Thursday, February 25, 2010

In Which I Pay Tribute To ADawg

Out of all our friends (besides Paul, of course) ADawg is the one who takes the most shit. And I admit, sometimes it's undeserved. Like for instance, it's not his fault that his dad is only 4'10" and shirtless 84% of the time. We can't help ourselves, sometimes it's just fun to see the little guy lose his cool and freak out on us. It's a victimless crime.

Example: A few years ago, ADawg, Bergman and I ended up in a gay bar in San Francisco. I know I'm getting ripped on (deservedly) for this story either way, but full disclosure: it was our first night there, we had no idea where the places to be were at, so we jumped into a taxi and told the driver to take us somewhere cool. The driver, perhaps seeing three well-dressed dudes and no girls and doing some quick calculations in his head, promptly drove us straight to a gay bar, which we didn't realize was sexually oriented either direction until a couple hours later. As soon as we realized it, Bergman and I thought it was hilarious and began flirting with ADawg- trying to pet his hair, grabbing his ass when he would bend over for a billiards shot, etc. etc. The angrier ADawg became, the more fun it was for us. After threatening to leave multiple times, ADawg finally snapped, and after chewing out both our asses (not literally) he started heading outside to hail a taxi to the hotel by himself, until we talked him down off the ledge. Classic ADawg.

Now, REALLY full disclosure: towards the end of the night, it became obvious that the bartender was taking a, um, liking to me. So I did what any perfectly straight guy would do: shamelessly flirted with him until he took care of our tab. And I've taken some shit for that part of the story in the past, but you know what? I'd do it again. That tab was like $150, and it's not like I had to play tummy sticks or anything. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Editor's note: Bergman and I were rehashing this story the other day and I was trying to remember if I forgot any funny details, and Bergman reminded me what the bartender told me after he took care of our tab, and as I was trying to at least throw him a few bucks for a tip: "Don't worry about it- you're all the compensation I need."

I don't even care that a dude said it to me.....THAT'S a compliment.

So anyway, back to ADawg. Sometimes, it's totally his fault that we make fun of him. A couple weeks ago, while KU was dismantling Texas on ESPN, I received a text from him that read:

Wow, go Kansas! How's it going man?

My reply: Hey dude, been a while, blah blah blah.....How's Bobbi?

Him: Well, pregnant! Oh, by the way, don't tell anyone, we haven't told our parents yet.

Me: Say whaaaaaaaat?!?!?!?!?!

I mean, how does that conversation take a turn like that, especially when they hadn't even told their parents yet? I was only Groomsman #6 in his wedding, no way I should be getting that announcement first. Only ADawg announces a pregnancy all Ron Chalant-style, one sentence after congratulating me on a college basketball game on TV.

So congrats to ADawg and Bobbi. Hopefully they have a son just like ADawg, who wears polo shirts that are a size and a half too tight; takes the time to make seven rough drafts for a one-page 6th grade writing assignment because it has to be perfect; and rather than actually gamble, hangs out by the slots and pretends to be putting in a dollar right when the server walks by so he can keep getting free drinks all day.

It wasn't exactly difficult to find a picture of ADawg pointing into a camera (he popularized the ADawg Point years and years ago; for my money it's the best pointing pose in the world besides Manny Ramirez) but I didn't think I would find one of him looking so douchetastic. Justin Timberlake called, he said he left his hat poolside in Vegas, could you please return it to him?

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Top 5. Volume 12.

My top 5 good songs that were forever altered by subsequent events.

5. NBA on NBC theme- John Tesh

The original title of this list was going to be 'songs ruined by subsequent events' until I realized that this song hasn't been ruined, per se, it's just different now. When NBC still broadcasted NBA games, it was just a badass song. Now when I listen to it, it still gets me jacked up, but also makes me a little sad and nostalgic. Even though those were the days when the NBA teams I hated the most always won the championship, they were still the good ol' days (little known fact: the first time in my life when the team I was cheering for in the Finals actually won was 2004, when Detroit beat the Lakers.) There was a cassette tape, long destroyed now, of me playing the theme song, then at the part when the music would downshift and announcers would say something like "we're here at the Great Western Forum this afternoon, where Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns come to battle Magic Johnson and the Lakers" I would start talking over the TV announcers, announcing the matchup that was about to be played with my starting lineups. There was also a recording of me doing play-by-play of the 1991 Duke/Kansas national championship game, but fortunately that's gone now too.

I feel like I might've revealed a bit too much about my childhood in that paragraph.

4. Ants Marching- Dave Matthews Band

Pretty much the only DMB song I can really get on board with (that sound you hear is 80% of my friends clicking the red 'X' button because I'm not a diehard DMB fan like they are) and now, thanks to the beginning of this clip, I can't listen to it without giggling uncontrollably. "Get my phone out for the Google Maps, yeahhh" Damn you for being hilarious, Bloomington Bros.

3. Money- Pink Floyd

A song I loved until a few months ago, when I heard the song 'Let a Ho Be a Ho', an old-school rap song by Willie D that inexplicably samples the cash register noise and a couple beats of the bass line from 'Money.' Not sure how they got away with that, unless somehow Mr. Floyd (Pink Floyd was a person, right?) gave his permission, which is baffling if he did. Now when I hear the real version, I can't help but think of the importance of letting a ho be a ho. Just one of those songs that has no business being sampled for hip-hop purposes. I could write a whole separate post on this, but others in this category: Under Pressure by Queen & David Bowie/Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice; Kashmir by Led Zeppelin/Come With Me by Puff Daddy; In-a-godda-da-vida by Iron Butterfly/Hip Hop is Dead by Nas; and the theme from and Psycho/Gimme Some More by Busta Rhymes.

2. Smells Like Teen Spirit- Nirvana

Which one of these doesn't belong:

-The song that helped put alternative/grunge music on the map
-The defining song of a generation
-One of the most important songs of the last 20 years, and maybe ever
-The entrance music for Diamond Dallas Page

If you're anything like me, and got sucked back into watching professional wrestling in the late 90's (five years after you thought you were done with it forever) you can't listen to this song without getting to the six second mark, making a diamond shape with your hands, and shouting "Self High Five!!!!!" Kurt Cobain was rolling in his grave, until DDP dug him up and gave him a vicious Diamond Cutter.

Also, the "Who started using this symbol first?" battle between DDP and Jay-Z was one of the more underrated lawsuits of the decade. It's hilarious that someone who so blatantly steals his theme song can be so pissed off when a rap mogul steals his hand signal.

#1. Stuck in the Middle With You- Stealer's Wheel

This is the song being played in Reservoir Dogs when Mr. Blonde tortures the cop, cutting his ear off, pouring gasoline all over him and trying to set him on fire before being shot. It's not the most gory scene in the world- and it's pretty much child's play compared to the Hostel movies and the other splatter films released nowadays- but for whatever reason, it's just a really, really uncomfortable scene that hits close to home (even though the closest I've come to losing an ear is rupturing my eardrum, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever attempted to set me on fire.) The downside is that the insane Mr. Blonde cranks the radio and makes this song the soundtrack to his torture, forever ruining this song for me and probably thousands of others. Instant cringing the second I hear a note of it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Internet Giveth

This is mostly just a link for me, it's something I've been searching for on the interwebs for almost a couple years now. Not gonna be real awesome for anyone else, but terrific for me and maybe a few others. I'm pretty sure this was Cole Aldrich's first time talking to the media, and it showed. He can barely hammer out a sentence without using the word "tenacious" to describe Tyler Hansbrough, and after listening to him, the accents in the movie Fargo don't seem so ridiculous (Cole is from Minneapolis.) The best parts are when they pan out to show the whole table, and Darnell Jackson and Brandon Rush are valiantly trying not to laugh at how stupid Cole sounds. Then, when they finish with questions and stand up to leave, they finally make eye contact and start laughing and saying "Tenacious. Just tenacious." I guarantee Cole got made fun of for weeks after that.

I don't know why I'm describing the video, the only person who might click the link is Schneweis, who has already seen it as much as I have. But whatevs.

Post-game press conference from KU/UNC

To make it up to you, and in honor of Tiger Woods making his first public appearance since The Incident, I was gonna link to one of my top 5 SNL skits of all time, the one from right after Tiger burst on the scene by winning The Masters in 1997......but apparently it doesn't exist. The internet taketh away. I found a transcript of the skit, but it's not nearly as funny without hearing Tim Meadows try and talk with his huge fake teeth in, and Tracy Morgan not even trying to do an accurate impression of Tiger's dad. (To this day, I still love saying "Gee thanks, Gandhi" whenever I'm being sarcastic, and nobody ever knows what I'm referencing.) Rest assured, if youtube existed in 1997, I would've watched that skit 20 times a day for a month.

While I was digging for the video, I also found a listing of all the skits from that night's SNL, and it was ridiculous. Pamela Anderson hosted, she was probably at the peak of her hotness back then. Remember Goat Boy by Jim Bruer? Those were pretty awesome when I was 14 years old. And the Roxbury skits were just coming into their own too. A Will Ferrel as Janet Reno skit, the Spartan cheerleaders, the Ambiguously Gay Duo's safety tips (just stick it in, and don't play around with it!) Norm McDonald doing Larry King....what an unbelievable episode. It aired on April 19th, 1997- also the day that the flood crushed Grand Forks (I remember watching it at our family friend's house on the Air Force Base after we got evacuated) and the very first day of my "staying up until at least midnight" streak. April 19, 1997. What a turning point in my life. OK I'm babbling.

I haven't quite been doing a No-Fun February like I did last year, but I have kinda been in Minimal-Fun February mode (minus the Colorado trip, so I guess this sentence is pretty much a lie.) That changes tonight. I forsee an evening of Bill Raftery jokes being tossed around, Lane and I sporting our North/South Cup thrift store suit jackets, and $15 worth of Michael Jackson on the jukebox. Noddin' my head like yeah, movin' my hips like yeah. That's an MJ song, right?

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Probably Not The Highway That Tom Cochrane Was Talking About

Here is the opinion of a dude who has been to 38 of the lower 48 states, and driven in 37 of them (I was only in the airport in North Carolina): western Kansas, specifically I-70 from Salina to Denver, is the worst stretch of highway in the country. It's worse than anything in North Dakota. It's worse than Wyoming or southwestern Nebraska. It's even worse than the stretch from LA to Vegas, when I'm trying to drive while breaking up a fight because it's 4 a.m. and ADawg can't sleep because Bergman is crushing 40's of Corona in the backseat and singing obscenely loud with his headphones in.

Along the way, there are signs for 'Points of Interest.' I would assume that these points are actually just gas stations where a tin of chew costs less than $7, and there isn't at least a 30% chance of getting robbed at gunpoint by a fellow customer. Because those places are certainly not in abundance on this drive. The second the sun goes down, it immediately feels like it's 3 a.m. On windy days, there are literally tumbleweeds blowing across the highway; it feels like a Wile E. Coyote & Roadrunner cartoon is about to break out. If I ever get pulled over on that stretch, I'm not stopping, because the sheriff is probably Leatherface's dad, and I'll end up getting brought back to the family farmhouse to get hung on a meathook and have my face cut off and made into a mask or something. If my car ever breaks down on this road, it's getting abandoned, because I know that within minutes, Anton Chigurh is coming around the corner with his air gun. (Just to throw one more pop culture reference in this paragraph, I'll mention something about the view being similar to when Forrest Gump is running back and forth across the country. Boom. Nailed it.)

Dude, I already told you, I'm not calling heads or tails. Just take my car already.

While we're here, my favorite stretches of highway in America, in no particular order:

- Spokane to Seattle: tough to rate this one properly. I drove this during my first ever "real" road-trip without my family, and I had never been to this part of the country before, so I tend to remember everything about it through rose-colored glasses. I originally remembered the whole state of Washington being 4-lane Nascar madness, me and a couple other cars setting the pace, weaving through traffic and unofficially racing each other.....but I recently Google-Earthed it, and in reality, there isn't even one extra lane until halfway through the state, much less two extra lanes, so I might just be full of shit on this. Still fun though.

- San Francisco to LA: not much explanation needed. You're staring at the Pacific Ocean most the time, which sounds a million times cooler when you have lived in the midwest for 24 of your 27 years on this planet.

- Lawrence to Louisville: it's not so much the scenery (although I do mildly enjoy the trees and gently rolling hills of southern Illinois and my birthplace of southern Indiana; and it's also decent driving through St. Louis and seeing the Cardinals stadium and the Gateway Arch) but I'll always enjoy the trip because I know that every mile I drive brings me one mile closer to the best weekend of the year. However, the hungover drive home sucks- the Arch can suck my balls.

- Northern West Virginia to western Maryland: during our annual family roadtrips from North Dakota to Baltimore, I spent approximately 23 of the 24 hours in the car trying my best to annoy Brother and cause a general ruckus in the backseat. The one hour I wasn't, I was peering out the window, enthralled with trying to spot West Virgina University's football stadium peeking through the Appalachians. (That, and hoping against hope that a semi truck was gonna have to use the Runaway Vehicle ramp....can you imagine? Just an out-of-control 18-wheeler, careening up the ramp, threatening to jackknife off the side and back onto the highway......I would've given up a year's worth of allowance to see that happen back then. Just the two-word phrase 'Runaway Vehicle'.....awesome.

- Northern Utah to Northern Nevada: Pretty gorgeous stretch of road- the Salt Lake City area in particular. The open road unwinding in front of us, combined with a constant backdrop of a snow-topped mountain range, made it feel like the 'Alaska' level from Road Rash for Sega Genesis.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Nose Plays

So here's my issue: the other night I got absolutely crushed in the face at our city league basketball game while driving to the hoop (it was probably a good no-call.....anytime there's an audible 'smack', the guy lets the ball fall out of his hands, crumples halfway to the ground, and yells "Jeeeezus Christ!", you have to swallow your whistle on that one. Gotta love city league basketball in Lawrence.) I don't know if it was an elbow, a fist, or a rhinocerous foot, but it effing hurt. I was woozy for a couple minutes, and my nose was kinda sore that night, but I didn't think it was a very big deal in the long run. TV has warped my mind; I was convinced that when you broke your nose, there was an immediate outpouring of blood, and I'd start bawling in front of everybody.....

But as the days have progressed, my nose has hurt more and more. Also, when I touch it or squeeze it, it makes some weird noises. I've also had trouble breathing through it, and had some, um, snot issues, which I had been attributing to the crippling cold I am just getting over now. My nose has always been big and crooked (kind of a poor man's version of Matt Damon's fake nose in Ocean's 13, hence the title of this post) and I didn't have a black eye or anything, so I had no visual evidence.

I was describing my condition and joking around at work about how my nose was probably broken, and instead of laughs like I was expecting, I received solemn head nods and near-unanimous agreement. I checked symptoms online, and the news wasn't promising. There's a pretty decent chance it is actually broken.

I'm not usually such a hypochondriac. Actually, I'm closer to the opposite. For example, there is unquestionably something wrong with my knee. It's been sore since about 2001; the pain gradually increasing with every year. Some days are good, others are bad, and if it gets tweaked at all during a game, it's fucked for a few days. At this point, if I don't get loosened up for at least 15 minutes before a game, stretching the knee and getting up a few dozen shots, you can bet everything you own that I'm not making any jump shots (which is convenient, since unless we're the first game of the night, we're lucky to get 3 minutes of warm-up time before a game. Once again I say, gotta love city league basketball in Lawrence.) However, I continue to convince myself that I'm just getting older, and that nothing is seriously wrong internally.

So now that I've effectively convinced myself that my nose is broken, here's my dilemma. I don't want to go to the doctor to see if it's actually broken, because I'm pretty sure (once again movies and TV may have skewered reality) that they have to re-break it, or at least reset it or something, and that it hurts like a bastard. Plus, I'm pretty sure James Woods is involved somehow. And there's no way I'm going through that kind of pain by choice. I've never even taken a full-on punch before. I've only been in one little fight (and my mom got scared, and said "You're movin' with your auntie and uncle in Bel Air!") But I'm gonna sit there while some guy in a long white coat breaks my nose on purpose? I'll pass, thanks.

So as of now, my decision is that I'm probably just gonna ignore this until it goes away....or until it starts affecting my jump shot as bad as my knee does. I've already learned from TV how to protect myself....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Little Housekeeping

>> So I figured an attempt at relative anonymity was in order, as well as long overdue. I scored a new job, and where before I was kinda the man behind the man, now my name will become slightly more recognizable in the community. The whole 'google my name and find the blog' thing wasn't gonna be acceptable anymore. So hence the alias of Jum Hammonds (background story: we showed up for a basketball camp in high school, and went to check the list to see how we were split up into our teams for the camp. After scouring the list over and over again without finding my name, we discovered that there WAS a Jum Hammonds on the list, which was apparently what the coaches thought my name from the registration forms was. Um, I don't write that illegibly. And besides, who names their kid Jum? Kind of a good microcosm for my whole high school basketball career, but that's neither here nor there. Anyways, once it was determined that Jum Hammonds was actually me, everyone died laughing, and on that day an instant classic nickname was born.)

>> I tried to recreate everything here from the old blog (and even some improvements- how 'bout that baller-ass picture of Brady Morningstar in the top right? Holla!) but unfortunately, when you import a blog, it will only bring 200 comments with. So for the people that love to go back and read old posts and the arguments in the comments....sorry. Don't hate the playa, hate the internet. And for the newcomers that discover this blog and go back and read the archives...people did indeed read this before December, don't worry.

>> If starting a new job isn't exciting enough, we're also going through the process of looking at townhomes and making offers and whatnot. So I've got two of the four most stressful life events covered, why don't I just get married and have a kid while I'm at it? (Answers: 1) because Selena Gomez is still 6 months away from age 18, and American society tends to frown upon that sort of thing; and 2) because after a down payment on a townhouse, I won't have enough money to buy a baby on the black market- or at least a quality one, anyway. We're in a recession, you know.)

>> The Colorado trip was fantastic as expected, with the normal batch of running jokes and excessive hilarity sprinkled throughout the weekend. With a twist: Alfonso proposed to Katie Z on the chairlift ride up the mountain on Friday, and we celebrated appropriately with 40's and cheap champagne that night. So congrats, kids. Although Alfonso was gonna be my "if we're both single at age 40, we'll just become life partners" safety husband. I guess I'll adjust.

>> Awesome Super Bowl, I couldn't be happier about the Colts losing. I feel better about football in general when Peyton Manning is known as a choker, instead of the greatest QB in history. He annoys me to no end. Kind of ridiculous that The Who didn't open with 'Baba O'Riley', though. Brutal, really. What a waste of one of the greatest intros in music history.

>> Did I mention that I'm deathly sick right now? You know what's more fun than having a temperature, hacking up your lungs multiple times a day, and blowing your nose every 18 seconds? Having all that during your first week at a new job. Just awesome.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


This weekend is the 2nd annual "Everybody meets in Colorado to go skiing, except Sara and Hammen, who haven't skiied since Bob Dole was running for President, so they alternate between drinking in the ski lodge bar and drinking in the hot tub all day long until the slopes are closed, when they can hang out with everyone else again" trip.

"10 in the morning....I just figured she was a raging alcoholic!" This was the exact picture I wanted right here, but it was surprisingly hard to Google. Raise your hand if you had a friend in 1994 who tried to argue that the girl on the left was Lisa Turtle from Saved by the Bell.

We've added a few new members to the trip this year, all of whom are shitshows in their own regard. (The last time I drank with Alfsonso and Mike Ricky Bobby in Chicago, the now-infamous Wizard Sticks were involved. The last time I drank with the Zidon sisters over Christmas break (my second favorite set of twins, just behind Brandon & Brenda Walsh from Beverly Hills, 90210- and just ahead of KU's Morris twins and Luke & Leia Skywalker) I ended up locked out of my parents' house at 6 am and had to sleep on their parents' couch, only to be woken up by the their whole friggin' extended family the next morning. Not my proudest moment as a 27-year-old. And Paul is even coming down from Montana, and our stories need no re-introduction. So needless to say, big things are expected from this weekend. Gonna be causing shenanigans like Cat Stevens.

Plus it's Super Bowl weekend. I was really hoping for the Vikings to make it, so I had an actual horse in the race; but unfortunately that's not the case, so now I have to rely on prop bets and my hatred of the Colts to keep me interested (my least favorite teams in sports: Yankees, Lakers, Colts, and the college basketball triumvirate of North Carolina, Duke, and whoever John Calipari is coaching. See a common denominator? After all my favorite teams' success in 2007 and 2008, 2009 was rough.)

The ol' online gambling account is on hold for now (I didn't like how "involved" Congress was getting in the whole situation) so the prop bets are gonna have to be amongst friends this year. A favorite bet of Lane and I is predicting the set list of the halftime entertainment. He put up a very, very strong showing last year, nailing every Bruce Springsteen song in order, and he also dominated me in 2008 with his Tom Petty knowledge....but I feel confident about making my comeback this year, since The Who is one of my favorite bands of all time. Assuming a 4-song set list:

1. Baba O'Riley
2. Pinball Wizard (close call over 'My Generation', 'You Better You Bet', or maybe some other random song from 'Tommy.')
3. Who Are You
4. Won't Get Fooled Again (an absolute LOCK to be either the opening or closing song. I went with closing, since the synthesizer intro to Baba O'Riley is a perfect opening for a halftime show. Just a baby-maker of an intro.)

Other good bets to watch for:

- Jim Nantz starting off the telecast with "Hello, friends!" going off at 1-8 in my personal sportsbook, I would NEVER bet against that.
- Kim Kardashian sightings, over/under 3.5
- Brett Favre mentions, over/under 5.5
- Hurricane Katrina mentions (including anything about the team rejuvenating the city, anything about the Superdome, and anything about Drew Brees choosing the Saints in free agency to help the city's recovery) over/under 12.5

Enjoy the weekend. Cheer for the Saints, even though they beat the Vikings. Pete Townshend is, and Keith Moon would be if he was still alive.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Celebrity Doppelganger?

And I'm closer to my doppelganger than some of these jokers on Facebook think they are to theirs. I didn't think I had any friends that look like Brad Pitt or Megan Fox or Jennifer Aniston or Vince Vaughn. But, apparently I have lots of them. Is Celebrity Doppelganger Week over soon?