Thursday, December 18, 2014

Recommending Silverstein

To whom it may concern in the Office of Admissions at the Boalt Hall School of Law, Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, and the New York University School of Law:

I am truly blessed to recommend Silverstein for admission in to your accredited law school. I don't believe that Silverstein's GPA at Chico State University, personal statement, and LSAT score combine to make him a candidate for admission in to a top-tier law school like Boalt, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, or NYU. That doesn't mean you shouldn't accept him. Silverstein wants to be accepted, so you should accept him. It's that simple.

The other day I was making a photocopy as one of my last acts as a dying office worker when I saw Silverstein walk into one of the boss's offices. I heard him say, "So, like, I can't find this TPS Report." And the boss, who is a raging lunatic, immediately started yelling at Silverstein. "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Silverstein! The Señor is at a parade, you can't find a TPS Report, and now I don't see how life is worth living!"

Silverstein, also known as Tea-Spoon for his cuddling talents, played it cool. "I hear ya, but The Señor is back from the parade, and I'm pretty sure the TPS Report is right here."

"Thank God. I was ready to start killing people if we didn't find that TPS Report."

The funny thing is that at the time, I didn't even think about this incident. This is our absurd every day, and if you paid attention to all of it, you'd go insane. A boss threatening suicide and murder over a meaningless file is just standard Hump Day--yesterday was a Wednesday as I recall--operating procedure. And today we're going to #TBT (throw-back Thursday) it to the recent past when we acted like psychopaths. On casual Friday, we act just a little more sane, unless you've got to go ahead and come in on Saturday and Sunday. In that case, you're going to behave even more irrationally, because doing this job without a weekend has got to be some type of enhanced-interrogation technique.

What I admire most about Silverstein, however, is his ability to consistently play it cool in situations like that. If it were me, I'd have responded, "Don't you fucking dare come at me like that," and then blogged it. Then there would have been a series of meetings to investigate the matter and ultimately find me at fault for misuse of my First Amendment rights. Ya know, Mike, you think you have your First Amendment rights but that's just a bunch of left-wing bullshit and you owe us an apology for not sitting there and taking it like a good subservient little fuckbag office worker.

I only remembered this incident because shortly thereafter, the same boss came over to the copier and rudely asked me if I was finished even though it was clear I'd be finished in just five more seconds. When she was finished with her copying and Silverstein jumped in, I passively aggressively proved my point by saying to him, "Hey, asshole, are you done yet?"

Simon Called Peter was all, "Mike, I don't even know what to do with you." I didn't know how to respond to that. 

It's the small victories that keep me from going totally insane.

I can't even believe this is real life. One day, I want to be able to even.

I'm trying to write this letter of recommendation right now but Silverstein is yelling at Simon Called Peter over the cubicle wall that separates Silverstein's Unite* from my Unite. Simon Called Peter and I, Mark Called Mike, are two good, God-fearing Catholic boys in that we literally spend all day in fear, whereas Silverstein is Jewish and thus a different kind of neurotic mess. Therefore, he should get some of that special consideration for his minority religious views.

Thus far, you should accept Silverstein because he wants to go to a top-tier law school, he has a calm demeanor despite having worked at an Insane Asylum for two years and counting, and he's Jewish. But there are more reasons. Certainly. What they are, I have no idea.

I'm going a little slow today. Last night, I tried an experiment on my girlfriends Tamara, Nicole, and Jaquellin. You're gonna love this. I took a bong load for like the second time in 10 years and then texted Tamara a bunch of insane shit, and I texted Nicole about Bong Load Gate. Then, I called my attorney Jaquellin to see if anyone ratted on me. Tamara was probably just super confused, so she went to sleep. But when the rooster crowed three times, Nicole sold me down the river. I called my attorney and she immediately was like, "Mike, why are you calling me all stoned?" I guess what happened is that when I called my attorney, Nicole was on the phone with her, and my attorney was all, "Why is Mike calling?" And Nicole was all, "Because he's stoned and needs your legal advice to deal with the blaze." I also told Jaquellin some details about the bong load that I didn't tell anyone else to see if she would then rat me out. Thus far, I don't think she has, so I'll admit that when I initially tried to take the hit, I forgot what I was supposed to do, so I basically gave the glass bong a sloppy blowjob until the girl I was with was like, "What in the holy hell are you doing, you moron? Your lips go inside the hole." Oops. Or maybe that was later in the night when I was attempting to perform oral sex? No, I don't think that was allowed, though I certainly offered because Silverstein told me you should always be willing to perform oral sex on a woman at all times. Anyway, I feel so used, giving sloppy bloj's by accident and not being able to lick vaginas on online dates on purpose. I guess this week's online date went slightly better than last week's, at least.

But, forgive me for not being more on top of my game right now. I think I'm still high and I can't stop coughing. What I also admire about Silverstein is that he doesn't drink or do drugs, accept for like caffeine and carbon highs from huffing Perrier. He's a good boy.

He is a child of divorce, and his parents determined he was also the cause of divorce.

Silverstein's Mom: I don't want to raise this shithead anymore.
Silverstein's Dad: Who?
Silverstein's Mom: Our son.
Silverstein's Dad: We have a son?

So, like, if we could cut him a little slack and let him go to one of the nation's best law schools, that'd be great. Silverstein is a good boy who doesn't do bad things accept for cause divorces, he's Jewish, he deals with lunatics like me at work each day without losing his mind, he wants to be a great lawyer from a great law school with hella money and hella chicks, and he'll eat your cunt.


 *I call "units" "unites" because my brother's eighth grade class was caught in a scandal when the guy who did everyone's Spelling homework misspelled Unit 38 at the top of the page as Unite 38.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Letter of Rec

Dear Various Unaccredited Law Schools:

I can think of no better candidate to take out $200,000 in loans from a massive, private bank like Citigroup in order to attend your law school than the man they call The Senor, Marco Lucido. Mr. Lucido is a solid, get-it guy who understands the deal: he'll accumulate a massive amount of debt that he isn't likely to repay, you'll give him a substandard education, and he'll join the job market with a $200,000 degree that is actually mostly worthless, though not totally worthless: it can be re-packaged and sold at a reduced price to various debt collection agencies, hedge funds, and so on. The sup-prime student loan crisis is going to put the sub-prime mortgage crisis to shame.

I've worked with Mr. Lucido for the last year and a half as co TPS Report Specialists at The Firm. In my six years of TPS Reports specializing, I've never come across someone who cuts through the fucking bullshit quite like The Senor. Mac was pretty good, too, but he did too much schmoozing in retrospect. I loved High Pockets, but she wasn't one to stir the shit too much, probably due to her elitist, Ivy League beliefs. She went to Columbia, where President Barack Hussein Obama majored in Socialism.

Everyone knows how I feel about my girl. [I heard that you're married now, that you found a guy....] Silverstein is one of my favorites, but there's a reason they keep giving him so many processes to process, and it isn't just so he'll have less time to fuck around with me. Galindo was so good at this they promoted him, and he just bought his 67th firearm. My fixer went square and is now at an accredited law school. Hell, my own attorney is at an accredited law school. And, to me, that just shows I'm dealing with a lot of conformists who won't revolutionize the legal industry.

What this world needs more of is people like The Senor who aren't going to get in line and follow bureaucratic procedures just because you told him to. If Silverstein jumped off the Richmond San Rafael Bridge, would you expect The Senor to join him? Of course not; but if The Firm told Silverstein to jump off the bridge and swim across The Bay, he'd do it. Why? Because he believes in the white, capitalist power structure and his ultimate place amongst the top five percent. The Drug War is working for him because it creates more criminals for him to either represent, prosecute, judge, or all of the above.

The Senor don't give no fucks about conforming with The System. He's going to do it his way, and that way is pretty fucking simple: get ripped, plug a bunch of Perrier, eat a high protein diet, and don't take shit from no one. This guy played Nose Tackle on his high school football team despite being 5'7" and 140 pounds. This is a guy who will put his nose in there and make a play. He's the Vince Fucking Wilfork of Pacific Grove High School. He isn't just a guy; he's The Guy.

When I first met Mr. Lucido at his job interview, which I wasn't authorized to attend, I gave him my baseball writing business card. He looked at it, scoffed, handed it back to me, and said, "Bleacher Report is a fucking joke. Get out of my face, Mike." The audacity of his honesty aroused me. With my first Rodney in months in hand, I submitted my resignation. Pay me or trade me, and the good folks at B/R decided to trade me back to my own blog for fewer headaches to be named later. That I was the David Halberstam of writing about 10 Deadline Moves Brian Sabean Needs to Get Off His Fat Ass and Make is no matter. The Senor called bullshit on my bullshit, and he won that game of chicken.

Hell, I even like the guy's girlfriend. I've got a lot of problems with the fairer sex, and most females in Obama's America are a little afraid of my dark, creepy sense of humor. But The Senor is an old-fashioned gamer who only dates women that can put up with the derangement of his pals Mike T. Blogger, Silverstein, and Stu--who was disappeared from the East Bay to hang out with tech junkies in the South Bay, much to the dismay of the female patrons at Club Mallard.

The Senor even told his old pal Dougie Fresh about an open spot at The Firm, and Fresh's game was so fresh that they disappeared him in a matter of months. Fresh told the powers that be: you'll see me when you see me, and if you don't, you won't. They felt his methods were unsound, and he was moved on from, but not before revolutionizing the TPS Reports industry forever.

If I could start my own ambulance chasing firm right now, my first two hires would be The Senor and Fresh--two guys who are going to innovate and disrupt and win at all costs. This is the 21st motherfucking Century: we can't afford to be complacent with rising tigers in Asia and probably elsewhere. This is a globalized, automated, post-modern, 24/7, information economy now, bro. We can't have Big Government and Big Labor getting in the way of, well, whatever dystopian nightmare we're creating here. Which is why we need more guys out there like The Senor armed with law degrees to fight for the brave new world we're in the process of creating.

Look, we all know you're going to accept Mr. Lucido into the Class of 2015 at West Florida Community State School of Law, or whatever the fuck this is. His credit score is an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, and his pecs are impeccable. This was mostly just a way to let you know we aren't playing around; we're playing for keeps. The legal industry is like a $30 billion a year industry probably, which is three times the size of the National Football League.

Mr. Lucido is planning to get in on some of that action, boss. This kid is armed with a diploma from Pac Grove High School and two years of service at The Firm's Advanced School of Hard Knocks. It's like his boy and my new best friend The Midnight Cowboy once said, "Whenever I'm in San Francisco, I hate my life, and I hate myself." Hatred is a powerful motivating tool, and The Senor is coming out of The Firm like the prisoners up the street at The Q: hardened, angry, with limited economic prospects, heavy odds of recidivism, and a desperation for wealth that knows no bounds.

I am proud to endorse Mr. Lucido. I am proud to have made it with him. I am proud to have self-reported harassment claims against each other. Most importantly, I'm going to need a new attorney soon, and Mr. Lucido would represent my corrupt, extra-legal interests far better than my current counsel. Fuck you, Ja-Quellin.

With great passion, pride, and poise, I highly recommend that you accept Mr. Lucido into your institution of what seems like predominantly lower learning. If you don't admit him, I'll fucking destroy your university before it self-destructs of its own accord in the next half-decade.



Sincerely Yours,

Mike

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Tao, 10 Years Later

On advice of counsel, please note that the contents of this blog post are entirely fictional. 

Dear. Dr. Boitano,

Hey Prof! Not sure if you'll remember me from the Intro to Creative Writing course you taught back in 2005, but I wrote an essay called The Tao which helped to earn me an A- in your class. Thanks, man! How are the students these days? I doubt they're as hard-working, focused, dedicated, and committed as I was.

Well, not much has changed with me, to be honest. The reason I'm writing to you is because I'm hopeful that you will write a letter of recommendation for me. Ten years later, I'm finally inspired by the pursuit of knowledge for academia's sake. Actually, I just fucking hate working, man. Holy hell, does this shit suck. That Marxist crap was pretty spot on, in retrospect. From each according to his ability to each according to his need and fuck do I have a lot of needs--I still got that dry-witted sense of humor, eh?

Do you remember that girl Sonia from that class? Can you believe I actually got her to fall in love with me? The further we get from that moment, the less I believe it myself. She left me a few years ago--said I needed to "grow up." She's a doctor; she was tired of dragging a degenerate blogger and high school basketball coach to company parties. Apparently, I was a bad look in the eyes of the medical industrial complex, which is why I stopped going to doctors. What do those assholes know anyway, Doc?

I've been taking the breakup pretty hard for the last two years or so. I'm up in South Lake Tahoe right now, though I'm writing this from the California side since I'm carrying the drugs. I guess the legal system is tougher on the Nevada side of the Sierras. My pal Silverstein called me yesterday morning and said he was getting married in Tahoe. It was 5:00 a.m. when he called, so I figured I was hallucinating again, but sure enough, he tied the knot last night. I can't say that I remember much from the ceremony except for when my attorney showed up and sat next to me. She claims that I called her to get a preliminary injunction against a rolling black out--as per usual--but I don't recall that. Besides, I guess she wanted to hit the slopes and catch some powder with The Senor anyway. Allegedly, Silverstein and I spent the day before the wedding slamming booze and throwing money at NFL games until they cut us off for trying to sell his car to the casino in order to make more bets. My gambling consultant, Brian, had us in 27 five-team parlays, but the two of us couldn't keep our shit together enough to follow Brian's advice. I'm too scared to check my bank account right now, but I think there's a chance that in addition to a letter of recommendation, I'm going to need a cash advance on my first novel, The Reasons She [Sonia] Won't Be Coming. If you write me a check for $50,000 right now, I'll forgo getting an MFA; thus, you won't have to write that letter. Also, a better, more provocative title might be The Reasons She Will Be Coming, Just Not With This Dipshit Author.

Speaking of Sonia, she's all mad--again--because I sent her a selfie of me taking a bong load last night. [I have no recollection of this.] When will see loosen up, doc? I don't fucking care that she's married with a child now. We were best friends, ya know, and just because she moved on doesn't mean she shouldn't be there for me in my indefinite time of need. The good thing about adversity, Doc, is that you find out who your true friends are. The worst part about Sonia leaving isn't that she left, it isn't her asshole new prick-faced husband, it isn't her snotty-nosed, bratty kid, but it's the fact that I lost my best friend that hurts the most. It's like that Rascal Flatts song: What hurts the most/Was being so close/And watching you walk away/And having so much to say. Or however that song goes. The good news is that I've gotten to say so much of what I had to say to her answering machine.

One scene from yesterday that I do recall is being seated around a fire below the slopes with Silverstein, my attorney, and The Senor. I was drinking some kind of cheap, piss-like beer, watching the 49ers lose the last of our money, and wondering why Sonia was texting me to, "get your fucking shit together and stop sending me pictures of you getting high; I'm fucking married." Things didn't appear to be going well. The dark clouds overhead were ominous. My mother, Pun, was also yelling at me through the phone somehow: YOU LITTLE FUCKING SHITHEAD WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN TAHOE WITH HOOKERS AND SNOW YOU FUCKING DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE IN SNOW NO DRINKING AND DRIVING WHAT THE FUCK. Just a lot going on, ya know?

And then, suddenly, it started to snow. The last time I had seen snow was a few years ago back in New Jersey, right before Sonia dumped me. But snow in California is a lot prettier than that awful snow on the East Coast. California snow is that non-violent, GMO-free, organic shit. And, even though the snow reminded me of that tragic day in which I was so wrongfully accused of being a bad boyfriend, I felt so happy!

Then I realized I felt happy because the more it snowed, the less likely it would be for us to ever go back to work. Of course, the American Economy has decided that I am only employable for six more weeks. After that, I'm totally fucked. Still, the snow was beautiful, bro. I felt like John Cusack in Serendipity, only instead of leaving Tom Brady's ex at the altar, I'd watch Silverstein marry Olivia Munn.

Wait, why is Silverstein making it with the woman I love in my own fantasies? I'm not sure, Doc. I think I probably need to give the drugs and alcohol a little space, but have you tried religion recently? My God, that shit is even worse than this shit. The only difference is my schvantz gets touched more in church than out here in the field.

Anyway, it wasn't until I watched Olivia Munn on The Newsroom that I realized I would be able to love again. Back when I was a 19-year-old sophomore in your class, I never though I'd end up here: a 29-year-old, unemployed, degenerate man who is in love with a famous actress. I wrote her a letter on Saturday night expressing my love for her, so it's only a matter of time before she leaves Aaron Rodgers to be with me. And it isn't a matter of much time: as soon as she sees that letter, she'll find me, and we'll live happier ever after.

The Chief and I are still in the coaching business, but we've moved on from little league baseball to high school basketball. Our team is fucking awful. There was a time I thought maybe I'd be the next Phil Jackson, but I literally know nothing about basketball. These days, I kind of just let the kids do whatever they want, which usually includes hot-boxing Coach Mike's car. I figure none of us are going to the NBA, so maybe we should take it easy out here. If smoking pot with 17 year old's is a crime, then I don't want to be right. When will the law man leave me alone?

Anyway, Silverstein was up at the altar at the hotel chapel about to marry the hooker he'd met earlier that day, when all of a sudden I see my attorney sitting next to me.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" I asked her.

"Are you serious? I've been here all day."

"No shit? What is happening?"

"Silverstein is about to marry that hooker up there. The Senor is the best man, his girlfriend is the best woman, and her dog, that fucking poodle, is the ring-bearer."

"Why is Silverstein marrying a hooker?"

"I guess he woke up this morning and decided he was in his mid-20's and now was a good time to get married. Just a quarter-life crisis type thing, though obviously drug induced. I think you guys need to start cooling it. Especially you: you're old as shit."

"Does he love her?"

"I think so."

"They look so happy."

I could see The Senor and Silverstein and the hooker and The Senor's girlfriend up on the altar wearing white, and the moment had so much innocence. Even the dog was wearing white fur. I looked up at the wooden beams holding the chapel together, and I looked at my attorney next to me. She was smiling, which was rare for a serious attorney in the square world. For a few minutes, I pretended that I was at a legitimate, responsible, more sober wedding ceremony with a gainfully employed woman like my attorney. I looked so well-adjusted in mind's eye for a minute there. This must be what self-satisfied pricks like Mr. Sonia get to feel like all the time.

"Why are you looking at me with a shit-eating grin?" my attorney asks me.

"What?"

"Are you blacked out again?"

"No; it lives."

Doc, I don't want you not to recommend me because you think I'm some type of dangerous drug addict. You and Sonia and Pun need to take a step back from judgmental thinking, get in tune with the Tao, and start practicing non-judgement. Besides, I eat an organic concoction of locally grown drugs that my drug dealer is managing in a very sophisticated manner for me. Also, I'm planning on becoming a Buddhist again soon, and we aren't allowed intoxicants. I'm not going to have any problems getting off the dope; however, I am worried about that high-fructose corn syrup crap the government is force-feeding all of our rectums. Or, am I reading the news wrong? I get most of my news from The Newsroom, so I could be wrong about most of my facts, which is why I try to focus on my feelings. My therapist told me I should focus less time obsessing about myself and more time thinking about others, but that sounded creepy so I fired him. Besides, isn't everyone else focusing on themselves enough already? If I start thinking about Silverstein and The Senor's problems, I'll just be enabling them.

And so it's about 7 a.m. now. I don't know where my attorney went. I don't think she likes playing house with us very much. Silverstein and I just took a long walk down on the lake. The water, surrounded by the snow-covered Sierra Mountains, was pristine. I ripped my suit off and jumped in. The water, surrounded by the beautiful mountains, was also fucking freezing. It's a good thing I don't use my schvantz much, Doc, because I think I left that thing in Lake Tahoe. Yikes, that's two dick jokes in one letter. Don't tell anyone I'm so repressed--I try to keep my Catholicism a secret as much as possible.

I got out of the water, shivering, in just my boxers.

"Dude, you just jumped in the lake," Silverstein says from the comfort of his white suit.

"Dude, you just married a hooker."

"You're going to get hypothermia."

"You're going to get an STD."

"Hookers are clean."

"So is Lake Tahoe."

"Marrying a hooker is a non-issue for me. I don't even think it counts since it happened on the Nevada side of the border."

"We're just two bros who live it how we get it, ya know."

"No, I don't know. What does that mean?"

"Fuck, I thought you would know. Brian kept saying that after giving us the bets to make at the sports book."

"Who is Brian?"

"He's the gambling addict we work with."

"Ooooo, right, Brian. Did we win any bets?"

"We lost it all."

"Thank God they don't pay us much. We don't have much to lose, at least."

"I think that's what he means about living it how you get it. We don't make any money, so we might as well gamble it all away. I think he's a Taoist or some shit. He lives in the woods. He's like a white Buddha or something."

"Who is Brian again?"

"I forget. This lake is so fresh. Have you seen Dougie Fresh lately? Where are the Dougie Fresh's of yesteryear?"

"He's one of the disappeared ones now, Mike."

"Why did they disappear Fresh?"

"They caught him reading your blog."

"NO!"

"YES!"

"Oh, Silverstein, I just don't think I'll ever get over Sonia. Or Fresh for that matter."

"You've been over her for a long time. Fresh was there for like two weeks."

"I know."

"Then why are you always whining about her?"

"You complain just to be aware that you're alive, I guess. Otherwise we'd just be throwing rocks into this lake and no one would know the difference." 

It was a bizarre scene, Doc: two men in their 20's, one using his suit as a towel, one in a white suit who just married a hooker, both staring out at the open water and the black mountains jutting out of the snow. It's one of those scenes in your life you might not notice much in the moment, but looking back only a few hours later I can see it etching a place in my memory for as long as I can hold off killing those brain cells. I'm not a brain doc, Doc. I'm not sure how this mind thing works, per se, but you know what I mean.

But what I can say for myself at 29 is this: I don't want to work anymore and no one wants to employ me anymore. As you can see, I don't write good either. So, like, where do we go from here?

That's what I'm writing you for, Dr. Boitano: I need your help. I want to be 19 and in Creative Writing class with you again. I want to look across the room and see her, and then look back into your brown eyes and make it with you instead. No, I don't mean sexually! I mean, I want you to teach me how to write so that I don't have to work or be left at the altar by the fairer sex again (I was never left at the altar). I want to get Rodney's again. I want these extra 20 pounds to be gone!

There's so much I want to achieve but I haven't the slightest clue how! You hold my future in your hands once more, Dr. Boitano. Help me help myself.

After writing this letter to you, I fell asleep for a while. I haven't slept more than a few hours in weeks it seems. I woke up with that name on my tongue for some reason: Sonia; Sohn-ya. I just googled the name and it's a variant of Sophia, which means wisdom. It's apparently a fairly popular name, though I only know one Sonia. We're going to get the one I know back, Doc. All I've wanted all these years was to retire to a red-brick house in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Living in an affluent suburb with a beautiful woman doesn't sound like too much, does it? Hell, countless lives have been held together by far less meaning and purpose than that! Those wooden beams in the chapel were less sturdy than this never-ending ambition of rebuilding what I once so thoroughly destroyed. Even better, I'd be a father now!

I know I'd be a good daddy because the other day one of the associates where I work brought in her one-year-old son, and he smiled at me and hugged me and we talked about the Giants quite a bit. I know that raising Sonia's son can be what saves me, Doc. Unless she had a daughter. It's so hard to keep track of this shit when they block you from Facebook and give their children ambiguous names like Madison.

Anyway, don't feel like you need to alert any authorities due to this letter. I would totally get it if you couldn't respond. Besides, just writing to you seems to have cleared up a lot of things in my mind. I've got to go see about a girl, Doc, and she'll likely have to go see about a restraining order, but love conquers all, I think.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Trial

There was a moment not long ago in which I stepped out of time: an early October, unseasonably warm Friday afternoon in which I ditched work expecting to be fired to float down a lake with my friends Nicole--a PhD candidate--and Jaquellin--an aspiring attorney. During that day, I could feel all the ways in which I'd fallen short while also feeling a profound sense of letting the world go and of what the future might hold that would assuredly be better than the recent past.

But then one must return from the timelessness of nature and step back into the seeming reality of time. In the intervening two months, sadly, little has changed. For instance, last night, I went on what must be my 87th online date now. For only the second time in my dating history, I could sense an immediate, and then lasting, disdain. Which, like, I get it. I wanted to leave, too, because I hate Mike (me, Mike T. Blogger), too, but I kept sucking down drinks in the hopes that it would get better. It didn't. We were tucked away in a dark corner as the Bay Area storm of all storms began to rain down upon us, and each time the waiter ducked his head around, I raised my half-consumed glass to indicate that this situation needed more booze.

Perhaps her arrogance was just me projecting my lack of confidence, but who knows? Most of life gets swept under the rug and goes un-communicated. The thing about communicating with someone is that you might not like what you hear. You may have to consider the political beliefs of someone you don't agree with; that's never very fun. You may have to reveal your negative opinion of someone and then cite examples to validate your opinion, which may or may not hold up. Much easier to tell other people what a fuckoff Bobby is without confronting Bobby on his shit. Far easier to blog about a date that I sensed didn't go very well instead of talking to her about it. Who would want to find out that Stephanie--my ex-girlfriend--was right: you are a short, unambitious, lying, slimy, cheating, leeching, dip-shit loser, Mike? He doesn't want to hear it because he already knows it's true. And, if we don't know the truth about ourselves, how awful to finally be confronted with the reality? Or, to find out that you've been wrong about something?

Like, what if you always thought some guy was a 3-WAR player because of his lack of UZR, and then you find out defensive metrics are mostly bullshit and this guy might actually be a 5-WAR player if you regress his defensive component towards the mean. Oh, you motherfuckers don't know what UZR and WAR and fancy-pants baseball sabermetrics are?

I'm always amazed at how shocked people are when I admit to being totally ignorant about something. It's like, I'm sorry that I don't know every fucking thing, but can we just cool it on the arrogance there for a minute? I'd love to rub my baseball knowledge--which is also quite limited--in, but you (most recent online date) monopolized 95 percent of the conversation, so I wasn't even given that opportunity. At least I pretend to care about the things you care about; you didn't even give me the chance to explain why I'm passionate about what I care about because you don't care about those things. Which, like, THEN WHY THE FUCK ARE WE HERE? I could've slammed these drinks down with Silverstein and not had to pay for his booze! (Thank you for limiting yourself to one drink, at least! I think we have a real shot.)

Then again, Mike's online dating profile doesn't make many bones about his limitations. He's short, and he lists himself at 5'7"--his actual height. He makes mention of quitting the legal racket to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing, which he's doing. It's not exactly a million-dollar salary on The Street, but it's the best he can come up with in this god-forsaken, dog-eat-dog, post-industrial, late-capitalist dystopia we've come to accept as our present reality. And, like, he's as handsome as his pics indicate, and we're all shallowly looking for someone good-looking enough to put up with anyway, right?

I at least hoped we could build our relationship around that sense of honesty: we don't care for each other, we're aware of Mike's endless shortcomings, and we can build on this. Instead, we'll never speak again, and one more failed American marriage is never to be. How will the divorce attorneys remain employed? I thought of immediately texting her that I could do better, that I could change, but I reserve those text messages for Stephanie. If I'm going to waste my energy chasing a lost cause, I might as well do it for someone that I used to like.

After slamming my fifth Maker's on the rocks, I said, "Welp, it's about that time." I walked her awkwardly to her car while we each checked our phones, and when she said, "This is me," I told her good luck out there and went back in for another drink. [At this point, on advice of counsel, I should note that this post is mostly fictional: I definitely didn't get blacked out and drive home during and after an online date last night. I had two drinks over a few hours and drove home well under the legal limit.]

The entire foundation of online dating is built around a series of lies: no one ever discusses their fatal flaws--also known as the reasons they're still single--in their profile. Instead, it's an endless stream of how I'm the greatest fucking person God ever created--though of course I'm spiritual, not religious--and look at me climb this amazing rock because I'm not scared of heights at all, Mike, you fucking pussy.

Oh man, I haven't been writing or reading much lately and I've been drinking too much and reading the internet too much and my mind is slipping away and I'm smoking too much dope and holy hell what the fuck.

Where were we?

Lost. 

One thing that continues to amaze me about the Patriots is, like, how does Bill keep these guys in line? He goes and picks up some guy off waivers no one's ever heard of and the next thing you know this guy is in line with The Patriot Way and making big-time football plays on Sunday in The National Football League. How does he get these guys to care year after year?

It's so weird to see a consistently highly-functioning organization after spending six years in the most dysfunctional place imaginable. We bring in Billy off the streets and within three months he's disparaging management staff and it looks like we're gonna need to find another Newbie. I guess Mike must've set a bad example with his blogging, internet reading, temper tantrums, alcoholism, and lack of training.

Mike, didn't you know you were supposed to coach these kids up? Yeah, yeah, we promoted you--you're making a hundo-plus with a dental plan that dentists accept now. No one told you? Yikes, I think Silverstein was supposed to talk to you about all this.

So, you went to the dentist today, they looked at your tooth, told you it was ship-shape, sent you on your way, then called you and said after further review, our initial ruling has been over-turned: we don't accept your shitty plan? Oops. Yeah, that's on you, Mike. The consumer has to know!

And, like, Mike, if you could shut up about Ferguson and #BlackLivesMatter and #BrownLivesMatter because Jesus was brown, that'd be great--this is a place of work, and we don't want to hear your left-wing political beliefs. Besides, those people, including Jesus, were breaking the law! Jesus committed treason against the Roman Empire for asserting that He was a king! How dare you speak of a criminal such as that in the work place!

Oh my God, this is still happening.

Do you think Adnan Syed did it? I want to believe the guy. He seems genuine! I like him! But, I can't honestly say that I feel confident in his innocence. And, if we can't trust a 32-year-old inmate of a Maryland correctional facility, who can we trust? Certainly not ourselves.

Because, after all, wasn't it Mike who told The Boss just last June: I can do better, I can change; I've re-accepted Christ as my Savior and the slave-mentality teachings of the Abrahamic faith, and I will limit my blogging and disparaging and other recent sins? [I said what they say I said.] Wasn't it Mike who violated that agreement immediately and consistently thereafter? [Here I am, it was me.] Wasn't it Mike who ultimately resigned his position as a gainfully employed member of the American economy? [It was so.] Did Mike, less than two weeks after submitting his resignation, drink too much alcohol, swim laps in an executive's pool while drinking, and then start an insurrection? [I peed in the pool, too.] Did e-mails subsequently surface indicating that Mike's actions that evening were premeditated? [I did what I fully intended to do.] In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the terms of Mike's employment were such that he was to be a model employee whose faith in Christ would allow him to overcome his demons of too much temper, too much drink, and too much disparaging of others. And he willfully admits to continually violating the terms of that agreement. [Objection! My client has been too conflicted for too long to willfully and knowingly do anything! He's insane!] [Over-ruled.]  [Your honor...] [Stand down, Jaquellin.] [My client is a piece of shit!]

And then, one night, long after my conviction and the sentence to a lifetime of underachievement, underemployment, and disappointment, I dreamt of a brick, ranch-style house at the end of a road cutting into the woods in an affluent suburb.Winter time can be so desolate and cold, frosty in a way that cuts bone deep. Barren trees surround the empty cul-de-sac. Where has everyone gone?

I wake up with a start, lay back down, and wonder what the empty house can possibly represent. I long to sleep for a few more hours. What am I supposed to do now? I'm tired--I was always tired. I wondered what it would be like to suddenly no longer feel so exhausted. I didn't sleep well--I didn't do anything well.

And then, finally, I fell back asleep and didn't close something I wrote with a fluffy, horse-shit ending. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Violations

I have stood by in silence for too long. At The Corporation, where I remain gainfully employed for at least the rest of this day, I continue to see various violations of the Employee Handbook, and I can no longer stand idly by and watch TPS Report Specialists burn this place to the ground. Here are some of the violations I've seen recently:

On the evening of 12/9/14, a TPS Report Specialist wrote the initials of another employee on the dinner menu even though that employee wasn't even present at the time the dinner menu was being circulated. The employee who made this tragic joke that has now cost the lives of probably millions of innocent people was me, Mark Reynolds. For this unacceptable lapse in judgement, I am more sorry than I've ever been before. It is a far, far worse thing that I did than I have ever done before. It was a far, far worse rest that I went to last night knowing how egregiously I'd screwed up than I've ever known before.

Due to my lack of a good night sleep, I showed up two hours late today. But we'll get back to that.

Luckily for me, 11-time employee of the month Tommy Silverstein saw that I had written our co-worker's name on the menu last night, and he circulated a new menu to make sure that no foods were illicitly ordered in the innocent man's name. Still, the lack of harm caused by my behavior doesn't in any way excuse the activity, which is why the guilt and shame just won't abate.

Now, back to this day, Wednesday, December 10, 2014. As I previously self-reported on this blog, I showed up to work two hours late. Additionally, I violated the Employee Handbook by reading Twitter, Facebook, FanGraphs, Grantland, The New Yorker, Vox, and other media establishments with an online presence.

Side note: the United States of America appears to have enhanced interrogated some folks, in part by sticking hummus up their asses. I eat a lot of hummus, but I've never stuck it up my own bee-hole, though now I'm starting to consider if that's a viable and perhaps more efficient option. Anyway, let's not be so sanctimonious about the enhanced interrogation techniques we used on some folks, and let's start to look forward instead of backward while acknowledging our greatness as a nation for having looked into the mirror in regards to our violations of the Geneva Conventions. USA! USA! USA!

Also, let us not forget that the torture report was done by a bunch of left-wing, self-satisfied, smug Democrats who watch The Newsroom and House of Cards and hate America. Perhaps we should demonstrate some enhanced interrogation tactics on those folks and see if we can't get some actionable intelligence. Yeah, the CIA tortured some lefty Senate staffers, but let's move on. Who cares?

And remember, if you suspect ANYTHING, say SOMETHING. And say it to me, because I not only self-report, but I report on the lives of others.  

And so but after showing up two hours late and reading the internet for most of the day, I went to lunch with my co-worker and failed to include other co-workers. For this lack of inclusion, I'm deeply sorry. I talked to one of my co-workers about baseball for most of the day. I made several unauthorized visits into Silverstein's unit which likely distracted them from their processes. I listened to music. I took a cigarette break in a non-cigarette-smoking-designated area. I didn't tuck in my shirt because my new pants are a little too small even though it was Wednesday and not casual Friday. I excessively snacked on snacks provided by The Corporation throughout the day, though I did get my comeuppance as I now have a sharp pain in my tooth that will prevent me from being able to work tomorrow. I sent inappropriate e-mails over the company server.

Sadly, I saw most of my colleagues engaging in similar behaviors. One of my co-workers, who is Hispanic and Native American, appears to have not only engaged in not-work related conversations, but she may have engaged in activities that can be construed as reverse racism, if such a thing exists. I was talking about appropriate work-discussion topics like affirmative action when she asked me why I thought I was a minority, which seems to be out of line from my vantage point. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if a white guy thinks he's a minority, he has every right to assume that he's right.

One of my co-workers was listening to Christmas music which is a double-violation, as this is a secular place of business that doesn't allow for pro-Christian demonstrations given the Obama War on Christmas.

Various other co-workers were seen reading articles on the internet and listening to music. One co-worker talked to me about various baseball transactions throughout the day. Tommy Silverstein excessively snacked, particularly when he brought two Vitamin Water's back from the kitchen. While I respect a TPS Report Specialist's need to hydrate, we can all agree Silverstein is taking advantage of The Corporation's generosity. The Senor, who lives with Tommy Silverstein in an arrangement that hasn't been properly disclosed to HR, committed an act of terror so egregious that I can't even write it on this blog. He also heard Silverstein listening to music and failed to report that violation to HR, which is even worse because all it takes for evil to succeed is for good people like The Senor to stand by in silence. Then again, does the Employee Handbook allow for tattle-taling? If rat-finking is a violation, then there have been several additional sins committed by me and against me. Either way, Silverstein and Von Leigh were with me on the illegal, unauthorized cigarette break.

I'm sure there were other horrific crimes committed today, both by me and various other employees. If you are reading this blog written on company time, you a) better not fucking be reading it on company time and b) should immediately report any other violations to me ASAP. Remember, if you suspect ANY violations, REPORT them immediately. If the accused is not guilty, then they have nothing to hide. If they are guilty, you're saving the day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Screaming into the wind at Billy Beane

Another day, another Billy Beane trade of an All-Star for too little in return, and two more FanGraphs articles coming to his defense. This comes one day after Beane dealt another All-Star for what Keith Law describes as a player who "doesn't bring much return in terms of on-field production."

But maybe Beane is living in some post-competitive world where on-field production isn't necessary.

I've been hard on Beane this winter because I don't like any of the moves he made. Three years and $30 million for Billy Butler? Josh Donaldson, one of the game's most valuable players with four years of team control left via arbitration, for Brett Lawrie (who has only three years of club control left), two back-end arms, and a prospect who is eons away? Brandon Moss, who has two years of control left via arbitration, for Joe Wendle, who hit .253/.311/.414 as a 24-year-old at AA?  And now Jeff Samardzija, acquired along with Jason Hammel for top prospect Addison Russell and more, is gone for a package that doesn't include any of Baseball America's Top 100 prospects.

No, the A's aren't just "doing what the A's have to do." If these are the best offers they could get for two hitters who combined for 54 home runs and nearly nine wins last year and a pitcher who finished with a 2.99 ERA, why not just hold off and live to fight for another year? Would any other GM get away with swapping Donaldson, Moss, and Samardzija for Lawrie, Franklin Barreto, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin, Wendle, Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley, Rangel Ravelo, and Chris Bassitt?

This crop of incoming talent doesn't compare to the group Beane acquired three winters ago for Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill, and Gio Gonzalez. Jarrod Parker, who came over for Cahill, and Derek Norris, who came over for Gonzalez, were perennially among the game's top-ranked prospects. Sure, Baseball America's rankings aren't gospel, but Jeff Sullivan's argument that, "The truth of it is, we don’t know. We don’t know who’s winning a trade; we don’t know if anyone is winning a trade, at the time," is a cop out that Beane's supporters don't use when other GM's make moves as questionable as his this winter.

If Dayton Moore dealt away 13 wins and seven years of team control for the return Beane has received this winter, would Sullivan write that the truth of it is that we just don't know who is winning these trades? Of course not, because Moore made the worst trade in the history of baseball when he acquired James Shields and Wade Davis for Wil Myers and more.

The A's won 88 games last year and lost the one-game Wild Card playoff to Kansas City, but there Pythagorean win-loss record was 99-63. They outscored their opponents by 157 runs (729-572).

After trading Donaldson, Beane said:
When we went into this winter, we had to take a look at where we are and where we're headed, and we have to keep in mind we were 11 games behind the Angels last season and it took the last day to hold off the Mariners. Given the losses that we have ... at some credible positions, and given our payroll, we didn't think it was possible to sort of add to the current group to make up an 11-game difference, so what we thought we had to do was do something that wasn't timid and something that hopefully got us in a position that we had a team with a chance to get better with each day as opposed to one that was maybe starting to deteriorate. 
The Angels Pythagorean win-loss record was 96-66. Did Oakland really have to make up 11 games on the Angels this winter? A full season of Samardzija alongside Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Drew Pomeranz, and the returning Parker and A.J. Griffin would've given Oakland a rotation to compete with the Angels and Mariners. Instead of dealing Moss and Donaldson for mediocre returns, why not keep them and look to upgrade at shortstop and second base instead of giving a long-term deal to Butler?

If 2015 blows up, they could still trade Samardzija, Donaldson, and Moss mid-season. Or, they could keep Samardzija and take a draft pick as compensation when he signs elsewhere next winter. The A's didn't have to do any of these deals right now. They reportedly didn't even head into the winter planning to deal Donaldson, and teams weren't even aware of his availability.

Beane has long been one of the game's best GM's, but his terrific track record doesn't excuse the series of questionable transactions he's made this winter. He should be judged on the merits of his moves instead of getting the kid-glove treatment due to his role in popularizing the sabermetric movement.

With Donaldson, Moss, and Samardzija, the A's would've competed for the AL West crown again in 2015. With Lawrie, Semien, Graveman, Nolin, and Butler, the A's are now going to take a major step back. It wasn't what they had to do. It was a deliberate choice made by a GM who seems to be flipping assets for the sake of flipping assets instead of following a well-constructed plan of action.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

When the State Kills

“Government control gives rise to fraud, suppression of Truth, intensification of the black market and artificial scarcity. Above all, it unmans the people and deprives them of initiative, it undoes the teaching of self-help…” - Mahatma Gandhi 


When the state kills you, they immediately leak information to discredit you to justify the killing, they put on a sham grand jury trial in which unconstitutional statutes are used to ensure the state's representatives won't be indicted, then they blame leaks and the media for their inability to procure an indictment even though a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich, and they discredit the testimony of non-state actors without pointing out the discrepancies in the testimony of the state actor.

When I first became "political" around, what, age 17, I was very liberal. I registered with the Green Party and read Ralph Nader's book. Now I'm 29 and I guess I'm still a liberal in some ways--pro gay marriage, pro choice, pro gun control, voted for Obama twice, anti Drug War, and so on--but more than being liberal I've come to decry power in all of its forms. Our banking system is too big to fail and continues on as though nothing happened after they torpedoed the economy, the federal government is too big to be accessible by the common person who can't afford to spend millions lobbying for their special interests like cheaper healthcare and college tuition, and a more equitable distribution of wealth, and many other private corporations are too big to, like, serve its customers in a way that doesn't produce infuriated rage. Oh, and the government and large, private telecom giants are in bed together jacking off to all the porn I watch and the ridiculous Skype sessions I had during a long-distance relationship. 

So, from my limited vantage point, we live in a dystopian shithole. But then, who am I?

I'm certainly "no angel." Thank God I'm white, because "Sometimes Unfortunate Things Happen In The Heat Of A 400-Year-Old Legacy Of Racism," and if I had to add race to my list of problems it'd probably be the end of me. Luckily, I can just ignore unpleasant things and pretend they don't exist. I didn't have to go to Iraq or Afghanistan--thank God for that as well, though the military wouldn't have wanted my cowardly ass anyway--so I can pretend the War on Terror, like the War on Drugs, doesn't exist. My ancestors weren't enslaved. They didn't experience Jim Crow segregation after the Civil War or the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration. It's time to just move on from that 400-year legacy of racism, right? Slavery and Jim Crow are over--Lincoln and LBJ saved the day--and mass incarceration wouldn't exist if junkies would just stop breaking the damn law!

Except, like, it's all connected and intellectually I'm curious so I stay marginally informed and eventually these wars do come home and the NSA is collecting my data, too. My three nieces are black. Two of my best friends are black. My sister-in-law is black. The President I voted for is black. And yet, who am I?

Hey, I can quote Gandhi, and that's nice, and I can write about Ferguson without mentioning Ferguson, and I can equivocate and moderate and try to play it down the middle to please all sides like President Obama so that my friends who are cops will still be friends with me on Facebook and my conservative buddies will still get drunk with me, but also so that my "liberal" friends will know that I'm on their side at the end of the day. And I can make a nice argument about how government is the problem and we need less government because it is the government that spies on you and incarcerates you and kills you and sends you to war and drones other nations and so if we had less and less government it follows that we'd have fewer of these problems. And maybe that argument is valid. But I honestly don't know and I don't think I'm ever going to get the answers and solutions I want.

But if I am going to comment on Ferguson, I should at least look in the mirror first and be honest about what I see. And when I do that, yikes! My President is black, my best friends are black, my nieces who I am supposed to be a role model for are black, and yet when I hear that god-awful word that doesn't need mentioning used, what do I do? Nothing. Or worse, I'll laugh. Or, incredibly, I'll make my own racist jokes because we've got to have drunken LOL moments, right? It's another white privilege I couldn't possibly give up. So, it's hard for me to write an impassioned, left-wing plea for a more just, verdant, and peaceful world when I look in the mirror and see the world's biggest fucking lying, cheating, leeching, manipulative scumbag, ya know?

I'm well-intentioned some of the time, but my actions certainly aren't that of an angel, but a devil. My employer hates me and can't wait for me to be out of here (1/31/15!). My ex-girlfriend has filed several cease and desist orders against this godforsaken blog. If you drug tested me as I'm writing this, you would find marijuana in my system; that is, as long is takes longer than four days for it to leave your system. You would also find a lot of high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, and alcohol in my pee, unless alcohol leaves your system quickly or something. I don't know, I'm not a fucking scientist. I'm a fucking clown, trying to make light of a situation in which a kid got his brains blown out. I also have participated in prostitution in the last year, though in a non-sexual way--but that's another story. I drink too much. I eat too much. I watch too much porn. My online dates don't go well. So, those of us, like me, who live in glass houses paid for by grandma shouldn't throw stones. 

This is a blog somewhat about Ferguson, which is the last thing the internet needs right now. But I will say that as a person with a degree in Political Science with an emphasis in public law, I am at least disgusted with the grand jury proceedings. A lot of folks commenting on Facebook seem to think that we actually had a trial with a jury reaching a verdict exonerating the officer, but that isn't quite what happened. If we at least had a trial to determine what actually happened, I have little doubt that the officer would have been exonerated given the legal standards involved. The legal standard being, "Constitutionally, 'police officers are allowed to shoot under two circumstances,' says criminologist David Klinger of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The first circumstance is 'to protect their life or the life of another innocent party' — what departments call the 'defense-of-life' standard. The second circumstance is to prevent a suspect from escaping, but only if the officer has probable cause to think the suspect's committed a serious violent felony." That's a low bar to clear, but couldn't we at least have grand jury proceedings and then a trial in which the deceased is actually represented in some way? No, because grand juries typically indict, unless the case is a police shooting. One wonders if the cozy relationship between state actors at the DA's office and in police departments could possibly have anything to with that, but then one has always been accused of skepticism to the point of cynicism.

Finally, "We shouldn't talk about Ferguson without talking about guns." It's weird to me that pro-gun conservatives don't seem to mind that police officers have to be so heavily armed because of the heavily armed population they're facing. But again, I'm a liberal who reads The New Yorker, Vox, and novels written by degenerate drunks and junkies like Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey, so maybe I'm misinformed. It's also weird to me that my liberal friends want a bigger, more powerful government when our current, big, powerful government seems to be doing enough harm as it is.

I'm eager to close but I have nothing to tie these ramblings together. Be the change you want to see in the world or something. Or if you don't think change is needed, let me read whatever you're reading so I can feel less depressed.