Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hit Me With The Horns And Make That Moneyyyyyy!!!!

Over the years, I've had many different iterations of Super Bowl parties.  Until I was 15, I watched every Super Bowl at my house with family and sometimes friends (although one year we did run down the street to Cory's house at halftime because my gestapo parents had MTV blocked at our house and there was gonna be an awesome Celebrity Death Match we didn't want to miss.)

The next few years I watched at other friends' houses, but we still weren't boozing yet, since we were in high school, and despite what shows like Beverly Hills 90210 make you think, parents don't leave town every other weekend.

In college, we invented our Interactive Drinking Game, wherein everybody was assigned an area of the game in which they had to drink during.  For example, while there was a man in motion, Z had to be drinking.  When the ball was in the air, Ike needed to start chugging until the ball hit the ground (this one was great during long punts or completed long passes.)  If a third-and-7 was converted, Nicole had to take seven drinks on behalf of the offense, and Manada would take seven for the defense.  And so on and so on and so on.  The rules were stretched as far as they had to go; it was pretty awesome when 25-30 people all had something different to drink for.  It was great for two reasons:  1) it kept the girls paying attention to the game, rather than chatting about John Mayer's new album, or how the girl Russell took home from El Roco the night before was a total slut, and 2) we got effing drunk.  Unfortunately, I took it too far, and I blacked out during the Patriot/Eagles Super Bowl in 2005.  I can't really make fun of Donovan McNabb for puking in the huddle during the two minute drill, because I was doing the same thing in the Culligan Manor bathroom.

So for the next few years, I dialed it back.  Smaller crew, way less beer, let's just enjoy the game.  I take pride in being able to remember every Super Bowl since I was six years old-- 2005 wasn't a good look for me.  I even went back to my parents' house for one last Super Bowl with my pops before I moved to Kansas.  The first couple years in Kansas was more of the same.  We watched at Lane & Skye's or their neighbors, and I probably consumed more food than beer.  Your favorite part of the 2009 Steelers/Cardinals Super Bowl might be Ben Roethlisberger's unbelievable pass to win the game.....mine was Skye's taco bar.

After a year in Colorado at Sweeney's crib for the Saints/Colts Super Bowl, I'm now in year 4 of our current Super Bowl party in Lawrence, which is probably my favorite out of all of them.  There's still amazing food (Hendo's meatballs, Steph's buffalo dip, get at me dawg) and there's still drinking....but there is also an increased emphasis on gambling.

Before the game, everyone fills out a sheet of paper with various prop bets on them, and enters into a competition.  A pre-test, if you will.  Squares aren't really my bag, too much luck involved...but if you like 'em, we've got 'em.  A fantasy draft is set up for some of the participants. 

And then there are the dollar bets, tons of them, ranging from "I bet the Ravens pick up a first down on the next play" to "I bet the next commercial shown has at least three black people in it."  It's glorious.  Dollars for pending bets are placed between the participants, which results in stacks of ones scattered all over the room like it's a counting house for an underground strip club. 

And even though each bet is only a dollar, there's plenty of pride involved.  Offer up a bet that favors yourself too much, and you'll get crickets, maybe even people making fun of you for trying that crap.  Offer up a bet that leans too far the other way, and you're gonna turn the room into the floor of the New York Stock Exchange-- everyone will be calling your bet before you even finish the sentence.

And, of course, there are my prop bets, which is when I basically take a chunk of my online account and flush it down the toilet like it's illicit drugs and the cops are breaking down the door-- only more fun!  Here's what I'm throwing it around on this year:

-  The coin toss will be tails.  Tails never fails, unless I bet on it, and then tails claims a surprisingly disproportionate share of fails.

-  Renee Fleming is singing the National Anthem this year.  Substitute "Fleming" for "Zellweger" and you've got my feelings summed up here:

But am I still going to bet the over of 2 minutes, 23.5 seconds?  Hell yes I am!  Last year I bet the under for the first time in my life and lost-- with my baby boo Alicia Keys, no less!  It's no fun to cheer for the under on the anthem anyway.  Consider my lesson learned.

-  The temperature at kickoff is a fun bet this year.  We've had a bunch of friendly arguments on whether or not we think a cold-weather Super Bowl is a good idea or not.  My thoughts:  even as someone who is cheering for the Seahawks, and wants to see Peyton Manning freeze his balls off, maybe get frostbite on his throwing hand, or even get attacked and kidnapped by a wampa on the ice planet Hoth and have to get bailed out by Han Solo........even after all that, I STILL hate that the weather could play a role in the biggest game of the year.  It's supposed to be a neutral field, so it should be neutral weather too, in my humble opinion.  I'd be OK if they played the Super Bowl in a dome every year.  All that being said, do I hope that the kickoff temperature is 35 degrees on the dot?  You're fuckin' right I do.

-  I'm taking Russell Wilson to score the first touchdown of the game.  As I've said before, if you're not using this bet to take a longshot, then you're doing it wrong.  And I thought there was great value in longshots this year.  Zach Miller at 20-1, Jacob Tamme at 25-1, Doug Baldwin at 18-1....all solid picks, in the "I'll Have Another at the Kentucky Derby" sense.  Russell Wilson at 18-1 is also tasty, so like Luniz, I got fiiiiiiive on it.  In addition, because my intense hatred of Peyton Manning is clouding my judgement, I will also be placing three small wagers on Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Bobby Wagner, at 100-1 apiece.  Throw that pick six, Peyton.  You know you want to.

-  We're now in year 3 of betting on a Premiere League soccer player scoring more goals than a starting running back has touchdowns.  It's come through two years straight now, so you know I'm gonna ride or die with it.  However, I'm a bit nervous this year, as the running back is Marshawn Lynch, and the soccer representative is Luis Suarez.  I wouldn't know Luis Suarez if he came up to me on the street, bit me, and called me a piece of whitebread honky trash.  But when I googled him, the first two results that came up were "Luis Suarez bite" and "Luis Suarez racist."  So this bet could have some promise.

-  Every year I feel really strongly about a cross-sport bet that never comes in for me, to the point that before last year's Super Bowl I named it "There's No Way This Cross-Sport Bet Can Possibly Lose, So Naturally, There's No Way This Bet Can Possibly Win."  There's just one problem:  last year, Chris Bosh got absolutely WET, and it ended up being one of the easiest bets I've ever cashed.  You know what that means....TRIPLE DOWN, SON!  I've got three I like this year:

Dwight Howard will miss more free throws than the number of sacks between both teams.

The Orlando Magic will score at least 24 more points than Demaryius Thomas will have receiving yards.

Kevin Love will have at least 3 more points + rebounds than Montee Ball will have rushing yards.

-  The over/under is 28.5 for the number of times Manning yells "Omaha!" at the line of scrimmage  I was going to bet on this, until I realized that, with as many people in the room as we're gonna have, it would be difficult to count them as they occurred.  Also, I remembered that every time Peyton yells "Omaha" or otherwise audibles, it makes me want to ram an ice pick into someone's brain.  So I will be abstaining from this bet.  However, for a normal human being, it seems like a fun bet, so I'd recommend it for others.

As discussed last year, the following is a perfect Tom Sizemore bet.  Considering that the temp is probably going to be in the 20's, it's not 1991, and John Frusciante isn't around anymore to supply the heroin before the show, it's probably not smart to think that someone in the Red Hot Chili Peppers will have their shirt off during halftime....but what fun is it to bet the opposite?  I want to be screaming for Flea to pop his shirt off and blast his nips like I'm a 45-year-old divorcee at Thunder Down Under.  The action IS the juice.

-  At 5-1 odds, I'll say that the MVP will thank his family first during his acceptance speech.  I hope the MVP isn't Richard Sherman.  Who would he thank first?  Michael Crabtree, probably?

-  At 12-1 odds, I'm betting that win or lose, Peyton retires before next season.  We all should be so lucky.  Totally betting with my heart and not my head here, FYI. 

-  I'm going to go ahead and congratulate myself on staying away from bets involving kickers, because I never ever ever ever win those.  I can never resist field goal bets; it's always been a Brokeback Mountain, "I wish I knew how to quit you" situation for me.  But I've finally let it go this year.  If you find me at some point during the game in a closet, tenderly stroking and smelling a Matt Prater jersey and weeping softly, you'll know why.  (Was that too detailed of a Brokeback reference for this audience?  I felt like it fit pretty well.)


As for the actual game, which some years I don't even bet on because it's almost irrelevant to me, I'm taking the Seahawks +2.5.  Partly because there's no way I can cheer for Manning to win another Super Bowl (is my hatred coming through enough in this post?) and partly because the line opened at a pick 'em, then shot up in favor of Denver because the public is generally stupid, and now it's slowly creeping back towards Seattle, because the sharps are getting involved.  That's usually a great sign.  Go 'Hawks.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What Was I Thinking???

It's the most common question a gambler will ask himself when it all goes wrong.  It's also a common question a friend who knows you just lost a bet might ask you.  (Usually, the type of friend who asks you "What were you thinking???" is the same type of friend who never makes his predictions known before a game, but is usually quick to text you, unsolicited, "Glad I got money on Auburn" when they're already up 31 midway through the 3rd quarter.  But we're just speaking in generalities here.)

Anyway, in case you were curious, here's what I was thinking, for every game of the NFL playoffs-- before, during, and after each game.

(Note:  All spreads are reflected at where I got in on them, not where they started or may have ended up.)


Colts 45, Chiefs 44

My bet:  Colts -1.5

How I felt before the game:  I have a lot of Chiefs friends, so I like to see them do well.  I'm still going to bet on the Colts, but it's almost a win-win.  If the Chiefs lose, at least I made some money.  If the Chiefs win, oh well, at least my friends are happy, and it's not like I'm betting enough money for my thumbs or kneecaps to be in danger.  

How I felt during the game:  Holy hell, are the Chiefs really going to beat the Colts by four touchdowns in Indy?!?!?!?!  Oh....I guess they're not.  Yikes.

How I felt after the game:  Oh, so the Chiefs lost the game in the most excruciating way possible**, and now I have to feel terrible for all my friends.....AND the Colts didn't even cover, so I made no money on the deal?  Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

**Actually, the SECOND most excruciating way possible.  I don't mean to be a Penelope right now, but my team has the worst NFL playoff loss of all time, AND I watched that game with Dunph, a diehard Bills fan.  Just remember, Chiefs fans: Although that game still hurts a little bit to this day, the Oilers/Titans eventually avenged that loss against the Bills, in the greatest way to borrow a phrase from 2Pac, keep ya head up.

Saints 26, Eagles 24

My bet:  Saints +3

How I felt before the game:  More or less a coin-flip game.  When in doubt, take the points.

How I felt during the game:  I was at DVJS' wedding during this game, so I did not see one second of it. 

How I felt after the game:  I checked my phone at like midnight, when I was totally sauced, and said something to the effect of "Oh cool, the Saints won.  Dolla dolla bills y'alllllllllllll!  Wads, order me another martini, that last one was delicious."

Chargers 27, Bengals 10

My bet:  Chargers +7

How I felt before the game:  Dammit I hate Phillip Rivers so much.  But there's no way Cincy is covering this spread, they're dicey as hell.  I should almost money line the Chargers, but I wouldn't be able to respect myself in the morning.

How I felt during the game:  It's like when it's your girlfriend's 21st birthday, and you just KNOW she's going to be completely hammered and say inappropriate things and throw up everywhere by the end of the night, and you're going to be sober and crabby since you have to take care of her.  And even though you're totally mentally prepared for it, as soon as it starts happening, you still can't stop yourself from being totally disgusted by it as it's going on.

How I felt after the game:  Dammit, Cincinnati, really?  You got puke in your purse AND you dropped your phone in the toilet?  AFTER you drunk-dialed my grandparents at 3am?!?!

49ers 23, Packers 20

My bet: 49ers -2

How I felt before the game:  I'm sorry Aaron Rodgers, you were my boy in the 2011 playoffs, I rode you HARD and you rewarded me with a bunch of covers....but I've spent the last couple years trying to extend the ride, and you're not covering spreads anymore.  Time to dismount, Eight Belles.

How I felt during the game:  I missed most of the game due to my attendance at a KU basketball game, but I arrived at the bar just in time to see the 49ers drive down and kick a game-winning field goal, and got to celebrate with a random San Fran fan who was pleasantly shitfaced.  Cheers, mate.

How I felt after the game:  Aaron....Aaron.  Look at me.  I'm sorry.  OK?  I'm sorry.  Especially since you showed up at a KU game last weekend and it was awkward seeing you.  I feel like I put a dent in our friendship a little bit.  At least my wife still thinks you're a smoke show.


Seahawks 23, Saints 15

My bet:  Seahawks -7.5

How I felt before the game:  I'm strangely confident that the Seahawks blow this open.  Smell that?  Smells like blowout.  Well, that and Henry T's wing sauce.  A delicious combo, if ever there was one.

How I felt during the game:  Well, both teams look shitty, there goes the possibility of Seattle coasting to an easy cover....what's that, Addy?  You took the Saints +8.5?  We have a one-point window?  IMPOSSIBLE DREAM, LET'S DO THIS!!!

How I felt after the game:  "It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine, Salt 'N' Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine!"

Patriots 43, Colts 22

My bet:  Colts +7

How I felt before the game:  This game terrifies me.  I can see it going three ways:  1)  Brady looks like crap again in a home playoff game, and the Colts make juuuuust enough plays to eke out a victory.  2)  The Patriots are solidly in control, but the Colts score a garbage time TD late and get a filthy backdoor cover.  3)  The Patriots win by like 40.  Each outcome has roughly the same likelihood in my head, so I'll take the points, since according to my theories there's a 66% chance the Colts cover.  But man am I scared of that other 33%.

How I felt during the game:  Are the Patriots gonna blow them out?  The Patriots are gonna blow them out.  Wait, wait, maybe not?  Nope, they definitely are.  WAIT...........yes.  Yes they are.

How I felt after the game:  Whatever.  I'm over it.

49ers 23, Panthers 10

My bet:  49ers -1

How I felt before the game:  Whoo-whoooooo!!!  Is that Wesley Snipes over there?  Is that Jennifer Lopez? Cause I swear that sounds like the Money Train pulling out of the station!  I'd be taking San Fran even if the line was six or seven points higher.  I don't care that they're on the road, son, I don't give a FUCK.

How I felt during the game:  Oh, Carolina is winning, late in the second quarter?  This is me not being nervous.  This is me not worried, not even a little bit.

How I felt after the game:  Move it along, Cam.  Thanks for playing.  Carolina, I'll see you again in another five years, when you get another first-round bye and poop the bed at home again.  We can make it a tradition, cool?  I'll bring the potato salad, you bring my winnings for when I bet against you again.  Jake Delhomme. Never forget.

Broncos 24, Chargers 17

My bet:  Broncos -8.5

How I felt before the game:  We've seen this movie before, right?  Team miraculously makes the playoffs, maybe even scores an upset in the first round, then gets destroyed by a powerhouse, right?  RIGHT?  Hell, even the Indians got beat in the ALCS in Major League.  Phillip Rivers, if you screw this up for me....

How I felt during the game:  Actually, we have seen this movie before.  It's the one where the favored team fumbles in the opponent's territory, misses an easy field goal, throws an interception in the end zone, and basically leaves as many points on the board as possible.  The ending is always the same.  Spoiler alert, they don't cover the spread.

How I felt after the game:  I believe that movie is called Screw You, Peyton Manning, Since When Do You Throw End Zone Interceptions?  Peter Travers called it "A rollicking ride, from start to finish."


Broncos 26, Patriots 16

My bet:  Patriots +5.5

How I felt before the game:  I wish I could change my bet.

How I felt during the game:  What's the halftime line gonna be?  I need to bet on Denver for the second half, and hedge this terrible bet, STAT.

How I felt after the game:  I barelyyyyy squeaked out the second half bet, only because New England missed that two-point conversion late.  Safe to say I didn't have a great handle on this game.

Seahawks 23, 49ers 17

My bet:  49ers +3.5

How I felt before the game:  Feels like somebody is going to win by a field goal.  Don't ask me who though.

How I felt during the game:  I can say with complete honesty that I don't even care if I win this bet or not.  What an unbelievable game.



Final playoff record: 5.5-5 (I'm giving myself a half-win for the second-half Broncos bet.)  Kinda disappointing after starting out 5-2.  But that's why they call it gambling and not winning, amirite?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Favorite Songs Of 2012

As promised, my favorite songs of 2012.  Some of you may rightly ask, "But Jum, how can you remember what songs you heard for the first time, now that's been over a year ago, and in some cases close to two?"  And I would respond, "Because, bro, I keep playlists of all the songs I downloaded for a given year, for ease of reference.  We can go back to 2007 and play this game if we want to.  Now stop being an asshole and read the blog post."

LCD Soundsystem- Daft Punk is Playing at My House

Everyone has that fantasy at being at a concert, and the band calls you onstage from the crowd to play an instrument during one of your favorite jams, right? That's a totally normal thing that we all do? OK good. One of my fantasies is that LCD Soundsystem brings me up for the part that starts around the 2:52 mark of this song, and I rock the shit out of the cowbell. Actually, I'm not 100% sure that it's even a cowbell, it could be any number of percussion pieces I'm unfamiliar with....maybe this is why I'll never get called onstage to play it.

Carly Rae Jepsen- Call Me Maybe

Scene: 2012 College World Series. Sometime in the early evening, after we'd been boozing most of the day. Gangel, Addy, and I are talking to some 21-year-old-girls, friends of Emily's, and it comes up in conversation that I'd never heard 'Call Me Maybe' before, even though it had been taking over the planet for like five months already.  Everyone has a good laugh at my expense.

Cut to 10 minutes later. Everyone is still making fun of me.  OK guys, I get it.

Cut to 5 minutes later. Someone finally produced the song on their phone, and I'm listening to it.

Cut to 3 minutes later. NOW I KNOW WHAT ALL THE FUSS IS ABOUT.

Cut to 3 days later. I've downloaded the song and listened to it 30 times already.

EPMD- Headbanger
RZA- Grits

I combined these two because I had the same exact thought during the first time I heard each of these songs: Welp, time to update my all-time top 100 rap songs list. (For the record, 'Grits' clocks in at #74, and 'Headbanger' shot all the way up to #49.  I know you totally care.)

I picked up the RZA song when I fell in a Wu-Tang rabbit hole on the internet one day, and I picked up EPMD when I visited Alfonso & Katie in Chicago. This album was playing basically right when I walked in the door, so introductions went something like "Heyyy! Good to see you! Hugs all around, yada yada, meet my friends Jud and CK.....hey, what the hell song is playing right now? It's FANTASTIC!"

Here's why this is one of the (many) reasons I love Katie & Alfonso: They knew they had company coming over, including two people they'd never met before. Perhaps the introductory mood music would be something classy? Maybe some light instrumentals? Fuck no, bitch, we got some EPMD fo' dat ass. Keepin' it real.

Animal Collective- My Girls

For me, Animal Collective is like the music equivalent of the movie Eraserhead, or putting peanut butter on hamburgers.  Super weird, and not usually my style, but I can dig it.

MC5- Kick Out the Jams

Real quick, off the top of my head-- and I'd like to hear your thoughts on this-- the best opening lines to a song in music history:

1. "That's why I fucked yo' bitch, you fat mutha fucka!"
2. "Right now, right now, right's time to.....KICK OUT THE JAMS MOTHER FUCKERS!"
3. "When I met you last night babaaayyyyy....before you opened up yo' gap...."

Pulp- Common People


Whenever I listen to Brit pop/rock, it makes me want to smoke a bunch of cigarettes. I can't be alone on this one. Since we're doing quick top 3 lists off the top of our heads here, here's the top 3 activities that make me want to house a carton of smokes:

1.  Watching Mad Men
2.  Listening to dirty British music
3.  Talking to manly men about manly things, while doing manly activities that require the use of both your hands; like complaining about your wife while working on a car engine, so the cigarette has to balance between your lips and it bounces when you talk.  Obviously I don't have much experience with this one, as I never do manly things, but you get the point.

(Side note: I have never been anywhere close to a smoker, but I was usually good for at least a couple Donnies a year, during various social situations wherein I had consumed at least 20 beers and it seemed like the thing to do. But in this week's edition of "Damn, I'm getting older", I have absolutely no recollection of when my last cigarette was. At all. And I remember everything. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say during Christmas Break 2009, the night we stayed out partying until 6am so I got locked out of my parents' house and had to sleep on the Zidon's couch. But I'm really not sure. If anybody can document me smoking a cigarette since that date, please help me out, this has been driving me nuts lately.)

Color Me Badd- All 4 Love

I can't listen to this song without singing along, and I like to think I'm at least a B+ at knocking out all four parts, but I can't be sure. I'm kinda like the Serpico of singing along to pop songs, in that I get in too deep, until I think that I really am one of the members of Color Me Badd or the Jackson 5 or whoever it may be. Teens always enjoys my performances, so I told her I was going to sing this to her at our wedding. Of course this didn't happen, so you could say that this was technically the very first lie of our marriage. Here's to the first of many! Cheers!

AC/DC- If You Want Blood (You Got It)

Like every other 15-year-old white dude on the planet at one point, I owned the AC/DC Live CD, and I loved every song on it. But at the same time, I didn't ever try to listen to any of AC/DC's other songs. I wore that CD out....but I never made a single attempt to expand my library. But ever since then, roughly once a year or so through various avenues, I'll stumble into a new AC/DC song, it invariably rocks my dick off, and I'll kick myself for not having made an attempt to hear it years ago. You keep on rocking to the live version of 'Who Made Who' though, Jum. Keep fighting the good fight.

Rose Royce- I Wanna Get Next to You

Lists that this song would make the top 5 of:

- Songs I'd like to make a baby to
- Songs that make me feel like a black guy in his mid-50s
- Songs that make me want to make a baby WITH a black guy in his mid-50s

The Rapture- How Deep is Your Love?

The only thing keeping this from being a great, great song, is the line first heard at the 1:35 mark, and repeated throughout the song.  Tell me you don't think of 'The Thong Song' when you hear that.  "Let me see that thonnnnnngggggg!"  From there, my brain starts thinking about Will Ferrell as Robert Goulet singing Thong Song, and now we're off to the races.  Pretty soon three minutes have gone by, and I haven't been paying attention to the lecture at hand.  Other than that, it's awesome.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Favorite Songs Of 2013

I know I'm a little late on this, seeing as how we're over halfway done with January.  But hey, when you have a chance to blog about things like imaginary grandparents and spitting chew on yourself....well, you can see why this one got pushed back a little bit.  As always, these aren't all songs that were actually released in 2013, they're songs that I heard for the first time in 2013.

Robin Thicke- Blurred Lines

Hey, it doesn't happen often, so you guys gotta give me this one..... I TOTALLY LIKED THIS SONG BEFORE IT WAS POPULAR.

Supernova- Chewbacca Song

From the movie Clerks, the scene where they have the Death Star argument. I bet you can learn all the lyrics to this song really fast. And I swear I would like this song even if it wasn't Star Wars-related. It could be called 'The Grey's Anatomy Song' and I'd still think it sounded kinda badass.

LCD Soundsystem- Dance Yrself Clean

This song is pretty slow for the first couple minutes, but the build-up is so worth the wait once you hit the 3:08 mark.  Fucking A, the switch gets flipped, and this jam gets tremendous and stays tremendous...until it slows down again.  Normally, I love songs that are in the 7-9 minute range, much to the chagrin of every girl I've ever dated. Generally speaking, Teens starts getting bored around the 5 1/2 minute mark (there's DEFINITELY a joke to be made there, but I'll refrain from making it), but I love it when a song really gets out there and explores the studio space for upwards of ten minutes.  My point is that even I think this song doesn't need to be nine minutes long.  Six or so would probably work just fine.  Other than that, fantastic tune.

Fleetwood Mac- I Don't Want to Know

I heard this song during a Saturday Night Live sketch with Paul Rudd about a month ago (if I could find it I'd link it) and we were Soundhounding it immediately.  It's only grown on me since then, and might be my favorite song at the moment.  Such a happy song.  In addition, Kari and I were discussing The Eagles at work the other day, and I was doing the whole Lebowski thing (I just fuckin' hate The Eagles, maaan) and she asked how I can be in love with songs like this by Fleetwood Mac, but still say the The Eagles are lame.  The best I can explain it is that songs like 'I Don't Want to Know' are poppy and/or cheesy enough to be awesome, whereas The Eagles are trying desperately hard to be cool.  This song inadvertently helped me shape my previously unexplainable basis for hating The Eagles.  So thanks for that, Stevie Nicks.

Vampire Weekend- Diane Young

The Ol' Weekend had to have a representative from their new album on here, and this track is my favorite. Show me another lead singer who can pull off the "Baby, baby, baby, baby, right on time" part without making me want to punch him in the face, much less enjoy it.

M83- Raconte-moi une histoire

This song is pure magic. A song that just builds and builds and builds and doesn't...quite....ever....get there. It always leaves me wanting more, in a good way. I love everything about it, including the fact that the only lyrics are little kids basically talking about tripping balls.  It just fits, somehow.

The weird thing about this song for me, personally, is that I heard it for the first time while playing golf on a gorgeous summer day, without a care in the world, and it still hit me in the chest immediately.  It feels like a song that I should've heard for the first time when I was like 19 years old, hammered drunk at the end of a party, sitting on the Culligan roof at 4am, listening to it on repeat, and quietly reflecting on inconsequential relationships, as only a drunk, self-absorbed college kid can. "Damn, this song is beautiful. Why did I ever break up with Amanda again? She was smart, funny, laughed at my jokes....she was perfect for me. AND she made me a better person, that's what was great about her. I'm totally gonna call her tomorrow.  Yeah.....tomorrow."

The Replacements- Can't Hardly Wait

I started really getting into The Replacements last year, after meaning to for a long time.  I never should've put it off.  They're fantastic, especially if you like bands that really sound like they're British, but really are from Minneapolis.  It's a small subset, I know.

Warren Zevon- Keep Me In Your Heart

How I can make Teens cry laughing whenever I want:  Bust out my Warren Zevon impression-- this song in particular. It's probably only about 60% Zevon and 40% Kermit the Frog, which is probably what cracks her up every time. In my mind though, I'm spot on.

Gang Starr- DWYCK

How I can piss Teens off whenever I want:  Reference this song, which stands for Do What You Can, Kid. I haven't really figured out why yet, but I do know that this acronym drives her crazy, so naturally I use it whenever I can.

"Teens, will you make me a couple of turkey sandwiches for lunch tomorrow pleeeease?"

"Yeah I can do that, but we're out of spicy mayo..."

"Oh well.  DWYCK."


"Why, because you hate rap music?  What's that supposed to mean, 'YOU PEOPLE'?  Attica!  Attica!"

"You can go ahead and make your own sandwiches now."

Creedence Clearwater Revival- Long As I Can See the Light

Damn, this is CCR?  The only Creedence songs I've previously been familiar with are the most popular ones, the ones that belong on the soundtrack of a movie depicting Vietnam, like Forrest Gump or something.  If I would've known this song existed before our wedding, I definitely would've incorporated it somehow.  Not that I regret our first dance song as a married couple or anything, but this one could've been good too.

JJ Jackson- But It's Alright

I effing love these kinds of songs, especially when I'm on the treadmill. These Motown-y, 'Girl you done me wrong but you ain't gonna keep me down for long' type of jams.  If you were to do an arc of my music tastes over the decades, I feel like it almost perfectly mirrors a black man born in like 1962.  I think that was supposed to be my true self.  Right now I'd be 52 years old, working as an electrician in Queens, coming home from work, popping open a 40 and rocking the shit out of JJ Jackson.  Probably named Clarence or something. 

Tower of Power- So Very Hard to Go

Things NOT to say when you're on an airplane waiting to take off, talking to your wife with your headphones in, and you have no idea how loud you're actually speaking: "Teens, you should give this a listen. Someday we're going to conceive a child to this song."  Just a lil' something for future reference.


Coming soon, my favorite songs of 2012, because I just realized I never wrote that post last year.  The holidays were busy that year, what with running around New York, defending toy stores from the Sticky Bandits and befriending homeless pigeon ladies and everything.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Can't Nobody Be Bigger Than This Game

Last weekend, Addy, Gangel and Myshawn all trekked down from Minneapolis, Omaha, and Bemidji, respectively, for their first ever trip to the Phog for a KU game.

We had a million laughs over the course of the weekend, including, but not limited to:

- The Jameis Winston interview (If I had a dollar for every time somebody yelled "I said, we said, I said, are you strong?  They said I'm strong if you strong.  I said we STRONG then" or otherwise quoted that rambling interview, then it wouldn't have mattered that Duke couldn't cover the spread for me the other night.)

- Addy playing percussion with a homeless guy on a downtown street corner (I'm not tech savvy enough to load the video from my phone, but the important thing is that it exists)

- The Impossible Dream being realized-- when I had money on the Seahawks -7.5, Addy had the Saints +8.5, and a last-second touchdown set the final margin at 8, perfectly falling into that delightfully creamy section known as The Middle, and resulting in everyone making money together.

However, the bar topic that generated the most spirited discussion stemmed from the question:  If you could choose anybody on Earth (currently living) to be your grandfather, who would it be?  Here's my answer, along with the answers of everyone else we asked last weekend, and my thoughts on their picks.

My pick:  Bill Raftery

My love of Raffy is well-documented.  He's my favorite basketball announcer of all time.  Jud and I re-named Willie's Bar here in Lawrence to Raffy's, because if Raftery would ever come to Lawrence and call a game, we'd take him out to Raffy's at like 2pm on a Wednesday to get smoked with us.  Enjoy a little bit of my grandpappy's work here:

Gangel's pick:  Wilford Brimley
My grade:  B.  Solid choice; it doesn't get much more grandfatherly than Wilford.  Just look at this old bastard:

Myshawn's pick:  Michael Caine
My grade:  A+.  This was my #2 choice after Raffy.  And it would've been Hendo's #1 choice, if he wasn't already off the board.  Basically, people love Michael Caine.  Also, this led to "I've failed you, Master Wayne" impressions for the rest of the night, so obviously that was pretty awesome.  Who doesn't enjoy a good Michael Caine impression?

Addy's pick:  Steve Spurrier
My grade:  D-.  Spurrier seems like kind of a dick, and I'm also deducting points from Addy because he had no idea about any of the people we were talking about.  Michael Caine?  Who's that?  Sam Elliott?  Never heard of him.  Wilford Brimley?  Now you're just making up names.

Teens' pick:  Sam Elliott
My grade:  A.  Roadhouse, Tombstone, Big Lebowski.  Is there a better random three-movie sample from any actor in history?  Maybe a list for another day.  Anyway, I was proud of Teens for making this pick, almost as proud as when she correctly named Gin & Juice within the first 1.2 seconds of it coming on the jukebox.  That's my wife, yo.

JDub's pick:  Richard Gere
My grade:  Allow AC Slater to give it on my behalf:

On the flip side of Sam Elliott, I couldn't possibly pick three movies of Gere's that are even halfway watchable.  He used to be married to Cindy Crawford at the height of her powers, so I'mma hate on him for that.  Also, the man very possibly put gerbils up his butt.  I can't have that type of deviancy from my grandpa.

Hendo's pick:  Phil from Duck Dynasty
My grade:  C-.  I generally enjoy Duck Dynasty, especially when there's nothing else on TV, but there's been too much controversy surrounding Phil and his worldviews lately.  I want my grandpa to be universally beloved.

Double D's pick:  Gene Hackman
My grade:  B.  Double D wanted to change his pick immediately after he made it, but I'm OK with the Hackman choice for his role as Royal Tenenbaum alone-- and we haven't even talked about Hoosiers yet.

Erin' pick:  Bill Cosby
My grade:  A-.  I'm not the biggest Bill Cosby fan in the world (the most overused joke on the planet is probably some form of Bill Cosby + Jell-O Puddin' Pops), but Erin's pick was phenomenal simply because even though she was one of the last ones to answer, she was the first one of all of us to think about crossing racial lines.  We were all dumbfounded by the simplicity, and it made me jealous that I didn't think to pick Morgan Freeman.  There's probably a sociology experiment in this question somewhere.

Mikey's pick:  Paul McCartney
My grade:  C-.  I'm pretty lukewarm on The Beatles.  If we're thinking about taking musicians from that era, I'm going with someone a little more badass than Sir Paul.  He always seemed like kind of a Streisand to me.


Gardy's pick:  Jimmy Buffett
My grade:  B+.  Out of everyone on this list, Jimmy might be the most fun grandpa to go spend a weekend with, if you happen to be of that persuasion.  I also enjoyed that while most people hemmed and hawed and thought about the question for a while, Gardy has this answer dialed up in less than two seconds.

Ryan's pick:  Pele'
My grade:  B.  It's kind of a shocker that almost nobody chose big-time ex-athletes to be their theoretical grandpas.  Where's Willie Mays?  Muhammad Ali?  Joe Namath?  Jack Nicklaus?  Probably a sociology experiment there too.  So I applaud Ryan's originality in choosing an athlete-- a Brazilian soccer player at that.

So, who would YOUR Grandpa be?

Friday, January 10, 2014

DVJS Gets Married

{Foreword:  We used to wear suits on draft night, pretending to be players who were we only bust them out during formal occasions?  Doesn't seem right.}

In 8th grade, I couldn't stand DVJS.  This was entirely due to the fact that we attended different middle schools, and thus, played against each other in sports.  Everything boiled down to the B team basketball championship game that year.  After an undefeated 7th grade year, my South Spartans had scuffled a bit trying to defend the title, and the upstart Schroeder Raiders were poised to seize the trophy.

There had been a fair amount of trash talk during the game-- though I can't recall what, exactly, 8th grade trash talk sounded like.  "You only have like seven armpit hairs!"...."No, YOU only have like seven armpit hairs!"  Schroeder eventually pulled away and blew it open towards the end, and the starters, including myself, were pulled.  (Duh, I was a starter.  No, I couldn't make the A team, but I was a threat at any time to put up a triple double on the B team.  Not necessarily double digits in points, rebounds, and assists....more like points, times adjusting my glasses, and times I glanced into the crowd to see if my crush Jamie was watching me.)

While Easy E, T. Nels, and the rest of us sat on the bench and continued to fume and yell shit at the Schroeder guys, DVJS went to the line for a couple of free throws.  During the second one, he looked over at our bench, closed his eyes, and calmly swished the free throw.  This wasn't a good-natured situation, like the Michael Jordan/Dikembe Mutombo eyes-closed free throw.  This was a giant middle finger to all of us sitting on the bench.  From that moment on, his name was poison.  A mild dislike became an intense hatred, until roughly a year later.  After we ended up at the same high school, the South/Schroeder rivalry melted away, and as our friend groups slowly meshed, we found we had a lot of stuff in common-- basketball, video games, professional wrestling, etc.  Soon, he was one of my closest friends.

Fast forward to today.  We both moved to Lawrence, Kansas at the same time, and still play City League basketball together (16 years as teammates now, and Stockton and Malone did 18.  I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.)  He's still one of my closest friends.  I watched him get married to a wonderful gal (who makes wonderful NBA Draft cupcakes) last weekend, and while watching the ceremony, I chuckled to myself.  If you would've told me 17 years ago that I'd be this close of friends with DVJS, I could never have imagined it.  But if you were to tell me today to imagine the last 17 years without him, I don't think I could imagine that either.

The moral of the story:  If somebody makes an eyes-closed free throw against you during a blowout championship game victory, don't immediately write that person off as a bad human being.  There's a thin line between love and hate.

Congrats DVJS and Hannah, and shout-out to Wads, Ron, Nick, Liza, Maxi, etc., etc.  Great to see all of you after so many years.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Grand Theft Chewing

The other night I was enjoying a chew and "cruising the streets", aka aimlessly playing Grand Theft Auto, not even attempting any missions, just roaming around, creating death and destruction, showing a wanton disregard for human life.  After stealing a car and mowing down a few dozen pedestrians, beating up a cop and stealing his gun and car, I was careening through the streets on my way to the airport, so I could take the police chase to the runways.  Dodging incoming and outgoing planes while on the run from the law just adds a little extra spice to your life, you know?

I was particularly fired up during this particular rampage against the citizens and law enforcement of Liberty City, and in my excitement, I neglected to realize that the cap was still on my spitter.  My spit ricocheted off the bottle, all over my shirt, controller, the carpet around me....just chew spit.  Everywhere.  I paused the game and thought about how this shouldn't be a problem that a 31-year-old has to deal with....then I shrugged, un-paused the game, and ramped my car into the adjacent ocean, bringing four police cars with me.  Because we all know that nobody leaves the airport alive.

So that was my Friday night.  How was yours?

Thursday, January 2, 2014