Thursday, September 28, 2006

The calm before the storm

OK, I think we have everyone on board who needs to be notified, so I can drop a quick line to apologize for the lack of posts this weekn by announcing that we got got engaged this weekend so the week has been a little bit of a blur.

I've been picking out china patterns and playing with floral arrangements online in every scrap of free time this week, so you know how that goes.

I can't wait to start picking out shoes for the groomsmen and pretending to go to church and such in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quick programming note

I switched around a few of the links off the right side of the blog.

Gives a little higher priority to my blogging homeboys and as funny as having"McCarver can blow me" written along the sidebar, it was time to move that along, too.

Anyways, one of the better blogs I'll check because it changes weekly is PostSecret. You have to see it to understand it. People mail in their secrets and the art and sentiment expressed on the site will at times make you laugh, be somewhat inspiring or break your heart.

It's usually a grab bag of all three in each week's grouping.

In any event, it's worth checking out - it's quick and really amazing.

Oh, I've had those days...

Well, technically, I never bit a panda but I know that feeling.

I really can't do much more with this because I can't stop smirking and snickering whenever I look at the link. You know those Internet stories you read out lud, word for word to the person sitting next to you?

This is one of those puppies.

You see, a Chinese man got drunk, climbed in with a panda, got bit and bit the fucking bear back... Happens all the time over there. Pandas are like squirrels in China, I hear.

Here's a little taste:

“No one ever said they would bite people,” Zhang said. “I just wanted to touch it. I was so dizzy from the beer. I don’t remember much.”

Thank God they didn't sell jugs of beer when I was in college. Things could have gotten ugly... er... Things could have gotten uglier...

(Image from:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

That Theory of Relativity sure is a hard nut to crack

I can still remember a discussion in grammar school about learning and the general quest for knowledge when one of my teachers told us there was a time in world history where a person could conceivably know everything there was to know.

The point of the story was that as dilligent little students we could study, experiment and learn every hour of the day, never stopping to eat or sleep and never would we be able to equal that. There was just too much to see, do and learn that as long as we kept working and studying, there'd always be something more just over the horizon.

The initial point made is something that has always stuck with me and it'll come to mind from time to time, moreso when I'm watching PBS or reading something to better myself appear to better myself to an outside observer.

Tonight I was bitch-slapped by Albert Einstein and a two-hour episode of Nova. While I might not be able to know everything anymore, I have serious doubts that I'll ever be able to wrap my head around relativity.

Like, ever.

There are some things that are just beyond my capability to grasp them and I'll probably just need to come to terms with that. Einstein's theory of relativity might be one of those things.

The high points to make you the hit of any nerd-centric dinner party are as follows:

* Einstein contended that the speed of light was the universal speed limit and that any energy expended to go any faster will result in an increase in mass.

* He was 26 in 1905 when he wrote five papers, including his theory of relativity, the quantum theory of light and essentially that Newton was off in his theories.

* When these theories began making their way around the world, the physics community didn't now how to react. He essentially rewrote the rules on how the universe worked. He completely shattered everything we thought we knew about energy and matter and did so quickly.

I guess while I can get a good grasp on history and other facets of the world at large, physics might require more than a few hours on PBS here and there. I learned that leasson the hard way when two hours wasn't enough to become a minor expert on string theory.

Something tells me this would all be easier if I'd paid more attention in physics class instead of fucking around and trying to make Frankie laugh.

(Photo from

The long road back

Best of luck Koren Robinson. You'll need it.

And not just for the cheap shot reasoning that Green Bay is a drinking town with a football problem, but because he's in a bad spot. A really bad spot.

I can't imagine having to go through trying to sort out the ashes of your life while trying to make a living in the NFL and having countless others judging and second-guessing you if you're foolish enough to read a newspaper or surf the Web.

For as prevalent as addiction is in our society, many choose to ignore it, hope it's a stage they're going through and hope it gets better. Rationalizing your own behavior and continuing to repeat mistakes is a tough cycle to get caught in.

I know because despite being sober since August 23, 2001, it's something I have to fight with on a near daily basis. For that reason alone, I'm really hoping that Robinson can come back this year in Green Bay and try to turn his life around.

Not that he's doing that badly, mind you - just that his mistakes are played out on talk radio and ESPN crawlers at the bottom of the screen when they happen. Sure, it's a big deal to be speeding, evading police and continually making apologies, but I'd bet everything I have that he wasn't the only impaired driver on the road that night.

And not just any road - that same road. To the point that at least one drunk driver passed the squad cars that had Robinson pulled over. There is no way you can change my mind on this.

The trick is that while hundreds of drunk drivers will be pulled over this weekend, we won't know any of their names. They'll quietly be sentenced, seek help at the court's urging and more than likely relapse again. You know the saying about how you can't force someone to get help in those situations unless they want it?

That thought process is completely correct.

It's easy to chalk up constant binge drinking to a bad week at work, or a rough stretch in your life. Name an excuse and I've probably used it at one point or another to justify my drinking and my subsequent behavior. It's when things start to spiral that your world gets out of control.

Here's the rub; no matter how depressing or out of whack your life is while you're drinking, the tough part is once you start to dry out. You're supposed to avoid old friends you drank with, you're grumpy and short with people and your old habits die hard.

And that's not the worst part.

Imagine feeling ashamed almost constantly for every waking hour, coupled with the overriding feeling that you're left to clean up a mess from a party you weren't even at. It's rough and when you're not prepared for it you need to be very tough or very lucky.

As I tried to set right old friendships I'd ruined, I was fortunate to have smart, forgiving people who were able to look at the situation and chalk it up to the alcohol. I was fortunate that most people took my apologies and accepted them for what they were and moved along from there.

"People don't get mad," one friend told me. "Dogs get mad." She told me she'd been hurt, frustrated and disappointed in me, but not mad. When you're trying to put the pieces back, this passes as a good day.

One of the worst feelings I've had in my life was feeling like a criminal as I tried to get in contact with a girl I'd dated briefly in college. Her friends refused to give me her e-mail address and insisted on talking to her first before I could. They promised to hand her my contact info and leave it up to her.

When you've done so much wrong in your life that you aren't allowed to make an apology, you realize exactly how bad things have become. You have to earn your way back from that, which is something I'm not sure Robinson has figured out yet.

It's easy (even for me) to stand back and judge him, asking ourselves why a man with natural talent and millions upon millions of dollars in the balance can't "just stop drinking," focus on football and let that be that.

It's the rational move, but it's not the whole story. Fuck touchdowns and paychecks, what he needs to worry about are old friends and hurt family members, because I'd guess this is impacting them, too.

So while professional success plays a key role in an athlete's life, it probably shouldn't be a priority right now for Robinson. I can only imagine how nice it is for him to go and practice for a few hours each day to give him time off from legal and publicity problems that are dogging him after his arrest this summer.

He's only 26 now, with plenty of time to live up to his potential as an athlete. I'm honestly hoping he finds a way to live up to his potential as a human being along the way.

(Photo from CNN/SI)

Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm just saying, is all...

I'm not a punk. I've never claimed to be punk. I'm far too old to get a mohawk and start flipping people off in the supermarket at this point, so chances are, I'll never be a punk.

However, I can respect the movement and understand how punks get pissed off at the state of music today.

Exhibit A: Good Charlotte.

Don't get me wrong, they have some catchy tunes and had a pretty good run for a while, but when kids in Nebraska see the Madden boys and say, "Fuck yeah! Punk rock!" I have nothing but sympathy for those who seethe with rage at the state of affairs.

So, when I see photos pop up like these on What Would Tyler Durden Do? I just chuckle.

No matter how hard core you want people to think you are, no matter how much crap you accessorize your outfit with and no matter how many know-nothing teenagers worship at your feet, there's a good chance your parents will come to visit and ruin all of it.

Seriously, they look like the couple down the street from me. I thought those guys were orphans or something. I remember Rolling Stone doing a sidebar on how they'd worked as busbiys to keep he family afloat and such. Maybe it's a typo and they are her parents, but regardless, this is not the second coming of the Sex Pistols.

Safe to say, rock n' roll hardcore doesn't do brunch.

Yes, I see your tats and piercings... No, they're not helping...

(Photo from

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Football Pregame Roundup

A few, quick things before kickoff today:

Koren Robinson in Green Bay?

For all of the back and forth this week and a bit of last about Robinson, a player with a history of problems with the bottle, and Green Bay, a city that is infinitely more bearable when you have a bottle or two, I think for once the concern is warranted.

Regardless of his performance on the field, the fact remains that he's essentially drank his way out of two cities so far, so this doesn't bode well.

Will this be the wakeup he needs? I'd like to pull for this guy, but it doesn't look good at all.

Let me leave you with this: When Brett Favre had his issues years ago with painkillers he was on record as asaying he'd wished he'd kept his mouth shut so he could keep drinking his beer. Mr. Robinson, meet your new team's leader.

I have a lot to say on this move, but think I'll wait until later in the season to open that can of bees.

Muchas Smoochas

I think Terry Bradshaw and Joe Buck should get a room. What the hell is talking about with the story about his hound dog? And why is he grabbing Buck's jaw like he's going to plant one on him?

I'm sure Fox sees this as money well spent.

Post-Concussion Syndrome

I'm not sure how I feel about these poor old QB's like Troy Aikman and Dan Marino being paraded out in front of the cameras, obviously unaware of whether they're in their living rooms or on a playing field.

Psychosomatic scent triggers and general confusion are not entertainment, people.

It's kind of sad, really.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Stingrays 1, People 1

This opening paragraph in the Times Online should tell you pretty much all you'd need to know.

At least ten stingrays have been found dead and mutilated on Australia’s eastern coast in the last week in what conservationists believe could be revenge attacks for the death of Steve Irwin, the popular naturalist and television personality.

My word, that is a stupid, stupid idea.

I honestly cannot fathom how a rational human being random ass biped, possibly with opposable thumbs, thinks that killing an animal - and an animal without a cell phone or Internet access at that (stingrays have notoriously bad credit and aren't pre-approved for either of these) - would have any impact whatsoever.

Really, what the hell is going on here? Aren't there better ways to expend energy than vigilante stingray slaughter?

Here are three better things to do: Anything, nothing or hunting dolphins. Dolphins have communication skills, at least. Take down one of those bastards and word spreads fast.

Stingrays? Not so much...

(Photo from

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Honor code? We don't need no stinking honor code

Ah, Monday Night Football and a double-header at that! (Heh, double-header in a game involving Fred Smoot... Good times.)

First and foremost - what the fuck was that opening about? Really, who green-lit that monstrosity? First there's a city, then people run and turn into football players and whatnot? Honestly, I'm confused and a little ashamed to be a football fan right now.

I swore off the talk radio today, opting instead to listen to the iPod and new songs downloaded this weekend. Besides, it's been the same song and dance all month regarding the Vikes. That, and you really have a hard time gauging a team until Week 3 at the earliest - it gets to be a little grating after a while.

Pretty much all I need to know about this year's team is that Brad Johnson is the face of it on ESPN right now.

Yeah, Viking fever, catch it!

Aside from that, they cut their top wideout because of personal problems and they might have to scrape their punter off the field after he was just laid out after a bad snap on their first score of the 2006 season.

(Who the hell are these "Redskins" fans? I lived there a whole year and didn't meet a single fan of the home team. Most were transplants from somewhere else and the locals backed the Ravens. So how are they filling a stadium? The NFL needs to look into this... Coach Janky Spanky can't have this many fans, right?)

As a bonus, I'll tell my favorite Viking story that has nothing to do with pro football.

My high school's mascot was a viking and as such we had a big, goofy costume for pep rallies and such. My chemistry teacher was the advisor responsible for those sorts of things and she took them fairly seriously.

Well, Victor the Viking gets out with a microphone and is whipping the students up in our championship season in 1995 and is doing the "spell the name / cheer the name" bit and is really into it.

As I remember, it wasn't even the cartoon head, it was a guy with a beard in the costume rushing about (Frank the Tank may remember this more clearly) and hollering.

He says, "Gimme a 'V' everyone!"

We say, "Veeeee!"

"Gimme an 'I!'"


And so on. Only, when it was all done, he'd spelled Vikins. V-I-K-I-N-S.

Pretty funny overall. What I remembered the next day is the capper for the story for me, though.

We ask our teacher what she thought and she said something to the effect of, "The freshmen didn't really get it, the sound system had a lot of feedback and Victor the Viking should at least know how to spell 'Vikings.' It's written all over the floor."

(Photo from

So diculous it's re-diculous

Consider this your encore for Sunday afternoon.

I forgot to mention the insanity of the pregame and halftime shows on TV today.

I knwe it'd be a good day when Tom Jackson called Michael Irvin a retard on national television on the ESPN pregame show today.

Is it just me or do you have a harder time taking Irvin seriously after the latest round of drug problems? As much as I think Jackson was right, I'll bet you dollars to donuts that we haven't heard the last of this.

The over/under is two days on him having to publicly apologize to all retards, Irvin included.

Same show, a little later and they had Dr. Phil breaking down Bill Parcels and Terrell Owens new relationship in Dallas.


I've said it before and will say it again - Oprah needs to be stopped. That much power in one place is no good for anyone.

Halftime of Bears/Packers and they run a small reel of the 10th anniversary of the Packers' last Super Bowl win (has it really been 10 years?) with Reggie White as the centerpiece. They went through and digitally added the "ancient footage" look with specks and pops and the lines that run along the image like it happened in 1940.

What the fuck was that about?

Did Fox get a new toy in the editing room or something? Awful just awful.

In the same vein as finding your stride after a rocky start, the Miller Lite "Man Laws" commercials have a new high water mark.

"No wasting beer in the name of humor" is a law about tapping the top of your buddy's beer bottle to make it foam over.

Let's hope this one takes - that's really fucking annoying, and we're looking at you, Jigga. (The buddy of mine, not the CEO of Roc-a-fella Records - I don't need any uneccesary rap beefs.)

(Image from

The Nothin' but Fun League

It's not even the end of the first quarter yet, but can I drop a personal message to the Cheeseheads on the Interweb today?

If this is the most talented team that Brett Favre has ever played with, we're boned.

I'll wait until at least Week 4 to post the "Brett Favre should have retired two years ago" chatter, but if the first quarter is any indication, it's going to be a long season again this year.

On the plus side for Bears fans, they're looking pretty solid already. With all due respect, the Bears spent the past few seasons looking like they scored accidentally whenever it happened. The first drive looked really solid for them, although I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy seeing Rex Grossman get knocked around a little bit.

For the good of pork chop inhaling, Ditka-blowing Bears fans everywhere, the collective cardiac health of the franchise's faithful can't stand to see him sucking dirt for more that a second or two.

In any event, football is back, along with gambling, fantasy football and pick 'em leagues.

Can you think of a better time to be a football fan?

Yeah, me either. I know, Travis, I know. You, love it, too.

(Bonus points for a quiet house, the first cold days of the year and a light drizzle to officially make this perfect storm of laziness here in Minneapolis).


I can't begin to fathom why women a.) don't understand the appeal of fantasy leagues or b.) have chosen this benign activity to supplant golf as the stereotypical male activity that they see as a waste of time and indictment of the gender's stupidity as a whole.

Maybe it's because more women are golfing now, who knows?

In an effort to combat the thousands of confrontations that are happening as I write this, men need to remember one short phrase when asked why they care so passionately about their fantasy team; "Because I have a bundle of cash riding in this league."

That's it. Simple enough, huh?

It might not be the best answer, but at least it's moderately rational.


Can anyone explain how the Cardinals are ripping through the game right now (21-7 at the end of the first quarter, with Kurt Warner already sitting pretty with 2 TDs). Oh, wait. The 49ers are fucking horrible, that's right.


Wait, there are two Monday night games this week? Really? For me? Really?



Finally, my buddy Mic and I used to cheer ourselves up with the "Any given Sunday..." theory that with the nature of football, any team can beat any team on any Sunday.

Not so much that you could fake your way through a whole season - for instance, the Packers will not have a winning record this year, but it wouldn't be so surprising to have them jump up and bite someone in the ass from week to week.

That's why it was so strange when they kept making the playoffs for years straight until last year's collapse. Whether it was Chicago's ineptitude and injuries or Minnesota's choke jobs in back to back seasons (my favorite was the Arizona game and I napped through it, but that's another story) the Packers kept backing into the playoffs.

I think this is the single biggest factor in Favre's "sudden" decline that anyone who watched more than 15 minutes of a Packer game could see coming years ago. This is not Favre-bashing, it's simple facts.

Anyways, I was thinking of that last night as I was going over my final picks for the Pick 'Em league I'm in. I'm not sure if it's just my comparative familiarity with baseball or what, but trying to make educated guesses was a lot tougher than I thought it would be.

Some of it is Week 1 stuff and some of it is just stupidity, but personally, I'll chalk it up to Mic's favorite cop out for an underperforming team - On any given Sunday, any team can win and any team can lose.

It's not until Week 2 that you can really start to get that sinking feeling in your gut.

(Image from /

Monday, September 04, 2006

Animals are full of hate

It's strange that on the same weekend that saw Steve Irwin taken from us, we saw many displays of animals that hate at the Minnesota State Fair.

From pigs carrying shivs to cows that were simply waiting to the right moment to launch a massive stampede, we saw many cases of hatred in the animal world.

If you need any more evidence, I submit this picture.

Sheep, as you may well know, are the most hateful animals in God's kingdom.

Think of that the next time some hippie tells you eating veal is cruel. That baby cow would probably have grown up to steal your car radio or commit identity fraud.

Crocodile Hunter not eaten by crocodile

Crikey, what were the odds?

If you had come to me last week and offered odds on how Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, would die, I'd have taken alligator/crocodile attack over any other option.

Stingray attack? Never would have entered my mind.

It's kind of strange, because while Irwin came across as a human cartoon, he seemed to be a pretty nice guy. Now the outpouring of support from the zoo community is pretty touching to see and many are singing his praises as a man who did a lot to help conservation and education efforts.

Like Mr. Rogers' funeral coverage, but with more scars and puncture wounds.

I think my favorite memory is a show that airs every now and again, but never fails to make me laugh.

He had squatted down as he was doing a little explaination about some species of pit viper (snakes that use heat to identify prey) and the realized he was crotch-first into a nest of poisonous snakes.

Words cannot describe the look on his face when he heard the first rattles starting from six inches under his groin.

A few months after the episode aired, a group of us were in the Blarney Stone on Clark Street and Animal Planet was on TV later in the evening, because Margo loved to watch that after the 10 pm to midnight crowd came and went.

As we sat at the bar, I was talking about how much I loved the above mentioned episode and wouldn't you know it, that was the episode on TV right then.

It was like Mystery Science Theater, but with the possibility of a man getting bitten in his naughty bits.

You can't out a price on TV like that. Keep your Survivor re-runs, you can't go wrong with an unhinged Austrailian who was easily distracted or excited.

(Note: Disconnected in Suburbia and Frank the Tank have also weighed in on the subject. Enjoy.)

(Image from

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Running jokes for you and your loved ones

One of the biggest changes between living with the guys and living with a girl is that a lot of the running jokes dry up.

Instead of playing along, they just tell you to shut up around the 10th or 11th time that you repeat yourself, waiting for a bit to take hold.

That won't stop me, though.

Cable has been playing Walking Tall starring the Rock and Johnny Knoxville (who has a cameo on Appalachian Emergency Room on SNL right now and used the term "ABC, the ass-ball connection") over and again and it's allowed me to pound the following joke into the ground and feel free to use it around your house as well.

The Girl (wandering into the living room and unaware of the program I'm watching): "What movie is this?"

Me (as Knoxville stabs a man with a potato peeler or the Rock hits someone with a thick piece of lumber): "Dunno, some little indie, arthouse flick on IFC."

It usually takes a second for her to call me on my bullshit, but I've found the more violent the scene in the movie, the better it is for my personal entertainment.

(Image from:

Friday, September 01, 2006

Is this a good post? Yes... no

It was Spring 1999 and I dragged my drunken ass into the living room at 803 Third Street where the girls who lived there were watching what was a cool, underground indie movie. Luckily, I not only knew them, but we were friends. Back in the day, I tended to wander onto private property and into strangers' homes and it didn't always end well. The gals told me I'd think it was funny, but that I wouldn't get it until I was a senior.

That's when it became a defining movie in my life.

The movie was Kicking and Screaming.

They were right about needing a year to let things soak in. However, they also should have warned me that I wouldn't get it until I was sober, either. Honestly, I didn't know the flashbacks were actually flashbacks until I'd seen the movie at least twice.

Alcohol is a hell of a drug, bitches.

As this was 1999, there was no steaming shitbomb of a film starring Will Ferrell as a youth soccer coach to cloud the issue. It was a simpler time, a better time.

(Side note: Watch the other, Ditka-related version at least once. It's worth a couple of bucks at least).

I'd like to go on and on about the movie and how good it is. Trust me, it's good. You should see it. If you don't, you should be very, very ashamed of yourself as a human being.

It's finally out on DVD this month after years of being available only on IFC or on a VHS tape. Still, after years of living in the movie, I still really love it and think the jokes are just as funny. Every now and again, I even find myself haunted by Max's words, "What I use to able to pass off as a bad summer could now potentially turn into a bad life."

Anyways, I'm pretty sure it's illegal in some states to go through your 20s without seeing this movie if you're from my generation, but you might need to check your local laws on that. Give it a week or so until I send back my copy to Netflix, but I might do that tomorrow and go buy a copy, which is what you should be doing in the first place.

Then, I just sit back and wait for Penn and Teller Get Killed to come out on DVD next. Now, that will be a red letter day.

(Image from

Purple Pride

Last night was book club night for the girls and because it was being held next door, we swapped The Girl for a husband and a dog as all the guys got to hang out and watch the preseason Dallas/Minnesota game.

It was pretty uneventful, with the dogs providing more entertainment than the NFL, but there was one highlight.

Dallas tied the score late in the game and instead of going for two, the Cowboys kick the extra point (presumably to prove to their fans that their kicker was, in fact, able to put the ball through the uprights) and send the game into overtime.

Overtime in the final preseason game is a really bad idea and it drives the players crazy, but who are we to question Bill Parcels?

As the captains are meeting for the overtime, the ref asks Brad Johnson to "make the call." Johnson did him one better and made the call of the game when he ripped the Cowboys and said, "You should have gone for two..."

I love veteran players just for this reason.

Uh, Brad, it's not that kind of call, but I like how you're thinking. Not enough to give a crap about the Vikes, but fun nonetheless. (I will add a YouTube video here if and when it's uploaded).

(Image from Yahoo! Sports)