Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten: Winter Songs

Now that winter's cold bosom has begun to smack us about the head, it is imperative that you have some good music to help you bide your time. These are not holiday songs. I tackled that two years ago. These are simply songs that remind me of winter for one reason or another, whether it's a lyrical reference to something cold or winteresque or some other random reason. A good winter song should have a hint of despair to it, although not all of the songs are downers.

These are in no particular order:

1. "Baby I Love You" by The Ronettes
I don't know what it is about this song that reminds me of winter. Perhaps it's the fact that The Ronettes are featured prominently on Phil Spector's Christmas album (which everyone should own, by the way), or that the intro kind of seems Christmas-y. Ronnie Spector's (nee Bennett) voice soars on this song, and this definitely has that hint of despair I was talking about. This song should be playing during the climax of a romantic comedy, when the hot chick finally realizes the nerdy guy is her one true love, and then they make out in the falling snow right before the credits roll.

2. "There is a Place" by The Beatles
This is a great (and underrated) song off of The Beatles' debut album, Please Please Me. The whole album reminds me of winter because I listened to it religiously right after winter break in 1999. It's an introspective song, about getting away from it all and just having some time to think. Unfortunately, it's not on Playlist.com, but here is a link to the song on YouTube.

3. "Great Expectations" by The Gaslight Anthem
I think this reminds me of winter because I listened to this album a lot last winter. It will always remind me of Daughter's birth, so that's a good thing. Otherwise, I probably would've forgotten, given the mescaline.

4. "Beth" by Kiss
Maybe this reminds me of winter because it was featured in the very underrated movie Beautiful Girls when Paul is removing the snow from Jan's driveway. Maybe it doesn't. You tell me.

5. "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy
This reminds me of winter solely because it was really popular during the winter of 2000. So pervasive was the song that my mom even started singing it. Of course, she was appalled to learn that the line is not "banging on the bathroom door." In addition to the fact that it's one of my favorite winter songs, it also features one of my favorite defenses, which I call "The Shaggy Defense": simply say it wasn't you, even if your girlfriend actually witnesses you having sex with another woman.

6. "Moonlight Mile" by The Rolling Stones
This is kind of a drowsy song, but it's one of my favorite Stones' songs. When I hear it, I imagine walking home from a bar down a snow-covered street on one of those winter nights where everything is practically silent. Listen to it and tell me I'm wrong, and I'll punch you in the teeth.

7. "The Weight" by The Band
I think I equate this song with winter because it mentions Nazareth, and it's about people looking for a place to stay. Whatever the reason, this song is one of rock's all-time classics.

8. "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult
It's a cold and dark song, cowbell or not. You cannot listen to this song when the sun is shining.

9. "Thorn Tree in the Garden" by Derek & The Dominos
As you may or may not know, Derek & The Dominos' Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs is my favorite album of all-time. The whole album reminds me of winter, but no song more than this one, which is the last song on the album. It's an acoustic heartbreaker written and sung by Bobby Whitlock. Listening to the song, you might think it's about Whitlock missing some damn devil woman who left him. In reality, Whitlock wrote it years before the Dominos were formed, after one of his roommates got rid of Whitlock's dog while Whitlock was out. Brutal. This one's not on Playlist.com either, but here is a YouTube link.

10. "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" by The White Stripes
This song is just cold. That's the only way I can describe it.

Honorable mention: "Self Esteem" by Offspring; "Better Man" by Pearl Jam; "The Crystal Ship" by The Doors; "The Way It Is" by Nicole Atkins; "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" by Dusty Springfield; "Baby I'm Yours" by Barbara Lewis; "In the Ghetto" by Elvis Presley; "Anna (Go With Him)" by The Beatles; "Brick" by Ben Folds Five; "Battle of Evermore" by Led Zeppelin

How about you? Any songs you like to listen to during winter?

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Next IU Football Coach

Well, we all knew it was coming. IU fired head football coach Bill Lynch a day after IU defeated Purdue in West Lafayette for the first time since Bill Mallory's last game in 1996. (I was at the 1996 game, by the way, and was knocked over by a Purdue linebacker while storming the field. God, I miss college.)

Lynch is a great guy, a class act, and had one of IU's best recruiting classes in recent memory coming in next year, but unfortunately, his teams had too many near misses (and one too many games in which the Hoosiers gave up 83 points) to survive. Three Big Ten wins in three seasons just doesn't cut it. For Arkansas State's sake, with how easy our non-conference schedule was this year, we set it up so we only needed to win two Big Ten games to be bowl-eligible, and we couldn't even do that. Our near misses in the last two seasons were too much to take (and were the difference between bowl games and losing seasons). Three losses by 7 points or less this season (including a dropped TD catch against Iowa that would have given us six wins). Three losses by 3 points or less in 2009 (and another loss where we were up by 10 on Iowa in the 4th quarter). It's great to be competitive and within a stone's throw of bowl games, but that's not enough. I think I speak for every IU fan when I say that moral victories suck.

The fact of the matter is that no coach has had a winning record at IU since Bo McMillin, who left the Hoosiers after the 1947 season. He is also the only head coach in IU history to have a .500 record or better in Big Ten play. After going to 6 bowls in 8 years under Bill Mallory, the Hoosiers have only been to 1 bowl since 1993 -- their 2007 Insight Bowl loss to Oklahoma State. The Hoosiers' last .500 Big Ten record was a 4-4 effort in 2001 (Antwaan Randle El's senior season), and they have not had a winning Big Ten record since going 5-3 in 1993. Since the Big Ten moved to an 8-game conference slate, IU has won 6 conference games exactly once (1987).

It sounds like IU AD Fred Glass is willing to pay -- gasp -- Big Ten market rates for the next head coach, and that should be music to every IU football fan's ears. We need either a big name or someone with good big-time college football coaching experience. Of course, it doesn't hurt that IU recently updated its stadium and football facilities, which is always helpful in recruiting (both a head coach and players). There is no reason why IU can't be competitive in football. Fifteen to twenty years ago, Wisconsin and Northwestern were perennial bottom dwellers in the Big Ten. Before 1993, Wisconsin had gone to 6 bowls; since then, they've been to 15. Before 1995, Northwestern had gone to 1 bowl; since then, they've been to 7. Each of those programs found the right man for the job, who turned things around. IU needs to find its Barry Alvarez or Gary Barnett.

Here are some names that have been thrown around and some other names I would like to see considered. As you can see, I have a strong preference for someone with previous head coaching experience. Everything's in alphabetical order.

My Top Five
Tommy Bowden (former Clemson and Tulane head coach). Bowden is, of course, the son of former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, and he would bring instant name recognition. A three-time conference coach of the year winner, Bowden never had a losing season in his two years at Tulane and 9+ years at Clemson, compiling a 90-49 overall record and going to 9 bowls (4-5 record). If he's interested (which is a big "if"), I see no reason why not to pursue Bowden.

Paul Chryst (Wisconsin offensive coordinator). Jesus Chryst! Merchandising alone might be a reason to hire the man. Chryst is a Wisconsin alum, working at his alma mater, so I don't know if he would make an in-conference move. That said, he has been Wisconsin's offensive coordinator the past five seasons, and was Oregon State's offensive coordinator before then. This year, the Badgers lead the Big Ten in points per game (and are 4th nationally), are 2nd in the Big Ten (18th nationally) in total offense, are 2nd in the Big Ten (12th nationally) in rushing yards per game, and dropped 70+ points on two Big Ten teams (including IU).

Randy Edsall (Connecticut head coach). In 1999, when Edsall took over the reins, UConn was a D-1AA school. Since then, Edsall has guided the Huskies into D-1A. He has an overall record of 73-69 (and is the school's all-time winningest coach) and, since joining the Big East in 2004, UConn has gone to four bowls (with a 3-1 record). Now, with a victory over South Florida on Saturday, UConn will clinch the Big East title and earn an automatic BCS bowl berth.

Phillip Fulmer (former Tennessee head coach). Fulmer coached the Vols for 16+ seasons, leading Tennessee to the 1998 BCS championship, a 152-52 overall record, and 15 bowl games (8-7 record). Despite having only two losing seasons during his tenure in Knoxville (which were the only two full seasons where his team won fewer than 8 games), Fulmer was fired at the end of the 2008 season, in which his team went 5-7. He has openly admitted that he wants to get back into coaching, although he has said, "I'm not going to go walk into a door somewhere that you have no chance to be successful." Depending on Fulmer's definition of "no chance" and "successful," I think IU would be a perfect fit.

Paul Pasqualoni (current Dallas Cowboys assistant; former Syracuse head coach). Pasqualoni was extremely successful at Syracuse, compiling a 107-59-1 record (and a 6-3 bowl record) in 14 seasons as head coach (with only one losing season) before being fired after the 2004 season (in which Syracuse went to a bowl). He is 61, which means he has a limited shelf life, but also that he has nothing to lose by coming to IU.

Coaches who should be pursued if the Top Five are Unavailable
Troy Calhoun (Air Force head coach). Calhoun has a great record at Air Force (33-18 over four seasons, three bowl games and another one likely on the way), and has experience as an NFL offensive coordinator (with the Houston Texans). He is an Air Force Academy alum, so I'm not sure if he would be willing to leave his alma mater.

Al Golden (Temple head coach). Yes, Temple has a football team. Long one of the laughing stocks of D-1A, Golden has led the Owls' resurgence. After a successful stint as the defensive coordinator at Virginia, Golden was named Temple's head coach in 2005 at the age of 36. The Owls were 1-11 in Golden's first season, but have steadily improved. They joined the MAC in 2006, and tied for the MAC East Division title last season, finishing with a 9-4 record and the school's first bowl game since 1979 (a 30-21 loss to UCLA in the EagleBank Bowl). This year, the Owls are 8-4 and poised to go to their second bowl game in a row for the first time ever. To put this in perspective, before Golden, Temple had been to 2 bowls ever. The bottom line is that Golden can clearly resurrect a program.

Michael Haywood (Miami (OH) head coach). Three of IU's most beloved (and successful) coaches, John Pont, Bill Mallory, and Terry Hoeppner, all cut their teeth at the Cradle of Coaches before coming to IU. That's a pretty good track record. In addition, Haywood has big-program experience, having been Notre Dame's offensive coordinator under Charlie Weis, as well as a running backs coach at Texas and LSU. After a 1-11 season last year (Haywood's first), the Redhawks are currently 8-4 and playing in the MAC Championship Game this Friday against Northern Illinois.

Kevin Sumlin (Houston coach). Sumlin is from Indianapolis and played at Purdue (unfortunately). In three years as Houston's head coach, he is 23-16 and has gone to two bowls (1-1 record). Before that, he was Oklahoma's offensive coordinator. His 5-7 record this year is somewhat of a concern, since the Hoosiers were also 5-7 this year.

Coaches whose names have been mentioned who I am lukewarm about
Steve Addazio (Florida offensive coordinator). While Addazio does have IU connections (he was an assistant under Gerry DiNardo), I'm not terribly impressed with his offensive play calling. Hoosier fans may remember our 2004 game against Penn State, in which we had 1st and Goal from the 1 yard line with about a minute left. We ran the exact same running play three times, which Penn State stuffed every time, and then finally ran a pass play on 4th down, when Matt LoVecchio overthrew his target, thus preventing us from beating Penn State for the first time ever. At Florida, he is apparently under fire for the Gators' poor post-Tebow offense.

Brian Harsin (Boise State offensive coordinator). Harsin is an interesting possibility. He is young (34), has been an assistant coach at the collegiate level since graduating from Boise State in 2000, and has been Boise State's offensive coordinator for the last five years. Obviously, Boise State has a high-powered offense and has done very well under Harsin. My only concern is that he's not a big enough name and that he wouldn't want to leave his alma mater (and hometown).

Brady Hoke (San Diego State head coach). Hoke is the former Ball State head coach, so he has ties to Indiana. He left Ball State for San Diego State after a 12-1 season in 2008 and a 7-6 record the year before, and he has an 8-4 record this year at SDSU. Outside of those three seasons, however, he has no winning seasons (and an overall losing record).

Glen Mason (former Minnesota head coach). Maybe 13 years ago.

Jim McElwain (Alabama offensive coordinator). McElwain has been Nick Saban's offensive coordinator the past two seasons, after one-season stints as the offensive coordinator at Fresno State and the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders, respectively. Before that, he was an assistant under John L. Smith at Michigan State. I think he might still be a couple years away from a head coaching position.

Paul Petrino (Illinois offensive coordinator). Petrino is Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino's younger brother, and was his brother's offensive coordinator at both Arkansas and Louisville (and his wide receivers coach during Bobby's one season as the Atlanta Falcons head coach). Paul is in his first season as Illinois's offensive coordinator. Not to discount anything the Illini have done this year, but it seems like the offense is pretty much a spread option with Nathan Scheelhaase deciding whether to keep it or hand it off to Mikel Lashoure.

Don Treadwell (Michigan State offensive coordinator). Treadwell has been MSU's offensive coordinator for a few years now, before which he was Cincinnati's offensive coordinator. MSU has always had pretty good offenses. I'm just not as impressed with Treadwell as I am with some of the other possibilities.

John Gruden (former Raiders and Buccaneers head coach). He has publicly stated that he's not interested in the Miami (FL) head coaching job. Glaringly, he has not said the same about the IU vacancy.

Jim Harbaugh (Stanford head coach). His sister is married to Tom Crean, and his brother John was once an assistant at IU under Cam Cameron (who is now John Harbaugh's offensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens). So what if Jim's built Stanford into a top five team? He is more than welcome to do the same in Bloomington.

Mike Leach (former Texas Tech head coach). Leach is currently unemployed, and his high-powered offense and slightly insane personality would definitely bring some attention to Memorial Stadium. Of course, he is a polarizing figure and was ridden out of Lubbock on a rail after allegedly locking a player with a concussion in a locker room closet. I'm sure the Bob Knight loyalists would appreciate that. I would have liked him a little bit more if he hadn't sued ESPN, seeing as though ESPN is the most powerful name in sports.

Undefeated After Week 13

It was a big weekend in college football. The Hoosiers beat Purdue to take back the Old Oaken Bucket, and then promptly fired Bill Lynch. Slightly more important, Boise State lost to Nevada, sending shockwaves throughout the BCS rankings, while Auburn and Oregon beat ranked opponents (Alabama and Arizona, respectively). Now, TCU is hoping Auburn chokes against South Carolina in the SEC championship game or Oregon lays an egg in the Civil War against Oregon State. Meanwhile, the Big Ten Rose Bowl representative is still up in the air, as Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State all ended up tied for the Big Ten championship. The team with the highest BCS ranking gets the Rose Bowl nod. That is currently Wisconsin, although who knows how things will shake out. At this point, though, it's looking like Wisconsin and Ohio State will get BCS bids, leaving Michigan State out of the mix.

Here is a breakdown of each undefeated team's remaining games (rankings are BCS rankings):

#1 Auburn (12-0)
12/4 – vs. #19 South Carolina (9-3) (.750) (SEC Championship game in Atlanta)

#2 Oregon (11-0)
12/4 – at Oregon State (5-6) (.454)

#3 TCU (12-0)
Regular season over.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TV's Top 5 Worst Bosses

Jillian Gile is a guest blogger for Pounding the Pavement and a writer on the subject of vocational schools for the Guide to Career Education.

We've all played the "I have the worst boss" game. For some of us it takes the shape of a drinking game, for others it's more of daily chorus we greet friends and family with. Somewhere along the line, TV producers got the ideas that all these "worst boss" stories floating around would make for great TV shows. Here are the top five worst TV bosses who were surely designed to make you sure your boss isn't the worst in the entire world.

1. Michael Scott, Dunder-Mifflin (The Office)
How could Michael Scott of The Office not come in first on the TV's worst bosses list? He is racist, sexist, and just plain annoying. The story behind his rise to regional manager is fuzzy, but viewers have to assume it was some sort of gaffe on the part of corporate. Even though he routinely embarrasses himself, wastes time, and remains stuck in the past, he has kept his post because his office's sales records are the best. Rumor has it that Steve Carell, who plays Michael Scott, is set to leave the show at the end of this season, and we all hope this just a terrible rumor to make us appreciate this horrible boss more.

2. Mr. Burns, Springfield Nuclear Power Plant (The Simpsons)
Mr. Burns is not your average evil business owner. He flaunts his money, ignores environmental complaints (mostly from the town's tiniest activist, Lisa Simpson), and values profit over people. He takes the evil to a new level, of course, by exploiting his workers in order to extend his seemingly immortal lifespan or, of course, make a buck. On top of that, even though he's made millions, it obviously wasn't through great leadership, as most episodes have Homer goofing off at work, playing hooky, or making huge mistakes that always go overlooked.

3. George Bluth Sr., Bluth Company (Arrested Development)
This sitcom hasn't been on TV for a few years now, but the abysmal leadership of patriarch George Bluth puts him at number three on this list. In the very first episode, George Bluth was sent to prison for defrauding investors and other unnamed charges. And though he spends most of the series in the orange prison jumpsuit, he continues to undermine his employees (most notably his son, the new CEO) and make shady business deals from behind bars. While his dealings never did bring the company to its knees, perhaps if we'd more than three seasons of this great show, we could have seen how terrible George Sr. really was.

4. Gordon Ramsay (Hell's Kitchen)
Hell's Kitchen is marketed as a reality show, but we can only hope that Gordon Ramsay's character is played up for the TV characters. He screams at the cooks competing in his kitchen, and we can only imagine what made these chefs want to work for him in the first place. He has been known to throw things, get literally spitting angry, and otherwise be a terrible boss. He needs both anger management lessons and a crash course in how to be an effective leader (hint: it does not involve 80 decibels and throbbing veins in your temple).

5. Louie DePalma, Sunshine Cab Company (Taxi)
An oldie but a goody, no list of terrible bosses could be complete without this boss from the 1970's TV show. Louie was possibly the sleaziest boss to ever be shown on television (played to the hilt by Danny DeVito). He sexually harasses his female drivers, patently doesn't care about the safety of his drivers or cabs, and hurls insults from the safety of a dispatch cage. He was the boss everyone loved to hate.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Universal Truth

Purdue sucks.

Guest Post Tomorrow

I was recently contacted by the good people at Pounding the Pavement, a website devoted to employment, careers, job searching, and the like. They, for some reason, liked what they read on GMYH and asked if they could do a guest post. I obliged, and will be posting that guest post tomorrow in lieu of a Tuesday Top Ten. You will understand why when I post it.

Undefeated After Week 12

With IU's "home" loss to Penn State at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, the Hoosiers fell to 4-7, with this Saturday's Old Oaken Bucket game against Purdon't remaining, once again for bragging rights only. You might be saying, "GMYH, isn't IU eliminated from bowl contention? And what is that enchanting musk you're emitting?" To that, fair reader, I say that there are so many terrible teams in D-1 this year that some bowls may actually have to take 5-7 teams, so there is a very very small sliver of a chance that IU could go to a bowl if they win, and Abercrombie Woods mixed with egg nog. Thus, I will not only be rooting for IU to win, but for every 4-7 and 5-6 team to lose. In reality, I think we all know that IU has no chance in hell of going to a bowl, and Bill Lynch will likely coach his last game for the Hoosiers this Saturday in that cesspool known as West Lafayette on what will undoubtedly be an overcast day. Did you know that Purdue is far and away the worst athletic school in the Big Ten and that their women smell like a combination of cottage cheese, soy beans, and pig effluence?

Boise State was the only of the four undefeateds that played last weekend. Here is a breakdown of the undefeated teams and each team's remaining games (rankings are BCS rankings):

#1 Oregon (10-0)
11/26 – #20 Arizona (7-3)
12/4 – at Oregon State (5-5)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 12-8 (.600)

#2 Auburn (11-0)
11/26 – at #9 Alabama (9-2) (.818)

#3 TCU (11-0)
11/27 – at New Mexico (1-10) (.091)

#4 Boise State (10-0)
11/26 – at #19 Nevada (10-1)
12/4 – Utah State (4-7)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 14-8 (.636)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


It is with a heavy heart that I report to you that former IU basketball player A.J. Moye has suffered a stroke following a head-to-head collision with a teammate during a practice in Frankfurt, Germany (where Moye plays professionally). This is awful news for the IU basketball community.

A.J. Moye might be my favorite IU basketball player of all-time, and bear in mind that I have been following IU basketball religiously for well over 20 years. I have never seen a basketball player play with more heart than A.J. Moye, and that is not an exaggeration. There were several times in his career that he was literally crying during games because he was so pumped up. He may not have been the biggest guy or the most talented player on the court, but he gave 110% every game.

The man was a 6'3" power forward who held his own with guys much bigger than he was. Ask Carlos Boozer.
Here is a link to a highlight video on YouTube, and here is another one of my favorite shots of Moye, right after he hit a three in IU's 2002 Elite 8 victory over Kent State, much to the chagrin of Kent State coach Stan Heath.
Either late spring after Moye's senior basketball season or about a year after he graduated, several of us were sitting in the old part of the upstairs of Nick's (a bar in Bloomington, which is perhaps the greatest bar in the world) playing some Sink the Biz. A.J. walked up the stairs with a couple other basketball players. Everyone stopped what they were doing, put their drinks down, stood up, and started a deafening chant of "A-J Mo-ye!" while he walked through the room with a gracious smile on his face, slapping high fives with everyone. Other IU players might have gotten a "Man, that George Leach is sure tall" or a "Hey look, it's Dane Fife. Again." But A.J. Moye gets a standing ovation. It was surreal, but it shows you how much he meant to Hoosier fans.

I'll never forget the only time I met him. I was at the Little 500 in 2003. Uter and I were getting some food at the concession stands, and we saw Moye nearby. We approached him, and Uter said, "All I gotta say is Carlos Boozer." Moye's face lit up, he slapped hands with Uter a couple times, and said, smiling, "What you know about that? What you know about that?" Uter said "Nothing." Then Moye turned to me. I had my hand out for a handshake. He grabbed it and pulled me in for a bro hug, which was a pleasant surprise. Awestruck, the only words I could muster were, "Keep on . . . keepin' on." A.J., my advice to you remains the same. You are in our thoughts and prayers, and we hope you make a speedy recovery.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Book - Life by Keith Richards

I finished You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers, which I really liked. It's a first-person narrative novel about two friends who travel around the world in one week to give away $32,000 for reasons that are unclear. They don't plan exactly where they're going, and they have madcap adventures along the way. It's funny and slightly weird, but definitely interesting. I dig Eggers's style.

Thanks to Alex and his anonymous wife for my next book, Life by Keith Richards. In the first twenty pages, he already used the words "spliff" and "buggers" -- and properly at that. I'm now about 100 pages in. It's a good read so far, and he hasn't even gotten into drugs or booze yet. Look at that cover. That about says it all.

Books read in 2010:
Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Happy Hour is for Amateurs by The Philadelphia Lawyer
Dry by Augusten Burroughs
Open by Andre Agassi
Too Fat to Fish by Artie Lange
Graceland by Chris Abani
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert Ressler and Tom Shachtman
When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintraub with Rich Cohen
You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Man Forced to Eat Beard"

Sorry for the light posting lately. I've been working hellish hours, but I guess that goes with being a freestyle walker by day and a techno-pagan gravedigger by night. I don't even know what that means. Anyway, I'm sorry to say that I'm once again foregoing a Tuesday Top Ten this week, and I swear to God (or Dionysus) that I will finish my Oktoberfest recaps before the end of this millennium.

In a story you might think belongs on the Onion News Network, a rural Kentucky man who resembles a retarded bear was forced by his so-called friends to eat his own beard after an argument about a riding lawnmower turned from hilarious to "haywire." Apparently, one guy, Troy, got pissed because he offered to pay $250 for a lawnmower that the bear -- a baby-faced former Kentucky high school 100 meter dash state champion who now makes his living as a counterintelligence expert for the NSA, or so one can assume -- had only paid $20 for. Somehow, Troy thought that his $250 offer for the lawnmower was an effort by the bear to swindle Troy. In Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, this is logic. Thus, Troy did the only thing that a guy can do in that situation. Before the bear "knowed it," Troy cut the bear's beard off and made him eat it. Good Lord. Make sure to watch the news story about it that is embedded in the story. Thanks to Tradd for the link.

I'm not sure if that's a better story, or another one I read today in the Sun-Times. Last Friday, a 44-year-old Texas woman visiting Naperville left her kids in a hotel room to go to her van in the parking lot to pleasure herself with an as-yet-undescribed sex toy, and was arrested because she was, for some reason topless, and had a loaded gun in the van. As someone who can't help but take his shirt off and masturbate at the sight of a loaded firearm, I understand where she's coming (pun intended) from, but to do it in a van in a hotel parking lot is just uncouth. Jesus Christ, take a fucking shower.

Undefeated After Week 11

So apparently they way you rebound from a heartbreaking loss to a ranked opponent is by giving up 83 points to another ranked opponent. Only the Hoosiers. Here are the two countdowns for IU. For the optimists, number of victories needed to secure Little Caesars Bowl berth: 2. For the realists, number of losses needed to secure Bill Lynch's firing: 2.

In other news, Oregon barely squeaked by Cal to remain undefeated, and Auburn might as well just let Cam Newton keep playing because if (when) he is determined to be ineligible, what's the difference between 0-12 and 2-10? Boise State is the only of the four undefeateds that plays this weekend. The others all have a week off before their next games.

Here is a breakdown of the undefeated teams and each team's remaining games (rankings are BCS rankings):

#1 Oregon (10-0)
11/26 – #22 Arizona (7-3)
12/4 – at Oregon State (4-5)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 11-8 (.579)

#2 Auburn (11-0)
11/26 – at #11 Alabama (8-2) (.800)

#3 TCU (11-0)
11/27 – at New Mexico (1-9) (.100)

#4 Boise State (9-0)
11/19 – Fresno State (6-3)
11/26 – at #18 Nevada (9-1)
12/4 – Utah State (4-6)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 19-10 (.655)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pilot Hurt 50 Welk

I had hoped to post a Tuesday Top Ten yesterday, but I was working from the second I woke up until I fell asleep while designing pentagram tattoos for Daughter's black baptism. To atone, I will give you a potpourri of nonsense for your Wednesday evening reading and viewing pleasure.

Pilots are funny
I came across an article today entitled "35 Secrets Your Pilot Won't Tell You." It's an interesting read for anyone who risks their lives by boarding one of those flying tin coffins. Here are three of my favorite quotes:
"There's no such thing as a water landing. It's called crashing into the ocean."
"Please don't complain to me about your lost bags or the rotten service or that the airline did this or that. My retirement was taken to help subsidize your $39 airfare."
"We don't make you stow your laptop because we're worried about electronic interference. It's about having a projectile on your lap. I don't know about you, but I don't want to get hit in the head by a MacBook going 200 miles per hour."

Big Hurt Retires and Jams
Even though he hasn't played a game in a couple years, Frank Thomas officially retired today. There is a great article on Yahoo Sports explaining why Frank should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. That's obvious, in my opinion, since Thomas is probably the greatest right-handed hitter of all-time. In celebration, the Big Hurt is starting his own record label.

More fun from Keenan
A couple months ago, I posted a video featuring one of Gemkeezi's students lip-synching a Katie Perry song that got millions of hits on YouTube. Well, the kid, Keenan Cahill, is at it again. He appeared on Chelsea Lately, where he debuted his latest creation. And yes, that is Curtis Jackson.

I don't know if any of you saw the "Women of SNL" special on NBC a couple weeks ago, but it was pretty damn funny. Here is a sketch that I had never seen before that I thought was particularly weird and hilarious. I can't get the song out of my head. Kristen Wiig is ridiculous.

It turns out there was a predecessor to it. Enjoy:

Monday, November 08, 2010

Shit I Hate: Female Gingko Trees

Probably the worst tree I know is the female gingko tree. It rains upon the world acorn-sized pellets that, when broken open, smell like a part of the female human: the anus. I kid -- everybody knows girls don't poop. But seriously, what asshole (pun intended) thought it would be a good idea to plant trees that smell like baby shit? It's bad enough that shit smells like shit, but we shouldn't have to worry about trees that smell like shit. I used to purposely avoid the most direct route when walking to school because there was a block lined with gingko trees (commonly known as the "Vomit Block"). I had enough to worry about in high school -- acne, the inability to talk to women, my unwavering commitment to the sweatshirt. I sure as shit didn't need the additional worry of smelling like rancid dairy products.

Now, these odorous menaces are invading my commute. There are several gingko trees about 30 yards from one of the entrances to the Grand L station downtown. In the mornings, it's not a problem because street and sidewalk cleaning has taken place overnight. But by the afternoon, the bombs have dropped on the sidewalk and been crushed under the soles of unknowing (or unsmelling) pedestrians, and the smell of ginkgo stank hangs over the entrance. I hate that shit. I strongly urge everyone in the world to refrain from planting female gingko trees in areas frequented by people with working olfactory systems.

Undefeated After Week 10

And then there were four. With TCU's drubbing of Utah, we are down to four undefeated teams. My beloved Hoosiers managed to piss away another victory, dropping what would have been the game-winning pass in the end zone on fourth down with less than a minute left in the game. Now we need to win two out of the last three to go to a bowl. Assholes. Now onto more successful programs, which don't force their fans to scream obscenities and punch couch cushions in front of their infant daughters. Here is a breakdown of the undefeated teams and each team's remaining games (rankings are BCS rankings):

#1 Oregon (9-0)
11/13 – at California (5-4)
11/26 – #18 Arizona (7-2)
12/4 – at Oregon State (4-4)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 16-10 (.615)

#2 Auburn (10-0)
11/13 – Georgia (5-5)
11/26 – at #12 Alabama (7-2)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 12-7 (.632)

#3 TCU (10-0)
11/13 – San Diego State (7-2)
11/27 – at New Mexico (1-8)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 8-10 (.444)

#4 Boise State (8-0)
11/12 – at Idaho (4-5)
11/19 – Fresno State (6-2)
11/26 – at #21 Nevada (8-1)
12/4 – Utah State (3-6)

Remaining opponents' combined record: 21-14 (.600)

Friday, November 05, 2010

American Werewolves in Munich: Tuesday 9/21

When we landed in Munich, it was Tuesday morning, and that's a story for today. If it hadn't been over three weeks since I posted about Monday, that last sentence might be a little fresher.

The Bavarian countryside was green and quaint as we descended into madness, arriving at approximately 10 a.m. local time. As any international traveler knows, the alleged secret to defeating jet lag is to stay up the entire day you arrive. Having gotten somewhere between 38 and 55 minutes of sleep on the flight, I nonetheless laughed at the challenge. Fatigue is no match for the combination of adrenaline and dunkel.

Ben, Alex, Reed, and I made our way through stone-faced German customs agents, who were unwilling to laugh at my knock-knock jokes. Apparently he didn't understand that "orange" and "aren't" sound alike. However, he did appear relieved that I didn't say banana. I declared my independence and moonwalked to the baggage claim area, we met up with Gregerson and Emily, who had flown in from Prague via prop plane. We all boarded the S-bahn and headed to Marienplatz.

Bonham had arrived the day before. He accidentally booked his flight for a day earlier, which meant he got to spend an extra day in Munich, roaming the streets with a bottle of pineapple brandy, headbutting anyone who looked at him cockeyed. Here's the thing about Bonham: everyone looks at him cockeyed.

On the S-bahn into the city, I tried in vain to get my phone to work. Despite several prior calls to Verizon and assurances from customer service representatives with both Southern and Indian accents, my phone did not work in Germany. I was going to turn off data anyway (since it's 2 cents a kilobyte, or $20 for a 1MB email), but now no one could text or call me. This meant that I was literally without any means of being contacted for the first time in, well, since the last time I was in Munich.

We were staying at the same hotel where we stayed in 2007, about a third of a mile south of Marienplatz. Like last time, we dragged (or drug?) our suitcases over the cobblestone of Munich's main market, the Viktualienmarkt (try saying that five times fast), announcing without words, "We're back, bitches." While walking through the crowded market, I grabbed a buxom fraulein and kissed her passionately, only to realize she was actually a giant wheel of cheese. My devilish smirk must have struck a chord with the owner of the cheese stand because he smiled and curtsied when dropped the defiled hunk of Trappistenkäse and continued on my way.

We arrived at our hotel a little after noon. By the size and color of the bruise on the front desk clerk's forehead, I could tell that Bonham had already checked in, the scent of tropical fruit still hanging in the air. I headed to the room, where I was terrified to find out that the brand of hand soap and shower gel in our room was called Tricky Ricky, which I assume is named after a German techno-pop singer.
Over the next several hours, everyone started to trickle in. Colt and Laura from Austria. Shane and Derrick from Chicago. Chandler and George "The Animal" Steele from parts unknown.

I changed into chainmail, gathered whoever was there, and we headed to the Lotter Leben, a bar a couple blocks from our hotel that we frequented last time we were there. We grabbed some liters of beer, after which we went approximately a half block to Der Pschorr, which is Hacker-Pschorr's main restaurant and beer hall. As is the custom on pleasant days, we sat outside. Our waitress was some German chick. Upon our request, she provided up with English menus. Here is what they had to say:
I had no idea Germans use irony as a literary device. After lunch, Gregerson, Emily, Bonham, Alex, and Chandler headed to the Englischer Garten, Munich's giant public park that contains the largest beer garden in the world, a giant fucking pagoda (to commemorate Germany's Asian roots), and nude areas that are, unfortunately, full of sixtysomething hearty Bavarian men who like to play hacky sack with their dongs hanging out. Gregerson astounded Germans and Americans alike with his surprisingy accurate Peggy Fleming impression.
Meanwhile, I stayed back in the center of town waiting for people to arrive. When Derrick and Shane arrived, I immediately took them to the Hofbrauhaus, where we consumed Hofbrau Dunkel -- which, outside Caffrey's, might be my favorite beer when it comes straight from the source -- and discussed the finer points of beer gardens. It was 3 p.m. on a Tuesday, and the beer garden was almost full. That's what's right with Munich and wrong with America. Hell, even Meat Loaf traveled forward in time from 1977 to be there.
Eventually, Daniel arrived from London and Mirka arrived from Amsterdam in the early evening. I led them to the Hofbrauhaus, where everyone else had gathered for dinner and a rather heated discussion of classic German horror films. Sweet Jesus, Bonham, there is more out there than Nosferatu.RPTre and Kellie got to the hotel around 9, and I took Colt with me back to the hotel. I told Colt to meet me in front of the hotel in 10 minutes. Nine minutes later, I walked out of the hotel with Ray and Kellie and headed back to the Hofbrauhaus with them. As soon as I arrived at our table, I noticed Laura without her husband, Colt. I then walked back to the hotel to find Colt sitting in front of the hotel, patiently waiting for me to exit the hotel. I left him there to test his mettle, and he passed, so I hoisted him on my shoulders and sprinted back to the Hofbrauhaus. With everyone there, I explained to everyone in no uncertain terms that we had to meet in front of the hotel at 10 the next morning because that's when we're going to the tents. I also laid out some ground rules for the week:
1. No judging.
2. Everybody bleeds. No exceptions.
3. Don't call any German a Nazi, unless you're absolutely sure they were.
4. The female breast is meant to be photographed, so don't hold back.
5. Pretend you're Canadian.
6. If you ain't first, you're last.
7. Sleep in if you want, except tomorrow.
8. There is nothing wrong with shitting in public.
9. Just have fun, guys.
10. Oh yeah, one more thing: no fucking rules.

The smiley face that appeared in my liter of dunkel was a sign of things to come.
After most people called it a night, several of us headed to an open bar a block south of our hotel because it was the only bar still open. It turned out to be a German gay bar, or actually, more of a gay German bar. It had all the markings of a German bar -- dark wood, giant beers, terrifying clientele -- but it just happened to have a rainbow flag outside of it. We're all liberated people, so it was nothing more than a place to get us drunk, although I think Gregerson had a fear boner. We knew it was time to leave when Kellie was sleeping on one of the tables and didn't notice that the rest of us had gotten up.

We headed back to the hotel and slept like Bavarian kings -- drowsy, satiated, and slightly insane. For tomorrow, we would reign.

Listen to Hair Band Friday - 11/5/10

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten: Halloween Costumes (2010 edition)

I love Halloween. Having a birthday so close to Halloween, I've always felt like Halloween is my holiday. I love dressing up, and I love seeing other people dressed up. Halloween allows me to be someone else, even if only for that one night. After all, I have to live with being me the other 364 days of the year, and I need a break every now and then. Jester hates dressing up but loves candy, so she has mixed emotions about Halloween.

One thing Jester and I agree on is that pumpkins are cool. You may recall that last year, I attempted to carve a Gene Simmons pumpkin, but I only had kitchen knives. Things started to go south with the pumpkin at the same time IU was blowing a lead at Iowa. The result was that I punched a pumpkin. "There's gotta be a better way," I told my counselor, and I thereafter bought a pumpkin carving kit. Jester and I each got a pumpkin this year, and we bought some stencils from Zombie Pumpkins. Jester went with an owl, and I went with heavy metal's favorite mascot, Iron Maiden's Eddie. Doing a stencil takes some patience and steady hands, but the results are definitely worth it. Here are ours:
Every now and then, you need a night to remind you you're mortal. Saturday night was one of those nights for me. Like last year, Ryan's special ladyfriend Kaila and her roommate Mary had a Halloween costume bash. Due to her aversion to dressing up, Jester was more than happy to let me go to the party alone while she stayed home with Daughter (since Daughter can't drink yet). My costume this year was Slash. I had dressed up as Slash for a hair band party my roommates and I threw in April 2002. I kept the costume (or what was left of it – I lost the top hat and the wig, the two most important pieces) just in case, although I came to the blunt realization that I am a lot larger now than I was when I was 24, so I had to get a whole new costume. This was fine because it meant I got to improve upon the costume. You know I don't half-ass Halloween costumes. At the nearby costume store, I got a new wig, top hat, and sunglasses, all of which were better than the old ones, and I also bought a belt of bullets, which was adjustable, so I put that around the hat. At various thrift stores, I bought some black jeans, a couple black shirts, a jean jacket, and a pair of cowboy boots. I cut holes in the black jeans and tore the sleeves off the jacket, then washed them both. I also bought an Aerosmith iron-on transfer at Michael's, and I put that on a black t-shirt, which I then cut the sleeves and neck off of. I looked pretty good, in my opinion.
I need to stop dressing up as rock stars for Halloween. As you may recall, back in aught six, I dressed up as Ace Frehley. I swallowed my wife's contact lens that night (allegedly). This year, as part of my Slash costume, I drank a fifth of Jack Daniel's because, well, a little wouldn't do it. I prefer accuracy and authenticity over responsibility and prudence. It's not like I could see anything anyway. Predictably, I was one of the last people to leave the party because, well, Slash doesn't strike me as someone who goes home early. I think my biggest mistake came not in the finishing of the bottle of Jack (I did have some help, by the way), but from playing flip cup afterward. Apparently Kaila hit The Brothers Weeser* (minus Dan and Greg, of course) in the face with a cupcake, which I don't recall. I wish I was making that up. While Jester did give me a 2 a.m. curfew, I think we all know that Slash is on Sunset Strip time, so I stumbled in the door a little before four, in my mind obeying the curfew. Jester didn't see it my way, even after hearing what Vampire Monet had to say about it. There is no pleasing that woman. I then proceeded to chug water and attempt to remain standing for the next hour or so to avoid the spins. Key word being "attempt." I knew it was time to go to bed when I found myself sleeping standing up. Yes, I am 33 years old. For reasons that are unclear to me, Jester was nice enough to let me sleep in until about noon on Sunday, although I could have easily slept until Wednesday. I used to get up on time. By the way, please don't let me dress up as Bon Scott next year.

Anywho, I did see some pretty awesome costumes at the party, as well as before and after. Here are the top ten (plus some more).
10 (tie). Tigger. Yes, this is a child's costume, but doesn't Jester wear it well?
10 (tie). Giant gingerbread man.
10 (tie). Baby buffalo. Don't worry. Daughter did not go to the party. However, she did hang out with way too many white men for her own safety.
10 (tie). Vince Carter. It's not necessarily a great costume, but she was very good at Eat the Box. No hands or knees are touching that ground, while she's picking up a beer tab off the floor with her mouth. Granted, three others were able to do it (including two dudes), but I don't have pictures of them.10(tie). The Big Bad Wolf. He was also there with the three little pigs. I thought his mask was pretty awesome.

10 (tie). Good Luck Bear from The Care Bears. His hood with his ears is down in the picture, or else it would be more obvious.

9. Zinedine Zidane, the French soccer star who, in the 2006 World Cup final, infmously headbutted an Italian player who allegedly called Zidane's mom a racial slur. This costume only works for people with Bic'd heads. And Zidane uniforms.

8. Flo from the Progressive commercials and Mayhem from the Allstate commercials. Oddly, about 20 minutes after these two walked in, another couple in the same two costumes walked in. I thought Bill and Carly had better costumes than the other two, so take that, other people I don't know.7. Duff Man.

6. Sophia and Dorothy from The Golden Girls (i.e., Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur). Of course, once Stephanie (Sophia) left, Nick (Dorothy) just looked like a tranny, or possibly Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. Of course, it didn't help that he kept asking himself if he would fuck himself and concluding that, yes, he would fuck himself.

5. Kenny Powers, complete with a Charros uniform.

4. Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything... Kudos to Daniel for buying a boom box and a Peter Gabriel tape. Every so often during the course of the night, he would hold the boom box up and blare "In Your Eyes."3. Flanders. Pretty darn diddley solid.2. Bob Wiley from What About Bob?, complete with an actual goldfish playing the part of Gil. Nice work, Hack.

1. John McClane from Die Hard. Kudos to Tim Weeser* for taking the title for the second year in a row. I reward those who go the distance. The gun taped to the back with "Seasons Greetings" tape. The dirt and fake blood slathered meticulously all over his body. The bloody feet. The hit list on the arm. An actual gun with live amunition. Well done, sir.