Thursday, February 28, 2008


Alex "The Bellicose Bulgarian" Judson sent me a link for his roommate and friends' debuting series, Squeegees, which is a new web series on Per Judson's description (transmitted to me electronically), Squeegees "documents the competition-packed days of high-rise window washing, the ensuing hijinx, and all the dizzying highs offset by the crushing lows." The Los Angeles Times has also written an article about the show.

You can watch the show online at and

Personally, I haven't seen it, since I don't even have a computer, much less the three that I assume it would take to properly broadcast a video feed. I'm also afraid of heights.

New Rule for Court Rushing

You may recall back in January 2006, I was pissed off that IU fans rushed the court after beating then #5 Illinois. I'm still pissed. It prompted me at that time to come up with a set of strict guidelines for when it is and is not appropriate to rush the court after a college basketball game.

Well, the students at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff have given us a seventh situation in which it is inappropriate to rush the court (thanks to Holt for telling me about this):

7. When a halfcourt shot goes in at the end of regulation, resulting in a TIE.

It may seem obvious to you and me, but despite the fact that they had not won the game Monday night against Texas Southern, UAPB students rushed the court at the end of regulation. The result? A technical foul, which meant that Texas Southern got to shoot 2 free throws before the overtime period started, thus going into OT up 2 points. UAPB ended up losing the game. By one. Nice work, students.


I have only 2 submissions for Midwestern Eavesdropping, so it will be postponed at least one more week. Come on people. Open up those ears. And when you hear something funny or out of context or whatever, email it to

Good Will F**king

In case you haven't seen the hilarious fake feud going on between Jimmy Kimmel, his girlfriend Sarah Silverman, and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, here's a synopsis:
-Jimmy Kimmel used to often joke at the end of his show that he was sorry that he didn't have enough time to get to Matt Damon. Thus, Matt staged a fake blow-up on Jimmy's show in September 2006.

-Not too long ago, Sarah made the now-infamous "I'm Fucking Matt Damon" song, which is hysterical.

-Now Jimmy has made a star-studded response, which is pretty damn good, too.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Making a Metz of Me

Since there have been several requests for a Metz Suite recap, I'll oblige.

It all began, fittingly, on Nirvana Day -- February 15. Jester, Ari, and I left our respective workplaces a little early and headed to B-town to the Metz Suite, the penthouse suite in the Indiana Memorial Union hotel, which houses the likes of Oprah, Vladimir Putin, and some chick whose vagina hair stuck to the floor. We hadn't been there since the fall of 2006. Like Jessie never tells me, too long. Too fucking long.

We arrived Friday night around 9:30 or some shit like that. I didn't really pay attention because we had been cannonballing a handle of Rumplemintz since Lafayette. Joining us for the weekend were: TG, Spawn, Ball, Lizzie, Liz, Ashcraft, and Holt. Also, a German named Uter von Widenhofer would join us Saturday. It was a small but enthusiastic crowd.

We were floored to learn that LaBamba has CLOSED. I don't know what to think about this. My hope is that it is closed merely for remodeling. At this point, I refuse to look too far into it because I'm scared of the consequences.

Friday night we started off at Upstairs, where we downed some AMFs to start the night off right. Then we literally sprinted to the Bluebird to see the greatest band in the land, Hairbangers Ball. Tyler Steven was on lead vocals this night, instead of Vic Voxx. They switch off shows, if you didn't know.

At the Bird, behind the bar was none other than James Brown (the Pi Kapp, not the Godfather of Soul, the NFL Hall of Famer, or the NFL commentator). He hooked us up with some discounted drinks.

We drank, sang along, and avoided getting puked on. Afterwards, some people got Rockit's pizza, while others ordered a Big Ten Special from Pizza Express. For those of you unfortunate enough to have never experienced a Big Ten, it is a large one-topping pizza, an order of breadsticks, a dipping sauce -- although it is always best to order two -- and two drinks for $12.95. It used to be only $10. It is one of the best things you can order at 2:30 or 3 in the morning.

Saturday greeted us with a kraut (Uter). As he and Ball went to have lunch with the chancellor, a few of us (TG, Holt, Spawn, Jessie, and I) went to Village Deli for some breakfast, lunch, or brunch. We were told the wait would be 15 minutes. In Village Deli time, 15 minutes means 45 minutes. Groups of 7, 8, and 9 that arrived AFTER us got seated before we did. At least the food was good.

After the VD -- ha ha, VD -- we were innocently walking down Kirkwood back towards campus. We paused in front of the entrance to Steve & Barry's for no real reason, since their 2 for $19.95 t-shirt sale seemed par for the course. Then some college chick comes barreling out of Steve & Barry's, pukes a little on the landing, then proceeds to double over (with cheeks FULL of puke) and puke right into her left hand. Puke is dripping from her hand and down her left arm as she continues down the sidewalk and pukes a couple more times in her hand. After finished puking, she proceeds to carry the puke in her hand -- dripping -- to the garbage can and throws it away. How considerate! Spawn then explained that, after she threw her handful of vomit away, she licked the remnants off of her fingers. I guess she thought it would be uncouth to go back into Steve & Barry's (which she did) with stinky hands. I love college.

The main event of the weekend in Bloomington was the IU/Michigan State basketball game. Uter had a ticket, and so did Holt, but no one else did. Thus, the only legitimate option was to watch the game a Nick's -- the greatest college bar ever invented. The game didn't start until 9, so we figured we would be okay if we got there around 5. We were wrong. We got a small table in the Hump Room, which could not accommodate 10 people. However, we were lucky enough to know the guys at the booth just to the right of the top of the stairs, and they were all going to the game, so we snagged that table around 7 when they left. James Brown joined us for dinner before he had to go to work, and Cohee joined us later.

I made an educated decision to hold off on playing Sink the Bismarck until about a half hour before the game started. This turned out to be a good idea, as my hubris pushed me to purposely sink it on more than one occasion. This strategy is perfectly acceptable, except that I also had to drink it on several other occasions, thanks in large part to Ball's masterful pouring. I had to remove myself from the game at one point. Granted, this was after we had been playing for two hours, so at least I got my money's worth. At some point, IU won handily.

My hiatus from Sink proved effective, as it enabled me to be in it for the long haul, including our next and final bar stop, the one and only Kilroy's. Despite its overcrowdedness, we found a table by the back exit. Test tube shots were consumed (and the tubes broken, in compliance with longstanding tradition). The shot wheel was spun by at least one person, with negligible results (Jedi Mind Probe -- ouch).

After Kilroy's closed, Cohee implored us to come back to his house for some more drinks, but we can't handle that shit anymore, at least not at 3:30 in the morning. So instead, I got myself a hotdog from the hotdog stand outside Kilroy's. That wasn't enough. You knew it wouldn't be enough. So when I got back to the Metz Suite, I found out that some of the others had ordered some Mad Mushroom cheesesticks. These are an otherworldly combination of dough and cheese, made with a recipe handed down from Zeus himself. I decided that one large order of cheesesticks (which is the size of a large pizza) would not be enough, so I called and made a second order. Large, of course. It turns out that one large order would have been enough, but that didn't stop Holt and me from trying our best to put a dent in the second order. Eating yourself into a coma at 4:30 in the morning is never a good idea.

I am convinced that Dr. Metz haunts the master bedroom. Every time I sleep in that particular room, no matter how many or few Red-Bull-infused shots or drinks I consume, only get like four hours of sleep, awoken by my heart pounding. It happened both nights this trip. Having watched Paranormal State (which I recommend) several times, I now have no doubt it was Dr. Metz's ghost causing my problems, likely upset about the effects my late-night binging would have on my digestive system.

We managed to make it out alive -- barely. Ari, Jessie, and I then met my dad at Irish Lion for some breakfast, lunch, or brunch. For reasons that are still unclear to anyone, as soon as we sat down, he started into a diatribe about the pattern of plates that he had as a child (all of which were given to him at some point in the early '90s by his mother, for reasons that are also unclear). I don't know the point of the story or why it was necessary to tell us anything about it. More than anything, it left me confused. Is he looking to sell the plates? Maybe. Does he want to buy more? I don't fuckin' know. Does he want to recreate that scene in Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead where they're shooting plates and that dude says "the dishes are done, man"? There was nothing said to indicate that it's not a possibility. The point is, I have no fucking clue. It went on for a half hour, even after his friend and friend's ladyfriend joined us and I audibly said, "For some reason, we're talking about salad plates."

He did totally redeem himself later, however, with several Bronson-esque stories about a guy he knew from the Air Force. This dude was at my wedding. He is lanky and wore a bowtie. He is mild-mannered and extremely courteous and unimposing. His name is Allen, for Christ's sake. Keep that in mind.

So Allen at one point way back when (I think after he returned from being stationed in Turkey with my dad) lived in a garden apartment in a less-than-stellar area of St. Louis. He had a large Husky and a .357 Magnum for protection. So one day, someone knocks on his door. Allen senses something ain't right because, in order to get to the individual apartment doors, someone would have to get through the main door, which requires a key. I guess Allen must not have known his neighbors very well because he assumed it wasn't one of them, grabbed his Magnum, held it behind his back, grabbed the dog, and coolly made his way to the door. When he opened it, there was a dude on the other side who had been hoping to burgle. The would-be-burglar stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the dog, not even really noticing that Allen precariously had his other hand behind his back. The following conversation (more or less) ensued:

Burglar (stunned, confused, and a little scared): "Is that a wolf?" (although he apparently pronounced it "woof" -- see Kate, you're not the only one!)
Allen: "Take another step and you'll find out."
Burglar (still taken aback): "Is, is that a wolf?"
Allen (more drawn out and pointed): "If you take another step, you will find out."
Burglar (realizing he has bitten off more than he can chew and still unsatisfied with the previous answers): "I think I'm going to just go. Is that a wolf?"
Allen (cold and steely, looking down at the dog): "When you leave, don't run."

The burglar backs away slowly. When he gets near the main door, Allen gives his dog the command to bark, which sends the burglar into a tizzy. The next thing Allen sees are shadows of feet sprinting by his windows. At the local grocery store, he later overheard someone talking about a guy in the neighborhood "who has a wolf."

In addition to being Charles Bronson, Allen is also Chuck Norris. Apparently, he is (or was) a black belt in several martial arts. While living in the same area of St. Louis, he did what any badass with a wolf to feed does: he went to the grocery store and, in particular, to the meat counter. While deciding what cut of steak to get for his wolf, someone came up behind him and shoved something in his back that was supposed to be a gun. The guy demanded Allen's wallet. Since Allen is a ninja, he could tell that it wasn't a gun. He didn't know what it was exactly, but he knew it wasn't a gun. So, without turning around, Allen made one swift backwards movement with his elbow and broke the guy's nose. This story sent me over the top, and I immediately imagined the various badass movie scenes that could be made to sensationalize this moment:

Meat counter clerk (to Allen): "Can I help you?"
Allen: "I'll have a pound of ground chuck. Oh, and one of those ribeyes for my wolf."
[Meat counter clerk gets the meat, puts it on the counter.]
Meat counter clerk: "Anything else?"
[Robber approaches Allen and sticks fake gun in Allen's back]
Robber: "Give me your wallet, Poindexter."
Allen (to meat counter clerk, who is ducking behind the counter): "Oh, and a roll of paper towels for this guy."
Robber (shoving fake gun harder into Allen's back): "I'm not fucking around here, man. Give me your wallet or I'll fuckin' take you down, man."
Allen: "You first."
[Allen swiftly breaks the robber's nose with his elbow. Blood splatters everywhere. The robber falls to the ground in pain. Allen kicks him in the ribs, then grabs the intercom.]
Allen (through intercom): "Clean up at the meat counter."
[Allen then slaps exact change for the meat on the counter, grabs his chuck and ribeye, and walks out of the store, passing a group of grade school kids who are sitting outside the store on their bikes, but saw the whole thing through the window and, thus, are in complete awe of Allen as he walks past them.]
Kid #1: "Hey mister, aren't you the guy who has a pet wolf?"
Allen (to the kids): "You can't believe everything you hear. But yes."
[Allen flips each of them a quarter.]
Allen (to the kids): "Stay in school."

Aaaaannnnnndddd, scene!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Big Ten's Best Over the Past 25 Years

As you may or may not know, I'm kind of retarded when it comes to stats, especially when it comes to Big Ten football and basketball. I have no idea what prompted me to try to figure out which basketball program has been the best over the past 25 years, but it seemed like something I would enjoy. So I did, and I did. I tried to come up with categories that were as objective as possible and that gave the best gauge of a team's success over the past 25 years. Here is what I came up with:
  • Overall wins
  • Overall winning percentage
  • 20-win seasons
  • Losing seasons
  • Big Ten regular season wins
  • Big Ten regular season titles
  • Big Ten tournament record (note: the Big Ten tournament began in 1998)
  • Big Ten tournament titles
  • NCAA tournament appearances
  • NCAA tournament wins
  • NCAA tournament winning percentage
  • Final Fours
  • NCAA championships
  • Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball winners (i.e., Big Ten MVPs)

Excluding Penn State (since they joined in 1993), I ranked every Big Ten team in each of these categories, from 1 to 10. Here are some things you must know before jumping into the fun:

  • I compiled stats from the 1982-83 season through the 2006-2007 season, which means this season is not included in the stats. If I miscalculated anything, let me know.
  • A team ranked first in a category gets 10 points, a team ranked second gets 9 points, and so on down the line.
  • Aside from the "Losing seasons" category, when a team gets a "0" in a given category, it receives zero points. For instance, Northwestern has not had a 20-win season in the past 25 years. Therefore, they get 0 points in that category, rather than 1 for being last. I do not reward futility.
  • Several teams have forfeited wins and titles over the past 25 years, on account of taking money from boosters, massive-scale academic fraud, and the like. I did not exclude those forfeited wins or titles.
  • The Chicago Tribune apparently stopped awarding the Silver Basketball after the 2004-2005 season (or at least I couldn't find anything showing that it awarded it in 2006 and 2007). Therefore, for 2006 and 2007, I went with the MVP as chosen by the coaches and media (Terence Dials from OSU in 2006 and Alando Tucker from Wisconsin in 2007).
  • I did alternate scoring methods, perhaps to ensure fairness. The first method was simply a straight, whole number scoring system. Thus, if two teams tied for first place in a category, I awarded both teams 10 points. The second method split the points that would have been awarded if there were no ties. Thus, if two teams tied for first place, they would split the points that would be available for first place (10) and second place (9), giving each team 9.5 points. I have added up the point totals using both methods. As you will see, there is not much of a difference in the final rankings when the second method is used. I put the points earned for each category in parentheses on each line, and, if different, the point totals under the fractional method in parentheses after that.
  • Yes, I realize I am a psycho. A psycho for college basketball. And sex.

1. Illinois - 550 (10)
2. Indiana - 547 (9)
3. Michigan State - 518 (8)
4. Michigan - 516 (7)
5. Purdue - 502 (6)
6. Iowa - 497 (5)
7. Ohio State - 471 (4)
8 (tie). Minnesota - 424 (3) (2.5)
8 (tie). Wisconsin - 424 (3) (2.5)
10. Northwestern - 259 (1)

Winning percentage
1. Illinois - .696 (10)
2. Indiana - .685 (9)
3. Michigan State - .657 (8)
4. Purdue - .647 (7)
5. Michigan - .644 (6)
6. Iowa - .629 (5)
7. Ohio State - .605 (4)
8. Wisconsin - .556 (3)
9. Minnesota - .553 (2)
10. Northwestern - .362 (1)

20-win seasons
1. Illinois - 19 (10)
2. Indiana - 17 (9)
3 (tie). Michigan 16 (8) (7.5)
3 (tie). Iowa - 16 (8) (7.5)
5 (tie). Michigan State - 13 (6) (5)
5 (tie). Purdue - 13 (6) (5)
5 (tie). Ohio State - 13 (6) (5)
8 (tie). Minnesota - 6 (3) (2.5)
8 (tie). Wisconsin - 6 (3) (2.5)
10. Northwestern - 0 (0)

Losing seasons
1. Indiana - 1 (10)
2 (tie). Illinois - 2 (9) (8.5)
2 (tie). Michigan State - 2 (9) (8.5)
4 (tie). Iowa - 4 (7) (6.5)
4 (tie). Purdue - 4 (7) (6.5)
6. Michigan - 5 (5)
7. Ohio State - 6 (4)
8. Minnesota - 8 (3)
9. Wisconsin - 9 (2)
10. Northwestern - 20 (1)

Big Ten regular season wins
1. Indiana - 278 (10)
2. Illinois - 276 (9)
3. Michigan State - 258 (8)
4. Purdue - 256 (7)
5. Michigan - 239 (6)
6 (tie). Iowa - 222 (5) (4.5)
6 (tie). Ohio State - 222 (5) (4.5)
8. Wisconsin - 188 (3)
9. Minnesota - 179 (2)
10. Northwestern - 86 (1)

Big Ten regular season titles (includes co-champions)
1 (tie). Illinois - 6 (10) (8.5)
1 (tie). Indiana - 6 (10) (8.5)
1 (tie). Ohio State - 6 (10) (8.5)
1 (tie). Purdue - 6 (10) (8.5)
5. Michigan State - 5 (6)
6 (tie). Michigan - 2 (5) (4.5)
6 (tie). Wisconsin - 2 (5) (4.5)
8. Minnesota - 1 (3)
9 (tie). Iowa - 0 (0)
9 (tie). Northwestern - 0 (0)

Big Ten tournament record
1. Illinois - 18-8 (10)
2 (tie). Iowa - 13-8 (9) (8.5)
2 (tie). Ohio State - 13-8 (9) (8.5)
4. Michigan State - 11-8 (7)
5. Wisconsin - 11-9 (6)
6. Indiana - 8-10 (5)
7. Michigan - 7-9 (4)
8. Minnesota - 6-10 (3)
9 (tie). Purdue - 4-10 (2) (1.5)
9 (tie). Northwestern - 4-10 (2) (1.5)

Big Ten tournament titles
1 (tie). Illinois - 2 (10) (8.5)
1 (tie). Iowa - 2 (10) (8.5)
1 (tie). Michigan State - 2 (10) (8.5)
1 (tie). Ohio State - 2 (10) (8.5)
5 (tie). Michigan - 1 (6) (5.5)
5 (tie). Wisconsin - 1 (6) (5.5)
7 (tie). Indiana - 0 (0)
7 (tie). Minnesota - 0 (0)
7 (tie). Purdue - 0 (0)
7 (tie). Northwestern - 0 (0)

NCAA tournament appearances
1. Indiana - 22 (10)
2. Illinois - 21 (9)
3. Purdue - 18 (8)
4. Michigan State - 17 (7)
5. Iowa - 15 (6)
6 (tie). Michigan - 12 (5) (4.5)
6 (tie). Ohio State - 12 (5) (4.5)
8. Wisconsin - 11 (3)
9. Minnesota - 7 (2)
10. Northwestern - 0 (0)

NCAA tournament wins
1. Indiana - 32 (10)
2. Michigan State - 31 (9)
3. Illinois - 29 (8)
4. Michigan - 26 (7)
5. Ohio State - 22 (6)
6. Purdue - 19 (5)
7. Iowa - 16 (4)
8. Wisconsin - 11 (3)
9. Minnesota - 9 (2)
10. Northwestern - 0 (0)

NCAA tournament winning percentage
1. Michigan - .703 (10)
2. Michigan State - .660 (9)
3. Ohio State - .647 (8)
4. Indiana - .604 (7)
5. Illinois - .580 (6)
6. Minnesota - .563 (5)
7. Wisconsin - .542 (4)
8. Iowa - .516 (3)
9. Purdue - .514 (2)
10. Northwestern - .000 (0)

Final Fours
1. Michigan State - 4 (10)
2 (tie). Indiana - 3 (9) (8.5)
2 (tie). Michigan - 3 (9) (8.5)
4 (tie). Illinois - 2 (7) (6.5)
4 (tie). Ohio State - 2 (7) (6.5)
6 (tie). Minnesota - 1 (5) (4.5)
6 (tie). Wisconsin - 1 (5) (4.5)
8 (tie). Iowa - 0 (0)
8 (tie). Purdue - 0 (0)
8 (tie). Northwestern - 0 (0)

NCAA championships
1 (tie). Indiana - 1 (10) (9)
1 (tie). Michigan State - 1 (10) (9)
1 (tie). Michigan - 1 (10) (9)
4 (tie). Illinois - 0 (0)
4 (tie). Purdue - 0 (0)
4 (tie). Iowa - 0 (0)
4 (tie). Ohio State - 0 (0)
4 (tie). Minnesota - 0 (0)
4 (tie). Wisconsin - 0 (0)
4 (tie). Northwestern - 0 (0)

Big Ten MVPs
1. Indiana - 6 (10)
2. Michigan State - 5 (9)
3 (tie). Illinois - 3 (8) (7)
3 (tie). Michigan - 3 (8) (7)
3 (tie). Ohio State - 3 (8) (7)
6 (tie). Purdue - 2 (5) (4.5)
6 (tie). Wisconsin - 2 (5) (4.5)
8. Minnesota - 1 (3)
9 (tie). Iowa - 0 (0)
9 (tie). Northwestern - 0 (0)

Total (whole-point scoring)
1. Indiana - 118
2 (tie). Illinois - 116
2 (tie). Michigan State - 116
4. Michigan - 96
5. Ohio State - 86
6. Purdue - 65
7. Iowa - 62
8. Wisconsin - 51
9. Minnesota - 36
10. Northwestern - 6

Total (fractional scoring)
1. Indiana - 115
2. Michigan State - 112
3. Illinois - 111
4. Michigan - 91.5
5. Ohio State - 79
6. Purdue - 61
7. Iowa - 58.5
8. Wisconsin - 48
9. Minnesota - 34.5
10. Northwestern - 5.5

So, Hoosier fans, don't feel too bad about this whole Sampson debacle.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New CD - Township - Coming Home

4.875 Handrews*
When I got home from work on Tuesday, I was greeted with a package from Township (a sweet band I like from Boston), containing their new album, Coming Home. I thought to myself, "Sweet, that new Township CD that I ordered got here. Wait a minute, I didn't order the new Township CD." You may recall that I received their EP a year and a half ago or so simply by emailing the band and asking how to get it. Maybe I'm on some special list. However it happened, thanks Township!

The lead singer, Marc Pinansky, is the former lead singer of Runner and The Thermodynamics (see #395-396 on my A-Z CD countdown), a band that I just started to get into right before they broke up.

Township picks up where Runner left off. I loved their EP, and I was happy that they finally released an full-length album. Their music is very much a throwback to the rock and roll of the late '60s and early '70s, and Coming Home is no excpetion. Among the influences that I hear are (in no particular order) Thin Lizzy, Santana, ELP, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Steppenwolf, early Aerosmith, early Bruce Springsteen, Grand Funk Railroad, early Doobie Brothers, Bad Company, Black Sabbath, and The Beatles. The songs are, for the most part, 3-5 minutes, with a couple longer ones. There is not a bad song in the lot. Pinansky has a great rock voice. I was really impressed with the drumming. The bassist is very tight as well, and the guitar work isn't too shabby either. It's too bad more new bands aren't making music like this.

The album is officially released in stores next Tuesday (2/26). According to the email they sent out to their email list, it will be available online at Newbury Comics (which, if you've ever been to Boston, is a pretty cool store). Also, here are Towsnhip's official site and MySpace site (where you can hear some of their songs):

-Official Township website
-Township MySpace site

I've listened to the album on repeat for the past two days at work. Here is a track-by-track breakdown:

1. "Round the Dust" (6:01) is a good start to the album. It's rock. It's solid. That's all you need to know.
2. "Highway" (4:35) is a good straight-ahead driving rock and roll song, with a wicked guitar solo. It sounded familiar to me because Marc Pinansky had a solo acoustic version on his MySpace page a few years ago. I really like what they've done with it.
3. "Baby Rock Me" (4:47) is a slower, ballad-esque song.
4. "Millions of People" (3:14) is an upbeat song, almost sounding like early Doobie Brothers, but better. The chorus ("millions of people movin' along") is definitely one that is easy to sing along to.
5. "Sandy" (3:43) is an upbeat song that reminds me of early Springsteen (although not of the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name), along with some twin guitars that remind me of Thin Lizzy. I like this song a lot.
6. "Jesus" (5:55) has some organ and starts out sounding like a revival.
7. "Home" (8:16) is an anthemic, crescendoing, final-song-of-the-night kind of song. The first part of the song (first 5 minutes) has an arena rock feel to it, while the last three minutes is more uptempo and Pinansky repeats the phrase "love will lead us home," which kind of reminds me of "I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)" by Grand Funk Railroad (a song that I'm a big fan of).
8. "Big Bad" (4:24) is a ballsy, snarling piece. Remember before you and I were born when Aerosmith used to rock? It's kind of like that, but a little darker and a little edgier.
9. "Crawl Back" (3:18) is uptempo and has a country rock/rockabilly feel to it. I would say it sounds kind of like the Eagles, but it's got a little more of an edge to it than the Eagles (like when the Stones play country rock songs), and I hate the fucking Eagles.
10. "Boo Hoo" (3:35) is another ballsy, cock rock kind of song, with a badass distorted riff and Zepplin-style vocals (not the same voice, but the same style).
11. "With You All Along" (9:41) is another song that is seemingly broken into several parts. The beginning of the song is a driving rhythm section jam, with some space-age guitar here and there. The next part of the song has the feel of a slower Iron Maiden song combined with a later Zeppelin song. The Zeppelin-like qualities continue throughout, as the song slows down. This song is in the vein of the later Zeppelin (Houses of the Holy and after) longer, stoner-friendly mystical songs, with a little Pink Floyd mixed in, eventually fading into nothingness.

*GMYH CD Review Scale:
-6 Handrews - Buy it now. NOW!!
-5 Handrews - Excellent album that you should seriously consider purchasing in the near future
-4 Handrews - Very good album that you should at least check out on iTunes
-3 Handrews - If you want it, download it illegally
-2 Handrews - Somewhere between Britney Spears and William Hung
-1 Handrew - Ashlee Simpson
-0 Handrews - PopoZao

New Poll - Smoke vs. BO

It looks like I'm not the only one who hates Purdue. 59% of you think that IU is going to win the Big Ten title, while 29% of you think Purdue is going to win it, while 12% of you think Michigan State is going to win it, while 0% of you think Wisconsin is going to win it. IU's victory over Purdon't Tuesday night gives the Hoosiers the inside track, although it looks like Kelvin Sampson has coached his last game at IU.

This week's poll is inspired by a tongue-in-cheek article I read in the Tribune about how the newly enacted smoking ban is only resulting in more BO smells in bars (thanks to Christoff for the link). Essentially, the argument is that, now that smoking has been banned in bars, there is nothing to mask the variety of other stenches emanating from bar patrons. I have felt the same way for years (see 3/4 of the way down in the Areolas and Such post). But what about you? When you're at a bar, would you rather smell: smoke or bodily emissions?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

How Many More Times?

With the recent shooting at Northern Illinois (and the four other school shootings across the country in the last two weeks), I find myself asking, once again, why are handguns and automatic and semi-automatic weapons legal for civilians? Steven Kazmierczak, the gunman, legally purchased the handguns a week or so before the killings, and for the life of me, I can't figure out how many more times this has to happen before lawmakers actually do something about it.

As Lynyrd Skynyrd said over 30 years ago, "Handguns are made for killin'. Ain't no good for nothin' else." Despite the triple negative, I think the message is clear. And frankly, I don't think I've ever heard anyone make the opposite argument. People don't buy Glocks to shoot deer (and if there are people that do, they have serious enough problems that they should not be allowed to buy a Glock). And it's not like there's a question when you buy a gun that asks whether you're depressed or pissed off at an ex or off your meds or talking to dogs that you think are possessed by a 2000-year-old demon.

Many cities (including Chicago) have bans on handguns and/or automatic weapons. I don't see why that can't be extended to the rest of the country. I think we're at the point as a society where we can rationally say that maybe it's time to try to prevent more of these mass shootings from happening, and I have never heard a cogent counterargument to the argument that banning handguns and automatic/semi-automatic weapons would lead to fewer gun-related deaths.

Aside from maybe Charles Whitman, you don't hear about mass shootings at the hands of a rifle or a shotgun, and I wouldn't propose a ban on those types of guns. They're bigger, more difficult to hide in a backpack, more difficult to transport, more difficult to reload, are generally not rapid firing, and are used more for hunting animals than for hunting humans. Thus, I'm not concerned with them all that much. In anticipation of any "home defense" arguments in favor of handguns, I'm pretty sure a shotgun will also fit under your mattress.

Also, in anticipation of the argument that "criminals will still find a way to get handguns and automatic/semi-automatic weapons even if they are banned," there will never be a perfect solution to that problem. But, in addition to banning the sale, importation, or ownership of said weapons, you can make sentences more harsh when a crime is committed with one of those weapons, you can make trafficking penalties more harsh, and you can ban the sale/importation/ownership of bullets for those weapons (assuming they are different than they would be for legal rifles), among other things.

Also, in anticipation of the often-used argument that "the world would be a safer place and mass shootings would be prevented if everyone carried guns," that is one of the dumbest anti-gun-control arguments that I consistently hear. Yes, full-scale gun fights are the solution. That will help. The more bullets flying through the air, the less likely someone will get hit with them. If only we had MORE drugs to combat overdoses. And if we could only convince more disease-free people to have unprotected casual sex, we could prevent the spread of both AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. And if we would just give teenagers more access to alcohol, I think we could really cut down on teen drunk driving. And if everyone smoked, no one would get cancer. And kids should bring guns and knives and throwing stars and chloroform to school, just in case. And we should all move to Tombstone, Arizona in 1881. Because guns save lives.

I know what you're thinking. "But GMYH, what about antiques? I simply cannot live without my Mauser C96 Broomhandle that my great-great uncle Winston used to ward off those filthy Dutchmen during the Second Boer War." There is already a special license for the ownership of firearms that are more than 50 years old, and I have no problem with that.

Of course the biggest hurdle is that pesky Second Amendment, which every gun nut tends to throw in everyone's face as proof of their supposed constitutional right to own whatever types of arms they want. The Second Amendment was written at a time where the "arms" were muskets. I have no problem with allowing people to carry muskets. As several of us discussed this weekend at Nick's in B-town, we would almost welcome the resurgence of muskets. For one, all a shooter would get off would be one shot before having to reload his gun. By that time, everyone except the unlucky one victim will have had a chance to run out of the room or give the gunman the old bum's rush. Going a step further, it was suggested that every room in every building simply equip itself with a bucket of water. That way, whenever a musket-wielding mad man were to enter a room, a simple dousing with water would render his gunpowder unusable and would certainly help others identify the assailant as he would be the only man running away who is both soaking wet and carrying a musket.

I would seriously like to hear from anti-gun-control people to get their thoughts on the following:
  1. Present me with a legitimate argument as to why handguns, automatic weapons, and semi-automatic weapons should be legal. In your response, I do not want to hear the following tired arguments:
    (a) The Second Amendment allows the right to bear arms. True, but it was also written over 200 years ago, and it doesn't say "the right to bear all arms" or "the right to bear pistols, Uzis, and TEC-9s." As I've stated above, I have no problem with rifles and shotguns. And muskets.
    (b) Criminals will find a way to get handguns and automatic and semi-automatic weapons anyway.
    (c) It's a slippery slope. It's not. That's a weak argument in most contexts, including this one.
  2. How many more of these types of mass shootings will it take to change your mind?

Look, at one point I was literally a card-carrying member of the NRA (even though I have never owned a gun, other than a totally badass blowgun), but as I've grown older and as I've seen the likes of Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris, Seung-Hui Cho, and now Steven Kazmierczak take innocent people's lives and ruin the lives of those close to the victims, I have come to realize that keeping handguns and automatic/semi-automatic weapons legal will only result more innocent lives lost. Every time one of these mass shootings occurs (especially at a school), I can't help but wonder how anyone can honestly believe that limiting access to the weapons used to carry out these shootings is a bad idea. It's time.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2/13/08 - Worst Day Ever

Holy shit, talk about a terrible day. Wednesday, I hate thee. It was bad enough that the results of the NCAA's investigation into the IU basketball staff's too many phone calls to recruits were released. The results were not good, and if true, would certainly merit the dismissal of Kelvin Sampson and his staff. I was sick to my stomach over that (and still am), and that put me in a rather foul mood the whole day. Why would Kelvin do me like that? I'm just so fucking pissed about that. This, of course, was after Jessie and I had to nix a deal for a condo that we were going to buy because of the results of the inspection. Apparently potentially continuous water and moisture damage is a badthing. Then in the afternoon, I find out that a couple people who will go unnamed that I was hoping to see this weekend at the Metz Suite informed me that they may not be coming for reasons that I find unacceptable. Then came the Wisconsin game. I was only able to watch the first half because I have a Second City class Wednesday nights. During a break in class, I checked the score on my phone, and it was 66-65 IU with something like 18 seconds left. The next update I see says 68-66 Wisconsin with 4.5 seconds left, last play "Brian Butch WI made 3-pt. basket." You gotta be fucking kidding me. Next thing I see says "Jamarcus Ellis IN missed 3-pt. basket." Why the fuck was he taking the shot instead of Gordon or Bassett or Crawford or Stemler or anyone else on the team that shoots 3s better than Ellis? I called Holt during a later break in class, and he explained that on Wisconsin's final possession, someone on Wisconsin double dribbled (which wasn't called), then someone on Wisconsin rolled around on the floor with the ball (which, in most versions of basketball, is a fucking travel), then there was some sort of scrum for the ball, and it happened to pop out to Butch -- Wisconsin's center -- who jacked up a 25-foot prayer that banked in. I'm almost glad I didn't see it because I might have made Jester a widow. I hate when IU loses, much less at home, much less to a team that mostly looks like Hitler's youth, much less when it means that we are one behind Purdue in the loss column. The goddamned plane has crashed into the side of the mountain. My fucking week is ruined. Thanks Hoosiers. You better beat MSU on Saturday and Purdue on Tuesday. I have nothing to live for, and I loathe what the future may hold for all things.

The only bright spot yesterday was that Laura "Greg Weeser* Gave Me His Blessing to Send This To You" Terry sent me a link to a video from a recreated Cosby Show set that Oprah made, on which she interviewed all the Cosby kids (except Denise, since she is probably on some exotic naval base with Martin, who is no doubt an Admiral by now, if not a Fleet Admiral). I love the Cosby Show. Rudy has blossomed quite nicely. Sweet Feet, indeed. And did you know that Sabrina LeBeauf (aka, Sondra) is 50?! She's only 10 years younger than Phylicia Rashād (née Ayers-Allen, aka, Clair). Oh, the things you learn from Wikipedia.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Almost There

I just wanted to thank everyone who has donated to help fund Lizzie's "Around the World in Six Months" project. As of now, it's 67% funded, with only $161 more in donations needed to fully fund it. So, if you feel like helping out some inner city children of promise without the necessary means for a necessary means for a chance to otherwise learn about distant lands, click here:

"I Have Not Yet Begun to Defile Myself"

Well, the weekend was nice, so maybe you should hear about it. Friday evening started with an aimless walk around the Lincoln Park/Lakeview border, looking for anyone wearing a red sash. Our orders were that if we see a red sash, we kill the man wearin' it. After a blood-filled harvest, Jester and I decided that what we had assumed was bloodlust was actually just simple hunger, so we hit up the Golden Nugget. I enjoyed a breakfast burrito and Tang, while Jessie went with some sort of egg-based meal with bacon and a glass of beer.

Not having quenched our desire for mini-blind and sconce viewing, we went to Home Depot and looked around, occasionally asking the workers inane questions like, "What do you suggest for the homeowner who has everything?", "How many dishwashers is too many?", and "What do you think is the best paint color to mask three decades of unfulfillment and underachievement?" After being escorted from the premises, Jessie and I walked back home, approaching passersby and asking for directions to Carson City and then explaining, "You die first, get it? Your friends might get me in a rush, but not before I make your head into a canoe, you understand me?" Most of the time, Jessie and I would then cackle like doped-up banshees, but you'd be amazed at how many people were able to give very accurate directions to Carson City.

"I haven't laughed enough tonight," I told Jessie as we walked down Diversey, rifling through the billfold of a man of modest wealth named William Broad who didn't appreciate our senses of humor. Jessie then gave me eight of William Broad's bloodsoaked dollar bills and said, pointing to an open cab stopped at the corner of Sheffield and Diversey, "Take this. It should get you to North and Wells. When you arrive, go to Corcoran's. It's a saloon a shade north of North. There will be a man at the door wearing a beard. He won't introduce himself, but he will ask you for your identification. Give it to him. Assuming he lets you pass, go to the far end of the bar. There will be no seats at the bar. Order a pint of Guinness anyway. Tip the bartender one dollar and fifty cents. No more, no less. Keep your coat on. Wander down to the end of the bar closest to the door. Look up at the television and feign interest in the Denver/Washington basketball game. There will be two females sitting at the end of the bar, finishing up their meal. Go to the jukebox behind them and search through it, A-Z. Play Thin Lizzy's "Cowboy Song," David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust," The Who's "Baba O'Riley," and Weezer's "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here," IN THAT ORDER. I can't stress that enough. When the two females leave, pretend not to notice that they have left. In fact, let an overweight middle-aged man in a black leather jacket take one of the seats. By this time, a table directly on the other side of the bar from the jukebox will have opened up. Sit down at that table. It will be for four people, and there will only be one of you, but make no mistake, that table is for you. Seven minutes later, an Australian with the same given name as you will enter the bar. At first he will not notice you. Call to him. He will sit with you. For the next 39 minutes, converse with him. Discuss television, recent brief and flippant email conversations he has had with his ex-girlfriend, the time constraints of working and writing, a restaurant in Melbourne, procrastination, and boobs. After 39 minutes, go with him across the street. Go in the doors along Wells, and proceed to the fourth floor. There will be a theater there that goes by the name of Donny's Skybox. Purchase two tickets to the 10:30 show. It will be called Tomato/Tomatoe. Before you enter the theater, go with the Australian to the fourth level of the parking garage. Smoke one cigarette. Remark about the weather and its unforgiving nature. After your cigarette, enter the building. The Australian will ask if you have any mints. You will not. But you will have Listerine breath strips. Offer him one. He will take it. Return to the theater, purchasing two cans of Hamm's beer on your way in. Sit in the last row in the center. The show will be average, but there will be funny parts. Laugh out loud when they make an abortion joke. The Australian will laugh out loud as well. You will be the only two people laughing that loudly, but do not let that stop you. After the show, exit with the Australian and accompany him to Burton Place, another saloon about two blocks south of North on Wells. On your walk to Burton Place, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Tomato/Tomatoe. Smoke one cigarette. As you finish your cigarette while standing outside Burton Place, there will be a mildly attractive woman in spike heels who will walk past the two of you. You will notice how gingerly she must walk because of the uneven sheets of ice covering much of the sidewalk. Remark to the Australian that her decision to wear spike heels was a poor one this evening. Do not flick your cigarette butt at her or chase her down the street screaming "time to make the babies!" Instead, go into Burton Place. Once again, there will be a man at the door. This one, however, will not be wearing a beard. He won't introduce himself, but he will ask you for your identification. Give it to him. Assuming he lets you pass, go to the left side of the bar, closest to the windows. There will be two seats open next to a man drinking bottles of Miller Lite who appears to be very intoxicated. Sit in those seats, making sure to keep the Australian man in between you and the man drinking Miller Lite. Order a Shiner Bock. The Australian will order a Sierra Nevada. He will drink faster than you. Before either of you finish your first beer, he will ask you if you want a shot of tequila. Act hesitant at first, but then oblige in his wishes. When the bartender asks him which type of tequila he wants, he will not know it by name, instead referring to it as having "antlers on the bottle." It will be Cazadores brand tequila. You will not like it, but take it. I will call your mobile phone several times while you are at Burton Place. Whatever you do, DO NOT ANSWER YOUR PHONE. Communicate with me only via text message. I will ask you to come home, suggesting that you told me earlier that you would "come home soon after the show." This is only a ploy. At this point, that's all you need to know. Stay out. The Australian will order chicken wings with a side of bleu cheese. Order a second Shiner Bock. While drinking your second Shiner Bock, the Australian will invite you to join him outside to smoke a cigarette. Go with him. To keep your place at the bar, fold a napkin and place it on top of your drink. When you return, the Australian's chicken wings will be waiting next to his beer on the bar. Do not eat any of them, no matter how many times he offers them to you. You should still be full from the breakfast burrito you ate at the Golden Nugget, and you should tell the Australian that. About a half hour after beginning to eat the chicken wings, the Australian will become ill. He will not be able to take full breaths, and he will compare the pain to being stabbed repeatedly in the stomach. Hastily finish your second beer because he will soon ask to leave. Let him. In fact, accompany him out the front door. There will be a taxi cab approaching from the north. Hale it for the Australian. Another cab will approach from the south. Hale it for yourself. There will be some confusion. The first cab will momentarily think that his services are no longer needed. Use hand gestures to signal otherwise. Return home, brush your teeth, turn off all of the lights, change into clothing suitable for sleep, and crawl into bed. Oh, and one more thing. If you wake me up, I'll slit your goddamned throat."

Amazingly, I was able to follow Jessie's directions perfectly from memory. I was surprised that she was able to get everything out before that cab was able to make it through the intersection of Sheffield and Diversey.

I woke up Saturday morning without a hangover and with Jessie standing next to the bed staring at me. "Nice work last night," she said, before slapping me across the mouth with an open hand, then grabbing my face with the same hand and forcing a harsh kiss upon my still-stinging mouth. Then I made some egg sandwiches. I think Jessie might be on HGH. Also, while going through my sock drawer Saturday afternoon, I noticed that every single pair of socks had been turned into sock puppets. I fear the end is approaching.

Before going out Saturday night, Jester and I watched some of Tombstone, which was on one of the HBOs. It's been a while since I've seen it, and I forgot how great it is. I would say that it is by far Val Kilmer's greatest performance in a movie not titled Real Genius. I also have a soft spot for the movie because the night I met Jessie, she was referred to on more than one occasion as a "dusky-hued lady Satan." I was not an oak.

Saturday night, we went to Lottie's in Bucktown for a $25 all-you-can-drink fundraiser for Noreen Weeser*'s volleyball team. This was the same fundraiser last year where Jessie took something like eight shots of black sambuca in a 45-minute span, leading to her need to be escorted out the back door of Durkin's into the alley, where The Chincident occurred. Luckily this year, there were no shots taken, such that I didn't have to tend to my wife puking up what looked like tar all over our couch.

Frankly, I was a bit unimpressed with the way Lottie's handled this party. Noreen's team had reserved the basement for their party from 9-12. Lottie's is a Kansas bar, and the Kansas/Baylor game was still on at 9. There were still people in the basement, and they wouldn't let anyone who was there for the party go into the basement until after the game ended and the people in the basement cleared out. By the time the party actually started, it was 9:31. At least they extended the all-you-can-drink thing until 12:30, or else I would have been comin' and hell would have been comin' with me.

The party itself was pretty good. Drinks were consumed. Conversations were had. En vino veritas. Another mistake made by Lottie's related to their handling of the programming on two TVs in the basement. When we got down there, the Wisconsin/Purdue game was on all of the TVs. This made sense since (1) it is also a Wisconsin bar, (2) the game was for the Big Ten lead, and (3) I hate Purdue more than that smug Johnny Ringo. Nonetheless, some yahoo switched two of the TVs (of course the only two TVs that our table had a clear view of) to bull riding. As a former Houstonian, I love bull riding just as much as the next guy, but it seemed an odd choice. They would not change it back. Then, just as we were all getting into bull riding, they switched the channel again to something else. How lewd. While I was again disappointed, I didn't feel the need to request that they change those TVs back to bull riding.

Around 1:30 or so -- after enough well whiskey and diets to justify my $25 entrance fee -- Jester, Christoff, Tim Weeser*, and I decided that we needed burritos, so we caught a cab to LaBamba. I hadn't been there in a while, and it was as delightful as I remember. I ordered the super steak nachos. Jester ordered some sort of burrito with a side of cheese sauce (aka, El Queso de Los Dios). Tim ordered a quesadilla (I think), and so did Ryan. Apparently the quesadillas did not fully satiate Ryan. I begged him not to order another quesadilla, and he responded, forthrightly, "Law don't go around here, law dog." Then we all walked home in a wind that can only be described as "biting and uncaring." Jessie made me sleep hanging upside down with my arms crossed like a bat Saturday night. I didn't question it.

New Poll - Big Ten Champ

Poor Ann Romney. Like her husband, she apparently suspended her campaign for the most attractive potential First Lady or Man, according to GMYH readers, garnering no votes. Michelle Obama took first place with 46% of the vote, followed closely by Cindy McCain with 38% and Bill Clinton in a distant third with 16%.

Switching gears, the Big Ten basketball race will be heating up over the next two weeks, with the top four teams playing against each other. The current standings at the top of the league are as follows (with their remaining schedules):
1. Purdue - 10-1
2/12 MSU; 2/16 @ Northwestern; 2/19 @ IU; 2/27 Minnesota; 3/1 NW; 3/4 @ OSU; 3/9 @ Michigan
2. IU - 9-1
2/13 Wisconsin; 2/16 MSU; 2/19 Purdue; 2/23 @ NW; 2/26 OSU; 3/2 @ MSU; 3/5 Minnesota; 3/8 @ PSU
3. Wisconsin - 9-2
2/13 @ IU; 2/16 Minnesota; 2/20 @ Illinois; 2/24 @ OSU; 2/28 MSU; 3/5 PSU; 3/8 @ NW
4. Michigan State - 8-2
2/12 @ Purdue; 2/16 @ IU; 2/20 PSU; 2/23 Iowa; 2/28 @ Wisconsin; 3/2 IU; 3/4 @ Illinois; 3/9 @ OSU

So, who will win the Big Ten? Not to taint your view, but my prediction is the following:
1. IU - 16-2
2 (tie). MSU, Purdue, Wisconsin 14-4

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Urinal Phantom?

At about 11:30 this morning, I was in the bathroom at work, in a stall, refreshing my brain with some algebraic word problems. The deuce was relatively uninsane. Then, someone came in to pee. To better equip you to deal with bathroom-related stories, the layout of the bathroom is long and relatively narrow, such that there are three urinals on one wall and four stalls on the other wall. There are entrances and sinks on both ends. That's neither here nor there, but it seems like something you would want to know. Anywho, so this dude (or so I assume) is peeing in one of the urinals as I'm finishing up. I can only imagine the sheer horror that must have been in this man's eyes when he heard the clank of my belt buckle as I mindlessly raised my pants and realized that in less than 10 seconds, I would be exiting my stall with a greater than 40% chance of seeing him. He presumably stopped midstream (which does, in fact, burn) and just walked out. No flush. No attempt to even just run his hands under some water to appease societal norms. He wanted none of it. He just wanted to get the fuck out of there as fast as humanly possible. Doesn't he know that I'm just as scared of him as he is of me? Did he think I was going to exit the stall and immediately attempt to shake his hand? Because I was.

Midwestern Eavesdropping - 2/7/08

Here you go:

Secretary speaking sternly into phone: "So, if you're telling me she's dead, this needs to be looked into."
--Chicago, Wacker & Madison
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Book-smart late-20s professional commenting that the team should work together to complete a project: "Let's just all get together and gang bang it out!"
--Huntersville, NC
Eavesdropper: Yehday

Several males discuss STDs, and one innocently asks: "Wait, you can't get a disease from a blowjob, can you?"
--Bloomington, IN
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomthing wannabe trixie, looking at bottle of German condiment on table at a German restaurant, which she keeps sniffing and looking at the bottle's German label, says to her boyfriend: "I think it's the German soy sauce."
--Chicago, Chicago Brauhaus, 4732 N. Lincoln Ave.
Eavesdropper: Jesterio

Thirtysomething male to several friends: "I haven't paid any money to get a blowjob or have sex, but you haven't gotten a handjob from a masseuse?"
--Bloomington, IN
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Red headed high school math teacher at a bachelor party: "I love women, I've hooked up with enough of them. That doesn't mean that I respect them though"
--Minooka, IL
Eavesdroppers: RDC and DOV

Guy in 30s or 40s on cell phone sitting by himself at a table in a bar: "Tell your mom I'm tired of fucking chicken."
--Bloomington, IN, Yogi's, 10th & Indiana
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Young twentysomething couple, comprised of born-and-raised Midwestern man and fresh-off-the-boat Peruvian girlfriend, walk into Menard's:
Girl: "It smells like America in here."
Guy: "Yes it does. Yes it does."
--Chicago, Menard's, Wrightwood & Clybourn
Eavesdropper: Klank

Female bartender: "That was gross. I can't get it out of my mouth."
--Bloomington, IN, Yogi's, 10th & Indiana
Eavesdropper: GMYH

A female college student approaches a group of 3 thirtysomething males at a bar and asks the guys to buy beer from the girl at the nearby beer tub, one of her friends:
Female: "Next time you guys get some beer, get it from Kristen over there. She's my friend and she's cute and she's having a slow night."
Male: "If I give you $40, will you show us your boobs?"
Female (not as offended as you might expect): "No"
Male: "What about $60?"
Female: "No"
Male: "What about $100?"
Female: "No thanks."
Male: "How about I give you $40 to show you my boobs?"
Female: "No"
--Bloomington, IN, The Bluebird, 7th & Walnut
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Burnt-out fiftysomething former hippie, to wife at Target: "Wait a minute? Uh, do they sell, uh, hangers here?" [overpronouncing the "g" in "hangers," so it was "hang-grrs"]
--Chicago, Target, Elston & Logan
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Thanks to everyone who contributed. Keep up the good work. As always, if you overhear something ridiculous or hilarious or something that can easily be taken out of context, email it to, and I will include it in the next exciting installment of Midwestern Eavesdropping.

At Least One Team Can Go 19-0

Just because the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl doesn't mean that an undefeated season is impossible for everyone. On the Wii, I have Madden, and I have been thriving in Franchise Mode as the Bears. I started off with a rough 2007, mirroring the Bears' actual 2007 record of 7-9. The next year, Cedric Benson really came into his own (yes, the very same Cedric Benson who has refused to come into his own in real life), leading the Bears to a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl crown. 2009 looked promising. Nearly every starter was named to the Pro Bowl. Benson again had a stellar season, rushing for over 2,000 yards and 30 TDs. The Bears finished 15-1, but got knocked off by the Eagles at home in the Divisional Playoffs. Then came 2010. They were noticeably hungry, and the opening round loss to the Eagles left a bitter, bile-like taste in their mouths. Devin Hester -- who, by now, is far and away the NFL's all-time leading kick returner -- laid opposing kick coverage teams to waste like a tornado to Atkins, Arkansas (too soon?). Cedric Benson was again a machine. Rex Grossman was nearly flawless (yes, the very same Rex Grossman who has refused to be nearly flawless in real life). The Bears stormed through the regular season without a blemish. But would their playoff woes from the year before come back to haunt them? Would they crumble under the pressure of being undefeated and ridding the world of Mercury Morris, like the Patriots crumbled? No. In the Super Bowl, they were matched up against the 15-1 Ravens, who were out for blood, even without Ray Lewis on the team anymore. Hester electrified the crowd with not one, not two, but three kickoff returns for touchdowns. Benson rushed for 200 yards and a couple scores. Yet the Cadillac MVP was Adewale Ogunleye, who had 3 sacks and two fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown. The Bears set a Super Bowl record by scoring 62 points.

In the off-season, I made the mistake of letting the computer sign free agents and such. It did a great job on defense (I lost no starters), but it didn't re-sign Benson, who had been the best back in the league over the past three seasons. In a fit of irony, the Bears' first opponent in 2011 was the Falcons -- the very team that signed Benson. The biggest question facing the Bears was how they would respond after completing the NFL's first 19-0 season. Would they come out flat? Would they be too cocky? To gauge the team's energy, I decided to take the ball after I won the coin toss (I usually opt to kick it). 99 yards and a few seconds later, Hester had returned his first of 3 kickoffs for touchdowns in the game (along with a meaningless Hail Mary TD reception as time expired). Benson's replacement -- virtual unknown, Eddie Moore -- ran for 113 yards and a touchdown. But it was the defense that once again proved its mettle, racking up 5 turnovers, 3 sacks, and two INTs returned for touchdowns. While I came a point short of the all-time record for points scored in a game, I think the 72-31 final score sent a message to the league: The Bears are not afraid to run up the score if it means scoring 70 points.

Speaking of the Wii, I downloaded Double Dribble and Blades of Steel, two of Konami's finest additions to the world. Is there anything more comforting than the music in Blades of Steel when the teams are coming out onto the ice?

CD Review - Louis XIV - Slick Dogs and Ponies

4 Handrews*

The new Louis XIV album, Slick Dogs and Ponies, came out last week, and it was finally delivered to me today. It has been a long time coming, as their debut album, The Best Little Secrets Are Kept, came out in 2005. As you may know, I have nothing but good things to say about TBLSAK, as it was probably my two or three favorite albums of 2005. Jason Hill has such a great singing/talking voice. Even when it's not trying to be tawdry and ribald, it sounds that way. And as with TBLSAK, Brian Karscig's high-pitched supplemental (and sometimes lead) vocals complement Hill's vocals quite well. It seems like Karscig's voice is present a little bit more on this album, which isn't a bad thing. Overall, the album doesn't have the same energy as TBLSAK and it's a bit darker, although the sexual, raucous, '70s glam feel is still there in many of the songs. It also sounds like they've been listening to some ELO. Here is a breakdown of all the songs:

1. "Guilt By Association" harkens back to the first album and has a good glam feel to it.
2. "Air Traffic Control" is a "Space Oddity" meets Radiohead kind of soaring song.
3. "Misguided Sheep" has an ELO feel to it.
4. "There's a Traitor in This Room" is fast-paced, hooky, and delightfully naughty (it's about cheating, people), and the sing-along chorus of "I can't be so sweet to you until I find the right excuse" is pretty solid. I also like drumming on this track (by cigarette-bumming nice guy Mark "My Name Is Mark, Not Matt" Maigaard).
5. "Sometimes You Just Want To" is another tawdry little number, which includes the line, "Well, you won't stop talking when I'm trying to bang your friend, but I love you so much I'll wait until the end."
6. Presumably inspired by the llama in Napoleon Dynamite, "Tina" has an Outkast's "Roses" meets Ween style about it, but the latter part may have more to do with Karscig's voice than anything else.
7. "Stalker" is kind of trippy, with almost a Gorillaz feel to it.
8. "Free Won't Be What It Used to Be" definitely has a Beatle-esque (and, therefore, derivatively, an ELO-esque) quality about it, even with the line, "Put a needle in my vein and I fall apart."
9. "Swarming of the Bees" actually has bee swarming sounds near the end of it.
10. "Hopesick" is a ballad about having a lack of hope, which is uplifting.
11. "Slick Dogs and Ponies" is glammy and ELO-y at the same time, and a fitting decrescendo for the album, and did I hear a triangle in there?

*GMYH CD Review Scale:
-6 Handrews - Buy it now. NOW!!
-5 Handrews - Excellent album that you should seriously consider purchasing in the near future
-4 Handrews - Very good album that you should at least check out on iTunes
-3 Handrews - If you want it, download it illegally
-2 Handrews - Somewhere between Britney Spears and William Hung
-1 Handrew - Ashlee Simpson

-0 Handrews - PopoZao

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sweet Highlights

With Thursday night's IU/Illinois game looming, Tradd very appropriately sent me a link for this great video, which is comprised of highlights of the 2002 IU/Illinois game in Bloomington. This was one of the most fun games I've ever attended. Illinois came into Assembly Hall ranked #9, which I thought was funny because they so clearly were not one of the nine best basketball teams in the country. On that day, it's debatable if they were even one of the nine best basketball teams in Bloomington. IU hit a Big Ten record 17 3s, although my favorite part of the game was when Jeff Newton posterized Lucas Johnson on a fastbreak dunk. I'm not sure if I've ever heard Assembly Hall as loud as it was during this game. IU ended up beating the "#9" Illini by 31. After the game, IU would go onto the Final Four before losing in the title game to Maryland, thanks in large part to Tradd's ex-girlfriend who insisted that she have a bite of my Pasta Roni, even though I assured her that I had not given anyone else a bite of my Pasta Roni during the previous several tournament games, all of which we had won. I told her that if we lost, it would be her fault, and she said "fine." I still hate her, and I would enjoy the chance to one day depants her in a bar and then tabletop her with Christoff's help. Anyway, make sure you watch Newton posterize Johnson. It's pretty awesome.

Trivia Massacre

Last night -- as with every Tuesday night -- was trivia at Rocks. It was the first time in a while that we've had a full six, and it showed. Our team was comprised of me, Gregerson, Chandler, Christoff, and The Brothers Weeser* (minus Greg, of course). Kevin, the trivia jockey who asks all the questions, made an announcement before the game that they would not be accepting any team names revolving around Lane Bryant. While we definitely understood, this ban prevented us from using Tim's suggested name, Killer Sale at Lane Bryant. When he suggested that, we all just about died. C'est la vie. Thus, we went with Rocks Hates Free Speech. Our anger and resolve drove us to unparalleled success. Tied after five rounds, we got a 22 out of 22 in the last round, by far the best of any team, as we ended up winning by 14 points -- a Rocks trivia record, as far as we know. Out of a total of 75 points over the course of the entire game, we got a 72.5. People were giving us babies. For free. It didn't make any sense at all. Because winning trivia makes you impervious to sleep, we ended up leaving after 1 a.m.


Happy Ash Wednesday, you Catholic bastards. Well, with Jesus' annual 40-day fast, it's time to figure out what I'm giving up for Lent, thus offsetting the other 325 days of the year, where I live and work as a non-practicing Catholic. Gotta cover your bases, people.

In the past several years I've given up fried food and drinking during the week. So this year, I think I'm going to give up drinking during the week and fried food.

As in years past, I will provide you with a list of ideas for what to give up, in case you haven't picked anything yet, or in case you just converted to Catholicism and you're all "what the fuck?":
-Fidelity (sorry, hon, it's for Jesus).
-Calling cornhole by the improper names "bags" or "corn toss"
-Spying on opponents' final walkthrough practice
-Saying "PopoZao" after every single time you come (except after masturbating because that's just funny)
-Banana-flavored Now and Laters (I gave these up once when I was 11 or 12. It's not that hard)
-Hoarding pig fetuses
-Shopping at Lane Bryant (too soon?)
-Using the phrase "campaign rhetoric"
-Being so fucking crazy and out of control that the public sincerely wants K-Fed to have sole custody of your children
-Singing, but not making videos.
-Working out (too late!)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Good Knight Sweet General

As you probably know by now, Bob Knight stepped down as the head coach of Texas Tech yesterday. Even after Knight was fired from IU, I always remained a fan. In my mind, he was the greatest basketball mind in the history of college basketball, if not all of basketball. With all of his chair throwing and interviews during which he analogizes referees in tight-fitting pants to "reformed prostitutes," what gets lost about Knight is all of the good he did for the universities where he coached and for his players, from raising millions of dollars for the IU library system, to graduating well over 90% of his players, to guest lecturing during bass fishing classes (yes, you can take a one-credit bass fishing phys ed class at IU -- just ask my wife), to everything he did for Landon Turner. For those of you who don't know, Landon Turner was a star forward on the 1981 NCAA title team as a junior. The following summer, Turner was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident. Knight was one of his first visitors in the hospital (and had to compose himself after crying outside Turner's hospital room). He established the Landon Turner Trust Fund, adding $60,000 of his own money. To top it off, before the 1982 NBA draft, Knight called up good friend Red Auerbach and asked him to draft Turner (who had always dreamed of playing for the Celtics), which Auerbach did. Most people see Knight as some sort of monster, and truth be told, not every player is going to fit in Knight's system or be able to withstand his temperament. But I have never seen a coach that cares more for his players than Coach Knight. The game will truly miss him.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Help Lizzie's Class

Well loyal readers, it's once again time to help someone in need -- in this case, the fourth graders in my sister-in-law Lizzie's classroom in Ft. Wayne. She is trying to raise $486 to buy books for her class that are about a country on each continent, in order to broaden her students' horizons. For those of you who don't know, Lizzie teaches in a relatively poor part of Ft. Wayne, and most of her students have never been outside of Indiana. Thus, she is seeking a grant for her "Around the World in Six Months" project. For more information about it and to donate, click here:

Super Bust

Is anyone else unnecessarily geeked about the Giants beating the Patriots? I don't know why I am, especially since I don't really like Eli Manning or his face. Maybe it's because I think the Patriots are shady. Maybe it's because I wanted to see how the Patriots would perform in a Super Bowl when they didn't videotape the opposing team's final walk-through practice. Maybe it's because this means that no one will ever again need to compare the '07 Patriots to the true great teams, including the '85 Bears, who are clearly the best 18-1 team ever. Maybe it's because, no matter how annoying Mercury Morris and the rest of the '72 Dolphins might be about their undefeated record, we will not be subjected to Tedy Bruschi, Bill Belichick, Rodney Harrison, and Richard Seymour every damn time a team wins their first 10+ games. Or maybe it's because it means, not only that the '07 Patriots are not the greatest team of all-time, but that they're not even in the top 42. No matter what, it was good to see them lose.

New Book - A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

I finished I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski: Life, The Big Lebowski, and What Have You by Bill Green, Ben Peskoe, Scott Shuffitt, and Will Russell, and I loved it. As I may have mentioned, a couple of the authors are the founders of Lebowski Fest, which is finally coming to Chicago this year (and of course is scheduled the weekend I will be out of town for a work retreat). Obviously, the book is geared towards Lebowski fans, and I would go so far as to say it's a "must read" for Lebowski fans. The authors interview all of the main characters and many of the smaller characters. In addition, they interview the inspirations behind several of the characters. It's hilarious that so much of the film (and the ridiculous scenes) are based on real-life people and events. If you're a fan of The Big Lebowski (and you should be), then you should definitely read the book.

My next book is A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I've heard a lot of good things about it, so I figured I would see what all the fuss is about.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

New Poll - Most Attractive Potential First Lady or Man

Well, the votes are in, and the Barbarian Brothers made a very strong showing in the GMYH primary, taking 45% of the votes. It's clear that the public is not concerned with the fact that "David's always breakin' things," although this may be tied to his campaign promise, "Don't worry motha, I'll buy you anotha." Dana Jacobsen came in second with 25% of the vote, with Drew Peterson dangerously close behind her with 20%. Heath Ledger and Stacy Peterson tied for . . . dead last (ah-thank you) with 5% each.

Speaking of elections, it's becoming more and more clear that, unless a Gary Hart-esque scandal hits one of the candidates, our next president is going to be one of four people: McCain, Romney, Obama, or Clinton (apologies to Mike Gravel). One of the issues that hasn't received a lot of attention is the attractiveness of the nominees' spouses. So with that, I ask you, which is the most attractive of the four potential First Ladies and Man?

Cindy McCain

Ann Romney
Michelle Obama

Bill Clinton

Friday, February 01, 2008

A Couple Random Thoughts for Your Friday

First, a premature Happy 30th goes out to Greg Weeser*, whose birthday is tomorrow. Welcome to hell.

Second, I'm getting really sick of snow. When is this global warming thing going to kick in?

Third, I was glad to see the Hoosiers show up last night. Then again, they were playing in the Kohl Center, which means that they were guaranteed to get called for at least 10 more fouls than Wisconsin. Last night was no exception, as the Hoosiers managed to collect 24 fouls, while the Badgers only picked up 14 fouls and shot 14 more free throws than IU. Seriously, since the 2003-2004 season, in 37 Big Ten home games, Wisconsin has committed more fouls than its opponent exactly once (a 2006 victory over IU) and as many fouls as their opponent exactly once (a 2005 loss to Illinois), meaning that in 35 of the last 37 home games their opponents have magically committed more fouls than they have. Whereas, in away Big Ten games over that same span, they are a more even-keeled 16-18-1 in foul disparity (meaning they committed fewer fouls than their opponent 16 times, more fouls 18 times, and the same number of fouls once). Something is rotten in Madison, and I think its name is Bo Ryan. As Jamie pointed out, do you see how irate he gets the rare times when Wisconsin actually does get called for a foul? Yes, I'm bitter, but fuck you, I have the stats to back it up.

And in case you're wondering, yes, I have been keeping foul disparity statistics in Big Ten games since the 2003-2004 season. What you may not know is that I might be slightly autistic. One day I may share my findings with the world, or certainly with Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney or Head of Officiating Rich Falk. I think they would be very interested in my research.

On a brighter note, I don't know about you guys, but I am absolutely thrilled that Hollywood finally bowed to public pressure and made a sequel to Step Up. It looks like Valentine's Day had made plans for me this year, rather than the other way around.