Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Things That Used To Be Awesome. Volume 3.

Sometimes 1998 doesn't seem like that long ago....and sometimes, in instances like these, it seems like a lifetime ago. How could that song have possibly passed across a supervisor's desk and he said "Yeah, that sounds good, let's go with that for the title screen." Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that he did, I'm just baffled by it. Call, call, call, call me Junior!

Speaking of music from Ken Griffey Jr. video games...remember the tune from the original game for Super Nintendo? (Probably like four of my friends are saying 'yes' right now. Holla at me Fundy. For the rest of you, the part I'm talking about starts at the 53 second mark in this clip):

That bass line has crawled into my head and lived there for 18 effing years now. One day around eight years ago, I was in a bar and confused as to why the song from the video game was playing. I was also probably confused because we were at Muddy Rivers on a Sunday night, which undoubtedly meant that I was double fisting and carrying a third beer in my back pocket (don't ask me why I could never drink responsibly at Muddy Rivers, I don't have an answer) but that's neither here nor there. I sprinted over to the jukebox and found out that the song that Ken Griffey Jr. & Co. clearly based their tune on was 'The Peace Frog' by The Doors-- a song that I had never heard before. And so I had a new favorite song, a song I still love to this day.

And now it strikes again. Background information: I HATE Maroon 5. I hate them about as much as one can hate a musical artist. Like all those internet memes you see about how much people hate Creed or Nickelback....that's me and Maroon 5. There's nothing good about what they do. I think the term 'douchebag' was created with Adam Levine in mind. But, is the song 'Misery' on my ipod? Yup. Why? Because of the magic Super Nintendo Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball bassline, heard in the chorus of the song. You don't know how much it pains me to deface my blog like this, but you need to hear the example. Nobody said journalism was easy.

If anyone knows of any other songs that contain that bassline somewhere in the song, please let me know, because it's obvious that my brain is incapable of anything other than total devotion to it. I mean, Maroon 5? You've got to be kidding me. 2004 Me is spinning in his grave (and also contemplating not following baseball anymore because Red Sox losses are getting to hard to take, but it's OK. 2004 Me can relax, good times are coming for him in October.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Top 5. Volume 17.

The Top 5 actor athletes, based on their various roles.

Honorable mention:

Denzel Washington: Jake Shuttlesworth, He Got Game

He's really only on here for this one movie. Denzel was a good coach in Remember the Titans, but I didn't count coaches for the purposes of this top 5. Besides being one of my favorite movie characters of all-time (if not THE favorite-- my email address in high school was jakeshuttleworth@hotmail.com, real talk yo) there is a Hollywood legend that for Denzel's big one-on-one game with (NBA star) Ray Allen at the end of the movie, director Spike Lee just rolled a ball out there and said play, figuring Ray-Ray would destroy Denzel and give him the desired 11-0 game he wanted for the script. Instead, Denzel scored the opening few baskets and started trash-talking, then Ray got pissed, beat Denzel down, and made for a much better ending. Don't know if that's true, but that plus my love for his character is enough to get Mr. Shuttlesworth an honorable mention.

Jamie Foxx: Willie Beamen, Any Given Sunday

He gets an honorable mention just so I have a convoluted reason to bring this up: when we were kids, Bergman and I played extensively with Starting Lineups-- creating our own players, teams, leagues, and playing out entire seasons. I've got folders full of papers in my old bedroom at my parents' house to back up the level of absurdity we took it to. Anyway, one of my imaginary all-pro cornerbacks from the imaginary Penn Blue Bombers was imaginarally named Willie Beamon, so it pissed me off when Any Given Sunday came out and they used that same name. Also, I had a team in the league named the Dallas Desperados, and my logo was EXACTLY the same as the Arena League team created over a decade later. I'm a little bitter about it. If I would've understood copyrights when I was in 2nd grade, I'd be paid in the shade right now.

Omar Epps: Replacement Willie Mays Hayes in Major League 2, Darnell Jefferson in The Program, Quincy McCall in Love & Basketball

Gets mentioned because he was a solid athlete....misses the top 5 because he wasn't the REAL Willie Mays Hayes (see below) and Love & Basketball was a big-time chick flick.

Woody Harrelson: Billy Hoyle in White Men Can't Jump, Roy Munson in Kingpin

Probably could've made the top 5, but I decided that if I included bowling, then I'd have to include Bill Murray, only because he stole that movie as Ernie McCracken (is there a more fun nickname than Big Ern?) and then I'd be trying to count his roles in Caddyshack and Space Jam in order to sneak him into the top 5 somehow. It just opened up a can of worms that didn't need to be opened. ANYWAY, Woody was pretty solid in White Men Can't Jump, and the same logic he uses in dressing like a nerdy white guy in order to hustle the hustlers at the playground is the same logic that helps me put my headband on before basketball games with pride.

Adam Sandler: Happy Gilmore in Happy Gilmore, Bobby Boucher in The Waterboy

Personally, I hated The Waterboy, except that it gave us one of the best insults ever to throw at a buddy (Needledick.) But Happy Gilmore was awesome enough to get him an honorable mention by itself.

Top 5:

5. Wood Harris: Motaw in Above the Rim, Julius Campbell in Remember the Titans

Two characters that couldn't really be any different from each other, both played to perfection by Mr. Harris. One is a gun-toting gangster that runs with Tupac's team in the All-City tournament and shoots opposing players after a loss (aka "take care yo' bid'ness") and the other is a high school football player who plays a prominent role in integrating the black players onto an all-white team during the Civil Rights Movement. Both totally awesome in their own way. LEFT SIDE! STRONG SIDE!!!

4. Mike Vitar: Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez in The Sandlot, Luis Mendoza in Mighty Ducks 2 and Mighty Ducks 3

When I made this list, I couldn't really decide if I should make it based on how much I enjoy the characters and the movies, or on how much of an athlete the actor really is...so I ended up with a mixture of both. If it was just based on the awesomeness of the movies, Vitar wins #1 in a landslide. The Sandlot and D2 are two of my favorite childhood sports movies. (For the ladies: Jillian the Roommate thinks Benny the Jet was SUPER hot, and is disappointed by how he looks now that he is grown up. I'm not normally in the business of rating middle school boys by their looks, but I guess I just don't see it. Also, he wears jeans in the swimming pool.) In any event, he gets the 4 spot, even if that puts us in the biggest pickle any of us had ever seen. (See what I did there?)

3. Sylvester Stallone: Rocky in Rocky I-VI, Capt. Robert Hatch in Victory, Lincoln Hawk in Over the Top

Including Over the Top is a stretch, I know....but ol' Rambo is fantastic (if slightly hard to believe) in Victory, and frankly, Rocky is a strong enough character to merit top 5 inclusion by himself. Also, have you seen Over the Top? If not, you should. It's about arm-wrestling for your estranged son's love, and things of that nature.

2. Kevin Costner: Crash Davis in Bull Durham, Roy McAvoy in Tin Cup, Billy Chapel in For Love of the Game

Costner rates a little high because Tin Cup is one of the best movies to get drunk to that ever existed, and because he is a pretty believable baseball player, both as a pitcher and a catcher. He also receives bonus points for Field of Dreams. He wasn't really an athlete in that movie, per se, but that was definitely the best game of Father/Son catch EVER.

1. Wesley Snipes- Trumain in Wildcats, Willie Mays Hayes in Major League, Sidney Deane in White Men Can't Jump, Bobby Rayburn in The Fan, Monroe Hutchen in Undisputed

Gets the #1 spot because of his versatility (baseball, basketball, boxing, football, and baseball/basketball/hockey/rollerblading/hoverboarding/whatever you classify Futuresport as.) Also, if Costner gets points for Tin Cup being a good boozing movie, then Snipes gets even more points for Major League, which is probably one of my top 5 favorite drinking movies ever (a list for another day.) Gangel and I were suffering through Hall of Fame hangovers the last time we boozed together, but we threw in Major League, and as soon as the Indians started putting it together and making their run for the pennant, tops were flying off of beers. Say hey!

Friday, January 20, 2012

All In The Game Yo. All In The Game.

Giants (+2.5) over 49ERS

Annnnnd I continue to hate the Giants. This is typical Giants football, that after being one of the most frustratingly up-and-down teams of the regular season, they're going to put it all together, ruin the Packers' 15-1 season, and potentially go the Super Bowl. That's so Raven. Dammit, I hate this team. At least I get to hedge my '49ers winning the NFC' longshot bet and guarantee myself some money...but I hate doing it with the Giants. It brings me little pleasure. It's like if a guy you worked with had some leftover pizza in the breakroom fridge, then he passed away over the weekend. Come Monday, you'd obviously eat the leftovers because, I mean, c'mon-- free pizza. But you wouldn't feel great about doing it.

PATRIOTS (-7) over Ravens

The Patriots are looking dominant, and the Ravens looked mostly shitty last week. (One of the most frustrating losses I've had lately: I was one 4th-and-goal conversion from the 1-yard-line from hitting both the spread and the over. Instead, Baltimore gets stuffed, and I end up losing both bets. After combining for 30 first half points, the teams combined for just 3 in the second half. Get real.)

Jdub and I got into a spirited debate about this game the other night (he thinks the Ravens are a lock to cover) but for me it comes down to this: if you suddenly appeared in the Lone Pine Mall parking lot in a DeLorean leaving flaming tire tracks behind you, hopped out and told me right now that the Ravens won this game, I would definitely raise an eyebrow. If you told me that the Patriots won 38-10, I wouldn't flinch. I just think there's way more potential for a New England blowout than for a Baltimore win (and with single-digit spreads, don't take the points unless you think they might win.) So I'll happily lay the 7-- although I'm hoping like hell that it drops to 6.5. That would make this pick even juicier.


Back when Sasha Kaun played for KU, after he had a huge block or a dunk or something and there was a break in the action, the Allen Fieldhouse PA crew would fire up this clip from Star Trek. (Currently, Bill Simmons and co. have been beating this joke into the ground for a couple years now, at the expense of T'wolves GM David Kahn. Just know that KU was doing it back in 2006.)

Anyway, there are two prime opportunities for KU to be doing a similar stunt this year. One with Justin Wesley (the clip from Roadhouse right after Swayze rips out Jimmy's throat, then looks across the river at Wesley's mansion and screams Wesleyyyyyyyyyyyyy!-- it starts at the 3:50 mark of this clip). And another one for Kevin Young, using this clip:

I hope you're not looking for a point here, because I don't have one. These are just the things I think about during games sometimes, and I wanted to go on the record in case someday KU uses my idea.


We recently finished watching the entire series of The Wire, and all I can say is that it's the most involved in a TV show I've ever been. Literal depression is setting in, now that I know I don't have any new episodes left to watch. Even though it was hyped up to me by everyone I knew who had watched it, and every article I read gave it rave reviews, it totally lived up to the expectations. A couple months back, when I told Kyle that I hadn't seen an episode, but had purchased all the seasons and was about to start digging in, he told me he was jealous. Then he got this wistful expression on his face, looked off into the distance, took a slow drink of his coffee, and said, "Yeah. Jealous. Because I've already experienced every single episode, and you have five whole seasons to look forward to. The whole show is new to you, and I'll never get that feeling back again." At the time I thought it was a really intense thing to say....now I know exactly how he feels. WATCH THIS SHOW if you haven't.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How To Mortify Your Girlfriend In 10 Seconds

My love for Taco John's is well documented. I'm pretty sure I've told this story (after 5.5 years of blogging, sometimes you forget which stories you've told) but years ago we did a Taco John's Challenge-- eating as many tacos as we could in an hour. I took down 17, the last few tasting like shredded newspaper and concrete, and was immediately pissed at myself, thinking I had ruined TJ's for me forever. Two days later, I had a six-pack and a pound for lunch, so no worries there.

ANYWAY, it's not embarrassing at all to go pick up TJ's and destroy it in the comfort of your home, preferably while simultaneously crushing episodes of The O.C. or something. However, actually sitting down and eating your tacos and oles in the restaurant.....that's another story. It's notoriously one of the dirtiest fast food joints around. The clientele is a little bit sketchy. It doesn't exactly make you feel like a high-functioning member of society.

But sometimes, you don't have much of a choice. Sometimes, you're in the slightly dirtier part of town. Sometimes, you're getting your windshield replaced over your lunch break. Sometimes, your girlfriend is nice enough to escort you back to your office, and you only have time for a quick fast-food lunch before she has to be back at her job. Sometimes, Taco John's is only a block away from the....windshield store? I know it would be called Windshield Mart if it was in Canada, everything there is called "~Name of Product~ Mart." I digress.

And so sometimes, as you carry your tray of six tacos and a pound of potato oles back to your table where your girlfriend awaits, and all the weirdos are looking at you and you sense a golden opportunity, you have no choice but to set your tray down, give her a big hug, and loudly announce to the whole restuarant,

"Haaaaaaaappy Anniversary!"

I turned to the guy with three visible teeth at the next table over, hoping for some applause or a heartfelt congratulations, but no dice. Christine mostly just wanted to punch me. (Probably because if she would let me, I really would celebrate our anniversary at Taco John's, but that's neither here nor there.)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Football Picks, Internet K-Hole

I would've put my picks down last week, but was too lazy/balls deep in The Wire, which is probably the greatest show in TV history. I went 3-1 on spreads, missing on the Bengals (and I've successfully convinced myself, when I lay in bed at night thinking about my missed bets, that if just two plays in that game went differently, a 21-point Bengals loss would've actually been a win, so that's nice).....and 0-4 on over/unders. Not a good weekend for over/unders, but then again I've never been very good at those.

Saints (-3.5) over 49ERS

I'm betting on the Saints until they don't cover; they're a MACHINE right now. However, even though there's a terrible chance at it happening, I do have $5, at 25-1 odds, that the 49ers win the NFC. I love longshot bets; they are easily the most fun when they hit. I made that bet when the Niners were 3-1, and I thought 'hey, they're probably going to win their crappy division, get a 2 seed and a first round bye, and then all they have to do is sneak out a home victory and pull off a miracle against (probably) Green Bay.' At 25-1? I love that bet. Especially for only 5 bucks. It looks a lot worse now, since the Saints and Packers look like the two best teams in the league by far, but whaddya want for 25-1? I can't complain. (Side note: If anyone wants to hop on my longshot baseball bet for 2012, it's Cleveland to win the AL at 30-1. Those are ridiculously high odds for a decently talented team playing in a wide-open division. Get to the baseball playoffs and anything can happen.)

PATRIOTS (-13.5) over Broncos

I'm mildly terrified to bet against Tebow at this point, but I think last week was their Super Bowl. They'll have a little bit of a "Just happy to be here!" glow (similar to the look on Noles' face when he was dancing with a random girl from our high school on the coffee table at Culligan) and the Patriots will beat it right off of their faces. They've got a few years of playoff frustration to take out on them (did you know the Pats haven't won a playoff game since the AFC Championship game in January 2008? In Will Ferrell Elf voice: "That's shocking.")

PACKERS (-8) over Giants

I seriously have no clue about the Giants. Ever. This goes back for my entire gambling career. In 2006, I predicted they'd win the Super Bowl, then watched them barely make the playoffs. If you exclude our March Madness Vegas trip in 2006, I've never lost more money gambling in a single month than in January 2008, when Eli fucking Manning won three straight road playoff games, then beat the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl. Fuckin' a regular Staubach, over there. This year, I don't know if I've picked one of their games correctly. I said my lock of the year was for the under on the 9.5 wins over/under pick, watched in horror as they started 6-2 (killing multiple teasers and parlays along the way) breathed easy when they lost four in a row, then barely squeaked out a win when they finished 9-7. Not what you're looking for on your "lock of the year" bet. So before last week's game, I decided to go George Costanza with the G-men, and do the opposite of what I actually think. I thought the Falcons could cover, so I went with the Giants....and they won by 22 points. So I'm sticking with the Costanza pick this week. I think the Giants could keep this one close....ipso facto, Go Pack Go!

RAVENS (-7.5) over Texans

I don't particulary like either of these teams. Normally the rule is to take the points when in doubt, but I just can't get behind a rookie 5th-round QB on the road against one of the best defense/crowd combos in the NFL. I think both the Saints and Packers would beat either of these teams by a couple of touchdowns, for what it's worth.


Allow me to introduce you to a website that was brought into my life by Kyle: the Internet K-hole. It's strangely captivating to see all these totally random pictures from previous decades. It's not totally safe for the work though; every 50 pictures or so, some nudity gets slipped in. Just adds to the weirdness of the site. It's like playing duck-duck-goose with nudey pics......Normal, normal, normal, BOOBS! Normal, normal, normal, normal, PENIS! Also, if you're gonna troll through it, having a soundtrack for yourself is essential. For example, every time Kyle gets his K-hole on, he blasts the Shaft theme song. As for me, I'm partial to 'Stranglehold' by Ted Nugent. You gotta get into the right frame of mind for the K-hole, son.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What I Think About During Songs. Volume 4.

On my ipod, I have a pretty large collection of music that most people would consider 'crap.' Hanson, the Spice Girls, Bel Biv Devoe, BLACKstreet, Kris Kross, Bryan Adams, C+C Music Factory, Digital Underground, Technotronic, Ace of Base, Tone Loc, etc. etc. etc....it's a sizeable list. I enjoy most of those one-hit wonder type of songs not only for the reasons that most people enjoy pop music, but also because of random memories that those songs remind me of.

So it was following that line of thinking that inspired me to download Big & Rich's 'Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy' the other day. It reminds me of the era shortly after we all turned 21, and of going to WeFest a couple times despite hating country music***, and even of when they would play this song at El Roco, right in the middle of a block of 15 hip-hop songs, and watching all the black guys from the Air Force Base clear off the dance floor and sneer at us as we attempted to two-step (which I know in my case constituted grabbing an imaginary belt buckle, tipping an imaginary cowboy hat in different directions, and mostly high-stepping in place, all while trying not to spill the pitcher that I was drinking straight out of-- if you actually poured your beer into a glass at El Roco, you were a sucker.) Definitely some fond memories there.

But upon downloading the song, I listened to it twice, cringed quite a few times, and immediately deleted it from my ipod. I couldn't believe how bad it was.

The point: if not even I can tolerate your shitty pop song after not hearing it for years and being excited to wallow in its memories.....then you know you've made a truly shitty pop song.

***My standing rule during WeFest: if just ONE person out of our camping group agreed to stay back at the campsite with me and drink, then I wouldn't attend the concert going on at that time. Over a couple years, I think I went to 3 out of 24 concerts total-- and believe me, those 3 times, I seriously debated staying at the campsite and continuing to get sauced by myself over trekking to the main concert area to not listen to shitty country music.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Say Hi To Kelly And My New Favorite Shirt

She says hi back. She also says "Holy crap I'm starting to get worried. Jum purchased me a week ago and he's barely taken me off since. He wore me home out of the store, out to the bars the next night, he slept in me one night even though he hadn't slept in a shirt since he was like 9 years old, and he's been wearing me around the house almost every day since. It's starting to get a little weird. And I could definitely use a good washing. I smell like a mix of Sailor Jerry's, chew, and chicken alfredo, and I've got a little spot of chocolate from where Jum dribbled a bite of his chocolate-covered potato chips on me and didn't notice, then laid around and watched The Wire for seven hours and ground it in there pretty good. Somebody please get this dude some help."

To which I reply: "You keep your mouth shut Kelly! I will take you off when I'm good and ready! You're just lucky I'm not using you as a beat rag yet-- but you better believe that day is coming!!!"

"....I'm sorry for yelling, babe. It's just that I'm so in love, things just get a little crazy sometimes. I just care a little too much, you know what I'm saying? But you know that no matter what I might say, I'll always love you, right boo? RIGHT?!?!?!"