Thursday, April 30, 2009

Get Busy Livin' Or Get Busy Dyin'

In T minus 4 hours, I leave for Louisville and my 2nd Kentucky Derby weekend. Since I will surely fail to adequately describe how I feel right now, I'll let Morgan Freeman do it for me:

I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the Illinois border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Kentucky bluegrass is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

Monday, April 27, 2009

And She Runs Through Her Days....With A Smile On Her Face

I usually don't write very in-depth about music; partly because we have plenty of other people in our corner of the blogosphere who can do it better- and also because for the most part it would go something like this:

Soooo have you guys heard that new Spice Girls CD? Pretty awesome, right? I think my favorite is Baby Spice. She just seems so innocent, you know? Like, Posh is definitely hotter, but she seems like kind of a bitch. I feel like if I bumped into Baby Spice in a coffee shop and everything kinda fell into place, I could totally get her number. And Scary Spice has some real nice boobies- and I'm totally not just saying that because of my moderate obsession with black girls. Oh yeah, their music is pretty sweet too. Lyrical geniuses, those Spice Girls. Fo' reals.

However, I would be remiss if I did not mention the hold that the song 'Tyler' by The Toadies** has on me right now. Despite the fact that this song came out in like 1994, I hadn't heard it until around November of last year- or at least, if I had heard it previously, it didn't stick with me. The latter scenario seems unlikely, because the very first time I played it after loading into my iPod, I was absolutely transfixed. This song found a nice comfy spot in my brain, settled in, and it's been there ever since.

I'm not usually one for listening to a song on repeat, but on a couple occasions I've listened to this song a handful of times in a row, only stopping because I'm desperately afraid of burning myself out on it. Even though I just downloaded it in November, it's already at the #18 spot in my top 25 most played list on iTunes, which goes back nearly three years.

It's also one of those songs that magically sounds better after you've had a couple of beers (especially cans of PBR.) Maybe it's the soul-searching guitar riff; maybe it's the creepy lyrics that detail a rapist's inner monologue in the days and minutes leading up to his crime; but in any event, it all combines with a gentle buzz to create the perfect level of romanticism needed for a good gettin' drunk song. I'm practically hypnotized when I listen to it. Beyond that, it's in that rare group of songs that actually makes me feel like immdeiately grabbing a 30 pack, plopping down in a lawn chair, and just getting absolutely crushed every time I hear it. This song went straight into my playlist appropriately named 'Of Course I'm Drunk, You Asshole.' Seriously, if I knew of this song when we still lived in Culligan and had the roof to sit out on, I would already be 4 months deep into a massive alcohol problem.

Bergman and I have talked about this at length over the years, so I know his answer is going to be 'Mexico' by James Taylor, but the Question of the Day is: what song(s) make you just want to kick back on a warm summer evening and get sauced?

**Editor's note: for those of you whose curiousity I've piqued enough to click the link and watch the video, I ask you to do your best to ignore the video and just listen to the song. I just watched it for the first time here tonight, and it might be the worst video I've ever seen. Seriously. I wish I could go back and unwatch it in my mind. I have the same look on my face as after the first time I saw Two Girls, One Cup (only this time I don't have an unexpected erection.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'll Take Preseason #1 Ranking For $600, Please

And the answer is: These things needed to happen this off-season in order for KU to be the top-rated team in America going into next year.

What is....Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich coming back for one more year; top-5 recruit Xavier Henry announcing he's coming to KU; top-40 recruits Thomas Robinson and Elijah Johnson also climbing on board; Tyshawn Taylor, the Morris twins, and my boy Brady Morningstar growing a year older and wiser?

Correct! And you remain in charge of the board.

After the signing of Xavier Henry (and his brother C.J. as a walk-on) never in my lifetime (and probably never, period) has a Jayhawk team been so deep- KU has 14 players who legitimately deserve to play at least 10 minutes per game. Let the roller coaster of being preseason #1 begin. Only seven months until the season starts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Can't Talk To My Mother So I Talk To My Diary

>> Lawrence is a dangerous city for me. I don't mean that literally; I'm generally able to act however I want, without fear of getting beat up for my lunch money. (Although I should mention....apparently Alex had to slap some old dude in the face on Friday night after he groped her at Sandbar. I would've stepped in for her, but at that moment in time I was waiting in line outside on the sidewalk, double-fisting beers I had smuggled into the street from a different bar, and hitting on a couple of girls on behalf of my buddy Andy, who was inside. Who says chivalry is dead?)

What I mean is that Lawrence is dangerous for me in a fiscal sense. In the past, when we'd drive down here once a year to attend a game, I would unload my wallet and buy all my KU crap in one big spendfest. Now, it's like every time I go to the grocery store to stock up on Hot Pockets, I see something KU-related to waste money on. "Hammen, what's with all the bags? I thought you were just picking up triple-A batteries?"..."Well, yeah, but...then I saw these KU beer mugs, pretty awesome...and, well, I know we don't actually OWN a grill yet, but when we do, we'll have a nice Jayhawk grill cover....ahhh dammit." If I continue at the rate I'm currently going, the entire apartment is going to look like one of those fake bedrooms that they put in sports memorabilia catalogs.

So anyway, I'm at this little shop downtown, picking up a $100 scoreboard clock (yes, a scoreboard clock. For our living room. That right there about sums up this entire paragraph, not to mention my entire life) and I see one of those panoramic photos that uses a special lense to show the entire Fieldhouse crowd at once during last year's KU/Missouri game. So I pick it up, scan it for awhile, find myself in the crowd....ipso facto, I have to buy it. Nevermind that I don't have a frame for it, I don't really have anywhere to hang it, and I sure as hell don't need it- shit dude, you can see ME in it, so let's throw it on the credit card. I get airline miles for this purchase anyway bro, it's all good.

It was surprisingly easy to find me in the crowd, too. I remembered what I was wearing and roughly where I was sitting, which helped...but the clincher is that the photo is being taken while Tyshawn Taylor is launching a 3, so I immediately knew what to look for: me doing this. And sure enough, amidst a sea of people who are mostly sitting down, you can see me standing up with my arm stretched to the sky. Don't let anyone ever tell you that going to a basketball game by yourself isn't awesome.

>> There a couple new additions to the links. I almost hesitate to mention them, since the Batting Order is now littered with people whose blogging careers were shorter than Jessie Spano's drug addiction. However, I have high hopes that both of these blogs will be superb in both quality and quantity.

The first addition is Rocko. She is best known as Chelsey's old roommate from the Minneapolis days....aka the days of "Heyyyy, I've got a flight leaving out of Minneapolis tomorrow, so can I drive down today, get us all hammered, crash on your couch, and have you drive me to the airport at 6 am? kthxbye!" And she also happens to be hilarious. Hopefully Rocko doesn't quit blogging like some of the other drop-outs who have disappointed me so very, very much (when Dunph said he had a "Daily Attitude Problem" apparently he meant that this one day in 2006 he had a problem, and then this other day he had another one....and he wrote about both of them.)

Also, our resident music expert Schneweis has started an insightful music blog, Pacing The Cage, which is pretty beneficial for music recommendations. Nobody has provided me with more new music in my life** than Schne, and for this I am eternally grateful. Give him a look.

**I should clarify and say music that I enjoy- one time, I stole a homeless person's entire CD collection that he was selling on the street corner, but it was mostly just tribal music, or poetry being read aloud with bongos and shit in the background, so it pretty much sucked. Hey man, if you don't want your stuff to get jacked, don't ask strangers to watch it for you while you go piss behind the 7-11. You, of all people, should know that.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TV And Me

I am not what you would call a huge fan of TV. I have some shows that I watch (The Office, Weeds, How I Met Your Mother, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia) but I prefer to wait until they come out on DVD and watch entire seasons at once. It doesn't bother me that I'm a year behind. There isn't a show that I make enough of a priority to watch every week, for these reasons:

1. I don't like being a slave to TV- I would never want to be in a situation where I chose not to go golfing, play pickup ball, hang out with friends, or creep around middle school girls' volleyball games- because The Office was coming on at 8:00. TV can wait (unless, of course, we're talking about sports. Alex could need my help putting out a small grease fire in the kitchen that was on the verge of jumping the counter, but if the Red Sox had the tying run on 3rd base in the 9th inning, she'd be on her own.)

2. That said, IF there was a show good enough currently on the air, I would make the sacrifice to watch it every week. Back when Ed was on NBC, a bunch of us got together religiously every Wednesday night to watch, and this was at a time in our lives when we all had much more going on (read: getting shitfaced.) Freshman year, I'm pretty sure Jake skipped a final exam because the season finale was on at the same time, and we saw in the previews that Ed was going to kiss Carol Vessey before she left on a summer-long trip with Dennis Martino. (Son of a bitch Dennis Martino! That guy still pisses me off....damn that show was awesome.)

However, since Ed got the axe 5 years ago, I have yet to find a show that would make me drop everything to watch it every week. However, that might also be due to my getting older and just liking TV less. But don't people our age usually start to settle down and watch more TV at night? I feel like most of my friends are doing that. I don't know, maybe I just liked TV more when I was younger. I should note that Freshman year of college, we would also get together to watch The Real World every week, a television program that I believe represents everything that is wrong with America today. I don't know what that says about me/us, maybe I just liked TV more back then.

3. I don't like watching TV shows on the internet. As much as I am in love with watching sports on the internet (with all the viewing options on the Masters website, it is officially better to be at work than to be at home for the first two rounds) for me, TV shows just don't translate well.

4. I don't have TiVo. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have it, but that would result in placing a call to the cable company- who would then realize that we're getting free cable in our apartment through some glitch in the Matrix. I've been living on my own for 8 years now, and I've yet to receive a cable bill (ssshhhh! that was a secret!) I'll be damned if I start paying for cable now.

So, what the hell is the point of all this? I recently finished watching the first five seasons of The Sopranos on DVD, roughly 10 years after it premiered. And although I haven't yet seen the dramatic sixth season, I can sum up my feelings in one word or less: meh.

I'm sure this is a case of something being hyped up to the point where it couldn't do anything but disappoint me; plus the fact that I know all about the controversial ending to the show probably doesn't help, but I think it's more than that. I honestly don't know what all the fuss was about regarding this show. It's definitely good; I mean, we raced through five whole seasons pretty quickly, but it's not the be-all end-all TV I thought it would be when we began our Sopranos odyssey.

It's especially disappointing because I am a huuuuge fan of mafia stories. The Godfather is my favorite book of all-time- I've read it 10 times in 9 years and it's not even close to getting old. Goodfellas is my favorite movie** and my unofficial top 50 would be littered with gangster movies.

{**I should clarify that it's my favorite movie because it's the one I've watched most recently. I've accepted that I can't have an absolute, hands-down, #1 all-time favorite movie, because I'm too easily influenced. I'm like an eight year old. I'll watch The Departed, proclaim it my favorite movie ever, and go around rocking a fake Boston accent for a week telling people "Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe fuck yourself." Then I'll watch He Got Game, proclaim THAT to be my favorite movie, and spend the next month shooting hoops at random outdoor parks, speaking in ebonics, and pretending that I'm in Coney Island and I'm the #1 high school recruit in the country. Then I'll watch Return of the Jedi and proclaim THAT to be the best movie ever, and soon I'm dressed up in full-on Jedi apparel, using my 9-iron as a lightsaber and trying to use the Jedi mind-trick on Alex: "You are going to make me tuna casserole for dinner. Search your feelings, you know this to be true." So bottom line, I don't have an official all-time favorite movie.}

I think the most telling sign of my apathy towards The Sopranos is that we finished the fifth season a while back, and I've felt no motivation to rush out and rent the sixth and final season. That is crazy to me. So Sopranos fans, is the sixth season so amazing that it can pull a Lloyd Christmas trading in the Shaggin' Wagon for a moped and TOTALLY REDEEM ITSELF!....or is it a situation where if I haven't caught the Sopranos fever yet, it's too late now? Should I even bother with the last season?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Back In The High Life Again

It's finally here. The glorious end to tax season. We get a half day today, which I will use to "do stuff" such as golf, play pickup basketball...maybe pickup a sixer of Mike's Hard Lemonade, troll some chat rooms, and see what the middle school girls are up to tonight.

Tomorrow our office is closed, so it's my own personal Shomer Shabbos, aka Peter Gibbons' Day, where I will do absolutely nothing all day long. The only decisions I'll make all day will be whether I get Sonic or Chipotle for lunch (who am I kidding, probably both) and which of the Star Wars movies I should watch (who am I kidding, probably all 6.)

Then on Friday I will celebrate with a few cocktails. By "a few" I mean "enough to bring down a small-to-medium sized Argentinian family." I plan on having a beer in my hand at 5:06 pm (5:03 pm if I hit all the lights on my way home) then getting Winnie the Pooh-drunk** and sleeping as late as humanly possible on Saturday. I don't think that 1 pm is out of the question. In fact, I'll be angry if I'm out of bed before noon. We'll put the over/under at 12:23.

**Winnie the Pooh drunk: getting so drunk that by the end of the night, I'm wearing a t-shirt and nothing else, and I'm elbows-deep in a jar of honey (or in my case, some spicy queso dip.)

Holler at your boy when you see him in the street.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


After sitting through the schmaltzy introduction filled with soft piano music***; multiple shots of trees, sunshine, and pink azaleas; and cheesy Jim Nantz one-liners; Alex had this to say:

"You know, The Masters is just kinda gay."

If we were married, this would be grounds for divorce. Now I know what Chris Brown felt like when he beat up Rihanna.

Don't worry, I didn't do it. (And I don't mean that like O.J. meant it.)

***I decided today that I want that music playing at my wedding. It'd be awesome, as people were being seated, to see how many of my friends recognized it as the music from The Masters and started giggling. And THEN, what if I got Jim Nantz to preside over the ceremony? And he started by saying "Hello friends. We're gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of...." Oh man best wedding ever.

Friday, April 10, 2009

How White Kids Make Fun Of Each Other

In the late 80's there were "Yo mama" jokes. Sometime in the 90's came "_____ called, he wants his ______ back" jokes. Later in the 90's and into the new millenium, battle rapping became popular (I mean, if you can't get pumped for the climatic scene in 8 Mile, you better check your pulse, bro! Fuck Free World! 313!!!)

And now, in 2009....we make fun of each other's facebook profiles. Here is a small play I have entitled "How to Lose a Friend in 10 Minutes."

(Note: this actually took place weeks ago, but I copied and pasted it, and saved it for a rainy day. "Rainy" meaning a day where due to crunching numbers, I lack the mental capacity to write anything remotely close to creative and besides I'm spending my lunch break watching The Masters on my computer because it's a Tradition Unlike Any Other- more like an Erection Unlike Any Other cause that's what I get when I catch my first glimpse of Augusta National Golf Course every year.)

Cast of characters:

- Me
- Jon, aka Jon-Jon, aka Jonye West, aka The World's Tallest Intern, aka The Big Polygraph

FACEBOOKIN at work yeah bra
gotta upload some photos from the weekend
it was awesome I don't even remember taking like half of them
it was crazy
wicked goodtime ...... from what I can remember

hahahahaaaa you see any photo albums in my profile

no because you won't give me access

hey check out my trip to europe, it was pretty big deal though, just europe, you know, pretty cool place....

Check this out, so I went to this baseball game
this kid was a Sox fan
it's awesome

sooooo have you heard of the eiffel tower? yeah i've been there

pretty sweet
no I didn't know him, but he was a sox fan

look at this's the same picture, but now I'M in it, so it's a little more special
this building has been around since 1530.....OLD, right?

Yeah I have seen fever pitch ok....enough....oh hey while you cruzin my profile check out my blog that's sweet too

yeah, i've got a link for my blog too, but i haven't updated since george w. was should still check it out though

what am I doing you ask
just living the dream
that's my activity I am into the most

hey wanna have a recruiting challenge for northern iowa basketball?
i'm just a waterboy, but i'm on my way up

ohh whats that you havent heard any good quotes from Dave Chappelle?
check out my profile
they are on there

my trivia score is a little low too, but fuck that, i'm not gonna study trivia, i don't have time for that, what with my europe trips and all

oh yeah and I don't really have any interests....OTHER THAN SPORTS

and check it out, i've got some answers to FAQs, cause if you make try and conversation about me being tall, I WILL WRECK YOU

I am just a gopher in the dave chappelle recruting challenge

what kind of music do i like? glad you asked....IMIN2EVERYTHING!!!!

All's I know is that if you cheer for the yankees
you make baby jesus cry
so I got this friend right, his name is paul, I thought it was soooo funny when he said "I'll have another"

nuggets never judge.....that's only my third favorite quote, there are a couple other ones, but now that i re-read them they're pretty gay
i decided to start a new blog, just for my europe trip, cause i REALLY want to make sure you heard i went to europe...

so yeah my favorite quotes are from movies sooo what..I loved superbad...thought it was great...and dave chappelle, of course is on there...did i I tell you I am doing his recrutiing challenge
yah I am only a gopher, but the show's off the air so I can't really move up any more

i joined the suite 49 group cause I FUCKING LOVE DRINKING AT THE SUITE 49!!!! love gettin' bombed there, you can usually run into some UND hockey players....score!

I like most movies, but I know I like ALL THE STAR WARS
that's for sure
and boner jams '03
that was classic
I made it myself
actually me and my buddy paul you know when he says "I'll have another" I LOL?

Annnnd scene. Don't worry, we're still friends. Sort of.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Just a heads up, this is going to be a whiny, bitchy, mostly petty post from a sore loser who has dreaded this day since last June. I would love to be happy for my Carolina friends, in particular Fundy, with whom I share a mutual respect, due to the fact that we both have an entirely unhealthy and irrational love of college basketball. He has always been supportive of Kansas, even cheering for them for my sake, in the years when Carolina is eliminated first.

And let the record show that back in the day, I used to be supportive of Carolina. One year in high school Fundy and I played on the same 3-on-3 intramural team, and we even named the team the TarHawks, due to our college basketball allegiances (and yeah I know that's incredibly gay, but c'mon- we were 16. On the list of "Things We Did That Year That We Thought Was Really Clever But Was Actually Gay....Seriously" that would probably only rank 7th or 8th.)

But now, in 2009, due to extenuating circumstances, I cannot be happy for North Carolina or their fans.

Pictured: Extenuating Circumstances.

Anyway, here's what annoyed me about last night:

- During the pregame show, both Greg Anthony AND Seth Davis picking Michigan St. to win. As I remarked to Alex at the time, that's a 5th grader's pick. That's a little kid's pick. That's a pick from someone looking to go on national TV and make a splash. Let me do my impression of Seth Meyers from SNL (and also Schneweis when he's really hammered): Really? You realllly thought Michigan St. was going to beat Carolina. Really. Even when Carolina beat Michigan St. earlier this year, in this very city, on this very floor, by 35 points? When Carolina hadn't had a game closer than 12 points the entire tournament? Really? When Carolina returned every major player from a Final Four team last year, whose only acceptable conclusion to this season was to win the title? Really.

- The game itself sucked. It was over by the second TV timeout, and every person on the planet knew it. Carolina knew it, MSU knew it, and the 278,000 MSU fans in Ford Field who were supposed to give MSU such a great home-court advantage knew it. I'm not sure if that's the real number of fans, I'm no mathemetician, I just know that I was pretty bored with hearing about that attendance record last night. Most fans to ever attend a Final Four game, did you hear?

- Here's one of the things I hate most about March Madness, and it happens often: when a shitty team (MSU in this example) ends KU's season, ruins my bracket, and just all around pisses me off....and then, when I finally DO want them to win, they all of a sudden play like I thought they would play 3 games ago. Thanks for beating UCONN and taking away any shot we had at an exciting national championship game. That was anybody's game for about 3 minutes there, it was pretty exciting.

- Good Ol' Roy is building a legacy now. Here was his legacy at KU: choker. Now he's at a school that pretty much recruits itself, and he's stockpiling national titles. So that's nice. (Not to say he was a bad recruiter at KU- he was phenomenal. But seriously, does Roy even have to go on recruiting trips and entice players to come to Chapel Hill? Or is he just accepting the best of the best, and turning the others away like Kristen Bell with Star Wars nerds at Comic-Con....hi-yoooooo! Baa-zing!)

- All the praise that Lawson, Ellington, and Green are getting for "coming back to school to win a national championship." Bullshit. Those three came back to school because they tested the NBA draft waters, found out they weren't getting drafted as high as they would like, and THEN came back. Give Hansbrough credit (gasp!) because he came back right away, before the other three had made up their minds. So he didn't even know if he had a great team this year or not- he just legitimately loved being at Carolina. But to pretend that the others came back because they loved college/wanted to win a national championship is just naive.

- I don't mean to take anything away from North Carolina here: they shot the ball extremely well and played pretty awesome basketball this month. But would it have been too much to ask for just ONE TEAM to step up and play even halfway decently against them? I don't have the numbers in front of me, and I'm no statitician, but Oklahoma started out like 1-19 on 3-pointers or something ridiculous like that. Ditto Villanova, with the added bonus that they couldn't make a layup, dunk, free throw, or any shot that game. And Michigan St. had about 1 turnover for every fan they had in Ford Field last night (411,000? Was that the number? It was a record crowd, you know.) And these turnovers/missed shots were rarely caused by Carolina's defense. Bottom line: teams just shit the bed against Carolina in the tournament this year.

- Finally, last night sucked because it was so inevitable. (Say this in the voice of the "O-face" guy from Office Space: "Hell, OBAMA picked them!") Ever since last June, when we found out that every player would be back for Carolina this year, and we knew that there was no other elite team this year in the entire NCAA, it was pretty obvious that Carolina would walk to the title. I hoped against hope that some crazy March Madness upset would derail this championship train (which really shouldn't be that insane of a wish- considering Roy got upset as a high seed with KU like EVERY OTHER YEAR) but alas, it was not to be. Carolina did indeed walk to the title. And that sucks.

In conclusion, I offer a half-hearted congratulations to all the Carolina fans out there. Seriously, it's hard work cheering for the most successful, most popular team in the country, and you should be commended for your loyalty. Plus, the baby blue argyle on their jerseys is SO sweet looking!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Why I'm Going To Miss Billy Packer Tonight

Quick rundown for the uninformed/uncaring: for the past 35 or so years, Billy Packer has been the lead color analyst for CBS college basketball, and he and play-by-play man Jim Nantz (the answer to the trivia question: who would I most want to be for one week of the year?) have talked me through every single Final Four I've ever watched. The vast majority of the American public couldn't stand Packer, but those voices weren't taken seriously until recently, as we as a country became firmly entrenched in the internet era, where everyone has an opinion- and it's usually negative.

During last year's Final Four game, with KU up 40-12 on Carolina (I swear this isn't just a lame excuse to bring this game up again...or is it?) Packer announced to the viewing audience: "This OVER." TV producers, and especially the companies paying millions for commercial time, obviously want as many as people watching as possible. So it's a major no-no to say something like that on-air (to say nothing of the fact that the game was NOT over, as Carolina went on a huge run and made a game of it again.) Anyways, the rumor was that CBS fired Packer over that comment he made, but the reality is that the writing had been on the wall for Packer for a few years now. It was only a matter of time until CBS finally gave in to the millions clamoring for Packer's head.

However, even though at times I have bitched about Packer, he will be missed tonight and Monday night, as I tune into my first Final Four ever that he doesn't provide the color commentary for. I know I'm solidly in the minority with this opinion, but here are my reasons for it:

1. Say what you will about Packer's snarky, grouchy, largely negative attitude (really my only beef with him) but you know what? He's usually right. He's had a couple of memorable gaffes: most famously in 2006, when he absolutely TORE INTO the selection committee on live TV, regarding the abundance of mid-majors making the tournament at the expense of BCS schools, in particular George Mason (who, in one big fuck you to both Packer and degenerate gamblers everywhere, became the first 11 seed to make the Final Four in history that year.)

But 95% of the time, Packer is dead on in his opinion. And when I'm watching basketball, I'm gonna choose to listen to an asshole who is usually right, over a pleasant guy who doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. Every time.

2. Which segues nicely into the next point: Clark Kellogg is kind of an idiot. Sounds like a great guy, probably fun to have in the booth, I'd certainly want to be friends with him....but kind of an idiot. I used to like Kellogg as an announcer when I was a kid (mostly because at that age, I thought every black person on the planet was cool) but then they shipped to the studio with Greg Gumbel, and since his return to announcing, it appears he's lost his skills. He's almost painful to listen to. This is probably where I should mention that if CBS had chosen to replace Packer with my boy Bill Raftery, as opposed to Kellogg, then I would NOT be writing this post right now. Peace out, Packer. It's been real. Send it in Jerome!

3. The last few years, I think that Nantz and Packer have settled into a nice little comfort zone. Earlier in their run together, I felt like Nantz let Packer walk all over him. I know that play-by-play men aren't supposed to voice their opinions too much, and leave that to the color guy, but when Nantz would offer some analysis, Packer would usually disagree, and Nantz would either quickly backtrack and agree with Packer, or just say nothing more about the topic.

Somewhere along the line, Nantz finally sacked up. I can picture him straightening his tie in the mirror and dusting the shoulders of his impeccable suit jacket: "Who the hell does Billy Packer think he is? I'm Jim Fucking Nantz! I'm gonna be the lead broadcaster at the Masters next week! I used to be roommates with Fred Couples! I do football games with Phil Simms! I own many leather-bound apartment smells of rich mahogany!"

Once he started standing up for himself, it made their on-air chemistry that much better, in my opinion. Packer is like one of those big egos who will respect you more if you don't back down to him. The last couple years, Nantz began openly questioning Packer's opinions, and it was wonderful.

After Packer's "This game is OVER" comment last year, right as they were breaking to commercial, Nantz tersely cut in "Is it?" and I can imagine (fantasize?) what transpired over that commercial break:

Nantz: What the fuck was that? We got sponsors to look out for here.

Packer: Do you SEE the scoreboard? It's over!

Nantz: You think I don't know that? But now I've gotta deal with producers screaming in my ear. Pepsi is so pissed I bet they've called the studio twice already!

Packer: I'm just calling it like I see it.

Nantz: Well, I'm happy for you, Bill, but I've got more things to worry about than just that. This is a professional business. Grow up Peter Pan, Count Chocula.

Packer: Jimmy, I'm sorry. I just-

Nantz: Save it, douchebag. We're back on in 5.

Annnnnnd scene.

4. My last reason is tradition. I'm a ridiculously nostalgic person, probably to a fault, and it'll just be sad watching the Final Four without Packer. I've grown quite accustomed to it. If CBS ever loses the broadcasting rights to the NCAA tournament, it could be an ugly scene. Picture me curled up on my bathroom floor, listening to the NCAA on CBS theme song on repeat on my iPod and softly weeping.

That....may not be an exaggeration.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

2009 All-Ugly Team

Last year's All-Ugly Team was hit pretty hard by graduation. The incomparable Lorenzo Mata-Real has moved on. The good news is that the 1-year waiting period was waived (by me) and he joined Joakim Noah, Shelden Williams, Mark Vershaw, Adam Morrison, James Augustine, the 2004 BYU starting five, and many others in the All-Ugly Hall of Fame, where he was immediately named captain. Shelden Williams was pissed, but understanding at the same time.

This year's team will be coached by John Calipari, because I think he has an ugly soul. Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2008-2009 All-Ugly Team:

The Bench:

Franklin Gutierrez, California: Troy Palamalu called, he wants his hair back. You can keep the ponytail holder, though
Kerwin Dunham, Northern Iowa: NERRRRRRRD!
Andy Rautins, Syracuse: nice fucking haircut
Eric Devendorf, Syracuse: nice neck tattoos, go beat up another girl in a bar
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame: I always thought that Rudy would be the nerdiest Notre Dame athlete ever, I was wrong
Luke Nevill, Utah: good call, Jenna
Nick Calathes, Florida: I was hoping to leave him off this year, but that acne is just NOT clearing up

And the starting five:

Kyle Singler, Duke. I had him on the bench last year, and personally I felt that he needed one more year before he was ready to crack the starting five. However, I took into consideration that like 25-30 people a week find this blog by googling some variation of "kyle singler ugly" and I am nothing if not a man of the people. So into the starting five he goes.

Esmir Rizvic, Texas Tech. The lone returning starter from last year.

BJ Mullens, Ohio St. A late addition, mostly due to the mexi-stache he grew this year. I think Noles had a better goatee than that before he could do long division.

Bryan Davis, Texas A&M. Has a head shaped like a brontosaurus. Or a brachiosaurus. Which one has the blowhole on top of their head? Is it even a blowhole, or nostrils, or what? I can't remember, I dropped Dinosaurs 101 a week into my freshman year cause I heard the final was tough.

Corey Fisher, Villanova. Like Shelden Williams had a kid with Corky.

And thus concludes our All-Ugly Team. But while we're here, I would be remiss if I didn't point out this similarity that Noles brought up a couple months ago (one of those things where once you see it, you can't believe you didn't notice it before.) James Harden of Arizona St. is totally the black version of Schultzy. He must get his haircut at the Schultz School of Beauty, whose motto is "We'll Give You a Shaved Head, Trimmed Sideburns, and Slightly Unruly Beard- or Your Money Back!"

Damn that picture is money. They have the same facial expression and everything. I mean, it's no Horp/Jon Scheyer situation or anything, but it's still uncanny.