Donald & Michael

Donald sat in his office, the point of his tie resting in his crotch. His mother had always told him that the longer your tie, the more manly you were. All those sad losers at school that had made fun of him were just peddling fake information. When he came home crying, his mother had wiped the tears from his cheeks and patted his head. This had gone on for his entire school life, but he had just laughed off the jibes.

Now, as a grown man at the top of career, nobody made fun of his tie. He turned to his computer screen and began the lengthy process of reading his emails after returning from a golfing weekend. He scanned the subject titles for anything that indicated something even remotely interesting. He got bored very quickly, so he picked up his phone and told his secretary to bring him coffee. While he waited, he went back to the emails, but his attention span was still shorter than his finger nails. After what felt like ages, the door opened and his secretary came in with his coffee in his favourite mug – the one with the American flag on it. He stood up and placed his hand on his heart, much to the surprise of his secretary.

“Sir?” she queried.

“I’m showing respect for the flag. The flag and the country. The flag, the country, and the war veterans who fought and died for the flag.”

“But I didn’t know you were American?”

“Oh, yeah I am. Totally American. Born and bred in New York.”

“But your company biography says you were born in Guildford.”

“FAKE NEWS!” Donald yelled, causing his secretary to jump and spill coffee into the tray. “That is fake news.”

“But you wrote the biography yourself,” she said, dabbing spilt coffee with napkins.

“That’ll do,” Donald snapped, taking the cup of coffee from the tray and setting it down on a coaster. He shooed his secretary out of the room.

He was just finishing his coffee when his door opened. He looked up to see his deputy, Michael poke his head through.

“Hey, can I come in?”

Donald smiled and nodded. He liked Michael. He was friendly, warm, and did exactly as he was told. He had done a good job when he hired Michael.

“So, Donald,” Michael started before he stopped suddenly and stood bolt upright, his hand on his heart and began singing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ with gusto. Donald stood up and mirrored Michael, looking at him like a proud parent looks at a child that has done something well. After he finished, Michael relaxed and approached Donald’s desk.

“That’s a great mug, boss,” he congratulated Donald.

“Thanks, Michael,” Donald grinned smugly. “Can I get you a drink?”

“I’m good, boss, thanks,” Michael shook his head.

“What can I do for you?” Donald sat down, and motioned for Michael to take the seat opposite. Michael swept forward and sat down, resting his right ankle on his left knee, exposing his rather jazzy American flag socks. Donald stood up and began singing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, Michael jumped up and they both sang together.

Donald’s secretary came in with an armful of papers, placed them on the corner of Donald’s desk and left the room, shaking her head in bemusement.

Singing over, the two men sat down again and Michael explained to Donald that the Finance Director had been making some off-colour remarks about him in the country club. Donald was incensed.

“What did the son of a bitch say about me?”

“Well,” Michael hesitated. “allegedly, he was heard calling you a dumbass moron.”

“That two-faced, four eyed jerk. You can’t be a dumbass and a moron.”

“Absolutely, boss.” Michael nodded.

“Well, I’ll show him!” Donald hissed. “When is our next board meeting?”

“Friday, sir.”

“Right, you get an IQ test, and we’ll do that on Friday. And I’ll show that son of a bitch who’s a moron.”

“You got it.”

“And then we can hit that golf course Friday afternoon and he’ll be put right in his place.”

Michael stood up and shook Donald’s hand. Once Michael had left, Donald sat down and started searching the internet for IQ questions and answers.

At lunchtime, Donald and Michael met up and went to Subway. As they headed into the shop, Donald noticed the NFL logo on a poster. He stopped suddenly, and Michael accidentally bumped into him, pushing Donald forward and pressing him against the glass door, frightening a small girl who was sat with her parents inside, innocently eating a sandwich.

“What’s up boss?” Michael stood back.

“That NFL logo. Some of those guys won’t stand for our anthem. Really gets me wound up.” Donald ranted.

“Yeah, they certainly got no respect.”

“Well, I’m not going to eat in a place that supports the NFL.” Donald decided. “Let’s find somewhere else.”

“Actually, boss, I’m kind of hungry.” Michael pleaded.

“Well, you can go in then. But promise me you’ll leave before you get your sandwich?” Donald asked him.

“Sure thing. You got it!” Michael nodded. Donald smiled and watched Michael go through the door, then he went into the Pret A Manger next door. He was impressed when Michael showed up, a few minutes later, looking hungry. Donald gave him one of his own sandwiches and watched as Michael stuffed it in his mouth whole, then struggled to chew and swallow with a mouth full of salmon and cucumber sandwich.

Donald spent the rest of the afternoon looking up IQ tests on the internet and planning the downfall of the Finance Director. He was interrupted occasionally by phone calls, and eventually lost his temper and yelled at his secretary to hold all his calls for the rest of the day. Then on a trip to the toilet, he accidentally caught the end of his tie in his trouser zip without knowing. He really didn’t like it when he could hear people laughing at him behind his back, even more so when he didn’t know why they were laughing.

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Taking A Knee and putting the boot in!

If you read the news, you might have heard about a little bit of controversy over the pond involving NFL players refusing to stand for their National Anthem, and the dipshit President telling a gathering of his loony, equally dipshit supporters that team owners should fire the “sons of bitches” for supposedly disrespecting the flag and the country.

Now, because he’s too dumb to understand things, he doesn’t get that these players aren’t disrespecting the flag, they’re protesting at the social injustices that are going on in what is still an essentially racist country where a white policeman can shoot an unarmed black man for no apparent reason and not be subjected to any sort of punishment. If the so-called leader of the Free World knew his constitution, he’d know the First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 

I have a number of issues with the small-handed, orange-faced, long-tied fuckwit, but in this case, it’s that he should not be encouraging divisions in society. Like any leader, he’s supposed to lead by example. Instead he’s spouting evil, ignorant bullshit about things he knows nothing about. He’s creating a toxic mess of a problem similar to the one fostered by UKIP in the run-up to the EU Referendum, only on a grander scale (because

nfl take a knee

everything’s bigger in the US of A) pitting sections of society against each other.

The resulting backlash of this brouhaha has seen equally dim Americans boo players for kneeling (the same Americans who ignore the aforementioned First Amendment whilst whining and crying every time someone mentions tightening up gun laws), and burn players’ shirts in scenes reminiscent of when the same people (or maybe their parents generation) burned Beatles records after an American magazine published John Lennon’s observations on religion and the band’s popularity completely out of context. Dumb fuckers.

So, to sum up, Donald Trump’s a dipshit, the people who voted for him are also dipshits, America is becoming the laughing stock of the world, and I probably won’t be allowed to enter the US for a while – not that I would want to while Trump is in the White House.

Albums You Should Own – Part 15

If you’ve been following this series carefully, you should have a music collection almost as good as mine by now. I say almost, because I’m sure there are some things in there that I would disapprove of (and I have no doubt there is stuff in my collection to make you roll your eyes). But the subject of this entry is one, I’m sure you’ll agree, that should be in everyone’s collection. No, not One Direction, but this…

Sticky Fingers – The Rolling Stones
The minute you see the iconic album cover (and the reverse), you know this is something special. And then you put it on and ‘Brown Sugar’ explodes from your speakers. How can things get better? They can, trust me. This is an album that showed the Stones at the peak of their craft. After the up-tempo opener, we slow down for ‘Sway’ and the dreamy ‘Wild Horses’ which is, for me, one of the highlights of the record. Just when you are lulled into a false sense of security, you get taken back up a few gears for the lengthy ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’ with it’s crunchy guitar riff. Then you have a rarity by now, a non-Richards/Jagger composition in the form of ‘You Gotta Move’ which leads on to ‘Bitch’, a song I’d like to think was written about my ex-wife, but probably wasn’t! sticky

Time for another breather, and this is what we get with ‘I Got The Blues’, and this is my favourite track on the whole album. It’s got a swooning melody, Jagger’s delivery of the lyrics are perfect, and if you’ve got the blues, this is the perfect accompaniment. Keeping the mood low, we then get ‘Sister Morphine’ which is self-explanatory in it’s subject matter, but another of the band’s truly great tracks. To finish the album, ‘Dead Flowers’ is a countrified little rocker to lighten the mood before the final track, ‘Moonlight Mile’, an almost six minute slow end to proceedings.

Albums You Should Own – Part 14

Good music is subjective, that much is true. One man’s masterpiece is another’s dirge. However, this is about albums I feel are essential to one’s music collection. Recently, I have begun a new adventure in vinyl thanks to my dear old brother, and with this adventure, I have the opportunity to add to my collection some real classic gems of historical musical importance. And the subject of this post is such a momentous release, you could say music in England wouldn’t be the same without it…

The Stone Roses by The Stone Roses
Stone RosesThe eighties were, on the whole a mixed bag when it came to music in the UK. But in Manchester, there were The Smiths, and then, as the decade drew to a close, The Happy Mondays burst on to the scene. Also part of this new ‘Madchester’ scene were The Stone Roses. This, their debut album released in 1989, encapsulates their sound perfectly – Mani’s funky bass, Reni’s drums that sounded like they were just a programmed beat on a drum machine, John Squire’s guitar licks and topped off with Ian Brown’s distinctive vocals (some might suggest it was the sound of a man who couldn’t sing for toffee). When you put the record on, you might be forgiven for thinking you’ve bought a duff copy, but then the sound coagulates together and you get the bass thumping in, followed by the rest. An epic beginning that is ‘I Wanna Be Adored’. From there, we are treated to more magic. ‘She Bangs The Drums’ is faster, instantly exploding through the speakers. ‘Waterfall’ follows on, and as you work through the album you get treated to other great tracks such as ‘Made Of Stone’, ‘This Is The One’, and the finale, ‘I Am The Resurrection’ – an eight minute closing masterpiece.

If you only buy one Stone Roses album, buy this one.

The Saturday Shuffle – Week 11

Another Saturday means another shuffle extravaganza is upon us. Thanks to the magic of technology, I’m actually busy doing something else right now, but here are the five tracks my phone shuffle threw up this week (not literally, of course)…

  1. Grown Ocean – The Fleet Foxes. Another of my favourite bands, the Fleet Foxes are just brilliant. This is the last track from their second album, ‘Helplessness Blues’, and it’s a treat.
  2. The World Tonight – Paul McCartney. Remember when it was the cool thing to mock Mr McCartney for ‘selling out’? Well, the Beatles Anthology thing came along and the next year, we got his ‘Flaming Pie’ album full of groovy tracks like this.
  3. Simple – Nick Harper. More of the magnificent Mr Harper. This is a simple song about simple stuff. It’s a little over-produced (I’m a sucker for his live act), but still a great song.
  4. Across The Universe – The Beatles. Carrying on with yet another brilliant song, this is one of John Lennon’s spiritual tracks written during the Rishikesh stay when they were all seeking a meaning to everything. There is a sub-standard cover version currently doing the rounds on a Samsung advert.
  5. Return To Sender – Elvis Presley. Remember the days when you had to write a letter to people in order to tell them things? Well, this is a song about writing to that special someone, only for the damned letters to come back to you, unopened. Call it unrequited love, or maybe just a crap postman…

And that is the end of that. With the start of the football season now upon us, this is the last shuffle for the time being – my Saturday afternoons will be filled with avoiding football…

A problem nobody wants to talk about…

The new football season is almost upon us. Good news for some, bad news for all the football widows. Good news for the various gambling/casino websites whose name and logos will be emblazoned across the chests of professional footballers in the English leagues, bad news for the people who struggle with gambling problems and their families.

Earlier this year, footballer Joey Barton became just the latest in a long line of current players to admit to a gambling problem, after being banned for placing in the region of 1200 bets on football matches (not involving his own team). His ban of 18 months was considered harsh in some circles, particularly if you consider the fact that the Football Association had business and sponsorship deals with Ladbrokes. This was subsequently cancelled after Barton himself highlighted the hypocrisy. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Of the 92 football clubs in the top 4 divisions, at least 24 will have one gambling website or another printed on their shirts (source Historical Football Kits). That’s a quarter, give or take a fraction, of the teams. In the Premier League, the so-called ‘best league in the world’, 10 of the 20 teams are sponsored by these companies.

Now, personally, I feel that gambling is just as damaging as drugs, alcohol and smoking, yet you don’t seem to see any of these printed on football shirts anymore!! I remember the good old days when teams were sponsored by Electronics companies, or local enterprises. Arsenal were sponsored by JVC; Liverpool by Candy; Aston Villa by Mita Copiers and so on. Admittedly, Tottenham had a long-term sponsorship deal with Holsten, but as I recall, in the days before replica kits were the huge business they are today, the youth replica shirts did not feature the alcohol sponsor.

And that concludes this rant for today. Feel free to comment or have your say.

The Saturday Shuffle – Week 10

Well, stone me if it isn’t Saturday again already! Since the last post, I’ve turned 37, and today is my first wedding anniversary. And now on with the shuffling…

  1. Driftwood – Travis. One of their singles from the successful second album, ‘The Man Who’. If I’m honest, I preferred the first album…
  2. I Went To The Store One Day – Father John Misty. If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve been raving about this guy since last year. Josh Tillman’s post-Fleet Foxes alter-ego, Father John Misty has soul, style and panache. Plus he writes some pretty awesome tunes. This is the album closer of ‘I Love You Honey Bear’ and it’s melancholic and beautiful.
  3. Familiar Love – William Shatner. You’re probably thinking ‘What the fuck?!’ But bear with me, even though it’s spoken word, it’s done brilliantly. His delivery suits the song, and it’s like he’s regaling you with stories from his life, albeit to a backing track.
  4. Empire – Kasabian. The title track and single from the second album. It’s a foot stomping, sing-along anthem type song. Probably still one of their best songs to-date.
  5. Jump Into The Fire – Harry Nillson. Another foot-stomping, head-nodding beast of a tune to finish. Brought to my attention thanks to the iconic ‘Goodfellas’, this featured in the film – if you’ve seen it, it’s the section of the film “Sunday May 11th” – Henry Hill’s manic day that starts with a line of coke and finishes in police custody.

There’s your five for today. A pretty eclectic collection if you ask me! Until next time…