Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Meet The Wedding Party

If we were doing an in-depth breakdown of the wedding party in the program, this is what my side would look like:

(Important note: the order of the Best Men will be determined by a half-court shot on a basketball court in Florida, in one of the last days leading up to the wedding.  The argument between these two on who would be Best Man has raged on for almost half our lives now, even though I've told both of them for a solid decade now that I would never choose between them, and that it would be settled by half-court shots.  The winner gets to stand next to me during the ceremony and give the first speech; the loser will still get a speech, but be subjected to ridicule by the other one for the  next 60 years.  I flipped a coin to see who would be listed first in the wedding program, and if you feel that coin flip was overkill....then you haven't been listening to these two fight it out since Justin Timberlake still looked like this).

Easy E, Co-Best Man- We've been friends since we were about seven years old.  We've been basically as close as brothers since Day One.  Most kids had one-night sleepovers; we would stay at each other's houses for days at a time. After logging approximately 8 million man-hours of hang-out time together, there is no argument we haven't had; no difference in opinion that we haven't spent hours hashing out-- whether it's who the hottest girl in our 4th grade class was (Nicole Jackson, holler at me) or who the most talented NBA team in the 90's to not win a championship was (1993 Phoenix Suns, in a close call over the 1996 Seattle SuperSonics and 1995 Orlando Magic.)

Paul, Co-Best Man-  Paul and I have also been friends since the age of seven, but if you're comparing this friendship to my friendship with Easy, that's about where the similarities end.  Whereas Easy and I fight and bicker like brothers, I'm not sure that Paul and I have even had a minor disagreement.  There may have been one time in 1998 when he wanted to eat lunch at Wendy's and I wanted Taco John's, but that might be about it.  When we were getting ready to move into the dorms together freshman year, our parents cautioned against it, saying that living together often destroys friendships.  Four years later, when Paul graduated and moved out of Culligan Manor, we mitigated our separation anxiety by promising each other to someday buy a duplex together and raise our families under the same roof.  Good call, Mom and Dad.  Friendship totally ruined.

(Allow me to get mushy for a second:  just before my junior year of high school, my dad got a spectacular job offer in Virginia, and it looked like my family was leaving North Dakota.  I threw a typical teenager tantrum--  "You're not uprooting me with two years left of high school, I refuse to move to Virginia-- and by the way, we're out of Mountain Dew, why don't you pick up a case at Hugo's today?"  In their desparation to get me on board, my parents said if their families would allow it, I could bring Paul and/or Easy E with me.  Despite this meaning that their entire lives would be uprooted as well, both of them said yes, they'd move to Virginia with my family and I.  Long story short, things fell through and we didn't move to Virginia anyway...but the point is, there is no way that one guy deserves TWO friends that were both willing to give up everything they knew at age 16 to move across the country for me.)

Brother, Groomsman- I still remember the day that my parents brought Brother home from the adoption agency like it was yesterday.  I've loved him like he was my real brother ever since then, and I hope (but am not holding my breath) that he feels the same way.  OK he's not really adopted, but still.  I would guess most adopted brothers are more alike than we are.  Brother truly is the son my dad always wanted-- hunting, training dogs, riding motorcycles, working on cars, being able to touch a live fish without squealing and possibly breaking out in tears, etc.  I spent most of my free time with sports, video games, and thinking up ways to antagonize Brother next.  (When I say 'spent' I really mean 'am still spending.') 

1995 was an especially tough year for Brother....Tommy Boy came out, and this scene led me to race home from school, lock the door, and make Brother ring the doorbell so I could greet him at the door.  Every day.  For months on end.  I literally haven't called him AJ since-- but when we did reference him as "AJ", we told people that the initals stood for "Another Jim."  Has a Groomsman ever left the Groom at the altar before?  It would be good payback for everything I've done to him over the years.  Love you, Brother!

Fundy, Groomsman- Fundy and I have been friends since middle school, and shared a bedroom wall at Culligan Manor for four years in college.  Some of our favorite activities include seeing how many beers we can drink while watching a single playoff baseball game on TV (we had a one-beer-per-half-inning minimum during the 2003 playoffs...things got ugly) and caring about college basketball way too much.  I'd tell you more, but if you added up the cumulative amount of time we've really sat down and talked to each other over the last 18 years, it would probably only be about 35-45 minutes.

JonJon, Usher- JonJon is seven feet tall, and didn't give me a friendship paragraph in his program when I was in his wedding a couple years ago.

Schne, Usher- Schne and I have known each other since we were teammates in little league baseball, but weren't really friends until high school, since everyone knows it's a pretty bold move to be actual friends with someone from another school until you're at least 13.  We both share an intense passion for Kansas Jayhawk basketball, the Kentucky Derby, and kickball games in the Walsh Hall Quad.  Additionally, if it wasn't for Schne's music recommendations for the last decade, I would still be listening to MC Hammer and the Spice Girls (not that I don't still listen to them, but now I have a little more variety.  You get it). 

Lane, Officiant- When Lane and I went to 'rival' middle schools in Grand Forks and played against each other in sports, my friends and I thought he was the biggest idiot we had ever seen.  It's nice to know that even after 15 years of friendship, I still feel the exact same way about him.  Lane's turn-ons include physically and verbally abusing me-- but also being a truly great friend, so I can't ever stay mad at him.  Having Lane officiate our wedding will either be one of the greatest decisions of my life, or the main reason why Teens will be googling "State of Florida annulment papers" the morning after the wedding.

Finn, Ring-Bearer/Hype Man- Finn enjoys the movie Cars, playing with toy cars from the movie Cars, video games based on the movie Cars, wearing fake tattoos of Cars characters, and running around the house yelling "Jimmmmmmm's getting married!!!"  It is this last skill that I think provides a lot of value to the wedding.  You know how Tupac was in the Digital Underground before he was famous?  And he would mostly just be a dancer in the background or the guy who chimes in at the end of rhymes, but occasionally he got his own verse?  But he was mostly just there to hype up the Underground?  That's what I'm envisioning with Finn.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Top 5. Volume 20.

As you may or may not know, I'm getting married in two weeks (no, not to Anna Kendrick).  In honor of the momentous occasion, The Slice may be a bit wedding-themed until then.  Fair warning.

Now, everyone knows the standard reasons for marrying a particular person.  But what about the reasons behind the reasons?  What about the little things?  Here are my top 5 favorite "little things" that make Teens a fantastic future wife:

5.  If we're driving home after a KU basketball game, and I need to stop and get chew, but Bill Self's post-game interview is still going on, when we pull into the gas station ,before I can even glance over at her and open my mouth, she'll run in and buy a tin for me.

4.  After we officially settled on our wedding date being 5/10/13, the first thing she said was "Hey!  We're getting married on Langford/Hinrich/Boschee Day!"  

3.   When she makes a liquor store run, and I ask her to pick me up a couple of 40's, I don't need to specify that I want a paper bag sleeve for each of them.  She'll correct the liquor store employee if he forgets to include them.

2.  During a Dudes Weekend that happens to occur during basketball season, when everyone is "checking in" with their wife/fiancee/significant other/booty call, I'll call Teens, we'll exchange pleasantries and how's-it-goings.....and then we'll end up talking about KU basketball for 10 minutes.  More often than not, she brings it up before I do.

1.  Her favorite sketch from Chappelle's Show is the Player Haters Ball.  The hardest I've ever seen her laugh in our 2.5 years together is during the photo flip competition, when Chappelle, in reference to Rosie O'Donnell, says "I bet she wears underwear with dick holes!" 

(To be fair, that line is so awesome that it makes everyone in the sketch break character and double over in laughter; Chappelle even cracks himself up....but it's still pretty awesome that my future wife cries laughing from it too.)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Is This What Love Feels Like?

For all the jokes about Selena Gomez and Kristin Cavallari and fill-in-the-blank-here, it's girls like Anna Kendrick that Teens should really be worried about.  Most of these Hollywood crushes are just based on looks....but I think I'm legitimately in love with Anna Kendrick.  I want to take her back to North Dakota to meet my family and to express my intentions to marry her.  Hell, I've already told my mom about her.

You gotta admit, Anna Kendrick-Hammonds has a nice ring to it. I don't even care that she wants to hyphenate it.  That's the kind of unconditonal love we would have.  Do you, boo.  Do you.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Song Of 2013 So Far

I usually despise this genre of music-- which I don't even know the name of, I usually just call it "Timberlake and those d-bags"-- but this song is awesome.  Frontrunner for my favorite song of 2013 so far.  If this post has a lot typos$%*kseitldk h##  in it, it's because it's really hard to type and dance at the same time.  But damned if I'm not gonna try and do both.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

2013 All-Ugly Team

Hey, it's everyone's favorite post of the year:  The All-Ugly Team!

(By "everyone", I mean that one time some dude from San Jose wrote me a lonnnnnnng and borderline creepy email about how much he looks forward to the All-Ugly Team every year.  Thanks, guy!  Glad my real name isn't associated with the blog anymore!)

(Also, thanks, as always, to everyone who gives me a shout throughout the season when they spot somebody ugly and want to make sure that they're on my radar.  It's nice to have multiple sets of eyes on the ugly players in college basketball every year.  My favorite submission this year was from Jenna, who called Kelly Olynyk from Gonzaga "a real ugly cuss."  She's from Wyoming).  Anyway, here we go:


Ryan Kelly, Duke.  A starter on the 2012 team, he gets demoted this year because his beard really helps him out a lot.  Also, even though it's unrelated to his looks, he gets bonus points for my favorite random moment of the season (non-KU division):  after his comeback from the injury that had kept him out most of the season, when he came in and drilled his first shot and turned to the Duke student section and yelled "I STILL GOT IT!!!!"  It's OK to be cocky if you're actually funny when you do it.

Brady Heslip, Baylor.  Still white, unathletic, with crappy hair.  Still does nothing but shoot 3's.  Still gonna make the All-Ugly Team.

Ryan Broekhoff, Valparaiso.  He looks like a middle-aged lesbian who, at all times, is super excited to be on a basketball court.

Marshall Plumlee, Duke.  You know those football helmets that have have a bunch of extra padding to help prevent concussions?  I know Mark Kelso of the Buffalo Bills used to wear one back in the day.  That's what Marshall's skull reminds me of.  I mean, it is just an absolute perfectly-shaped crown on top of that dome.  I'm not even mad.  That's amazing.

Josh Scott, Colorado.  If it was me, during the 2012 Presidential Election, I probably would've mentioned the fact that Obama clearly fathered a child with a homeless lady 19 years ago.  I dunno, maybe Romney didn't want to get into a mud-slinging contest.  I'm not his campaign manager or anything.

Cody Ellis, Saint Louis.  He constantly shows up late to his job behind the counter at the Quik Trip at 95th and Washington.  He also has plenty of thoughts on Linkin Park, if you want to hear them.  He thinks that the Hybrid Theory-era was totally overrated, and that "A Thousand Suns" is actually their best album, if you give it a chance.

Andre Almeida, Nebraska.  Allow Kanye West to do this section for me:

That's right, put in work
Move yo' ass, go beserk
Eat yo' salad, no dessert
Get that man you deserve


Hugh Greenwood, New Mexico.  My future brother-in-law does a tremendous impression of Hermie from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and I can't help but giggle every time I see Greenwood, as that impression rolls through my brain.  "Why am I such a misfit?  I am not just a nitwit!"  Classic.

Mike Bruesewitz, Wisconsin.  If his goal is NOT to look like Kyle Broflovski during the rare episode of South Park where they take their winter hats off....then I gotta be honest, I have no effing idea what he's trying to do with his hair.

Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota.  A proud graduate from the Shane Battier Ripple-Head School for Gentlemen.  If it was like the X-Men school, then Battier would definitely be Professor X, Greg Oden would be Cyclops, and Mbakwe would maybe be Wolverine?  Actually, Glenn Robinson III should be Wolverine, since he plays for Michigan.  Mbakwe can be Iceman or Colussus or something.

Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga.  He was OK with Gonzaga's early exit from the tourney, because he plays bass for a really shitty garage band, and they need to practice.  He has a friend whose uncle works in the music industry, and he heard that a bigshot from one of the major record labels is going to be in town this month.  They need all the rehearsing they can get- if his band ever wants to get a record deal, they need to quit screwing around and start taking things seriously!

Deniz Kilicli, West Virginia.  It's always a little sad saying goodbye to a four-year starter, and in this case, one of my favorite All-Ugly Team members of all-time.  Good luck in your future endeavors, Deniz-- which hopefully include bipedalism, discovering fire, and eventually inventing the wheel.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Babysitting 101

If you have a little kid, and I happen to hang out with him, and there is a basketball hoop involved....the first thing I'm going to teach him is not going to be dribbling, or proper shooting form, or a defensive stance, or anything related to the fundamentals of the game.  None of that.  Without exception, the first lesson will be how to yell "GET OFF ME!" when throwing down a monster dunk.  That, friends, is a Jum Hammonds Babysitting Guarantee.

(Also, if I may, I'd like to give myself props for my photography skills on the above picture.  It's a tiny bit blurry because I blew up the size for the blog, but the timing was just immaculate.  Finn was running across the driveway full speed when he was dunking, like MJ in the dunk contest, and I overcame my lack of iphone photography experience and caught the big fella right in mid-flush.  He's got his elbow in the rim like Vince Carter, son!  This should be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, with one of their classic play-on-words captions like "Finn-credible!" or "There's Only One Rule in the Leedahl Household:  Finn Or Go Home").

Monday, April 1, 2013

You Punch One Of Us In The Balls, We'll Punch Your Fanbase In The Stomach

Another year, another catastrophic Kansas Jayhawk loss in the tournament.  I surprised myself by how poorly I handled the loss, personally.  I kinda thought those days were behind me.  I didn't go sleep on a bridge in downtown Indianapolis or anything, but suffice it to say it was not a good night.

After another tournament loss like this, I feel like Lebowski yelling at Walter Sobchak, after Walter inadvertently throws Donny's ashes all over his face.  "Everything's a fuckin' travesty with you, man!"  During March Madness, why can't KU just get solidly outplayed and lose by like 8 or something?  Why do they either have to lose to a team seeded 8 spots lower than them, or blow a 14-point lead with four minutes left, or go 12-30 from the free throw line and lose the championship by three points, or shoot 23% on layups and dunks and lose an Elite 8 game, or have a Final Four game where they lead by 12, then go down by 20, then cut it to 4, and ultimately lose by 10?  Why must it always be a catastrophe? 

I was completely prepared for a loss Friday evening.  There would have been no shame in losing to a great Michigan team in the Sweet 16, one seed or no one seed.  That is a stellar team.  But nope, getting straight-up beaten is not the Kansas way.  First, your hopes have to be raised up juuuust high enough so that they can shatter when they eventually hit the ground.  And what was all that shit about Vietnam, Walter?  What the FUCK does anything have to do with Vietnam?

Two other random thoughts:

- When I was younger, one of the biggest things that drove me nuts about Duke was their bench.  If you pay attention to these kinds of things (and I know, it says something about me that I do) they always know IMMEDIATELY when a TV timeout is coming.  It's like a radar is activated in their brains once the clock reaches under 16,12, 8, and 4 minutes left, because those walk-ons are up and walking onto the court for the timeout before the ref's whistle has even finished blowing.  Always drove me crazy.  Do they practice that?  Does Coach K tell them that their playing time will be determined by who is up and off the bench first for TV timeouts?  Is it a required skill to be a walk-on for Duke?  Like, when they go in for tryouts, are they expecting to run drills and play pickup games, or does Coach K just go "OK guys, I want you all to sit on that bench over there, and I'm going to start this clock and have it count down to zero.  After it goes below 16 minutes, I'm going to randomly blow my whistle, and the first one out of his seat makes the team." ???  Just baffling.

But then I realized that I'm the exact same way when I'm watching a game at a crowded bar, and bathroom lines can be an issue.  I'm out of my seat and on my way to the bathroom before CBS even has a chance to play their NCAA basketball jingle and everyone else in the bar knows what's going on, and as a result I never have to wait in line to pee during big games.  It's the little things, you know?  Holler at me, Duke walk-ons.

- That KU-Michigan game, for Elijah Johnson, was a 10 on the karma scale.  EJ gave Mitch McGary a pretty solid tap on the ballsack two minutes into the game (I could write 1,000 words on how and why that was stupid, but I'll just leave it at this) and then he went on to have probably the worst game of his life.  You could make a case for one of the worst games in tournament history, once you factor in how it ended.  His plus/minus for the game was probably about a -15, and it felt like a -60. 

Just off the top of my head (I stayed off of social media for a few days, I haven't watched a highlight, and I haven't been able to bring myself to read an article about the game yet) with KU up 10 with like 90 seconds left, Elijah threw away a pass that lead directly to a breakaway layup for Michigan; got a 10-second violation that led to another basket; missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 15 seconds left that led to Trey Burke's RIDICULOUS game-tying three pointer at the end of regulation; missed more shots in OT; and after driving all the way to the hoop, down two at the end of OT, for some reason made the decision to throw the ball all the way back out to the perimeter for a contested three-pointer.  HOLY SHIT.  And the sad part is, because of the nut-punching incident, there is no sympathy for Elijah.  He'll go down as probably the biggest goat in KU history, unfortunately.  Sad end to a career.  Maybe don't hit another player in the swimsuit area next time, dude.

But hey, you know what?  It's a beautiful spring day, the sun is shining, I'm getting married in a month....and it's Opening Day!  Quick, raise your hand if your man-crush on Jackie Bradley Jr. is bigger than mine.  Now everybody put your hands down, mine is definitely bigger.