run by none other than my friend Chootz the Broker.

Chootz's auction is not for the feint of heart or the light of wallet as the participants will collectively bet over $100,000 on the outcome of the tourney. Here's how it works.

Chootz rents a banquet room at a local Main Line watering hole such as the Villa Strafford. The participants arrive early and have a fine meal lubricated with plenty of good cheer. After the dinner, dishes are taken away Chootz begins the auction. At that point guys bid on teams. Chootz auctions off each team and requires a minimum bid of $100 and raising bids of the same amount. Bidders can either bid for themselves or form partnerships with other bidders - pooling their resources so as to be able to compete with some of the higher net worth degenerates. A number one seed like Pitt may go for as high as $10,000, while some of the lower seeds may not get any bids at all and are dealt out as "comps" to the crowd. There have been times when guys have ghost bidded for some of the bigger players but, since it's against the rules if they are found out, they are immediately escorted out of the room by the Sergeant-at-Arms Big Tommy from the beer store. Big Tommy has the job because in the history of the auction nobody in attendance would dare go up against his bulk.

If you win a bid you have ten minutes to pay for your team or teams. Cash is the coin of the realm as Chootz accepts checks from nobody. Chootz wouldn't even accept a check from his own brother for this event. As you can imagine lots of Benjamins change hands at this event and, at the end of the festivities, Chootz is escorted home by gentlemen who have bulges in their jackets.

Some of the biggest and wealthiest doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and gamblers in the area attend the auction including a certain sports talk show host who feuds daily with Howard Eskin and who has trouble staying on the air. Last year this guy actually interviewed Chootz the day after the auction.

It isn't a winner-take-all auction and payouts are awarded with 25% to the winner and lesser amounts for 2nd, 3rd and so forth. I almost forgot. Chootz takes a 10% fee, or vig for running it. The one year I attended he announced that an additional 5% would be taken off the top and given to Jackie Da Bookie's wife to help her buy groceries for the kids since Jackie was then a guest of the federal government.

As I said, I've only attended the auction one time and my group was only able to win bids on teams that had no shot of winning anything. Regardless, I had a ball watching guys bid thousands of dollars on kids who were as likely to toss bricks as they were to hit the game winning shots. I had a lot of fun watching the bidders make side bets with each other as well as trying to buy teams from guys who had outbid them during the auction. One sad note was watching the owner of a then region-wide carpet retailer bet way over his head. Big Marty had such a gambling problem that he eventually had to have a going out of business sale with the proceeds going to the many bookies he owed money to. Marty later had to go away himself because the checks he gave to his trade creditors bounced higher than the balls that will be used in the tourney.

I hope that you do well in your pools. While I will not do a pool this year I will root for the good guys (Temple & George Mason) and root against those from the evil empires of Duke, UNC, Villanova and the others of their ilk. Enjoy the games.

If you want to go to the auction give Scott a call or a tweet or a facebook thing and I will try and get you a seat at one of the tables. I take a cut of anything you win!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, the calender says that it is now March which means that Spring training is in full gear, the NFL's war between billionaire owners and millionaire players is heading for a cliff, and the NCAA basketball tournaments are about to start. That's a lot for the long suffering fan to focus on, but I'll try to get the job done. No refunds if I don't.

A few short weeks ago sales of red kool-aid were spiking off the charts as fans of the candystripers were already figuring out where they would stand during the big parade next November. Well, maybe y'all were a bit premature. The way spring training is going for the Fightin's is the perfect NOT-SO-FAST moment. Yes we still have THE FOUR ACES, who were last seen singing "Three Coins In The Fountain" to Joe Blanton, and we still have Charlie who has become my favorite Phillies manager of all time - but from there it looks like some tsouris (trouble) has come to Clearwater.

This was going to be the time for Domonic Brown to readjust his swing so that he could fulfill his role in right field in such a manner that we would all be able to forget the asshole who played there last year. After going 0-15 he finally got his first hit... and broke his hand while doing so. Fortunately, Ben Francisco is having a decent spring so we may luck out when the games are played for real next month.

Then, there is the matter of Chase Utley's knee. We have been told by Ruben that we shouldn't be too concerned because all Chase has is tendinitis - which rest would take care of. Just as soon as the words came out of Amaro's mouth, Utley took a shot of cortisone. I don't want to call Ruben a liar, but perhaps we fans have more to worry about than Chase resting. Sounds to this LSF that Utley is looking at something more serious than tendinitis. This is a guy who has broken down in each of the last few seasons, so expecting him to be the Chase of old might be a time for another NOT-SO-FAST moment. Fortunately, we have Valdez to fill in, but if Polanco or Rollins get hurt we are, as they say, screwed.

In other baseball related news, it seems as if class-act (all of it low) Lenny "The Dude" Dykstra was in town for a signing event. While here, he was comped a $700 meal at the Palm (reported by Crossing Broad). Dykstra, according to the report, did not leave a tip. Nails is a piece of shit.

For those of you who follow college basketball, this is the time of the year you live for. As I write, conference tournaments are under way all across the land flaming the hopes and dreams on campuses everywhere. Heading into the Big East Tourney, the Villanova Pussycats lost to Pitt in their final conference game and fell to the tenth seed. Coach Jay (is my hair perfect) Wright has no reason to explain the collapse of his team during the second half of the season after flying high on a 15-1 record out of the gate. The early schedule included a blind school, but once they had to play against real programs, we who loathe the Cats have had a ball watching these smug bastards underachieve.

In the ACC, Duke brought me joy by losing to UNC in their conference final regular season game. Whenever Duke loses it is a cause to celebrate for the LSF. Adding joy to my day was the news that UNC lost to Maryland in the ACC tourney opener. I couldn't have scripted it better myself. What will burn my ass is when UNC is given a high seed and Maryland is not selected for The Dance if they fail to win the ACC.

Not everyone in the area was pleased with the UNC loss to Maryland. Out at the beer store, Johnny Dollar most definitely had the Tarheels and today will see him questioning the parentage of the refs, the players, and the coaches. The Dollar Man will believe until the day he dies that the game was fixed so that he would lose his money. According to Dollar, many games have been fixed over the years causing him to lose lots of money.

Johnny's older brother Big Tommy most certainly would have had some shekels on his beloved Cats against Pitt, so he will pace the store looking to find someone trying to steal a case of Schlitz. If he finds someone doing that he will relieve his anger by breaking the thief in many little pieces.

The tourney is a special time out at the beer store, when all of the usual suspects show up to fill out their pools and make pronouncements regarding why their selections will prevail. Big Tommy sponsors a beer store pool where the entry fee is $100, cash only! This pales in comparison to the Tourney Auction that Chootz The Broker runs, but it gets everybody started. Jackie Da Bookie is in hog heaven during tourney time as his phone rings all day long.

An annual event is the big trip to the Big East tourney by Big Tommy and some of the gang. The boys caravan to NYC and not much sleeping is done because, as you might expect, the wives and lovers are not permitted on the trip. This allows the boys plenty of time to enjoy the cultural sites of the City when not at the Garden watching the games. As everyone knows, these guys can't enjoy a game unless they have something on it. Back when I hung out at the beer store nobody had a cell phone, so a designated caller would be appointed to go to a payphone where everybody's bets would be placed with Jackie Da Bookie. When Jackie had to go "away" an alternate bookie by the name of Vinnie would be used. Vinnie's handle was "The Vig." Vinnie loved the vig and it is said that his home in the Girard Estates section of South Philly was furnished because of it. You can buy a lot of red flocked wallpaper and marble with the tax free vig that Vinnie earned.

Johnny Dollar never made the trip with the gang since someone had to mind the store. For Johnny, that meant standing by the register where a cable hook up allowed him to watch just about every game played. Johnny didn't just play the Big East games - not enough for him. He would stay at the store to watch the WAC tourney that started at 10pm eastern. Johnny is the only person I have ever known that bet on WAC games. Not only would he bet on individual games, but the fool played parlays and teasers which are a sure way of guaranteeing that, come Tuesday, he had to pay Jackie Da Bookie rather than getting paid for winning.

Once the conference tourneys were over and the big dance got started, Johnny would stay at the register until the last shot had been taken. During the tourney, the only time you wouldn't see him at the register is when he was hiding somewhere trying to duck Jackie Da Bookie's employees who had been sent to collect or break some of Johnny's bones. Jackie Da Bookie wanted his money, but I think the gorillas he sent to collect preferred rearranging skeletal structures.

In the next post, I will describe Chootz the Broker's NCAA Auction event and a few other gentlemen will be introduced. In the meantime, if you can play second base, give Ruben a call.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I have tried to keep my writings non-political as much as is possible. This has been difficult. As I've gotten older, I have found my own personal views and positions move further and further to the left. The longer I live it seems like the angrier I have become regarding what I believe to be the destruction of the American middle class and our democracy. As I see it, the cards are being stacked higher against more and more "regular" folks. As a percentage of the national wealth and income the top 2% of us have done very very well, while the bottom 98% have seen their incomes stagnate or lowered since the Reagan administration. Quality middle class jobs have been permanately lost, and millions of us are and will be in a lifetime of underemployment.

Today I won't speak to all of the ills confronting our society, since I would be writing for hours, and I have to go to the store as I'm running out of toilet paper. I will try and not be holier than thou, since my point is not to offend those of you who are to the right of Attila The Hun politically.

My politics are worn on my sleeve. I am mostly a lifelong Democrat who flirted with the Republican party years ago - before I figured certain things out. All Republicans are surely not evil, just as all Democrats are not good. I voted for Nixon the first time around because I was mad about the Vietnam War and I voted for Reagan the first time around because... Well, let's just say I chose poorly.

Power is about money in our country. The ability to buy our elected darlings has been a given for a long time. Those who have power and wealth and think they need more can now give as much money they want thanks to the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court. Today I want to focus my anger towards one of the bigger right wing practioners of buying pols, David Koch.

David Koch is one of the principle owners of Koch Industries, along with his brother Charles. They are listed as multi-billionaires by Forbes Magazine and are among the largest contributors to right wing causes and pols. They are currently in the news for their $43,000 contribution to Wisconson Gov Scott Walker when he was a candidate for Gov. They have funded Tea Party groups from the beginning, and their money helped organizations like Americans For Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation get off the ground.

What has inspired me this morning was an article I read about David Koch's $100,000,000 contibution to M.I.T to establish a cancer research center. In fairness I must point out that both of the Koch's have given generously to medical research, and even the arts. David's motivation for this gift was his 1992 diagnosis of prostate cancer. Unfortunately, the doctors who told him then that he wouldn't live much longer were wrong and he has survived to become one of the worst enemies of the American people.

The Kochs have long spoken out on their denial of climate change and have funded campaigns to defund the EPA, and state and local laws that were enacted to keep polluters like the Kochs at bay. The Kochs are one of the biggest corporate polluters in America. They have interests in oil drilling, pipelines, timber and paper. Since Koch Industries is a privately held company, all of the profits from their industrial empire go to the brothers. When we buy their products we are helping them destroy our democracy, and I for one will not help them.

There have been voices calling for the boycott of product manufactured by the various companies owned by these nefarious brothers. Boycotts usually don't work, but this long suffering fan will join it. I was unaware until today what their vast holdings include, and I suspect most of you didn't know either. Let's learn, then you decide what to to do.

Koch Industries now own the Georgia-Pacific Co. You know them as producers of building equipment, mostly timber products like plywood. GP also produces various paper products, especially toilet paper marketing under brand names like Angel Soft, Soft n Gentle, Quilted Northern and many unknown private label brands made for Walmart and others. If you use one of those brands there are alternatives like Charmin or Scott - so when you need to replace your asswipe, you don't have to help David and Charles wipe their asses with our country's future.

If you are like me, you go through a lot of paper towels. I am a klutz and am always spilling something. Well boys and girls, you can help the Kochs when you purchase the Brawny brand which they own, or you can do what this fan does and buy Bounty. Profits from my coffee spills are not going to help the Heritage Foundation come up with more ways to strip me of my freedoms!

The outdoor season will soon be here and the fan will be found attending many cook-outs where I will use somebody's paper plates and cups. I will eat with my hands before I use any product with the Dixie label since the evil brothers own that too. I'm sure it won't be hard to find somebody else's brand of cups to swill down your beer this summer - you don't need to fund the Americans for Prosperity and right wing candidates while getting drunk.

Many will soon be thinking about buying new clothes for the new spring season. Some of you may need to replace last year's swimsuit which no longer fits. The Kochs are the largest producer of Lycra, the fabric of choice for much of the swimwear sold in America. It may be hard, but there are alternatives to this fabric.

Buying new carpet soon? The Kochs own Stainmaster, so look for something else or while you are marveling at how easy it is to clean up the beer you have just spilled from your Dixie cup, the profits from your easy clean carpet are being put to work to help destroy the right of union members to collectively bargain.

David and Charles Koch are evil people and they could care less about the average person. All they care about is doing away with any regulation that would erode some of their profits, and help to solidify the oligarchy they are a part of. You can help by avoiding their products. Your choice.

In another business related tid-bit I read this morning that the investment bank Goldman Sachs has purchased two ferry boats which they plan to use to provide transportation from Jersey City and Lower Manhattan for their employees. I have a question. Do my 2nd amendment rights allow me to purchase and own a miniature submarine? If yes, does anyone know where I can buy one?