Thursday, January 27, 2011

Article About Facebook Privacy

If you're like me -- and you better pray to Osiris that you're not -- you like to network socially. But you don't want that creepy bank teller who greets you by name every time you walk in or that chick at work who brings up hamburgers everytime you see her because you mentioned three years ago that you had a Big Mac for lunch to know your birthday, your alma mater, or that you're interests include hamburgers. Here is a good article about keeping your shit hidden on Facebook.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Cutler Didn't Do It

I'm a little surprised and disappointed by all of the negative things that have been said about Jay Cutler in the wake of Sunday's devastating loss to the Packers.

The guy sprains his MCL. He tries to go back in the game, but can't plant, which, if you didn't know, is extremely important when both throwing and running. The head coach and team doctors do not let him go back on the field after that. He is shown on the sideline with the same disinterested look that is always on his face.

If you think Jay Cutler did not want to play for a chance to go to the Super Bowl, you're an absolute moron. Having never sprained my MCL, I can't tell you how painful it might feel. From what I understand, it can be very painful and very limiting. I guess I don't understand how Cutler is somehow vilified as not "tough" because his coaches and doctors told him he couldn't play. To the idiots like Deion Sanders who said that his coach would have had to drag him off the field for him not to play, that's pretty much what happened. Should the coaches and doctors have thrown caution to the wind and let a hobbled Jay Cutler play? Hell no.

And who gives a shit if he was sitting on the sideline looking dazed and disinterested? That's how he always looks. If you realized you were not going to play in the remainder of NFC Championship game, with your team down 14-0, would you be smiling? How else should he have reacted?

Maybe the outcry over this is because people would rather that the Bears won (which I completely understand), and Cutler gave the Bears the best chance. After all, no one outside of Wisconsin or the UP actually likes the Packers. But to question the man's character and toughness to the extent and with the pointedness people have been questioning him is a little ridiculous. It's no wonder the Bears haven't had a decent quarterback since Sid Luckman. Too many Bears fans (and local sports writers) jump on Bears QBs more than any other position. Who the hell would want to deal with this bullshit? Not every QB is as charismatic as Jim McMahon or as nice as Erik Kramer or Jim Miller or as close to looking like a Munster as Bill Wade. Jay Cutler owes nothing to you, other than to play hard, and he has done that.

Jay, hang in there, and next time your coaches and team doctors tell you that you can't play in a very important game, smile and whoop it up on the sideline, or at least grab some crutches, since that's apparently what America wants from you.

(By the way, Tuesday Top Ten will return next week, with a vengeance.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bear Down

Bears vs. Packers for the NFC Championship. It cannot possibly get any bigger than that for the NFL's oldest and most heated rivalry. The Packers are a bunch of cocky, cheese-eating dickheads. The Bears are underdogs at home, and no one is giving them a chance. I want the Packers not only to lose, but to suffer.

I just read a great article on with stories from fans and former players about the rivalry, with several stories from people who played or worked for both teams. Matt Bowen's story was particularly entertaining. Bowen grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago (and I actually played against him in high school), but ended up playing for the Packers. Rather than piss all over his story about the night before his first game against the Bears, I'll let you read it yourself.

Pardon the Interruption's Michael Wilbon (a Chicagoan) also wrote a pretty good article, reminding me of two games I have tried my damnedest to block out of my memory:

1. The 1986 game when Packers defensive lineman Charles Martin picked Jim McMahon up and slammed him to the ground several seconds after McMahon threw the ball, injuring McMahon for the rest of the season. This was probably the dirtiest play I have ever seen. Every time I see this play, I want to find Charles Martin at a mall or a crowded restaurant, depants him, and then tabletop him. Charles Martin: what an asshole.

2. The 1989 game when Packers QB Don Majkowski was over the line of scrimmage when he threw the game-winning touchdown pass on 4th and Goal with less than a minute left, a flag was thrown, yet the reply officials reversed the call. I can still remember being very pissed off. Don Majkowski: what a d-bag.

(On an unrelated matter, while searching for YouTube clips of the above two games, I came across a clip of when Wilbur Marshall knocked Lions QB Joe Ferguson out in 1985. Jesus.)

A couple years ago, I met Steve "Mongo" McMichael, a member of the '85 Bears who also played for the Packers later in his career. Gregerson (a Packers fan) was with me and asked Mongo about playing for the Packers after playing for the Bears for so long. Mongo said that he hated it and, in so many words, that he didn't play as hard for the Packers because he still felt he was a Bear. In his words on his autograph for Gregerson, "Fuck the Pack. I did." Damn right.

Needless to say, I hate the Packers, and I would like nothing more than for the Bears -- a mere three days shy of the 25th anniversary of their Super Bowl XX victory -- to pound the Packers into the cold, hard, muddy Soldier Field turf until they bleed or are concussed to death. Go Bears!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Midwestern Eavesdropping - 1/20/11

I have been really stockpiling, so this will be a rather massive edition.

Girl on cell phone to friend a couple days before Halloween: "You don't have to dress like a slut. (pause) Although if you are going downtown Saturday night, it definitely wouldn't be a bad thing to be slutty Julia Child."
--Chicago, State and Illinois
Eavesdropper: GMYH

End of conversation: "Because throne brings the maple syrup."
Eavesdropper: Tron

Thirtysomething female: "Everytime an angel gets its wings, a macaroni gets its cheese."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thirtysomething guy at bar after New Orleans Saints scored a touchdown in a playoff game: "Can you imagine how many people are standing on their roofs cheering about that touchdown?"
--Chicago, Rocks, 1301 W. Schubert
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Guy: "Smoking and drinking -- stupid."
Girl: "You still can get a job while smoking and drinking."
Guy: "Not one with money."
--Chicago, Red Line train
Eavesdropper: RDC

Sign in crowd on ESPN College Gameday before Illinois/Northwestern game: "A Northwestern graduate earns more than an SEC recruit."
--National television
Eavesdropper: Piss and Binegar

Thirtysomething woman to a group of friends: "I'm worried about getting scurvy. That's why I drink vodka and grapefruit juice."
--Ann Arbor, MI, Damon's
Eavesdropper: Gregerson

Thirtysomething father to his adolescent son: "That's for Asians. No no, that's cologne for Asians." (Family of Asians walks by.)
Eavesdropper: Matthew Spring

Drunk girl at wedding reception: "I'll tell ya what I think about HIV, it's a rich man's disease."
--Pontiac, IL
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Fourth grade teacher referring to a bottle of wine: "I will take that WHOLE thing up my butt."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Girl: "The funniest part was when he switched his accent to not Scottish."
Eavesdropper: The Floppy Burrito

Thirtysomething guy describing Irving Fryar: "He like, cut his finger off after fucking some girl."
--Chicago, Rocks, 1301 W. Schubert
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Thirtysomething woman upon seeing Joe Paterno on TV: "Is that Larry King?"
Eavesdropper: Tron

Twentysomething marketing exec to a thirtysomething fifth grade teacher: "If you come into my house, then I get to come into your mouth."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Wife, while watching Robert DeNiro retrospective during the Golden Globes: "Raging Bull's about boxing?"
Dumbfounded husband, laughing: "Yes."
Wife: "I had no idea. I always assumed it was a western."
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Guy: "Who punches another man in the kidneys? That's where you punch women."
Eavesdropper: Anonymous

Guy at work party: "Women need to be fucked to be sane. It's just that simple."
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Guy: "I love my girlfriend. But I wish I didn't."
Eavesdropper: RDC

Twentysomething special ed teacher, to husband: "Billy Joel and Neil Diamond are on my shit list. I can't believe you like them." (Nick Lachey appears singing a Christmas song on a TV show.) "Now THERE'S a singer."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Girl: "It's 8:30."
Guy: "Huh?"
Girl: "It's only 8:30. I'm like eleven o'clock drunk."
--Pontiac, IL
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Guy 1: "Whose face are you nutting on?"
Guy 2 (whose dog's name is Moose): "Hopefully Moose's."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thirtysomething guy at wedding: "What do you call a muffin top if it's someones back over their dress?"
--Pontiac, IL
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething special ed teacher: "Nick Lachey is a MUSICIAN. Haven't you ever heard of a little group called N'Sync?"
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Twentysomthing lawyer walking down the hall: "I just wanna be whistling."
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething security consultant after eating too much on Christmas: "I could shit myself right now if I really wanted to."
--Princeton, IL
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Drunk chick at bar: "I have a mountable ass."
--Roanoke, IN
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Mother to thirtysomething son on way out the door to indie rock concert a block away in neighborhood that hasn't had a gang problem since the 1930s: "Watch out for any weirdos."
Guy: "Like what?"
Mom: "I don't know, like gangsters."
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Wife: "You think I care about jump roping?"
Husband: "Is that like talk shitting?"
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

As we do from time to time, here is something that isn't technically eavesdropping, but worthy of inclusion. Here's an email:

Girl: "If you have seen me lately and thought to yourself, 'Yikes,
time to lay off the donuts' do not be alarmed - I am just having a
Guy: "So, you're saying you've been pregnant for like five years?"
--The information superhighway
Eavesdropper: The Floppy Burrito

And here's another one that's not technically eavesdropping:
1989ish Acura Integra with a "Fear This" sticker on the passenger door.
--Chicago, Schubert & Lakewood
Eavesdropper: Gregerson

As always, thanks to everyone who contributed. When you overhear or oversee something funny, email it to for inclusion in the next Midwestern Eavesdropping.

Kidnapped Daughter Reunites with Parents 23 Years Later

As a child in the '80s and the height of "stranger danger," I was always sensitive to kidnapping. I hated watching stranger danger filmstrips in school, and I constantly worked out potential escape strategies in my head in case I was every snatched or attempted to be snatched. I was also fascinated by the made-for-TV movie starring Corky Nemic (aka Parker Lewis, who, if you haven't heard, is incapable of losing) called "I Know My First Name is Steven," about a kid who was kidnapped at a young age, whose captor changed his name, and who eventually in his teen years reunited with his family.

Now that I have a kid, kidnapping is even more terrifying, which is why I'm so hell bent on teaching Daughter the ways of the samurai.

Anyway, what prompted this trip down nightmare lane was an insane story I came across today. A woman who was kidnapped 23 years ago from a hospital in New York, when she was only 19 days old, got suspicious a few years ago and decided to check things out. After checking the online database for missing and exploited children, she eventually reunited with her birth parents, who are, of course, ecstatic. That's crazy to me. This poor girl has lived her whole life thinking that her name and parents were one thing, only to figure out that she is actually someone else, not unlike Luke Skywalker, although it would appear her real parents are not Siths.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Book: Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music by Ted Gioia

After what seems like several years, I finally finished Life by Keith Richards, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I highly recommend it for any Stones fan or anyone who likes rock and roll. Unlike a lot of autobiographies that are co-written or ghost written, this book is definitely Keef's voice. He has some great stories to tell, and he is rather forthcoming about things that have happened to him and his relationships. In particular, as you may have heard, he has some choice things to say about Mick Jagger over the past 25-30 years. I didn't find anything he said about Mick to be particularly shocking. I guess I expect band members to quarrel and have differences, especially when they've been in the same band for almost 50 years. Anyway, it's a good read.

Moving backwards in both musical history and page numbers, I have started reading Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music by Ted Gioia. As you should know, modern American music was essentially born in the Mississippi Delta. As Muddy Waters famously said, "the blues had a baby, and they called it rock and roll." I know some basics about Delta blues history -- "where the Southern cross the Dog," Robert Johnson selling his soul at the crossroads, Alan Lomax, Stovall Plantation, and all that good stuff -- but there is always more to learn. So far so good.

Books read in 2011:
Life by Keith Richards

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Could've Been a Contender

I love long weekends. Man wasn't meant to work five days in a row.

Friday night was tame. I watched some DVR'd TV and played some Wii, then went to bed early. Fascinating, I know, but you asked for it.

I dream a lot about playing football, and I don't mean that in some abstract "oh wouldn't it be lovely if I got a call from the Bears" kind of way. I mean I actually have dreams while I'm sleeping about playing football. You see, I have a lot of unresolved issues about my high school football career, and the way my subconscious deals with this is through dreams. Friday night, I dreamed I was back on the old gridiron with my high school teammates, only we were playing indoors in what turned out to be a really huge diner.

Senior year, I was always a bit incensed that I wasn't a kick returner, mainly because my career kickoff return stats are as follows: 1 KR, 80.0 yard average, 1 TD. I was a sophomore B-team hero. Anywho, in the dream, I asked one of the two kick returners (a starting running back) if I could sub in for him on just one kick return, since apparently he was making personnel decisions. I explained, "I'm faster than you" (which was true, and may still be). After some hesitation, he let me sub in for him.

The other team, which appeared to be a bunch of teenage hipsters, kicked off and, I'll be damned, it was coming my direction. Unfortunately, it hit off the diner's ceiling and took a funny bounce, pinning me next to the sideline. I picked it up at the 1-yard line. What happened next is the stuff of legends are dreamt of. I juked a couple defenders, quickly realizing that my blockers were way up-field, apparently blocking air. I then started running towards the other sideline, hoping I would have a chance to turn the corner. As I started to turn the corner, I threw some dirty hipster to the ground, not unlike what Marshawn Lynch did to Tracy Porter. Then I hit my high gear. Back in the day, I had a second gear that kind of came out of nowhere. I turned it on and flew past some other defenders and made a few well-time cutbacks on my way to the endzone. The diner was going crazy.

And then it all came crumbling down. A flag was down way back at our own 40. Holding. Are you kidding me? As if taunting me, the diner's PA system -- no doubt run by a Greek -- began playing The Allman Brothers Band's version of "Done Somebody Wrong."

Nonetheless, I walked over to the guy who let me sub for him -- who was now lying comfortably on the floor under a blanket -- and said, "I told you I was faster than you." Everybody had a good laugh. Then everyone went to sleep. I can't explain that. But I did wake up Saturday morning with "Done Somebody Wrong" in my head.

This dream made me realize something, other than the fact that I should have been returning kicks: God, I miss sprinting. I need to find an extra hour somewhere in the week to play a sport -- preferably high school football -- that allows for sprinting.

Saturday was pretty lowkey. During the day, we left the house for a total of about an hour to go to Target and steal a box of Fruit Roll-Ups. I like to show Daughter that the best things in life are actually free. That night, Jester and I left Daughter in the crib and hit a show at Second City that, it turns out, I co-wrote. No shit. It was pretty good -- well, at least one sketch was pretty good. After the show, we did not go to Old Town Ale House because . . .

Sunday, I went to the Bears/Seahawks game. Before I left, Daughter stole my Bears hat. Little does she know, that hat is about 25 times older than she is. I stole it back and taught her several swear words.
This time, my tickets were real, which was a pleasant change. Obviously, the game was awesome. I had never been to a playoff game before, so it was nice of the Bears not to disappoint me. Here is the view from my seats.
And now, for the first time since 1941, the Bears and the Packers -- or should I say the Green Gay Fudge Packers (I read it on a shirt) -- will be playing each other in the playoffs, for the NFC championship no less. Today I tried to get tickets when a limited number when on sale to the public, but apparently other Bears fans want me to cry at work.

In previous years, long weekends meant that, on Sunday nights, I would have been at Hillbilly Sunday (when it was still around) -- blitzed out of my mind, throwing burritos at dogs on the walk home. Now, I just get blitzed at home and throw a dog at burritos.

Monday morning, we went up to the home of Alex and his anonymous wife so that our babies could interact. We're getting very close to the point where we can realistically hope for baby fights. Thankfully, Daughter knows her way around a samurai sword. The rest of the day involved a lot of couch sitting, Wii playing, and TV watching, while Daughter worked on her technique. She can now slice an apple in half in mid air. Meanwhile, I am potentially the greatest coach in NCAA football history. The 2013 Hoosiers are rolling -- 5-0, with all wins coming against ranked teams, and ranked #1 in both polls. This was certainly unexpected after losing the starting running back (Maxwell and Walker Award winner), most of the offensive line (including the Rimington Award winner), starting corners (including the Thorpe Award winner), and kicker (Groza Award winner) from the 2012 BCS championship team. Then again, I did return both Graco and Vogelpohl on the interior defensive line. After all, they are the top two sack leaders in NCAA history. Plus, Lupo was a nice surprise at running back. A redshirt junior who never saw the field in his first two years, he is now leading the Heisman contender. I just hope his success isn't because of the juice. Oh, and in case you didn't know, I live in a fantasy lanf, where "land" is spelled "lanf."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vir-going Nowhere

As you know, I'm a rather vocal Scorpio. I have an awesome stinging hand sign that has gained popularity amongst several other Scorpios. Thus, it should come as no surprise that several friends concerned with my mental well-being sent me link to articles about some asshole astronomer named Parke Kunkle, who unilaterally decided that, due to changes in the Earth's alignment, the dates of many zodiac signs have changed and, while he was at it, he added a 13th sign.

Here are the allegedly new signs and date ranges:

Capricorn: Jan. 20 - Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16 - March 11
Pisces: March 11- April 18
Aries: April 18 - May 13
Taurus: May 13 - June 21
Gemini: June 21 - July 20
Cancer: July 20 - Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10 - Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16 - Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30 - Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23 - Nov. 29
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29 - Dec. 17
Sagittarius: Dec. 17 - Jan. 20

So now I'm a Virgo. I went from being an introspective, bordering-on-psychic, sexual werewolf with a scorpion as a mascot, to being a narrow-minded, boring, indecisive virgin. And Scorpio is now only six days? I tell you what Parke, if that is your real name, I'm changing my birthday to November 25.

On the bright side, under this new regime, Daughter would be a Ophiuchus. Congrats, sweetie, you're a snake charming soothsayer. Actually, that's all I can ask for, in addition to supermodel.

All of this begs the question: Does one astronomer have the authority to change zodiac signs and create a new one? I think not, especially when the astronomer's name is completely made up. Regardless, I'm still on the Julian calendar, so I assume that this doesn't apply to me. Burn in hell, Parke.

Listen to Hair Band Friday - 1/14/11

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Not a Slater Hater

Should I be at all concerned that several people independently sent me a link to an article about someone in a suburb smashing a framed photo of AC Slater in a bar and asking where I was last night? Rest assured, I was not pissing at a bar in Homer Glen. You know damn well that Wednesday night is Craft Night -- when Jester and I smoke angel dust, watch The Craft, and make Craft-related crafts. Besides, I would never smash a framed photo of any Saved By The Bell character, except maybe Nedick. Fuck Valley.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: 25 Weirdest Interview Questions of 2010

As you may recall, I get a kick out of interviews, from both sides of the desk. However, I especially love fucking with interviewees. Thus, when I came across an article entitled "The 25 Weirdest Interview Questions of 2010," I had to read it.

I immediately thought of when I was in my third year of law school and I interviewed at a firm in Milwaukee. An associate who was interviewing me asked, "If you could be any dinosaur, what would you be and why?" I wanted to jam my horns into the guy's throat, but instead, I said something like, "Triceratops. Because they're calm and easy going, but they can defend themselves and take things down when they need to." Notice how I referred to them in the present tense. Anyway, that was apparently the right answer because the guy said, "Nice. Me too." I didn't get the job. Knowing what I know now from watching so much Dino Dan, I probably would now say "Compsognathus. Because they're decpetively fast and absolutely adorable." Then I would squawk like a bird, thus confusing everyone.

But I digress. Thankfully, that was by far the weirdest question I've ever been asked in an interview. When I read the article, I was baffled that people ask some of these questions or that companies actually allow this shit to go on. Then I thought about how I would answer each question. So, here are the 25 questions, and how I would answer them if asked in an interview:

1. If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?

In liquid form, I assume.

2. How many ridges are there around a quarter? (Reportedly from Deloitte)

How many ridges are there around your mother?

3. What is the philosophy of martial arts? (A spokesperson for Aflac, where this question was used, says she hopes the candidate quoted Kwai Chang Caine from the 1970s TV show Kung Fu: "I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions.")

To fuck people up without even thinking about it. Also, just as an aside, I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions.

4. Explain to me what has happened in this country during the last 10 years (Reportedly from Boston Consulting)

Internet porn, Tom Brady, and the rise and fall and rise of Baby Bob.

5. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 how weird you are (Reportedly from Capital One)

Well, I like to listen to Captain Beefheart records while inventorying my collection of worm condoms. Can I offer you some clove gum? Is ten or one the weirdest, dickweed?

6. How many basketballs can you fit in this room? (Reportedly from Google)

About 714 more than I can fit in your ass. So, I guess 716.

7. Out of 25 horses, pick the fastest 3 horses. In each race, only 5 horses can run at the same time. What is the minimum number of races required? (Reportedly from Bloomberg LP)

Secretariat, Citation, and War Admiral. One.

8. If you could be any superhero, who would it be? (Reportedly from AT&T)


9. You have a birthday cake and have exactly three slices to cut it into eight equal pieces. How do you do it? (Reportedly from Blackrock Portfolio Management)

With a knife.

10. Given the numbers 1 to 1000, what is the minimum number of guesses needed to find a specific number if you are given the hint "higher" or "lower" for each guess you make? (Reportedly from Facebook)


11. If you had 5,623 participants in a tournament, how many games would need to be played to determine the winner? (Reportedly from Amazon)

5,622, unless it's a round robin, in which case, I'd have to go with Walter and The Dude. Am I wrong?

12. An apple costs 20 cents, an orange costs 40 cents, and a grapefruit costs 60 cents. How much is a pear? (Reportedly from Epic Systems)

I don't know, since that wasn't one of the fruits whose price you mentioned. However, I can tell you that an apple costs 20 cents, an orange costs 40 cents, and a grapefruit costs 60 cents.

13. There are three boxes. One contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled such that no label identifies the actual contents of its box. Opening just one box, and without looking in the box, you take out one piece of fruit. By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly? (Reportedly from Apple)

Because I am Mysterion, that's how.

14. How many traffic lights are in Manhattan? (Reportedly from Argus Information and Advisory Services)

Too many! I kid, I kid. The answer is 16.

15. You are in a dark room with no light. You have 19 grey socks and 25 black socks. What are the chances you will get a matching pair? (Reportedly from Convergex)

The better question is, why do I have so many socks?

16. What do wood and alcohol have in common? (Reportedly from Guardsmark)

I have both in my pants right now.

17. How do you weigh an elephant without using a weigh machine? (Reportedly from IBM)

I use a scale, since I am not familiar with anything called a "weigh machine."

18. You have 8 pennies. Seven weigh the same, but one weighs less. You also have a judges scale. Find the penny that weighs less in three steps. (Reportedly from Intel)

Put 4 pennies on each side. One side will be lighter, since one side has to have the penny that weighs less. Thus, you take the pennies from the heavy side off, then split the pennies from the lighter side. Repeat this step once more, and you've found your light penny. Also, there's a fourth step, in which I punch you in the face for insulting my Intel-ligence. Pun intended, motherfucker.

19. Why do you think only a small portion of the population makes over $150,000? (Reportedly from New York Life)

There are two ways to look at it: economics or AIDS. Think about it.

20. You are in charge of 20 people. Organize them to figure out how many bicycles were sold in your area last year. (Reportedly from Schlumberger)

Trick question. I don't even have an area. Assuming I had an area, I would tell those 20 people to figure out how many bicycles were sold in my area last year.

21. How many bottles of beer are [consumed] in the city [in a] week? (Reportedly from Nielsen)

I don't know because that's a retarded question. That said, 143,121. No more, no less.

22. What's the square root of 2000? (Reportedly from UBS)


23. A train leaves San Antonio for Houston at 60 mph. Another train leaves Houston for San Antonio at 80 mph. Houston and San Antonio are 300 miles apart. If a bird leaves San Antonio at 100 mph, and turns around and flies back once it reaches the Houston train, and continues to fly between the two, how far will it have flown when they collide? (Reportedly from USAA)

Jesus Christ. This is why I'm glad you're my insurance company and not my employer. Thanks for having me in here today, and good luck with filling the position, you rat fucking bastard.

24. How are M&Ms made? (Reportedly from USBank)

They are not made; they are killed and de-limbed.

25. What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle? (This question comes from Volkswagen. A spokeswoman for the company tells BNET while the question is certainly not standard, the company's business analysts often have to take over and manage projects started by other people, so this question may have been a manager's attempt to see how a job candidate would run a project they 'inherited.')

I would leave this interview immediately, buy a BMW, pick up my mixed-race wife, and drive to my new pizzeria. I bet that really chaps your ass, doesn't it Adolf?

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Weekend of Weezer

Weezer is a pretty awesome band. I consider their debut album (the "Blue Album") to be one of my favorites, and their sophomore effort Pinkerton is pretty damn good as well. You can imagine I was pretty excited several month ago when I heard about their Memories tour, which was coming to Chicago to The Aragon.

In the Memories tour, the band plays the Blue Album in its entirety one night, and then Pinkerton in its entirety the next night. Both shows also have "greatest hits" sets, which are different both nights. This past Friday night was the Blue Album, and Saturday was Pinkerton. I've heard of other bands doing "album" tours. Judas Priest doing British Steel and Heart doing Dreamboat Annie come to mind. I didn't see either of those (although they both would have been pretty awesome). Needless to say, I had been looking forward to this weekend since October.

My college friend and giant Weezer fan Mounty Belanger came into town for the weekend. Jester and I shipped Daughter out to grandma's. That FedEx Ground is a godsend, by the way. Thus, the ability to sleep in and general excitement of the weekend made it ripe for debauchery.

The group was rather large Friday night, and we all gathered at Fat Cat, a bar about a block from The Aragon for dinner. Among the attendees were me, Jester, Mounty, Chenandler Bong, Lisa, Hanig, Allison, Gregerson, Daniel, Non-Italian Phil, Goni, and Bonham. Plus, Tron and Magdog joined us for dinner (but were not going to the show).

We were slamming beers and eating ravenously, so that we would not miss the relatively early 7:30 show start time. Apparently, we impressed the manager, because she invited us back to the bar for free post-show shots. Also, the DJ played "The Wizard" by Black Sabbath, which is pretty cool.

Friday night's show was fantastic. After their "greatest hits" set -- in which Rivers Cuomo ventured into the crowd, as well as up into the balconies via a stack of amps -- the band took a break and the kids from the local School of Rock came out and played two songs ("El Scorcho" and "Good Life," I think). There is something rather hilarious about seeing a 13-year-old boy who looks like Carrot Top belt out "God damn you half-Japanese girls / Do it to me every time." Then, Karl Koch, Weezer's webmaster and documenter (and friend) came out and showed us a slideshow of early photos and concert posters. Then, Weezer came back out and played the Blue Album front to back. It was predictably awesome.

Here are some shots of the first night:
What wasn't awesome was that it took us a half hour to get out of The Aragon. The coat check is in the basement, but it lets out right by the bottom of the stairs from the ballroom. Thus, everyone waiting to get their coats blocked the exit, and it was slow going. Kudos to Goni, who had the foresight to get the coats with a couple songs to go, which at least saved us an extra 15-20 minutes.

After the show, we went back to Fat Cat, and had some free shots and non-free beers. Meanwhile, the DJ was playing a fantastic collection of early to mid '90s alternative rock. As the group began to disperse, some of us wanted to stay out. Gregerson, Mounty, Goni, Bonham, and I decided to head to Rocks. We piled into a cab, which got us there in record time, without regard for red lights or speed limits.

We got to Rocks probably around 12:30 or 1. I immediately put money into the jukebox. It was relatively empty. George, the co-owner who Mounty, Goni, and I know from IU, was bartending. Upon greeting us, he told us that some chick sitting at the bar went to Purdue, pretty much for the sole purpose of baiting us into making fun of her. Done and done. You know a line that never gets old? I do. It's: I love watching games in Mackey Arena because there aren't any NCAA championship banners to block my view. Depending on the drunkenness of the Purdue fan to whom you are speaking, there are usually one of two answers. The first is "Dang it." The second is "We won a women's NCAA basketball title in 1999." No response is necessary when they say that, other than maybe "Yes, and you rioted afterward."

With her was some chick who looked kind of like a shorter version Xena (the Warrior Princess), who started talking to a couple of us. I tell you what, crazy chicks are always fun to talk to. The first thing she says to anyone is that she's an MMA fighter. Clearly. She then told us she had been mugged by five guys on the L earlier that day, which resulted in a large bruise on her leg, but that was the only damage. They didn't get anything because, well, she's an MMA fighter. Jokingly, Goni said, "Bullshit. Show us." So, she dropped trou right there in the middle of the bar and showed us the giant bruise on her hammy. Her story then subsequently changed, such that she got the bruise during MMA training. She also said that her dad used to play for the Seahawks. When we showed any mild knowledge of Seahawks football (i.e., "Steve Largent? Jim Zorn? Kenny Easley?"), she said he only played for one game back in the mid '80s. She also informed us that New York is better than Chicago. Why? In New York, she didn't have to wear cleats when she played flag football, but in Chicago, she had to get cleats. Apparently the grass is never wet in New York. This was too much for Bonham to take, so he kicked her in her other leg and sprinted away, never to be seen again.

After closing Rocks down, we headed to Yakzee's, a late night bar on Diversey that I thought was closed, but apparently is open again. Last time I was there, I was probably about 24, and I was sitting next to a table full of dudes who were slamming their beers and glasses onto the ground under their table whenever they finished a drink. There was a pile of glass under the table, yet they didn't get kicked out. Rather, they kept getting served.

Anyway, it was pretty packed, as you might imagine, since everyone was excited Mounty was in town. We grabbed some beers and a booth. At one point, while Gregerson was up, some kid who couldn't have been more than 22 walked by us, then sat down at the booth, apparently sensing (incorrectly, mind you) that Mounty, Goni, and I were good people to ask about girl problems. You see, this kid was in a pickle. He came to the bar with this one chick he was going to hook up with. He was hanging out with her at the bar close to the door. But then, some waitress from another bar showed up. He wants to bang her, and she wants to bang him. She didn't see him, and she walked past him to the back of the bar. A classic hot zone. What should he do? Luckily, the girls didn't know each other. We gave him three options: (1) grab the one closest to the door and get the fuck out of there before the waitress sees you; (2) throw caution to the wind, grab the one who's more likely DTF -- and yes, we used that exact term -- and get the fuck out of there; or (3) for the love of God, let us live vicariously through you, and take them both home tonight. Instead, he chose Option #4: continue to sit down at our booth every few minutes to give us status updates, thus convincing us that he was more interested in talking to three 30-something dudes than banging two 20-something chicks. He'll figure it out one of these days.

Around 3:30, we got hungry, so we did what any group of dudes trying to relive college does: went to LaBamba. I tore into some super steak nachos.
When my head hit the pillow, it was about 4:30. I love my kid, don't get me wrong, but it was a nice feeling knowing that I didn't have to get up for anything on Saturday.

I woke up around noon Saturday. Jester went shopping by herself. After conversing for several minutes and then eating some bacon and scrambled eggs with our hands and forks, respectively, Mounty and I spent several hours playing Beatles Rock Band.

At 3:30, we headed to Rocks to watch the Saints/Seahawks game. Around that time, we heard about the shooting in Arizona. You know how I feel about hand guns. If not, please see the lyrics of Lynyrd Skykyrd's "Saturday Night Special." As more details have come out about the shooter, his history, his apparent mental health problems, how he got the gun, and Arizona's lenient gun laws, I am hard-pressed to find a good reason why he was allowed to purchase a hand gun and conceal it without a permit (the latter thanks to Arizona's law). To be honest, I don't know how extensive mental health checks are before someone is allowed to buy a gun, but it seems to me like someone like this should not have been allowed to own any firearms, much less one that had a magazine with 30 rounds that he could conceal without a permit.

Back to less depressing topics. With the closing of The Pitch, Rocks is now a Saints bar, which means they have New Orleans-based specials during Saints games, including $3 Abitas (and they have Turbodog on tap). So, we at some Cajun food, drank some Abita, and watched as Saints fans broke down faster than a poorly designed levee. That Marshawn Lynch run was ridiculous.

Our crowd for Saturday night's Weezer show was much smaller in number than for Friday night's show. Goni was nice enough to drive Hanig, Allison, Mounty, and I to the show, where we met Daniel and headed into The Aragon for the second night of bliss. Mounty won an autographed copy of the band's Hurley CD, so that was cool.

Saturday night was more for the hardcore fans than Friday night. Pinkerton is generally less well-known to the masses as it is, but the band also busted out some b-sides during the "greatest hits" set. Mounty and I were especially thrilled when they played "Susanne," which is an old, Blue Album-era b-side that plays at the end of Mallrats (a movie both of us love). The School of Rock kids played "Surf Wax America" and I think something else off of the Blue Album.
Here are some shots from night two, of the greatest hits set and the Pinkerton set, respectively:
In between the opening band and Weezer, we noticed this dude standing in front of us. You ever meet or see people that, right off the bat, there is something about them that innately grates you, and you just want to hit them in the head with a ball-peen hammer? This was one of those guys. He had a shaggy haircut (like a hipster Bieber) and one of the worst beards I've ever seen, like when a high schooler who can't really grow facial hair stops shaving for three years. It looked like pubic hair, and it was unkempt. He was rail thin. I think Daughter's arms were thicker than his (granted, she is an Amazon, but she's only 13 months old). His most annoying trait, however, was not physical. Somehow, he was there with a girl who was, quite frankly, out of his league. She wasn't overly attractive or anything, but based on this guy's beard alone, he had no business being with her. In between the opening band and Weezer, she went to the bathroom. I kid you not, this fucking Klopek turned around looking for her every five seconds from the instant she left until 20 minutes later when she returned. You just wanted to go up to the guy and say, "Don't worry. She's coming back. I just finished plowing her in the bathroom, and there were only a couple guys in line behind me." I also wanted to cut his beard. And hit him in the head with a ball-peen hammer. Upon her return, he proceeded to put his feeble hand on the small of her back, pushing her forward or towards him every time I crept up behind her and smelled her hair.

Having learned our lesson from the night before, we brought lighter coats, didn't check them, and headed towards the back during the last song. Thus, we walked right out after the show ended and walked right to the L, walked right on, walked right off at the Fullerton stop, walked right into a cab, and walked right into the Burwood Tap, my former favorite bar in Chicago.

Morgan met us at the Burwood. Bottles of Bud Light were consumed. Burwood popcorn (which is still delicious) was consumed. We watched a guy get kicked out, which is always fun. When a bouncer is about nine inches taller than you, it's generally not a good idea to get in his face when he tries to kick you out. Even though we were only a block from LaBamba, we did not try the rare "Two Bamba's Trips in Two Nights." Instead, we just went home, where, according to Jester, I snored in the melody of "Tired of Sex." I assured her that she shouldn't read anything into that.

Last night, I bought some Weezer b-sides (including "Susanne") on iTunes, as well as their most recent album, Death to False Metal, which is a collection of unreleased songs, and it pretty good. Today at work, I listened to that album. The original name of Death to False Metal was Odds and Ends. Immediately after I was finished listening to the album, I hit the "Shuffle Songs" option on my iPod. Out of the 9,336 songs currently on my iPod, what do you think was the first one to show up? "Odds and Ends" by Bob Dylan & The Band. Hello! I immediately called the bearded dude's girlfriend, since I knew she would find that coincidence interesting. I call her Butterfly. Because she's my flower. And I'm her butterfly. We don't know why. We just feel it. Did you guys see the size of that chicken?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Interesting Video on SSNs and the Risk of Posting too Much Personal Info on Social Networking Sites


I've been known to have weird dreams, and I've come to accept that. So should you. Last night, I had a Beatles-related dream, in which I was implanted in a documentary about how The Beatles were asked to change some lyrics of "Revolution" for a live broadcast of the song. In the dream, George was the primary writer and singer of the song. He was pissed that they were asked to change the lyrics, and he refused to change anything, singing the song as originally written during the live broadcast -- much like The Doors did with the "girl, we couldn't get much higher" line during their performance of "Light My Fire" on the Ed Sullivan Show. In the documentary that I was somehow participating in, George then played a version of "Revolution" that The Beatles recorded as a joke with the suggested changed lyrics. The line the show wanted changed was the "say you'll change the Constitution" line, and for the life of me, I can't remember what the changed lyric was, but it got a lot of laughs from the documentary crew.

Anyway, from there, I was tele-transported into a documentary about John Lennon's murder. I was walking around the Dakota on the day and night he was shot, and it was really weird. There were some accounts in my dream documentary that do not coincide with reality, but that's pretty much a given, considering whose head this was all inside. What I found most strange about this whole thing was that the word "Anubis" kept popping up in the dream, enough so that when I woke up, all I could think of was the word "Anubis."

I am not familiar with the word "Anubis," and I couldn't remember if or when I have ever heard it, so I looked it up. Of course, Anubis is the jackal-headed Egyptian god of the afterlife and mummification. That didn't ring any bells, so did some more digging to realize where I had heard it: Nick, Jr. While watching Daughter's favorite show, Dino Dan -- which, by the way, is a Canadian show about a delusional boy who openly talks about constant hallucinations in which he sees dinosaurs, and yet no one seems concerned about his mental health -- I have seen commercials for a new Nickelodeon show called House of Anubis, in which some British teenagers at boarding school live in a haunted house. So there you go. I don't have to fear that it was some omen that I am going to be mummified. And now you've just wasted five minutes while I worked something out in my head.

Bagwell Was Robbed!

The 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame class has been announced. A grand total of two players were inducted: Roberto Alomar, a fantastic second baseman with a penchant for spitting on people and apparently giving people the HIV; and Bert Blyleven, a Dutchman. Glaringly absent was Jeff Bagwell, the longtime Astros first baseman who would have likely hit 500 home runs if a late-career injury hadn't prevented him from lifting his throwing arm above shoulder level. Bagwell -- who is in his first year of eligibility -- undoubtedly has Hall of Fame numbers (which would have been even better had his career not been cut short by injuries), and it is baffling that he only received votes from 41.7% of the voters.

Maybe Hall of Fame voters just assume anyone who hit more than 30 home runs at any point between 1990 and 2006 must have been on steroids, but Bagwell has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, never been accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs, and has vehemently denied any association with performance-enhancing drugs. Furthermore, unlike a lot of the juice heads with huge numbers in the Steroid Era, Bagwell's numbers never jumped up or fell off (until the aforementioned injury). His numbers were consistent -- and consistently good -- throughout his career.

I thought maybe my viewpoint is skewed, since I'm an Astros fan, but even the experts agree that he got snubbed.

Hall of Fame voters are historically picky, and for some stupid reason, they seem to like to make otherwise Hall-worthy players sweat it out for a year or so before voting them in. But now, Hall of Fame voters are essentially saying that any power hitter from the past 25 years can't get in on the first ballot. It will be interesting to see what they do with Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey, Jr. -- two other guys with Hall of Fame numbers who have never been close to being accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs. If those guys don't get in on the first ballot, then I will personally find every single person who didn't vote for them and leave a flaming bag of excrement on their respective doorsteps.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Winged Resolutions

So, the holidays are over, unless you consider Epiphany to be a holiday, in which case you are not likely reading this, since you live in a convent. I took the week off between Christmas and New Years, which I highly recommend. Nothing like a week off around the holidays to remind you why college was awesome. I watched movies during the day, played video games, went to concerts, drank many winter beers, and ate what I now consider to be an unhealthy amount of chicken wings and related food products containing buffalo wing sauce. I may have ralphed up wings at one point, which was, amazingly, not alcohol related.

On the bright side, I weigh exactly 1.4 pounds less than I did a year ago. At this rate, I should be down to my high school graduation weight at some time in March 2037. As with pretty much each of the previous five years, I was disciplined for the first six months, and then worked out sporadically (if at all) for the second six months of the year. I really need to find a job that pays me hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to work out. I feel like that would get me in shape.

I heard back from the data recovery people who currently hold every memory I have of Daughter from her first year. They can recover the data on our deceased laptop, but it won't be completed for 8-10 weeks. Thus, you will have to wait until late February or early March for the exciting conclusion of American Werewolves in Munich.

Speaking of assholes, while I am not at all surprised about the fact that 5 O$U players were caught breaking NCAA rules, I am still baffled that they were able to play in last night's Sugar Bowl. Here is a pretty good article on the absurdity of the situation. I see no reason why the players have any incentive to uphold their "agreement" to come back to school next year.

Speaking of things that have nothing to do with one another, here are my resolutions for 2011:
1. Work less
2. Write more weekend recaps
3. Work out more than ten times between July 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011
4. Win over $100 million
5. Sell 2008 Big Ten Championship ring back to Terrelle Pryor
6. Buy more new music
7. Get Daughter into calf roping
8. See more movies made within the past year
9. Get viral (preferably, not stomach viral)
10. Figure out what makes Bruce Vilanch tick

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: Music in 2010

I've gotta admit: I like music. So here are my top ten concerts, albums, and songs of 2010.

Top Ten Concerts of 2010
You know I love live music. I went to a lot of great concerts in 2010 – bookended with The Black Keys on January 1 and December 31 – so this was a really tough one. I've already ranked the top ten shows I saw at Lollapalooza, so I'll leave those off the list (although that Green Day show would otherwise be on here at #2).

10. Chief with Haim (6/14; The Troubadour, Los Angeles)
This one is mainly on here because I saw Mischa Barton at the show.

9. The Hold Steady (10/1; The Vic, Chicago)
These guys never let me down with their live shows.

8. Iron Maiden (7/18; First Midwest Bank Amphitheater; Tinley Park)
This was the first time I had seen Iron Maiden live, and they didn't disappoint. The only reason this isn't higher is that they didn't play "Run to the Hills" -- not that their set was lacking for metal classics.

7. Everybody Was in the French Resistance . . . Now! with Team Band and Chaperone (5/6; Schuba's, Chicago)
I thought I wrote about this show, but I guess I didn't. It was solid, helped by the fact that the bands hung around in the bar after the show, so Chandler and I got to pretend we were cool for a little while.

6. American Bang (12/13; House of Blues Backporch Stage, Chicago)
I saw these guys at Lollapalooza, and they put on a fantastic show. Thus, when I had the opportunity to see them in a small venue, for $9 no less, I couldn't pass it up. Again, they put on a great show. The Backporch Stage at HOB isn't the greatest venue, since it's pretty much a restaurant with a stage at one end. Hopefully the next time these guys come back to Chicago, they will be playing at a place like Beat Kitchen, Schuba's, or Lincoln Hall.

5. The Gaslight Anthem (7/27; House of Blues, Chicago)
I already wrote about this one.

4. Stone Temple Pilots with Cage the Elephant (8/20; Charter One Pavilion, Chicago)
This was an awesome show. STP still has it, and CTE was a great choice for the opener.

3. Township (3/13; Reggie's Music Joint, Chicago)
I hope these guys continue to make it out to the Midwest because they put on a hell of a show.

2. Sudtiroler Spitzbuam (9/24; Pschorr Braurosl, Munich)
You will learn more -- very little more -- about this whenever I get my dead laptop's data recovered and, as a result, can finish my Munich updates.

1. The Black Keys with The Greenhornes (12/31; Aragon Ballroom, Chicago)
This was my first ever show at the Aragon (thanks to the White Stripes cancelling a show a few years ago there). Despite the fact that I was having gastrointestinal distress (perhaps as a result of a 24-hour stomach bug) and that I was sober on New Years Eve, The Black Keys and The Greenhornes did not disappoint. The Greenhornes opened (as you might imagine), and pumped out some solid garage rock. The Black Keys kicked ass, as usual. At midnight, there was a giant balloon drop, which resulted in thousands of balloons being batted about for the next hour or so (until they were all popped).

Top Ten Albums of 2010
Bear in mind that this list includes only albums that I own, and I only bought 11 albums that were released last year. Also, it does not include live albums. I thought 2010 was a relatively weak year for music, at least from the new stuff I bought, but that may be a product of only buying a relatively small amount of new music last year. It would also appear that I support side projects.

11. Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards
I love Jack White, and his side projects are generally pretty good, but he needs to get back to The White Stripes.

10. The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever
I love The Hold Steady, but I thought this album didn't hit very hard. After longtime keyboardist Franz Nicolay left the band, I assumed that would mean the band's music would turn in a slightly more rocking direction. It did not. That's not to say there aren't some solid rockers on this one, but it's no Stay Positive or Boys and Girls in America.

9. American Bang - American Bang
As I mentioned above, I saw these guys at Lollapalooza and then again last month, and they put on a fantastic live show. They play straightforward, '70s-inspired Southern hard rock. Unfortunately, the ballsiness and energy of their live shows isn't captured on the album as well as it could have been. The songs are good, and the album was produced by legendary rock producer Bob Rock, so it's worth picking up, but their live shows are worth even more.

8. The Postelles - The Postelles
I had the single version of their song, "White Night," which was released in 2009. The album version of that song is slightly different and, in my opinion, not as good as the single version. Overall, the album is pretty good. Several of the songs are produced by Albert Hammond, Jr. of The Strokes. It harkens '60s garage rock/pop, and the songs are generally pretty catchy.

7. Codeine Velvet Club - Codeine Velvet Club
This is a side project of now-former Fratellis frontman Jon Lawler and Scottish singer-songwriter Lou Hickey (who is a female), who share lead vocals. It's kind of a '60s-influenced, Wall of Sound type album of poppy songs, with some rockers thrown in there as well.

6. Everybody Was in The French Resistance . . . NOW! – Fixin' the Charts, Vol. 1
This is a side project of Art Brut frontman Eddie Argos, and it has an interesting back story. Argos and Dyan Valdés of L.A. group The Blood Arm were on a road trip, and "Jimmy Mack" by Martha and The Vandellas came on the radio. Argos and Valdés had a discussion about how the song would be different from the guy's point of view (as it is basically about a woman who cheats on Jimmy and asks him when he's coming back). Thus, they decided to form a band and create an entire album of songs written in response to other songs, including "Hey! It's Jimmy Mack," in which Jimmy explains that he's not coming back. Other highlights include "Think Twice (It's Not All Right)" (a response to Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice (It's All Right)"), "G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N. (You Know I've Got A)" (a response to Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend"), and "My Way (Is Not Always the Best Way") (a response to Frank Sinatra's "My Way").

5. Harlem - Hippies
I saw these guys at Lollapalooza and subsequently bought their album. It's a nice mix of stripped-down garage punk and The Beach Boys.

4. The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St. Rarities Edition
This is a collection of unreleased songs and alternate versions of songs from the Exile on Main St. sessions, and it is pretty awesome (although not nearly as good as what ended up on the album).

3. Jimi Hendrix - Valleys of Neptune
It seems like every couple years more Hendrix songs are discovered. This was what was supposed to be Hendrix's next album, but then he went and died. In addition to a bunch of "new" songs, there are also alternate versions of "Stone Free," "Fire," and "Red House" and covers of some blues songs, different versions of which appear on various compilations.

2. The Black Keys - Brothers
The Black Keys went dark and upped their entourage to include, gasp, more than just a guitar and drums. It's a pretty damn good album with some songs that aren't what you might otherwise consider Black Keys songs.

1. The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
The Gaslight Anthem's American Slang stood out in 2010 as a solid piece of rock and roll, built on the broken dreams of Jersey's past and present.

Top Song of 2010
Rather than comb my iPod to figure out which ten songs from 2010 I like best, there is a runaway favorite for the best song of the year: "Fuck You" by Cee-Lo Green. It's the catchiest song with a dirty word you've ever heard.