Thursday, April 30, 2009

Midwestern Eavesdropping - 4/30/09

It's been a while, and they have been stockpiling, so enjoy:

Brother 1: "We know more about Buffett than 95 percent of the population."
Brother 2: "No no no. 99 percent. There are a lot of Asians out there."
--Chicago, Full Shilling, Clark & Waveland
Eavesdropper: Bonham

Twentysomething female: "Did he say he is singing the song 'Anal Sunshine'?"
Everyone else in the room: "No, the song 'Ain't No Sunshine."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thirtysomething guy walks into bar, sits down with friends, notices that all TVs are showing NBA games, and says, in all seriousness: "Can a brother get an NIT game up in here?"
--Chicago, Rocks, 1301 W. Schubert
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething attorney: "Wait, what do you do?"
Twentysomething female grad student: "I'm in school for physical therapy. You should see our cadaver lab. There are fetuses in jars. They're full of them. I can bring you there."
--Chicago, Astor & Banks
Eavesdropper: RobD

Third-grade teacher letting her inner monologue fail her while watching Dancing With the Stars: "I want to be a dancer & not a whore."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Two women and a man converse in an office building elevator:
Woman 1: "So, from what part of New York are you originally from?"
Man: "Actually, I'm from [BlaBla], a suburb in New Jersey."
Woman 1 and 2 (disappointed): "Oooh."
Woman 2: "Well at least you got rid of the accent -- 'cause, you know, it's just necessary."
--Chicago, 33 W. Wacker
Eavesdropper: Damyell

Twentysomething female: "When did Boyz II Men get so black? [pause] Oh, that's Backstreet Boys that are white. Whoops."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Drunk thirtysomething at apartment party, yelling to girls across the street leaving pizza place: "You have no idea how good my sex with your pizza would be."
--Chicago, Diversey & Racine
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Husband and wife discuss the fact that their dog may need surgery:
Husband: "[The dog] would need a little doggie anesthetic."
Wife: "No [Husband], he would need anesthesia."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Marshall's employee over the store-wide PA system: "For the customer waiting to use the restroom, please be patient. There is someone in there."
--Chicago, Marshall's, Clark & Halsted
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething female to her dog, referring to the cheese fries she just devoured: "I didn't give you any. Don't worry, I have some in my teeth."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Polish girl: "The Baltic is really salty."
Guy: "Really?"
Polish girl: "I got food poisoning one time. From cherries."
--Chicago, Trinity Bar, Halsted & Diversey
Eavesdropper: RobD

Random dude noticing a very long beer line before a Flight of the Conchords concert: "I feel like we should have brought heroin or something."
--Chicago, Arie Crown Theater
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Bachelor at his bachelor party: "You get drunker if you drink through a straw, right?"
--somewhere in Iowa
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Random married dude at a bachelor party: "All I think about is fucking someone else."
--somewhere in Iowa
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

So there you have it. Thanks to everyone who contributed. For everyone else, keep those ears open, and when you overhear something funny or that can be taken completely out of context, email it to for inclusion in the next Midwestern Eavesdropping, which hopefully won't take another month next time around.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday Top Ten: Bea Arthur Roles

10. New Deal fanatic
9. Dewey's babysitter
8. Larry David's mom
7. Bernice Frankel
6. Fetus slayer
5. Dude
4. Butt of joke during celebrity roasts
3. Celebrity roaster
2. Dorothy Zbornak
1. Pet scorpion

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thank You For Being a Friend

This weekend was one of ups and downs. Friday, I was looking through a girly magazine. You can imagine my shock and dismay when there's my homeroom angel on the pages in-between. My blood ran cold. Then I turn on the TV and come to find out that it's now extremely unsafe to have sex with pigs.

Friday evening, I went to Pasta Palazzo with Jester, Lizzie, and Liz, leaving them mid-meal to head to Old Town (which should really be spelled Olde Towne) to meet up with two Australians and a girl named Heather, with whom I saw "America: All Better" at Second City's main stage.

Having never seen a main stage show before, I was pretty excited, and the show did not disappoint. It was hilarious. The only downfall was when Heather spilled a beer directly onto my pants, and all I could do was sit there and take it because otherwise I would have kneed the old man in front of me and/or accidentally decapitated the dude next to me. Several hours and several post-show beers at the Old Town Ale House later, I was all dry. All in all, a swell night, especially considering Heather knew one of the cast members, so we were able to hang out with him for a while at the aforementioned ale house.

At some point between 9 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday, John and Ari had arrived at my place.

Saturday morning, the ladies went out to the burbs for Ari's shower. Meanwhile, John, Tron, and I headed up to Brownstone Tavern for their annual NFL Draft party, where we met up with some of Tim Weeser*'s friends (and later Tim himself). It was approximately 80 degrees and partly sunny at that point.

Brownstone's draft party is pretty cool. They have a contest revolving around correctly picking the first round. You choose the slot (not the team) where you think each player will end up in the first round, and you get one point for a correct choice in spots 1-10, two points for 11-20, and three points for 21-32. The person with the most points at the end of the first round wins a 40-inch LCD TV, a Blu-Ray player, and a surround sound system. For Tim's friend Austin, this day is Christmas.

Unwilling to come to grips with the Lions picking Matt Stafford, Tron left in disgust, with John following him, taunting Tron by reminiscing about John's one-time hope in Ryan Leaf.

Meanwhile, I tore out to a quick lead, correctly choosing the first 4 picks. Then all hell broke loose. Roger Goodell approached the podium with what should have been an announcement that, with the fifth pick of the 2009 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns had chosen Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji. Instead, he uttered the five words that ultimately destroyed my chances of winning: "There has been a trade." Thanks to the Jets, I got nothing else right in the first ten picks. However, a surprising 3 correct picks in the second ten kept me in contention. Of course, more trades meant that I only got one right in the last twelve, finishing somewhere between second and who cares because it doesn't matter.

On the bright side, they were also having a raffle sponsored by Coors Light, so I won a Coors Light golf pullover and a copy of Madden '09 for PS3. Since I don't have a PS3, I sold it for $20 to a man who may be the closest real-life incarnation of Marshall Eriksen that I have met, meaning that he is a law student originally from Minnesota. Nonetheless, as the afternoon wore on, my chances of winning weren't the only thing dropping.

By the time my friend Dan showed up around 5 or so, the temperature had dropped into the 40s and it was raining. When I left at around 7, I needed my newly acquired Coors Light pullover. Frankly, I could have also used some Coors Light galoshes and a Coors Light hydrofoil.

As if losing the draft contest and a 40-degree temperature drop weren't bad enough, when I got home, a distraught Jessie told me the news: Bea Arthur was dead. "Not again!" I cried, while quickly retreating into a pile of flesh, bones, tears, and urine on the floor of our coat closet.

You see, back in the early part of this decade, I had the pleasure of receiving as a gift a pet scorpion. Not being able to discern whether it was male or female (and having no real desire to try to pick it up), I named it Bea Arthur. It was a formidable pet, but alas, the Midwestern winters were too much for young Bea.

On a Friday afternoon in March 2003, I noticed that Bea wasn't moving. This wasn't particularly extraordinary, since Bea rarely moved, but something just seemed different. I opened the top of her terrarium and sprayed her with water. There was no reaction. Then I fashioned a prodding stick out of several pens and pencils, and some scotch tape. The needlessly violent prodding revealed my worst fear: my beloved Bea Arthur had gone to the eternal humid, densely wooded habitat with a lot of crickets in the sky.

In a daze, I ran upstairs and broke the news to Stoll, one of my roommates (and a fellow Scorpio). Upon hearing the news, he began beating himself upon the head and neck with the now-famous "Scorpio sting" maneuver. When I told Tradd, he punched through a window and grabbed a bird that had been flying outside "because that's what Bea would have done."

I phoned Yeh, who I believe was in Caracas at the time, and he immediately chartered a plane to Bloomington to offer his condolences and help me lay to rest a fellow Scorpio.

The next morning was unseasonably warm, which created a dense fog, not unlike that of the Scottish moors from whence Bea Arthur came. With bagpipes blaring "Amazing Grace" from the stereo speakers through open windows, a funeral procession led by Scorpios made its way from the basement out the side door to put Bea Arthur -- mummified thoroughly in cellophane -- in her final resting place: approximately eight inches below the ground right next to the side door of a four bedroom house on the 500 block of north Grant Street in Bloomington, Indiana. Among the pallbearers were early western stars Tom Mix and William S. Hart. Tom Mix wept.

Then 2Pac's "How Do U Want It?" came on, cutting the dense air like a knife -- or, more appropriately, like a barb filled with venom at the end of a tail that is not fatal to humans. It was her favorite song to listen to when she spent hours on end not killing a cricket while Christoff and I watched her. The comparisons between her like and Tupac Shakur's were not lost on anyone. The only thing we could do to keep ourselves from crying was to throw up a "west side," get shithammered, and dance. It's what she would have wanted.

You can imagine the rush of emotions that came back when Jessie told me that Bea Arthur's namesake, Bea Arthur, had died. Sure, she wasn't a scorpion, or even a Scorpio, but it was still very hard. Sometimes people say stuff like "I wouldn't fuck her with Bea Arthur's dick." Needless to say, it will be a while before I can laugh at that again.

Saturday evening, after getting some wanton soup from Penny's (Bea's favorite -- the scorpion, that is), I fell asleep on my couch until about 11, then headed to bed where, for the next eleven hours, I had scorpion and hermaphrodite-related night terrors.

When I awoke yesterday morning, it was still in the 40s. I spent much of yesterday sobbing and compiling Bea Arthurs Memorials videos. The combination of Bea Arthur's acerbic wit and Bea Arthur's venomous barb made for some very poignant results. Trying anything to keep my mind off of the Beas, I fixed a leaky toilet in our place, after which I turned my attention to the TV, which refused to turn on. After several hours of cursing myself for not winning a new TV the day before, followed by several more hours of reading message boards full of angry Sony TV owners who had experienced the same or similar problems, I downloaded the proper operations manual for my TV and figured out that, instead of winning a new TV with draft prediction prowess, buying a new TV, or paying someone hundreds of dollars to repair my current TV, all I needed to do was tighten some screws. I'm not even kidding.

It's no coincidence that, by late afternoon, the temperature had risen to nearly 80 and it was very humid -- the ideal climate for both an 18-month-old scorpion and an 86-year-old woman. In the mangled words of James Marshall Hendrix, "And the wind cries Bea Arthur." Good night, sweet prince(s).

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Tuesday night was pretty exciting. I broke my personal record for most Australians in my car at one time, doubling my previous effort. Can it get any better than that? The answer, apparently, is a resounding "yes."

Last night, I had the pleasure of going to The Metro with Bohmann and the Brothers Weeser* (minus Greg, of course, which, as explained later, is a bit ironic) to see what was dubbed "The Anvil Experience." I know what you're thinking: "Who goes to see people play anvils? And will GMYH call me "my friend"?"

Well, my friend, Anvil is a Canadian heavy metal band who rose to popularity in the early '80s and were extremely influential on the speed metal and power metal that followed (as well as on less "heavy" genres) -- a formidable bridge between the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Saxon, etc.) and the next generation of speed and thrash (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, etc.). For one reason or another, Anvil didn't achieve the success that so many of the groups they influenced did, and they kind of fell off the radar.

Enter Sacha Gervasi, a former Anvil roadie turned drummer for Bush (before they got big) turned filmmaker and screenwriter. Gervasi decided to make a documentary about Anvil, aptly titled Anvil! The Story of Anvil. If you have watched VH1 Classic at any point over the past few months, then you have probably seen ads for the documentary.

Anywho, The Anvil Experience is a screening of the film, followed by a live performance by the band.

The film follows the band -- focusing primarily on founding members guitarist Lips Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner (no relation to Rob Reiner as far as I know), who have known each other since they were teenagers and love each other (and fight) like brothers -- throughout their average, workaday lives in Ontario, where Kudlow works at a catering company and Reiner works in construction. In addition to the band members themselves, the film interviews the band members' parents, siblings, spouses, children, friends, and fans (in addition to a bunch of famous heavy metal musicians near the beginning of the film). Kudlow and Reiner, despite having made very little money making music and not playing large gigs in 20+ years, have never given up the dream. They live to play heavy metal music, and it doesn't matter if they're playing in front of ten people or ten thousand. Nonetheless, they still desperately yearn to make it as big as they were in the early '80s, when they were sharing bills with the likes of Bon Jovi and the Scorpions.

Their other guitarist, whose name escapes me, is dating an Eastern European woman who acts as the band's manager. Her heart is in the right place, but she's not completely adept at being a manager. She books the band on a five-week tour of Europe, which has its ups and downs, which are often both funny and sad at the same time. The tour ends up making the band very little (if any) money, so the band then returns to their regular lives in Ontario.

Eventually, Lips sends a demo tape (yes, tape) to famed producer Chris Tsangarides, who produced their most successful album, 1982's Metal on Metal (as well as the follow-up, 1983's Forged in Fire). Tsangarides likes the tape enough to agree to produce their next album. Rather than ruin the rest of the film for you, I will just say that the rest of the film centers around the band's attempts to finance the new album, make the new album, and get the album picked up by a major label.

All in all, this was one of the best films (not just documentaries) I've seen in a while. It is both heartwrenching and hilarious, but above all, it's enthralling. There are parts that make you laugh out loud and parts that bring you to the verge of tears, often right next to each other. Even if you don't like heavy metal, you will like this film. It's impossible not to root for these guys. They are just goodhearted, down-to-earth, genuine guys who have a dream and refuse to give up on it. For anyone who has gone (or is going) through a quarter-life crisis or a mid-life crisis, this film will especially hit home.

I know what you're thinking: "What about Greg Weeser*? And, on second thought, I'm not your friend."

Chill out, asshole, I'm gettin' there. As it turns out, Sacha Gervasi is Greg's former boss. Thus, in the "Thanks" section of the credits (not be confused with the preceding "Special Thanks" section), Greg is listed (although his name is misspelled as "Gregg" for reasons that are unclear) right between Lars Ulrich and Gore Verbinski. While I knew who Lars Ulrich was before the "Thanks," I was later informed by one or two of the Brothers Weeser* that Verbinski directed the last three Pirates of the Caribbean movies (among others). Not too shabby, Gregg.

I know what you're thinking: "What about the show? And, sorry about that. I'm just going through some shit right now."

No worries. We've all been there. The post-screening live performance was great. The band only played for about 45 minutes, but those 45 minutes were all metal. They played one song from the album they made in the film, but mostly stuff off of their first three albums. Kudlow has a Cheshire cat grin that rarely disappears from his face when he's on stage. Reiner resembles a more healthy (and taller) Ronnie James Dio. Glenn Five, the bassist, resembles a more jacked version of Tron's friend Shane. I realize that last description holds no frame of reference for most of you, but hey, that's who he looks like. All three of them played with vigor and put on a great show.

For me, though, the highlight of the night came before we even stepped into The Metro. Bohmann, Dan Weeser*, and I stopped by Wrigleyville Dogs (across the street from The Metro) to get some dinner before the show. As Bohmann unleashed his fury on two cheese dogs while I waited patiently for my chicken kebob dinner to be prepared, he noticed some dudes on the other side of the restaurant. Their names? Lips Kudlow, Robb Reiner, and Glenn Five. They were completely normal and gracious, talking to fans, taking pictures, and the like.

Not to be outdone, Tim Weeser* got a picture with Lips outside The Metro after the show.
Afterwards, we went to the Full Shilling and drank some beers, talked about baseball cards and music, and Tim tried to make out with the DJ, who was a 46-year-old man.

All in all, it was a pretty good evening, my friend.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday Top Ten: Best Current MLB Player Names

Some baseball players have better names than others. It's just a fact. Below is the list of what I believe are the ten best names for current MLB players. It's too bad Nick Bierbrodt isn't still in the league. I still can't understand how the Brewers didn't sign him and publicize the hell out of "Bierbrodt Beer and Brat" promotions whenever Bierbrodt were to pitch. It would have been gold!

10. Corey Hart (OF, Milwaukee Brewers).
Even if the Brewers don't have Bierbrodt, they do have a man who wears his sunglasses at night.

9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C, Texas Rangers).
Waiter, I will have the Veal Saltalamacchia please.

8. Lastings Milledge (OF, Washington Nationals).
Before becoming a professional baseball player, Milledge was a Senator from New Hampshire from 1848 to 1854. His debates with Henry Clay were quite memorable.

7. Kiko Calero (P, Florida Marlins).
Even though he is from Puerto Rico, I assume in the off-season (or even every night), he is a Cuban band leader at a swanky Miami nightclub, most
likely called the Copacalero. There is probably a lot of shrieking. Ay ya ya-ya!

6. Jon Coutlangus (P, Arizona Diamondbacks).
I guess it's better than Jon Coutllatio.

5. Colter Bean (P, New York Yankess).
I had two reactions to this name. First, he should star in Westerns. Second, colter bean? I don't even know 'er! I guess that would probably work better if his first name was Flipper, Twirler, or Tonguer. He and Coutlangus should start hanging out.

4. Terrmel Sledge (OF, San Diego Padres).
By day, he is a professional baseball player. By night, he works for the San Diego Police Department's undercover vice squad while wearing a leather jacket, unbuttoned shirts with butterfly collars, gold chains, and a lot of musk. Other guys on the force call him the Sledgehammer, and with good reason. If there's one person drug dealers, prostitutes, and gun runners don't wanna cross, it's Terrmel Sledge.

3. Kosuke Fukudome (OF, Chicago Cubs).
By now it's cliché (at least in Chicago), but it would be inappropriate to downplay the number of vulgarities that can be fashioned from his name (and his last name, in particular).

2. Coco Crisp (OF, Kansas City Royals).
Sure, his real name isn't Coco, but that's what he goes by (his real name is Covelli Loyce Crisp, which actually might be cooler than Coco Crisp). Obviously, 88% of you would prefer this name over Coco Puff.

1. Boof Bonser (P, Minnesota Twins).
If this baseball thing doesn't end up working out, he will have a hell a career in clown porn. Either that, or he should become the real life Kenny Powers.

Honorable mention:
Yorman Bazardo (P, Detroit Tigers)
Hiram Bocachica (OF, San Diego Padres)
Asdrubal Cabrera (2B, Cleveland Indians)
Melky Cabrera (OF, New York Yankess)
Rheal Cormier (P, Cincinnati Reds)
Jair Francoise Jurrjens (P, Atlanta Braves)
Devern Hansack (P, Boston Red Sox)
Radhames Liz (P, Baltimore Orioles)
Levale Speigner (P, Washington Nationals)
Huston Street (P, Colorado Rockies)
Taylor Tankersley (P, Florida Marlins)
Yorvit Torrealba (C, Colorado Rockies)
Yuniesky Betancourt (SS, Seattle Mariners)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Help Chris with Walk Now for Autism

Speaking of walking, good friend, loyal GMYH reader, and special education teacher Chris "Gemkeezi" Gemkow will be participating in Walk Now for Autism.

He is the leader of a team of York High School volunteers that will be participating in the event, which will take place on May 16th at Soldier Field. Its purpose is to raise money and promote awareness for autism research.

If you're interested in supporting the team's efforts to rasie money for Autism Speaks, please click on this link below and make a donation.

If you live in Chicago and are interested in walking with the team, you can join for free at the site by clicking on this link to the Team Page.

Thanks in advance for helping support Chris and this great cause.

Shit I Hate: Bikers

So I'm at the corner of Sheffield and Fullerton the other day, waiting to cross Sheffield while mindlessly thinking about new and creative ways to stab myself in the face. Just as I was thinking "with an uprooted tree trunk dropped from the top of the Space Needle," the red hand turns into a white man walking. This indicates to me that, not only is it safe to cross the street, but also that it's my turn. So I start to cross the street when a biker flies through the intersection (a good two or three seconds after his light had turned red) and swerves to avoid hitting me. Then, this SOB has the gall to look back and glare at me, apparently because I dared to be in his way after he blew through a light that was red before he even got to the intersection.

As a walker and occasional driver, I can say with authority that I hate the vast majority of people who ride bikes. These idiots whip around the city streets without any regard for traffic, pedestrians, or human decency. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone on a bike cruise through a stop sign, even if there is a car (or pea-headed woman with a dog) already halfway through the intersection, or blow through a red light (even in Chicago's six-way intersections), or ride on the sidewalk. And yet somehow there are people who are surprised and outraged when a biker gets hit by a car. Fuck bikers. If you refuse to obey traffic laws, expect to die. You have no right to complain when you get t-boned by a car that was rightfully using a green light. Burn in hell, where, hopefully, everyone but you rides a bike while you are forced to drive a car, so for eternity you have to deal with the shit you made everyone on earth deal with. And if you are over the age of thirteen and riding your bike on the sidewalk, expect to get knocked over because you are a clown.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Not So Cuckoo

The people have spoken -- correctly, I might add. By a blistering 88%-12% clip, you prefer Cocoa Krispies to Cocoa Puffs. I've never been more proud of my readership.

MLB Playoff Comparison of Divisions: 1999-2008

Because I apparently have time on my hands, in between the working and the crying and the nightly haunting of the neighborhood children's dreams, I have compared the MLB's divisions over the past ten years.

World Series Champions
1. AL East (4): Yankees (1999, 2000); Red Sox (2004, 2007)
2. NL East (2): Marlins (2003); Phillies (2008)
3 (tie). AL Central (1): White Sox (2005)
3 (tie). AL West (1): Angels (2002)
3 (tie). NL Central (1): Cardinals (2006)
3 (tie). NL West (1): Diamondbacks (2001)

World Series Runners Up
1. AL East (3): Yankees (2001, 2003); Rays (2008)
2 (tie). NL East (2): Braves (1999); Mets (2000)
2 (tie). NL Central (2): Astros (2005); Cardinals (2004)
2 (tie). NL West (2): Giants (2002); Rockies (2007)
5. AL Central (1): Tigers (2006)
6. AL West: 0

LCS Participants
1. AL East (11): Yankees (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004); Red Sox (1999, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008); Rays (2008)
2. NL Central (8): Astros (2004, 2005); Cardinals (2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006); Cubs (2003)
3. NL East (7): Braves (1999, 2001); Mets (1999, 2000, 2006); Marlins (2003); Phillies (2008)
4 (tie). AL West (5): Mariners (2000, 2001); A's (2006); Angels (2002, 2005)
4 (tie). NL West (5): Diamondbacks (2001, 2007); Giants (2002); Dodgers (2008); Rockies (2007)
6. AL Central (4): Indians (2007); White Sox (2005); Twins (2002); Tigers (2006)

Playoff participants
1. AL East (16): Yankees (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007); Red Sox (1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008); Rays (2008)
2. NL Central (14): Astros (1999, 2001, 2004, 2005); Cardinals (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006); Cubs (2003, 2007, 2008); Brewers (2008)
3 (tie). AL West (13): Rangers (1999); Mariners (2000, 2001); A's (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006); Angels (2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008)
3 (tie). NL East (13): Braves (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005); Mets (1999, 2000, 2006); Marlins (2003); Phillies (2007, 2008)
3 (tie). NL West (13): Diamondbacks (1999, 2001, 2002, 2007); Giants (2000, 2002, 2003); Dodgers (2004, 2006, 2008); Padres (2005, 2006); Rockies (2007)
6. AL Central (11): Indians (1999, 2001, 2007); White Sox (2000, 2005, 2008); Twins (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006); Tigers (2006)

Number of different World Series champions
1 (tie). AL East (2): Yankees, Red Sox
2 (tie). NL East (2): Marlins, Phillies
3 (tie). AL Central (1): White Sox
3 (tie). AL West (1): Angels
3 (tie). NL Central (1): Cardinals
3 (tie). NL West (1): Diamondbacks

Number of different World Series participants
1. NL East (4): Braves, Mets, Marlins, Phillies
2 (tie). AL East (3): Yankees, Red Sox, Rays
2 (tie). NL West (3): Giants, Rockies, Diamondbacks
4 (tie). NL Central (2): Astros, Cardinals
4 (tie). AL Central (2): Tigers, White Sox
6. AL West (1): Angels

Number of different LCS participants
1 (tie). AL Central (4): Indians, White Sox, Twins, Tigers
1 (tie). NL East (4): Braves, Mets, Marlins, Phillies
1 (tie). NL West (4): Diamondbacks, Giants, Dodgers, Rockies
4 (tie). AL East (3): Yankees, Red Sox, Rays
4 (tie). AL West (3): Mariners, A's, Angels
4 (tie). NL Central (3): Astros, Cardinals, Cubs

Number of different playoff participants
1. NL West (5): Diamondbacks, Giants, Dodgers, Padres, Rockies
2 (tie). AL Central (4): Indians, White Sox, Twins, Tigers
2 (tie). AL West (4): Rangers, Mariners, A's, Angels
2 (tie). NL East (4): Braves, Mets, Marlins, Phillies
2 (tie). NL Central (4): Astros, Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers
6. AL East (3): Yankees, Red Sox, Rays

Number of teams who never made playoffs
1 (tie). AL East (2): Blue Jays, Orioles
1 (tie). NL Central (2): Reds, Pirates
3 (tie). AL Central (1): Royals
3 (tie). NL East (1): Expos/Nationals
5 (tie). AL West (0), NL West (0)

Number of years with a World Series participant
1. AL East (7): 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008
2. NL East (4): 1999, 2000, 2003, 2008
3 (tie). NL Central (3): 2004, 2005, 2006
3 (tie). NL West (3): 2001, 2002, 2007
5. AL Central (2): 2005, 2006
6. AL West (1): 2002

Number of years with at least one LCS participant
1. AL East (7): 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008
2 (tie). NL East (6): 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2008
2 (tie). NL Central (6): 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
4. AL West (5): 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006
5 (tie). AL Central (4): 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007
5 (tie). NL West (4): 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008

Number of years with two LCS participants
1. AL East (4): 1999, 2003, 2004, 2008
2. NL Central (2): 2004, 2005
3 (tie). NL East (1): 1999
3 (tie). NL West (1): 2007
5 (tie). AL Central: 0
5 (tie). AL West: 0

Number of years with two playoff participants
1. AL East (5): 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008
2. NL Central (4): 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008
3 (tie). AL West (3): 2000, 2001, 2002
3 (tie). NL East (3): 1999, 2000, 2003
3 (tie). NL West (3): 2002, 2006, 2007
6. AL Central (1): 2006

Postseason series records (i.e., series victories, not total games won)
1. AL East: 22-12 (.647)
2. NL East: 13-11 (.542)
3. NL Central: 12-13 (.480)
4. NL West: 9-11 (.450)
5. AL Central: 7-10 (.412)
6. AL West: 7-12 (.368)

Postseason series wins
1. AL East (22)
2. NL East (13)
3. NL Central (12)
4. NL West (9)
5 (tie). AL Central, AL West (7)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday Top Ten: Songs Produced by Phil Spector

I was going to do this Top Ten today anyway, since I started reading a Phil Spector biography last week. Of course, it's even more timely now that Spector was convicted yesterday of second-degree murder in his seemingly never-ending murder trial. Before Spector was shooting B-movie actresses that he had just met, he was arguably the greatest producer in rock and roll history. His trademark was, of course, the "Wall of Sound" -- a grandiose stampede of instruments and voices effectively designed to blow the listener away.

These are the ten songs that I think are the best songs produced or co-produced by Phil Spector.

10. "Baby, I Love You" by The Ronettes.
From the moment the song kicks in with the Wall of Sound, this is a masterpiece. And when Ronnie Bennett's introductory wail concludes and she starts into the first verse ("Have I ever told you . . ."), it's one of those perfect moments in a rock and roll that just cuts right through you.

9. "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" by The Ramones.
While this isn't by any means the greatest Ramones song, it has an undeniably catchy (and kitschy) quality to it, harkening back to the fifties with backing "oooohhhs," saxophones, and the like.

8. "Across the Universe" by The Beatles.
Many purists discredit the Spector-produced version of the Let It Be album, calling it over-produced. I'm not pure. I love Spector's version (the most famous version, with choral and orchestral overdubs and slowed down a little) just as much as any other version. All in all, this is a great song by a great band and a great producer. (As this is a Beatles song, it is not on

7. "River Deep - Mountain High" by Ike and Tina Turner.
Just a great song. Unfortunately, this is not on either.

6. "Instant Karma!" by John Lennon.
This is my favorite John Lennon song, and it just kicks you in the ass. Spector keeps it simple when it needs to be simple and loud and complicated when it needs to be loud and complicated.

5. "What Is Life" by George Harrison.
This is my favorite George Harrison song. It starts with a great guitar intro, followed by a blasting horn section and a driving beat throughout.

4. "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" by The Crystals.
After an a cappella intro, the refrain kicks in and smack you in the mouth because, well, you aren't her baby. This is an achingly good song.

3. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Darlene Love.
I have touted the Phil Spector Christmas album ad nauseum, and this song is the crowning jewel of that album. Like a thundering herd of elephants, this songs tramples you with soaring vocals, what sounds like a full orchestra, several different types of drums, and possibly a triangle. Forget Christmas songs, this song is one of the best songs in rock and roll history, period.

2. "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes.
The distinctive drum beat that introduces (and permeates) the song has become one of the most recognizable in rock history. And, as in "Baby, I Love You," Ronnie Bennett's vocals carry the day, piercing you. You will be her baby. As I've previously mentioned, this is one of my top five favorite songs from the sixties.

1. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by The Righteous Brothers.
This song was the most-played song on the radio in the 20th Century, and with good reason. Good God, what a song. Spector brings out Bill Medley's bottom and Bobby Hatfield's wail to perfection, complemented by strings and percussion that don't overshadow the vocals. This song never gets old and never sounds dated.

Just missing the cut: "He's a Rebel" by The Crystals; "Then He Kissed Me" by The Crystals; "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison; "Imagine" by John Lennon

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Monday, April 13, 2009

ESPN Chicago

In case you haven't heard, has launched the first-of-its-kind city-specific ESPN website, ESPN Chicago. Why Chicago, you ask? Well, Scoop Jackson has explained why better than I can.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Resurrection

Lent is over, and with the coming of the Easter Bunny, I can now once again partake in the never-ending joys of the devil's water.

Giving up drinking for Lent actually wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The first weekend was rough, on account of the DTs, but after that it was gravy (meaning I drank gravy instead of beer). I didn't cheat once -- not even a sip. Granted, I gave myself two days of respite, in which I may have made up for the remaining 38 days of sobriety. Whatever. I still lost 8 pounds in 40 days. If I keep up this pace, I will lose an additional 52.6 pounds by the end of the year, weighing less than I have since my freshman year of high school (and probably getting just as much ass as I did then).

In addition to losing some (but certainly not all) of my beer weight, I did accomplish some other things over the last 40 days. For instance, I was able to set a couple personal records on Winter Sports: The Ultimate Challenge on the Wii. And I think I saved a couple hundred bucks. And, despite what my April Fool's ruse may have led you to believe, I did actually finish one thorough edit of my book. Now I just have to enter in all of the edits, find a way to print out over 600 pages again, and repeat the process.

Most importantly, I learned a lot about myself in the last 40 days. The biggest thing I learned is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, I absolutely need alcohol to have fun.

For the remainder of Eastertide, I have the following goals:
  • Write a thank-you card to Rocks for allowing me to hang out there for hours on end without ordering any alcohol.
  • Hunt down everyone who said that I would fail, and tell them I didn't, jerks.
  • I want to be able to legitimately begin a story with the following line: "Things started to get away from me soon after I learned how to make hard-boiled eggs."
  • Enter in all of the changes for my first edit, find a way to print out over 600 pages again, and repeat the process.
  • See the documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil, followed by a live performance by the band.
  • Open a very large beet store called And The Beets Go On.
  • Use fewer puns.
  • See a band at The Vic that's both tragic and hip.
  • As soon as humanly possible, sing some fucking karaoke -- probably an achingly poignant version of "Since You Been Gone" (in the style of Rainbow) dedicated the pint of Newcastle in my hand at the time, after which I will chug the pint, while sobbing.
  • Gain 8 pounds.
  • Attend at least one Triple Crown event in person while wearing a seersucker suit.
  • Attend at least one 500-mile Indy car race in person while wearing a t-shirt and shorts.
  • Kill two birds with one stone, and if I can't, then with two stones.
  • Whenever someone answers a question with "tomorrow," I will respond, "Is it tomorrow [pause and stare awkwardly into his or her eyes] or just the end of time?" I'll then cackle like a villain.
  • Retract goal of using fewer puns.
And stayed tuned for what I plan to do during Ordinary Time. I don't want to give anything away, but let's just say it won't be -- wait for it -- ordinary. Ah-thank you.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Final Four Conference Comparison: the 2000s

Following up on my post from last month comparing the conferences from 1999-2008, since we have crowned the final NCAA champion of this decade, here is a run down of the same stats, updated to include this year (and exclude 1999):

1 (tie). ACC (4): Duke (2001), Maryland (2002), North Carolina (2005, 2009)
2 (tie). Big East (2): Syracuse (2003), UConn (2004)
2 (tie). 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 (4): Illinois (2005), Indiana (2002), Ohio State (2007), Michigan State (2009)
2. Pac-10 (2): Arizona (2001), UCLA (2006)
3 (tie). ACC (1):Georgia Tech (2004)
3 (tie). Big 12 (1): Kansas (2003)
3 (tie). Conference USA (1): Memphis (2008)
3 (tie). SEC (1): Florida (2000)
7 (tie). Big East, Colonial Athletic Association (0)

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

Final Fours
1. ACC (9): Duke (2001, 2004), Georgia Tech (2004), Maryland (2001, 2002), North Carolina (2000, 2005, 2008, 2009)
2. Big Ten (8): Illinois (2005), Indiana (2002), Michigan State (2000, 2001, 2005, 2009), Ohio State (2007), Wisconsin (2000)
3. Big 12 (6): Kansas (2002, 2003, 2008), Oklahoma (2002), Oklahoma State (2004), Texas (2003)
4. Big East (5): UConn (2004, 2009), Georgetown (2007), Syracuse (2003), Villanova (2009)
5 (tie). Pac-10 (4): Arizona (2001), UCLA (2006, 2007, 2008)
5 (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, 2009)
2 (tie). Big East (2): UConn (2004), Syracuse (2003)
2 (tie). 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, Big East (4)
4. 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): 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009
2. Big Ten (6): 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009
3 (tie). Big 12 (4): 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008
3 (tie). Big East (4): 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009
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

Final Four wins
1. ACC: 9
2. Big Ten: 6
3. SEC: 5
4. Big East: 4
5. Big 12: 3
6. Pac-10: 2
7. Conference USA: 1
8. Colonial Athletic Association: 0

Final Four winning percentage
1. SEC: 5-2 (.714)
2. ACC: 9-5 (.643)
3. Big East: 4-3 (.571)
4. Big Ten: 6-7 (.462)
5. Big 12: 3-5 (.375)
6. Pac-10: 2-4 (.333)
7. Conference USA: 1-3 (.250)
8. Colonial Athletic Association: 0-1 (.000)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

New Book - Tearing Down the Wall of Sound by Mick Brown

I finally finished reading Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal by Ian Christe. As expected, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sound of the Beast contains an expansive look at all of metal's main genres, including proto-metal, classic metal, American metal, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, power metal, hair metal, glam metal, speed metal, thrash metal, death metal, alternative metal, avant-garde metal, Norwegian black metal, grindcore, metalcore, nu metal, rap metal, metallic techno, and doom metal, to name a few. While I probably won't ever buy, say, a death metal album, it's still interesting to read about death metal and its underground popularity and impact. One of the most intriguing discussions in the book was about Norwegian black metal. I am fascinated with that particular genre, not so much musically, but more with the intensity of their beliefs and the gravity of their actions (murder, suicide, church burnings, etc.). It's some messed up (but very interesting) stuff. All in all, I highly recommend this book for any metal fan or for anyone who wants to learn more about heavy metal.

I have moved on to Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector by Mick Brown. As many of you are probably aware, Phil Spector is probably the greatest producer in rock and roll history, inventing his famous "Wall of Sound" and producing such acts as The Ronettes, The Crystals, The Righteous Brothers, Ben E. King, Ike & Tina Turner, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, John Lennon, and The Ramones, not to mention the fact that he wrote or co-wrote tons of rock and roll standards, including Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," which had the most radio airplay of any song in the 20th Century. As more of you are probably aware, Phil Spector may have killed B-list actress Lana Clarkson at his home in 2003, and has been on and off trial for murder since then. Spector was eccentric, erratic, and vehemently private, but had let the author interview him back in 2002 for the first time in 25 years. It should be an interesting read.

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

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New Poll: Cocoa Krispies vs. Cocoa Puffs

A couple days ago, a few of us were discussing our favorite cereals. Someone who shall remain nameless mentioned Cocoa Puffs. Someone else commented that he or she preferred Cocoa Krispies over Cocoa Puffs. There was some posturing that followed. Insults were thrown around, as were empty pint glasses. I vowed to settle this debate the only way I know how: with a poll on my blog. So, which do you prefer: Cocoa Krispies (known as Choco Krispis, Choco Krispies, or Coco Pops outside of the United States) or Cocoa Puffs?

No Tuesday Top Ten

I'm too distraught over last night to post a Tuesday Top Ten this week. As a result of Michigan State's bed shitting, I missed out on approximately $801 that should have been mine. Worse yet, I was in a squares pool, and my numbers were 9 and 3. Thanks to some white dude's ill-advised lay-up with a few seconds left -- instead of making a three or drawing the foul and making the free throw -- UNC won 89-72. And with that, I missed out on another $1,000. And then my name wasn't called in the Rocks drawing for a trip to Vegas. These are just the latest in a long list of near misses that have come back to haunt me:

  • In '73, it was between me and Paul Rodgers for lead singer of Bad Company. Needless to say, every time I hear "Feel Like Makin' Love," I feel like making hate (and sometimes ginger snaps, which I can't really explain).
  • In '77, I was almost beaten out by like a million guys just like me, but I just had to be first. The rest, as they say, is a tortured, uneventful, and largely irrelevant history.
  • In '85, Doc Brown let some dude in a puffy orange vest get first choice over me, so he got to go back to 1955, while I was forced to go back to 1973 and try out to be the lead singer of a band that an eight-year-old had no business fronting.
  • In '90, for $2, I could have purchased either a third-year Michael Jordan card, an Emmitt Smith rookie card, or a Ken Griffey, Jr. rookie card, but, I splurged, and for an extra fifty cents, I got a Chris Sabo rookie card instead.
  • In '96, I was passed up by Barry Alvarez for a scholarship that went to some overweight running back whose name escapes me.
  • In 2000, I went to law school, instead of choosing a career path that didn't involve so much daily soul crushing.
  • Between 2002 and 2006, I was told by no fewer than twelve law firms or corporations that "it was between you and one other person and, well . . ."
  • In 2006, I sang "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" at live band karaoke at Piece, but all of the major label A&R reps in the audience got there just after I finished.
So basically, with a few breaks, my obit could have read: "Time traveling platinum-selling Heisman winner who never went to law school, but had twelve law jobs, made hundreds from baseball cards, was re-discovered by EMI at pizzeria, and won a trip to Vegas and nearly $2000 after Michigan State won 2009 NCAA title 99-13, was never conceived." But now, with last night's losses, I have nothing left to live for (aside from my beautiful wife and autistic dog, of course. Oh, and hair band music.).

Thursday, April 02, 2009


I don't know if any of you saw last night's South Park, but apparently Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been reading GMYH. This conclusion is undeniable, as last night's episode was all about queefing. I have long proposed bringing "queef" back into the mainstream lexicon (as it seemed to be in approximately 1989 or 1990, around the time I was in fifth or sixth grade). My hard work has clearly paid off.

I first suggested bringing "queef" back in September 2005 -- only about a month after I started this train wreck I call a blog. In this post, you will see the beginnings of Hair Band Friday, a delightful OC recap (God, I miss it), and a call to arms. Or, more appropriately, a call to queef. A footnote at the end of the post stated, with authority:

I am going to try to bring the word "queef" back to the common usage it enjoyed in its heyday of the late 1980s. The wife and I were having your standard pillow talk last night and we started talking about how we never hear anyone use "queef" anymore. Both of us thought it was a damn shame. Such a great word for such a rare, but utterly vile, deed. Queef!

But the call didn't end there. No no. I have remained vigilant in my queef quest.

On Boxing Day in 2006, I noted that, despite the contention that "the possibilities are endless," Wendy's gift certificates unfortunately could probably not be used to make "the word 'queef' a part of everyday vernacular in the English language."

Last Memorial Day and the Memorial Day before, Christoff and I engaged in extensive discussions about queefing, both of which I chronicled in order to bring publicity to the struggles of living in a world where people don't say "queef" as often as I want them to.

One of my New Years Resolutions for 2009 -- The Year of Feelin' Fine™ -- was to bring back "queef." On January 16 of this year, I brought well-deserved attention to a heavy metal band with the greatest of names: Angel Queef. And as recently as February 23, I implored Catholics around the world to give up not using the term "queef" at least twice a day for Lent.

The culmination of all of my efforts has clearly been recognized by Hollywood. Needless to say, you're welcome. Oh, and Phht! Or, Thhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

On an entirely unrelated note, today would have been my grandpa's 100th birthday. RIP, Basil. I'm sure you would have been proud of what I'm doing here. He liked funny words.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Glorious Day

Whoever said hard work doesn't pay off is a liar. As you may or may not know, I have been writing a book for a while now. Thanks to the lack of drinking during Lent, I was able to finish the final edits and ship it off to a friend who is an agent. I just found out that Random House has agreed to publish it. Not only that, but they're giving me a sizeable advance to write another book -- sizeable enough that I no longer have to be a lawyer. The only thing holding all of this back is today's date.