Sunday, May 29, 2011

Things I Think About During Songs, Volume 2

Disclaimer: I used to haaaaaaate Will Smith songs when they were popular. He was huge around the same time that I was really, really into gangsta rap. So basically, if you weren't rapping about shooting people, smacking hos, smoking weed, banging hos, drinking 40's, or collecting money from hos, then you weren't a real rapper in my mind. Bergman and Brother used to torture me by cruising around the house singing 'Wild Wild West' or 'Miami' for hours on end. Sometimes I still hear Bergman shouting "-wiki wiki wild wild....wickity wickity wickity wickity!" in my nightmares.

Then, years later, I realized that at some point, almost all rappers either:

a) grow old and start selling out (Dr. Dre, Ice Cube)

b) disappoint me by starting out hard and then turning soft (really, 50 Cent?)

c) die before they have a chance to do one of those two things (Biggie, Ol' Dirty Bastard, 2Pac???- not ready to concede his death yet.)

Once I realized this, it was easier to just enjoy Big Will's music for what it was: easy-flowing pop music to get silly to on the dance floor.

So ANYWAY (that was way more of a lead-in than I was planning for) one of Smith's big selling points is his squeaky-clean image and lack of swearing in his songs. Prosecution's exhibit A: the lyric "All you rappers yelling about who you put in a hearse/do me a favor/write one verse without a curse."*

If you believe his boastful lyrics, there is an abundance of women who desire to be with him ("Every time the ladies pass, they be like 'Hi Willlll!'"........"Mr. Clean yet the fact remain/got girls who don't speak English screamin' my name") but he never does anything with them, ever ("I mean real clean, ain't gotta touch or nothin/ain't like I like a chick on chick or somethin/I'm just a sucker for a hot track/gimme a drink and a chick to tell stop that.") The most he'll do is throw them a dance or two at the club, then head home. He's the guy who goes to the hungover breakfast with his buddies the next morning, and as they rehash the night, he always says "I totally could've banged that chick last night, I just didn't feel like it though."

So what gets me thinking from 'Gettin' Jiggy Wit It' is the line "Ciga-cigar right from Cuba Cuba/I just bite it/It's for the look/I don't light it."

So there's a fairly transparent anti-smoking message in there. Parents aren't going to take their kids to see Men In Black to the tune of 600 million dollars if Big Willie Style is advocating cigar smoking**, and assisting the Cuban economy, no less! But I argue that what he says is worse. By telling kids that a cigar is SO COOL that just by dangling one out of their mouth (no homo) they automatically gain street cred, he's spreading an even worse message. Isn't that the entire basis for the problems people have with the tobacco industry's advertising? People have marched on Washington for this kind of shit! Plus, you don't think some of those kids, once their unlit Cuban is in place, are gonna just say "fuck it, let's see what this is like" and fire it up?

So now you've got middle schoolers smoking cigars just because it looks cool. You happy now, Bagger Vance? You're as bad as Joe Camel.

* Which, of course, led Eminem to respond: "Will Smith don't gotta cuss in his raps to sell records/well I do/so fuck him, and fuck you too." Say what you will about Eminem, but he never left a diss unanswered, no matter how obscure. This one wasn't even about him specifically, and it still earned a "fuck you, Will Smith" on one of his prominently released singles.

** I'll grant you that Smith did light up a stogey at the end of Independence Day, but c'mon, they had just saved the world from a catastrophic alien invasion. Like you wouldn't be smoking then?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Grand Forks Wedding Weekend Checklist

- Upon arriving in town and looking at the new buildings, restaurants, etc., made the Tommy Boy "Hey, the muffler plant is gone too!" joke for the 437th time? Check. (I've been out of GF for almost four years now, and doing this bit is still not getting old for me. I'll be sure to let you know if/when it does.)

- Ate my mom's fried chicken, the finest meal in the tri-state area? Check.

- Was probably the drunkest guy in said tri-state area on Friday night? Check.

- Puked in my parents' basement toilet? Check.

- Stayed up wayyyyy too late with the Zidon sisters, once again? Check. That could probably be re-worded to not sound inappropriate. (Editor's note: We'll leave it as is.)

- Ate Red Pepper sober? Check.

- Ate Red Pepper borderline blacked out? Check.

- Ran into a girl at the wedding I literally hadn't talked to since 1998, went to the bar next door to do a shot with her, ended up balls deep in a conversation, and of course missed both the Apache dance AND the mid-wedding-dance Red Pepper snack? Check. (Side note: FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK ME.)

- Played an awful, hungover round of golf at Ray Richard's? Check.

- Had a spur-of-the-moment, homoerotic (yet strangely natural) photo shoot with Paul, under the guise that we needed to spice up the gift-opening session by giving Katie and Alfonso some completely over the top pictures of ourselves? Check.

- Shamelessly hit on an older sister bridesmaid the entire weekend? Check. My favorite line I used on her: "It's a shame that the bride isn't even the most beautiful Zidon at the head table tonight...she has to take 2nd place behind you." Her response: "Are you kidding with me with that one?!?! You are standing in shit up to your KNEES right now!!!" But I'll be damned if we weren't posing for a prom-style picture for the wedding photographer within the next ten minutes. (Don't worry, my girlfriend and (I think) her husband were aware of the situation.)

- Non-checklist-style, but another great response: while watching Alfonso play guitar on Friday night, I asked Katie if they had made their top 5 "If you get the opportunity to sleep with these people, it's not cheating" lists yet....and if I happened to be on Alfonso's list. Her reply: "Who says you're not on both our lists?" Bingo. Bango. Bongo. My new goal is to sleep with both members of a marriage. How many people can claim that? My mom always taught me, it's important to have goals in life.

- Made around 50 Macho Man Randy Savage having a heart attack, crashing his car, and dying jokes? Check. "Ohhh Brotha Brotha Brotha Brotha Brotha!!! My heart feels like it's snapping into a Slim Jim right now!!! Somebody tell Miss Elizabeth I'll love her forever oooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!" Maybe you had to be there. Seriously, though- RIP, Savage.

- Properly celebrated the marriage of one of my all-time favorite couples? Check. Congrats you two, you're awesome. (While we're here, other favorite couples: Zack Morris & Kelly Kapowski; Amy Poehler & Will Arnett; Macho Man & Miss Elizabeth; Mila Kunis & Macaulay Culkin; Russell & the rando he banged by the fountains at Caesar's Palace; the lesbians in Tatu.)


Side note: all I wanted to do last night was kick back, relax, watch some sports, recover from the weekend, and take my mind off my end-of-vacation-weekend-and-I-won't-see-a-lot-of-these-friends-until-Christmas blues....and then the Sox blew an 8th inning lead and lost (I REFUSE to believe the Indians are this good...there's just no way) and OKC blew a 15-point lead with 5 fucking minutes left and lost....and I ended up pissed off and sweating a little bit and awake until 2 am. Awesome. THANKS Sports Gods.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Well Okay, Then

A couple weeks ago I saw a preview for The Hangover 2, and so I had this whole rant written out about how the sequel couldn't possibly be any more similar to the first movie, that they were just taking the exact same plot and tweaking minor details, and how I STILL don't understand how that movie made a kajillion dollars and is everybody's funniest movie of the decade. But then I saw this article on Cracked (scroll down to #2 on the list) and they spell out the ridiculous similarities much, much better. Plus my post just sounded a little too bitter, a little too much like the guy who got his cereal bowl pissed in that morning. Whatever, I guess people just love that movie and I have to accept it-- even though it's clearly only a 6.5 on the Funny Scale, maybe a 7 if I've had a couple frosties.


Things that start out disastrously, you think might turn out OK, but end up definitely sucking: when you pull up to the Taco Bell drive thru minutes after it closes, you ask if there's any possible way they could whip up a couple of beefy crunch burritos, they say no even after you offer them 5 bucks for just one of them, they respond that they have some leftover empanadas that they'll give you for free....and it turns out that empanadas are really just like miniature apple pies from Mexico. Not very tasty after a night of boozing. I was inconsolable for days afterwards (actually I'm still not completely over it, to be perfectly honest with you.)


Tonight we leave for North Dakota for the much-anticipated wedding of Alfonso and Katie. This is my excited face. My bromance with Alfonso blossomed when we hung out through our respective ex-girlfriends about six years ago. I have been friends with Katie since about 4th grade (somehow our friendship survived when her and Bergman "dated" in 6th grade, and he thought I was flirting with her, but really I had a crush on her twin sister-- a fact that gets debated amongst the sisters and I almost every time we hang out. Trust me, it was 6th grade, not 5th. I would know, they were my elementary school feelings!) The day I found out that Alfonso and Katie had started dating each other, and I could re-ignite my bromance with Alfonso once again, was a truly great one. I think we were in Joe Black's at the time, and I may or may not have done a victory lap around the bar. Congrats to the happy couple.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Derby Stories In Bullets:

- I'm beginning to love the Thursday night bar crawl. It's fantastic that we roll into town, drop off our bags, exchange a few how-do-you-dos, and within 15 minutes we're boozing. Just a great start to the week. Plus, why be 100% on Friday morning? I don't even know what it's like to wake up in Lousiville and not be battling a hanger. Wouldn't have it any other way.

- We met some interesting characters on Oaks day in our classy seats. The box next to us might as well have looked like this:

Cougars, if it's not clear. I can see Fundy or someone's comment being "You were in a box next to a pack of mountain lions? Were they chained up? Is that even legal?"

Which of course led to Slough and Christian tripping over themselves throwing stupid lines at them, and ruining it for the rest of us in under 15 minutes. A few hours later, Slough was only about 18% conscious, with nacho cheese all over his face and suit (his suit was white- we made roughly three million jokes about it throughout the day) and he had already burned bridges with the cougs. There's an economic factor at play here, the law of diminshing returns or something like that.

- The box in front of us was full of Old Money (see category #6 from my previous post) but with some douchebag thrown in as well. Upon introduction, one guy called himself Bobby Fucking Niehouse. The girls decided to start calling him Bobby Fucking Orange Pants, for obvious reasons:

My favorite part might be that I'm clearly getting ready to say "Bobby Fucking Niehouse" as this is being taken. I probably uttered that phrase 30 or 40 times that afternoon....and yet it wasn't even the phrase I said the most that weekend (story to come later.)

This guy hit on everything that moved, which was OK with his wife, because she was busy grabbing my ass every time I turned my back on her. Everyone's name had a 'y' added to it, so it became Jimmy and Benny and Johnny and Stevey, etc. And he bought me at least four beers. As for the other couples in the box, all I'm willing say is....I used to be able to claim that I had never seen a random 55-year-old put his finger in his wife's butt while they made out. I can no longer make that claim.

- Under the "Things that weren't so great" category: I hit a girl in the face. JV was throwing pretzels and people were trying to catch them in their mouths, and when he flung one towards my face and over my shoulder, I reacted by trying to swat it as hard as I could. I missed the pretzel, but I connected with Lindsay's face. HARD. I had no idea she was leaning forward, so I wasn't holding back at all. As visions of black eyes, broken sunglasses, crying girls, and a ruined Derby are flashing through my head (as well as this clip), Lindsay dusted herself off after a few minutes of sniffling and resumed handing out jello shots. But I can no longer say I've never struck a woman before. (Besides strippers of course, everyone knows they don't count as real people.)

- Speaking of Lindsay, she said two things during the day that will end up having a profound effect on my life. (And when I say 'profound', I mean I'll think it's funny for a few weeks and then probably never mention it again.) She had a penchant- and I'm still not sure if it was a joke or not, it kinda seems like it wasn't until we noticed it and made it a joke- for starting a sentence with "On a scale of 1-10" and then not assigning the subject in question a number. For example, while we were waiting on our food in a restaurant, she exclaimed, "On a scale of 1-10, this food is taking FOREVER!" So rather quickly, we turned it into "On a scale of 1-10, I am totally hammered right now" or "On a scale of 1-10, you're an asshole and I hate you." It was delightful.

The second thing was her ability to change topics within a sentence, such as when JV asked her how much money she had just given her, it was "I gave you 5 bucks do you want a carrot?" Since my sense of humor becomes paper-thin when I'm drinking, this put me in giggling hysterics. I announced to Caitlin that I was now ending every sentence with "do you want a carrot?" She bet me I couldn't do it for an hour, and it was game on. Ordering a beer? "I'll have two Bud Lights do you want a carrot?" Walking through a group of people? "Excuse me, sorry do you want a carrot?" Trying to sniff a girl's hair? "Oh my goodness that's intoxicating, is that Pantene Pro-V do you want a carrot?" After 60 minutes of that, what was my prize? Two whole dollars. It's not a gambling problem when you're winning.

- One of my favorite random things about Derby in the infield is when something exciting happens from a different area. A ruckus starts rolling through the crowd, and everyone instantly perks up. What's it going to be? Boobs? Is some girl showing her boobs? A fight? Boobs? Is someone wearing a crazy costume? It's boobs, isn't it.

In this case, it was a guy in a Santa costume, holding a sign that said "Hugs, $1" getting hauled into the drunk tank by the cops, who were getting booed the entire way for their efforts. Apparently Santa had been getting inappropriate with his hugs as the day went on. Shocking development, I know. The "Let Santa Go!" and "Free Santa!" chants were awesome though. Not as cool as a "Donna Martin graduates!" chant, but awesome nonetheless.

- As far as gambling on races goes, it was my biggest struggle of my four years at Churchill Downs. I mostly just treaded water for two days, not winning huge, but cashing enough tickets to stay above water. I was up around $80 bucks going into the main event, and lost it all on that race when none of my horses (Derby Kitten, Stay Thirsty, Shackleford) placed. So I was exactly even for the weekend. And then Derby Karma intervened.

I went up to the betting window to bet on the races after Derby. I've mentioned this before, but it's a surreal experience. 75% of the crowd is gone; there's trash, abandoned camps, and dangerously shitfaced people as far as the eye can see. Most the beer vendors are closed; the natural high of the Derby is over. You're there for one reason and one reason only: to panic bet on the last two races. I'd be hard-pressed to find a time where I feel more like a degenerate gambler.

Standing in line are a couple of guys- one who wants to go home, one who wants his buddy to at least check to see if his tickets are winners. The first guy asks me as I pass by who took 3rd place. When I tell him #13, his face lights up and he announces it's time for us to get in line. The lady behind the counter gives him $350, then tells him he'll have to go to the end window....because he just won 4 grand. (Why this guy was even considering going home when he didn't know how the race finished and the potential for this money existed is another story. Unreal.)

Pandemonium ensues. Since I'm now clearly a part of their group (the Law of Alcohol and Instant Friendships, we've all seen it) we're all jumping around and spraying beers. He gives me a crisp one hundred dollar bill and in addition, pays for my next two bets. Which of course, Derby Karma and all, are both winners. I finshed the weekend up around $230, and I think I'm happier with that story than if I would've hit the Derby winner myself.

Great finish to another great Derby weekend. Big ups to the Derby vets, as well as the first-timers we had this year, they really brought a lot of hustle to the table. On a scale of 1-10, I'll be back next year.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


It's Derby time once again. The best weekend of the year (besides the opening weekend of March Madness-- but it's close.) After going the last three years, this year was the first year that the thought of not going crept into my head. Then in February I saw some NBC sports commercial that showed about a three-second clip of the Derby, and right then I knew there was no way I was going to skip it this year. It's just too much fun. (I also realized, when I added the above picture right before I posted this, that a simple google image search of Churchill Downs would also ensure that I attended the Derby. Just looking at that picture gives me a mild case of the R.L. Stines.) I think it's safe to say I will be in attendance every year until something stops me....marriage; kids; a freeze on my bank accounts due to gambling debts; being called on to lead a team of roughneck oil drillers on an emergency NASA mission to insert and detonate a nuclear bomb into an incoming get the idea.

Based upon my three years of experience (I'm practically a Derby vet now- where's my pension?) here are the different types of people you will see at the Kentucky Derby.

Type #1: Douchebags

In the interest of full disclosure, let's just start off with the category that I reside in. These guys love that breast cancer awareness is in effect on Friday, since it gives them an excuse to wear pink. They sneak booze onto the grounds not because they can't afford to buy it there, but because it gives them a thrill. They either know a) next to nothing about horse racing and just throw money around blindly; or b) know an annoying amount, and any time they overhear a stranger musing about the next race, they decide to jump in and provide their two cents, whether it's wanted or not. They sometimes find themselves in decent seats, and upon finding that they're sitting across the aisle from Joey Fatone, proceed to make Backstreet Boys jokes for the next four hours.

Type #2: First-time Drinkers

Don't get me wrong, the infield on Derby day is a ton of fun, and I went to college once too, and so probably don't have too much room to talk....but seriously. Running across the tops of port-a-potties while dozens of people fire bottles and cans (just clap your hands, just clap your hands) at your head? Starting a gigantic mud-wrestling pit and half-heartedly fighting your sorority sister while 100 drunk guys leer at you-- and boo you when you inevitably collapse into giggles and stop wrestling each other? Getting completely bombed, provoking a security guard, and getting thrown into the drunk tank before 1 pm? C'mon. Act like you've been there before. Game face, bro.

Type #3: Celebs

The population of Millionaires' Row: Hollywood stars, famous athletes, musicians, other miscellaneous heavy hitters....and Nick Lachey. They don't have to bother with mingling among the common folk. With a few exceptions, they don't even like horse racing that much; they're just there to be seen.

Type #4: Half-Assed Celebs

Not quite rich or famous enough to land in Millionaires' Row, and thus have to put up with four hours worth of Backstreet Boys jokes from the douchebags sitting across the aisle.

Type #5: White Trash

These guys (or gals) spend upwards of 10-15 minutes at the betting window, because they're placing 17 individual 2 dollar bets. They sneak booze in because their entire budget for the whole weekend is $71, and spending $10 on a mint julep means they're gonna have to short their baby mama on child support that month. They exclusively wear tank tops, or shirts with huge animal faces on them, or tank tops with huge animal faces on them-- which go well with their jean shorts and Nascar visor. When the horses they wagered on struggle (and they ALWAYS do) they make sure that everyone within a 75-yard radius knows about it. Their betting tickets always end up torn into pieces and laying at their feet. They will be incredibly sunburned at the end of the day.

Type #6: Old Money

These folks are, in a word, awesome. They're usually winning money on races, but you'll never tell by looking at their face. Maybe a quick, wry smile immediately after the finish, maybe a slight frown, and then it's on to the next race. They're quick to buy you a drink if you're next to them in line, and if they happen to overhear you complaining that you haven't seen a cigar vendor in hours, they'll quietly slide you a Cuban and some matches, and not accept any money in return. If they catch you staring at their (always hot and usually younger) wife's cleavage, they'll hit you not with an overhand right, but with a smile and a knowing wink.

We leave tomorrow morning. Excitement level is high.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day Drinking

There are few better things in life than getting after it and tying on a good one during the day. Plus, since I ended my 13-year streak of not going to bed before midnight last year, I can enjoy them that much more. Whereas before, I had to somewhat pace myself so I could make it all night, now I can just rock out a nice solid day drunk and not worry about going to bed at 8 pm if need be. It has made day drinking that much better.

Beer just tastes better in the daylight. Something about the UV rays penetrating the can and invigorating the's science.

Other places that beer tastes better:

- Inside a baseball stadium. The fact that the watered-down, lukewarm rubbish that they serve at some stadiums still manages to taste decent is a near miracle. This also applies to baseball stadium parking lots, but we'll get to that in a separate category.

- Over water. Tubing down Red Lake Falls; at the beach by the ocean; sitting in a boat while my friends fish-- some of the places I've put on my most impressive drinking displays (Red Lake Falls trips in particular. I've never gone there and NOT been a shitshow.) I'd like to take a cruise someday, but I've seen Titanic one too many times and I'm slightly terrified of deep water now.

- Tailgating. For any type of event. Something about the combination of a parking lot, a folding chair, and a beer does it for me. Aforementioned baseball games, football games (especially when it's 6 in the morning and -20 degrees...sometimes going to college in North Dakota was awesome), concerts...we even had a plan last fall to tailgate in the parking lot of the hospital while awaiting the arrival of J-Dub's baby, until we found out it was grossly illegal.

- In the car. Who doesn't enjoy Road Sodas? Maybe because it's so expressly forbidden-- except for certain highways around the country where it's legal for passengers to booze. It's definitely the only good thing about Missouri. About as excited as I get to crack open a beer is immediately upon crossing the border into that godforsaken state.

- Others?