Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: Things I Expect to Happen As a Result of Jim Tressel's Resignation

Jim Tressel's (forced) resignation yesterday sent shockwaves through the college football world, not so much because he shouldn't have resigned (he should have been fired months ago), but mainly because both he and Ohio State have been so cocksure throughout this entire scandal. When the dust settles after the NCAA's investigation, I'm expecting some major penalties (post-season bans, scholarship losses, vacate victories).

Here are ten predictions about what will happen as a result of Tressel's resignation. Some of these are completely contradictory, but that's just because I like to cover my bases.

10. Nothing. The NCAA will simply view Tressel's resignation and the school's self-imposed sanctions as good enough, and leave it at that. After all, Ohio State's above-the-law attitude throughout the whole process must mean that Ohio State is, in fact, above the law.

9. Tressel will get at least a five-year show-cause order from the NCAA, and he will never again have a coaching job in major college football. Hell, if Kelvin Sampson got a five-year show cause order for lying to IU and the NCAA about texting too much, then Tressel deserves at least that much.

8. IU will go to a bowl before Ohio State.

7. Some insane O$U fan will try to choke Tressel with a gray sweater vest.

6. O$U will have to vacate all of their victories since 2002 (aside from last season's Sugar Bowl, of course), making Tressel the losingest coach in Ohio State history and giving him a worse record against Michigan than John Cooper.

5. Urban Meyer will not set foot in Columbus, except maybe as an ESPN analyst.

4. Terrelle Pryor won't play another game in a Buckeye uniform.

3. O$U President G. Gordon Gee will manage to say something completely idiotic.

2. Daughter will learn how to sing along to the "thunder" parts of "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC (which the White Sox use as their intro) when I sing the "ah ah ah ah ah ah ahhh ah" parts. This really has nothing to do with Ohio State or Tressel, but it's been in the works for the past couple days, and it really started to come into its own yesterday after the news about Tressel surfaced.

1. The sweater vest market in Ohio will take a drastic nosedive.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Greatest Memorial Day Ever?

So not only did O$U head football coach Jim Tressel finally resign unceremoniously about six months too late, but the Illinois House passed a bill that will allow a casino in Chicago and slots at O'Hare and Midway. This could be the end of me. Or the beginning of what will eventually be a made-for-TV movie called "GMYH: The Whale Who Cared Too Much."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Midwestern Eavesdropping - 5/26/11

Twentysomething special ed teacher: "Let's hope I don't have thrush-yeast infection of the mouth."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thirtysomething guy: "Last time I was on a rooftop, I chugged a bottle of syrup."
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Thirtysomething pipe fitter: "We can either use an online dick or one of ours."
--Amtrak Hiawatha train, somewhere in Illinois
Eavesdropper: The Floppy Burrito

Angry twentysomething patron leaving bar as "Laid" by James (which came out in 1993) played: "I mean, how did people have sex in the 80s with that music?! Seriously?!!"
--Los Angeles, Phoenix Club
Eavesdropper: The Weez

Thirtysomething married woman: "I've done some really, really crazy things in Tijuana. And I was 16!"
--Naperville, IL, Houlihan's
Eavesdropper: Matthew Spring

Twentysomething kindergarten teacher: "I hate kids. I hate their laughter, I hate everything about them."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Chick crossing busy street by herself yelling: "I love cocaine! I wish I was on it right now!"
--Chicago, Sheffield & Belmont
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething fourth grade teacher: "Grey's Anatomy...that's not real. Have you ever seen Twister? Now that's real."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thirtysomething male talking about hipster with terrible mustache: "Yeah, my pubic hair's ironic."
--Chicago, Schuba's, Belmont & Racine
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Female #1: "Why is your computer going to crash?"
Female #2 (referring to cat-loving man): "Because he was probably watching kitty porn on it."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Email from 30-something lawyer after several hours of drinking: "My brain is monkeys."
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Former 30 and 8 winner: "I can drink 15 beers and still drive a bus full of people."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Twentysomething Korean woman on the sidewalk talking about Asians: "I gotta be quiet. There's a pack of 'em walking towards us right now."
--Chicago, Clark & Hubbard
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething female referring to a Biggest Loser contestant: "Her face looks like a vagina."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thanks to everyone who contributed. As always, when you overhear something funny, email it to gmyhblog@yahoo.com for inclusion in the next exciting installment of Midwestern Eavesdropping.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hodge Podge

The rapture didn't come on Saturday. Of course, Harold Camping, the lying sack of shit charlatan who made the incorrect Judgment Day prediction, is backtracking. He is now saying that his prediction was wrong (no shit), and that October 21 will be doomsday. This is now the second time he has incorrectly predicted the end of the world. How does this guy still have any followers? And does he plan to reimburse his followers (dumb as they may be) who spent their hard-earned money in reliance on Camping's prediction? My guess on the latter is a "no," although I'm sure he will ask them for donations to his ministry.

Randy "Macho Man" Savage died Friday. As a diehard WWF fan in the '80s and early '90s, this one hit home. Jessie and I bought a Slim Jim Sunday in his honor. Here is a link to a slideshow tribute (thanks to The Weez for the link). Rest in peace. Oh yeeeaaaahh.

Apparently there's a British guy with Tourette's and Asperger's that has a website where he sings karaoke (thanks to Jeremy for the link). This is one of those things where you're not sure if it's supposed to be funny, but you have to assume it is, so you don't have to feel bad or uncomfortable laughing at it, but maybe you should. I'm not sure yet. A warning: there is some foul language in some of the songs, so you may not want to view the videos at work, unless you work in a swear factory.

I read a disturbing article yesterday about a Canadian hippie couple who named their baby Storm. That's not a big deal, since the kid has a pretty decent shot at becoming an American Gladiator with that name. The issue is that Storm is now four months old, and its parents have not told anyone whether Storm is a boy or a girl. They apparently think it's a good idea to let their child determine whether it wants to live life as a boy or a girl. I don't see how that can backfire.

Here are some quotes from the mother.

"[I]n not telling the gender of my precious baby, I am saying to the world, 'Please can you just let Storm discover for him/herself what s (he) wants to be?!."

No. He or she is a boy or a girl. That's biology, not something that one "discover[s] for him/herself." It turns out infants and toddlers don't understand the complexities of gender roles.

"Everyone keeps asking us, 'When will this end?' And we always turn the question back. Yeah, when will this end? When will we live in a world where people can make choices to be whoever they are?"

Never, dingbat. You can't choose whether you're born with a dick or a vagina. If Storm decides sometime down the road that he/she wants a sex change, so be it, but that's an adult decision. In the meantime, Storm is going to have a hell of a time socializing with any other children.

"Hi, I'm Suzie. What's your name?"


"Are you a boy or a girl?"


This reminds me of that article I read a few years ago about the family who let their five-year-old boy live as a girl. There are real, deep psychological consequences to these kinds of "acts of freedom," or however the parents want to mistakenly label it. I'm pretty liberal, but I think there are other ways to make a statement about the supposed strictures of social identification than using your children as a vehicle for your statement and encouraging gender confusion in infants and toddlers.

Finally, here is The Gaslight Anthem's video for their song "Bring It On."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: "Final Lap" Songs (by The Weez)

This is a guest post by The Weez, one of GMYH's friends. The Weez lives in Los Angeles. He has met both Royce Gracie and Frank Dux. Most notably, he was the 3000th visitor to Give Me Your Handrew. I made a couple minor grammatical and punctuation edits, and I added a couple bracketed explanations to explain references that most other people wouldn't get. I put the latter edits in brackets. Other than that, it's all The Weez's writing.

This is the song you click to on the iPod for the last 5 minutes of your workout, when you're most vulnerable to cashing in early. Right when you get the spaghetti legs, you scroll over to one of these songs, and you get the extra NOS Boost to finish up at top speed, and thus justify the eight Blue Moons you'll be having later that night.

Most of the songs are a bit retro, since I think nostalgia plays a part in how these songs affect your drive. As in, "I was in really good shape when this song came out in high school. Thus, my 17 year old self thinks I'm a pussy."

Honorable Mention: "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi. Yeah, the one with the video about the ginger jumping off bridges and trains to get to the Bon Jovi concert on time. You do realize this song came out over ten years ago, right? It's technically Classic Rock at this point. Ugh. In any case, though it seems an obvious choice, the beat is actually too slow, and it'll weaken your pace at this crucial point in the workout. They actually tweaked the tempo up a bit for the Glee mash-up with that Usher song, and it works much better. Not that I'd know that.

10. "Hands Open" by Snow Patrol
Even hipsters jog too, I guess.

9. "I Was a Teenage Antichrist" by Against Me!
Included because it features a very hooky version of my claim that "My 17 year old self thinks I'm a pussy" when they belt out, anthemically: Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?" (Point is, everyone reading this but Active Duty Service Members and Cristoff [who completed an Iron Man last year] is an old pansy.)

8. "My Wave" by Soundgarden
It's easy to dismiss this pacifist 90s rockers skreed about Laissez-faire existential surfing politics to be pretty dated.... but goddamn, does Chris Cornell rock.

7. "Live Like We're Dying" by Kris Allen
What do sheltered suburban kids use for "filthy mixer" these days? I suppose that's what I am for liking this song on a run...but it works. Nothing is more inspirational than having some dude remind you about all your dead relatives and friends in a really catchy Top 40 format. Try pulling up 200 yards early after remembering that Elizabeth Berry [a girl from our elementary school who got hit by a car in first grade] has been in the ground for over 25 years....

6. "Locomotive" by Guns N' Roses
This song is a GODDAMN RUSH. It's best suited for running downhill, kicking dirtclods with your Sauconys onto slower, less agile fatfucks. To be frank, this isn't actually as good of a 'last lap' song as "You Could Be Mine" is, but the urge to leap onto a 60cc Honda, skid out in front of a Kenworth wrecker and skirt down a dry riverbed would be too strong if I recommended that little ballad instead. [This was not on Playlist.com, but here is a link to the song on YouTube.]

5. "Panama" by Van Halen
Yeah, a pretty kick-ass song these 30 years later. But what the fuck does he mean by "Panama" anyway? We can all agree that he meant "Pandemonium" or "Mania" or something like that, right? Also, even though we all know that the delivery of "I reach back, between my legs....and EEEEEEASE the seatback"....is pretty homosuggestive in its delivery, it's still cool to sing aloud while driving. Right? Cool.

4. "One Vision by Queen
This is the original "Music makes you go faster" song. If you'll recall from the 80s action classic "Iron Eagle" (the "Teen Wolf" to Top Gun's "Back to The Future), preternaturally talented teenage jet fighter Doug McMasters enlisted the help of retired mechanic "Chappy" Sinclair to help him concoct a plan to rescue his father, a downed pilot being held in Genericbrownpersonistan. Sensing that the Reagan administration held a too liberal policy on initiating unilateral strikes on rouge Middle East states, the mismatched pair steal a pair of F-16s and fly across the pond to rescue Old Man Masters. Along they way, they find themselves falling behind their time schedule...Chappy informs Doug that if they don't somehow magically fly faster, they'll miss their window to sneak attack Genericbrownpersonistan's poorly defended, ether-soaked fleet of Estes model airplanes. Bypassing the"AFTERBURNER" switch, Doug inserts his Cassingle of Queen's ONE VISION, and the pair's Fighting Falcons leap forth into the Wild Blue Yonder. If the memory of that inspirational scene doesn't cause you to run faster, then may adult-onset diabetes claim your pudgy feet.

Also, you can hear Freddy Mercury say "Gimmie gimmie gimmie fried chicken" at the end of the song.

3. "Pompeii" by E. S. Posthumus
This is the song you need to have in your head if you ever come home to see two dudes walking out your backdoor with your TV in their hands. You'll chase them down like a zombie puma ("28 Days Later" zombie puma, not "Walking Dead" zombie puma) and smash your Panasonic Plasma over their heads just to see the shattered glass sparkle in the sunlight. ES Posthumus is a pretty much "must buy" for any workout mix, btw.

2. "Right Now" by Van Halen
Pretty self explanatory from the lyrics. Yes, Van Halen has two songs on the list. Ironically, "Running With the Devil" isn't one of them. Unironically, "Love Walks In" isn't as well.

1. "Run Riot" by Def Leppard
Like I wasn't going to put a Def Leppard song in this list. I fucking put a Def Leppard song on the air during my "Jimmy Buffett Special" on WLTL in 1993, fer Chrissake.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

[FYI, my top ten "final lap" songs are, in no particular order (this largely mirrors my top ten running songs): "Breed" by Nirvana; "Romeo Delight" by Van Halen; "Live Wire" by Motley Crue; "Murders In The Rue Morgue" by Iron Maiden; "Alternative Ulster" by Stiff Little Fingers; "I Get Wet" by Andrew W.K.; "Hybrid Moments" by The Misfits; "In Your Eyes" by Runner & The Thermodynamics; "B.O.B." by Outkast; and "Search and Destroy" by The Stooges.]

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Book: Runaway Dream: Born to Run and Bruce Springsteen's American Vision by Louis P. Masur

I finished The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath by Philip Carlo a couple weeks ago. It was really interesting. As I said before, it follows Tommy "Karate" Pitera, a Mafia capo who was essentially a serial killer in the 1980s. He killed dozens of people, chopped up their bodies, and buried them in various wildlife sanctuaries, and, as you might imagine, he was one of the most feared people in Mafiadom during that time. The book also tracks the DEA agents who brought him down, and the various steps that led them to Pitera. All in all, it was a fascinating book, which I would recommend for anyone who likes true crime or Mafia books.

I have moved onto Runaway Dream: Born to Run and Bruce Springsteen's American Vision by Louis P. Masur. Born to Run is one of the greatest albums of all-time, and definitely one of my favorites. It's an album with a universal message about wanting to escape, even if you don't know where you want to go or how you want to get there. The album applies to all walks of life, whether you're a high school kid looking to get out of a small town, a thirtysomething looking to make a career change, or a fat old man looking to get back down to your fighting weight. The entire album is set during the summer and at night -- the ideal time to hatch an escape plan. You can't listen to this album without thinking that you can break free from the chains of your situation, whatever it may be, or at least make an attempt. It dares you to "case the promised land," even if you never actually end up living there. You wake up tired, work all day in a soul-crushing trapeze artistry job, come home, your daughter smells like cucumbers, dog needs to take a crap, pregnant wife on the verge of tears because the pita bread she bought doesn't have pockets so "what the fuck" is she going to do with all the tuna salad she made, and you know you're stuck being a trapeze artist even though you regret ever going to trapeze artist school in the first place, but all you want really want to do is make a living hunting goats with bows and arrows. Born to Run tells you that, if nothing else, you at least have to take an archery class and see where it goes. Maybe you find out you have no aim or maybe you can't find a good fletcher. But maybe you kill a bunch of goats and live like rapper. You have to give it a shot. Anyway, this book is about Born to Run.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cop Rock

I'm heading to the Eastern Midwest this weekend to witness some Judgment Day nuptials. Fitting that I will be in Columbus, Ohio for The Rapture. This means that Hair Band Friday will be taking place on a Boeing. Rest assured, we're gonna drink the plane out of liquor and party like it's 1986 and we're on our way to Monsters of Rock. Some stewardesses aren't even gonna know what hit 'em. Actually, they will: champagne and dong. More like Air Band Friday! But seriously, I'll probably just be listening to hair band music on a plane while sitting next to my pregnant wife. I will be at half-mast, though.

In completely unrelated news, my friend The Weez confided in me that he had a dream about me, which is recounted below. As you know, I have a history of having some vivid (and usually weird) dreams, so it's nice to see myself on the other side. For reference, Creature is his brother. He is called Creature because he is not yet a griffin -- the king of the creatures. To do so, he must bed two women at once and scream "I am Griffin" loud enough that the other creatures will hear and take heed, for they will then have a new king. Until then, however, he is merely Creature. All of this bears no relevance to the story or to The Weez's dream, but it is important that you know of the impending coming of the Griffin. Pun intended.

Here is the dream, as relayed to me via email. I was laughing out loud while reading this because it's dead on.

So, we're all going to some house party, in a neighborhood like yours/Creature's.

And as we come up, there had been a shooting, or something, since the whole area is swarming with cops, and police tape and stuff. So we walk up, to gawk, but you keep going. And Creature and I are about to stop you from crossing over the police line when you take out your wallet and show the other cops your badge. You were pretty slick and non-chalant about it.

(You also had that black leather 'cuff holder' thing on the small of your back. I didn't see a weapon on you, but based on your pussy liberal stance on guns, I assume you'd have trained at the MacGyver School of Non-anti-firearm self-defense, or something.)

(You also had a black leather jacket and black denim pants on, which almost makes up for not having a gun.)

And you started talking to the cops right away, and they told you about the situation. And Creature and I looked at each other and said "Oh, yeah. I forgot that GMYH is a cop. That's so damn cool."

The only bad part for you, was I think they all outranked you, since they had you move one of the cars used in the crime out of the way, so they'd have easier access to move. But I can tell they admired your hustle.
Hell yeah, they did. One of my nicknames from back in my summer janitorial days was Donny Hustle. Weez, I expect you to whip up a screenplay with that name based on your dream. I can play myself if you want.

Shit I Hate: "Thank You" Emails

Despite what you may think from reading this disaster I call a blog, I am generally a polite person. But there's one "polite" thing I can't stand: a "thank you" email. You know what I'm talking about. Someone asks you a question via email, you respond with the right answer or send them what they are asking for, and then they respond with "Thank you" or "Thanks" and nothing else. There are some people that do this compulsively, and it annoys the shit out of me, mostly figuratively. Unless I hear otherwise, I assume you are thankful. Please stop clogging my inbox. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite and Least Favorite Baby Names for 2010

Sorry for the relative lack of posting lately. I've been busy as all hell preparing for Judgment Day this coming Saturday.

A couple weeks ago, the Social Security Administration released their list of the Top 1000 baby names for 2010. This takes on particular importance, as we have bun number two in the oven, and we have to be cognizant of trends and whatnot. You don't want your kid to have a name that everyone else in his or her class will have, but you also don't want your kid's name to be too bland, too weird, unpronounceable, susceptible to constant misspellings, or to require him or her to always spell it out or say "no, with a 'j,' not a 'y.'" (Note: you should probably avoid names with a silent "j" all together.)

For the first time in 55 years, Elvis in not in the Top 1000. This is nothing short of tragic. I urge anyone having a boy this year to reverse this trend. We're not talking Gene Vincent here, people. Elvis is the King. Pay some homage. But don't name your boy King.

As in years past, I have counted the number of boys' two-syllable names that have a long "a" in the first syllable and a "den" sound in the second syllable. Two years ago it was 38. Last year it was 41. This year it's still at 41: Jayden (4), Aiden (9), Brayden (40), Ayden (79), Jaden (91), Aidan (94), Hayden (96), Kaden (106), Caden (119), Kayden (123), Cayden (151), Kaiden (166), Jaiden (174), Braden (207), Caiden (265), Aden (288), Adan (332), Braydon (337), Zayden (338), Braeden (409), Braiden (468), Jaydon (493), Aaden (556), Jadon (573), Zaiden (618), Aydan (636), Raiden (640), Aydin (664), Kaeden (693), Aidyn (703), Jaeden (708), Bradyn (734), Jaidyn (873), Aedan (884), Jadyn (894), Kadyn (898), Jaydin (903), Rayden (929), Haiden (945), Kadin (985), and Jaydan (999).

It appears to have crested last year, as most of the names are falling in popularity. Braedon (919 last year) fell off the list completely, although it was unfortunately supplanted by Rayden, which is dangerously close to Radon, which is just plain dangerous. Still no Iron Maiden. Maybe in 2011.

Here are my top ten favorite and least favorite names in the Top 1000 (five boys and five girls in each category), in numerical order. I apologize in advance if you have named your child (or plan to name your child) one of the least favorite names, but at the same time, you should probably apologize to your kid. Seriously, though, it's amazing how horrible some of the names in the Top 1000 are.

Boys – Favorite
1. Griffin (231)
For he is the king of the creatures.

2. Leon (417)
As most of you know, this is my favorite boy's name. It means lion, for Christ's sake

3. Ace (619)
Sure, you guarantee your kid is going to be a grifter or a pool hustler, but man, what a ride it's gonna be!

4. Odin (858)
By the hammer of Thor, what a strong name.

5. Legend (946)
I shit you not, this is on the list. It's perfect for someone whose last name is Airy and middle name is Waitforit.

Just missed the list: Maximus (233); Cash (261); Orion (466); Maverick (504); Cannon (599); Memphis (609); Major (880)

Boys – Least Favorite
1. Jayden (4)
In a terrifying power play, Jayden has moved up to #4. Of course, he always carries a shiv, so that's not too much of a surprise. "Should we name him Jay or Aiden? Those are both nice names. I know, let's name him something that everyone will hate, including him."

2. Bentley (101)
This would be perfect if you were naming a Jack Russell or a luxury car.

3. Skyler (262)/Skylar (528)
I've never liked any variation of this name for a boy. These are girls' names, as evidenced by the fact that they are on the girl baby name list (Skylar is 181 and Skyler is 477).

4. Krish (854)
"No, Krish."
"So is that C-H-R-I-S-H?"
"No, it's K-R-I-S-H."
"Because my parents wanted me to have this conversation every single time I meet someone."

5. Crew (1000)
What? Why not Lacrosse or Squash or any other number of sports popular among the East Coast prep school set? Does this kid come out of the womb listening to Vampire Weekend?

Just missed the list: Braxton (171); Jax (348); Noe (534); Sincere (643); Iker (647); Misael (768); Adonis (796); Lyric (816); Isai (865); Jayvion (913); Bridger (916)

Girls – Favorite
1. Hazel (262)
There simply aren't enough Hazels around anymore, probably because most of them died before glasnost.

2. Willow (290)
You are great.

3. Janae (703)
I love Forrest Gump, so the fact that someone has created a name that is spelled how Forrest Gump pronounces Jenny just saves me the guilt of pronouncing Jenny like him anyway.

4. Abbey (887)
This is a particularly great name if the last name is Road (or Rhodes, etc.).

5. Azaria (905)
It's nice to see that the vocal characterization abilities of Hank Azaria are finally being recognized by American parents.

Just missed the list: None. These are the only five acceptable names for girls.

Girls – Least Favorite
1. Nevaeh (25)
"Is this Nevaeh?"
"No, it's Awoi -- her twin sister."
I also still think this sounds like a skincare product.

2. Ashlyn (156)
Although I am a fan of word combinations in general, you may be surprised to find out that I think word combinations in names are generally terrible. This one is a prime example. Ashley or Lynn would have been acceptable. Ashlyn sounds like a girl who one day strip, sometimes for money.

3. Maci (232)
In general, I have no problem with Macy, nor her redneck cousin, Maci. However, the article about baby names I read changed my mind about the latter. "The top 1,000 names includes Maci, modeled after one of the stars of MTV's '16 and Pregnant' and 'Teen Mother,' Maci Bookout. Maci was the fastest-growing girl's name in the country in 2010." Anyone who names their child after someone on 16 and Pregnant should be sterilized. There, I said it.

4. Journey (422)
Don't stop believin'.

5. Precious (960)
Your daughter is not a fucking cat. Or is she?

Just missed the list: Genesis (89); Paris (327); Tenley (458); Brynlee (509); Briley (656); Ember (825); Kynlee (886); Princess (901); Kimber (961)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: Chicago Sports Stars Who I Would Name a Sandwich After

There's a commercial airing on ESPN right now that you've probably seen.

It's a great commercial, but so many questions are left unanswered. Which Esposito? Phil? Tony? Both? Who else has a sandwich? If these guys own an Italian deli, why are they wearing Boston gear with shamrocks? Most importantly, what besides capicola is on an Esposito?

Sunday I was at the grocery store, learning the hard way you can't buy beer before 11 a.m. on Sundays at Jewel, when I made the mistake of walking past the deli counter. There it was: capicola. Immediately, my thoughts turned to the Esposito. I made my move. Things got blurry as I kept ordering deli meats and grabbed some condiments.

When I got home, I made what I assume is the Esposito. I took a French baguette, approximately six to seven inches in length, and I sliced it lengthwise, but not all the way through, so it was like a hinge. I laid it open-faced and added sliced chicken, pastrami, salami, capicola, and mozzarella, and I stuck it under the broiler to melt the cheese. Then I topped it with tomato, onion, giardiniera, mayo, spicy brown mustard, olive oil, and oregano. It was, without question, the best sandwich I've ever made. Here is a picture.

In addition to a full stomach, my version of the Esposito got me thinking: if -- no, when -- I own my own sandwich shop, which Chicago sports stars would I name sandwiches after? It's gonna be heavy on the Bears because, well, Chicago is a Bears town, and there will be more than 10 because it's my blog and I'll do whatever the fuck I want. I haven't thought far enough ahead to figure out what would be on each of these, but here's a rough idea. Players are in alphabetical order.

1. Ernie Banks (Cubs)
Sandwich name: Let's Play Two
A double decker club sandwich. So basically, it has four decks. And it also never wins a World Series.

2. Dick Butkus (Bears)
Sandwich name: Butkus
Roast beef, bloody. No bread.

3. Mike Ditka (Bears)
Sandwich name: Ditka
Pork chops, Polish sausage, and grilled onions on a bratwurst bun.

4. Red Grange (Bears)
Sandwich name: The Galloping Ghost
Since a dead horse is a galloping ghost, this one would be a sizeable portion of pulled horse brisket, topped with a hickory BBQ sauce.

5. Bobby Hull (Blackhawks)
Sandwich name: The Golden Jet
Peanut butter and sliced dill pickles. It doesn't look good, but man does it taste good.

6. Joe Jackson (White Sox)
Sandwich name: Shoeless Joe
A open-faced Sloppy Joe, topped with onions and shredded cheddar. You pay for the sandwich expecting it to suck, but it doesn't, but then you never have it again even though it didn't suck.

7. Michael Jordan (Bulls)
Sandwich name: MJ
The greatest sandwich of all-time. It's basically an Esposito plus pepperoni and green olives.

8. Stan Mikita (Blackhawks)
Sandwich name: Stosh
Breakfast sausage patty between two glazed donuts.

9. Walter Payton (Bears)
Sandwich name: Sweetness
I was going to make a liver joke, but I love Walter Payton too much to make light of his passing. I honestly can't think of a sandwich that would do Walter Payton justice.

10. Scottie Pippen (Bulls)
Sandwich name: Pippen
Unheralded, this sandwich is a perfect complement to the MJ. It has turkey, ham, bacon, lettuce, mayo, and deer.

11. Gale Sayers
Sandwich name: The Kansas Comet
Seems like a veal kind of sandwich. Like Sayers, it's tender and delicious. (Note: I have not actually tasted Gale Sayers.)

12. Mike Singletary (Bears)
Sandwich name: Samurai Mike
Kobe steak sandwich, topped with sauteed onions, mozzarella, wasabi mayo, and actual human eyes.

13. Sammy Sosa (Cubs and White Sox)
Sandwich name: The Sammy
A conglomeration of nitrate-heavy processed meats, including non-all-beef hot dogs, Vienna sausages, and head cheese, topped with pork rinds, HGH, and shredded cork.

14. Frank Thomas (White Sox)
Sandwich name: The Big Hurt
The most underrated sandwich on the board, this one is all organic. No hormones or nitrates. Just grass-fed sliced steak, organic avocado, lettuce, tortilla strips, and a housemade pico de gallo on your choice of breads or wraps.

I'd love to hear who you guys would name a sandwich after, and what you'd put on it, so feel free to comment. Bear in mind, I will steal all of your ideas.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

New Book: The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath by Philip Carlo

A couple weeks ago, I finished up Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and The Doors by John Densmore. As you may know, Densmore was the drummer for The Doors, and this book was relied on by Oliver Stone when he made his biopic on The Doors twenty years ago (in which Densmore had a cameo as a sound engineer). It was a really good read, especially for anyone who likes The Doors. Densmore not only told the story of his time with The Doors in traditional narrative form, but he also had several sections where he was essentially writing a post-mortem letter to Jim Morrison, and he weaved Doors lyrics and Morrison poems into his writing as well. It's no secret that I consider The Doors to be the greatest American rock and roll band of all-time, and having an insider's view on the band (and on the different personalities that made up the band) was particularly interesting for me.

My next book is The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath by Philip Carlo, which is about Tommy Pitera, a Bonanno family capo who allegedly murdered upwards of 60 people in the '80s, and the DEA agents who caught him. I'm about halfway through, and it's great so far.

Books read in 2011:
Life by Keith Richards
Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music by Ted Gioia
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Devil We Know: Dealing With the New Iranian Superpower by Robert Baer
Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and The Doors by John Densmore

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Doors Songs

I recently read John Densmore's autobiography about his time in The Doors. As you may or may not know, The Doors are one of my favorite bands, and I consider them greatest American rock and roll band of all-time. They were the first band that really sang about dark subject matter. To paraphrase a great line from Oliver Stone's 1991 movie The Doors, in 1965 when The Doors were making their way through the Sunset Strip club scene, most people were singing "Mrs. Brown, you've got a lovely daughter," while The Doors were singing "Father, I want to kill you / Mother, I want to fuck you."

The band was truly an eclectic mix of musicians with influences that ran the gamut. Jim Morrison was the first true rock star, as well as rock's poet – a drunken genius who brought excess, Rimbaud, and Nietzsche to rock and roll – with a primal scream that few have ever matched. Ray Manzarek was a blues-influenced Chicagoan who served as the band's bassist and keyboardist at the same time, playing a bass keyboard with one hand and a regular keyboard with the other, giving The Doors their signature sound. Robbie Krieger was a wiry guitar player who got his start playing guitar by learning flamenco. John Densmore was a jazz drummer whose style fit perfectly with Morrison's often-unpredictable stage shows.

In their short time as a band, they put out 6 studio albums between 1967 and Jim Morrison's death in 1971, two more albums as a trio without Morrison, and then, in 1978, they backed Morrison's spoken-word poetry album, An American Prayer (originally recorded in 1969 and 1970 by Morrison). It was tough for me to narrow the list down to ten songs, but even tougher to put them in any sort of order. I'm not even sure about this order.

10. "Spanish Caravan" (Waiting For The Sun, 1968)

This is admittedly kind of a weird choice, but that's what's nice about musical tastes: they're personal. This song showcases Krieger's flamenco influences. It's different. It also has a badass, fuzzed-out flamenco solo, which I love. This song barely edged out a handful of other songs for the last spot, including "Riders On The Storm," "The Soft Parade," "Five To One," "Not To Touch The Earth," and just about every other song off the debut album that's not already on this list.

9. "The End" (The Doors, 1967)

Rock and roll just didn't have enough Oedipal songs, did it? This is the last song off the band's debut album, and it's absolutely creepy, from Krieger's sitar-y guitar to Manzarek's droning keyboards to Densmore's up-and-down jazzy drumming to Morrison's demented lyrics. Check out this opening verse: "This the end / Beautiful friend / This is the end / My only friend, the end / Of all elaborate plans, the end / Of everything that stands, the end / No safety or surprise, the end / I'll never look into your eyes again." Jesus. It's no wonder this song was used in Apocalypse Now. Here are some of my favorite lyrics: "Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain / And all the children are insane." "The blue bus is calling us." What the fuck does that even mean? "Ride the snake to the lake / The ancient lake, baby / The snake is long / Seven miles / Ride the snake / He's old / And his skin is cold." That's just weird. "The killer awoke before dawn / He put his boots on / He took a face from the ancient gallery / And he walked on down the hall." He then kills his family, save for his mother, of course. Now, it was still 1966 when this was recorded, so the primal screaming after "Mother, I want to" is as close to the Oedipal drama as the virgin ears of America's youth would be allowed to hear. Still, this was some pretty dark, heavy subject matter. If you want to freak out your co-workers, play this song loudly on repeat.

8. "Break On Through (To The Other Side)" (The Doors, 1967)

The greatest first song off a debut album? That's a debate for another Tuesday Top Ten, but this would certainly be up there. "Break On Through" is a great rock song, with driving drums, a great bass line, shrieking vocals, and, of course, lyrics about drugs.

7. "Soul Kitchen" (The Doors, 1967)

This is an underrated song of the band's debut album. It starts off with a catchy organ riff that repeats throughout the song. I've always loved the chorus, which turn the song up a notch: "Let me sleep all night in your soul kitchen / Warm my mind near your gentle stove / Turn me out and I'll wander baby / Stumblin' in the neon groves."

6. "Roadhouse Blues" (Morrison Hotel, 1970)

This a great blues rock song, and, as I have mentioned before, one of the best jukebox songs ever (in the first Tuesday Top Ten ever) and one of the best karaoke songs for guys to sing. This is just a great bar song. "Well, I woke up this mornin' / And I got myself a beer." What a great line, and it was probably true.

5. "Tightrope Ride" (Other Voices, 1971)

This song is off The Doors' first album after Morrison's death, with Manzarek taking over lead vocals and doing a formidable job. The song is a solid rocker. It's about Morrison as a tragic figure. This line has always stuck in my craw: "And we're by your side / But you're all alone / Like a Rolling Stone / Like Brian Jones." Jones, of course, was the Stones' guitarist who was kicked out of the band in 1969, then died a couple months later . . . at the age of 27. Krieger has a nice solo near the end. Unfortunately, Playlist.com didn't have this, so it's not on the embedded list below, but here is a link to the song on YouTube.

4. "When The Music's Over" (Strange Days, 1967)

An eleven-minute, dark, trippy masterpiece. In my opinion, this song contains the greatest shriek in rock history. It gets kind of slow for a while, and around the 8-minute mark, Morrison says "We want the world and we want it . . . now," then just WAILS, and the song kicks back into gear. This recurring line sums up many people's love of music: "Well the music is your special friend / Dance on fire as it intends / Music is your only friend / Until the end."

3. "L.A. Woman" (L.A. Woman, 1971)

This is one of my favorite driving songs. For some reason, whenever I hear it, I imagine driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (or vice versa) in a big old Imapala or Cadillac, with the windows rolled down and a cigarette in my mouth. And of course, there is the bridge, featuring the recurring phrase "Mr. Mojo Risin'," which, if rearranged, spells Jim Morrison. A free copy of National Lampoon's Vacation to the person who can come up with the funniest anagram of Give Me Your Handrew.

2. "Moonlight Drive" (Strange Days, 1967)

This was one of the first songs written by Jim Morrison. Legend has it, after Morrison sang a couple lines to Manzarek in 1965, they decided to form a band, and with good reason. "Moonlight Drive" is a fantastic song. They lyrics are so fluid. The song builds until Morrison is wailing near the end of the song, before the post-coital coda.

1. "Peace Frog" (Morrison Hotel, 1970)

This song has a great, catchy riff that draws you in, a bass line that makes you nod your head, and lyrics about blood in the streets of Chicago and New Haven while the rest of the band yells "she came" in the background.

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Hot Beef Injection

Jester took Daughter home for the weekend, and, as they say, when the cat is away, the mice will act like they are still 22. Friday night, I got home after work, housed a couple pepperoni pizza Lean Pockets (gotta watch the waistline), took Harley on a walk, watched Harley expel waste on some yuppie family's lawn, then headed out to meet Australian Andrew at Boss Bar down in the north Loop. I haven't been there in a long time. We played some pool, laughed about the d-bags wearing sunglasses inside and playing dance music on the jukebox, and rejoiced when "Master of Puppets" came on the jukebox.

Around 1:30, Australian Andrew headed home due to some issues his liver and kidneys were having processing ethyl alcohol. I wasn't done, though, so I did what anyone does at 1:30 a.m. on a Friday night. I texted Gregerson and told him to meet me at Raven's. It was agreed to without argument. There, we played that shuffleboard bowling game, which I am now convinced serves no purpose. We counseled a young couple about the move from Atlanta to Chicago, or something like that. My mind began to wander.

Around 3:13, we decided to hire a driver to take us to LaBamba, where I managed to order super steak nachos and eat until the point of discomfort. I then went home, walked Harley again, watched her poo again, and then retired to my hyperbaric bedchamber.

Saturday was a monumental day in my life. In addition to being a very bitter man, my friend Ryan has a special ladyfriend whose family owns a beef farm in one of the flyover states between Indiana and Pennsylvania. Ten of us decided to purchase half a cow, get it butchered and processed, and then hold a draft to determine who got which cuts.

If you're wondering what a half a cow looks like, here it is:
And yes, I bought a chest freezer just for this.

Here's what we had to choose from:
2 packages of two Boston strips
1 flank steak
5 packages of two New York strips, and one single
4 packages of two ribeyes, and one single
3 packages of sirloin tip steak, and one single1 skirt steak
2 packages of two tenderloin steaks
4 arm roasts
10 blade roasts
1 flat-end brisket
1 point-end brisket
2 English roasts
3 rump roasts
1 tenderloin roast8 1-pound packages of ground beef
8 packages of 6 1/3 pound hamburger patties
7 two pound packages of hotdogs and 1 one-pound package
1 oxtail
1 neck bone
2 short rib
6 soup bones
2 stew meat

In addition, we each got four pounds of hot dogs and five pounds of ground beef, and those of us with dogs got a few marrow bones.

The tenderloin roast went first, which wasn't too much of a shocker. The NY strips and ribeyes went pretty quickly too. In the surprise pick of the draft, The Brothers Weeser* (minus Greg and Tim) took the oxtail in the second round. Both Kiper and McShay had the oxtail going somewhere closer to the fifth of six round, but Dan felt there was enough upside to risk it. He then took the neck bone in the third round, which most of us applauded.

In the carnivorous spirit of the day, Scott made the Bacon Explosion, pictured below. Yes, that's weaved bacon covering ground pork sausage covering more bacon.
It was just as good as it looks.

I drew the third pick. Here are my picks:
1. Tenderloin steak
2. NY strip
3. Sirloin tip steak
4. Hamburger patties
5. Stew meat
6. Blade roast
7. Ground beef
8. Soup bone

Today, I received an email from Men's Health with the subject "6 Steps to a Six-Pack." Safely assuming all six steps include the consumption of beef, I deleting it without reading it.

Next year, there is talk about going with a full cow. I wholeheartedly support this because, if I get the first pick, I'm going with the skull. I can buy a steak anywhere. There is also talk about adding a pig to the mix. I don't see why not.

As if things couldn't get any better, when I got home from work, waiting for me in the mailbox was this month's issue of Redbook. Our postal carrier is either illiterate or lazy (or both), so I often receive other people's mail. You can imagine my surprise when I saw my name on the address label. There's a family of well-dressed Armenian women on the cover. The end of days is near.