Monthly Archives: March 2009

So Long Rick: The Budweiser Test Has Spoken

There is much wrong with General Motors, but today at least one thing is right. Chairman Rick Wagoner, Jr. is gone. Since 2000 he has overseen the auto giant’s historic tumble from the pinnacle of American automotive ingenuity to the doorstep of a nationalization.

The gold standard litmus test for just how shitty your company performs that I fall back on is the “Budweiser Test”. The math isn’t as complex as that used by professional analysts, but it is quite revealing. Here’s how GM stacks up to the Budweiser Test during the Wagoner era:

If you had invested $10,000 in shares of GM stock when Wagoner took the reins (although he has been C-level at the automaker since 1998), it would be worth less than $290 today. Think about that. To put that loss into context, we apply the Budweiser Test over the same period. Now consider your portfolio manager instead taking that ten-grand and “investing” it on 667 cases of beer (a 24-pack cost 14.99 in 2000) and drinking every last one. Sounds like a bad idea, doesn’t it (but it would explain some of the other investments he was recommending)? But if he had, your investment (now 16,000 empty cans) would be worth $1,600 (remember MI is a 10¢ deposit state).

An investor shows off the return on his portfolio. Though his wife (not pictured) left him for spending $10,000 on beer and not GM shares, it was he who had the last laugh.

Capital Gains! He is 5-times richer, having bought beer not GM stock.

It certainly says something when a drunkard with no portfolio and a living room full of cans is getting a return five times higher than someone who invested in GM.  It shouldn’t take an act of Congress for a company to shed a chairman who presides over a shit show like GM’s, but I guess it did; ye Gods.

We could go on about Tricky Rick and his mismanagement of GM, his huge bonuses, gas-guzzeling SUVs and the poor reputation for quality that hounds the American auto industry, the pan-handling in Congress, but I think the Budweiser Test speaks for itself. So next time you feel like hanging your retirement fund-hat on an American car company, take a look at the alternatives—at least you’ll be able to knock a few back along the ride.


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Bulletin: Nixon Cut Over Possible Ties to Syrian Interests

The Milwaukee Brewers release outfielder Trot Nixon on Wednesday. According to reports “Macha intimated that he and Nixon may have not parted on the best of terms.” According to sources close to Nixon and the Brewers Spring training camp, alleged ties to Syrian interests scuttled the one time Red Sox’s chances in Milwaukee despite Macha’s saying “Trot is a friend and … I wish him well.”

Amidst the controversy was this photo picturing Nixon signing a poster for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad for an unidentified bearded man at the team's Spring facility in Maryvale, Arizona.

Amidst the controversy was this photo picturing Nixon signing a poster for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for an unidentified bearded man at the team's Spring facility in Maryvale, Arizona.

The source went on to speculate that Nixon’s actions could come into conflict with the midwestern values and sensibilities that characterize the Brewers’ organization.

Nixon through a spokesman declined comment and nobody from the Brewers’ organization would comment on the record about Nixon’s alleged ties to the mid-east. Although it is widely known that Nixon is not contemplating retirement and continues his search for a team willing to take a chance on him, he will certainly have some explaining to do where ever he lands.

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UPDATE: Braden Looper

Braden Looper threw today for the first time in a Brewers uniform. He took mound on field #4 at the Brewers’ Cactus League home in Maryvale. In a simulated game he threw about 30 pitches. His fastball topped out at 91. The minor leaguers facing him had no trouble hitting the right hander, however. A line drive back up the middle nearly took his head off seven pitches into the outing (i clocked the line drive at 94 mile per hour as it he deflected it inches from his ear. Looper stayed in and kept throwing hard, breaking 3 bats in the simulated session. Except for a hanging breaking ball his control he showed good control through the outing.

**These are definitive measurements. More accurate than the numbers you will get from the Brewers. SMC records these speeds with the finest in Sports radar technology, the STALKER PRO, whereas the Milwaukee Brewers use an inferior STALKER SPORT model radar gun.

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Mercifully Spring Training

Here are some pictures from Spring Training.  Our coverage continues later this week… maybe.  -Ed.

This is a poor season (or perhaps region) for tattoos in general.  You see, when you get your favorite team’s logo tattooed on the back of your leg, you think you are saying “I am the greatest Brewers fan on to ever roam the earth.”  You instead ar saying, “Not only do I posses both the traits of poor judgement and sensibilities, my priorities are incredibly misplaced and I am afraid of getting a tattoo in a place where it might hurt.”   



I was contemplating asking Matt Kemp whether he would enjoy a cold one in the hot Glendale Sun the other day, but I was afraid he might take me up on it as each bottle of beer sells for 6.50.  And then I was kicked out of my good seats by the hired help at the Stadium.  An elderly but determined elderly man told me to go back to the lawn, as my 10 dollar ticket did not merit sitting behind the dugout in the 8th inning of a 9-2 Spring Training Game.  



Of all the fans we have seen, Milwaukee’s carry, by far, the most dignity about them.  They are also, by far, the most fun.



This is all you need for spring training.  A radar gun, a baseball mit, and several warm Pabst that have spent the past day and a half baking in the back of your car.  A simple formula for success and triumph:




I never really thought I would ever see a Fielder getting his ass massaged, at least not with any kind of proximity to the act.  And yet here is Prince getting a butt rub on a random Monday. Pictures are ok, but a video camera would really capture much better just how much his ass jiggles.  How it jiggles so.


Are umpires drug tested?  Look at this man’s arm.



Jeff Samardardzjeia, being banged like a cheap gong.


I booed the sausage because it was Polish. Hey-O!


Heywood from Major League is unretired!



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Bad News for News Rags


Holy Sheep—Bestiality Remains Legal

This could be bad news for tabloid newspapers everywhere. The Journal Register Company, the parent company of The Trentonian and New Haven Register, filed for Chapter 11 protection last week, further evidence that newspapers publishers are in trouble along with the car makers and financial institutions. If Trenton and New Haven aren’t gold mines for publishers is anywhere? And if daily headlines like these can’t pay the bills, can anything?


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Two Rules For A Better Baseball

Dear Baseball,picture-10
While you were out enjoying typical winter jobless bliss, quite a few Americans decided to join you. Only they are not being invited to Florida or Arizona and will not resume full time work schedules in April. The opportunity for baseball could not be greater: millions of people in need of entertainment and diversion and with plenty of free time for it. 

Fan reactions tend to the extremes in recessionary times. I’d wager a barrel of pork that Joe Unemployed enjoys an afternoon of quality baseball more now than he did when he worked. He celebrates your on-the job triumphs as his too and wins when his team wins.

Of course, he’ll also be the first to berate lazy players or absent minded managing and personnel decisions. He’ll be more than happy to lead a cathartic chorus of boos and march right out of the stadium if it continues. Joe’s been itching to give it to someone and since he can’t go tell Wall Street or his ex-Boss where to stick it, you could be a prime target.

But since I like you so much, I am going to walk you through consolidating each team’s fanbase. Two simple tweaks to the game and you’re well on your way. The first is simple: ban the designated hitter. The other eliminates “wasted” baseball and shortens the game—if the home team trails in non-save situations (that is trailing by four or more) after eight innings require they bat in the top of the 9th (if the deficit is fewer than four runs they would have the option to bat the top of the 9th).

Baseball has a problem when it comes to long games. Few would argue that a four hour game is more enjoyable than a two hour game even though they’d take in an extra hour of baseball for the same price. Anything that shortens the game without affecting the contest has to be a good idea, right?

More importantly why make the home team’s fans stick around for an extra half inning of punishment if they possess the certain gene that makes leaving any event before it’s conclusion sacrilige? I lack this gene, normally if my team is down four after the 8th, I’m headed for the exit content to accept the loss and risk missing a miraculous comeback in the 9th rather than stick around for the visitors to take some more shots. Now if the home team were trailing 4 after 8, but were to bat again in the top of the 9th, don’t you think you’d see fewer folks pouring out of the stadium after 8 innings?

The designated hitter ban should speak for itself. Don’t you see how this is part of the whole juice culture of baseball today? You’ve created a roster spot that betrays the game itself by introducing some boehemoth whose sole job is to hit the shit out of the ball, and turned pitchers into pricks who can throw beanballs without fearing reprisals and taken much of the real strategy of the game of baseball from the contest. Where’s the strategy in hoping your DH knocks one or two out? I like how Tony Larussa hides his pitchers in the 8th spot, I like how managers face tradeoffs of leaving a pitcher in even though you’d like to replace his bat in the 6th, I like the double switch in the 7th, I like that small ball still has a place in baseball. All this reminds us that baseball is a game, not just a home run hitting contest.

Teams would be able to make some cap room not having to fill this phony position. It also wouldn’t hurt to let fans see the pitchers step up to the plate in the American League. Don’t you see how people who have no work might be a bit miffed seeing some middle reliever who throws two innings, makes seven figures and manages to have someone else proxy for him half the time he’s in the game?

Anyhow, you had a hell of a year last year and with these two tweaks you’ll be certifiably recession-proof.


Adlai Plebeian.

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SMC March Horoscopes

After months and months of people stopping us in the street and asking “when is Sweet Merciful Crap going to start publishing horoscopes,” we finally caved in to these (mostly) unkempt strangers’ demands.  Here is our first installment for the month of March- Now let us walk down the street unmolested.  



Sagittarius- You will die a terrible, terrible death.   zoltar-the-fortune-teller-1

Capricorn- Your fall off the turnip truck cometh…

Leo- Your beef stroganoff will impress unannounced house guests.

Aquarius- Your good looks and charm will be your undoing.

Cancer- Cancer.

Gemini- A chance for you to get ahead with anabolic steroids is coming your way. Don’t let it pass you by.

Pices- You should buy as much Citi Bank stock as you can get your hands on.

Libra- Your friends and family will suffer great expense and inconvenience at a debilitating illness you contract.

Virgo- You will  be forced to watch a cute young animal die an excruciating death.

Taurus- You will accidentally use a disparaging slur to describe Native Americans while in the company of a good Native American friend.

Aries- Meghan McCain will eat all your ice cream.

Scorpio- You will find your true love in a bread line.

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