Bowl Thoughts (Orange and Outback) / Losers & Legends / More of the Same

Let’s say I sit down to play chess with Gary Kasparov. Kasparov—even if he’s not really paying attention—is always going to be at least ten steps ahead of me. Well, the other night Frank Beamer and his coaching staff were playing chess with Gary Kasparov. And the result? Well, I’ll let the Roanoke Times headline sum it up: Miserable in Miami. Not bad as a summary, but “miserable” doesn’t really do justice to the Hokies’ performance, does it? (I’m not sure we have a word in the English language that would do it justice.)

One game is only one game, I know. But one game is also sometimes the perfect distillation/summation of a career. This was one of those games. The Hokies went into that game 1-26 against top five teams. They are now 1-27. (With 1-28 pending.)

Penn State’s bumbling, frustrating, predictable loss to Florida was also one of those games.

In light of what happened in the Outback Bowl and the Orange Bowl, isn’t it finally time to put the “legend” of Frank Beamer and Joe Paterno to rest? When I saw that mythologizing graphic with the two of them Monday night I almost gagged. I was eating a pretzel at the time, and if I had been George W. Bush I would have choked to death for sure. This whole “legend” idea—perpetuated because it has lots of “feel good” baggage attached to it—is purely a media creation, with very little basis in fact.

Yes, Joe Paterno is the solar system’s leader in “wins,” but how meaningful is that fact? Look at the record. Many of those wins came against decidedly inferior opponents. I can remember the Nittany Lions—with a decided physical advantage (never a decided schematic advantage!)– feasting on the likes of Boston College and Army and Navy and Air Force and Maryland and Pitt and West Virginia. Beamer (after Tressel’s victory last night, the third winningest active coach) has likewise accumulated many of his wins against teams that were simply outmatched physically when they lined up against Tech.

Whenever Penn State played anyone “in their league,” so to speak, things didn’t go so well. I remember (ah, the curse of memory) Penn State being abused by Kentucky and Colorado and Pitt, once they got a decent coach in the city of rust and steel. And whenever Virginia Tech lines up against anyone with athletes about as good as ours—well, you don’t need a long memory to know what happens in those games. When it’s a matter of coaching, Penn State and Virginia tech fans can simply write “EPIC FAIL” in their notebooks and commence meditating.

All mythology aside, Frank Beamer is like the anti-Bear Bryant: he can lose to yours with his, or take yours and lose to his. Nothing is changing either. As we read in Randy King’s article in yesterday’s Roanoke Times, Beamer wants to add recently fired Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen to his coaching staff. “But it’s not going to happen soon,” King says, “because there are no plans to shake up the Hokies’ current staff.” That tells us all we need to know, doesn’t it? You lose to Boise State, you lose to James Madison[!], you squeak by against a bevy of sub-par ACC teams, and then get your ass kicked nine ways to Sunday (read: you get utterly humiliated on national TV) by Stanford and you have no plans to shake up your coaching staff. (Except for this: Mrs. Beamer is lobbying to add son Shane to the staff. Can anyone say “Jay Paterno”?)

The ACC is obviously improving. Randy Edsall is likely going to make Maryland a power, I’m afraid (well, the ACC equivalent of a power). Jimbo Fisher is obviously improving things in Tallahassee. I suspect that Al Golden may get the Hurricanes back on track. Is Virginia Tech keeping pace? No. Apparently the powers that be don’t even see a problem. (I wonder what it would take to make Beamer shake up his staff.)

My prediction (and my cynicism has been earned via several lifetimes of rooting for Penn State and Virginia Tech): As long as the creators of Bummer Ball remain entrenched in Blacksburg, the future looks mighty bleak. And as long as Father Time remains at the helm in State College—well, let’s just say that the past is indeed prologue to an utterly predictable future.

It is truly a joy to watch well-coached teams play football. (We won’t even mention Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Belichick is obviously from an another planet.) When you watch Boise State, or TCU, or Stanford, or Oregon, or Arkansas and Ohio State (who played a very interesting game last night) you see, play after play after play, that these teams are coached by men who understand football, who can actually “game plan,” who can make adjustments on the fly, who know how to give their players a good chance to win. (The Tressel-Petrino chess match last night was intriguing, certainly.)

You see just the opposite when you watch Penn State and Virginia Tech play. Did any of you see even a shred of evidence the other night that Beamer and his staff had planned a way to “attack” the Stanford offense or defense? Or had alternative plans in place in case the first plan didn’t work? Or that they had any idea of how to adjust to counter what Stanford was doing? I saw no evidence. If I didn’t know better, I would have assumed that this was the first time these guys had ever tried to coach a football game. They looked totally mystified on the sidelines.

It appeared that Stanford had a decided physical advantage in that game. But I wouldn’t be surprised to find that if you matched up the Stanford players and the Hokie players position by position Tech had the better “athletes” at nearly every position. (I kept wondering what Jim Harbaugh could have done with the phenomenally gifted Tyrod Taylor.) But at no point did Tech’s athletes look like they had a clue what they were doing against Stanford. That goes directly to coaching—or the lack of it! The pundits—who don’t watch the games (obviously: cf. Jaws’ and Gruden’s remarks about Bummer Ball, er, Beamer Ball)—recycle clichés and truisms about Beamer and the Hokies, but they are as clueless as the Hokies players were last night.

You’ll sometimes hear that the fans deserve better. I actually don’t give a damn about the fans. But I do feel bad for the players. They certainly deserve better. (I played for coaches who didn’t know how to coach, who didn’t know how to put their players in position to win. That was no big deal. I mean, who cares if Little League or high school or Babe Ruth teams win? But this is big time college football!)

I have been saying this for years now, but let me say it again: I simply can’t understand why any talented offensive player would even think about coming to Tech. Can you imagine a gifted high school junior or senior thinking, “Man, I really want to play in Bryan Stinespring’s sub-par high school offense?”

If it looked like Stanford knew what plays the Hokies were going to run the other night, it’s because they did know—and all that required was looking at a half’s worth of game film—from any Tech game in the last ten years! Bryan Stinespring’s offense is the dullest, least imaginative, most predictable offense I have ever seen.  South of Happy Valley, anyway. On that crucial fourth-and-one play the other night, I (along with legions of Tech fans and everyone on the Stanford team) knew exactly what was coming—because we had seen this many times before. Those of us who are Penn State fans have been watching this exercise in futility—which I have christened the “run into the pile and fall down” play—for what feels like forever. Of course the play was stuffed, Stanford took over, and the rest is bitter history.

Am I saying that Tech would have won if they had converted that fourth-and-one? I am not. I am only saying that this single play was Tech football in miniature. And that Tech fans can expect more and more of the same unless we see a regime change in Blacksburg!

Free Speech, NFL-America Style!

Well, now the Jets have “apologized” to Ines Sainz—let’s just call her InSainz for short—and her “my size” jeans, but of course the story won’t die. The stupid stories never do. Partly because guys like Brian Baldinger (god bless him) of the NFL Network can’t let it go. “Baldy,” speaking for probably 99 44/100% of the male population, blamed the whole incident on InSainz’ “painted-on jeans.”

They really do look "painted on," don't they?

“If you come into the NFL dressed the way that she is dressed, you are just asking,” BB said on a radio show in the City of Brotherly Lust. “I mean, the boys are just having fun.” BB maintains that the Jets had nothing whatsoever to apologize for. “If she walked into any locker room in the league, the exact same thing would have happened.”

What followed was predictable. The NFL—widely (and appropriately) known as the “No Fun League”—was not amused. (Soon we’ll be calling it the “No Freedom League.”) As the NFL Network told the AP, “We discussed with Brian his comments. He understands they were not appropriate.”

Really? Does anyone reading that utterly predictable b.s. really believe that Baldy “understands [his comments] were not appropriate”? Let Karka re-write the NFL Network’s statement in real-world language: “We discussed with Brian his comments. He understands that he must grovel before the NFL oligarchy and pretend to understand that his comments were not appropriate if he wants to keep his job. A properly emasculated Mr. Baldinger will continue to work for the NFL Network so long as he keeps up this pretense.”

The National Organization of Women pounced quickly as well. NOW President Terry O’Neill defended InSainz’ wardrobe, saying that the only question is whether or not her employer, TV Azteca, approved of it, as they clearly did. O’Neill also played the Culture Card, saying that “Latina women are very proud of their bodies.”

"Pride" is the only p-word that comes to mind.

William Blake once wrote that “To generalize is to be an idiot.” That may be a bit of a generalization itself, but Blake certainly knew what he was talking about. But Karka won’t stoop so low as to blast the esteemed Ms. O’Neill for her ridiculous generalization about Latina women.

Karka is sure some of them are proud of their bodies. But how is this in any way relevant? So InSainz is so proud of her body that she feels compelled to display it even in an NFL locker room. That begs the question, though, doesn’t it? Regardless of her “pride,” does she expect to flounce into an NFL locker room dressed to show off her considerable assets and not elicit some response to those assets? If she does, I wonder if Terry O’Neill would want to add that “Latina women are proud of their minds.” (And honestly, are women who dress the way Insainz dresses not deeply  disappointed—and I don’t mean at some deep unconscious level—when men do not notice the body they are so proud of and so proudly displaying? Have we reached the point in this world where we cannot even say—or think—that women who dress to be noticed want to be noticed?)

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Insainz experiences a burst of Latina pride in her body and decides to conduct her next locker room interview wearing nothing at all. (It could happen!) What kind of response would she expect then? Would the Jets be forced to apologize if all 53 players failed to avert their eyes when InSainz entered their field of vision? What would NOW’s position be? That “Latina women are proud of their naked bodies and deserve to be treated as though they were fully dressed even when they are not dressed at all”?

Would the Jets owner be forced to apologize to InSainz (to all women, for that matter) for having the most unfortunate name of “Woody”?

I know this is growing tiresome but let’s look at this from another angle. It’s a well known and true and proven fact—just trust Karka on this one—that NFL coaches are very proud of their bodies.

Jets coach Rex Ryan has a lot to be proud of.

Let’s just say that Jets coach Rex Ryan decides to expand his horizons and moonlight as a reporter for NFL Azteca over the summer.  And coach Rex, being (as all NFL coaches are, don’t forget), “very proud of his body,” decides to go into a NOW locker room wearing a Speedo, or even better, a custom-made barely there thong. (Relax: Karka won’t go so far as to ask you to picture Mr. Ryan naked. Even Karka has his limits!) Picture it: a roomful of half-dressed middle-aged feminists, all hot and sweaty after a grueling afternoon of criticizing the patriarchy, some getting worked on by the trainers (lots of strained index fingers—from all that pointing; and lots of fatigued faces—from all that frowning).

Terry O'Neill, pondering the prospect of a bethonged Rex Ryan in her locker room?

And in walks Rex Ryan, his culturally sanctioned pride in his body evident in his every rippling move, microphone in hand (or perhaps, as yet another element of his culturally sanctioned pride in his body, held at crotch level, in a slightly suggestive way), intent on “getting a story.” And then one of these progesterone-crazed woman warriors calls out, “Hey, big boy, is that thong painted on?”

And Rex of course goes to pieces. He simply can’t believe that he is being treated this way, when all he wanted to do was get a story. Well, that and express his enormous pride in his body. Devastated, he wonders how he can go on after such humiliation. How can he face his peers now? After much soul-searching he confides in a few of his fellow coaches. Their horror is palpable—they too have been through such ordeals, too many times to count—and several of them go the to media, demanding that NOW apologize for this “outrage.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Well, Karka’s phone rang a few minutes ago. The ominous voice on the other end announced itself as one R. Goodell. After a brief conversation with that ominous voice, Karka now realizes that his comments in this post were inappropriate at best and an offense against taste and decency at worst. He hereby apologizes to Ines Sainz, and wants to say that he really didn’t think those jeans appeared to be painted on her ass at all and agrees that those jeans which once seemed to him to have been painted on her ass really are obviously “her size” and that to have intimated otherwise was an egregious and horrific defamation of all women everywhere and through all time. And he further apologizes to Terry O’Neill for criticizing her ridiculous remarks about Latina women loving their bodies and to the National Organization for Women and furthermore to all women for imagining in print a scene in which hot and sweaty women express any interest at all in a man.

May the gods forgive me.

Postscript: They obviously have. The Dallas Cowboys have lost again. And what with Notre Dame losing again last night, and in heartbreaking fashion, Karka knows, he just knows, that he has been redeemed.

This is exactly how Karka is feeling about now.

Until next time.

Quick Hits w/Pix

Let’s begin with this intriguing item from the rumor wire (and Karka’s wire is super sensitive, you betcha).

and birds of the (h)air have nests. . . .

One of Karka’s most trusted (and he hopes trustworthy) sources told him last night that, according to his sources, one of America’s premier news networks (he wouldn’t say which one) is about to introduce its first openly straight member.

I have no idea what this image is doing here!

(This network may be a subsidiary of Archie Comics — I got this much out of my source — or it may indeed own Archie Comics. In the murky world of media monopolies, it’s often hard to keep track of who’s zooming who, to borrow a phrase from the Queen of Soul. Just axe Ben Bagdikian.)

[Warning: Subliminal photo to follow. Pay no attention. Text a friend. Update your status. Pee on someone’s wall. You’re not missing anything. This photo has nothing whatsoever to do with the preceding story. Pass right on by.]

Please don't read anything into this photograph.

Now before you jump to conclusions and start sending me angry and stupefyingly self-righteous emails, let me say that Karka is wholeheartedly in favor of straight people being given the opportunity to work in the entertainment industry, even if they are by their very nature unsuited for such work. (Really, if God had wanted straight people to work in show biz he would have made them thin, funny, clever, beautiful, witty, sexy, sensitive, perceptive, flamboyant, emotional, literate, empathetic, etc., etc., etc.)

But perhaps the times are indeed a-changin’. Perhaps at some future date, heterosexuals will come to have a place in — or even dominate — the world of entertainment.

No high-fructose corn syrup - ever!

And who knows: There might even be an opening for Jewish people.

And maybe even Conservatives. (Like anti-gay minister George Allan Rekers. Straight men like Rekers and his legion of “travel assistants” might even be able to clean up Hollywood and make the entertainment landscape once again safe for children. Isn’t that, after all, what America wants?)

Mr. Rekers sending a "thought message" to a travel assistant.

Moving from rumor to fact: Jon Stewart demonstrated again the other night why he is indeed one of the most important men in America — if not the most important man in this fine country of ours. His energetic and very timely attack on politicians who spout meaningless phrases like “The American people want” should be required viewing in every classroom in America. Even classrooms in Alaska (you betcha!).

The American people want WHAT?

And now a pictorial shout out to Karka’s greatest fan.

This lovely lass reportedly visits Karkaworld every day!

Tiger and the “Groove” / 40,000 Legs Under Wilt’s C / The World Before Kevin Keller / Praying for “Struggle” / M-O-N-E-Y

I read this headline today in the Roanoke Times: “Tiger struggles to find groove.”

Really? Just last week, while standing in the checkout line at Kroger (the checkout line being one of the most educational zones imaginable, far more information rich than any library), Karka read that Tiger Woods reportedly slept with 120 women in his five years of marriage. (To be more precise: I believe that the report said Tiger had had “physical relations” with 120 women, so I guess he might have been helping a few of them with their swing.) At this rate, by next year Tiger will have slept with (or had “physical relations” with) more than 1200 women, and within the next two years he will be challenging Wilt Chamberlain for the all-time crown.

Chamberlain of course claimed in his autobiography—appropriately titled A View from Above—to have slept with more than 20,000 women in his lifetime. That was quite a claim. You don’t have to be a math whiz to realize that if “the stilt” (perhaps he should have been called “the pole”) had slept with a different woman every day for fifty years, that would only give him about 18,250 women. A young Swedish athlete once said of him, “I think  Wilt fucked everything that moved.” (Karka hopes she was engaging in a bit of hyperbole here.) Strangely enough, Wilt Chamberlain remained a bachelor all his life, which, according to pop psychology (the very best kind!) means that he was without doubt a homosexual, and that his frantic pursuit of pussy and his absurd claims were his pathetic attempt to deny his homosexuality—perhaps even to himself. (Archie Comics and Kevin Keller had not yet made the world a safe place to be gay in.)

Sometimes a microphone is just a microphone

Now that we’ve taken care of that matter, let us get back to Tiger and the claim that he is struggling “to find groove.” Even if Tiger has slept with only 120 women in the last five years, I think it’s safe to say that if anyone has not been struggling “to find groove,” it’s been Mr. Woods. Now you may be thinking that Karka has a dirty mind (perhaps the result of reading all those comic books when he was young, or studying literature in college) and is way off base (second base? third?) in interpreting “groove” in this sexual way. If so, you’re probably one those people who thinks that when Madonna sang

Get into the groove
Boy you’ve got to prove
Your love to me

she was singing about dancing. (By the way, if Madonna were to claim that she has had 20,000 lovers, Karka would not be reaching for his calculator!)

Madonna protecting her "groove" from all comers?

So, if Tiger is struggling, there must be a billion men praying at this moment, “Lord, if it be thy will, please let your poor servant struggle.” But as always, we should be careful what we pray for. Getting into the groove can be downright expensive. As Ben Roethlisberger is reminded, every single day. But Big Ben’s $2.8 million “groove tax” is chump change compared to the penalty Mr. Woods faces. According to recent reports, a divorce could cost him $600 million, which if my math is correct mean that each of Tiger’s 120 “grooves” could end up costing him $5 million.

Once again the Fabulous Thunderbirds tell us all we need to know.

How do you spell love? M-O-N-E-Y.

Lots and lots of M-O-N-E-Y.

The Real “Model” for Kevin Keller? / Media Shamanism / One More Thing the “Liberal Media” Won’t Tell You /  Porn Preferable to FOXNews? / Headline of the Day

David Moye’s description of Kevin Keller, the first openly gay character to appear in Archie Comics, got Karka to thinking. “This hunky new character, with blond curly hair and a strong Ben Affleck-like chin, shows up in Riverdale in Veronica Comics #202 and immediately becomes the apple of Veronica’s eye,” writes Moye.

Immediately Karka thought of another hunky character with blond hair and a strong chin, who showed up in Saving America Comics #2009 and immediately became the apple of America’s eye.

Now this was perhaps simply a response to Moye’s language. I mean, “Ben” rhymes with “Glen,” and “Affleck” rhymes with “Beck.” So perhaps it is totally natural that upon reading Moye’s description of “openly gay” Kevin Keller I immediately thought of Glen Beck. I certainly don’t mean to insinuate anything here. (Or to suggest that you draw any conclusions from what we might call Mr. Beck’s “body language” in the above photo, which for all Karka knows could have been doctored by the Vast Left Wing Gay Conspiracy.)

I merely report.

You must decide.

I certainly don’t think that just because Glen Beck has a high-pitched girly voice and flounces around the set and is always mincingly afraid of one girly thing or another and cries a whole girly lot—and may well have been the model for Kevin Keller—I don’t think that this means Glen Beck is himself gay.

Not gay-looking at all

That would be guilt by the most tenuous of associations, and we all know that Homo sapiens sapiens (not to be confused with Sapiens homo homo), with our huge brains, our astounding linguistic ability, our discriminating intellect, our intuition, our innate desire for truth, could never, even for a moment, fall prey to assuming guilt by association.

Even one instance of that would require us to strip both of those “sapiens” from our self-created title. And come up with a new one. (May Karka suggest Homo retardus retardus?)

To reiterate: Karka is not so naive as to believe that just because he thinks something is true—and let me repeat: I do not believe that Glen Beck is necessarily gay—he is not so naive as to believe that thinking something makes that something true. Though he realizes that if he did believe that—and was vocal enough about it—he too might end up with a highly rated show on television (and perhaps thus become the rotten apple of America’s eye).

You may think that Karka is just having a little bit of innocent fun here, but this all took a very sinister turn for me when I found out that Rupert Murdoch—who of course owns FOXNews—also owns Archie Comics. Now your research may fail to reveal this fact; let me simply say that Karka has sources that go beyond the ordinary resources available to most people.

So for those of you who feel inclined to speculate about what this obvious Kevin Keller-Glen Beck connection means and who would like to delve more deeply into these strange goings-on, Karka says, dive right in! But be warned: Once you go down the rabbit hole, once you enter the labyrinth of  our mass media and the “fairy tale” they create for us, you may never get out. The “massage” is so subtle, the nefariousness so nuanced, the manipulation so many-layered that you won’t even be able to vaguely remember what “sanity” felt like. (Karka’s intuition tells him that further research will reveal links between Mr. Beck and Richie Rich—they certainly do look a lot alike, don’t they?—and will further reveal that Mr. Beck may well have been the “model” for Hot Stuff as well as Richie Rich. Maybe even for Wendy, the Good Little Witch! You think Karka might be reaching here?

Working on “Mr. Worry.” Can you imagine a better description of Glen Beck’s show?)

But the shaman knows that he must die, that his ego must be annihilated, that he must be dismembered, that wild beasts must devour his flesh, that his bones must be scattered to the four winds before he can be reconstituted and be of value to his tribe.

So yes, the danger is great. But the potential value of the journey is equally great.

Let me just say that much about the modern world becomes crystal (even painfully) clear once you realize — and the “liberal media” will never tell you this—that Rupert Murdoch owns everything! (He even owns Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow; according to one of Karka’s sources, he keeps Ms. Maddow in what amounts to a “Barbie Castle” in one of his underground bunkers, or according to another source, on one his invisible submarines, and flies her to New York to tape her show on his broomstick, piloted by Cal Thomas, either that or one of his many private jets. Karka does not take seriously those reports that Murdoch owns his own wormhole and that he uses this wormhole to transport his minions from place to place and to micro-manage events on Terra. I mean, really. Karka’s credulity does have limits.)


Regarding those reports about all that porn viewing that’s been going on at the SEC: Karka always just assumed that those valiant people at the SEC (they put their lives on the line, protecting you and me every single day from fraud, deception, insider trading) spent all their time watching FOXNews. (I mean, since Rupert Murdoch owns the SEC too. . . .)


From the world of the NFL comes this headline: “Sicko changes mind, signs with Cowboys.” And here Karka thought that signing with the Cowboys would make you a sicko. Shows you what Karka knows!

Bad Horoscope Day / FOXNews Slumber Party / Very Naughty Comics / Communist Conspiracy / Karka Gives Thanks

I begin this post with some trepidation because my horoscope for today offered this warning: “Your communication skills will not be stellar” (no real surprise). But the warning didn’t stop there; I was told that “once you disclose your ideas and thoughts, you will be open to criticism.”

Karka’s first thought upon reading that was to go back to bed. (This is Karka’s first thought most of the time.) But then he thought, where would the world be if Glenn Beck went back to bed every time he faced a little adversity? And if Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly went back to bed every time they felt a tiny twinge of conscience? And if Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin went back to bed—together? (That would be a slumber party worthy of Archie Comics—at least the new Archie Comics. Let’s see: Ann could be Betty, Sarah would obviously be Veronica, you betcha!, and Michelle, Michelle could be the ever-delectable and inexplicably under-appreciated Midge. If only Karka could draw!)

Like most of the nation (read: all right-thinking people), your intrepid reporter is still reeling from the news that Archie Comics, that bastion of truth, light, and the American way (in Riverdale, no kid ever grows up; how American can you get?), has gone over to the Dark Side. And I don’t mean that Archie and the gang have come out in favor of President Obama’s health care plan, or that they have been urging readers to mail their census form in on time, or that they have been offering a “progressive” take on the various bail-outs, pointing out that such bail-outs violate the most basic tenets of our cherished free-market system.

No. Archie Comics, whose subtly salacious narratives of throbbingly chaste lust made it the pre-Playboy of young boys all across our great land (inspiring more fantasies than even Mary Ann and Ginger on that island), has gone gay! (I know I’ve been over this before, but it still hasn’t quite sunk in, still hasn’t penetrated my consciousness yet.)

And I’m afraid this is only the beginning. What will be the next revelation? That Richie Rich’s girlfriend Gloria was actually a transvestite—or worse? (We all knew that Richie’s cousin Reggie—in the light of the recent Archie news, we now know that “Reggie” has all along been a code word for “gay”—was a homosexual predator in the making, and more suited to a British publication—like Monty Python’s Gay Boys in Bondage.) And what are we, in light of recent developments, to make of a character named Mr. Woody? What are we to make of a butler, Cadbury, who leads a double life? (What might that “cad” like to “bury”? And where might he like to bury it?) What are we to make of a Professor whose last name is Mindblow?

Karka feels as if his mind is about to be blown.

Now I don’t want to get all hysterical à la Glenn Beck, but it’s beginning to look like the Puritans have been right all along, that children’s comics have always been about sex and nothing but sex. For example, examine the Richie Rich cover below:

You don’t have to be Wilson Bryan Key (he of Subliminal Seduction fame) to see the symbolism here. The “gusher” is too obvious to even merit comment. Much more insidious is what comes before: If you look closely at the name “Gloria,” you will see that her face comes out of the “O”—we might say the “hole”—in her name. And who among us will not immediately flash on the term “glory hole” when confronted by this image? Talk about your “media sexploitation” (to borrow the title of another of Key’s books). When I think about what was being suggested to our youth in this seemingly innocent comic book cover—well, I can’t even bring myself to put it into words.

Need further proof that comic books have amounted to a concerted effort to undermine the morals of America’s youth? Consider this cover:

Even Ben Roethlisberger could decode that image!

And this one:

Can you say “make it rain”? (Things “come” to life here all right. Twisted, perverted life.)

All this is obviously the work of the Devil. But of course there was no character more devilish than Hot Stuff, who if you remember liked to go around “forking” people in the butt with his flame-spitting trident. The same kind of insidious symbolism that we’ve seen in the Richie Rich covers is all over Hot Stuff covers too. Let me just provide a few examples:

Karka read all these comic books religiously when he was young, and he never once realized that the worldwide Jewish Gay-Lesbian Trans-gendered Atheistic Devil-worshiping Hollywood-infiltrating PETA-spawning Postmodernism-in-the-making Communist Conspiracy was working to subvert his values and, beyond that, working to turn him into a pervert!

Thank god they didn’t succeed!

The Most Expensive Sex Ever? / Tiger Gets a Letter!

How do you spell love? M-O-N-E-Y!*

Karka has been doing a little calculating, and you may find the results of his calculating somewhat mindblowing, especially if you like big numbers.

We all know that Big Ben Roethlisberger was given a six-game suspension last week for a pattern of behavior unbecoming a human being, er, NFL football player. According to reports, a six-game suspension will cost the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback $2.8 million. Now $2.8 million is a big number, but consider what this really means.

Let’s assume that Big Ben’s encounter with that very drunk twenty-year-old lasted five minutes (as the accounts suggest). When you do the math, you will see that this has to have been the most expensive sex ever. Because Big Ben will end up paying the equivalent of $33.6 million per hour.

To have sex with an unwilling and very drunk co-ed in a “small dingy bathroom.”

For those of you with “enquiring minds,” that’s $560,000 per minute. Or $9,333.33 per second.

Not exactly money well spent, if you axe Karka. (And some people might indeed like to axe him. But that’s another story.)

Imagine if Big Ben had decided to spend his money wisely. If he wanted sex—and safe sex, safe meaning you’re not going to get your ass thrown out of the NFL—he could easily find some very beautiful and very talented young escorts who could, as they say, satisfy his every need. According to my figgers, at $10,000 an hour (Karka is merely making up a figure here; does anyone know the going rate for the world’s most high-class call girls?), Big Ben could have, for $2.8 million, bought himself 280 hours of sex.

Which means that for what he’ll end up paying for that potentially career-threatening encounter in that small dingy bathroom (imagine the ambiance), Ben Roethlisberger could have enjoyed more than eleven straight days of sex with women who get paid to know what they are doing—more than eleven straight days of satisfying sex on silk sheets with champagne and sushi, if that’s his thing.

Now I realize you don’t exactly get the thrill of the chase with a call girl, and sipping expensive champagne with a gorgeous woman can’t in all ways compare with getting a star-struck college girl drunk. But still.

In related news: On the Tiger front, we read in Tiger’s blog that a “little girl” gave him a letter on the third tee, which Tiger found “awfully sweet.” Can Karka be alone in hoping that letter didn’t contain a phone number? (That was low, wasn’t it—like Drudge Report low? What in the world is happening to Karka? If I’m not careful, I may end up at FOXNews too.)

*The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Shrewd Shanahan,  Dim Davis?

You have to feel sorry for ex-Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell. He’s labored under a new offensive coordinator almost every year since high school, and how many quarterbacks are going to improve under those conditions? Maybe none.

And now Jason Campbell is a Raider. (“There but for the grace of god,” I hear Ben Roethlisberger whispering. And not only Ben Roethlisberger.)

I always thought Campbell had some talent. But obviously Mike Shanahan doesn’t think so. The fact that Shanahan sent the young quarterback to the Raiders speaks more than volumes. No need to rehash Shanahan’s history with Al Davis. We all know the story, the depth of the animosity between Shanahan and Raiders’ coach Al Davis.

Animosity? Let’s try hatred.

It was perplexing to many of us when Andy Reid traded Donovan McNabb to their division rival Redskins, but I think the Eagles organization was actually trying to do right by McNabb. (Stranger things have happened, though at the moment I can’t think of one.) After all, they didn’t trade him to the Raiders, and they easily could have.

But Shanahan trading Campbell to the Raiders isn’t perplexing at all. The only perplexing thing is that Al Davis agreed to it. Can doddering old silver-jumpsuited Al really think he’s going to put one over on the young whippersnapper Shanahan? Doesn’t he know that the one thing you don’t do when your ex sends you a pie is eat it?

That’s too sad to even contemplate. (Just like Bernie Goldberg’s “attack” on Jon Stewart the other day. Too sad, too pathetic to even think about.)

Here’s the likely scenario: Shanahan knows something Al Davis doesn’t, and here he is, able to unload a player he no longer wants and stick it to Al Davis at the same time. That’s two big birds with one stone. So all Shanahan could get for Campbell was a fourth round pick in 2012. Big deal.

Shanahan was in this for a different kind of prize.

Blacksburg: City of Protests / Hokies Football / Archie Comics Blows It / Burger-Eating / Gay Guide Dogs / Little Dogs in Cute Sweaters / Taking Aim at Starbucks / Guns and Gay-ness / Michael Vick Returns

First we had the fine folks known as the Phelps family here to protest America’s descent into homosexuality (which apparently began, unbeknownst to Karka, long before Ryan Seacrest and Clay Aiken). The Phelps clan is so sure that “God hates fags” (which I’m sure he does, if by “fags” we mean cigarettes) that they are willing to parade around in public carrying placards to that effect. Some of their assertions are clearly absurd. I mean, global warming the result of America tolerating homosexuality? Virginia Tech’s tuition increase the result of. . . . Well, obviously that can’t be the case, since Virginia’s current regime is so openly anti-gay.

But some of their claims may have some merit. For example, their claim that America’s toleration of homosexuality has been the real cause of the Hokies’ dreadful offensive performance the last few years. I mean, something has to explain why we can have such good athletes and yet play so poorly. (And here I’ve been blaming Bryan Stinespring’s play calling! To the point where I’ve even considered marching through town with a placard proclaiming “God Hates Bryan Stinespring’s Game Plan.” I’m quite sure I could find a snippet of Scripture to back me up. Isn’t there something in the Ten Commandments like “Thou shalt not be predictable”?)

And now I find out—as if the Phelps’ family’s dire predictions and the impending apocalypse known simply as 2012 were not alarming enough—that according to an AP report “Riverdale High is getting its first gay character.” (A fitting way for Archie Comics to celebrate its 69th birthday. Care to read anything into that “69”?) And his name is Kevin. I swear to god!

The announcement is somewhat cryptic, in that Kevin is going to be the strip’s first “openly gay” character (my emphasis). So what am I supposed to conclude from this teasing tidbit? That I was right all along, that Reggie really is gay and that his fanatical pursuit of Veronica was always a cover for his deviant ways? And that he always had a thing for “Big” Moose? And does this give me license to unashamedly re-visit my adolescent fantasies about Veronica and Betty and Midge and their “innocent” slumber parties? (Girls Gone Wild: Riverdale Confidential?)

The “gay community” is apparently quite pleased. As David Moye writes on,
Pop culture observers say that introducing a gay character is only the first step. Following up with interesting story lines will determine the future of Kevin Keller as a viable character.

However, the plot of the debut story, titled “Isn’t It Bromantic,” centers around the fact that Veronica doesn’t have a clue why he’s not interested in her.

Having a gay character in a comic whose readership tends to be females between the ages of 7 and 14 is groundbreaking enough, but what is pleasing pop culture writers like Dennis Ayers is how nonchalantly Archie, Reggie, Betty and especially Jughead react to the news.

“When Jughead finds out, he acts like it’s no big deal,” Ayers said. “It’s great that a comic book that is so wholesome and white bread is treating being gay as if it’s a perfectly normal American thing.”

Ayers also says that focusing the plot around Veronica’s cluelessness is the best way to handle introducing a gay character to the series. [Karka is quite disappointed in Ronnie, by the way.]

The story actually begins when—hold onto your hats, symbol-lovers—Kevin arrives in Riverdale and promptly beats Jughead in a burger-eating contest. (We all had our suspicions about Jughead, did we not?) I’m sure those were “all-beef” burgers. Nestled between two shapely white buns. And about that “special sauce.” Well, perhaps it’s best not to go there, especially in a family-oriented blog.

Co-CEO of Archie Comics Jon Goldwater (lord, what kind of kinkiness is suggested by that “gold water”) explained that the introduction of an openly gay character is “about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive.” Maybe the next step in staying “current and inclusive” will be adding a “Phelps family” to the mix. That would put the Phelps family right where they belong: in a comic book.

These shocking developments follow that extremely disturbing story about the seventh-grade girl who saved a friend who was choking and then credited “SpongeBob,” a character on a TV show that Karka feels certain is infested with gay characters, even thought he has never watched it. (Bob Dole’s got nuthin’ on me.)

You don’t have to be an expert in Freudian symbolism to be revolted by this AP story: our heroine “believes she saw SpongeBob use the Heimlich maneuver to retrieve a clarinet lodged in the throat of another character, Squidward.” A clarinet? Really. If you are going to work a phallic symbol into your show, of course you will use the clarinet, which is only the gayest instrument ever (beating the flute by a mile). And lodged in someone’s throat? That is sheer pornography! No wonder America is going to the dogs, and by the dogs I mean those openly gay fru-fru dogs like Poodles and Pekingese and Pomeranians.

Karka would be remiss here if he didn’t if he didn’t point out that sexual orientation is in reality a hot topic in the canine world. I’m not joking. In a story filed by Sarah Mennie, we read, “The (Adelaide) Sunday Mail said Ian Jolly, 57, was barred from dining at the Thai Spice restaurant in May 2009 after a staff member mistook his guide dog Nudge [shouldn’t that be Nudge-Nudge?] for a ‘gay dog,’ a tribunal heard this week.” According to a statement given by the restaurant’s owners , Hong Hoa Thi To and Anh Hoang Le, “one of the restaurant’s waiters said that Mr Jolly’s partner Ms Chris Lawrence stated ‘she wanted to bring a gay dog into the restaurant.'” (Don’t you wish you had been the one taking this statement?)

But as they say, all is well that ends well. The restaurant has “agreed to provide Mr Jolly with a written apology and attend an Equal Opportunity education course, in addition to paying him $1500.” (Karka isn’t exactly sure how a restaurant is going to attend an Equal Opportunity education course, but he will say no more on this matter, not wanting to be accused of restaurantism. But clearly, someone can use some education here, because according to the report “The staff genuinely believed that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had been desexed to become a gay dog.”)

Sometimes these matters become downright comical, as we see in this question submitted to Yahoo! Answers:

My friend who recently came out to me as gay lives in Atlanta and he would like a dog so he can walk to the park with and I guess meet other guys. I know that he doesn’t like big dogs. What kind of dog should he get. What are the dogs that most people like or is there no particular kind. I think that Pomeranians are cute. He has cat that he likes to cuddle so the dog has to be cuddle-able I guess. We both think it’s really cute for dogs to wear little sweaters.
Any help?

Karka suspects that you can’t find the kind of help this person needs on the Web. (Or anywhere else, for that matter.) And that there is a special province in Hell for people “who think it’s really cute for dogs to wear little sweaters.” (Cardigans, I presume.) But I digress.

A final note about the  SpongeBob case. The girl who saved her friend must have been picking up on the subliminal homosexual propaganda (clarinets lodged in throats and I shudder to think what else) embedded in the show. (Why isn’t the Phelps family protesting this? I wonder.) Because, as the AP notes, “One little hiccup in the heartwarming story is that a Nickelodeon spokeswoman says there was never an actual episode of SpongeBob performing the Heimlich.”

I can’t remember: Did Reggie play the clarinet back at Riverdale High?

But let’s get back to serious matters. Our fine town saw another protest last week, as more than twenty people turned out to protest against Starbucks allowing open and concealed weapons in their stores. Now Karka doesn’t much care, since he never goes to Starbucks. (Companies whose mission statement includes world domination make him nervous.)

But this protest, coming on the heels of the Phelps family protest (they had only six protesters, by the way, three of them kids), got Karka to wondering. How does the Right Wing fundamentalist mind parse these matters? I mean, if a gay male goes into a Starbucks packing heat (as God, being a card-carrying NRA member, wants him to), does the fact that he is carrying a gun negate the fact that he is gay?

Is there some complicated sliding scale at work here? Meaning, will a .357 Magnum negate more gayness than, say, a .25 Browning? And if so, exactly what kind of weaponry would Clay Aiken have to carry to make himself an acceptable man in the eyes of the Right Wing fundamentalist god? And what would be the result if a heavily armed Clay Aiken sauntered up to the counter at Starbucks and ordered a really gay drink? (Say, a  Caffè Vanilla Frappuccino® Light Blended Coffee.)

Would even the Right Wing fundamentalist god be confused at this point? (Maybe not, thinks Karka. Maybe everyone who patronizes Starbucks goes to hell regardless of sexual orientation or firepower quotient. That would certainly make God’s job easier.)

Finally, to complete the Blacksburg protest trifecta, we had the return of Michael Vick for the Hokies spring game and the predictable response to that return. Vick is here, as a Roanoke Times writer put it, as yet another step on his “road to redemption.” And to make some cash: Vick plans to sell autographs for $25-30 a pop. I have been attempting to find out if God hates dog killers as much as he hates fags, but my calls to the Phelps family headquarters have so far gone unanswered.

Stay tuned.

Too Jerky for Jerky / Starving Children / “Exposing” Advertising /From Black-and-Blue to Silver and Black”?

These last few weeks have indeed put the “pits” in Pittsburgh. It’s just been tragedy upon tragedy upon tragedy.

First Big Ben Roethlisberger loses his “Jerky” endorsement deal. In light of those sordid revelations about events in that “small dingy bathroom” in Milledgeville, apparently PLB Sports just didn’t feel comfortable marketing a product called “Big Ben’s Beef Jerky.” (Think about that. When you’re no longer fit to sell jerky, you have hit rock bottom.)

According to, PLB Sports President and CEO Ty Ballou “ordered PLB’s entire inventory of ‘Big Ben Beef Jerky’ not in stores ‘to be destroyed at its Michigan distribution center.'” (Please, keep your snickering about starving Third World children to yourselves. Karka will have none of that!)

Karka understands this knee-jerk reaction. I mean, the integrity of the jerky industry must be protected! (There’s no bail-out money left for them.) But Karka also thinks PLB Sports missed a golden opportunity to make advertising history, to boldly go where no advertiser has gone before.

Imagine the “interactive” marketing possibilities. For example: Imagine a jerky package designed so that whenever an attractive young woman (preferably very, very drunk) walks past the display, the jerky packages magically “unzip” and “Big Ben” pops out. They could put little pictures of Big Ben’s “bodyguards” on the package as well, to reassure us that it’s all in good fun. And perhaps a picture of a dreamy young woman salivating at the mere thought of chewing on a “Big Ben.”

As for possible advertising slogans, how about:

Big Ben. Always ready when you are. And even when you aren’t.

(It’s really a shame that Gatorade has already trademarked “Is it in you?” That would have been perfect.)

Or how about:

Big Ben. You know you want it.


Big Ben. The perfect way to end your night on the town.


Nine out of ten college girls agree. Big Ben’s Beef is the one for me!


[Insert your slogan here.]

(What, you may be asking, is Karka doing  blogging when he could be making millions in the advertising biz? He was just wondering the very same thing.)

For those of you who desire more juicy details about the jerky deal:

And now comes word that Roethlisberger has taken another big hit. According to, “Disgraced Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been traded for NHL Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux—at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.”

Now you might be wondering what Roethlisberger was doing at a zoo (other than that one in Milledgeville; we all know what he was doing there). Turns out his name was on a display comparing the height of elephants with that off other creatures. (Not comparing the length of the elephant’s “trunk” with that of other creatures — for example, the tiger’s; now that would be an interesting display!)

Zoo spokeswoman Tracy Gray noted that some zoo visitors had expressed concerns about Roethlisberger’s name appearing on the display. “Mr. Roethlisberger isn’t the most popular person lately,” Tracy Gray, manager of public and media relations, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Bad things, we’re told, come in threes. Does this mean Big Ben will be a proud “member” of the Silver and Black this time next week?