1995 Review: Shame Ahoy!

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, December 31 1995

You’ll note that “ahoy!” is one of the funniest words in existence. This column’s highlight was probably the stoning of David Hasselhoff by angry reporters. I think at the time “gay” and “Richard Simmons” were still words that could get a cheap laugh just by mentioning them, or at least that’s the only explanation for how often we went out of our way to keep telling people we weren’t gay. Which we aren’t. Or, you know what, you can ask Paul since I don’t want to speak for him.

Hi.  We are “Jeff and Paul.”  Just like famed magicians “Siegfried and Roy,” except we don’t do magic tricks, we don’t have any huge invisible tigers and we aren’t gay.

Well, 1995 is over, except for those of you still on Daylight Savings Time. It’s time to dump Old Man ‘95 in the Matlock Memorial Nursing Home of Time and pluck Baby ‘96 from the Stroller of Hope. But before we move on to 1996 (“The Year of the Poodle”), it’s time to reflect upon 1995 (“The Year of Lots of Fish.”)  History will certainly remember 1995 as having been “after 1994, and before 1996.”  And that’s important.  Unless you’re on Daylight Savings Time, in which case 1995 comes after 316 B.C., and in the Mountain Time Zone there are 36 days in October.

It is said that “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it, unless they bribe, sleep with, or shoot their teacher.”  Well, there are no bribes for the Great Teacher of Time, who calls the Roll of History, assigns the Homework of Experience, gives the Detention of Global Warming, gets sick and is replaced by the Substitue Teacher of Unregulated Interstate Commerce, and is sometimes Drunk in Class, which results in Leap Years and the weather formation known as “El Niño.”

We must study the mistakes of 1995, like the government shutdowns and Waterworld (also known as “Fishtar”), if we are to avoid repeating them. We gaze back upon the Major Events of 1995, and wonder, “Where did the time go?  What the Hell was I thinking?  Was I drunk or  something?  And why did somebody give me Tube Socks for Christmas?  Who the Hell wants socks?”

1995, Or Whatever

January 4: Baywatch becomes the most popular TV show in the history of the universe.  Star David Hasselhoff, in a special celebratory press conference at his Austrian mountain retreat (der Hasselhäus) inexplicably sings “Send in the Clowns” in German, but only gets as far as the second verse before he is stoned by angry reporters.

January 13: The Richmond City Council rejects the idea of Riverboat gambling on the Annabel Lee, saying, “Wow! Try some of these red pills!”

February 6: It’s really cold.

March 12: Investors cheer as the Dow Jones Average breaks the high of 4000, allowing them to enter their initials on the High Score Board.

March 15: Gen. Douglas MacArthur signs the treaty ending World War II. Um, well, we’re pretty sure something like that happened last year.

March 20: Hundreds are killed in Japan after the maniacal Aum Shinrikyo cult plants deadly bombs in subways that release concentrated doses of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be A Redneck If…” CD.

April 2: The Major League Baseball strike ends when ABC, in place of baseball, broadcasts documentaries on “Our Wacky Friend the Lemur” and “The Mystery and Magic of Sand.”  Ratings go up.

May 24-31: We don’t remember what happened here.  Paul was out of town and Jeff was drunk.

June 21: 28-year-old Nicholas Leeson manages to single-handedly wreck the entire British Barings Bank after losing $1.2 billion of England’s money.  He later claims he “just lost it under the cushions of his car seats.”

July 7: The worst drought in years kills every plant in the state, making Virginia’s leading crop “Thatch.”

July 30: The worst floods ever to hit Virginia wash away all of the state’s freshly-harvested thatch crop, making the new leading cash crop “Gravel.”

August 2: The “Unabomber” threatens to blow up somebody unless The Washington Post prints his 35,000-word treatise on the evils of Static Cling.

August 12: Plucky but brain-damaged Peter McNeely announces he will fight Mike Tyson.  Hopeful children gather outside the arena to catch McNeely’s head as it comes out over the left-field fence.

August 19: Plucky but porcine Shannon Faulkner quits The Citadel.  Hundreds of cadets celebrate jubilantly, saying “Boy are we sure glad there’s no GIRLS around anymore!  It’s just us GUYS, hanging out in sailor suits and getting sweaty doing push-ups!  Yaaayyyy!”

Later that afternoon: Richard Simmons applies to The Citadel.

August 27: Citizens of Quebec vote narrowly to support the referendum stating that “Playing ice hockey and speaking French just don’t seem to go together.”  It is a terrible defeat for the ultra-nationalist Passez les Croissants Party, but they vow to continue their fight “by any means necessary.”

September 3: Shannon Faulkner knocks out Peter McNeely in 91 seconds.

September 21: A pack of ruthless Quebeçois terrorists from the PLC Party sneak into a crowded shopping mall at mid-day, and savagely hand out leaflets explaining their position.

October 3: O. J. Simpson is found “Not Guilty.”  Angry upper-middle-class whites riot, looting BMW dealerships and setting several Starbucks Coffee stores ablaze.

October 7: Colin Powell announces that he won’t run for president, but is thinking of getting a part-time job.

October 9: In a commercial, Peter McNeely is (True Fact!) knocked out by a greasy piece of pizza.

October 12: Under renewed threats of mail-bombing attempts, The Richmond State publishes a 35,000-word treatise on how to survive after college.Our weekly column is born.

October 15: Hurricane (Real Name!) Opal hits the east coast, resulting in one tree falling over and three hundred surfers appearing on the local news talking about how “Bitchin’!” the waves are.

October 16: The Million-Man March in Washington D.C. attracts, according to the U.S. Park Service, 400,000 marchers and 514,000 reporters.  March organizer Louis Farrakhan claims attendance was under-counted because “the white man insists on placing several numbers between 3 and 8.”

October 17: Terrorists bomb France, endangering the world’s supply of berets and pretentiousness.  A special U.N. peacekeeping force moves into Paris, but retreats after being ambushed by a pack of surly French waiters.

October 28: A seriously overexcited Atlanta Braves fan, doing “The Tomahawk Chop” during the World Series, cracks the skull of Jane Fonda, sitting in front of him.  Millions applaud.

November 14: The government wages a campaign to force the restaurant “Hooters” to hire male waitresses.  Keep in mind that your tax dollars paid for this.

November 15: In an official statement, men world-wide announce, “Yech.”

November 19: Part one of ABC’s  Beatles Anthology airs, surprising even the most die-hard fans when it reveals that Ringo was once the leader of the Gestapo.

November 21: President Clinton meets with Bosnian and Serbian leaders in similarly war-torn Ohio, where they agree to give the Bosnians control of Board Walk and Park Place, and give the Serbs the “War in Bosnia” Home Game and a lifetime supply of Turtle Wax.

November 23: In part 3 of the landmark Beatles Anthology, Ringo knocks out Peter McNeely in 18 seconds.

November 30: Peter McNeely announces plans to fight a rock. Oddsmakers give him 15 seconds.

December 3: Rome invades Carthage, beginning the third Punic War.

December 9: The first American troops, the 103rd Airborne (“The Screaming Weasels”), arrive in the war-torn Balkans.  They decide it is “no fun” and just go invade Luxembourg.

December 12: David Hasselhoff, in a bizarre stage-diving accident during a concert in Düsseldorf, knocks out Peter McNeely.

December 25: Paul gets Tube Socks for Christmas. Jeff gets coal and a “Slippy, the Christmas Weasel” necktie.

December 31: In Times Square, ten seconds before midnight, a wild-eyed and obviously drunk Dick Clark rings in the new year by knocking out Peter McNeely. McNeely, dazed, yells “Happy Hallowe’en!” and is then crushed to death by the huge dropping ball.

©1996! Puff Carpluto

Check out Jeff and Paul on the Internet at http://www.pluginc.com!

A New Weasel for Christmas

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, December 14 1995

The Richmond State was a plucky upstart alternative newspaper (not that kind of “alternative”) that challenged the editorial might of the stodgy Hands down, our funniest column ever and maybe the funniest thing I’ve ever been involved in writing. Paul’s “INTERNATIONAL COMMUNISM IN YOUR CHIMNEY RIGHT NOW” line was fantastic. The line “with a wink and a nod and a wet, hacking cough, ‘Slippy’ would be off to the next house to spread Holiday Joy and Large Ticks” was mine, and it was just plain f***ing hilarious. Anyway, just read it.

Hi.  We are Jeff and Paul.  We are the Two Wise Guys, and we bring Frankincense, Myrrh, and … uh … Cool Whip.

Slippy the Christmas Weasel
Slippy the Christmas Weasel, our finest creation for The Richmond State.

As mayoral candidates, we face the TOUGH issues.  Like Santa Claus.

Isn’t it about time we re-examined “Santa Claus,” alias “Kris Kringle,” alias “Father Christmas,” alias “Uncle Jesse?”  This reputedly jolly, obviously corpulent mystery man has held a monopoly on the Christmas Mascot business for hundreds of years.  And while he has been breaking and entering into millions of homes, supposedly delivering “gifts,” what do we really know about him? And why does he look so much like the late Jerry Garcia?  Nobody knows who this “Santa” (if that is his real name) is, where he is from – aside from an obviously fraudulent “North Pole” P.O. Box address – or even what his motivation is.  We figure he’s doing community service for an Elfnappingconviction.

And his clothes … We don’t want to alarm you, but his blatantly “red” garb seems to smack slightly of INTERNATIONAL COMMUNISM IN YOUR CHIMNEY RIGHT NOW.

Furthermore, how did he become the symbol of a holiday intended to celebrate a very serious religious event?  Perhaps some people are disturbed at the thought of their children in a  Olde Towne Centre Malle sitting on the lap of a Major Religious Figure.  At any rate – since it is probably too demeaning to imagine Jesus having Elves instead of Apostles – Santa Claus was substituted to make the holiday seem less religious, and more oriented toward obese people and flying deer.

Santa’s record has been rocky at best. He faced bad press after breaking an Elf Strike by threatening to move the franchise from the North Pole to Baltimore.  “60 Minutes” exposed his habit of feeding Rudolph only Jack Daniel’s to make his nose red and that the white cuffs on his red suit and cap are made from the fur of baby seals he clubbed himself.

Santa was almost shot down by the Canadian Air Force in 1983, when they mistook him for a flock of Soviet geese.  His recent court appearance on a charge of Sleighing Under the Influence did not help matters, nor did his short-lived “TundraVision” cable network fiasco.

Santa reportedly turned to drinking after all of the water in his “Santa-Land North-Pole Water-Slide Fun-Park” froze and 38 children were encased in ice.  Not long thereafter, a USA Today poll revealed – in a weather map-shaped graph – that everything west of the Missippi is a bizarre shade of orange.  The poll also showed that only 3% of children believe in Santa.  The kids didn’t believe in Gerald Ford either, but that didn’t help Santa’s mood any.

Also, as a White Male Oppressor who hires midgets so he can claim them as tax write-offs, Santa is blatantly Politically Incorrect. He has also drawn fire for his policy among the elves of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”  This is an enlightened era and so-called-Santa’s little “Reindeer Games” are over.  Please consider, Cheery Holiday State Reader, our comprehensive list of Alternate Christmas Mascots:

• Kathy Ireland in a Victoria’s Secret Mistletoe Negligeé: it would look much better on Coke glasses.  We’d like to be on her “naughty” list.

• Frosty the Snowman: a longtime “Yuletide” (Swedish for “fish?”  We don’t know.) favorite, he could come to the houses of good children everywhere, then melt on the carpet.  Disgusting.

• Erik Estrada, the Out-of-Work Actor: well, he needs a job.

• The Easter Bunny: tired of playing second-fiddle to some tubby guy with pint-sized laborers and a stable of airborne Norwegian mammals, he steps into his own.  He hops all over the world on Christmas Eve, and becomes very tired and bitter.  Then he throws his eggs at people’s houses, or leaves rabbit droppings in the stockings of bad children.

• David Hasselhoff: the good German kids who bought his albums would get the best presents. Anyone who actually bought the David Hasselhoff “They Love Me In Germany” Box Set would get one of the “Baywatch” Girls with Silicone Breasts “Action” Figures.

• Mopey, the Manic-Depressive Elf: for people who think all this seasonal happiness is a bunch of crapola.  Mopey would dress in black, come through the front window in his ‘63 Dodge DeSoto, completely drunk, and leave a note about how he sold the toys to pay his analyst. Then he would slip some Prozac in your stocking.

• A Big Inanimate Pile of Fruitcakes: a reminder that sometimes you don’t get what you wanted for Christmas.  In fact, sometimes you get fruitcakes, which nobody likes.  If fruitcakes could shoot themselves, they would.

• Creepy, the Clown Dentist: he’s not really suited to Christmas, but he would scare the HELL out of bad children.

• Waldheim, the Non-Flying Reindeer: jealous of his cousin Blitzen’s success, he would acquire Santa in a leveraged-buyout and have the other reindeer sold as Puppy Chow.  Also, he’s an ex-Nazi.

• And our personal favorite, “Slippy the Christmas Weasel.”  Slippy is a total degenerate.  He drinks.  He smokes.  Furthermore, he’s a weasel.  But he’s still cutesy enough for merchandising. On Christmas Eve, Slippy would lather himself up with vaseline and travel from house to house through sewage pipes, arriving at houses through toilets and shower heads, delivering sugar plums, shiny new toy trucks and oozing globs of sewer scum he picked up along the way.  He would leave little puddles of Zesty Ranch Dressing in the childrens’ stockings, whether they were bad or good or whatever.  He’s too drunk to care.

Imagine the joy of countless children, waiting up on Christmas Eve, staring maniacally at the chimney – only to discover “Slippy” slithering up through the drainpipes with his bag of Mutant Holiday Treats.  Imagine their peals of childish laughter and joy: “AIIIEEEEEEEEEE!”  Parents would greet this Bearer of Good Will, Gifts, and Infectious Diseases with a joyful “MY GOD, what is that THING?” while the young ‘uns delightedly called out, “DADDY, PLEASE SHOOT IT!!!” and “Slippy” playfully retched all over their carpet and passed out in a drunken stupor.

Then, with a wink and a nod and a wet, hacking cough, “Slippy” would be off to the next house to spread Holiday Joy and Large Ticks.

Of course, there are drawbacks: “Slippy” could not use the sleigh and traditional reindeer, because he would try to eat them.  And it would be tough to replace Santa’s jolly “Ho ho ho” with “Slippy’s” irritating high-pitched squeal. Most importantly, “Slippy” is still a weasel.  And that’s disgusting.  But with somebody named “Newt” in congress, who will notice?

In conclusion: wake up and smell the fruitcake, America!  Write your congressperson or congressweasel today and urge them to cut Santa’s federal appropriations.  End this senseless holiday discrimination against vermin. Santa’s day is done; let someone – or, someTHING – else take a shot at it.  Otherwise, after writing this, we’re getting coal in their stockings.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

HEY! Check out Jeff and Paul on the Internet at http://www.pluginc.com

©1995 Puff Carpluto

Hey! Culture!

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, December 7 1995

Lots of people thought Richmond was just full of uncultured redneck whitebread crackers. In our review of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, we proved them right. (You can tell by Paul’s overuse of the hackneyed cliche “WHOOO DOGGIES!.” It’s worth noting that, at the time, my sophisticated appreciation of modernist art was roughly on par with my appreciation of food that did not come in a wrapper or styrofoam container.

Hi. We are Jeff and Paul™ Culture Ahoy!

Culture: what is it? How was it created? How did it get there? Will it cost you 39 cents extra (41 with tax)? Is it bigger than a breadbox? Do you serve red or white wine with it? Does it go with tan or navy slacks? Will it change your life? Do you have to change your underwear?

These are the questions that we will answer for you, valued State reader (yes, both of you) in our landmark one-part series:

“Hey! CULTURE!” 

Among prolific and respected historians, Dr. James Vünderthise is one of the least prolific or respected. This notwithstanding, it is Vünderthise who is responsible for what many consider the universe’s most worthwhile definition of “Culture.” In his book, Ancient Greece, Modern Scotland and other Cross-Dressing Cultures, Vünderthise defines Culture as “objects which are æsthetically pleasing, morally uplifting, and not nearly as interesting as ‘Knight Rider’ reruns on the USA Network.”

For any serious Art Critic, or even us, this definition of Culture leaves several problems. First, according to this, objects such as Action Figures and Taco Bell’s Bacon Cheeseburger Burrito classify as Culture. The second is that Dr. Vünderthise does not specify which “Knight Rider” episode he’s thinking of. For instance, the episode where KITT ends up in the Hicksville to save the Hick Woman from the Hick Mob is not even close to being as interesting the episode in which KITT’s evil twin, KARR, tries to kill David Hasselhoff. Incidentally, we applaud this idea.

In our relentless, almost maniacal pursuit of Culture, we selected the its nearest local purveyor, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. We figured we have exactly what it takes to be Professional Art Critics: Free Time. As Famous Mayoral Candidates – where we were greeted with a humongous wave of total apathy – we had the requisite Free Time to go to the museum and select several objets d’art (French for “objects of – duh – art”), review them and give them a Culture Rating in stars (or something), so you – wise State reader – will know which will give you Culture and which you can skip, saving valuable minutes of inconvenient and expensive walking.

The Suggested Donation          Rating: FIVE STARS

The first display as you enter the building, it is a striking example of Modern Art. “The Suggested Donation” portrays a small wad of crumpled bills and change, encased in glass, mounted (and we use this word in its classy, artistic way) on a wooden stand. Its meaning, like much of Modern Art, is open to interpretation. Some say it represents class struggle; some call it an indictment of materialism; others call it a comic, satiric piece. Most critics admit that it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Anyway, entrance to the museum is free.

Big Scary African Masks         Rating: TWELVE STARS

This section of the museum contained a bunch of HUUUUUUUGE African masks designed to SCARE THE LIVING CRAP OUT OF various Wussy Belgian Explorers who came to conquer the continent.  These masks were great: about eight feet high, 12,000 pounds and shaped like buffaloes or Republicans.  Either way, they were Huge And Cool-Shaped, obviously designed by smart African Tribesmen to be distributed to archæologists, rather than to be Actually Worn, because they bear tiny African inscriptions saying: FOR IDIOT AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGISTS ONLY! WEAR ONLY IN CASE OF HURRICANES!, of which there are obviously none in Africa.

English hunting pictures         Rating: TWO HORSES AND ONE COCKER SPANIEL

This is an actual section of the museum. We saw it on the free museum map and thought that maybe there would be pictures of gored animals or crazed, gored Englishmen hunting wild bison. This is not what was there.

We said, “Look! A horse! Standing!” And, “Look! Another horse in a very similar pose!” And, “Look, a DIFFERENT horse.” And, “Hey! A horse jumping!” And, “Hmm … here is a horse NOT jumping.” And, “Oh. It’s a horse.” And, “Ha ha, how amusing, the same horse from a different angle.” And, eventually, “PLEASE DEAR GOD NO MORE HORSE PICTURES!”

The whole section looked like vacation pictures from Sea World, if Sea World had fat horses instead of dolphins and they drained all the water out. There were pictures of Englishpeople (exciting!) standing by horses, riding on horses, and … um, standing by horses.

Did our tax dollars buy this?

If you were to rank all of the parts of the museum (and why would you, since we’re doing it for you?) according to the level of interest they arouse, the English hunting section would come in just above Andy Warhol, and just below the floors tiles and parking lot.

The Enormous Head in the Arts Café Garden            Rating: NEGATIVE 7 STARS

On loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this sculpture is one of the most unsettling pieces in or even near the museum. In fact, it is so unsettling, they put it outside the building just so it wouldn’t spook the horses in the English Hunting Art section. The sculpture itself is an enormous disembodied old man’s head, positioned just up a small hill from several tables where patrons eat and relax in the Arts Café Garden. 

Of course, it’s impossible to eat or relax because there is this … huge … HEAD. Watching you. It looks like a cross between God and Mr. Magoo.  Creepy.

A Bunch of Elvises, by Andy Warhol     Rating: TWO THUMBS JAMMED UP YOUR (censored)

Okay. It’s a bunch of colored pictures of Elvis.  True, it serves as an important precursor to the Velvet Elvis Period in American art. Warhol supposedly popularized “Pop Art,” which sounds like soda stains and looks worse. But … oh, come on.  Andy, your 15 minutes are up.

Dégas ballerina          Rating: WHOOOOOOO DOGGY!

Don’t you think this guy was a bit too interested in little girls in leotards?

Something I Just Did in a Hurry, by Vincent “Vinnie” Van Gogh        Rating: THREE GROSS SEVERED EARS

We guess every museum has to have a Van Gogh. But the VMFA’s is sort of a “Van Gogh Lite” – one of the less expensive ones that The Louvre uses for napkins. It is the size of a large postage stamp, and looks like the kind of thing Van Gogh used for a game of Pictionary. Still, it’s a Van Gogh, even if he DID sneeze all over it.

On the whole, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has a lot going for it, and, while the “cool” kids these days might not think it’s “hip” to “hang out” there, that’s okay, because you “young people” are “idiots.”

If you are a classy, educated individual, which clearly you are not because you are reading this column, the art museum is a place to revel in the glories of Culture and fine art. If you are a cretin or a derelict (which is fine, if you like that sort of thing), the art museum is a great place to vomit in while the Art Museum Elite Strike Force Guards glare menacingly at you. Or whatever.

As you leave the art museum after your next visit, do not rub the giant golden bunny’s head for good luck. 

They hate that.

Hail To the Egg Shells

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

404 Error
Plug Magazine, December 1 1995

Plug Magazine (www.pluginc.com) was an early entrant into the Internet content space back when you had to call a website a magazine so that people knew what it was. It was… I’m not even sure I remember what it was. It wasn’t around very long, the domain is currently unused, and I can’t even find any cached copies on archive.org to remember what it looked like. So let’s just say that it was another predictably disappointing highway service plaza on the road to writing stardom for Paul Caputo and me.

It feels just like this: You’re driving down I-95 at a reasonable and prudent 116 miles per hour. Your cares melt away in the scenery as you reach to shift into fifth gear. You notice the scenery, you notice the girl in the car next to you, but you don’t notice that you accidentally miss fifth gear and slip it into reverse. Your car’s transmission leaps out of the hood and smashes through your windshield. In that final, crystal clear moment as you look at your engine sputtering happily in the passenger seat next to you, you wonder what could have possibly gone wrong. As your car spins in 70-mile-per hour circles and crashes into an 18-wheeler full of radioactive explosive poisonous snakes in the next lane, you can’t help but feel a little surprised and disappointed.

It is not hard to imagine that Cleveland’s long-time football fans felt more or less the same upon hearing that their beloved Browns are moving to Baltimore next season. It must have been a surreal, punch-in-the-gut, kick-in-the-pants, rub-your-eyes, shake-your-head, say-it-ain’t-so, pour-me-six-martinis feeling never before experienced by any sports fan.

Sure, Cleveland isn’t the first team to move. Baltimore Colts fans felt the sting of relocation in 1984, but even the Colts were not as intrinsically tied to their city as the Browns were before last week. Until the moment Browns owner Art Modell appeared on a street corner across from Camden Yards to announce that they had reached a deal to build a brand-new, 400,000-luxury-box (or something) football stadium in Baltimore, the idea of sports franchises moving had always been sort of a detached experience.

It is hard to imagine a die-hard Tampa Bay football fan (either of them) breaking down in tears on TV upon hearing that the Buccaneers might be moving to Orlando. Houston sports fans were probably rooting for the Astros and the Oilers to move to Northern Virginia and Nashville respectively, so that they could firebomb the Astrodome and convert it into a parking lot or the world’s largest Taco Bell or anything but the world’s ugliest domed, astroturfed stadium.

Fans in Los Angeles probably haven’t even noticed that the city lost both of its football teams last year. In fact, fans in Los Angeles probably never even knew that there were football teams there, unless someone just happened to steal a car and notice that there were cleats and helmets in it.

But Cleveland is a city whose fans are among the most loyal (“insane”), devoted (“really, really insane”), die-hard (“not real bright, either”) fans the NFL has ever known. It is a city whose people supported (“were actually willing to pay $40 for the ticket and $7 for a concession-stand hot dog for”) their team. It is a city that lived for Sunday afternoons. 

Now, all Sunday afternoons mean is colored comics in the newspaper. 

While it is wrong to blame Art Modell for the plight of all professional sports, it certainly is easy. He is an active part of the assault on the modern sports fan that started when the first big-time free agent left a city that loved him for a team with a bigger bank-roll. Basketball fans in Charlotte walk past an enormous mural of Alonzo Mourning painted on the side of a city building. Once the portrayal of a city’s sports hopes, the mural now stands as a tribute to athletes who will abandon a city and its dreams for the extra million dollars a year they must need to Super-Size their McHappy Meals when traveling from city to city.

Now, though, even the most supportive of cities must fear losing not only their superstars to the lure of big bucks, but their entire teams. After watching the Browns announce that they will leave Cleveland, how can any sports fan allow himself to give his heart to any team? If Cleveland’s fans – the sort of people who would go to a four hour football game in sub-zero temperatures wearing nothing but a dog mask, body paint and bikini briefs – can’t hold onto a team, who can?

Flash forward 20 years.

You sit down in your living room on a Sunday afternoon and turn on your television to watch the Nashville Elvises (formerly the Winnipeg Jets, an NHL franchise that moved to Nashville and started playing football instead of hockey in 2007 because the city said it would build them a stadium built entirely of crumpled hundred dollar bills, plus allow the team to keep all of the revenue from sales of overpriced “soft” pretzels) play against the Richmond Egg Shells (an NFL expansion team that unfortunately came into the league after all of the intimidating names had been taken).

At half time of the game, Egg Shells owner Bob “Bob” Ukrop IV announces that the franchise will be moving to Washington D.C. at the end of the third quarter because they city has promised to build them a stadium with solid-gold Gatorade coolers. Then, at the end of the game, they will be moving to Nome, Alaska, where city officials have promised them each “a bajillion dollars and the mayor’s daughter.”

“Hey,” Ukrop says. “It’s a business.” 

That’s funny, we thought it was a game.