Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ode To Vegas

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope the holidays found everyone well. They were good for me, except for finding out that I received a 74 on my second CPA test (75 is passing.) It is a huge kick in the nuts, but what better way to feel better than a New Year's trip to Vegas? This is my third time in the last year going (last New Year's and spring break) and, despite the almost indescribable ass-kicking we took during March Madness, I am confident about my chances to come back, (or maybe should I say die hard?) with a vengeance. For anyone who hasn't been, here is my view of all the good things (and bad) about Vegas.

PRO: Singing the opening line of "I can show you the world....shining, shimmering, splendor..." to the blackjack dealer at the Aladdin after every blackjack, while she giggled uncontrollably, to the point she had to stop dealing for a minute.

CON: Being told shortly thereafter we weren't allowed to order two drinks at a time anymore by the pit boss.

PRO: Miracle comebacks by Boston College to send the game into overtime, then blowing Pacific out in overtime to cover the 11 point spread. I've never felt closer to a group of complete strangers than that moment in my life.

CON: Having that game be the only one correct in your three-team teaser.

PRO: Burgers at Margaritaville.

CON: 38 dollar cases of beer in the Luxor gift shop.

PRO: Standing in line, watching a 350 pound guy listening to horse racing at the Imperial suddenly throw his headphones, pound the table, and start screaming "no!!!! no!!!!! no!!!!! fuck no, I fuckin' knew it!!!!!! fuck!!!!! no!!!!!! ahhhh jesus christ, this whole DAY has been a fuckin' DISASTER!!!!" It was 8:30 AM.

CON: Not 2 minutes later, talking to a college kid, a "diehard" LSU fan, who was scared of the possible second round matchup (actually with Texas A&M), or, as he put it, "Texas...or maybe Texas St. I don't know, somebody in the SEC, though." Mmmhmm. Texas St. is a scary team on paper. Especially coming out of the SEC. Go Tigers.

PRO: As we drive up to the Luxor the first time, Dunph announces that the light beam on top of the pyramid is the brightest light in the world, to which we respond, naturally, by ridiculing him, and making it the running joke of the weekend. Asking him if he was just googling brightest light beams one day, telling girls "yeah...we're staying at the Luxor....brightest light beam in the world, you big deal, though." etc. etc.

Not really a CON, but just kinda funny: Finding out months later that he was right.

PRO: Betting the over in the Giants/Raiders game, then watching them hit the over in the second quarter, for a stress-free second half.

CON: A meaningless, buzzer-beating, even though we just made a ridiculous comeback to cover the spread, we're gonna let you stroll down the court uncontested and make a layup by Gonzaga. What defense was that, Mark Few, the "Box And Let's Cost Jim $100"?!?

PRO: Meeting smoking hot girls from Utah at the blackjack table that could talk coherently about Andrew Bogut, Alex Smith, and even Keith Van Horn and Andre Miller.

CON: Getting molested by crazy Japanese whores at Club Ra. In fact, Club Ra is a CON all by itself. They should call it Club Douchebags & Crazy Japanese Whores.

PRO: Winning a $275 hand by flopping a nut straight on your first ever hand of poker in Vegas. Thanks, I thought it was pretty sweet too.

CON: Betting black, black, red on three consecutive $50 hands of roulette, and watching it come up red, red, black.

PRO: Getting some big, beautiful, fake boobies in your face, and being in a strip club where you're allowed to grab anything.

CON: Fake tits kinda feel like soccer balls.

PRO: Double-fisting Margaritas by the Yard.

CON: Still Double-fisting Margaritas by the Yard, 3 hours later.

PRO: Watching ADawg pull the old "I don't wanna gamble but I want free drinks" move:
Step 1: slide into a slot machine near a waitress.
Step 2: pretend to put money in.
Step 3: "hey, how you doin? sure, I'd love a drink!"
Step 4: accept your drink.
Step 5: talking to no one in particular: "ahh, this machine is cold, I'm outta here"
Step 6: mosey around, finish your drink.
Step 7: repeat.

CON: Not having the balls to gamble. Yeah, you, ADawg.

PRO: A decently hot girl starting to make out with you because you "helped her find her friends", even though you walked with her approximately 20 steps.

CON: Being drunk enough to proclaim "That was the hottest girl I've ever made out with!!!" and when everyone calls bullshit on that, backpedaling by saying "OK, but she's at least the hottest girl in Vegas!" My bad. What can I say, alcohol's a hell of a drug.

PRO: 11 seeds making Cinderalla runs through the tournament, taking down historic programs and making NCAA tournament history.

CON: Fuck you, George Mason.

PRO: The flight there.

CON: The flight home. Cracks the top 5 Most Depressing Locations in the U.S.

PRO: Getting off the plane and immediatley hearing the dinging bells of slot machines.

PRO: The initial rush of excitement and euphoria every single time you walk into a different casino.

PRO: Going to bed at 5 am (or on my first night, 10 am) and getting up a couple hours later (or on my first night, 45 minutes later) to get back at it.

Those last three PROs are why I love Vegas, and why this weekend will not be my last. Wish me luck.

P.S. not trying to make light of anyone dying, but does anyone remember the old Dana Carvey as Tom Brokaw "Gerald Ford dead today...and I'm gay" sketch? Those were the first, second, and third thoughts in my head when I read that headline today.

Monday, December 18, 2006

2006 Year-End Awards

It's that time of the year again...when I honor all the good things that have occurred or I have experienced during the year, and when I equally ridicule all the bad things. Without further ado...

Sportsman of the Year: This has been a year where the Sox folded like a cheap suit in the second half, Kansas choked in the first round and haven't proved much yet this season, the Knicks have become the biggest joke in sports in maybe the last 20 years, and Phil, one par away from three majors in a row, instead watched his game go to shit for the last six months. So, based almost exclusively on the last five games, the award goes to Vince Young. He's given me something NFL-related to cheer about for the first time in about 5 or 6 years. I would like to apologize for the string of expletives I let loose on draft day when this selection was made.

Movie of the Year: Also happens to be my new favorite movie of all-time: The Departed. See it if you haven't.

Most Disappointing Movie of the Year: Tie between Talladega Nights and Beerfest. To be fair, Talladega never had a shot after Anchorman. My expectations were through the roof. At some point, I will probably buy Talladega and watch it a few more times, and will probably find it funny someday. As for Beerfest, I don't even know. Just a great idea for a movie, and it almost seems like the Broken Lizard guys weren't even trying. They were leaving jokes on the table almost every scene. I used to think they were comedic geniuses, but maybe they just got lucky with Super Troopers.

Funniest Movie of the Year: Since the above two fell flat, Clerks 2 sneaks in, in a mild upset. Definite re-watchability. Best scenes: the Star Wars vs. Lord of the Rings argument; the Porch Monkey debacle; the discussion of Elias's girlfriend's pussy troll "Pillowpants" and mouth troll "Listerfiend."

Grandma's Boy, which I hadn't even heard of until it came out on DVD, is inducted into two halls of fame tonight. The first one is the "Harold & Kumar Go To Whitecastle" Hall of Fame, for movies that came out of nowhere to be funny as shit, or movies that I wasn't expecting much from, but became absolutely hiiiii-larious. Other members include Team America, Euro Trip, Saving Silverman, and Baseketball. GMa's Boy is also inducted into the most prestigious of my Halls, the appropriately named Anchorman Hall of Fame, reserved for movies that I watch at least three times the first week they come out on DVD, dramatically alter my vocabulary for months afterward, and have one-liners that ultimately become used for everyday conversation, to the point that I don't even realize I am quoting a movie. Other members from the last few years are Wedding Crashers, 40 Year Old Virgin, Dodgeball, and going back a few years, Dumb & Dumber, Tommy Boy, and Happy Gilmore.

Purchase of the Year: A runaway win for my Callaway X18 irons. In retrospect, after achieving my life goal of breaking par just a couple weeks after buying them, maybe I shouldn't have held blindly onto my Tommy Armours for so many years.

Worst Purchase of the Year: Actually just occurred last Saturday. Paul and I were DVD dumpster diving at Wal-Mart, when we came across National Lampoon's Dorm Daze. Everyone knows National Lampoon movies are guaranteed for multiple titty scenes, and with Tapanga from Boy Meets World as one of the stars, I decided to take a $4.50 gamble that we would get to see in an hour and a half what it took Corey Matthews eight years to get a glimpse of. Needless to say, we failed. How bad was the movie? Well, if I paid under 5 bucks, and it still is the worst purchase of the year, well.....

Best Decision of the Year: Lasik eye surgery. Wake up every morning and enjoy this one.

Worst Decision of the Year: Too painful to talk about in detail, so I'll give you the pieces and you put the puzzle together: Vegas. George Mason vs. Michigan St. Seemingly easy money line. Desparation. Booze. ATM.

Songs that vaulted into my all-time favorites: Train in Vain by The Clash, This Will Be Our Year by The Zombies, Heat of the Moment by Asia, Over the Hills and Far Away by Led Zeppelin, Superman by Goldfinger.

Game of the Year: Texas vs. USC Rose Bowl. Best college football game I've ever watched. Also sparked the argument between me and Bergman over who will have a better pro career, Young or Leinart. At the time I backed Leinart. The argument, escalating quickly with the aid of dollar Morgans at the Cuckoo's Nest, ended with me holding a full beer can over Bergman, threatening to smash him in the face. Ironically enough, the bet was called off after Tennessee drafted Young, as I didn't want the bet against Young hanging over my head when I had to cheer for him.

Game of the Year 2: Watching LSU dismantle J.J. Redick and Duke, as diehard Dookies Noles and Jenna watch in disbelief.

Personal Achievement of the Year: Graduating college? No chance. My fifteen-birdie, three-eagle, -21 round on the PGA Championship machine at Boston's. Course record, second best score on the whole machine. Also the night our softball team 15-run ruled our bitter rivals in the semifinals, and the night when Papi hit the three run homer to beat Cleveland, making July 31 probably the greatest day of the year, not counting the Vegas, Chicago, Boston, and Denver vacations. We'll call it the North Dakota day of the year.

Asshole Move of the Year: Horp peeing our couch, not telling anyone for a week, writing a note confessing at 6 am, then moving to Phoenix an hour later. Wow. Talk about "fuck your couch."

Asshole Move of the Year 2: Me convincing Horp, Fundy, Noles, and Dumphs how great of a bet George Mason vs. Michigan St. was. If that wasn't enough, I even made a few calls to buddies back home to let me put some money down for them, too. I made sure I wasn't going down alone on that one.

To end on a positive note, Wedding of the Year: Chelsey and Mike. Beautiful ceremony, people I hadn't seen for quite a while, and, of course, finding out what happens when energetic bible-school kids who dance for the joy of it meet boozed-up North Dakota kids who only dance when they have been drinking for nine hours. Chanting "it's all your fault!" at the bartender who told us the complimentary keg was dry was fun as well. Good times.

With Christmas and one more Vegas trip still to go, the up-to-date grade for 2006 is an A-.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm Coming, Coach, I'm Coming

Props to Lane for scoring the greatest Christmas/Not-In-The-Wedding-Party present I could ever get, an autograph from Bill Self, commanding me to move to Lawrence. The battle between Lawrence, Kansas, and Louisville, Kentucky is getting a little one-sided. I have endorsements from Lane, Skye, Miss January, Miss February, Miss September, Miss October, and Miss December of The Girls of KU 2006 calendar, and now Bill Self. From Louisville, I have just Ben and Jon-O. If you're reading this, Benny, I would get in touch with Rick Pitino, or even better, Muhammad Ali. See what you can do.

However, as clutch as Lane was with Self, that's how bad he choked when meeting his hero, Sasha Kaun, at Jimmy John's today. When I say meet, I mean watch him come in, order, and walk out. That's not the Lane Leedahl I know. That's not the Lane Leedahl that bought tacos for the Phoenix Suns, then got tackled off their team bus.

I can't judge too much, as I gagged on my tongue when I found myself alone with Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship a few years ago. However, since then, I have progressed nicely, to the point where I told Brad Buckman (from Texas) to "watch out, dude" when he ran into me in Indianapolis, and at the Masters in '05, I sidled up to the urinal next to Mario Lemeiux and asked him where Jaromir was. Still couldn't bring myself to lob a beer at Ron Artest in a bar in Indy a few months after The Brawl, though. I didn't feel like getting my ass kicked by his 6-man posse, even after the girl I was dancing with all night ditched me later on that night cause Ron-Ron beckoned her over. To those of you reading this from cool cities, remember I live in North Dakota, where meeting celebrities and athletes does not happen. So these are big deals to me, dammit.

Congrats to the kids finishing up finals. I figure that since this is only my first semester since graduation, I am still within the grace period that allows me to celebrate finals week. So I will. Flippy Cup at 10 tomorrow. Let's get crunk.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Induction Night

Welcome, members, media, and special guests of the Hammen Downtown Athletic Club, as we usher in the Class of 2006 Inductees to the "My Boy" Hall Of Fame. The honorees this year are two of the most exciting, fun to watch players in their respective sports, with seemingly limitless upsides, and a combination of athleticism and creativeness that borders on unfair. Both inductees are, as we speak, beginning to come into their own and take control of their respective teams, with talent and leadership qualities that give hope to their tortured fan bases. Ladies and Gentleman, please join me in congratulating Mr. Julian Wright and Mr. Vince Young!

While we're on the subject, I know I use the term "my boy" pretty loosely, so let's tighten it up. Here are my boys, both past and present.

Baseball: Manny, Kenny Lofton, Ortiz, Pedro, Schilling, Griffey Jr., Orlando Cabrera, Kevin Millar, Derek Lowe.

Football: Vince Young, Steve McNair, Eddie George, Deion Sanders, Ricky Watters, Kordell Stewart, Cris Dishman, Andre Rison, Charlie Ward (college).

Kansas Basketball: Julian Wright, Kirk Hinrich, Paul Pierce, Jacque Vaughn, Keith Langford, Jeff Boschee, Drew Gooden, Wayne Simien, Rex Walters, Nick Collison.

Non-Kansas Basketball: Nick Van Exel, Gilbert Arenas, Jalen Rose, Ray Allen, Shaq, Adam Morrison, Jason Terry, Larry Johnson, John Starks, Allan Houston, Marcus Camby, Chris Dudley.

Golf: Phil Mickelson.

OK, maybe that didn't narrow it down very much. Whatever.

On an unrelated topic, I have pulled the plug on Operation Get Doug Laid For Money. I feel better. I think.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Moral Dilemma, Circa 1985

I find myself right in the middle of a situation that couldn't be more ideal for an 80's teen movie. Actually, it probably was. Anyways, there is a co-worker, for identity purposes we will call him "Doug", who, although being 20 years old, has had very little experience in social settings: parties, drinking, girls, etc. All the experience he has had has come at our parties in the last couple years, and although he has made great strides of late, he is basically still like a 12 or 13 year old, running around, hitting on every girl he sees with lame lines, asking out six different girls and getting shot down every time, etc. etc. But he is a good kid and we love him.

So one night last week at work we are passing the time talking about how we need to get him laid, or at the very least make out with a girl, as we are 99% sure he hasn't kissed a girl. We jokingly toy with the idea of getting a prostitute, but we quickly throw that out, because of the absurdness of it, and besides, does anyone know where to get a hooker in Grand Forks?

But then another co-worker brings up the idea of not getting an actual prostitute, but paying someone we know, someone with maybe....looser standards regarding who she will sleep with. We'll call her "Sally." Things escalate quickly, and before we really realize what we're doing, Sally has somehow agreed for only $250 (and other minor conditions). We already have $125 raised among the people involved in the conversation. Since the other kid did the impossible deed of asking Sally to whore herself out, I am put in charge of raising the rest of the money.

Everyone is pretty jazzed up that the major obstacle is completed, and I know getting the rest of the money is no problem, but now the conscience is kicking in. It's a safe bet that Doug finds Sally at least a little bit attractive, and and even safer bet that he wants to get some action, but questions abound. Does Doug want his first time to go down like this? What if Sally has an STD? What if Doug gets Sally pregnant? What if someone involved in the arrangement lets it slip that we paid Sally? How many people can we trust with this secret? How mad would Doug be if he found out about the arrangement?

The main problem I have is that this started out as helping Doug out. I legitmately want to see him get a boost of confidence, and make him feel cool. He deserves it. However, the other two guys most prominently involved are already making too many jokes about it, and I have serious doubts about their intentions. But do I back out? This is where the movie premise kicks in. I feel like I would be played by Emilio Estevez, waffling between wanting to be cool and go with the plan or backing out and letting the other guys down. My two buddies would be Judd Nelson (the badass from Breakfast Club) and Billy Zabka (the Karate Kid's archnemesis.) Sally would be played by Phoebe Cates (the hot girl in Fast Times At Ridgemont High.) Doug would undoubtedly be played by Patrick Dempsey (Can't Buy Me Love.) That would actually be a perfect title for this movie, but since it is already taken, along with 'Cruel Intentions' and 'Indecent Proposal,' we might have to think of something else. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The NBA Noon Ball Team

Among noon ballers, a well known fact is that the most talented team does not always win, and actually doesn't even have that great of a winning percentage. The five guys who gel the best over the timespan of 15 points is going to win. Unless, of course, Jerome Beasley is playing. Then his team will probably just win. With that in mind, here are the four NBAers (I left out super-duper-stars cause that's no fun) I would suit up with if I had the chance:

Kirk Hinrich: The guy who would make everything go. Makes good decisions on the break, looks to make the pass but will score when needed. If you make a sweet back-door cut, he will hit you, rather than putting on a dribbling exhibition at the top of the key while being double-teamed. Just all around fun to play with. I am a little biased about Kirk, but honestly, after Steve Nash, he is the next best in this spot. Honorable mention: Mike Bibby

Elton Brand: The solid force down low. He'll grab every rebound, block a few shots, alter a couple others, get a few easy buckets on the other end, and not dominate the ball. Good passing big man, as well. The kind of guy who just blends into the game, and then you realize after the game he had 7 of your 15, and you can't really remember him missing any shots either. Honorable mention: Jermaine O'Neal

Josh Howard: Does everything well. He can guard anyone on the floor, gets in passing lanes, great finisher on the break, gives tons of effort cause he cares about winning. Great mid-range game, which is huge in noon ball, as everyone usually packs the lane or contests threes. He can head up the shit-talking department as well, a necessary quality at Hyslop. Honorable mention: Shane Battier

Ron Artest: The defensive stopper. As a bonus, he can get hot and score in buckets, but we don't necessarily need him to. Absolutely shuts down the other team's best player, and intimidates him on the other end into stupid fouls and gambling for steals. Hinrich can drift a little bit on D, but Ron-Ron will keep him in line. Also helps out Howard with shit-talking, and if anything gets really heated, pretty much puts an end to it. Who's gonna fuck with Ron Artest? Don't underestimate the crazy factor at noon ball. Honorable mention: Raja Bell

While we're here, and since I usually can't write about sports without hating on people at least a little bit, here is who I would not want to play with:

Vince Carter: I don't even think I need to elaborate on him. There is no such thing as a contract year in noon ball, so he would be pretty much worthless.

Manu Ginobli: Well suited for noon ball offensively, but I couldn't stand being on the same team as the whiner and flopper.

Antawn Jamison: Sulks if he doesn't get enough shots, which affects his defense and rebounding, which are brutal in the first place for a guy his size.

Stephon Marbury: The dreaded shoot-first point guard. Nothing kills a noon ball team faster. Also see: Mike James, Baron Davis, half the Knicks roster.

So there are my thoughts, I know you guys have your own team in mind. Let's hear 'em.