Friday, September 28, 2012

Ryder Cuppin'

This weekend I'm crossing a pretty big item off the bucket list by attending Saturday's matches of the Ryder Cup.  (Here's a disclaimer for pretty much this whole post:  I'll be attending....assuming American Airlines doesn't screw me over.  Long story short: the pilots and the company are in the middle of a pretty big labor beef, so only 55% of flights are arriving within 15 minutes of their scheduled time, and 5-7% of their flights are being flat-out cancelled-- when a 1% cancellation rate equals a horrible day for an airline.  I'm not supposed to arrive in Chicago until 9:30 tonight, and if something flight-related happens that bones me over, and I miss tomorrow's matches....shit is gonna get real.  End of disclaimer; for the sake of this post, let's just assume everything works out and I'm on the grounds of Medinah at 7am tomorrow.)

I've been to the '02 PGA Championship, a practice round of the '05 Masters, the '06 PGA, and the '09 PGA...but nothing like the Ryder Cup.  Normally golf is a gentleman's game, and respect must be shown equally to all competitors.  But the Ryder Cup.....break out the champagne glasses and muthafuckin' condoms!  But seriously, to the layperson who might not know much about golf, the Ryder Cup is a completely different animal.  There is way more boozing.  There is a 900% increase in people wearing the American flag as clothing.  We as spectators are allowed, nay, encouraged, to heavily cheer the Americans and mildly heckle the Europeans.  The golfers, who are normally playing only for themselves, and as a result are usually straight-laced and don't show much emotion, are suddenly screaming and fist-pumping routine birdies as they play for their's fantastic.  My favorite sporting event besides March Madness.

A little while back, I chronicled my love for Jason Dufner-- the golfer who constantly chews on the course, tweets about gambling on football, makes fun of Jay Cutler on the reg.....

....AND COMPLETELY OUTKICKED HIS COVERAGE WITH HIS WIFE.  Actually, I don't know if 'outkicked his coverage' goes far enough to describe how far over his head he married.  What a stud.  Some member of the media tweeted this picture the other day, asking his followers if they thought Dufner 'overmarried'....and Dufner tweeted back with the response "Why would you ever UNDER marry?  Duh."

Right now, the only thing keeping Dufner from being my favorite golfer is that I've put in 17 good years with Phil Mickelson. I'm like a middle-aged husband, shooting off some serious sparks with the new temp in the office.  But I won't consider a divorce, since I'm mostly happily married, and what would we do with the house, you know? And all that paperwork, custody battles....not worth it. But I definitely still daydream about that temp. 

ANYWAY, no joke:  I had a dream the other night that Jud and I were standing off the 12th hole, and on his way to the 13th tee, Dufner walked over to me and asked to bum a chew.  Now I'm going to try and make this happen, and if I'm somehow successful....I fucking hope the Mayans are right.  I wanna go out on top.

So let's all think positive thoughts about my flight tonight, OK?  I haven't been on a plane in over four years (Weird, right?  I feel like that's an absurdly long time) so I'm hoping I have some good plane karma built up.  Granted, the last time I was on a plane, on my way to Vegas, I had a visibly pregnant woman ordering me Morgan Diets the entire flight, to the disgust of the stewardess, since I was trying to cheat the 'one drink at a time' rule, but any possible bad mojo from that can't carry over until now, right?  That statute of limitations has to have expired by now.

Oh yeah, almost forgot....


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Have No Fears, It's The Lumineers

Normally I'm not much for slower music.  It's good in small doses, don't get me wrong.  But I need something upbeat.  I need a little rocking out from time to time.  I need to get punched in the dick by music, at least once on an album.  The scene that sums me up, that Teens loves to reference, was when we were watching 500 Days of Summer a few months back, and after an hour of acoustic love songs jamming up the soundtrack, I unintentionally announced my inner monologue by loudly exclaiming "Can we just hear one song with some fucking drums in it?!?!"

But for some reason, despite being pretty mild comparative to the rest of my music, I really love The Lumineers.  They have some upbeat songs, but plenty of slow ones that are still really good.  We went and saw them perform on Monday night, and they were even better live.  Combining the music, crowd, and atmosphere, it was one of the most fun shows I've ever been to.  I never thought that being in the third row for Snoop Dogg (in 2001, when he was still cool) for $20 would ever be topped, value-wise, but seeing this band for $15 came damn close.  The song 'Big Parade' was one of the 5 best songs I've ever heard live.

(Rest of the top 5 off the top of my head:  'Gin & Juice' by Snoop Dogg; 'Tom Sawyer' by Rush; 'Ain't Nothin' Wrong With That' by Robert Randolph & the Family Band; 'Whole Lotta Rosie' by AC/DC.  Obviously we're factoring in the atmosphere and general level of fun in those rankings.  'Whole Lotta Rosie' isn't even in my top 15 favorite AC/DC songs, but at that concert, I saw more real-life boobies during that four minutes than I had in 18 years on Earth up to that point, so there you go.)

So from the man who brought you a Will.I.Am song from Sesame Street; MC Hammer songs 20 years after they came out; and a soccer hooligan song that makes me want to clink a mug of beer with my best mates and I can't get anybody on board with PLEASE SOMEBODY GET ON THIS SONG'S BANDWAGON WITH ME SERIOUSLY THERE IS SO MUCH ROOM.....I now officially recommend The Lumineers.  Get into them.  Go see them if they're in your neck of the woods; you won't regret it.  I'll get you started:


Semi-unrelated side note about Monday night:  I was intending to put down a bet on the Packers that evening, and long story short, things were a little hectic after work trying to get to the concert, and I never got my bet in.  We got home from the show just in time to turn on the TV about two seconds after the call at the end of the game had been made, and all hell was breaking loose.  And it turned out to be a huge blessing that I didn't get that bet in.  Can you imagine losing a bet that way?  I would have been rioting (repeat:  RIOTING) in my living room had I lost a bet off of that refereeing.  Holy hell.  No joke, I probably would've quit gambling for the rest of the NFL season (or at least would've skipped the Thursday night game this week before caving).  Anyway, best non-bet of my life.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fantasy Football Draft War Room

"Dude, I dunno....seems like a stretch to take Percy Harvin right here...."

"I don't think it's too early at all, Jum.  We're a PPR league-- wide receivers are grossly over-valued right now."

"Yeah, but Harvin?  Is he even that good?"

"I've got him as a top-15 receiver on my big board.  Did you know that over the last ten games of last year, he was the #1 targeted wide receiver in the NFL- by a huge margin, too!  Something like 110 targets!  I don't have my Snap-n-Learn Counting Elephants in front of me or anything, but that's like 11 targets per game!"

"Yeah, targeted by Christian Ponder..."

"Targets are targets, bro!  Yeah, Ponder sucks, but I could be the one throwing to him- and remember, I'm not even 100% sure on whether I'm right or left-handed at this point, I can barely hold onto a fork, and it's still considered a success when I don't go to the bathroom in my pants- but if I was throwing to Harvin as much as Ponder does, he would still be good for at least 4-5 catches and 70 yards a game."

"Yeah, maybe...."

"And we've already got Andre Johnson and Jimmy Graham!  Harvin just has to be our third-best receiver and we're set!"

"I don't think a Vikings wide receiver has ever worked out for me, though...remember the Randy Moss debacle?"

"Don't forget about the random handoffs and reverses they call for him, that's usually good for another 20 yards a game, maybe a touchdown here and there..." 

"I've only got 10 seconds left to pick!  What about Hakeem Nicks?  Pierre Garcon maybe?  I'm panicking here!"

"Percy Harvin, bro.  Do it."


"Ok.  Harvin.  Got him.  Gimme some dap, Finn."

"I'll knucks to that, duder.  Hey, pass me a beer real quick, Mom and Dad aren't looking."

"You know I can't do that!"

"Hey, John Cougar MellenBummer- how are you gonna bring Mich Golden over to MY house and not even offer me one?  I'm friggin' coughing up sand over here.  C'mon, just one beer."

"Not 'til you're 14."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stop Being You, Peyton Manning

Everyone always asks me, "Dude, how can you hate Peyton Manning?"  Here are three reasons, in no particular order:

1.  I'm a Tennessee Titans fan.  I had to watch him most dominate the division for 13 years.  Quit making the playoffs every single year like you're the Yankees or something.  Annoying.

2.  His little pre-snap routine where he audibles every single play, and wanders up to the line to talk to his linemen, then back to the shotgun, then up and down the line of scrimmage to talk to his receivers, then back to the shotgun, then uh-oh!  We're gonna audible again, let's start the process all over.  Not only does it drive me crazy in real life, it became so prevalent that they eventually added it to the Madden video games, so then every time you played the Colts you had to watch him do it every single play, and the games took forever.  Annoying.

3.  Gambling against him is a nightmare.  If he doesn't out and out beat you, then he's like Matt Damon in Rounders:  hanging around, hanging around....kid's got alligator's blood.  Annoying.

So last night, I was banging the Falcons -3, and feeling good when Peyton threw three first quarter interceptions and the Falcons jumped out to a big lead.  I was Doing the Dirty Bird by myself in the basement, sending out texts like "Birrrrrrrrds!" to people who had no idea what I was talking about...just loving life.  The Falcons took a 27-7 lead into the 4th quarter, which is normally when you can go ahead and cash your bet when all you have to do is cover three points.  But could I relax?  No.  Could I maybe get to bed a little early?  No.  Because you can't ever turn your back on Peyton Manning.  I've been burned too many times by Peyton over the years- especially in night games- to feel comfortable. 

(Which begs the question: "Why are you still betting against Peyton in night games when you've lost so many times before?"  To quote Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting when he's talking about choosing the wrench instead of the belt or stick to get beaten with by his foster father:  "Because fuck him, that's why.")

And sure enough, Peyton marches the Broncos down the field for a TD, and then the Falcons go three and out, and the Broncos score again, and the Falcons go three and out again, and ESPN is showing stats like "The Falcons are 79-0 all-time when leading by 20 points or more in the 4th quarter" and I'm gritting my teeth, until finally the Falcons get a first down and close it out and I win my bet.  Riled me up juuuuust enough that it took me forever to fall asleep last night, when I should've been able to relax and enjoy the win.  I know I'm being that guy by complaining about a gambling win, but c'mon!  It was 27-7! 

In summation, I still hate Peyton Manning.

Hey, remember in The Departed, when everybody thought Matt Damon was a straight-up detective, but really he was working for Jack Nicholson's gang, and Leonardo DiCaprio had no idea until the very end, and then Marky Mark shot him in the head?......That was cool.

(I reallllllly wanted to have a third Matt Damon reference in this post.  After the first two were so applicable, I couldn't just walk away from them).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Things That Used To Be Awesome. Volume 4.

Is it the shoes? 

Basketball shoes.  In the 80's and 90's, they were a HUGE deal.  Now, for the most part, not many people care too much.  There is still some social status attached to what kicks you wear on the court, and I admit I do still get a little jealous when I see my barely-two-year-old future nephew sporting the new Lebrons...but for the most part, your basketball shoes don't really matter much anymore.  Back in middle school in the mid-90's....they were a STATEMENT.

And my favorites?  The Nick Van Exels (pictured above).  Nick the Quick was my dude back in the day.  He was involved in more great NBA Live '95 moments for me than anybody else.  Truth be told, I loved these shoes the second I first laid eyes on them in the advertisement in Sports Illustrated (I even had that advertisement cut out and taped to my bedroom wall, until the flood destroyed it)....but when I saw Van Exel wearing them shortly after on TV, I was sold (meaning, of course, that my parents were sold, since they were the ones unhappily shelling out exorbitant amounts of money for shoes that I would outgrow in less than two years). 

When I was scrolling through the google images of old 90's shoes, it was almost embarrassing how many that I could remember not only the NBA player(s) associated with them, but my friends and 7th grade teammates as well.  Oh snaps!  There's Noles' old Air Jordans!  Lil' Pennies?  Those were Behrang's flavor right there....and Easy E's Zoom Airs! 

So what were your favorites?  The Grant Hill Filas?  I always used to call these the Tupacs, since he rocked them pretty hard with his baggy jeans.

The Lil' Pennys?  How great were those commercials, by the way?  Chris Rock killing it as Lil' Penny.  "Hey, Tyra!  You left your toothbrush at my house!"

The ones with the big AIR on the side?  Were those technically the Scottie Pippens?  I don't actually know.  These were HUGE on the South Spartans middle school squad.  Holler at me, Dunph.

The Patrick Ewing military boots?

The Air Jordan XIIIs?

What about the Air Jordan XII?  Loved these ones, but not in red.

The Allen Iverson Questions?  These are the ones that famously crossed Jordan up.

The Shawn Kemps that could even make an infant's feet look like size 13s?

So many awesome shoes. 

I gotta say though, if I were just a couple of years older, the Nick Van Exels wouldn't be my favorite.  I was old enough to see these shoes around, and see them winning dunk contests on TV, but juuuuuust missed the heyday of being able to wear them-- DVJS I hope you already know where I'm going with this......

Pumps, baby.  So baller.  Ask Dominique:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Never Drinking Again

Have you ever been so hungover that you started drafting a final will & testament?  That's where I was during the ten-hour drive home yesterday.  Now I'm sitting here Monday afternoon, 39 hours after my last drink, and I'm still not convinced that I'm going to pull through.  We're not out of the woods just yet.

I've never been the best decision maker while drinking (although that implies that I'm actually making my own decisions, when in reality the ol' booze brain just says YES to everyone and everything) but even by my standards, this last weekend was bad.  Here are the worst drinking decisions I made during the wedding weekend festivities, counting down from 4 to 1:

4.)  Deciding to go to an after-party at Ike's parents' house on Thursday after the bar, when we knew we were golfing the next morning.  LZE tried to save us from ourselves when we were leaving Southgate, and she fought in vain to just get us to go home, pleading with us that 2am was late enough.  She got outvoted (by about 10-1) and as I was standing over my ball on the first tee the next morning, wondering which one in my vision I should swing at, all I could think about was how badly I wished we had listened to her.

3.)  Any time I had a white russian in my hand.  If you ever see me drinking the Lebowski Special, that means that at the very least, my axles are rattling.  I may not be B'd out yet, but I'm on my way.

2.)  I had a couple of cases of beer in my trunk, leftover from Thursday night (Ike made me take them with me, since if we left them at his parents' house he was worried they'd get stolen by his parents....didn't it used to be the other way around?)  While golfing on Friday morning, I starting drinking them instead of buying cold beer at the course like everybody else.  Pretty soon, we're on the back 9 and I'm chugging a warm beer on every hole and yelling "Trunk beeeeeeeeeeer!" every time I crack one open.  If that day would have been a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book, every single time I chose the path of shotgunning a 12-pack of warm beer, the book would've ended with me throwing up in my parents' bathroom.  Different decisions later on could've delayed it a couple chapters or so; but ultimately, it was inevitable.

1.)  Pretty soon it's 2am (we're still on Friday here) and even after a 16-hour shift of boozing- I had at least 15 more drinks, on top of my 12-pack of trunk beer- as the bar closes and we're causing the usual downtown sidewalk shenanigans and waiting for cabs, T-Nels yells out "AFTER PARTY" and sure enough I find myself nodding yes and thinking this is a good idea.  At least I didn't try to roller blade home or anything (cough, Noles, cough).

Someday, some effing day, I'll be able to be a think-for-myselfer and not give in to the peer pressure.  But for now, a couple months shy of turning 30, that day has not yet arrived.