Saturday, July 31, 2010

Opening Day Starting Lineups

Sporcle -- the physically and psychosexually addictive online trivia site -- has started what I assume will be a 30-part series of quizzes on Opening Day starting lineups for MLB teams. For each team, you get 15 minutes to try to name every Opening Day starter from 1991 to 2010.

The reason I am now bringing this to your attention is because yesterday they put up the White Sox edition. I was amazed at how many people I had forgotten about. Not to be a spoiler, but Chris Sabo was a member of the White Sox? Apparently so. I got 152 out of 200, and missed some people I shouldn't have.

The other three teams they've put up so far are the Mariners (119 of 200), the Yankees (135 of 200), and the Red Sox (104 of 200). If it weren't for baseball cards and my inexplicably good memory (it's my curse, you know, in addition to the booze), I would not have remembered half of the players. There are some names that I pulled out of nowhere.

I challenge you to beat me, and I expect that you will.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"I saw tail lights last night in a dream about my old life"

Sorry for the mini hiatus. I have failed you, but even worse, I have failed myself.

As you might imagine, I write most of my posts either on my lunch break or after I get home from work. I've found that writing while I sleep is damn near impossible, and it usually results in incoherent ramblings about ocelots, mountainside physician-assisted suicides, being suffocated by Anna Nicole Smith while eating raw eggs that cook in my mouth, or chasing criminals through grocery stores with Forrest Whittaker.

The last couple days have been, to put it mildly, hellishly busy. Monday, I pretty much worked until 11 p.m., at which point I finger paint awkward first date scenes for an hour or so every night while listening to the True Blood theme song. Writing is off limits during that time. Yesterday was one of those days where you go to work, sit down at your desk, and work fervently for the entire time you're at work. Most days, there is some time for me to breathe and maybe even check the internet to see what's going on the world of online trivia. Some days, I'll even go so far as to stop working while I'm eating lunch. Yesterday was not one of those days.

Last night I saw The Gaslight Anthem at House of Blues, which, behind The Metro, The Riv, The Vic, Beat Kitchen, Schuba's, Double Door, Reggie's, Charter One Pavilion, and Gregerson's living room, is my favorite live music venue in the city. Then again, I haven't seen a show at the Aragon (thanks, Meg White). Anyway, the show was very good. By the way, if you don't have all three Gaslight Anthem albums, you should get them immediately.
I love concerts. A concert is one of the few times I can think. I'm an introvert, so I'm weird to begin with, but I love being able to immerse myself in my own thoughts for a couple hours without interruption. I stare into the abyss, usually at the band and, more often than I'd like, at the back of the fat head of some dude who decided to stand right in front of me. Fuck people over 5'9". But anyway, a concert is one of the few times you can observe someone at their job doing what they love to do (and something that that I would love to do, were that I had any musical talent), and I can use that, in that moment and after, as an inspiration. When I'm standing there, staring at whatever band it might be, I think about everything I've done with my life and everything I'd love to do with my life. Seeing people doing something they truly love for a living -- and rocking out, no less -- gives me hope and makes me happy.

As you may know, Gaslight Anthem is from New Jersey, and they tell good stories in their songs. Last night during the show, I spent the better part of an hour thinking about an imagined childhood in New Jersey. Italian and Irish family and friends. Living in a three-bedroom house built between 1950 and 1960, on a street lit at night by Thomas Alva Edison's incandescent light bulb. A stevedore father who loves listening to Wilson Pickett and Sam Cooke records, even though he hates black people. A secretary mother named Marie. Smoking a lot. Being a Jets and Mets fan. Union halls. My friend Tommy who knocked up his girlfriend Gina. Burned-out cars. Ferris wheels. The giant Exxon sign that brings this fair city light. Dreaming of leaving, even though I had no chance. It was all there.

Then I thought about how I want more tattoos. If I were to get a tattoo on a visible part of my arm, I would probably ask my employer beforehand because some people seem to think the presence of permanent ink on your body bears a direct relation to how well you can practice law. Would they say yes? And if they agreed that they would not fire me for getting it, would I ever truly be sure that they would stick to their word? 'Cause if they ended up firing me down the road, I'm pretty sure the tattoo would be the only reason.

Then I thought, What's the last song I'm going to hear before I die? I hope it's something by Wesley Willis. That got me thinking about what songs I want played at my funeral. I'd also have to go with Wesley Willis, probably "Birdman Kicked My Ass" or "Freakout Hell Bus."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

An Apple a Day May Kill You

I came across an interesting article today about the relationship between pesticides and chemicals and weight loss (or gain, as it were). It's a good read. What I get from it is that it's not the beer that's making me fat, it's the fruits and vegetables I'm eating and the water I'm drinking. Message received.

Midwestern Eavesdropping - 7/22/10

A happy birthday goes out to Bohmann. This one's for you, especially since you sent me this picture.

Drunk 5th grade teacher: "Trannies are people who take trains."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Two elderly black men in a CVS:
Guy 1: "Have you been down there lately?" (talking about their old neighborhood)
Guy 2: "No but if I do I have the windows rolled up and the doors locked."
Guy 1: "It is a whole new game over there now."
Guy 2: "I think they are confusing game with lame."
Eavesdropper: Ari

Twentysomething marketing executive showing others a picture on cell phone: "Here's two flies fucking on my deck. It's my best journalistic work yet."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thirtysomething female, referring to LA: "This whole f'n city -- everyone's dressed like homeless pioneers."
--Los Angeles, The Troubadour, Santa Monica & Doheny
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Drunk 5th grade teacher: "[She] has the blue bonnet plague."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Overweight middle-aged black hooker to thirtysomething male in tan suit: "Hey, you lookin' to have a good time tonight?"
Male: "What?"
Hooker: "You wanna blowjob?"
Male: "No, I'm going home to my wife and child."
Hooker: "Naw, that's unfortunate. (becoming angry) That's some real fuckin' bullshit!"
--Chicago, State and Kinzie
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething special ed teacher: "I'd dip a turd in ranch and eat it. What's the problem?"
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thirtysomething man and twentysomething woman talk on train:
Dude: "I'm gonna miss her. We had some good conversations."
Woman: "About what?"
Dude: "Goats. We talked about goats."
--Chicago, Red Line train
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Thirtysomething straight male: "That's why anal bleaching is important."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Dude 1: "Are we talking Rain Man or Corky?"
Dude 2: "Either way, we're having a hell of a time in Vegas."
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething kindergarten teacher: "There's nothing like a good gangbang to get you going."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Dude 1: "Why can't you drive?"
Dude 2: "Because I can only see out of one eye and I have had too many beers"
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

And, as we do from time to time, here are a couple pictures.

Eavesdropper: Tron

--Joliet, IL
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Thanks to everyone who contributed. Keep up the good ears and eyes. When you overhear something funny, email it to, and it shall be included in the next Midwestern Eavesdropping.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten: Fun Things to Do With Your Placenta

I think -- or at least, I thought -- we could all agree that placenta is gross. Yes, I realize some people like to eat it -- which, as I've mentioned before, I think is both disgusting and crazy -- or bury it in their yard, apparently thinking that it will grow another baby without the hassles of childbirth. That is wrong.

Jester came across an article entitled, I shit you not, "5 Fun Things You Can Do With Your Baby's Placenta." It's not an Onion article, either. It's dead serious. The least egregious of the "fun" things in this article was to bury it in the yard and "plant a placenta fruit tree." That's odd, but not nearly as odd as the other four "fun" suggestions:
(1) Make a teddy bear out of it. Seriously, look at this picture and tell me you don't want to vomit.
Why would anyone possibly think they should fashion something you hug out of afterbirth, or any type of meat or organ for that matter? This is some serial killer shit. "My infant once tried to test me. I sewed a teddy bear out of her placenta, while I enjoyed some fava beans and a nice Chianti."
(2) Grind it up and encapsulate it into pills. Of course. Because that's not as creepy as just eating it outright. "That Tylenol you have might be bad. It tasted weird." "Uh, that's not Tylenol."
(3) Make art with it -- which, by the way, I would call "placentart," but then again, I like combining words. What I don't like it art made with human afterbirth.
The picture looks like someone just threw her placenta onto a piece of white canvas a couple times. Oh wait, that's exactly what she did. "Oh, what an interesting abstract piece of art. Who's the artist?" "My afterbirth." "We can't be friends anymore."
(4) Use the blood as ink to make designs on your child's clothes. "Why does Billy keep eating his shirt?" "Because he's a cannibal."
With that as my inspiration, here are the top ten "fun" things I think you can do with your placenta:

10. Dice it up, sauté it, get some melted cheese in a crock pot, and guess what time it is: Placenta Fondue Party Time! And you know what goes best with placenta fondue? Three words: placenta Bloody Mary. The placenta in the placenta Bloody Mary will be the perfect complement to the placenta in the placenta fondue.
9. Dry it out, slap a couple pieces of leather on the outside of it, and now you can spank your kid with his own placenta. "If you say that one more time, so help me God, I will get out your placenta and smack you into next week." This becomes even more "fun" when you have several kids because then they pick their placenta – a refreshing modern take on "pick your switch."
8. Can it and sell it under the name "Soylent Green."
7. Dry it out and turn it into a clock you can hang on the living room wall. That way, no matter what time it is, it's always Placenta Time.
6. Invite the other new area moms to the park one afternoon for a good old-fashioned placenta discus throwing contest. Winner takes all – all the placenta, that is.
5. If you think eating it is gross or crushing it into a powder and then popping placenta pills isn't for you, then might I suggest a placenta suppository.
4. The ol' placenta-in-the-face gag is always good for a laugh.
3. Rob a convenience store. What convenience store clerk in his right mind is going to risk getting a placenta chucked at him? It's just not worth it. With the money you steal, you can pay for that trip to the moon, where you will be playing tennis with Don Cornelius, you psycho.
2. Start a new reality show: Placenta Factor. "Well Mary Jo, placenta is definitely not a factor for you" – her face covered in chunks of her child's afterbirth. Joe Rogan then turns away and pukes all over the place.
1. Nothing. Because it's fucking placenta.

Monday, July 19, 2010

California Road Trip Part 4: Wednesday

After seeing OC stars and taunting seals, Wednesday was a bit of a letdown on the celebrity front. We woke up sometime before 9 and battled a room full of fellow tourists at the continental breakfast waffle iron. I won.

After breakfast, we checked out and headed up the road a short distance to San Simeon, which is where the Hearst Castle is located. If you ever make the drive up the PCH, the Hearst Castle is a must. In case you don't know, Hearst Castle is the palatial mountain-side estate of media mogul William Randolph Hearst. Hearst and his "castle" were the inspiration behind Citizen Kane's Charles Foster Kane and his mansion Xanadu, respectively.

The grounds are awesome. It is up on the side of a mountain overlooking the ocean. Hearst had the home built before antiquities laws were in place, so there are tons of artifacts from ancient Rome, Europe, and all over that are literally priceless. The guest houses are probably larger than any house I will ever own. Here's one.
Our tour guide resembled a personified Foghorn Leghorn, although, unfortunately, he did not speak like him.

I say, I say, here'ra few pictuuhs. Seriously, though, this was someone's home.

Unfortunately, right after I took that badass picture of the coolest dining room of all-time, the disk in our camera became corrupted, so we lost a bunch of pictures.

After that, we went to a nearby elephant seal sanctuary, which is right on the beach. After being able to get so close to the seals and sea lions the night before, this was a bit of a disappointment because it was fenced off and full of tourists. Otherwise, I would have liked to have wrestled an elephant seal or two.

From there, we headed up the PCH to what I thought was the most scenic part of the drive, through Big Sur. The road winds along cliffs and through mountain passes along the coast, and the views are fantastic. Be warned, though, it takes a LONG time because you are going under 40 for a lot of it. Here are the only two pictures that survived.We stopped at Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park, which had some pretty cool views of waterfalls, cliffs, and the like. Of course, we have no pictures, so I could be lying my ass off.

We hadn't seen enough homeless people, so we headed onto San Francisco, where we had to return the Borrego by 6 p.m. We wanted to do the famed 17-mile drive in Carmel, but it was closed due to the U.S. Open. Also, due to time constraints, we didn't have time to stop in Monterey or Santa Cruz, which was unfortunate because it meant that I wouldn't be able to see what I assume is the largest selection of Banana Slugs t-shirts in the world.

If I could do the drive again, and I might, I would stretch it out into three days. I would stay in San Luis Obispo one night, then in Monterey the next night, before heading up to San Francisco. I would also do it in the nude next time.

As we got closer to San Francisco, the temperature dropped from the mid 80s to the mid 60s. It seemed like it went down about a degree a mile.

We rolled into Alamo with five minutes to spare. I was sweating from head to toe, and Jester was frothing at the mouth, as we walked into the office expecting to come to blows with someone, anyone. After I explained what happened with the Jetta and that the Borrego gets much worse gas mileage, the guy offered to comp the pre-paid gas charge and waive a day's charge, which ended up being about a $75 off. I think he was expecting me to demand more because he flinched when I said that would be fine.

The Alamo location is downtown, so we could walk to our hotel from there. Damn, that city is hilly. And cold. I need my summers to be hot. Anyway, after we checked in, we went to Uncle Vito's, a pizza place that one of Jester's friends recommended, and it was pretty good. We walked up hills both there and back.

Both Jester and I were pretty tired, so instead of doing anything insane – like smoking a bong or killing a hitchhiker (or whatever else San Franciscans do) – we just headed to a bar across the street from our hotel, had a few beers, and called it a night.

Coming in Part 5: Jesse and The Rippers, rogues, and island prisons.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Now I Know What I Got, It's Just This Song"

I've been known to have weird dreams, and I'm fine with that. I had this dream a couple weeks ago that I thought was particularly interesting. I was in the mountains, out west somewhere, at what was apparently an off-site facility that the state (whatever state it might have been) used to execute death row criminals. In addition, private citizens could use the execution facilities for physician-assisted suicides. You could also apparently bring terminally ill loved ones there. They also had paramilitary and survival training exercises in the mountains around the facility. I still have no idea what I was doing there.

Anyway, so after I competed in some sort of hardcore capture the flag-type game in the mountains, I took a tour of the facility. On the tour with me was an elderly couple. The husband was very inquisitive and curious. For instance, he asked about lethal injection. The tour guide explained that, for all of their lethal injections (i.e., criminals or willing patients), there were three tubes of serum that went into the shot. Each serum is clear. Two are harmless and one is lethal. Three executioners each pushed a button at the same time, which released one tube of the serum into the shot, which was, of course, hooked up to the criminal/patient's vein. This way, the executioners didn't know which one actually administered the lethal dose, so they could sleep easier at night.

The old man taking the tour with me asked if, for the physician-assisted injections, they let loved ones push one of the buttons. Surprisingly, the tour guide said "yes." The old man laughed. I figured he just liked the tour. Then he walked away, and the wife began to cry. As it turns out, she brought him there essentially to put him down, but he had no idea.

The best part is that, at this paramilitary training and civilian execution facility, the music they had piping through the PA system was "Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone" by Cinderella, apparently as a reminder of the gravity of the choice to kill a loved one. Just think about that the next time you hear that song. I know I will.

Tennis Court Oaths and Such

First, let me say Joyeux Jour de La Bastille!! Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité!! Seriously, though, storm some shit today, and don't even think twice about it.

And when you're not trying to overthrow Louis XVI, check out the links below.

I was reading a hard copy of last week's Onion issue, which was a tribute to love and marriage. Here is a gem that was in it: My Hot, Horny Housewife Has Been Spending An Awful Lot Of Time On The Phone Lately. As the title implies, this article may not be something your employer is cool with you reading at your place of employment.

Next, check out this link with 25 Sexist Vintage Ads (thanks to Holt for the link). You'll be happy to know that Jester and I have the Schlitz ad framed in our kitchen.

And finally, check out a compilation of the 100 best movie insults (thanks to Tradd for the link). Again, this might not be something you want to play at work, unless you're looking to insult your co-workers. If that's the case, then crank it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten: Future Professions For Daughter

Daughter – my daughter – recently had her six-month checkup, and the results were shocking. Plain and simple, she is an Amazon. Her weight is in the 90th percentile, the size of her head is in the 95th percentile ("heeeeed!"), and her height is literally off the charts. Seriously, the doctor's charts didn't got that high. I take this to mean that she is, in fact, taller than any other six-month-old human in the world.

As someone of average height, I'm at the same time terrified of, and excited for, her. Her gigantism got me thinking: what career path should Jester and I push on her? Here is what I came up with.

10. Professional model
9. Professional model/volleyball player
8. Professional model/tennis star
7. Professional model/inconspicuous ninja
6. Professional model/giraffe feeder
5. Homemaker
4. Professional model/professional large shoe model
3. Professional model/WNBA hall of famer, if there is such a thing
2. Professional model/guitar player (she also has grotesquely long fingers)
1. Mothra

Could this enormous girl one day terrorize the citizens of Tokyo while at the same time wearing the latest Calvin Klein pantsuit? Only time will tell.

Monday, July 12, 2010

California Road Trip Part 3: Tuesday

Could Monday be topped? I'm not sure I can answer that until several years from now.

Tuesday morning, we checked out of our hotel and began our journey in the Borrego up the Pacific Coast Highway (aka California Route 1).

We started out by heading to Santa Monica for some breakfast. I was still dreaming of your ghost when we arrived at Cora's, a small breakfast place a couple blocks from the beach with an outdoor seating area covered from the sun by vines and leaves and such.
Jester and I were seated at a four-person table. As soon as she sat down, Jester noticed that several tables away was John Slattery – the silver-haired actor who plays Roger Sterling on Mad Men. Jester was noticeably geeked. Unfortunately, my back was to him, and I didn't want to be a gawker, so I kept to myself by playing jacks on the table while Jester inconspicuously stared.

A short while later, before our food had arrived, the waiter asked us if he could move us to a two-person table, as a group of four had just arrived and there was only a two-seater available. We agreed, and we ended up at the table right behind Slattery. Jessie's chair was back-to-back with his. Meanwhile, I heard a familiar voice from the other side of his table. I looked up to see Tate Donovan. Now I was geeked.

As you know, Tate Donovan played Jimmy Cooper on The OC. As I mentioned before, Slattery plays Roger Sterling on Mad Men. Roger Sterling. Jimmy Cooper. Sterling Cooper. For those of you unfamiliar with Mad Man, Sterling Cooper is the name of the advertising firm around which the show is based. It's all beginning to make sense. Mad Men is the prequel to The OC. McG, you magnificent bastard. This also explains why Mischa Barton was at The Troubadour the night before – scouting bands to play at The Bait Shop.

Energized, Jester and I headed down to the beach and then to Santa Monica Pier, where I had some of the worst chocolate-and-vanilla swirl soft-serve ice cream I've ever eaten. Then we hopped into the Borrego to begin our road trip. We flew through Malibu, which I would describe as a nice little beach community, although I hear the chief of police is a real reactionary. From there, we went through the forgettable Oxnard and some other towns, until reaching Santa Barbara. Here are a couple random pictures of the drive. Mountains are interesting. Our guidebook suggested a taco stand in Santa Barbara called Super Rica, and it did not disappoint. I had one with chorizo and cheese that might be the best taco I've ever had.
We then headed to the Santa Barbara Mission, which has been there for at least a dozen years or so. It was pretty cool. Here are some pictures.

I always try to visit college campuses when I go places, so, much to Jester's chagrin, we stopped by UC Santa Barbara. The t-shirt selection in the campus bookstore was disappointing. You would think that with a unique mascot such as the Gaucho, they would have more shirts with the logo on it. I left empty-handed, unless you count an angry wife as "handed."

From there, we stayed on Route 1 through Lompoc. While it does have an awesome name, there is no reason to stay on Route 1 when it splits from 101 around Gaviota. Both routes are inland, so there's not much to see, and 101 is faster. You can stay on 101 until Pismo, where it meets back up with Route 1, presumably near a beach where Donny surfed -- Donny who loved bowling.

Our next stop was San Luis Obispo, which I've always had a strange fixation with, thanks to The Price Is Right. Growing up, and even into college, I remember seeing many TPIR episodes where Bob would ask the contestant where he or she went to college, and the response was "Cal Poly San Luis Obispo!!!" What a long name for a college, I thought. Needless to say, I had to stop at the university bookstore to get a t-shirt – and I did.

San Luis Obispo itself is a quaint town, with a pretty cool little downtown area with many bars, restaurants, and shops. It was chillier than I expected it would be. Had we not had time constraints, I definitely would have liked to stroll around a little longer.

But alas, it was not meant to be. From San Luis Obispo, we headed to Cambria, which is where we were staying that night. We rolled in about an hour before sunset. Our hotel -- the Best Western Fireside Inn -- was on Moonstone Beach Drive, right across the street from the ocean.
Upon our arrival, we changed into warmer clothes, and then headed to the rocky shore across the way. There are boardwalk trails along the coast there, and several spots where you can walk right down to the water.

What was awesome about this was that there were a ton of seals on the rocks in this one cove, and you could pretty much get within ten feet of them, depending on how good you are at jumping to and from wet rocks. Signs indicated that you are not to pick up the seals. I found this amusing, as most seals outweigh me, and I have no idea where I'd take one once I picked it up anyway. Here are some pictures of seals and such.
I found that seals also respond well to those who can imitate their barking.

After taunting the seals and watching the sun set, we headed down the road to have dinner at the Sea Chest, which was a good cash-only seafood place on Moonstone Beach Drive. After the meal, we walked back to the hotel, encountered a drunk man who was angry with local law enforcement, and then hit the sack.

Coming in Part 4: castles, cliffs, and near tragedy