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Welcome to the 16th Annual Wriphe.com Batman and Football Month, now with 166% more disease!

A year ago, I looked upon the approaching college football season with trepidation and wrote

I get that the players want to play. As a fan, I want to watch. But just because we *want* football doesn't mean we're in a position to have it. If you're old enough and smart enough to go to college, you're old enough not to let your wants hurt you. If getting this pandemic under control, if ensuring that we break the chain of infections to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors means we have to stay in our homes (or dorms) and forego one football season, we should do that, even if we don't want to. Any other behavior is just irresponsible.

Oh, how naive I was in my youth. Let me show you how much things have changed in the state of Georgia in one year. This is August 2020:

On a roller coaster, we'd call this a bunny hill

And this is where we are in August 2021:

A pandemic so nice, we did it twice
source: worldometers.info

A year-to-year gain of +7,000 cases on a graph that is still climbing! To get numbers like that, you have to be actively trying!

Just like in 2020, I bought UGA football season tickets in the early spring under the assumption that this whole pandemic thing might be under control by fall. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Granted, some things have changed in a year. In theory, the players have all been vaccinated (right?), so they should be safe enough (from COVID if not brain damage). But can the same be said for the fans? There's a non-zero overlap between the group of people who love to watch live football and the group of people who would rather kill children than wear a strip of cloth over their faces.

I'm fully vaccinated and have been since May, but vaccination is no guarantee that I can't get the virus. (If you like to be depressed, Google "breakthrough cases" and "vaccine efficacy decline".) Since we have yet to see any sign that this latest pandemic surge is ready to turn any corners, it looks like I'll be missing out on another season.

I guess I should have spent that ticket money on a new, larger television. I may be in my bunker for a long time yet to come.

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Run, Blossom! Save yourself!

Disappointment is a side effect of expectations.

I liked Executive Producer Mike Richards as Jeopardy! MC. I thought he was among the best of the "guest hosts" who have been substituting for the late, great Alex Trebek. I wanted Richards to have the job permanently.

But Richards (or his bosses) made a mistake. When they told the general public that the new host would be "one of the guest hosts," that set the expectation in the minds of the public that the job would go to the host they personally liked best. Hence the widespread disappointment from LeVar Burton's legion of well-earned fans when the least known (but best connected — and probably also the cheapest) of all the temporary hosts got the gig.

Thus the door was opened for the inevitable amateur yellow journalists digging up every negative thing Richards has done or said in his 46 years on the planet. Sadly, not everyone can be as perfect a person as Alex Trebek.

If any of Richards' innumerable sins (mostly misogyny & bad jokes) is truly unpardonable, it was that as Executive Producer he had the inside track on selecting and auditioning hosts. Even if he didn't have the final say himself, he should have known that when you're in the race, you can't also be the referee. Americans expect their game shows to be fair, and they're always disappointed when they aren't.

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Every Batman fan worth his salt knows "The Joker's Comedy of Errors!", better known as "The Joker's Boner" story. Originally presented in Batman #66, Aug/Sep 1951, it can be summed up in one panel:

Extra, extra! Read all a-boner!
This is but one of 6 "boner" newspaper headlines in this story.

If you haven't read the story or you struggle with context clues, you might find it helpful to know that my trusty 1977 Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged defines "boner" thusly:

bōn´ẽr, n. a stupid or silly blunder. [Slang.]

As Batman #66 proves, newspaper editors love boners. Which brings us to the point of today's post.

In order to fill column space As a public service, The Newnan Times-Herald newspaper reprints food inspection reports from county restaurants. It's usually a lot of repeated warnings that store managers aren't checking the mold levels in their ice machines. (Come on, guys! It's right there in the Georgia Department of Public Health Rules and Regulations, Chapter 511-6-1-.05-7-b-5-iv-II!)

This month, in honor of Independence Day, the paper rewarded loyal readers by giving our local hot dog stand a boner of its own:

I eat hotdongs with relish!

Oysters really are an aphrodisiac!

For the record, the restaurant calls itself "The Half Shell Oyster Bar & Hot Dog Shop." Rumor has it their menu was selected because the city wouldn't let them install an oven in their original location downtown, so they chose items they could cook with steam. (Welcome to Newnan!)

I've never had the oysters, but the chili dogs *are* pretty exciting.

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There is no new fact about that day<sup>1</sup> that we need the Democrats' extraneous 'commission' to uncover<sup>2</sup>

1 "That day" was January 6, 2021, when an armed mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, resulting in the death of 5 Americans

2 Quoted May 27, 2021, on the Senate floor by Minority Whip Mitch McConnell3

3 Image is a visual approximation

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I am now fully vaccinated (2 shots + 2 weeks), which, according to the CDC, means that I can resume my life as "normal" before COVID-19 reached American shores. But what if I don't want to?

I *could* drive to my friends' houses, assuming that I can find gasoline (which is not in short supply but is suffering distribution issues after too many of my fellow Americans succumbed to panic following news reports of possible problems and bought up all the available toilet paper gasoline). But I've never been enthusiastic about leaving the house, and I find I am even less so now, even to spend time with people who I theoretically enjoy spending time with.

I *could* attend a movie, as I used to do before the entertainment world ground to a halt. But my favorite theater couldn't survive the economic downturn and is now boarded up. Besides, what's playing? The number one movie in America is Wrath of Man, and I get to see plenty of that on the evening news for free.

I *could* go to a sporting event, such as a minor league baseball game. But the thought of being surrounded by a crowd of people has always made me anxious, and that was back when the odds were low that the people sitting on either side of me could kill me with their breath. Football season doesn't start for months yet. I've paid for season tickets; will I be comfortable enough to venture forth by then?

Or I *could* stay under the covers in my bed in my basement, where the world can't reach me. I think I like that option best.

POSTSCRIPT: I just waded through many, many, many websites worth of evidence supporting — but, as they are quick to point out, not conclusively proving (because the Chinese government has been so thoroughly opposed to any investigation) — the theory that COVID-19 is a human creation that escaped a lab in true Michael Crichton-fashion. All the more reason to stay indoors, I think, where those mad scientists can't reach me.

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It has been announced that the University of Georgia and the University of Louisville are now scheduled to play football against one another in the years 2026 and 2027. It's always big news when UGA plays a team from a so-called "Power Five" conference that isn't the SEC, but this one is particularly interesting.

A bit of history: UGA and Louisville were supposed to play football in one another's stadiums during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, but that deal got bought out by the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game so that UGA would be free to play in 2011 vs Boise State (which I did not attend and Boise State won). UGA did eventually play Louisville — for the first and, to-date, only time — in the 2014 Belk Bowl (which I attended and UGA won).

You might think that this news of a home-and-home series against Louisville would be great news for me, a Georgia season ticket holder. But I'll probably get to see it the same way most of America will: from my couch.

Georgia is already scheduled to play one game against a non-SEC Power Five school in each of the next five years, but none of those will be in Athens. In fact, most of those are already scheduled for neutral sites, just like the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic or the Belk Bowl. It's a safe bet that by the time we get to 2027, the Louisville game will be moved elsewhere to capture those television contract big bucks — or maybe outright canceled as it was in 2011.

The point of all this is my message that if UGA wants to win, they should hold the game somewhere I will be in attendance.

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Coca-Cola's response to Georgia's passage of the Election Integrity Act of 2021 ("Statement from James Quincey [Chairman and CEO] on Georgia Voting Legislation," April 1, 2021) opened with this sugar-free, caramel-coloring deficient statement:

"We want to be crystal clear and state unambiguously that we are disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting legislation."

Georgia Republican House Caucus response to Coca-Cola's response to their new law (excerpt from "House of Representatives letter to Coca-Cola Company," April 3, 2021):

"Given Coke's choice to cave to the pressure of an out of control cancel culture, we respectfully request all Coca-Cola Company products be removed from our office suite immediately."

Three things:

1. Nothing says you're taking a stand against "out of control cancel culture" like canceling something that you disagreed with.

2. Why would anyone expect Coca-Cola to be happy about the new law when it expressly makes it illegal to give someone a Coke and/or a smile?

(Election Integrity Act of 2121, Section 33: Said chapter is further amended by revising subsections (a) and (e) of Code Section 21-2-414, relating to restrictions on campaign activities and public opinion polling within the vicinity of a polling place, cellular phone use prohibited, prohibition of candidates from entering certain polling places, and penalty, as follows: (a) No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign material, nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector, nor shall any person solicit signatures for any petition, nor shall any person, other than election officials discharging their duties, establish or set up any tables or booths on any day in which ballots are being cast: (1) Within 150 feet of the outer edge of any building within which a polling place is established; (2) Within any polling place; or (3) Within 25 feet of any voter standing in line to vote at any polling place.)

3. Enjoy your Pepsi, boys. You've earned it.

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I feel like the recent announcement that Hasbro is dropping the "Mr." and "Mrs." from their Potato Head toys is something that I should be blogging about. It's exactly the sort of inconsequential bit of nostalgic pop-culture bullshit for an overgrown man-child to rant sarcastically about.

However, in 2021, if I make a joke about a plastic potato no longer having a penis, that means I qualify to be a panelist on Fox News. Good grief. (Fun fact: Fox News much prefers their plastic potatoes to have vaginas as God intended.)

These days, everything is a political weapon. From which fast food you have for lunch to which comic books you read to whether you take steps to prevent the spread of disease, every goddamn thing is now a cudgel that someone will use to drive their agenda against you.

Has it always been this way? Was I just not paying attention before? When did everyone get so sensitive? Wokeness is fucking exhausting. We could use some laughter to break this tension, but someone is sure to take that personally.

Way to suck the fun out of a toy, everybody.

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Slate.com's culture blog, Brow Beat, has published a satirical article that is too perfect. (I'm so jealous. I wish I'd thought of it first.) I'm reposting just the start to whet your appetite.

Don’t Prosecute Gotham’s Supervillains for Their Latest Scheme

Any attempt to bring the Joker to justice is likely to fail or backfire.

By THE JOKER   JAN 12, 2021 · 7:47 AM

It’s been a traumatizing couple of weeks in Gotham City, full of unthinkable violence and chaos. We’ve all seen the appalling footage: the exploding shark, the pier bombing, and the United World Organization building—until last week, a powerful symbol of the democratic hopes of the entire world—being invaded, vandalized, and defiled by the “United Underworld,” an alliance of the city’s most dastardly criminals: Catwoman, the Penguin, the Riddler, and even the Joker, the coolest supervillain of them all (although his role in the plot was very minor or maybe even nonexistent, from what I’m hearing). People across Gotham are frustrated and angered, and the vicious, unwarranted vigilante attack launched by so-called crime fighters Batman and Robin against the crew of a whimsically decorated Navy surplus submarine in Gotham Harbor did nothing to lower the emotional temperature.

Now it appears that Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara are planning to bring criminal charges against the ringleaders of the United Underworld. This is a grave mistake. Our great city should be looking forward right now, not dwelling on the past. A trial would only dredge up traumatic memories and evidence of the terror unleashed by the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, and possibly others. Criminal trials should not occur in the heat of the moment, if ever, and I fear that investigating this shameful incident any further would only be inflammatory and incriminating.

...

Read the rest at
https://slate.com/culture/2021/01/impeachment-prosecution-batman-joker-penguin-catwoman-riddler-united-underworld-kidnapping.html

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Only 1 person died

Well, America sure was nice while it lasted.

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To be continued...

 

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