Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On Trivia and Running Amok in Kent

In celebration of New Year's Eve Eve, I went to Rocks last night for some trivia. Our team -- Tripp Johnston is a Bastard -- was comprised of Gregerson, his ladyfriend Emily, Andy, Nick, The Most Interesting Man in the World, and me. It was a record-setting night at Rocks, with 25 teams competing. Needless to say, we held off the other 24 teams for a well-deserved victory. I also completed my 12 Beers of Christmas, so I will be receiving a Rocks t-shirt listing the aforementioned 12 beers, with the name Leon on it. I will give it to my second-born son on the first Christmas after his 21st birthday.

December 30 is also the the birth day of The Floppy Burrito. As is the custom in the Midwest, he celebrated his continued existence by paying an ale house to serve him alcohol. I contacted him via text message and went to meet him after our impressive trivia victory. I first showed up at Lux Bar, ordered a $5.25 Bud Light, and soon realized I was at the wrong bar. I became verbally abusive after the wait staff was unable to tell me where Jeremy was. Crisis and bloodshed were avoided with a simple phone call to Jer, during which he informed me that he was a block away at Trader Vic's.

I ran to Trader Vic's, howling like a jackal all the way. When I arrived, I ordered a London Sour, which was described on the menu in the following manner: "If you like scotch, this is a different take on it" (or something like that). I like scotch, so I figured what the hell. For future reference, "is a different take on it" means "tastes nothing like scotch and sucks ass." On the bright side, I was able to hang out with Jer's younger brothers Justin and Clayton, who have apparently grown up, and Justin's special ladyfriend who wore a hat that Jer lusted after. At the table next to us, I saw a werewolf drinking a piña colada. And his hair was perfect.

After giving our terrible waitress a larger tip than she deserved, we traveled via livery to the Map Room, which I found to be a misleading name. After a beer of two, we all decided to part ways. I wept audibly for most of the cab ride home. When I got home, I ate a block of marbled cheddar cheese and a big dish of beef chow mein from Lee Ho Fook's while watching reruns of Small Wonder on the Spanish-language channel. ¡Harriet Brindle es una pelirroja mala!

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Albums of 2008

I realize this is a day late, and I can't tell you how sorry I am. With the end of the year only hours away, it seems fitting to put out a list of my favorite albums of the year. Now please bear in mind that these are only albums that I have purchased, so apologies to those bands and/or artists I may have left off this list. Also, I have a couple albums on the way via post, so those will obviously be excluded, as I haven't had the chance to listen to them yet.

10. The Fratellis - Here We Stand. This album has grown on me. I've said before that their first album, Costello Music, has more hooks than a tackle box. Here We Stand has fewer hooks, but the songs are still really good and still catchy. In my opinion, this is one of the best up-and-coming rock bands around.
9. Kings of Leon - Only By The Night. I wouldn't call this a step back for Kings of Leon, after their excellent 2007 release, Because of the Times, but I would call it a step sideways. It is a very solid album, but would have been higher on the list if there were more foot-stompers, like "Sex on Fire" (which I think is a phenomenal song) than trippy, slower songs like "Closer."
8. Louis XIV - Slick Dogs and Ponies. The long-awaited follow-up to 2004's The Best Little Secrets Are Kept, Slick Dogs and Ponies is darker than its predecessor, but just as glammy and delightfully tawdry. "Guilt By Association" and "There's a Traitor in This Room" are great songs.
7. Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy. The long-awaited follow-up to 1993's The Spaghetti Incident?, Chinese Democracy is actually a really good hard rock album. I'm not sure anyone knew what to expect out of this album, but two things are certain: Axl can still wail, and he can still write a hell of a song. It's just too bad we had to wait more than a decade to finally hear it.
6. Gnarls Barkley - The Odd Couple. Bohmann once described Cee-Lo's voice as "velvety," which is true. He and Danger Mouse have put together yet another album of catchy, funky, soulful, oftentimes upbeat hip hop. It's simply a fun album to listen to, and it's an easy album to listen to, if that makes any sense.
5. Township - Township (available on iTunes). Township's SECOND album of 2008 (what is this, the '60s?!) is a great rock album. As I've mentioned before, this Boston-based band draws on influences from rock's gilded age (the late '60s and early to mid '70s) and has created an album that leaves you longing for more good, old-fashioned straightforward rock that has become hard to come by these days. If you live in New England or New York, be sure to check them out. Rumor has it that they may be coming to Chicago in 2009, and obviously I'm pumped about that.
4. The Black Keys - Attack and Release. Speaking of Danger Mouse, what do you get when you combine him with a fuzz-heavy blues rock duo from Akron? One hell of an album. The Black Keys grew a lot on this album (produced by Danger Mouse), yet it is not too much of a departure for them (even if there are more instruments than just an electric guitar and drum set).
3. Metallica - Death Magnetic. I received a free copy of Death Magnetic as part of a package with tickets to Metallica's upcoming concert, and frankly I wasn't expecting all that much. I haven't purchased a Metallica album since their self-titled release in 1991 (aka, "the black album"), and I was blown away by Death Magnetic. It is a return to roots of sorts, and is harder than most of what they've put out since And Justice for All. Simply put, it's a great metal album.
2. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive. With their fourth album, these guys pick up where they left off with 2006's critically acclaimed Boys and Girls in America. The songs are mostly straight-up rock, with well-placed piano work (courtesy of the mustachioed Franz Nicolay), driving guitar, and memorable choruses (as the first song, "Constructive Summer," so aptly states, "our songs are sing-along songs"). Craig Finn writes the most interesting musical stories this side of Bruce Springsteen. One of my favorite lines is from "Joke About Jamaica": "They used to think it was so cute/When she said 'dyer maker'/All the boys knew it was a joke about Jamaica/She'd always find a ride back home from the bar." It was hard for me not to put this album at the top of the list.
1. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely. I liked The Raconteurs' 2005 debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers. But I loved their follow-up, Consolers of the Lonely. The songs are generally harder, tighter, and more interesting than the songs on their debut. Jack White and Brendan Benson not only wrote a great album, but they play well off each other vocally, while Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler (both of the Greenhornes) provide a formidable rhythm section. These guys are hitting on all cylinders on this album, from the jagged opening track, "Consoler of the Lonely," to the final track, "Carolina Drama," which is a fascinating, folkish tale of violence, clergy, and milk that sounds like it could be on one of The White Stripes' first two albums and draws you in every time. There is not a song on this album that I skip. Not too bad for a side project.

Honorable Mention: Be Your Own Pet - Get Awkward; Foxboro Hot Tubs - Stop Drop and Roll!!!; Man Raze - Surreal; One Day as a Lion - One Day as a Lion (EP); Township - Coming Home; Weezer - Weezer (The Red Album).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sweet Names

I don't mind unique names. Frankly, I think unique names can be pretty cool when used properly. It's another thing, though, when you give your kid a name that is (1) impossible to pronounce correctly on the first try, (2) impossible to spell without the help of the person whose name it is, (3) sounds like a skin condition, internal organ, children's cough remedy, or prescription medication, (4) or evokes the reaction, "what?!"

Anyway, at work I've been going through a list of names of people who may or may not be included in a class action, and there have been some unbelievable names. Some of them may be "ethnic," so if any of these names are, say, traditional Tajik names, I apologize, as it's been a while since I've visited Dushanbe. But seriously, I excluded names that were obviously foreign (based on the last name), and there are still some baffling names.

Here are the names that sound like skin conditions:

These names are unpronounceable on the first, if not, fifth attempt:

These names would be totally badass names, but only for ninjas or samurais:

And here are the rest:
-Cleophus. A distant relative of the hippopotamus.
-Cleophaus. Cleopatra's German villa. Not to be confused with Cleophus.
-Stanquitta. Stan Mikita's banana concern.
-Lebora. Man, that chick's lebora were HUGE.
-Shantryce. "Did you shan once yesterday?" "No, dude, I totally shan tryce."
-Liduvina. Capital of Latvia.
-Treandos. Aren't the Treandos the mascot for the University of San Diego?
-Phouthon. Great place to play laser tag.
-Frenchie. No comment necessary.
-Armentha. Armenia's version of absinthe. This shit will fuck you up.
-Jabrone. Don't they manufacture earpieces for cell phones?
-Tenise. Because Denise didn't sound enough like tennis.
-Javaid. This could very well be -- and should only be -- the name of a self-help tool for Java script.
-Intisar. The company that was formed when Initech and Initrode merged.
-Mindote. I think that's supposed to be MINNDOT, as in the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
-Mecca. Way to set your kid of for failure. You might as well name him (?) God, Buddha, or Robert Montgomery Knight.
-Luches. I think these are kind of like shingles.
-Anais. Why not just name him (?) Sfinktor or Wrectom?
-Mehwish. Mehwish my name wasn't Mehwish.
-Tijuana. There were actually several Tijuanas. Then again, there were several Garys.
-Torris. Big Ford fans. Well, big illiterate Ford fans.
-Enjoli. How do we tell the world that we enjoy Angelina Jolie?
-Enjolique. How do we tell the world that we enjoy the garlic supplement Garlique?
-Ivory. This wouldn't be that big of a deal, except that there were also several Ebonys. Based on their addresses, they didn't live in perfect harmony, at least geographically.
-Refugio. Someone is a big fan of Nolan Ryan's birthplace.
-Bi. Curious?
-Etheria. After getting The Clap, my etheria was killing me.
-Jirri. The jirri's still out on this one. Ah-thank you!
-Lashundra. That's the noise that's made when someone does a really good cannonball off the high dive. Lashundra!
-Luckana. There is nothing lucky about having this name.
-Corley. Man, that bitch is corley!
-Saunja. Man, I hate when all those ninjas show up at the sauna. It totally turns into a saunja.
-Kentyida. How can I make sure my daughter knows that my favorite Bengals quarterback of all-time is Ken Anderson, that I love the company that makes Beanie Babies, and that she was conceived in Florida?
-Guat. Wasn't that the dude that lived in that guy's stomach in Total Recall?
-Tarvine. A little tarvine should get the gunk out of your engine and help viscosity.
-Scypion. This is a pretty cool name for a car.
-Falix. I hope this dude is tall. Otherwise he'd be a pretty shitty falix symbol.
-Nuel. Is that like Nu Metal, but referring to French Christmas?
-Haigaty. Hai to you too!
-Nadege. More like Nadouche.
-Wakeshaica. Boom wakeshaica!
-Mair. No one wants to be named after a misspelled female horse.
-Junera. I always had trouble falling asleep, that is, until Junera came along.
-Artdel. Horsehair brushes, canvasses, and Cray-Pas are fifty percent off through Sunday at all Artdel locations.
-Muna. I loved her on Who's the Boss?
-Laarni. Anything that sounds like larva should be avoided.
-Lamica. I think a nice new lamica floor would really increase the value of your house.
-Calithus. I can't tell if this conjures up an image of a Roman sentinel or something you stick in your pee hole when you're not able to control your bodily functions.
-Leonidas. "Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty. For tonight, we dine in hell!"
-Trense. Is that past or present?
-Stargeic. Is that pronounced "star-geek" or "star-gay-ick"? Does it matter?
-Mose. East Pennsylvanian beet farmer.
-Demerrell. Might as well have named him (?) Morfeen.
-Syreeta. I'm all for word combinations, but Syria beet pita is not something a child should be named after.
-Ditony. There have to be better ways to express your distaste for former U.S. Olympic goalkeeper Tony Meola.
-Tyland. Must be syameze.
-Giota. This sounds like a low-end Italian car manufacturer.
-Evadney. I also try to evade 49ers kicker Joe Nedney, but I'm not going to translate that evasion into a child's name.
-Suzwanna. Oh, Suzwanna, don't you cwry for me.
-Cleathel. It's too bad he or she is not an NFL linebacker, or else he or she could be known as the Cleathel Weapon.
-Clotilde. Using its flagellum, the clotilde makes its way through the bloodstream.
-Quantas. I wonder if he or she has ever crashed.
-Birunzi. The capital of Zamunda?
-Nartarsha. I bet her mom pronounces wash "warsh."
-Zamani. I hear their wines are excellent.
-Jawanda. This is what happens when your father is a big fan of the indigenous tribes of Tatooine, while your mom is a big fan of movies starring Kevin Kline, John Cleese, and Jamie Lee Curtis.
-Shuwana. Shuwana start somethin', ese?
-Takiyah. Takiyah attitude and get outta heah!
-Dunmerril. Isn't that a town in Connecticut?
-Semella. I semella rat. Ah-thank you!
-Verbema. It's the new word association game that's sweeping the nation!
-Genita. She might as well be named Vagin, Peni, or Pubic Hai.
-Exania. You should not take Exania if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.
-Yamelsie. The winningest race camel in Dubai.
-Wykeeta. Weren't the Wykeeta a rival tribe of the Ojibwa?
-Ferrari. "Like the car?" "Yes, like the fucking car."
-Jeffersti. "Like the third President?" "No, like a horrible name that should never be given to a child?"
-Furlando. Orlando's largest beard convention.
-Charlo. Cuchi cuchi!
-Princella. Shouldn't it be Princessella, or is the point to create gender confusion issues?
-Starlicia. Should've just named her Pornstarlicia.
-Venuse. Her brothers Marse and Jupitere also hate their names.
-Durice. Whenever I make paella, I always make sure to include Durice. Ah-thank you!
-Romein. How do you say "I love lettuce" without proper spelling?
-Jono. The love child of John Lennon and Bono?
-Griselda. This is what you name your daughter when you want her to grow up to live alone in a German forest, where she lures children of woodcutters to her gingerbread cottage so that she can fatten them up and eat them.
-Anarda. Maybe her parents shoulda given 'er anarda name.
-Carma. Bitch.
-Conquista. Wasn't this a sedan made by Chrysler in the '70s?
-Precious. I assume this is a cat.
-Elvira. Unless she has giant cans and/or is a mistress of the dark, then this name makes no sense, unless she was conceived by one of the Oak Ridge Boys.
-Clementine. "Oh my darling." "Yeah, I haven't heard that one before."
-Gaspar. "Like the friendly ghost?" "No, Gaspar." "Right, like the friendly ghost?" "No, with a 'g'." "Casparg?"
-Shawdale. A quaint retirement community.
-Edrena. Twin Labs Ripped Fuel, now featuring Edrena.
-Egeria. Isn't that between the Sudan and Somalia?
-Renate. I guess this will happen when you clone Nate.
-Irish. Yes, his last name started with a "Mc," which means he wears a pancake hat, drinks whisky (but not whiskey), participates in bare-knuckle boxing, and can't stop talking about "this bloody potato famine." And he owns a pot of gold.
-Demetria. It was a shame when grandma finally succumbed to demetria.
-Garnold. I like The Gooch, but I also like Arnold Jackson. What to do?!
-Jovan. I hope he or she has sex appeal.
-Lasantia. A lesser-known British luxury ocean liner, the RMS Lasantia was able to avoid U-boat torpedo fire.
-Loetisis. I could barely take a dump 'cause my loetisis was acting up.
-Nelliett. I love Gimme a Break, the abbreviation for the Latin phrase meaning "that is," and Texas Tech, but I just can't figure out how to fit it all into one name.
-Answer. The answer is no.
-Tehray. Is there a way to put my love of Iran's capital and manta rays into my child's name?
-Nando. Last name: Calrissian.
-Zina. Warrior princess?
-Xzaviera. Zina's cousin, although more warrior than a princess.
-Carmel. I hope she (?) is sweet.
-Arlendale. Oh yeah, isn't that right next to Shaker Heights?
-Alzine. My stomach was exploding after I ate all those enchiladas. Luckily I always carry some alzine with me.
-Segdrick. Is this pronounced "sej-rick" or "segg-drick"? Either way, not good.
-Jerlean. There were multiple Jerleans. I can't understand why.
-Galerius. If you have this name, you better be funny. No, actually, you better be gelarius. Ah-thank you!
-Jerika. I've found it!
-Comettra. Isn't this the chick that Lion-O used to bang on ThunderCats?
-Hurlice. Whose lice?
-Iraida. Iraida you, uraida me.
-Toylin. I've been toylin' in mediocrity because my parents gave me a terrible name.
-Drusilla. Actually, this is a great name for your undead daughter who feasts on the blood of the living.
-Corgy. I assume his or her siblings are named Pomeranian, Bichon, and Shitsu.
-Lavera. That's what I use to get tough stains out of my clothes.
-Lavance. Or maybe it's this.
-Hycel. I just hope his (?) twin brother is Locel.
-Eldevon. El Debarge, sure, but Eldevon?
-Leonarge. El Debarge, sure, but Leonarge?
-Getaun. On it?
-Latondria. Doesn't this border Estonia?
-Eliezer. No, no, sweetie, it's spelled "elixir."
-Luxora. Goddess of nothing.
-Norval. I think this is either an intergovernmental maritime agency or a contraceptive.
-Stoney. You better hope your kid is really good at taking bong hits.
-Ashish. Ditto.
-Pansie. I pray this isn't a boy's name.
-Hanaa. Aand heer siisters.
-Iroctanya. Who rocks Tanya? Wow. You could have just been named Tanya, but nooooo, your parents had to add your place of conception to your name. That doesn't rock.
-Delcine. adj. Like, or in the manner of, Del.
-Shant-E. I've always preferred Shant-D.
-Survator. I love robot surveyors.
-Averron. Isn't that a Toyota?
-Fallen. And I can't get up.
-Dementra. Goddess of the Starfish.
-Equness. A chain of health clubs, but without all the hassle of contracts.
-Shulunda. Why?
-Lurine. Anything that rhymes with urine should be avoided.

And the best part is that I'm only partially through this list of names, so expect more fun in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Club Trillion and Mr. or Ms. 100,000

In case you haven't checked it out yet, the internet (or at least Mike & Kate and Tron) is abuzz about Club Trillion. Despite what the title may lead you to believe, it is NOT the personal blog of Conrad Bain, but rather a blog written by Ohio State basketball benchwarmer Mark Titus. The "trillion" comes from his usual line on the stat sheet: 1 min., 0 pts, 0 reb., 0 assists, 0 steals, etc., etc. Anyway, the blog is pretty funny. He is apparently a better writer than he is a basketball player, and he enjoys a good pun. No word on whether he is related to Christopher Titus, the driving force behind Fox's blockbuster show, Titus, but one can assume -- based on their respective penchants for humor -- that they are father and son.

Interestingly, he has received well over 100,000 hits since November 3, 2008 (and, in honor of his 100,000th hit, he had a guest blogger). This is somewhat humbling, since I have received a little more than 95,000 hits since sometime in late September 2005. But it does remind me to let you good people know that the 100,000th visitor will receive a full-on GMYH Biography, just like I used to do in the days of yore when I had more time on my hands and ambition. So, if you happen to be visitor number 100,000, take a screen shot (Ctrl + Print Screen) or just take a picture of the screen and email it to me (, and I will whip up a fake biography for all the world to see.

Midwestern Eavesdropping - 12/23/08

For the second week in a row, there will be no Tuesday Top Ten. However, in order to appease the masses, I give you an early Christmas present in the form of Midwestern Eavesdropping.

Overly excited twentysomething wife to husband, who was uncharacteristically dressed in a sweater over a collared shirt: "You look like the guy I met in college who used to try."
--Chicago, Seminary & Montana
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Guy: "Do you want some?"
Girl: "Yes, just shoot it into my mouth"
--Chicago, Blue Line Club Car, 1548 N. Damen
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Same girl: "I don't want to be known as the porn star on Andrew's website."
--Chicago, Blue Line Club Car, 1548 N. Damen
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Twentysomething female: "I wish my dog could text message me."
--Chicago, Kelly's, Sheffield & Webster
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Random twentysomething at a birthday party: "Best New Years ever was when I was 16."
--Chicago, Café Lucia, 1825 W. North Ave.
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Twentysomething female at 12 Bars of Christmas bar crawl, where most guys are dressed like Santa: "I think somebody's little boner just touched me."
Eavesdropper: Shitcanned Shannon

Gregarious judge talking to female attorney who was complaining that opposing counsel didn't let her know that he was going to be out on paternity leave, and discussing being in the delivery room:
Judge: "The moment she had that baby, he went brain dead. Have you ever been in there?!"
Female attorney: "I, uh--"
Judge: "My son wanted to be in there last time. (pause) I didn't want to be in there."
--Chicago, Daley Center, Washington & Clark
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething special ed teacher: "We decided a long time ago. . . LONG LIVE THE MUFFIN TOP. Cheers to the muffin top."
--Chicago, Blue Line Club Car, 1548 N. Damen
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Stoner skater at work: "So we're like on Pacific Time, right?"
Male co-worker: "Are you serious? We're in California and our office is only 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean."
--Irvine, CA, 17 Pasteur
Eavesdropper: Tail Pipe

Two fortysomething female artists at arts and crafts show:
Female 1: "Did you just slap that customer in the face?"
Female 2: "Yes."
Female 1: "I could hear it."
--Chicago, Merchandise Mart
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething special ed teacher: "I can't understand this guy. His teeth are in the way."
--Chicago, State Bar, Bissell & Webster
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Husband reading headline of article: "Michelle Duggar gives birth to 18th child."
Wife (dead serious): "She is such a whore."
--Chicago, Seminary & Montana
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Fourth grade teacher: "I don't know if I can finish."
Her husband: "Maybe we should tag team this shit"
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Technically, this isn't eavesdropping, but it deserves to be included:
Text message from twentysomething female on a Monday afternoon: "Womb are in the area."
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Thanks to those who contributed. As always, if you overhear something hilarious, email it to for inclusion in the next Midwestern Eavesdropping. Have a holly jolly Christmas, Halberstram.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Office Party Dos and Don'ts

Apparently the holiday season means everyone tries to tell you how to act. First, there was the "how to escape at holiday parties" debacle, and now, I came across an article about holiday party dos and don'ts, which lists five in each category. Last week I had my company holiday party, and I feel like I stuck to the rules pretty well.


...bring an uninvited guest.
Smaller parties may mean that spouses and partners are not included in the festivities, even if they have been in years past. Whitmore says, "If you're not sure if you can bring a guest, you should definitely ask. If it's not indicated that a guest is invited, be polite and honor that request."
--Technically aren't all guests uninvited? Otherwise they would have been invited. This is a non sequitur and therefore should be ignored.

Whitmore, author of "Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work," says: "One of my pet peeves is when I see people drink too much at parties. It's still an extension of the office, so you should act in a professional manner. You don't want to be the topic of conversation at the water cooler on Monday morning." Also, she reminds revelers not to put anyone on the spot by asking why another guest is abstaining from alcohol. "We live in a health-conscious society. It's a personal choice," she states.

--Do shots count as overindulging? In my defense, I was doing shots alone at the end of the bar, so as not to cause a stir. shop.
Keep business discussions very brief. "If you've got spouses and partners in the conversation, they often won't have any idea what you're going on about, so you're just being a bore," she says. Remember, too, that this is down time. "Don't burden a coworker with your problems. Leave the office at the office," counsels Whitmore.

--Well then what the fuck am I supposed to talk about? Work is the only thing I have in common with these people.

...gossip or tell off-color jokes.
People tend to be a little more relaxed at office parties, and if they have a few drinks they may say things they normally would not. She urges employees, "Be mindful of what you say -- the jokes, the comments. We're human. We want to have fun, but be mindful that it's a company event. There's still a level of professionalism you must maintain."

--This wasn't a problem, since dead baby jokes have become so passé by this point that they're not considered off-color, even when you grab the mic from the office manager to tell fifteen dead baby jokes in a row before being escorted off the premises for some reason. But you can't fuck a rock. And as far as gossip, when co-workers get all shit hammered, who doesn't want to know who's banging who at the office?


...bring a guest if you can.
Whitmore, who has offices in New York and Palm Beach, says, "I think it's a good idea to bring a guest if you can. It gives people a better idea of who you are as a person. Your colleagues get to see another side of your life -- and you theirs."
--I brought my concubine. I figured it would let people see that I'm keeping a hot eighteen-year-old woman from nineteenth-century China.

...get to know your boss and your boss's boss.
Use the office party as an opportunity to rub elbows with executives at your company with whom you don't usually interact. She points out, "You can't always get close to senior executives or partners at the office because they're so busy, but in a social environment, they're more open to small talk." She recommends introducing yourself on a personal level and asking about hobbies or interests. "This is a key opportunity. Take advantage of it," she adds.
--I did get to know my boss a little bit better because I learned how he responds to incoherent yelling and having pint glasses full of vomit launched at him from across a crowded room. At least I will know how he responds once he gets out of that coma. And I think one of my female bosses and I made a pretty big connection when I told her, "I heard you don't have any kids because you're barren, but that's cool, 'cause kids can be a hassle. Think about Dennis the Menace, or Heathcliff, for that matter. I guess cats can be a hassle, too!"

...dress professionally.
"My biggest pet peeve is when I see people dressed provocatively at office parties!" Whitmore says. "This is an extension of the office. It's not the time to wear the dress with the slit up to your hip." Wear something a bi[t] more festive than you might wear to work, but, she adds, "Make it more conservative than what you would wear to a nightclub. Keep an air of professionalism in mind when you choose your attire."

--So I shouldn't have worn my kilt, Oilers helmet, and t-shirt that says, "Consider my pubic hair the mistletoe and my penis my lips"?

...keep things light and fun.
There's a lot of gloom and doom in the news as of late -- and perhaps at your company as well. Try to banish the dark clouds for the duration of the party with a sunny attitude. Advises Whitmore, "It's tough for people to stay away from these topics because that's all we hear all day long. But it can bring everybody's mood down." Focus on positive events and the spirit of the season to avoid ruining the party for your colleagues.

--Mission accomplished.

Christmas Interview

Although she didn't specifically implore me to answer these questions, I got this from Erica's blog. These are 26 questions about Christmas, which I assume represent the 26 days of Christmas.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. What am I, a sixty-eight-year-old woman named Agnes who smokes a pack of Vantage 100s a day and gives her grandkids bottles of Evan Williams eggnog for Christmas even though the oldest, Amber, is only seventeen? Come on. Everyone knows the age-old saying, "One who gives a gift in a gift bag is an asshole or a sixty-eight-year-old woman named Agnes who smokes a pack of Vantage 100s a day and gives her grandkids bottles of Evan Williams eggnog for Christmas even though the oldest, Amber, is only seventeen."

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real. I can't stand the smell of fake trees.

3. When do you put up the tree? December 26.

4. When do you take the tree down? Boxing Day.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yep. Behind booze, pussy, huffing, and scrapbooking, it's my biggest vice.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A silver Lexus SC 400 with a giant red ribbon on it. It was a December to remember.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My concubine. What do you get for the woman who wants everything but deserves nothing? A diamond corset? Season 2 of 30 Rock? Cattle?

8. Easiest person to buy for? This is a four-way tie amongst my dead grandparents.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Does the Pope shit in the woods? The answer is no, Kevin.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither. Hand delivery via horse-drawn sleigh.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? In eighth grade, my mom gave me what every eighth grade boy wants: a book about art. This was especially odd, since I didn't like art, didn't have any artistic ability, and hated reading. I still haven't forgiven her.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A tie between Christmas Vacation and It's a Wonderful Life, but you already knew that.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? This question assumes I stop.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? In eighth grade, I gave my mom a book about art.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Pussy.

16. Lights on the tree? Obviously.

17. Favorite Christmas song? "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Darlene Love, which you also already knew. I don't understand why you keep asking me questions that I've already answered.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? Both.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Probably.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither. We have Archibald, the Christmas Cardinal.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning. Fuck Eve'rs. Santa hasn't even come yet (and no, Holt, that's not supposed to be a double entendre).

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The Jews. They live down the block from us, and they're always singing Christmas carols, reminding us how many more shopping days there are until Christmas, and rubbing our face in the fact that they have a bigger Christmas tree than anyone else on the block. Sometimes I wish I had never moved three doors down from Steve and Cindy Jew.

23. What theme or color are you using? I don't use themes or colors in anything.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? While this question seems to be a little redundant of question 15, there is a slight distinction, so I'll go with pussy.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A concubine that is not so insolent. And a book about art.

26. Favorite Christmas memory? Slicing the shit out of my thumb not more than ten minutes after I got a Swiss Army knife when I was twelve or thirteen. I still have the scar. Yes, my favorite Christmas memory is one of self-inflicted pain and the resulting spillage of blood.

I expect Beth, Jaleh, Mike & Kate, Shrockstar, and Davidson to get off their asses and post their answers to these questions. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wrong Number Fun

So I was sitting at my desk yesterday afternoon, throwing pencils at the ceiling and laughing like a hyena when I got a text message from an unrecognized number from area code 937:

"Hey master p! [danni]"

Since the only people who call me Master P have 313 prefixes, I texted back:

"I think you might have the wrong number, although I do appreciate being compared to Master P."

Somehow that didn't end it. Over the next 38 minutes, the following text message conversation ensued:

"Patty its Lauren n u kw dat! Lol [danni]"
"No seriously, this isn't Patty's phone. I don't even know anyone named Patty."
"U being serious or ru messin? [danni]"
"Everything I've said has been serious."
"Naw cuz presley gave me ur number [danni]"
"Yes patty! [danni]"
"Not possible. He was dead before I was born."
"Listen master p its swartz n u kw dat [danni]"
"I don't kw dat. In fact, I don't know anyone named swartz, except this one dude I went to college with."
"Uh huh whatever dude. So den wats ur name? [danni]"
"Wat! Last name? [danni]"
"Lol o i c. Where u from den? [danni]"
"Originally? Or where do I live now?"
"Originally n now [danni]"
"LA and LA"
"Really? Watchu like bout LA? [danni]"
"Going to Laker games"
"O how old r u? [danni]"
"If 30's the new 20, then I'm 21."
"Naw patty stop messin! [danni]"
"This has been fun, but I need to get back to work."

That last text was sent at 4:04 p.m. After work, Jester and I met up with Floppy Burrito and Bohmann at the southernmost Elephant & Castle in the Loop for some ale and traditional English fare. At 7:47 p.m., Lauren -- whose name is apparently not Danni -- was back:

"Patty [danni]"

Being egged on by the other three, I decided to have some fun.

"Where u at?"
"Home u? [danni]"
"The Y"
"Wat u der 4? [danni]"
"U got homies u tryin 2 hang wit [danni]"
"Yeah, Alan Stanwyk, Jim Swarthow, and Bloody Mary"
"O cool. But yea im jus sittin bank n chln [danni]"
"I kinda wish i was out somewhere rite now [danni]"
"We're going to kramers afterward"
"Cool y didnt u vale me witchu? We sposed 2 roll together! [danni]"
"Sorry. I'm with alan, jim, and bloody at the Y. We're going straight there after. You should meet us."
"I prolly should but I wont cuz u need ur man 2 man time [danni]"
"Bloody and alan are leaving early and you know I don't like hanging out with jim alone. We'll be in the back room"
"Wat u mean back da room? [danni]"
"At kramers"
"O got it. [danni]"
"Well hopefully it wont be 2 bad [danni]"
"And that's why I need you to show up. You know how jim is when he gets a few drinks in him. Seriously, be at kramers by 9:30."
"I cant im comfy n my sweats at home [danni]"
"Well I guess u got 45 minutes to get out of those sweats"
"I cant patty! Im attached 2 my sweats [danni]"
"That's sick"
"Y? I lov them! [danni]"
"Girl u nasty! Lol"
"Ders something wrong witchu lol [danni]"
"There certainly is."
"I kw Dats y i said it lol try 2 make da best of ur situation [danni]"
"Fuck! Jim just barfed on some dude. Three shots in a row is apparently all it takes. What a pussy! Anyway we got kicked out and we're in a cab back to jim's"
"Haha crazy! [danni]"
"U better stop droppin da f bomb! [danni]"
"What the fuck r u talking about?"
"Patty! Calm urself! [danni]"
"Wait, who is this?"
"Lauren! Who u think i was? [danni]"
"I think you have the wrong number. I don't know any Laurens. I thought it was my wife."
"Sry [danni]"
"U kw I'm just messin wit u. Call me grl!"

So she calls me.
"Uh, Patty?"
"I'm sorry, I think you have the wrong number."

Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation: Winner!

Well, my friends, you came out en masse and have, once and for all, decided which song is the Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation. By a margin of 66%-34%, you chose Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" over Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine." Thanks to everyone who voted. I don't know about you, but I had a fun time with the bracket. After the New Year, look for more brackets to determine, once and for all, other things.

New Book: The Informers

Slash's autobiography was predictably awesome. Any Guns N' Roses fan should definitely read it, or any rock fan, for that matter. It is written well (English was Slash's best class in high school, as I learned), and, as you might imagine, it deals with the ups and downs of fame and the concomitant chemical dependencies. I've always assumed Slash is a down-to-earth, good guy (albeit with his booze and heroin problems), and this book only confirmed my assumption.

Now, I have started reading The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis, which is apparently soon going to be released as a film as well. Fifteen pages in and so far there's nothing about Snow.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hair Band Friday - 12/19/08

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GMYH Bowl Challenge Reminder

Just a friendly reminder that the GMYH Bowl Challenge begins this Saturday. For details about the Challenge, including potential prizes and how to sign up, click here.

Mixwit is Shutting Down

I regret to inform you that Mixwit -- the free online mixtape service that has allowed me to share Hair Band Fridays, Best Hard Rock Anthem match-ups, and various other nonsense with you -- is shutting down. I received the following email yesterday:

We regret to announce that Mixwit will cease to exist at the end of the year.The website and profiles will be turned off around Dec 27th and all embedded widgets will stop playing before the end of December.

We've put a year of work into Mixwit so this choice wasn't taken lightly. I won't go into the details of our situation but state simply that we boldly marched into in a position best described as "between a rock and a hard place." We're very grateful to be have been part of the mixtape revival of '08 and are satisfied to be able to to bow out while things are still good.

You guys are all amazing. It's clear that all of you put a ton of time and effort into your mixes. For me personally, I was looking forward to all of the designs people created for their tapes. There was a lot of basic tapes and many lovely photos, but the designs and artwork - WOW!

We're very sorry that this has to end. We're going to try to figure out some way to archive the artwork and playlists, if for nothing at least historic value. As for now, everything needs to be shut down by the end of the year just to make sure we've got a clean start for 2009.

We'll return early next year with a new company and new toys. Until then, enjoy the holidays and please take good care of yourselves, your families, and your friends =)

- Radley & Mike

Here's to hoping they are able to come back with something just as cool next year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Mom and Dad, I'd like you to meet my fiancée . . ."

Everybody's favorite person of interest, Drew Peterson, has once again used his deadly charm to woo the soon-to-be-rigor-mortised loins of a twentysomething woman. That's right, Drew Peterson is yet again engaged (thanks to Christoff for first alerting me to this, and thanks to Tradd for the title of the post). I guess we shouldn't be surprised. After all, he does have a bit of a reputation as a lady killer. What we should be surprised about is that the report came from Drew's publicist. He has a publicist? Shouldn't this so-called publicist vehemently advise Drew against marrying a 23-year-old, especially since, according to at least one person, his current wife is still alive?

But seriously, if you're this girl's parents, how do you react when she tells you the news? Do you question everything you've ever known? Do you continuously look at the door, waiting in vain for Ashton Kutcher to run into the room? Do you tell her to stay away from the bathtub . . . and blue 55-gallon drums . . . and Drew Peterson? Do you murder her preemptively on account of her stupidity?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stiles! Er, I Mean Stylez

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to write a Tuesday Top Ten this week. But I hate to leave you guys empty-eyed during the holiday season, so I share this bit of NFL news with you (thanks to Greg Weeser* for alerting me to this).

Greg White, who is apparently a defensive end on the Buccaneers, decided to pull an Ocho Cinco and legally change his name to Stylez G. White. The reason? He likes the character Stiles from the 1985 werewolf laugh riot, Teen Wolf. Yes, he wants to be named after Teen Wolf's buddy, Stiles.

And just to make sure people don't confuse the two, White chose to spell his name "Stylez." Brilliant. Now everyone will call him "sty-lez." At least now he'll know immediately when it's a telemarketer on the other end of the line. I only hope that he starts wearing black sunglasses and a black t-shirt that says "What are you looking at dicknose" (or would that be "dycknoze"?), hangs out with lycanthropes who demand "a keg of beer," and asks his teammates if they heard about Mr. Murphy, the shop teacher. When they say "no," he better say, "Got his dick caught in a vacuum cleaner." I'd also be interested in hearing his explanation as to how he knows that.

Oh, and he also needs to start hanging out by dumpsters near Greg Weeser*'s place of employment.
Yes, that is Stiles (not Stylez).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Am the King of Leon

As you may or may not know, I have always loved the name Leon and have championed Leon as a potential first name for a son. Jessie has always staunchly opposed the name, mostly because she hates the Spinks family. Pardon the stupid grin on my face in this picture. I was trying my best to hold back tears of joy because . . .

With this legally binding shake, Jessie agreed that if the day comes when we have a second son, I can name him Leon. Granted, at this point in time, we don't have a first child, much less a first son. But here's to hoping my boys can swim. Pull the goalie! I will not stop procreating until I have a second son.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sarcasm Cures Dementia

Today I discovered the hard way that the neck fat I've been growing over the past year doesn't provide the insulation I had expected when the windchill dropped into single digits. Eleven months of sloth down the shitter.

In unrelated news, apparently you can tell if someone has dementia if he or she doesn't respond to sarcasm. No shit? In the back of my mind, I always kind of knew that I could diagnose dementia. For instance, I once told my grandpa, "I think Steely Dan is the greatest, least-pretentious, most-influential, least-shitty rock and roll band of all-time." He asked "who?" and didn't laugh at all. So then I was like, "Why aren't you laughing, old man? Oh let me guess: you have a severe and debilitating mental condition that prevents you from picking up on the significance of my vocal intonations." Again, no laughter. Ten years later, he began to confuse things. It all made sense. Rest in peace, Basil.

Hair Band Friday - 12/12/08

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Look at that subtle off-white coloring"

In case you've ever wanted business cards like Patrick Bateman, David Van Patten, Timothy Bryce, or, God forbid, Paul Allen, now you can. A company called Biz Card Pro is offering an American Psycho-based line of business cards (thanks to Gregerson for the link).

In case you have no idea what this is about, here is the business card scene from American Psycho. I love how absolutely mortified Patrick Bateman is throughout this scene -- just choking back tears of rage.

I also found this video, which someone melded scenes from American Psycho into the Hip to Be Square video. Solid.

Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now, you fucking stupid bastard!

Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation: The Final!

In the second semifinal match-up, Sweet Child O' Mine upsets Smells Like Teen Spirit by an 80%-20% margin. So, the final is set: Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard vs. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses. Since this this is the final, I will keep the voting open for one week. Egad! And I'm not going to put a mixtape up there with the two songs, since I assume you know what the songs sound like at this point.

For Round 1 results, click here. For Round 2 results, click here. For quarterfinal results, click here.

(For details on the countdown to the Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation, click here.)

1. Enter Sandman by Metallica (1991)
4. Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard (1987) (88%)

6. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses (1987) (80%)
2. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (1991)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Holiday Movies

10. Jack Frost (1996). Not to be confused with the nancy-pants, heartwarming movie of the same name made several years later with Michael Keaton, this Jack Frost is the one where a serial killer being transported to his execution escapes the prison truck after a crash, only to be melted by chemicals that had spilled on the road and fused with snow to come back as a lethal snowman. Brutal murder, well-timed puns, and hilarity ensue. My family watches this every Christmas Eve.
9. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (1970). While this tale about Kris Kringle is not entirely accurate, it serves its purpose: to teach kids fear and respect Winter Warlocks.
8. Die Hard 2 (1990). This isn't technically a "holiday movie" in the traditional sense, but it does take place on Christmas Eve. I actually prefer the edited-for-TV version. "Yippie ki-yay, Mister Falcon." To be clear, there is no one with the surname Falcon in the movie, nor any male falcons (nor any birds of prey, for that matter).
7. Bad Santa (2003). I didn't expect much from this movie, but it turned out to be pretty damn funny. Billy Bob Thornton is such an asshole, and the little kid in the movie might be the most perfectly cast character of all-time. So innocent and lovable, which is the perfect contrast to Thornton's character.
6. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). Your classic underdog story of racism, perseverance, and, ultimately, acceptance. This was School Ties before there was a School Ties, albeit (and thankfully) without naked shower fights. And let's not forget Yukon Cornelius, which is potentially the coolest name ever for a stop-motion animation character (take that, Burgermeister Meisterburger!).
5. A Christmas Story (1983). Special thanks to out to TBS for doing their "24 Hours of A Christmas Story" every year. I still want that lamp. And a BB gun. I also asked for one every year as a child. Unlike Ralphie, I never got one. I haven't forgotten, mom and dad. You have been warned.
4. Elf (2003). The curly-haired man who played the lead role was very funny. I think he may have a bright future in Hollywood.
3. Better Off Dead (1985). Perhaps John Cusack's finest role (take that, High Fidelity!), it's not often thought of as a holiday movie, but it does involve Christmas and New Years. And pure snow. Do you know the street value of this mountain?
1 (tie). It's a Wonderful Life (1946). An absolute classic, complete with bell ringing, ear boxing, war heroes, alternate realities, crippled misers, and Zuzu's petals. I am probably one of the few people who is pissed off that they no longer play this on every channel over and over again on Christmas Eve. My favorite line, which I think should be prominently displayed in any bar, is delivered by Nick the bartender when George has never been born and visits what he knows to be Martini's (but is called Nick's in the alternate universe): "We serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don't need any characters around to give the joint 'atmosphere.' Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?" It's funny because "slip you my left" was a common '40s euphemism for "brutally rape and murder you, not necessarily in that order." Jesus. Why is rape and murder the first place I always go? Probably because I never got a BB gun as a kid, so I didn't have any outlet for my vivid psychosexually violent thoughts and fantasies, which now haunt every waking and sleeping moment of my life. Thanks again, mom and dad.
1 (tie). Christmas Vacation (1989). Back in 1997, there was one room in my fraternity that had a showing of Christmas Vacation every night at 9 between Thanksgiving and winter break. People would stop by every night, and there were often repeat customers. You can't do that with just any movie. Christmas Vacation simply never gets old. Chevy Chase is one of the funniest people of all-time.

Semfinal 2: Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana vs. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses

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Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation Semifinal Update

You got the peaches, I got the cream. In our first semifinal, Pour Some Sugar On Me absolutely crushed Enter Sandman, 88%-12%. In the second semifinal match-up, we have Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses vs. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. Vote on!

For Round 1 results, click here. For Round 2 results, click here. For quarterfinal results, click here.

(For details on the countdown to the Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation, click here.)

1. Enter Sandman by Metallica (1991)
4. Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard (1987) (88%)

6. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses (1987)
2. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (1991)

Monday, December 08, 2008

He Lives, Somehow

What do you get when you're an Eastern Bloc vampire surfer who doesn't wear sleeves, kills non-vampire surfers with horrible hair, forces an anorexic Newpsie to supplant food with cocaine, hangs out with dudes who look like Trent Reznor and bang passed-out chicks in poor man's Sin Bins, gets beaten within an inch of his life by one Ryan Atwood, kills Marissa fucking Cooper, and then goes into hiding for fear of suffering a horribly violent punching-related death?

You get a weird haircut and you wear scarves in Gap ads.
Is there no justice in the world? Fuck Volchok. And fuck Ryan for not killing him when he had the chance? What the hell was all that cage fighting training for? God, I miss The OC. Thanks to RobD for the extremely disturbing photo.

GMYH Bowl Challenge

It's the most wonderful time of the year* -- college bowl season. Now that the BCS bowls have been set, and all of the other bowls have fallen into place, I figured it's high time for a bowl pick 'em league. Thus, I have set one up on Yahoo Sports, and I would be honored if you would join in the fun. It's free, and the winner will receive a valuable prize.**

How to Play
This page explains how to play. It's quite simple. You pick which team you think is going to win each bowl game. Then you assign a confidence point value between 1 and 34 to each game. Thus, you will assign 34 to the bowl pick you are most confident about, and 1 point to the bowl you are least confident about, and everything in between. The person with the most points at the end of the bowl season will (1) win his or her choice of any item under $25 from the GMYH Café Press Store and (2) get a shout-out on GMYH for his or her prescience. Does it get any better than that?!***

The first bowl is the Eaglebank Bowl on Saturday December 20 at 11 a.m. EST, and the last bowl is the BCS Championship game on Thursday January 8 at 8 p.m. EST.

How to Join
To join, click on this link. If that doesn't work, go to the Yahoo College Bowl Pick 'Em home page, and click on the "join group" button, which will then lead you to another page on which you will click "join group," after which you will have to sign in using your Yahoo ID, after which you will be prompted to enter the Group ID and password below in order to join the group.

Group: GMYH Bowl Challenge
Group ID: 27142
Password: gmyh

So sign up and join in on the fun!****

*Except for spring, summer, and fall
**Note: prize may not contain any tangible or intangible value.
***Yes, yes it does.

****There is no guarantee of fun.

Semifinal 1: Enter Sandman by Metallica vs. Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard

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Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation Semifinals

The semis are here! You, the fans (?), have voted it down to four excellent hard rock songs, two from 1987 and two from 1991. Two hair band songs, one heavy metal song, and one grunge song. The first match-up pits Enter Sandman by Metallica vs. Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard. Vote away!

For Round 1 results, click here. For Round 2 results, click here. For quarterfinal results, click here.

(For details on the countdown to the Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation, click here.)

1. Enter Sandman by Metallica (1991)
4. Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard (1987)

6. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses (1987)
2. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (1991)

Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation Quarterfinal Results

After a one-day extension of the polls, Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana finally ran away from Even Flow by Pearl Jam, taking home the victory by a 59%-41% margin.

For Round 1 results, click here. For Round 2 results, click here.

For details on the countdown to the Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation, click here.)

1. Enter Sandman by Metallica (1991) (56%)
8. Here I Go Again by Whitesnake (1987)

4. Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard (1987) (75%)
5. November Rain by Guns N' Roses (1991)

3. Livin' On a Prayer by Bon Jovi (1986)
6. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses (1987) (54%)

2. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (1991) (59%)
7. Even Flow by Pearl Jam (1991)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Oww, Owww, OWWW!

In case you guys missed the Rutgers/Louisville game Thursday night:

Friday, December 05, 2008

Come with Me and Escape

I was on the Tribune's web site the other day looking for even more coverage of the fact that Charlie Weis is keeping his job, I came across an even more enthralling and relevant article entitled "How to Escape at Holiday Parties." Since I plan on attending several holiday parties over the course of the next 67 years, 4 months, and 8 days, I figured, shit, I better take a look.

Despite the title, there is nothing in the article about pina coladas, trap doors, getting caught in the rain, smoke clouds, making love at midnight, or jumping safely from a second floor window when, after drinking fourteen White Russians, you've just accidentally stabbed the host's cat 26 times because you were convinced it was the Predator.

In reality, the article was not about the physical escape from the premises or the application of Rupert Holmes songs to holiday parties, but rather about how to escape a less-than-enthralling conversation, with suggestions from some dude named Debra Fine and another dude named Marianne Rowe-Dimas (who I would undoubtedly call San Dimas if I hung out with him). People do it to me all the time, so it's about time I learned some tricks of the trade. I was a bit disappointed with the suggestions in the article. They went in progression from the easy conversation to leave to the conversation where the chick talking to you will just not shut up about how she doesn't have a gag reflex.

Level One:
Rowe-Dimas: "Well, the most obvious is, 'It was very nice meeting you. I enjoyed our conversation.' " You don't have to have a reason to leave. But if that bothers you, there is always 'I have to freshen my drink,' or 'I really want to try some of the food.' "

--I have never said, "I enjoyed your conversation" to anyone, nor has anyone ever muttered those words to me. Because people don't talk like robots from the Victorian era.
--"I have to freshen my drink"? That is not an out because the person talking to you will simply say, "Me too. I'll go over there with you. Don't you love drinks? I do. And I love talking to you. And looking at you. And drinking while talking to you. And looking at you."
--"I really want to try some of the food." Okay, but there's not any food at the party. You might as well say, "You remember Vicky from Small Wonder? She's my mother. But here's the catch: Jamie Lawson is my father. Yes, I am an inbred cyborg. As such, you can understand why, if I don't go plug myself in right now, I will die."

Fine: "You're not supposed to cut them off altogether. 'I need to catch up with so-and-so,' is one way to do it. Also, 'Do you know anyone who is a whatever, an empty nester, a journalist'—that way, they have to say 'I don't know' or they go find you that person, or it gives them the hint that you're looking for someone else."
--You're NOT supposed to cut them off altogether? Isn't the goal of these suggestions to alienate everyone at the party?
--"I need to catch up with so-and-so." Why you would ever say "so-and-so" instead of a real person's name is beyond me. Terrible advice.
--As far as the last piece of advice, that might one of the dumbest things I've ever heard, because you are actually inviting more conversation. When I'm at a party and I ask someone, "Do you know anyone who was in the Quad City DJs?," I'm not expecting them to say "No, let me go find that person." I'm expecting them to say, "No, why do you ask?" What do I say then? "Me neither. No reason. Bye."? And God forbid they respond to my initial question, "Funny you should ask. I am C.C. Lemonhead." Then what?

Level Two:
Rowe-Dimas: "If you recognize someone across the room you want to talk to, then say so. 'I need to catch the host while they're available.' That's perfectly acceptable."

--"Catch the host while they're available"? It's their fucking house. They're available the whole night! You might as well hold up your index finger and say, "I hate to stop you mid-sentence," and then abruptly walk away.

Fine: "It's good to give someone a warning—use the phrase like 'One last question before I go' or 'One thing I need to know before I leave ...' That way you're engaging them but you're letting them know you have to end this. If they're oblivious and lack good manners, if they're just babbling—'Gosh, you are passionate, but I have to go and see those people about something.' "
--Are you serious with the "one more thing" bit? Maybe to come off as a big a prick as possible, you should follow either "One last question before I go" or "One thing I need to know before I leave" with "What is wrong with you? At what point in your life did you become the guy that spends seventeen minutes telling a complete stranger about his son's botched circumcision? Seriously, did you take classes on how not to effectively participate in conversations at holiday parties? Oh, I guess that was three questions. Lawson out." And if he gives you any shit about it, remind him that you are a cyborg.
--"If they're oblivious and lack good manners"? What if they're aware and lack good manners? Or oblivious and impeccably mannered?
--"Gosh, you are passionate, but I have to go and see those people about something." Sweet fucking Christ. "Gosh, you are just an adorable little moron, aren't you? But an impassioned moron. I'm going to go talk to other people about other subjects. Promise me something: don't ever lose that passion, okay buddy? Here's a chew toy."

Level Three:
Rowe-Dimas: "You can grab someone walking by and say 'I really want you to meet this person.' Or you can lead them to a group of people you say you want them to meet. Stay in the group a short time, then excuse yourself. It takes practice."
--"You can grab someone walking by and say 'I really want you to meet this person.'" Ahh, the old switcheroo. "Hey Bill. I'm glad I stopped you. Have you met Sally? She's also a human. And boy is she passionate. I'm sure you guys will have a lot to talk about while I freshen my drink and catch the host or hostess while he or she is available."
-- Or you can lead them to a group of people you say you want them to meet. Stay in the group a short time, then excuse yourself. "Over there is Terry Auerbach, captain of the swim team. That's Carl Phillips, editor of the Daily Faberian. And . . . Clayton, Sydney, Jugdish, Mohammed, Lonny." "We already met." "Super! Then you'll have lots to talk about."

As you can see (as is usual with these types of articles), the suggestions are not grounded in reality at all. There is one and only one out during a holiday party: "Those mini-quiches aren't sitting well, so I'm going to hit the shitter before I shart in my pants. Nice meeting you."

Hair Band Friday - 12/5/08

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Midwestern Eavesdropping - 12/4/08

With a several week hiatus, there is a bountiful crop of Eavesdroppings:

Guy in bathroom at during a concert: "She has, like, lots of pills."
--Chicago, Riviera Theatre, Racine & Lawrence
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Vietnam vet, talking to another guy at a bar: "So we're in Laos and we walk into this strip club, and this stripper is simultaneously smoking eight cigarettes with her pussy. I mean, I can see six or seven, but eight?"
--Chicago, Wrightwood Tap, Wrightwood & Seminary
Eavesdropper: Gregerson

Really drunk dude playing with plastic knives in a room with no women: "I'm gonna stab her in the tit this time."
--Chicago, Diversey & Racine
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Guy on phone on L: "The only way he's gonna make it is if he marries this girl, 'cause she's got a lot of money."
--Chicago, Red Line train
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Young twentysomething couple having heated discussion at bar:
Girl: "I'll stop fucking douchebags when you stop fucking sluts."
Guy: "But I only fucked Stephanie. She's your best friend."
Girl: "Well, she's a slut, so stop fucking her."
--Chicago, Wrightwood Tap, Wrightwood & Seminary
Eavesdropper: Gregerson

Male attorney: "Judge, this case is just a 'he said - she said.'"
Female attorney: "No it's not."
--Chicago, Daley Center, Washington & Clark
Eavesdropper: Anonymous

Bitter twentysomething male during 30 in 8, discussing the 30 in 8 rule that women are allowed but their shirts are not: "Is the rule for guys for 15 in 8 that guys are welcome but their pants are not because I will go over there right now."
--Chicago, Diversey & Racine
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Young 20s guy to girlfriend: "You know what, shut up. I'm not the one who introduced beef to our relationship."
--Chicago, Wrightwood Tap, Wrightwood & Seminary
Eavesdropper: Gregerson

Really smart female walking down a busy street in a very short skirt: "My skirt is soooo short."--Chicago, Halsted and Armitage
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething female: "My left nipple says you be quiet."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Twentysomething female talking to friend: “That was the worst feeling, to see you pull a shirt out of a bag and not know whether I wore a shirt the night before."
--Chicago, Oakdale & Southport
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething female who is soon to be a Chicago Public School assistant principal: "I am going to double donkey punch this shit."
--Chicago, Augusta & Leavitt
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thirtysomething dude at a bar: "I control my sphincter at all times."
--Chicago, Rocks, Schubert & Lakewood
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Female fourth-grade teacher: "I mate like a rabbit and I have the mind of a cheetah.”
--Chicago, Augusta & Leavitt
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Middle-aged man after watching commercial touting the Pac-10's academic and athletic prowess: "Oh, kiss my ass. All you need is three years of high school to get into Oregon State."
--Bloomington, IN
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Thanks, as always, to those who contributed. For the rest of you, during this holiday season, please consider giving the gift of eavesdropping. Whenever you overhear something hilarious or something that can be taken out of context, please email it to so that it can be included in the next edition of Midwestern Eavesdropping.

Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation Quarterfinal Update - REVOTE!

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana and Even Flow by Pearl Jam battled to a tie today. Egad! Thus, we will be keeping the polls open for another day, so if you haven't voted, good God, vote!

For Round 1 results, click here. For Round 2 results, click here.

For details on the countdown to the Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation, click here.)

1. Enter Sandman by Metallica (1991) (56%)
8. Here I Go Again by Whitesnake (1987)

4. Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard (1987) (75%)
5. November Rain by Guns N' Roses (1991)

3. Livin' On a Prayer by Bon Jovi (1986)
6. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses (1987) (54%)

2. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (1991)
7. Even Flow by Pearl Jam (1991)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Singler's in Spaa-aace

If there's one thing that last night's Duke/Purdue drubbing taught me -- other than the obvious fact that Duke is a far superior team and academic institution than Purdue -- it's that Duke forward Kyle Singler is, in fact, the reincarnation of Ziggy Stardust.
Kyle, just remember that when the media monkeys and their junket junkies invite you to their plastic pantomime, throw the invite away.

Oh, and Purdue coach Matt Painter continues to look like Sloth.

Baby Ruuuuuuuttttthhhhhhh!

Quarterfinal Match-Up 4: Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana vs. Even Flow by Pearl Jam

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Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation Quarterfinal Update

In what some might consider an upset, third-seeded Livin' On a Prayer is knocked off by sixth-seeded Sweet Child O' Mine by a 54%-46% margin. In the final quarterfinal match-up, two grunge heavyweights do battle: Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana vs. Even Flow by Pearl Jam (1991).

For Round 1 results, click here. For Round 2 results, click here.

For details on the countdown to the Best Hard Rock Anthem of Our Generation, click here.)

1. Enter Sandman by Metallica (1991) (56%)
8. Here I Go Again by Whitesnake (1987)

4. Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard (1987) (75%)
5. November Rain by Guns N' Roses (1991)

3. Livin' On a Prayer by Bon Jovi (1986)
6. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses (1987) (54%)

2. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (1991)
7. Even Flow by Pearl Jam (1991)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Holiday Songs

December is upon us, and the first snow has hit the ground here in Chicago. The only things that keep me on the level during December's first cold spells are whiskey and holiday songs and clown porn. Call me a sap, but I could listen to Christmas carols or that one song about Chanukah over and over again, especially if its while sipping on a Glen (anyone of the Glens will do, as long as it's not a blend) and watching a big-chested rodeo clown expose herself after a series of innuendo-laden encounters with a male co-worker.

But I digress. There are some great holiday songs out there, from The King to The Boss to The Chipmunks. I have previously sung the praises of the seminal Christmas album, A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector, and the list below evinces that praise, with top two songs coming from that album. Before Phil Spector was killing B-List actresses -- and even before he was holding loved ones hostage, ruining Beatles albums, or pointing guns at Ramones -- he was arguably the greatest record producer of all-time, and A Christmas Gift is no exception. Hell, it's ranked as the #142 album of all-time on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time. Seriously, if you don't have it, get it. You won't be sorry.

But enough about Phil Spector, here is my list (with a mix tape of the songs following, so that you have a sweet holiday mix to listen to while you're at work):

10 (tie). "Santa's Beard" by The Beach Boys. I picture the kid in this song to be kind of like Tweak in South Park -- completely neurotic and apprehensive of everything, but focusing all that energy on determining whether the Santa at the mall is the real Santa. And when he finds out the dude's beard is fake, he tells himself that the dude is just helping the real Santa, somehow convincing himself that the minty smell on the dude's breath is candy canes, rather than Dr. McGillicuddy's. Ahh, the innocence of youth.

10 (tie). "Run Rudolph Run" by Chuck Berry. A great, uptempo, catchy holiday song by one of the all-time greats.

9. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" by Al Hirt and Ann-Margaret. Frankly any version I've heard is good. This just happens to be the one that I have. You have to give props to a song that is so obviously about date rape, but is also so openly accepted by mainstream, non-date-raping society. In case you don't know the premise of the song, it's about some dude (the part was originally called "Wolf") who managed to convince some chick (the part was originally called "Mouse") to come over to his date-rape-ready bachelor pad on a cold winter's night.

Her: "I should get going. My parents are probably worried."
Him: "Oooh, I don't know about that. It's pretty chilly out there, baby. I got an idea. How about you stay here?"
Her: "I shouldn't."
Him: "He's a drink."
Her: "Fine. One drink. Then I gotta go."
Him: "Sure, whatever, baby. Your eyes are beautiful, you know that?"
Her: "Damn, this is strong. What's in this?"
Him: "Rohypnal, bitch."
Her: "What was that?"
Him: "Just some spiced rum, cinnamon, and a little bit of nutmeg, but not too much because you don't want it to be overpowering. Can I take your hat?"
Her: "No."
Him: "You're hurting my pride, and frankly I don't see the sense in it."
Her: "Fine. Here."
Him: "You do know it's still cold out there, right baby? No cabs in these parts, and I'm too hammered to drive you home."
Her: "Why are you moving closer to me?"
Him: "Because your lips look so delicious, baby."
Her: "Are you kidding me? And can you stop calling me baby?"
Him: "No and no. Have you seen that blizzard out there, baby? Here's a half a drink more."
Her: "Thanks, but I really should be going. My siblings and maiden aunt will be up waiting for me, and Lord knows what the neighbors will think if I come traipsing out of here in the morning."
Him: "Do you realize how guilty I would feel if you caught pneumonia and died out there, all because I wasn't forthright enough to physically restrain you from leaving my apartment?"
Her: "I'm leaving."
Him: "Fine. Go."
Her: "Shit, you were right. It is cold outside."
Him: "That's what I've been trying to tell you, baby."
Her: "Look, alright, I'll stay here, even though I shouldn't. But no funny stuff."
Him: "I knew you'd come around."
Her: "Is it warm in here?"
Him: "I'll make it worth your while, baby."
Her: "No, seriously, it's . . . really . . . warm . . . in--"
Him: "Yes, it is warm in here, especially compared to outside, where it's cold, baby."
Her: "I . . . can't . . . seem . . . to . . . keep . . . my . . . eyes . . . o . . ."


8. "Please Come Home For Christmas" by Charles Brown. Back in 1960, future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Brown released this song, which is kind of like a bluesier, male version of Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," although released three years before the Phil Spector Christmas album. The song has since been covered by the likes of The Eagles and Bon Jovi, although no cover is as good as the original.

7. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee. Sometimes I pretend that when she says "Maybe we'll have some pumpkin pie," she's really saying "Maybe we'll have some fuckin' pie," 'cause that's kind of what it sounds like, and that would be naughty.

6. "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" by Bruce Springsteen. The Boss released this in 1981, and, as far as I know, it became an instant holiday classic. You'll notice that he based his version in part on The Crystals' version from the Phil Spector album. I'm just sayin'.

5. "The Chanukah Song" by Adam Sandler. Although rife with inaccuracies (Harrison Ford is half Jewish, not a quarter), this song is a classic. Who can forget the first time they heard the line "OJ Simpson . . . not a Jew"?

4. "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey. Sure, it's cheesy, but damn is it catchy and upbeat. If you've ever been to a Holiday Extravaganza Party at The Pound (or possibly the now-defunct Skybox), then you have experienced the power of "All I Want for Christmas is You" on repeat. If there's one thing that last year's Extravaganza taught me, it's that it's okay to embrace this song.

3. "The Chipmunk Song (Please Christmas Don't Be Late)" by The Chipmunks. I can't give you a rational reason as to why I love this song. Perhaps it's because that Alvin is just so incorrigible! Or maybe it's because I used to freak my roommates out when I'd sing it. Granted, I was holding a knife and blocking the door, but I felt like we really connected over the course of those three days. I still haven't received my plane that loops the loop, Jeremy.

2. "Sleigh Ride" by The Ronettes. I think Ronnie Spector (nee Bennett) has one of the best voices in rock and roll history, and I love the Ronettes' version of this song.

1. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Darlene Love. From the booming, soulful vocals, to the Wall of Sound accompaniment, to the pleading in the lyrics, this song is simply awesome.

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Other songs that barely missed the cut include: "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms; "Blue Christmas" by Elvis Presley; "White Christmas" by Darlene Love; "Back Door Santa" by Clarence Carter; "Feliz Navidad" by Jose Feliciano; "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" by John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and The Plastic Ono Band; "Winter Wonderland" by Darlene Love; "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" by The Ronettes; "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" by The Jackson Five.