MAGA March Madness Brackets Preview

MAGA March Madness Brackets Preview

March Madness – a term that to millions of Americans means a time of excitement and anticipation as they root for their favorite basketball team. Or, in the case of our president, it refers to any random day between March 1 and 31.

March Madness – a term that to millions of Americans means a time of excitement and anticipation as they root for their favorite basketball team. Or, in the case of our president, it refers to any random day between March 1 and 31.

It’s that time of year when millions of Americans take off early from work, head to the nearest bar, grab a seat in front of a large screen TV and go crazy with March Madness – perhaps the most exciting sporting event of the year. No, not the NCAA tournament, silly! I’m talking about the Big Show, MAGA March Madness.

Robert Mueller has officially submitted his report to Attorney General Barr. Now multiple congressional committee hearings are gearing up to subpoena witnesses and documents to determine who the most culpable parties are.

Throughout this saga, an entire nation will be fixated to see who the winners and losers are going to be in the epic legal and political battle about to unfold in Congress and in the courts. Office pools will form, as people place their bets on whether Donald Trump will survive the gauntlet of highly motivated opponents hoping to bring his reign as champion to an end.

View from the Bleachers, long recognized as the definitive source for inaccurate, sophomoric and wildly misinformed journalism, is pleased to be the first major (or minor) media organization to announce the 2019 MAGA March Madness Tournament Bracket pairings. First, here’s a peak at this year’s regions:

East Region: Russia Collusion

West Region: Campaign Finance Violations

South Region: Obstruction of Justice

Midwest Region: Fraud & Corruption

Here are the official bracket pairings, as announced by ESPN and the Justice Department:

All sixteen teams selected are formidable competitors. Any one of them has the track record to make it to the finals. But there was one surprise in this year’s pairings: For what is surely a first in the history of the March Madness tournament, one team has been assigned a spot coming out of all four regions – Donald Trump.

This would seem at first blush to give him a significantly unfair advantage over the competition. In response to fan protests, Trump said he earned this special seeding since he’s the world’s best deal maker. Indeed, one need look no further for proof of this than his tremendous success negotiating with Kim Jong-un. When asked in a press conference why he got so many slots, Trump simply smiled and remarked, “I deserve it,” adding, “No one is more deserving than me.”

In the West “Campaign Finance Violations” Region, Trump faces stiff opposition from several teams that he claims have been lying about his accomplishments for much of the past season. He contends that, “in the spirit of fair play”, they all should be eliminated from the tournament (and jailed), starting with his former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen. But the committee has decided to let them play despite the President’s repeated ALL-CAPS tweet storms protesting, “SO UNFAIR! #SAD! #MAGA!”

To be sure, the Midwest “Fraud & Corruption” Region is no sleeper bracket either. It contains several high-powered opponents whose history of success and achievement Donald Trump has pointed out repeatedly (and taken credit for). One team to watch closely is First Son-in-Law Jared, whom Trump hired as a special advisor to handle all domestic and international affairs of state, so that Donald could focus on the most pressing demands of his presidency – tweeting, binging on Fox & Friends in his pajamas, and golfing.

Still other pundits argue that the region to look out for is the South: “Obstruction of Justice”. This field contains an embarrassment of riches. In fact, even the 4th seed – Republicans in Congress – is a serious contender to wrap up this bracket if Trump falters. This team has done a remarkable job over the past two years of slowing down any and every congressional investigation into the Trump campaign or presidency. They are in many ways the perfect complement to Team Trump’s corruption and obfuscation in that they never utter an uncomplimentary word about their Commander in Chief.

Still, many experts feel that the most compelling battle may emerge from the East: “Russia Collusion.” While Trump is the top seed in this region, many sports commentators make the case they should have given the top spot to Russian President Putin arguing that Trump is just following Putin’s game plan.

In examining the final bracket pairings, the committee had to make several difficult decisions as to who to let in and who to eliminate. Some noteworthy obstructers and fraudsters who ended up on the outside of the bubble looking in include First Daughter Ivanka Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross, Blackwater founder Erik Prince, foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, and dozens of Russian operatives, to name a few. The committee apologized to the aforementioned teams, acknowledging that they were all highly worthy of consideration in this prestigious field of schemers, liars, evaders, enablers and sycophants. But their efforts fell slightly short of the high bar of corruption needed to make the final selection. Maybe next year.

Who will win the prestigious MAGA trophy? That’s anybody’s guess. But President Trump, the number one overall seed, has repeatedly predicted that in the end, he will triumph. He has called all the other teams opposed to him losers and has declared that he is the only true WINNER in this tournament, and after he wins, he plans to finish building the Wall, which, by the way he tweeted is already mostly done.

Trump added, “If I don’t win the championship, then it just means it was rigged. Fake Refs. Hillary’s emails. #Lock her up!” Despite the end of the Special Counsel investigation, the congressional committees are just getting ramped up, so it’s way too early to know who will come out on top in the finals.

Let the games begin. Don’t forget to send in your own bracket picks, along with a check for $500, to VFTB’s MAGA March Madness tournament pool. The winning entry just might win the restoration of democracy in America (unless Trump wins, that is, in which case God help us all). Send in your brackets to NoOneIsAboveTheLaw@InPrisonYouCantTweet.com.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019

Forget About Putin. The Real Threat to America is Poutine.

Forget About Putin. The Real Threat to America is Poutine.

Putin vs. Poutine. One is an evil, deadly killer that over time has ruthlessly attempted to slowly eat away at and destroy the safety of an unsuspecting country. The other is Vladimir Putin.

Putin vs. Poutine. One is an evil, deadly killer that over time has ruthlessly attempted to slowly eat away at and destroy the safety of an unsuspecting country. The other is Vladimir Putin.

Every day I read another news story citing Russia’s ongoing attempts to de-stabilize America. And then there’s the increasing specter from China, with its treacherous plans to steal all our technology and hack all our phones.

We’re also told to be wary of the menace from our southern border, where thousands of terrorist Hispanic children with their Hello Kitty backpacks are preparing to invade us.

As serious as these threats are from our east, west and south, our government, in its futile efforts to protect the American people, is looking in all the wrong directions. The real peril – and it is a formidable one – is coming at us from the north!

I’m talking about the People’s Socialist Republic of Canada. I have always distrusted Canadians – especially this one particularly beautiful redhead “comrade” I have long suspected of being a spy – my wife. And seriously, how can any country be that nice?

It’s not the Russian Bear we should be worried about. It’s the great white Polar Bear lurching towards our 5,525 mile-long unprotected northern border. Canada may not have the military clout to conquer us (their entire military could fit into a Walmart Super Store). No, their tactic is far more devious and subtle. You’ve heard the adage, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? Well, through the stomach is also the way to our demise – and it is how they plan to kill us.

How do I know this? Because I recently visited a Canadian family in Vancouver, BC. We took walks together, chatting about the challenges of living in a northerly country with only four hours of sunlight on a good day. We pondered whether Canadians will ever learn how to spell words like “color” and “theater” properly. We laughed. We bonded.  I thought they were my friends. They even forgave me for living in a country that elected a president who thinks Canada’s capitol is the North Pole. (Every American knows Canada’s capitol is Toronto.)

The entire time I was in this perplexing alien land, folks were extremely polite and hospitable. My guard was down, and so they lulled me into a false sense of acceptance – and trust. Too late, I learned that secretly, they all despise Americans. Why? Perhaps they envy our ingenuity in creating Disneyland and the diaper alarm. Or maybe their shame over our women’s hockey team beating theirs for the 2018 Olympic Gold medal was too much. The truth is, I now believe my hosts were trying to kill me the entire time, and I have definitive proof.

On my final day there, my Canadian “friends” took me out to a popular local eatery for a last meal before I headed back home to the states. The specialty was a popular traditional Canadian meal called poutine (“poo-teen”) and they insisted I try it. I had no idea they intended this to literally be my LAST MEAL.

I know, you’re saying, “Tim, you sound paranoid!” But let me explain. This meal was created by the most dangerous specie of Canadian: the French Canadians – and is composed of greasy French fried potatoes mixed with large chunks of cheese curds, smothered in a thick blanket of beef gravy – or as it’s better known, the Three Pillars of Death. The portions are huge. The “Child Size” is so named, I believe, because it’s roughly the size of a toddler. My theory is that poutine was originally used as a substitute for mortar to adhere the ice blocks together on igloos.

Flashback to the cozy scene at the restaurant. Within minutes of gorging on this lard-based sludge with the consistency of wet cement, I could barely stand up. My dinner-mates were ever so solicitous as they ushered me into my car and bid me a fond farewell. I could hardly stay awake on the three-hour drive home. I could have died in a car crash – which in retrospect, clearly was their plan all along.

Poutine – a French Canadian dinner staple consisting of French fries, cheese curds and beef gravy that has become Canada’s signature meal – or as I call it, The Artery Assassin.

Poutine – a French Canadian dinner staple consisting of French fries, cheese curds and beef gravy that has become Canada’s signature meal – or as I call it, The Artery Assassin.

In doing research for this article (why are you laughing at the thought I might do research?), I learned that poutine is insanely high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and refined carbs, and causes instantaneous thickening of artery walls. In fact, a single serving (typically 5,000 ounces) can kill you (although in full disclosure, that’s more likely due to the waiter deliberately dropping the ponderous plate onto your head at the sound of your American accent.)

Fortunately, for me, I only ate a small portion of my 64-ounce “Infant” serving, or else, I’m fairly certain I would have suffered a heart attack – or at least a really bad case of indigestion.

What the mainstream media won’t tell you is that it’s all part of a nefarious plot to invite Americans to come to Canada, to help prop up their faltering economy, and then, when we least suspect it, serve us a truck-bed serving of poutine, so we’ll all keel over from cardiac arrest. Then they’ll take our cars, break into our homes –and steal our flat screen TVs and jewelry – while leaving a very thoughtful apology note on the kitchen counter.

I now believe Canadians are hellbent on destroying America. They have long been jealous of us, mainly because they are sick and tired of the NFL drafting all the best football talent before the CFL gets a pick. Their plan is to take us out, one unsuspecting football fan at a time, by offering to make us home-cooked meals of their artery-clogging poison.

You may be asking yourself, “Hey, if poutine is so deadly, why do Canadians keep eating it, and why aren’t they dying from it?” – to which I say: you ask really annoying questions. You’re forgetting that they’ve had a century to build up an immunity to this deadly concoction. They also drink maple syrup straight from the jar and consume Canadian bacon by the shovel-full, and yet somehow survive. Those bastards have arteries of steel.

America, it’s time to stop falling for all the Fake News stories about Russia, China and Mexico trying to undermine our great country. Our real enemy will be invading from the north. And they know the fastest way to bring us to our knees is through our pie holes.

Tonight, when you tuck your kids in bed, tell them you love them, promise never to make them write everything in two languages, and be sure never to let them visit Canada. Because if they do, they may never return, thanks to a poutine overdose – or perhaps because they will be duped by Canadians’ devious displays of hospitality, generosity and the country’s incredible natural beauty. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019

Mr. Popularity – The Early Years

Mr. Popularity – The Early Years

This is my high school senior yearbook photo. I know what you’re thinking: Tim, you look so cool – not the least bit nerdy.

This is my high school senior yearbook photo. I know what you’re thinking: Tim, you look so cool – not the least bit nerdy.

I am often asked, “Tim, were you always so popular and beloved by all who know you?” Admittedly this question is usually posed during a recurring dream in which Scarlett Johansson presents me with the Pulitzer Prize for Bad Humor Writing. You may find this hard to imagine, but in my younger days, I was not nearly so popular with the girls or envied by the guys; nor was I as comfortable making verifiably false claims as I am today.

The truth is, before college, where I assumed a totally new identity and back story, I was rather shy and nervous – especially around the fairer sex. I blame this on attending the Albany Academy, an all-boys’ school, for twelve years and being a late bloomer (I expect to start blooming any day now).

In addition to these impediments, I was one of the lucky teens who wore braces, was afflicted by acne, and was slightly overweight. I also lived nowhere near any of the other kids in my school, so getting together with them was a no go. Then sprinkle in a large dollop of parental disapproval from an extremely strict father who perpetually described me as “a disappointment,” and you have the perfect recipe for an awkward young man not exactly brimming with self-confidence.

At the Academy, a private military school, there were the usual cliques – the cool kids, jocks, theater guys, and stoners. I belonged to a very small and eclectic group consisting of one member: me. I was the pleasant enough but somewhat serious “straight arrow” who was considered too much of a bookworm to invite to parties. On most Saturday nights, while the majority of my class was getting drunk at Woody’s house or Hayward’s or Robb’s, I was typically at home, falling asleep watching Mannix at 10:00 on CBS. 

Truth be told, I didn’t really care that I missed all the parties, in part because I did not drink (still don’t), and also, I just was not into that scene. I found meaning in studying – all the time. There’s a word for someone like me who routinely got good grades and devoutly completed all homework before allowing himself to play: A Nerd.

I guess, if I’m being honest with myself (something I try to avoid as much as possible), I was a little behind the curve in a few areas – like what to say on a date… or what to wear on a date… or how to get a date. Continue reading “Mr. Popularity – The Early Years” »

A Millennial’s Bill of Rights

A Millennial’s Bill of Rights

Meet Ryan, Amanda, Justin, Kayla and Tyler – five millennials with an important message to share – which they will get around to just as soon as they respond to the latest text from Ryan, Amanda, Justin, Kayla or Tyler.

Meet Ryan, Amanda, Justin, Kayla and Tyler – five millennials with an important message to share – which they will get around to just as soon as they respond to the latest text from Ryan, Amanda, Justin, Kayla or Tyler.

[Note: This week I turn over the editorial reins – and hope I don’t regret this decision – to five outspoken millennials – Ryan, Amanda, Justin, Kayla and Tyler (at right) – who have demanded the opportunity to share what they believe the rest of us need to accept, based on the collective wisdom of young people. Looks like our future is in good hands. – TEJ]

Hey, you Gen X’rs and Baby Boomers. You geezers have called the shots 4 way 2 long. It’s time we millennials explain the new rules. This is our BILL OF RIGHTS, or as we prefer to call it, our BLLORTS.  Just so you won’t whine about having no idea how to “translate” our writing, we’ll use complete sentences (what a hassle), with punctuation and vowels – thgh, srsly, who bthrs wth vwls ths dys?

As a Millennial, I proclaim that…

Climate change is real. It’s going to destroy the planet if we don’t do something about it NOW. I plan to get actively involved, of course, but for the moment I’m busy checking out my options on Tinder and Bumble. But right after Monica swipes me back, I’m all over saving the planet. Text me when Florida starts to submerge.

We need to help people in need. There are millions of people all over the world who don’t have nearly enough to get by. It’s time we look out for those unfortunates. Speaking of people in need, I need you to pay for my airfare home for Christmas. I had to buy a new iPhone X, so my Venmo account is low.  Continue reading “A Millennial’s Bill of Rights” »

The Secret Rules of Chess

The Secret Rules of Chess

Did you know chess was invented in India in the 6th century? An even more obscure factoid is that “The Secret Rules of Chess” were invented by one T. Jones in the late 20th century. It was time someone taught our impressionable youth these new rules. That somebody was me.

Did you know chess was invented in India in the 6th century? An even more obscure factoid is that “The Secret Rules of Chess” were invented by one T. Jones in the late 20th century. It was time someone taught our impressionable youth these new rules. That somebody was me.

[The following is a partially true story.]

As a parent, I have long tried to be a role model for my children. I have always striven to teach my daughters fundamental values like integrity, honesty and good sportsmanship – except when it came to chess. Then all bets were off.

When my girls were seven and eight years old, respectively, I taught them the ancient game of chess (something for which they have never forgiven me). Initially, their skills were rudimentary at best. But after a couple years of patient mentoring, they were able to name most of the pieces on a multiple choice quiz.

Eventually, their games improved to the point that, over their vehement protests, I enrolled them in a chess tournament at a local elementary school. Upon arrival, I noticed that most of the kids and their parents had something in common: almost none of them looked like me. That’s because, of the 300 kids in this competition, 95% of them were either Chinese, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, or some other Asian demographic. I’d heard about Tiger Moms, but never have I seen so many in one room – the intensity in their eyes was daunting. As for the remaining 5% of kids, they didn’t stand a chance.

My girls were born in China, so on paper at least, they fit the demographics. But that’s as far as the similarity went.  Factor in that I was their teacher and they had about as much chance of winning this competition as I had of becoming the next Pope.

The event went on forever, beginning at 8am on a Saturday and ending sometime after I lost consciousness from ennui. Every child played five rounds that day. After one match was over – which in my kids’ cases was usually about nine minutes – contestants were sent back to the cafeteria.

In these long breaks, parents ensured their prodigies devoted every minute to sharpening their skills, practicing feverishly until the next round arrived. I was so bored that after a couple hours, I broke down and challenged some of these youngsters to a game. I don’t want to brag, but there was this one third grader, Jason Kim, who needed 21 moves before he checkmated me. That was my best performance. Most games were over shortly after I located my horse.

This is the scene at the chess tournament I enrolled our girls in when they were in elementary school. What a wonderful way for a parent to kill 10 hours on a Saturday, that is, if you find watching bowling a little too exciting.

This is the scene at the chess tournament I enrolled our girls in when they were in elementary school. What a wonderful way for a parent to kill 10 hours on a Saturday, that is, if you find watching bowling a little too exciting.

No doubt about it, these prepubescent grandmasters were extremely sharp. After a string of five embarrassingly quick defeats, I knew it was time to shake things up a bit. I decided to give these miniature Bobby Fischers a lesson by employing my own Secret Rules of Chess. My next opponent was a nine-year-old named Raza. After a conservative opening, Raza, boldly advanced his bishop into an attack position against my exposed queen.

I contemplated my options, and then, in a maneuver I’m fairly certain Raza did not see coming, I nudged my queen backwards off the board and brought her back onto Raza’s end of the board, putting his king in check. Raza jumped up and exclaimed, “You can’t do that!”, to which I calmly replied, “Apparently you’re not familiar with the Queen’s Revolt.”

He was, of course, more than a little confused, in part because the Queen’s Revolt doesn’t exist (in chess, that is). That’s when I began to weave a tale of how this tactic was first used by the Duke of Hapsburg against the Viscount of Mordovia in 1542.

In game after game, I continued to keep my young foes completely off balance with one surprising technique after another:

The Bad Bishop’s Deceit: My bishop gets to progress diagonally in two directions on the same turn – and can leap over pawns. 

The Peasant’s Uprising: This can only be done one time per game – and only by the black chess pieces (because I was playing black). I can select one pawn to become a queen for four consecutive moves.

The Knight’s Alphabet: Here, my knight can do the usual L-shaped trot, followed by a W-shape, and even a Z.

Storming the Castle: One of my favorites. I jettison both of my rooks in unison the length of the board thereby taking out both of my adversary’s rooks and any other playing piece in their path. This is a particularly powerful stratagem but one which should only be attempted if your opponent is very young and incredibly gullible.

This chess cherub would have defeated me in three minutes had I not utilized a daring, obscure strategy – the Wizard’s Distraction: I exclaim, “Look, a scary monster!”, my opponent turns to look, and I steal her bishop.

This chess cherub would have defeated me in three minutes had I not utilized a daring, obscure strategy – the Wizard’s Distraction: I exclaim, “Look, a scary monster!”, my opponent turns to look, and I steal her bishop.

Of course, with each “secret rule of chess” I made up, I explained in great detail its fake historical origins, dropping the names of plausible sounding kings, earls and baroness, and how, while not recognized in the United States (or China or Pakistan or India or any country where any of these kids’ families were from) they were widely accepted in places like Lichtenstein, Moldova or any obscure European country I was confident they’d never heard of.

I quickly garnered a string of five straight victories. My opponents had no clue how to defeat me. I even trounced the enormously talented seven-year-old Kevin Wong. I must admit, he would have beaten me in seven moves, had I not cleverly resorted to the masterful King Arthur’s Evasion: when he had me in check, I simply advanced my king the entire length of the board, jumping over several of Kevin’s pieces, and took out his rook.

Kevin protested until I patiently explained that this stratagem was first used by King Henry VIII to defeat Napoleon when they met for the World Chess championship in Reykjavik, at the height of the Spanish-American War.

Everything was going along swimmingly, until in the championship round, ten-year-old Raghav Patel employed a daring gambit he had learned from me – the ingenious Sultan’s Escape. He boldly took his king off the board for one turn to avoid being checkmated and then returned it safely to a different part of the board. Raghav was immediately required to forfeit the championship match to his rival, Fatima Shambhani. Apparently, tournament officials weren’t familiar with this move which, as I told Raghav, was first done by a Moghul sheik in the 15th century, during the Irish Potato Famine.

Several parents, who if you ask me, were wired way too tightly, filed a petition to have me permanently banned from any future chess tournaments. I guess some people just have no appreciation for the finer nuances of this ancient game.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

[Author’s disclaimer: To all you parents who by now have concluded I’m a terrible person for duping young, impressionable children with my preposterous moves and tales, let me set the record straight. I won’t deny that I made up all these fake chess moves and ridiculous back stories. But the kids quickly picked up on the fact I was making it all up for entertainment purposes, and they were enthralled and laughed as I demonstrated new ridiculous tactics. And no, Raghav Patel did not try the Sultan’s Escape (though I think he was tempted). And everybody lived happily ever after. – The End.]

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019