Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sham WOW

If you're like me -- and for your sake, let's hope not -- you like products that can soak up a seemingly unbelievable amount of liquid or chop food with ease. Even more, you like the men who pawn these products on TV to the American public. Therefore, you like Vince Schlomi, the genius behind the ShamWow commercials, not to mention the Slap Chop -- the food chopper that, among other things, separates the skin from the onion with a simple slap of the hand. And it's easy to clean too. You don't want bacteria getting into your food chopper. I would buy a dead pigeon from this man if he told me to.

Anyway, apparently Vince likes high-priced South Beach hookers. What he doesn't like is when high-priced South Beach hookers try to bite his tongue off instead of letting him give them the ol' ShamWow, if you know what I mean. Thanks to Adam for the link. Apparently, some whore (literally!) tried to bit his tongue off, and then they beat the shit out of each other, probably with some slapping and chopping. No word on how easily he was able to get the blood stains out of the carpet.

Tuesday Top Ten: Best "Fuck Me" Songs

After the blinding success of last week's Top Ten "Fuck You" Songs, it seemed more than fitting to follow that up with the ten best "fuck me" songs. These are songs that are all about self-deprecation or wallowing in self-pity (as opposed to general sadness). Unsurprisingly, grunge is a repeat customer on this list.

10. "Dumb" by Nirvana.
This song is an anthem for anyone who has at any moment in time thought that they were dumb. I could have also gone with "I Hate Myself and I Want to Die," by that song is more about making children look like deer than it is about self-wallowing.

9. "I Hate My Fucking Life" by Marc Pinansky.
While this one is not as well-known (Pinansky is the lead singer of Township and former lead singer of Runner & The Thermodynamics), it's four minutes about hating one's fucking life, as the title implies. It also appears to be a bit of a political protest song. Either way, the chorus is something anyone who has gone through a quarterlife crisis can relate to. (This was not on Playlist.com, although it is available on his MySpace page.)

8. "She Hates Me" by Puddle of Mudd.
I've always like this song, maybe because every guy can relate.

7. "Self Esteem" by The Offspring.
A song about a sucker who just can't get his shit together, on account of the low self-esteem.

6. "Offend in Every Way" by The White Stripes.
This is probably my favorite White Stripes song. It's about a guy who can't seem to walk into a room without offending someone, kind of like Christoff. And I've always enjoyed this line: "I'm coming through the door / but they're expecting more / of an interesting man."

5. "Loser" by Beck.
On Beck's breakthrough single, he yells, "Soy un perdador." I think that sums it up right there.

4. "Sunday Morning Coming Down" by Johnny Cash.
Even though this is originally a Kris Kristofferson song, Cash's version is awesome. Basically, the song is about being alone on a Sunday morning and being hung over and getting hammered and wishing, Lord, that you were stoned. It's a pretty accurate portrayal of every one of my Sundays.

3. "Tears of a Clown" by The Miracles.
Smokey Robinson is one of the great songwriters of all-time, and "Tears of a Clown" is, in my opinion, only behind "Tracks of My Tears" on the list of his best songs. The song has such an upbeat melody, and it's just so damn catchy, that you seem to forget that it's about a man who is hiding the fact that he's miserable ("If there's a smile on my face, it's only there trying to fool the public"). If there's one thing Smokey Robinson did well, it's juxtaposing upbeat melodies with sad lyrics.

2. "My Own Worst Enemy" by Lit.
This is one of my favorite songs of the '90s, and with good reason. I spent most of the '90s with my car in the front yard, sleeping with my clothes on.

1. "I'm a Loser" by The Beatles.
One of the first great introspective songs that John Lennon wrote, "I'm a Loser" (off of 1964's Beatles For Sale) is the classic self-deprecation anthem. (Of course, there are no Beatles songs on Playlist.com)

Just missing the cut: "Birdman Kicked My Ass" by Wesley Willis


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Monday, March 30, 2009

Saved By The Bell Fans, Unite!

Even though I've never watched Late Night with Jimmy Fallon -- since I assume he laughs uncomfortably at all of his own jokes -- I may now have a reason to tune in. As I'm sure all of you know, this year is the 20th anniversary of Saved By The Bell -- perhaps the greatest show ever made. Fallon has proposed to get the entire cast on his show for a reunion. Belding is already in (Richie, not Rod). Fallon has a petition on his website to sign in an effort to get Zack, Kelly, Screech, Lisa, Jessie, and Slater back together.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION! So help me God, you better sign it.

Lou Saban

As you may or may not have heard, longtime pro and college football coach Lou Saban died Sunday. In addition to coaching two AFL championship teams, he is a graduate of both of my alma maters (LTHS and IU). Once when I was a junior or senior in high school, Saban stopped by football practice. Obviously, the coaches stopped practice immediately, and everyone gathered 'round to listen to Saban speak. Although most of us had probably never heard of him at that point, he commanded everyone's attention, telling us about his high school playing days, coaching in the AFL and NFL, and -- what I remember best -- the fact that the Marx Brothers had a farm in nearby Countryside for a while. Anyway, I never forgot it, and, after figuring out who Lou Saban was, I always thought it was pretty cool that he randomly stopped by our practice to chat with the team.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Midwestern Eavesdropping - March 26, 2009

I forgot to post this last week, so there is a bevy of eavesdroppings:

Drunk guy to drunk girl, outside of a bar: "I will stick my finger up your ass and there is nothing you can do about it!"
--Chicago, Wrightwood Tap, Wrightwood & Seminary
Eavesdropper: Gregerson

Twentysomething female: "I wish I had pocket Pictionary."
Male: "I have a pocket rocket."
Female: "What's a pocket rocket?"
--Chicago
Eavesdropper: GMYH


Dude to Female #1: "Have you ever had a walking taco?"
Female #2, referring to women everywhere: "Aren't we all?"
--Chicago
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian


Special ed teacher discussing whether special ed kids come to school on a short bus: "Our retards come to school like everyone else."
--Chicago
Eavesdropper: GMYH


Dude referring to beating some much younger gamers at Big Buck Hunter: "I said I'm going to school them, not Catholic School them."
--Chicago, Wrightwood Tap, Wrightwood & Seminary
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian


Teacher discussing scholastic bowl that she coaches: "We did a thing with geography with the old name of a country and a new name, and the only one I knew was that Burma is Malaysia."
--Chicago
Eavesdropper: GMYH


Husband: "Maybe we should get a landline at our next place."
Wife: "It has been so long since I have had one that I don't know if I will remember how to use one."
Husband: "Wait, don't you have one at work?"
Wife: "Oh yeah, I guess I do."
--Chicago
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian


Teacher, during a discussion of the origins of the "Ides of March": "It's not in Macbeth. It's in the one where everyone dies. Hamlet, right?"
--Chicago
Eavesdropper: GMYH


One woman to another while watching a blind man on a reality TV show: "Dude, what's with all the blind dudes lately? Blind is in. Blind is the new black."
--Chicago
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian


Guy at bar, emphatically, to some of his friends: "NFL players should never own boats."
--Chicago, Rocks, Schubert & Lakewood
Eavesdropper: GMYH


Two twentysomething female teachers talking to each other at a Blackhawks game:
Teacher #1: "Aren't rubber & plastic the same thing?"
Teacher #2: "Don't they come from the same tree?"
Teacher #1: "Is it a rubber tree or a rubber bush?"
Teacher #2: "I don't know this is confusing"
--Chicago, United Center, Madison & Damen
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian


Twentysomething female: "I'll tell you what. . . I can't sweep. I don't like to bend over. I just kick the stuff into the dustpan."
--Chicago, United Center, Madison & Damen
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian


Wife: "Have you ever taken it in the face before?"
Husband: "Yes I have. . . wait, I'm talking about a hockey stick."
Wife: "Sure."
--Chicago, United Center, Madison & Damen
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian


Thanks to those who contributed. For all others, you too are free to contribute. When you overhear something hilarious, email it to gmyhblog@yahoo.com for inclusion in the next Midwestern Eavesdropping. Hell, put the email address into your iPhones, Blackberries, Treos, or whatever other email-capable phone you might use, for easy access. It will revolutionize both your life and mine.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stereotypes

I assume the bag contains the other eleven cans of Natty Ice, as well as some raw fish, Jolt, cloves, and crack (or I suppose meth would be more apropos). Needless to say, her kid should have no problem getting into mom's alma mater. Thanks to Tron for sending this along.

Shit I Hate: Ruth's Chris

I have nothing against the addition of butter to steak, but this might be the single worst name for a business.

Chris: "We should start a steakhouse."
Ruth: "Great idea, Chris. I'm gonna go one step further and suggest that we put butter on top of our steaks."
Chris: "Ruth, I want to fuck you so bad right now. But there's only one problem."
Ruth: "What's that, Chris?"
Chris: "I just don't know what should we name our new steakhouse."
Ruth: "I have but two requirements. It must be a tongue twister, and it must tell people that you're mine."

Brilliant.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday Top Ten: Best "Fuck You" Songs

The only thing as pure as saying "I love you" is saying "I hate you." While there have been an infinite number of popular music songs written about love, there have been some pretty damn good songs written about hate as well.

Whether these songs came about because of scorned love, betrayal of friendship, or just general animosity, they are all great songs with a message of hate.

10. "E.M.I." by Sex Pistols (1977).
What happens when the most influential punk band of all-time gets released by a short-sighted record label? The band strikes back by releasing the most influential punk album of all-time on its new label with a song ripping its old label.

9. "Song for the Dumped" by Ben Folds Five (1997).
I think the following stanza sums things up pretty well:
So you wanted
to take a break
Slow it down some and
have some space
Well fuck you too
Give me my money back
Give me my money back, you bitch
8. "Never Wanna Fuckin' See You Again" by Rich Hardesty (1992).
This is a favorite of anyone who went to IU from the early '90s to the early '00s. Hardesty was a local singer-songwriter who played mostly at colleges in the Midwest, and this song is, as far as I can tell, the best song he ever wrote. Like "Song for the Dumped," it's an unabashedly blunt reaction to a relationship gone wrong. "Whatever happened to me and you / is on page six hundred and seventy two / And that's the end of the book / So fuck you."

7. "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morrissette (1995).
This song is a poster child for '90s angst, made even better by the fact that it is allegedly about Uncle Joey, who had apparently moved onto a woman with potentially questionably mothering skills who might not fellate him during a movie. Of course the biggest issue is that he told that he would hold her until she died. But he's still alive.

6. "Fuck Wit Dre Day" by Dr. Dre (1992).
The song was a big "fuck you" to Dre's former N.W.A. bandmate Eazy-E, and the video mocking Eazy-E added insult to AIDS-related injury.

5. "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon (1972).
This song is rumored to have been about a wide variety of '70s stars, both hairy and non-hairy, from Warren Beatty to Cat Stevens to James Taylor to Kris Kristofferson to Mick Jagger (who provides backing vocals on the song). Whoever it's about, maybe he's so vain because the song is about him.

4. "Too Many People" by Paul McCartney (1971) and "How Do You Sleep?" by John Lennon (1971).
You can't have one of these without the other. Paul took the first jab at John with "Too Many People," accusing John and Yoko of "preaching practices" and John of taking his "lucky break and [breaking] it in two." In response, on the same album that John implores everyone to imagine all the people living in harmony, he tries his damnedest to rip Paul a new asshole by calling Paul's music "muzak" and saying "the only thing you did was yesterday, and since you're gone you're just another day," a not-so-subtle dig at The Beatles' Paul-written "Yesterday" and Paul's solo song "Another Day." (Unfortunately, Playlist.com does not have "How Do You Sleep?")

3. "Get In the Ring" by Guns N' Roses (1991).
Apparently Axl Rose did not like the way that certain metal magazines were "rippin' off the kids," so he did what any self-respecting musician would do: challenged them all to a fight. Most prominently, he posited that Bob Guccione, Jr. of Spin (son of Penthouse founder Bob Guccione, Sr.) is "pissed off 'cause [his] dad gets more pussy than [him]." Axl then invites Guccione to fuck him and suck his fuckin' dick. Interestingly, Guccione accepted Axl's invitation, although the two never actually fought, which is unfortunate because I would have liked to see Axl kick Guccione's bitchy little ass. (Unfortunately, Playlist.com doesn't have this either)

2. "Positively 4th Street" by Bob Dylan (1965).
When Dylan went electric in 1965, a lot of people in the folk community turned their backs on Dylan, one of them going so far as to call him "Judas" during a 1966 concert. Just as Dylan turned to his band and told them to "play it fucking loud" after hearing the Judas comment, a year earlier, he penned a four-minute barb at his former friends and scenesters who had turned on him. My favorite lines:
Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You'd know what a drag it is
To see you
1. "Hit 'Em Up" by 2Pac (1996).
Damn. Has there ever been a more pointed, angry song? Obviously, I can't think of one. "Hit 'Em Up" represents the height of the famed mid-'90s East Coast-West Coast rap feud. It starts off innocently enough, discussing the fact that Tupac "fucked" someone's wife. Then he lets some of his crew take jabs at various members of the Bad Boy family, putting forth various methods of murdering them. And then Tupac steps back in and just loses his shit. He starts going insano on all things associated with East Coast rap. He makes fun of some dude for having sickle-cell anemia. He tells various rappers that he will "make sure all y'all kids don't grow." I don't know how much more clear he could have made his message than with the line "We're gonna kill all you motherfuckers." Of course, this may have backfired when Tupac himself was murdered three months later.

Are there any songs I missed?


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Monday, March 23, 2009

Pope Tells Africa: "Dude, just don't have sex with people who have AIDS"

Last week the Pope reaffirmed his stance that condoms are not the answer to prevent the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. In fact, Benny went so far as to suggest that handing out condoms will somehow worsen the epidemic. Obviously. And the world was created 5,000 years ago, not long before man starting walking alongside dinosaurs. So, if I understand this correctly, it's okay under Catholicism to tell people not to have sex, knowing that they will anyway and may die prematurely and cause others to die prematurely, but it's not okay to strap a piece of latex to your peepee to prevent a terminal disease with no cure. This is hilarious, especially coming from a man who has presumably never had sex in his life, or, apparently, basic sexual education classes either.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Day I Shall Not Soon Remember

Ahh, St. Patrick's Day. Is there a better reason to drink for an entire day than to celebrate a man who mythically banished snakes from Ireland? Not in Chicago. As is the custom here, unless St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday, it is celebrated the Saturday before March 17.

This year's St. Patrick's Day observed also happened to be the birth date of Alex, which gave us even more reason to drink the entire day, as he unmythically banished snakes from Woodstock, Illinois, as far as I know. In addition, John and Ari came into town from Porkopolis, bringing with them their fat bull dyke dog, Frannie, who is a compulsive overeater and a bit of a ham for the camera, as you can see here in this picture, which was taken after Frannie ate an entire ham and a camera.

In honor of Patrick and Alex, Jester and I decided to have a get-together beginning at 8:30 in the morning -- or morn', for you leprechauns. Ari made "Irish car bomb" cupcakes. And we also had a drink called an Irish car bomb! Wha?! That's like naming a drink with Chicago-based alcohols the Cub, or a New Orleans-based drink the Hurricane.

I also made several pounds of bacon and sausage patties -- St. Pattie's patties, if you will (you don't have to). Our place still reeks of pan-fried meat. Not wanting to alienate anyone, Jester and I made green jello shots for the Catholics and orange jello shots laced with arsenic for the Protestant bastards who claim loyalty to William of Orange and his whore wife Mary.

As you may know, I have given up drinking for Lent, save for last Saturday and tomorrow. Thus, I had my first Guinness around 8 a.m. on Saturday (during the aforementioned meat pan-frying). It was orgasmic. My last beer of the day would be sometime between 1:30 and 2 a.m. I have no idea how I made it that long, but I'll be happy to tell you what happened along the way.

As people started to show up, I cranked a delightful St. Patrick's Day mix I had prepared last March 18 in anticipation of this moment. Gregerson showed up with vanilla ice cream to make Guinness floats. He also gave Alex some pink socks for his birthday, but luckily not a pink sock.

A decent crowd showed up for the party. We did our best to recreate The Troubles, although instead of real car bombs, we had the aforementioned alcoholic car bombs, and instead of Ulster, we had an Alternative Ulster, and instead of Sinn Fein, we had whiskey, and instead of Bloody Sunday, we had Bloody Mary. I hope she's feeling better. I'm usually a much better brick juggler.

Chandler invented something that will put me in an early grave. First, he wrapped some bacon around a deviled egg. And then he went a step further and made a deviled egg sandwich by putting a deviled egg stuffing side down on a sausage patty. It was met with significant fanfare.

Saint Chandler, as he was thereafter canonized, then started passing out communion in the form of sausage patties. The body of Christ, indeed.

A little bit before noon, we played "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" repeatedly until we could muster the courage to walk to Rocks with Solo cups full of beer.

At Rocks, our brood became even larger, stretching across the front wall of Rocks and occasionally spreading into the middle, like an angry amoeba -- fluid, spry, dangerous.

Over the course of the day, I saw the following people: Tron, Magdog, a whole bunch of teachers, some teachers' significant others, book readers, Judson, Bob Terwilliger, an Aussie, several Katies, several Joes, James Joyce, Craic, Ace Frehley, Tana, Christ, my brother, whippets doing whip-its, green, and the back of my eyelids. Interestingly, I never saw myself, nor did I see Kirsten Dunst, as I had expected.

I have no idea where someone got a green feather boa, but I must say that it was the most captivating green feather boa I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Kyla was not as captivated, as she kept having problems seeing out of one eye. Remember that.
Feeling haughty, Alex showed off his pink sock, but luckily not his pink sock.People fed Alex green beer, but only in pitchers, as anything smaller might have come across as effeminate -- or at least more effeminate than a dude wearing a boa on his head carrying pink socks, although luckily not a pink sock.

He then made every woman's dream come true. Get it? Come? No? You see, Holt, the gesture in this picture emulates a male performing oral sex on a female. The term "come" can mean to bring to climax, in the sexual sense, so what I have done here is a bit of a pun, or, as the French might say, double entendre. I hope this clears things up.

Kyla wasn't nearly excited, as she had hoped two colorblind invisible men would make the same type of gesture. As you can't see, they aren't doing it here.
No worries, though, because what she lost in imaginary men sticking their non-existent tongues through her fingers, she gained in shamrock-shaped monocles and flamboyantly drowsy husbands.
I kind of got sick of all the contrived cunnilingus talk, so I just grabbed Jester and held her, which she loves almost as much as when I sing to her while she sleeps every night.
After she shoved me away -- with love, mind you -- I started a bird flipping contest. Chandler lost.

I won $5 from Gregerson at Silver Strike bowling, which is of no relevance.

Eventually, the green boa became self-aware and started choking Alex. To combat this turn of events and divert the boa's attention, Adam cleared a space and started dancing seductively. There was a lot of collar touching. You may remember Adam as the deity who is to 30 in 8 what bunny hills are to clumsy women named Natasha. He drank scotch all day. Remember that.

And then he started pointing at people, which had a magnetic effect on Jason, made Jeremy think about whether now is the right time for Hollywood to remake In the Army Now, and prompted George to start pointing at people and Andy to develop a fear of cameras pointing at him.

Tim just stood there and made love to the camera with his eyes, but not his penis -- and we would learn why later.
Christoff started creeping things out, as he's wont to do.

At some point, things kind of got away from us, coincidentally around the time Chandler and I started drinking Bushmill's on the rocks to chase our pints of Guinness. I plugged somewhere between $20 and $80 into the jukebox to ensure that "Whiskey in the Jar" was played at least once an hour. A woman shoved her chest in Gregeson's face while sitting at the bar. A bearded man extolled me on the virtues of steroids. I went on an unintentional hunger strike. Some people puked at Rocks (in the bathrooms, thankfully). The teachers and their significant others went to Gino's East to get some pizza, found a half a case of beer, drank the half case of beer, locked a stranger in a closet at Gino's East, and refused to let him out until they were done eating. Brick killed a man -- with a trident. At some point, Adam lost feeling in the left side of his body, which means he may or may not have given himself a scotch-induced stroke. The college kids across the street from us had a party, and one of them jumped from a third-story balcony onto the concrete below without breaking any limbs or losing his life.

As day turned into night, things looked bleak. Despite our best efforts to prevent it, Chandler and I made it to the Double Door by ten to see Razorlight. Chandler bought me a beer, which I quickly returned to him. I must have looked well, because when I ordered a Diet Coke and two waters from the bar, the bartendress refused to take any money from me.

The opening band -- whose name I can't recall, but I think it had "wild" in the title -- sounded like they really wanted to be The Killers from several years ago. Razorlight was awesome, but their set was terribly short. They played for 45 minutes, and then their encore was two songs, bringing their running time to approximately one hour. Short, but sweet, and we were only about 15 feet from the stage, so that was cool.

Since I had forgotten to eat much over the course of the day, Chandler and I went back to Rocks after the show, and Creature met up with us. It was decidedly less crowded than when we left. The mini corn dogs provided significant relief, and allowed me to ingest a green beer. We took a picture.

Meanwhile, Tim showed us his thing, which is quite long, weirdly shaped, and contained 186 car bombs.

Paper wangs aside, a little bit before 2, I realized that I needed some sleep, so we left, and I sprinted home, for fear of the goblins.

The next morning came too quickly. My body missed the shaking, heart palpitations, and pointed head pain that comes with drinking for 18 hours. Needing something besides Excedrin Migraine in my system, I (along with Jester, John, Kyla, and Alex) went to the Golden Apple for some breakfast. I ordered off the menu, going with a cheeseburger patty and eggs over easy, with some hash browns and a chocolate milkshake because it seemed like the thing to do. We parked about a half a block south on Lincoln, and saw this empty bottle of Jameson sitting in a doorway, keeping a silent, but poignant vigil, reminding everyone who passed exactly what St. Patrick's Day is all about.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday Top Ten: Most Annoying Things Co-Workers Do

I was on Al Gore's internet the other day, and I came across an interesting article detailing what the author felt were the most annoying things a co-worker can do. I generally agreed with most of them. However, I feel that I can add my own flavor to such a list. Some of these overlap with the items in the article, and some are my own.

10. Loud cell phone ringers.
You're at work. Put it on vibrate or mute. There is absolutely no reason I should be hearing a MIDI version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons from the opposite side of the floor.

9. Burning popcorn.
Are you fucking kidding me? How many goddamn times have you cooked popcorn in your life? And how many times has it taken more than three minutes? Then why the fuck are you setting the microwave for eight minutes and then walking away?!

8. When someone asks "where are we on [insert name of assignment]?"
WE are nowhere on it because WE are not working on it. I, on the other hand, will get it to you when I'm good and goddamn ready to give it to you, sir.

7. When someone talks about their kids at inappropriate times.
"I just got back from New York." "Oh, that reminds me of my little Madison. Yesterday she put on my sunglasses. It was soooo funny. Can you imagine?!" Fuck. You.

6. Whistling.
Unless you are a midget living in Bavaria's Black Forest with six other midgets and some hot, strange, trusting brunette, then you should not be whistling while you work.

5. The use of the Blackberry while shitting.
This is simply vile, and I can't stand it. I cringe every time I hear someone playing with their roller ball after undoubtedly touching their actual balls. At least it's fun to think that every time they talk on their phone, they are probably smashing little pieces of their own fecal matter against their faces.

4. Wear jeans when it's not a jeans day.
If I could wear jeans to work anytime I wanted, I would do that. However, it's not allowed, so when I see someone doing it, not only am I jealous, but I also want to punch that person in the face.

3. The failure to wipe toilet seat off.
I've said it before, and unfortunately I'll probably have to say it again: there is nothing more disturbing than walking into a stall to see a toilet seat plastered with another man's ass hair.

2. Talking shit about co-workers to co-workers.
It almost always gets back. After all, the entire reason some people work is to hear and spread gossip. And if it's work-related shit that you were talking about a co-worker, that just makes you look even that much worse.

1. Talking on speaker phone.
Just because "speaker" is an option on your phone does not mean you should use speaker phone every single time you place or receive a telephone call. This is one of the worst workplace transgressions, in my mind. What the hell is wrong with people? You're conducting business, not chatting on a late-night party line. If you feel the need to use speaker phone, close your fucking door.

How about you guys? Anything that your co-workers do that chaps your ass?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekend Recap . . .

Will be coming along at some point. Anyone who took pictures, please send them to me, so that I can piece together what happened. Once I have received my stable of photographic evidence, I will prepare what I hope will be a quite delightful recap of St. Patrick's Day observed. Rest assured, it will involve at least three of the four following events: (1) raining men; (2) the body of Christ; (3) religious-based jello shots; and (4) whippets doing whip-its.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Final Four Conference Comparison 1999-2008

I got bored and was curious about how the various conferences have fared over the past ten years (1999-2008) in the Final Four (among the conferences that have sent teams to the Final Four). Everyone always seems to try to say one conference is better than another, so I figured I would check to see if the facts supported anything. They don't really. The ACC, Big East, and Big Ten all seem to have done quite well. Here you go:

Championships
1 (tie). ACC (3): Duke (2001), Maryland (2002), North Carolina (2005)
1 (tie). Big East (3): UConn (1999, 2004), Syracuse (2003)
3. SEC (2): Florida (2006, 2007)
4 (tie). Big Ten (1): Michigan State (2000)
4 (tie). Big 12 (1): Kansas (2008)
6 (tie). Conference USA, Colonial Athletic Association, Pac-10 (0)

Runners Up
1. Big Ten (3): Illinois (2005), Indiana (2002), Ohio State (2007)
2 (tie). ACC (2): Duke (1999), Georgia Tech (2004)
2 (tie). Pac-10 (2): Arizona (2001), UCLA (2006)
4 (tie). Big 12 (1): Kansas (2003)
4 (tie). Conference USA (1): Memphis (2008)
4 (tie). SEC (1): Florida (2000)
7 (tie). Big East, Colonial Athletic Association (0)

Championship game appearances
1. ACC (5)
2. Big Ten (4)
3 (tie). Big East, SEC (3)
5 (tie). Big 12, Pac-10 (2)
7. Conference USA (1)
8. Colonial Athletic Association (0)

Final Fours
1 (tie). ACC (9): Duke (1999, 2001, 2004), Georgia Tech (2004), Maryland (2001, 2002), North Carolina (2000, 2005, 2008)
1 (tie). Big Ten (9): Illinois (2005), Indiana (2002), Michigan State (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005), Ohio State (1999, 2007), Wisconsin (2000)
3. Big 12 (6): Kansas (2002, 2003, 2008), Oklahoma (2002), Oklahoma State (2004), Texas (2003)
4 (tie). Big East (4): UConn (1999, 2004), Georgetown (2007), Syracuse (2003)
4 (tie). Pac-10 (4): Arizona (2001), UCLA (2006, 2007, 2008)
4 (tie). SEC (4): Florida (2000, 2006, 2007), LSU (2006)
7. Conference USA (3): Louisville (2005), Marquette (2003), Memphis (2008)
8. Colonial Athletic Association (1): George Mason (2006)

Number of different champions
1 (tie). ACC (3): Duke (2001), Maryland (2002), North Carolina (2005)
1 (tie). Big East (3): UConn (1999, 2004), Syracuse (2003)
3. SEC (2): Florida (2006, 2007)
4 (tie). Big Ten (1): Michigan State (2000)
4 (tie). Big 12 (1): Kansas (2008)
6 (tie). Conference USA, Colonial Athletic Association, Pac-10 (0)

Number of different Final Four teams
1. Big Ten (5)
2 (tie). ACC, Big 12 (4)
4 (tie). Big East, Conference USA (3)
6 (tie). Pac-10, SEC (2)
8. Colonial Athletic Association (1)

Number of years with a team in the Final Four
1. ACC (7): 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008
2. Big Ten (6): 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007
3 (tie). Big 12 (4): 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008
3 (tie). Big East (4): 1999, 2003, 2004, 2007
3 (tie). Pac-10 (4): 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008
6 (tie). Conference USA (3): 2003, 2005, 2008
6 (tie). SEC (3): 2000, 2006, 2007
8. Colonial Athletic Association (1): 2006

Championship Week Predictions update

I ended up 14-16. Not great, but not terrible, considering the 6-11 start.

ACC -- Atlanta -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: North Carolina (#1 seed; lost in semis to #4 Florida State)
Actual winner: Duke

America East -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-8, 14
Predicted winner: Vermont (#2 seed; lost in quarterfinals to #7 Albany)
Actual winner: Binghamton

Atlantic Sun -- Nashville -- March 4-7
Predicted winner: Belmont (#3 seed; lost in semis to #2 East Tennessee State)
Actual winner: East Tennessee State

Atlantic 10 -- Atlantic City, N.J. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Dayton (#3 seed; lost in semis to $7 Duquesne)
Actual winner: Temple

Big East -- New York -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Pittsburgh (#2 seed; lost in quarterfinals to #7 West Virginia)
Actual winner: Louisville

Big Sky -- Ogden, Utah -- March 7, 10-11
Predicted winner: Weber State (#1 seed; lost in semis to #6 Montana State)
Actual winner: Portland State

Big South -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 3, 5, 7
Predicted winner: VMI (#2 seed; lost in finals to #1 Radford)
Actual winner: Radford

Big Ten -- Indianapolis -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Indiana (#11 seed; lost in first round to #6 Penn State)
Actual winner: Who fucking cares?

Big 12 -- Oklahoma City -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Oklahoma (#2 seed; lost in quarterfinals to #7 Oklahoma State)
Actual winner: Missouri

Big West -- Anaheim, Calif. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: CSU-Northridge (#1 seed)
Actual winner: CSU-Northridge

Colonial -- Richmond, Va. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: VCU (#1 seed)
Actual winner: VCU

Conference USA -- Memphis -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Memphis (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Memphis

Horizon -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 6-7, 10
Predicted winner: Butler (#1 seed; lost in finals to #3 Cleveland State)
Actual winner: Cleveland State

Ivy League -- No Tournament
Winner: Cornell

MAAC -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Siena (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Siena

MAC -- Cleveland -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Akron (#5 seed)
Actual winner: Akron

MEAC -- Winston-Salem, N.C. -- March 9-14
Predicted winner: Morgan State (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Morgan State

Missouri Valley -- St. Louis -- March 5-8
Predicted winner: Creighton (#2 seed; lost in semis to #3 Illinois State)
Actual winner: Northern Iowa

Mountain West -- Las Vegas -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: BYU (#1 seed; lost in semis to #4 San Diego State)
Actual winner: Utah

Northeast -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 5, 8, 11
Predicted winner: Robert Morris (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Robert Morris

Ohio Valley -- Nashville -- March 3, 6-7
Predicted winner: UT-Martin (#1 seed; lost in semis to #4 Morehead State)
Actual winner: Morehead State

Pac-10 -- Los Angeles -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: UCLA (#2 seed; lost in semis to #6 USC)
Actual winner: USC

Patriot -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 8, 13
Predicted winner: American (#1 seed)
Actual winner: American

SEC -- Tampa, Fla. -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: LSU (#W1 seed -- the SEC has East and West seeding; lost in semis to #W3 Mississippi State)
Actual winner: Mississippi State

Southern -- Chattanooga, Tenn. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Davidson (#S1 seed -- the SoCon has North and South seeding; lost in semis to #S3 College of Charleston)
Actual winner: Chattanooga

Southland -- Katy, Texas -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Stephen F. Austin (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Stephen F. Austin

Summit -- Sioux Falls, S.D. -- March 7-10
Predicted winner: North Dakota State (#1 seed)
Actual winner: North Dakota State

Sun Belt -- Hot Springs, Ark. -- March 4, 7-10
Predicted winner: Western Kentucky (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Western Kentucky

SWAC -- Birmingham, Ala. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Alabama State (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Alabama State

WAC -- Reno -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Utah State (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Utah State

West Coast -- Las Vegas -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Gonzaga (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Gonzaga

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Three Different Ads for Condoms

With the coming of St. Patrick's Day weekend -- and the concomitant drenching in alcohol, and the concomitant bad decisions -- let us remind ourselves that condoms exist. (And yes, I realize the irony of promoting the use of condoms during the celebration of a Catholic saint.)

In case you're one of those people who thinks pregnancy is a myth, please read this article about former NFL running back Travis Henry (thanks to Tron for the link), who is this generation's Shawn Kemp.

If you're someone who thinks that the dude who knocks you up without first putting a ring on your finger will stick around, click here to read about why teenagers should wear condoms. Bastards all around!

Finally, here is a delightful commercial from Durex (thanks to Tracey for sending this to me): video

Championship Week Predictions update

I'm currently 6-11. Thanks Robert Morris! Did you know that Robert Morris was one of only two people who signed the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and U.S. Constitution? Neither did I, until last night. Thanks ESPN2! Oh, and fuck you, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, and Indiana.

ACC -- Atlanta -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: North Carolina (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

America East -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-8, 14
Predicted winner: Vermont (#2 seed; lost in quarterfinals to #7 Albany)
Actual winner:

Atlantic Sun -- Nashville -- March 4-7
Predicted winner: Belmont (#3 seed; lost in semis to #2 East Tennessee State)
Actual winner: East Tennessee State

Atlantic 10 -- Atlantic City, N.J. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Dayton (#3 seed)
Actual winner:

Big East -- New York -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Pittsburgh (#2 seed; lost in quarterfinals to #7 West Virginia)
Actual winner:

Big Sky -- Ogden, Utah -- March 7, 10-11
Predicted winner: Weber State (#1 seed; lost in semis to #6 Montana State)
Actual winner: Portland State

Big South -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 3, 5, 7
Predicted winner: VMI (#2 seed; lost in finals to #1 Radford)
Actual winner: Radford

Big Ten -- Indianapolis -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Indiana (#11 seed; lost in first round to #6 Penn State)
Actual winner:

Big 12 -- Oklahoma City -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Oklahoma (#2 seed; lost in quarterfinals to #7 Oklahoma State)
Actual winner:

Big West -- Anaheim, Calif. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: CSU-Northridge (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Colonial -- Richmond, Va. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: VCU (#1 seed)
Actual winner: VCU

Conference USA -- Memphis -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Memphis (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Horizon -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 6-7, 10
Predicted winner: Butler (#1 seed; lost in finals to #3 Cleveland State)
Actual winner: Cleveland State

Ivy League -- No Tournament
Winner: Cornell

MAAC -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Siena (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Siena

MAC -- Cleveland -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Akron (#5 seed)
Actual winner:

MEAC -- Winston-Salem, N.C. -- March 9-14
Predicted winner: Morgan State (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Missouri Valley -- St. Louis -- March 5-8
Predicted winner: Creighton (#2 seed; lost in semis to #3 Illinois State)
Actual winner: Northern Iowa

Mountain West -- Las Vegas -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: BYU (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Northeast -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 5, 8, 11
Predicted winner: Robert Morris (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Robert Morris

Ohio Valley -- Nashville -- March 3, 6-7
Predicted winner: UT-Martin (#1 seed; lost in semis to #4 Morehead State)
Actual winner: Morehead State

Pac-10 -- Los Angeles -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: UCLA (#2 seed)
Actual winner:

Patriot -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 8, 13
Predicted winner: American (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

SEC -- Tampa, Fla. -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: LSU (#W1 seed -- the SEC has East and West seeding)
Actual winner:

Southern -- Chattanooga, Tenn. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Davidson (#S1 seed -- the SoCon has North and South seeding; lost in semis to #S3 College of Charleston)
Actual winner: Chattanooga

Southland -- Katy, Texas -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Stephen F. Austin (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Summit -- Sioux Falls, S.D. -- March 7-10
Predicted winner: North Dakota State (#1 seed)
Actual winner: North Dakota State

Sun Belt -- Hot Springs, Ark. -- March 4, 7-10
Predicted winner: Western Kentucky (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Western Kentucky

SWAC -- Birmingham, Ala. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Alabama State (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

WAC -- Reno -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Utah State (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

West Coast -- Las Vegas -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Gonzaga (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Gonzaga
The first day is in the books, and here is how my two projected brackets are panning out:

Fantasy bracket:

FIRST ROUND
Thursday, March 12
No. 8 Minnesota vs. No. 9 Northwestern (BTN, noon). Northwestern
No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Iowa (ESPN2, 2:30 p.m.). Michigan
No. 6 Penn State vs. No. 11 Indiana (ESPN2, 5 p.m.). Indiana
QUARTERFINALS
Friday, March 13
No. 1 Michigan State vs. Northwestern (ESPN, noon). Northwestern
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Ohio State (ESPN, 2:30 p.m.). Ohio State
No. 2 Illinois vs. Michigan (BTN, 6:30 p.m.). Michigan
No. 3 Purdue vs. Indiana (BTN, 9 p.m.). Indiana
SEMIFINALS
Saturday, March 14
Northwestern vs. Ohio State (CBS, 1:40 p.m.). Northwestern
Michigan vs. Indiana (CBS, 4:05 p.m.). Indiana
CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday, March 15
Northwestern vs. Indiana (CBS, 3:30 p.m.). INDIANA.

Reality Bracket:

FIRST ROUND
Thursday, March 12
No. 8 Minnesota vs. No. 9 Northwestern (BTN, noon). Northwestern
No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Iowa (ESPN2, 2:30 p.m.). Michigan
No. 6 Penn State vs. No. 11 Indiana (ESPN2, 5 p.m.). Penn State
QUARTERFINALS
Friday, March 13
No. 1 Michigan State vs. Northwestern (ESPN, noon). Michigan State
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Ohio State (ESPN, 2:30 p.m.). Ohio State
No. 2 Illinois vs. Michigan (BTN, 6:30 p.m.). Illinois
No. 3 Purdue vs. Penn State (BTN, 9 p.m.). Penn State
SEMIFINALS
Saturday, March 14
Michigan State vs. Ohio State (CBS, 1:40 p.m.). Michigan State
Illinois vs. Penn State (CBS, 4:05 p.m.). Illinois
CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday, March 15Michigan State vs. Illinois (CBS, 3:30 p.m.). MICHIGAN STATE.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Book - Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal by Ian Christe

Well, my fears were realized with I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto by Dave Thompson. I plowed through it more quickly than Jack the Ripper through East End hookers (too soon?), hoping to find some deep, insightful reason why Thompson hates any music made after some indeterminate date in 1976. I found none. Instead, it was what I had feared: a middle-aged curmudgeon who hates new music because it's not old music. As I said before, I love old music. And I also love new music. I don't exclude or limit my tastes or opinions based on the copyright date of a song or album.

Thompson is funny and clever, no doubt (his chapter discussing Bono is pretty hilarious), and I enjoyed many of his discussions about classic rockers, but his book lacks the in-depth "why" analysis I was hoping for. He lauds the likes of 8-tracks, Black Oak Arkansas, Frampton Comes Alive, and songs that fill an entire side of a record, while disparaging CDs, all-star benefit concerts, Phish, grunge, the '80s, and nearly all other music made after 1976 (except, of course, for certain post-1976 music by classic rockers). Some of his arguments hold some water. I certainly agree that most old music is great, and it sure is neato that some 8-tracks contain songs or extended tracks that are unavailable on any other medium.

However, his basal argument is that any new music is influenced by classic rock and, therefore, new music is unoriginal and, therefore, new music sucks. This argument is as idiotic as it sounds. Of course musicians are influenced by past musicians. That's why they become musicians in the first place -- because they like music. Of course, he failed to explain why the musicians of the sixties and seventies were any different, since they drew their influences from the musicians of the fifties (as well as their contemporaries), and the musicians of the fifties drew their influences from the blues and early country music, and those musicians drew their influence from old spirituals and folk music. I guess all music must suck. Look, I understand that a lot of classic rock bands did things that had never been done before, and that, as a result, it is much harder for new bands to do something that has never been done before, but that doesn't make post-classic rock music any less important, artistic, or relevant than classic rock. Such a blanket lambast of all music made after 1976 is simply lazy.

I was hoping for a well-rounded, intelligent argument. Instead, I got a narrow-minded, meandering 200-page old man rant. It was a complete letdown and a waste of time and money. I disliked it enough that I nearly threw it into the "Donate a Book" bin outside the Dominick's on my walk home from the L the other day. And if you think I'm being too harsh, Thompson, in an appendix to the book, lists what he thinks are the 100 greatest classic rock songs (1968-1976; not including Beatles songs). Number 65 is "Witchy Woman" by The Eagles. You have got to be kidding me. I think I can name approximately 10,000 pre-1976 songs and 10,000 post-1976 songs that are better than "Witchy Woman." Any credibility is out the door when you include that in your Top 100, not to mention the fact that "Show Me The Way" by Peter Frampton and "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac are in his top 20.

To heal my wounds, my next book is Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal by Ian Christe. Me loves the metal, and I know a lot about its history, but it can never hurt to know more. And I can guaran-damn-tee that there will be no praising of "Witchy Woman" in this book.


Books read in 2009:
The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis
Oh The Glory of It All by Sean Wilsey
I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto by Dave Thompson

Championship Week Predictions update

I'm currently 5-8. Who would have thought that both Butler (#1 seed in Horizon) and Weber State (#1 seed in Big Sky) both would have lost at home? The answer is not me.

Also, as if you didn't need another reason to root for the Alabama State Hornets in the SWAC Tournament, I give you the greatest of all-time: Chief Kickingstallionsims. He is a 7-1 senior center for the Hornets, and this is his last chance to make the big dance. I want to hear his name during the NCAA tournament, perhaps in a first-round upset of North Carolina ("And Chief Kickingstallionsims dunks on Hansbrough again").

ACC -- Atlanta -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: North Carolina (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

America East -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-8, 14
Predicted winner: Vermont (#2 seed; lost in quarterfinals to #7 Albany)
Actual winner:

Atlantic Sun -- Nashville -- March 4-7
Predicted winner: Belmont (#3 seed; lost in semis to #2 East Tennessee State)
Actual winner: East Tennessee State

Atlantic 10 -- Atlantic City, N.J. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Dayton (#3 seed)
Actual winner:

Big East -- New York -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Pittsburgh (#2 seed)
Actual winner:

Big Sky -- Ogden, Utah -- March 7, 10-11
Predicted winner: Weber State (#1 seed; lost in semis to #6 Montana State)
Actual winner:

Big South -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 3, 5, 7
Predicted winner: VMI (#2 seed; lost in finals to #1 Radford)
Actual winner: Radford

Big Ten -- Indianapolis -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Indiana (#11 seed)
Actual winner:

Big 12 -- Oklahoma City -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Oklahoma (#2 seed)
Actual winner:

Big West -- Anaheim, Calif. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: CSU-Northridge (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Colonial -- Richmond, Va. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: VCU (#1 seed)
Actual winner: VCU

Conference USA -- Memphis -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Memphis (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Horizon -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 6-7, 10
Predicted winner: Butler (#1 seed; lost in finals to #3 Cleveland State)
Actual winner: Cleveland State

Ivy League -- No Tournament
Winner: Cornell

MAAC -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Siena (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Siena

MAC -- Cleveland -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Akron (#5 seed)
Actual winner:

MEAC -- Winston-Salem, N.C. -- March 9-14
Predicted winner: Morgan State (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Missouri Valley -- St. Louis -- March 5-8
Predicted winner: Creighton (#2 seed; lost in semis to #3 Illinois State)
Actual winner: Northern Iowa

Mountain West -- Las Vegas -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: BYU (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Northeast -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 5, 8, 11
Predicted winner: Robert Morris (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Ohio Valley -- Nashville -- March 3, 6-7
Predicted winner: UT-Martin (#1 seed; lost in semis to #4 Morehead State)
Actual winner: Morehead State

Pac-10 -- Los Angeles -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: UCLA (#2 seed)
Actual winner:

Patriot -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 8, 13
Predicted winner: American (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

SEC -- Tampa, Fla. -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: LSU (#W1 seed -- the SEC has East and West seeding)
Actual winner:

Southern -- Chattanooga, Tenn. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Davidson (#S1 seed -- the SoCon has North and South seeding; lost in semis to #S3 College of Charleston)
Actual winner: Chattanooga

Southland -- Katy, Texas -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Stephen F. Austin (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Summit -- Sioux Falls, S.D. -- March 7-10
Predicted winner: North Dakota State (#1 seed)
Actual winner: North Dakota State

Sun Belt -- Hot Springs, Ark. -- March 4, 7-10
Predicted winner: Western Kentucky (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Western Kentucky

SWAC -- Birmingham, Ala. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Alabama State (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

WAC -- Reno -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Utah State (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

West Coast -- Las Vegas -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Gonzaga (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Gonzaga

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Top Ten: St. Patrick's Day Songs

Yes, I know St. Patrick's Day isn't until next Tuesday, but everyone in these parts celebrates St. Patty's Day the weekend before, whether it's drinking all day on Saturday, or drinking all day on Sunday, or drinking all day on Saturday and Sunday. No matter what, it's a fitting tribute to a man who ridded the Emerald Isle of snakes.

In addition to a strong drinking tradition, the Irish have a wonderfully strong musical tradition. The list I've compiled below are rock songs that I plan to listen to on St. Patrick's Day (and certainly the weekend before). They aren't necessarily all by Irish musicians or about Ireland, but they nonetheless make for some good listening. So, without further ado, here are my Top Ten St. Patrick's Day songs, in no particular order.

10. "Whiskey in the Jar" by Thin Lizzy.
You can't have a list involving Irish music without this traditional Irish folk song or without Ireland's greatest rockers (take that, U2!). "Whiskey in the Jar" is a story of an Irish highwayman who is betrayed by his woman. Man, I've been there. It was a No. 1 hit in Ireland for 17 straight weeks in 1972 and a top ten hit on the UK charts a year later.

9. "Shamrocks and Shenanigans" by House of Pain.
Boom shalock lock boom! This song may not be the most lyrically or musically complex offering on this list, but its title does represent what St. Patrick's Day is all about (aside from banishing snakes).

8. "Danny Boy" by Johnny Cash.
There are many versions of "Danny Boy," but I'm a fan of this one because it's from one of the Man in Black's final albums (2002's American IV: The Man Come Around), and it sounds like Cash is singing for his own impending funeral. It's eerie, but beautiful at the same time.

7. "Drunken Lullabies" by Flogging Molly.
Along with Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly are the leaders of the modern Celtic punk genre (which is interesting, considering their lead singer, Dave King, was once the high-wailing singer of early '80s metal band Fastway). Anyway, this song is high-energy, fun as hell, and has been featured in St. Patrick's Day beer commercials (Killian's, I believe, which is interesting, considering Killian's isn't an Irish beer, kind of sucks, and is the reason Caffrey's is no longer imported into the U.S. Thanks Coors. Fear not, there is a Facebook group that supports bringing Caffrey's back to the U.S. (thanks to Adam and Christoff for simultaneously inviting me to join). Join it. Now. I would -- and will -- murder for a Caffrey's.).

6. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2.
To combat the fun-loving, drinking-themed songs, one must only look as far as Ireland's most popular rockers to bring you back down to the intra-island strife that has plagued Ireland since Partition (and even before). "Sunday Bloody Sunday" has always been one of my favorite U2 songs. It's about the 1972 event in Derry, Northern Ireland, where British troops shot at unarmed civil rights marchers, killing 13 (interestingly, this is one of several "Bloody Sundays" throughout modern Irish history).

5. "The Way Young Lovers Do" by Van Morrison.
It was tough trying to pick a Van Morrison song for this list. "Brown-Eyed Girl" is too cliché, the entire Moondance album is great, but none of the songs seemed to fit with a St. Patrick's Day theme. Thus, I went with one of my favorites off of Astral Weeks, "The Way Young Lovers Do," since it's upbeat and generally all right.

4. "Alternative Ulster" by Stiff Little Fingers.
This is just a great, catchy punk song by Belfast-based Stiff Little Fingers. The opening riff has shades of Irish influences, before busting into a frenzied song -- written at the height of the IRA/Unionist violence -- encouraging the citizens of Ulster (that's Northern Ireland for those unfamiliar with Irish history) to bring about a positive change to the violence.

3. "Streams of Whiskey" by The Pogues.
A St. Patrick's Day list wouldn't be complete without The Pogues. This song seemed like a fitting one to include, since I plan on bathing myself in streams of whiskey on Saturday. Another solid Pogues choice would have been "The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn," so I included that in the playlist too.

2. "Kiss Me I'm Shitfaced" by Dropkick Murphys.
The title says it all. I also included on the playlist their more famous song, "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," which was featured in The Departed and now, unfortunately, at Red Sox games.

1. "Róisín Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend" by Thin Lizzy.
From the Irish Gaelic title based on a Sixteenth Century Irish political song to the bombastic dueling lead guitars to the moment Phil Lynott's vocals kick in ("Tell me the legends of long ago . . .") to the Irish-influenced guitar break to the "yeeeeeeeep" during the guitar break to the post-guitar break moment when Lynott's vocal kick in again ("Oohhhhhhhh, tell me the legends of long ago . . .") and the following ode to all things Irish, from folklore to literature to music, this is an undying, Irish epic and (as if you couldn't tell) one of my favorite Thin Lizzy songs.



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Championship Week Predictions update

Okay, so my self-proclamation as Nostratacus may have been a little premature. Thus far I am 3-6. Thanks for nothing Vermont, VMI, Davidson, Creighton, Belmont, and UT-Martin.

ACC -- Atlanta -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: North Carolina (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

America East -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-8, 14
Predicted winner: Vermont (#2 seed; lost in quarterfinals to #7 Albany)
Actual winner:

Atlantic Sun -- Nashville -- March 4-7
Predicted winner: Belmont (#3 seed; lost in semis to #2 East Tennessee State)
Actual winner: East Tennessee State

Atlantic 10 -- Atlantic City, N.J. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Dayton (#3 seed)
Actual winner:

Big East -- New York -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Pittsburgh (#2 seed)
Actual winner:

Big Sky -- Ogden, Utah -- March 7, 10-11
Predicted winner: Weber State (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Big South -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 3, 5, 7
Predicted winner: VMI (#2 seed; lost in finals to #1 Radford)
Actual winner: Radford

Big Ten -- Indianapolis -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Indiana (#11 seed)
Actual winner:

Big 12 -- Oklahoma City -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Oklahoma (#2 seed)
Actual winner:

Big West -- Anaheim, Calif. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: CSU-Northridge (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Colonial -- Richmond, Va. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: VCU (#1 seed)
Actual winner: VCU

Conference USA -- Memphis -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Memphis (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Horizon -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 6-7, 10
Predicted winner: Butler (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Ivy League -- No Tournament
Winner: Cornell

MAAC -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Siena (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Siena

MAC -- Cleveland -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Akron (#5 seed)
Actual winner:

MEAC -- Winston-Salem, N.C. -- March 9-14
Predicted winner: Morgan State (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Missouri Valley -- St. Louis -- March 5-8
Predicted winner: Creighton (#2 seed; lost in semis to #3 Illinois State)
Actual winner: Northern Iowa

Mountain West -- Las Vegas -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: BYU (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Northeast -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 5, 8, 11
Predicted winner: Robert Morris (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Ohio Valley -- Nashville -- March 3, 6-7
Predicted winner: UT-Martin (#1 seed; lost in semis to #4 Morehead State)
Actual winner: Morehead State

Pac-10 -- Los Angeles -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: UCLA (#2 seed)
Actual winner:

Patriot -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 8, 13
Predicted winner: American (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

SEC -- Tampa, Fla. -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: LSU (#W1 seed -- the SEC has East and West seeding)
Actual winner:

Southern -- Chattanooga, Tenn. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Davidson (#S1 seed -- the SoCon has North and South seeding; lost in semis to #S3 College of Charleston)
Actual winner: Chattanooga

Southland -- Katy, Texas -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Stephen F. Austin (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Summit -- Sioux Falls, S.D. -- March 7-10
Predicted winner: North Dakota State (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

Sun Belt -- Hot Springs, Ark. -- March 4, 7-10
Predicted winner: Western Kentucky (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

SWAC -- Birmingham, Ala. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Alabama State (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

WAC -- Reno -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Utah State (#1 seed)
Actual winner:

West Coast -- Las Vegas -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Gonzaga (#1 seed)
Actual winner: Gonzaga

Big Ten Tournament Predictions

The Big Ten regular season has finally wilted and died, and the Big Ten Tournament is set to begin this Thursday in Indianapolis. Here are the final regular season standings:

1. Michigan State: 15-3
2 (tie). Illinois: 11-7
2 (tie). Purdue: 11-7
4 (tie). Ohio State: 10-8
4 (tie). Penn State: 10-8
4 (tie). Wisconsin: 10-8
7 (tie). Michigan: 9-9
7 (tie). Minnesota: 9-9
9. Northwestern: 8-10
10. Iowa: 5-13
11. Indiana: 1-17

And here is the Big Ten Tournament bracket, with my predictions.

FIRST ROUND
Thursday, March 12
No. 8 Minnesota vs. No. 9 Northwestern (BTN, noon). Northwestern
No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Iowa (ESPN2, 2:30 p.m.). Michigan
No. 6 Penn State vs. No. 11 Indiana (ESPN2, 5 p.m.). Indiana
QUARTERFINALS
Friday, March 13
No. 1 Michigan State vs. Northwestern (ESPN, noon). Northwestern
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Ohio State (ESPN, 2:30 p.m.). Ohio State
No. 2 Illinois vs. Michigan (BTN, 6:30 p.m.). Michigan
No. 3 Purdue vs. Indiana (BTN, 9 p.m.). Indiana
SEMIFINALS
Saturday, March 14
Northwestern vs. Ohio State (CBS, 1:40 p.m.). Northwestern
Michigan vs. Indiana (CBS, 4:05 p.m.). Indiana
CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday, March 15
Northwestern vs. Indiana (CBS, 3:30 p.m.). INDIANA.

And now that the mescaline has worn off, here are my actual predictions.

FIRST ROUND
Thursday, March 12
No. 8 Minnesota vs. No. 9 Northwestern (BTN, noon). Northwestern
No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Iowa (ESPN2, 2:30 p.m.). Michigan
No. 6 Penn State vs. No. 11 Indiana (ESPN2, 5 p.m.). Penn State
QUARTERFINALS
Friday, March 13
No. 1 Michigan State vs. Northwestern (ESPN, noon). Michigan State
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Ohio State (ESPN, 2:30 p.m.). Ohio State
No. 2 Illinois vs. Michigan (BTN, 6:30 p.m.). Illinois
No. 3 Purdue vs. Penn State (BTN, 9 p.m.). Penn State
SEMIFINALS
Saturday, March 14
Michigan State vs. Ohio State (CBS, 1:40 p.m.). Michigan State
Illinois vs. Penn State (CBS, 4:05 p.m.). Illinois
CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday, March 15
Michigan State vs. Illinois (CBS, 3:30 p.m.). MICHIGAN STATE.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Thorsiris

Everyone knows that my second-born son will be named Leon. Well, I've now found a name for my first-born son. Jester and I went to Rocks this afternoon for some lunch and to watch the MVC championship game with Alex and the Anonymous Wife of Alex (who is an Illinois State grad). ISU's star guard is named Osiris Eldrige. Osiris, of course, was (and probably still is) the Egyptian god of the dead. I thought that was a pretty badass name. Can you imagine his first day of kindergarten when some stupid classmate asks him, "Osiris? What does that mean?" And then his answer, as he stares into the other kid's soul, is "God of the dead." But I've also always thought Thor would be a pretty cool name, so why not Osiris as a first name and Thor as a middle name? Thor, of course, is the keeper of the hammer of the gods.

But then, I thought of an even more badass name: Thorsiris. No middle name, no last name. Just Thorsiris. The hammer of the god of death.

Springing Forward

For some reason, I am overly excited -- and have been anticipating with glee for weeks -- springing forward. Perhaps it's because this winter has been an unforgiving dominatrix. Not a day over 30 in January? Filthy and unacceptable. Foot after foot of snow? Not cool, figuratively. Saturday Night Live? Terrible. Anyway, don't forget to set your clocks forward and change the batteries in your vibrator or whatever.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Creed

No, this post isn't about the worst band of the past fifteen years. Rather, it's about Creed Bratton, the lovable, off-the-wall oaf who plays a fictionalized version of himself on The Office. I just found out that he was a member of '60s rock band The Grass Roots (of "Midnight Confessions," "Let's Live For Today," and "Wait a Million Years" fame -- he left the band before "Temptation Eyes," otherwise I would have mentioned that too, which I just did, so I guess it's a non-issue). Who knew? In case you're hard of facial recognition, Creed is the second from the left.

This might now be a close second in my favorite tidbit of rock and roll trivia. Number one, of course, is that the female vocals in Meat Loaf's epic "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" are not sung by Karla DeVito (the woman in the song's video and who preformed the song in concerts), but are actually sung by Ellen Foley, who played the sassy public defender Billie Young on Night Court (before Markie Post's character supplanted her beginning in the third season).

Championship Week Predictions update

As I'm sure you've heard by now, my Championship Week predictions post has been critically lauded as "the most in-depth analysis of Championship Week that GMYH posted last week," "a masterpiece in classic irony," "almost as funny as Paul Blart: Mall Cop," and "fun for the whole family, assuming, of course, you mean the Manson Family." Therefore, it is my desire -- no, my duty -- to provide updates about the prescience of my predictions. Squeaky Fromme be damned! Thus far, I am 0-0. I am Nostradamus, but I am also Spartacus. Thus, I am Nostratacus.

ACC -- Atlanta -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: North Carolina
Actual winner:

America East -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-8, 14
Predicted winner: Vermont
Actual winner:

Atlantic Sun -- Nashville -- March 4-7
Predicted winner: Belmont
Actual winner:

Atlantic 10 -- Atlantic City, N.J. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Dayton
Actual winner:

Big East -- New York -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Pittsburgh
Actual winner:

Big Sky -- Ogden, Utah -- March 7, 10-11
Predicted winner: Weber State
Actual winner:

Big South -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 3, 5, 7
Predicted winner: VMI
Actual winner:

Big Ten -- Indianapolis -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Indiana. Goin' dancin'! Deal with it.
Actual winner:

Big 12 -- Oklahoma City -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Oklahoma
Actual winner:

Big West -- Anaheim, Calif. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: CSU-Northridge
Actual winner:

Colonial -- Richmond, Va. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: VCU
Actual winner:

Conference USA -- Memphis -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Memphis
Actual winner:

Horizon -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 6-7, 10
Predicted winner: Butler
Actual winner:

Ivy League -- No Tournament
Geeks!

MAAC -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Siena
Actual winner:

MAC -- Cleveland -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Akron
Actual winner:

MEAC -- Winston-Salem, N.C. -- March 9-14
Predicted winner: Morgan State
Actual winner:

Missouri Valley -- St. Louis -- March 5-8
Predicted winner: Creighton
Actual winner:

Mountain West -- Las Vegas -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: BYU
Actual winner:

Northeast -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 5, 8, 11
Predicted winner: Robert Morris
Actual winner:

Ohio Valley -- Nashville -- March 3, 6-7
Predicted winner: UT-Martin
Actual winner:

Pac-10 -- Los Angeles -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: UCLA
Actual winner:

Patriot -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 8, 13
Predicted winner: American
Actual winner:

SEC -- Tampa, Fla. -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: LSU
Actual winner:

Southern -- Chattanooga, Tenn. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Davidson
Actual winner:

Southland -- Katy, Texas -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Stephen F. Austin
Actual winner:

Summit -- Sioux Falls, S.D. -- March 7-10
Predicted winner: North Dakota State
Actual winner:

Sun Belt -- Hot Springs, Ark. -- March 4, 7-10
Predicted winner: Western Kentucky
Actual winner:

SWAC -- Birmingham, Ala. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Alabama State
Actual winner:

WAC -- Reno -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Utah State
Actual winner:

West Coast -- Las Vegas -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Gonzaga
Actual winner:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Updated Big Ten Tournament projections

Here are some updated projected Big Ten Tournament seeds, along with the Big Ten standings, each team's remaining games, who I think will win, and each team's projected final record, followed by a projected Big Ten Tournament bracket. I changed some predictions, so watch out!

Michigan St. (14-3): Purdue (W). Projected record: 15-3
Purdue (11-6): at Michigan State (L). Projected record: 11-7
Illinois (11-7): Regular season over.
Penn St. (10-7): at Iowa (W). Projected record: 11-7
Wisconsin (9-8): Indiana (W). Projected record: 10-8
Ohio St. (9-8): Northwestern (W). Projected record: 10-8
Minnesota (9-8): Michigan (W). Projected record: 10-8
Michigan (8-9): at Minnesota (L). Projected record: 8-10
Northwestern (8-9): at Ohio State (L). Projected record: 8-10
Iowa (4-13): Penn State (L). Projected record: 4-14
Indiana (1-16): at Wisconsin (L). Projected record: 1-17.

Projected final regular season standings:
1. Michigan St.: 15-3 (has clinched #1 seed)
2. Penn St.: 11-7 (3-1 vs. Ill. and Pur.)
3. Illinois: 11-7 (2-2 vs. Pur. and PSU)
4. Purdue: 11-7 (1-3 vs. Ill. and PSU)
5. Minnesota: 10-8 (3-1 vs. OSU and Wisconsin)
6. Wisconsin: 10-8 (1-2 vs. OSU and Minnesota, but 1-0 vs. OSU)
7. Ohio St.: 10-8 (1-2 Wisconsin and Minnesota, but 0-1 vs. Wisconsin)
8. Michigan: 8-10 (holds tiebreaker because of 2-0 record vs. Northwestern)
9. Northwestern: 8-10
10. Iowa: 4-14 (has clinched #10 seed)
11. Indiana: 1-17 (has clinched #11 seed)

Projected bracket:
8. Michigan
9. Northwestern
Winner plays #1 Michigan State

4. Purdue
5. Minnesota

6. Wisconsin
11. Indiana
Winner plays #3 Illinois

7. Ohio State
10. Iowa
Winner plays #2 Penn State

Come On Jerry Angelo

So what you're telling me is that the Bears could conceivably have Jay Cutler, Marvin Harrison, and Terrell Owens this season?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Come. Uppance.

In case you haven't seen this, it is pretty solid. Thanks to Gregerson and Gsell for simultaneously sending me the link.


Apparently, the video is not fit for this blog, so if you want to see the whole screen, here is the link.

Championship Week Predictions

I've been so caught up in not being chosen as a finalist for the Best Job in the World that I missed the beginning of Championship Week, which kicked off last night with the first rounds of the Big South and Ohio Valley Conference tournaments. As you know, I am a spaz about college basketball, especially come March. In my mind, there is nothing better in sports than Championship Week and the NCAA Tournament.

Anyway, because you care (I assume you rely heavily on me when wagering on college basketball), and because I have proven my Nostrdamic abilities time and time again, here is a rundown of each conference tournament, along with my prediction about who will win.

ACC -- Atlanta -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: North Carolina
Actual winner:

America East -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-8, 14
Predicted winner: Vermont
Actual winner:

Atlantic Sun -- Nashville -- March 4-7
Predicted winner: Belmont
Actual winner:

Atlantic 10 -- Atlantic City, N.J. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Dayton
Actual winner:

Big East -- New York -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Pittsburgh
Actual winner:

Big Sky -- Ogden, Utah -- March 7, 10-11
Predicted winner: Weber State
Actual winner:

Big South -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 3, 5, 7
Predicted winner: VMI
Actual winner:

Big Ten -- Indianapolis -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Indiana. Goin' dancin'!
Actual winner:

Big 12 -- Oklahoma City -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Oklahoma
Actual winner:

Big West -- Anaheim, Calif. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: CSU-Northridge
Actual winner:

Colonial -- Richmond, Va. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: VCU
Actual winner:

Conference USA -- Memphis -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Memphis
Actual winner:

Horizon -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 6-7, 10
Predicted winner: Butler
Actual winner:

Ivy League -- No Tournament
Geeks!

MAAC -- Albany, N.Y. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Siena
Actual winner:

MAC -- Cleveland -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Akron
Actual winner:

MEAC -- Winston-Salem, N.C. -- March 9-14
Predicted winner: Morgan State
Actual winner:

Missouri Valley -- St. Louis -- March 5-8
Predicted winner: Creighton
Actual winner:

Mountain West -- Las Vegas -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: BYU
Actual winner:

Northeast -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 5, 8, 11
Predicted winner: Robert Morris
Actual winner:

Ohio Valley -- Nashville -- March 3, 6-7
Predicted winner: UT-Martin
Actual winner:

Pac-10 -- Los Angeles -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: UCLA
Actual winner:

Patriot -- Campus sites (higher seeds) -- March 4, 8, 13
Predicted winner: American
Actual winner:

SEC -- Tampa, Fla. -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: LSU
Actual winner:

Southern -- Chattanooga, Tenn. -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Davidson
Actual winner:

Southland -- Katy, Texas -- March 12-15
Predicted winner: Stephen F. Austin
Actual winner:

Summit -- Sioux Falls, S.D. -- March 7-10
Predicted winner: North Dakota State
Actual winner:

Sun Belt -- Hot Springs, Ark. -- March 4, 7-10
Predicted winner: Western Kentucky
Actual winner:

SWAC -- Birmingham, Ala. -- March 11-14
Predicted winner: Alabama State
Actual winner:

WAC -- Reno -- March 10-14
Predicted winner: Utah State
Actual winner:

West Coast -- Las Vegas -- March 6-9
Predicted winner: Gonzaga
Actual winner: