Quick Hits Vol. V

February 17, 2007 at 4:35 pm (Uncategorized)

So much to comment on, so little of it deserving its own post…

  • Nice of winter to finally make it to Chicago, huh?  I can’t remember when the last time we had that many days with below zero temperature.  Of course, I also can’t be bothered to watch the news or look it up to find out.  Oh well.  Either way, I’m ready for spring.
  • Pitchers and catchers reported yesterday.  In related news the Cubs placed pitchers Kerry Wood and Mark Prior on the 60 day DL.  Pitching coach, Larry Rothschild noted that they appeared to be “right on schedule to get in their usual workload,” consisting of three in late May or early June before their arms exploded.*
  • Tim Hardaway is a douche.  Oh, and apparently he hates gay people, which isn’t going to help his standing any.
  • I commented on MTV’s show Engaged & Underage over in Andy’s world recently.  After watching a few more episodes, I’ve decided that this show is evil.  Although it’s nice to see MTV promoting relationships among young people that don’t involve vapid competitions**, I’m not sure they should be encouraging teenagers to run out and get married either.  Youth of America, take my word for it, “underage” engagements (which is not nearly as perverse as it sounds, as far as I can tell, all of the couples are of legal age) are a bad idea***, so I can’t imagine the marriages being much better.  I know you can’t wait to run off and get married so that you can have sex, be given away by your brother instead of your still-living-but-not-involved dad (gee, I wonder why she’s getting married so young, can you say daddy issues?****), move into a trailer on your parents’ property once you “run out of money” or slash your food budget by “living off sandwiches”***** but can’t it at least wait until you’re old enough to not be a flaming moron?  Just something to think about.
  • Someone needs to end the Blu-ray / HDDVD debate pretty quick, cause my dvd player is getting kind of sad and I refuse to wind up with the BETA of dvds.  I don’t even care who wins, let’s just get it done.

*God, please don’t let any of that happen.

**See Next, Room Raiders, Parental Control and a host of other dating shows where contestants are put through various humiliating and shallow ordeals to win cash and prizes including: a date with the show’s featured single, cash money, a life time of ridicule or even the clap!

***That’s a story for another day, but trust me, I’ll get around to it.

****I knew you could!

*****These events were all taken from the shows.  My favorite was the sandwiches.  Groom-to-be couldn’t understand how they would spend eighty bucks a week on food.  “My mom just buys me like a pound of turkey and I eat sandwiches all week.  I’m good with that.”

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Quick Hits Vol. IV

January 17, 2007 at 3:52 pm (Quick Hits, Randoms)

  • While it’s undeniably awesome that the Bears finally won a playoff game, I’m very much ready for baseball season.  And of course, given my spring-timey feeling, winter finally decided to show up.  Oh well, I think the fact that it’s four degrees in Chicago should definitely slow down the Saints and help the Bears make their second Super Bowl.*
  • I’m somewhat self-conscious, but this presents itself in odd ways.  For instance, I feel like I’m hyper-aware of the way that I walk.  Does anyone else intentionally monitor their gait?  It’s not to the point that I watch myself walk in a mirror or anything, but every once in a while, I find myself consciously thinking about how I’m walking.  I like to take as long a stride as I can without bouncing and place my feet close to one in front of the other pointing straight ahead.  I know.  I’m nuts.
  • New (to me) artists falling in the wildly unique category that I’ve been digging lately: Belle & Sebastian (definitely not new new), The Hold Steady and Regina Spektor.  Check them out.  You may hate them, but they’re definitely worth a listen.
  • Dave Matthews Band + Wrigley Field + my birthday = potentially the awesomest day ever.
  • I love my Docs, but I’ve had them for three years and it’s past time for them to be replaced.  They’re almost the most basic ones available.  Yet somehow, no one stocks them in my size.  It’s a very depressing quest I’m on at the moment.  And Doc’s USA website uses some archaic credit card verification system that doesn’t like my new address (the bastards).  Oh, and they’re three dollars more at Zappo’s which seems blatantly insignificant but it’s now become a point of stubbornness that I find them in the real world.  This really isn’t relevant, but it’s been bugging me lately.

*In the AFC, I’m calling for Brady to beat Peyton once again (man I hate Peyton Manning.  I mean, seriously, what a douche) setting up the Super Bowl XX rematch one year past its twentieth anniversary.  That game would also be a rematch of a game the Bears lost earlier this season.  Hopefully they  find a way to adapt or scrap the cover two before then!

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Quick Hits Vol. 3

January 2, 2007 at 4:21 pm (Quick Hits, The Wide World Of Sports)

  • So I lied last time…sue me.
  • Wisconsin trip 2006: lots of fun, no concussions, way too much personal sharing of information.  That’s a success in my book.
  • I’d rather the Bears lost in the NFC playoffs than the Super Bowl.  (If they have to lose).
  • New Year’s Eve blows.  But at least I wasn’t dealing with airports this year.
  • I’ve always maintained that last year’s Rose Bowl was the best football game I’ve ever seen.  I still believe that, but last night’s Fiesta Bowl was pretty remarkable.  It was like I was watching a movie, you couldn’t script this series of events better: Boise State gives up the game tying touchdown and two point conversion with two minutes left in the game; Boise State throws an interception returned for a touchdown and the lead for Oklahoma; Boise State comes out and marches to midfield (passing by the way); a fourth and 18 hook and freaking ladder that goes to tie the game; Oklahoma scores easily in OT; Boise State runs a running back direct snap, toss to the tight end on fourth down; Boise State goes for the win with a two point conversion; Boise State runs the most beautifully designed and executed Statue of Liberty to win the game; during his post-game interview, Ian Johnson actually proposes to his cheerleader girlfriend; Boise State’s head coach credits the  back-up quarterbacks with calling the game tying hook and ladder.  That is everything that is right with sport.

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Oh, It’s On!

December 13, 2006 at 9:22 pm (Randoms)

So I’ve been called out.  Swing by Andy’s page to check it out.*  Apparently, there are those among my faithful readership (which I can only assume numbers in the low billions**) who have been displeased by my neglectfulness.  And rightfully so.  If this page were a happy school of goldfish, they would have gone belly-up a couple of weeks ago.  And not from over-feeding or that weird fish-rot disease, but from starvation.  If this page was my child, DCFS would have stepped in and granted custody to my crystal-meth fiend ex-wife***.

Luckily, this page is none of those things.

I have felt remiss recently about my lack of posting diligence, though.  I made a promise to myself when I began this thing that it would not suffer the same fate as my last weblog****.  Besides, I have a responsibility.  Not only to entertain and educate, but to inspire.  If my ramblings can move just one person to decide that David Blaine and Bill Walton do in fact suck, or that gin and brandy are wildly underrated libations or to not, in fact, drink their way to a concussion then I have done my job.  It certainly means more than what I get paid for these days…

So.  While I am not nearly creative or interesting enough to post daily, I pledge to post…well…more at least.  You know, unless I can’t think of anything good.  Or I’m too busy.  Or don’t feel like it.*****

*Yes, I’m still to lazy to link.  Deal with it.

**And by low billions, I’m guessing something like 4,000,000,000 x 10^-9.  That’s right, scientific notation.  And I may have even done it right.

***Please note that neither an ex-wife or children (neglected or otherwise) are actually parts of my life.  Bonus fun fact: crystal meth can be taken anally.

****Something like four posts in a month before it faded into the ether.

*****Thanks to Dawn for the kick in the ass.  Oh, and check out her site.  To the right.  Remember?  No linking here.

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Quick Hits Vol. 2: Grrrrrr…

November 13, 2006 at 10:26 pm ("Constructive" Criticism, Quick Hits)

  • So this was supposed to be a JM Endorses post devoted to SNL.  Then WordPress lost my post, the first time that this has happened to me, despite horror stories I’ve heard from others.  It was weak enough that I actually went back to subtitle it “An embarassingly shallow and detail-free critique”.   I can’t summon the energy to recreate it.  Suffice it to say that I think SNL is getting good again and that you should check it out.  Need a reason?  How about the line, “Bobby McFerrin raped my grandmother.”  I’m praying this becomes a new catch-phrase.
  • As long as I’m in bitching mode*, how does the auto-service industry get away with charging $82.00/hr?  If I’m paying that much I should be getting a “happy ending” with my service.  And thanks, Mr. Grease-Monkey, I’ll pass on that in this instance.
  • How much crap would Rex Grossman get if he were named Rex Manning?  He demonstratively outplayed Eli last night, but somehow all we heard about were Rexy’s recent struggles.  I say f the Mannings.
  • What, exactly, is the point of a national holiday on a Saturday?
  • Does anyone else have extended conversations with their 25 yr old friends about kitchen appliances and place settings?  Is it similarly incongruous that I bought this same friend** a Nintendo (original) game for his birthday?
  • My holiday spirit is kicking in a little early this year.  I haven’t whipped out the Christmas music yet or anything (I can wait till after Thanksgiving, usually) but I’m definitely ready.  However, my Christmas gifting ideas are severly lacking this year and I’ve been supremely unsuccessful in just my everyday shopping lately.  I guess it’s a good thing I’m brimming with enthusiasm, huh?

*Despite the fact that some people seem to be directing a little too much of their internet writings to incensed ravings about pretty minor things.  You know who you are.  And you also know that I love you! ; )

**Roommate if you were wondering, who has made previous appearances on this website.

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(JM Endorses:)Memoirs, Drinking, Etc…

October 23, 2006 at 10:40 pm (JM Endorses:, Randoms)

So I’ve decided to become an alcoholic.* 

Let me give you a little background for my thought process here.  I read.  A lot.  Sports, fiction (contemporary and classic), music, humor, philosophy, religion, you name it.  One of my favorite genres lately has been the memoir.  However, I have no interest in reading about famous people (especially in a memoiric fashion).  My favorite memoirs are normal people writing about their fairly normal lives in a witty fashion.** 

At any rate, as I was perusing the Biography section of my local Barnes & Noble today*** I noticed that a disproportionate number of these memoirs were about alcoholism (e.g., Dry, Drinking: A Love Story, Smashed, etc.).  Now I’ve always wanted to self-aggrandize myself in some fashion, but have been lacking a hook.  I haven’t had a miserable childhood, I haven’t had insight-prompting travels and travails about the globe, I’m not even compellingly normal/quirky.  However, I do know how to imbibe liquids.  Shoot, I even have a series of stories chronicling innocent college excapades that could easily be manipulated into a foreshadowing of my future as a raging drunk. 

The primary drawbacks, as I see them (aside from the whole, “drinking excessively is bad for you” thing) are the associated costs.  Alcohol is expensive.  As are cleaning bills****, tickets and nights spent in jail/days spent in court.  That being said, I’m looking for a publisher’s advance in order to fund my slow slide into an alcohol fueled stupor/rage (we’ll see how it all plays out).  Trust me, it’ll sell.

With all that out of the way, and since it’s been awhile since I properly endorsed something, let me give you some tips as to my favorite beverages of alcoholic content of late:

Beers (that I don’t have to order over the internet from Colorado at outrageous shipping expense): My standby is Bass – reliable, consistent, excellent.  I love Sam Adams and Goose Island seasonal beers.  My latest discovery is Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat.  It’s very citrusy and refreshing.

Mixed: Brandy and Ginger Ale.  Once again I’ve stolen from the inimitable (no matter how hard I may try) Chuck Klosterman.  It’s hit or miss to order at the bar.  I’ve had them whip it up with not a word of question or had them not stock ginger ale and be out of brandy so you take your chances ordering it out.  It’s easy enough to whip up at home though.  It sounds strange because a) who drinks brandy? and 2) who drinks ginger ale.  Prior to trying this drink, I did neither.  All I can say is try it, you’ll like it.

*For all of you who immediately thought some variation of “don’t you mean became?”, bite me.

**Sound vaguely familiar?

***They’re upping their member rebate for the holiday season, by the way.  This is a spectacularly consumer-friendly bit of retailing.  Kudos, B&N!

****Someday I’ll tell you about the night that required me to rent a Rug-Doctor the following morning.

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Quick Hits Vol. I

October 18, 2006 at 1:43 pm (Quick Hits)

  • Bad choice with Lou Piniella there Hendry.  And it’s not like I didn’t warn you…
  • I don’t know what I’ll do if the Cubs trade for A-Rod.  I’ve spent so long hating him…  Well, here’s the deal: if they don’t move Aramis, put A-Rod at short where he belongs and he stops blowing in the clutch…and stops being a douche…maybe I’d be okay with it…  Maybe…
  • I got new sheets this weekend.  They’re red.  I’ve always had very neutral sheets (tan, blue, etc.).  I wasn’t sure if I’d love it or hate.  Turns out they’re great.  Nothing is more inviting than red sheets.  Somehow they just seem to say “c’mon into bed”.  I’d step up to red satin sheets someday, except for the fact that I don’t actually live in a bordello.
  • The fact that after that insane Miami, FIU brawl (which included two separate UM players stomping on guys and swinging helmets, respectively) FIU kicked two players off the team and extended the rest of the 16 suspensions indefinitely, while Miami held at 1 indefinite suspension (I believe for the helmet swinger) and 12 1-game suspensions illustrates everything that is wrong with college football.
  • The Bears-Cardinals game was the most bizarre sporting event I have ever watched.
  • How disappointing was Jay-Z’s video premiere at halftime?  Answer: unmeasurably.  How not surprising was Jay-Z’s unretirement?  Answer: infinitely.

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Reason #6,731 Why The Yankees Suck

October 9, 2006 at 12:57 am ("Constructive" Criticism, The Wide World Of Sports)

***Note: Today’s news is that Torre is sticking around for another year.  Of course, that could change again by this afternoon.  Either way, I agree with the tone of this piece, whether they boot him today, tomorrow or when his contract runs out in a year.*** 

Let me preface this by noting that I am a huge Red Sox fan.  That being said, not being raised as a Sox fan, I still hold a lot of respect for certain aspects of the Yankees organization.  Most notably: their history, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Joe Torre.

The big news this morning was that Joe Torre was being fired in favor of Lou Piniella.  I have lots of problems with this.*

Let’s start with the lesser problem first.  Granted the Yankees lost in the first round of the playoffs this year.  Granted they have a payroll that exceeds the GNP of Africa (as a whole).  However, they did spend the vast majority of the season minus two of their best five hitters** (Sheffield and Matsui).  Yes, they were back for the playoffs, but really, how much can you expect from guys that missed 85% of the regular season with wrist injuries?***  Despite this, the Yankees were still the first team to clinch a post-season berth****.  People love to give Jeter the credit for that when discussing the AL MVP, but seriously how about a little credit for the guy who fills out the lineup card every day and is, you know, in charge of the freaking team.  Let’s face it, when those guys went down, a lot of people (myself included) were gleefuly envisioning the Yankees finishing not only out of the race, but a distant third(ish) in their division.  Instead they went out and smoked everyone with the likes of Melky Cabrera and Bernie Williams patrolling the outfield on a regular basis.

Here’s the bigger issue I have: Joe Torre is the best manager in baseball and has been for about ten years now.  The only other guy I put in the conversation is Bobby Cox.*****  No one else has been nearly as successful for nearly as long a stretch.  Lots of managers have had great years (Ozzie Guillen last year, as much as I hate to admit it; Joe Girardi this year with the Marlins; etc.).  Joe Torre has had the Yankees in World Series contention for as long as I can remember.  And don’t try talking to me about talented players / payroll.  People tried that with Phil Jackson, too.  Talent alone doesn’t win games (just ask Knicks fans).

At any rate, I think it’s a shame for Torre to go out like this.  He deserved to leave that team on his own terms.

On the other hand, seeing the manager responsible for giving up on the Devil Rays and perennially underachieving with the Mariners in pinstripes is kind of exciting.

*However, having Piniella out of the discussion of who’s replacing Dusty Baker I love.  That definitely wouldn’t have been a good choice.  Joe Girardi and Joe Torre are now my choices 1a and 1b for the Cubs.

**This list includes, in no particular order, Jeter, Sheffield, Matsui, Rodriguez and the new and HGH-improved Giambi.

***Correct answer: not much.  Although moving Sheff to first may be a revelation along the lines of Nomar’s shift in LA.  He’s naturally a good defensive player, but starting to slow down.  Plus that means we only have to watch Giambi bat.  This could extend the life of the current Yankees lineup for another three years  (sorry Andy Phillips).  Again, as a Red Sox fan, I don’t know how exciting that is.  But it’s clearly good for the Yankees.

****That may very well be a complete lie.  I do know it was either them or the Mets.

*****Fuck Tony LaRussa.  LaRussa is the most overrated manager of all time.  I could write an entire post on that one.

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CK Survey Pt. V

September 21, 2006 at 11:40 pm (Randoms)

You know the drill…

14) For reasons that cannot be explained, cats can suddenly read at a twelfth-grade level.  They can’t talk and they can’t write, but they can read silently and understand the text.  Many cats love this new skill, because they now have something to do all day while they lay around the house; however, a few cats become depressed, because reading forces them to realize the limitations of their existence (not to mention the utter frustration of being unable to express themselves).  That being the case, do you think the average cat would enjoy Garfield, or would cats find this cartoon to be an insulting caricature?

This cartoon is pretty cat-centric in that most of the jokes involve those around Garfield.  I think the most potentially offensive character is Odie, but then, dogs can’t read, can they?

15) You have a brain tumor.  Though there is no discomfort at the moment, this tumor would unquestionably kill you in six months.  However, your life can (and will) be saved by an operation; the only downside is that there will be a brutal incision to your frontal lobe.  After the surgery, you will be significantly less intelligent.  You will have a terrible memory, and you will have little ability to understand complex concepts or difficult ideas.  The surgery is in two weeks.  How do you spend the next fourteen days?

I’d like to say I’d spend them cramming all the literature and intelligent discourse I could into my remaining time as an intelligent being.  However, this would ultimately be wasted after the surgery.  That being the case, I’d spend the time hitting up bars with my brain tumor story fishing for pity fucks.

16) Someone builds an optical portal that allows you to see a vision of your own life in the future (it’s essentially a crystal ball that shows a randomly selected image of what your life will be like in twenty years).  You can only see into this portal for thirty seconds.  When you finally peer into the crystal, you see yourself in a living room, two decades older than you are today.  You are watching a Canadian football game, and you are extremely happy.  You are wearing a CFL jersey.  Your chair is surrounded by books and magazines that promote the Canadian Football League, and there are CFL pennants covering your walls.  You are alone in the room, but you are gleefully muttering about historical moments in Canadian football history.  It becomes clear that – for some unknown reason – you have become obsessed with Canadian football.  And this future is static and absolute; no matter what you do, this future will happen.  The optical portal is never wrong.  This destiny cannot be changed.  The next day, you are flipping through television channels and randomly come across a preseason CFL game between the Toronto Argonauts and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  Knowing your inevitable future, do you know watch it?

No.  Cause the Roughriders fucking suck.

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Update / CD’s You Should Most Definitely Buy Now Or In The Near Future

September 21, 2006 at 5:00 pm (Ch-Check It Out, JM Endorses:, Randoms)

Currently my “job” is somewhat theoretical.  Technically I’m a substitute teacher, however, in the three weeks since I left my last job I have received one call which happened to come on a day which I already had blocked off to attend a funeral.*  One might imagine that given such circumstance and large amounts of free time I would have spent a little more time here.  I know, I know, you’ve felt so deprived.  Oh well, here I am now at least. I’ll even give you a double dose today (so check back later).

Somehow, despite my recent lack of income**, I still find the cash to invest in the expansion of my cd collection (incidentally, any record company execs / recording artists wishing to send me boatloads of free shit, I would gladly accept and post a lovely glowing review right here.***).  At any rate, here are a few cds that I’ve bought in the last few months/am planning to buy that you should give a serious listen, if you haven’t already:

Ray LaMontagne, Till The Sun Turns Black: second album, absolutely beautiful, most apt comparison is probably to a modern day Van Morrison.  A little more of the bluesy-soul vibe on this disk.

KT Tunstall, Eye to the Telescope: not really “new”, but I can’t get enough of this cd.  I’ve become more and more open to female artists in the last few years.  This is easily the best I’ve heard.

John Butler Trio, Sunrise Over Sea: again, by no means new, but has received so little pub.  JBT has quickly risen into my current top five.  This album is amazing, start to finish.  Australian hippy does songs, some about eco-issues, with a really unique folky-funk vibe.  Great guitar player as well.

John Mayer, Continuum: hey, this one’s actually new!  I think this may be the first legitimately “great” album I’ve heard this year.  Finally fulfilling/refining his potential.  To label him with the whole “singer-songwriter” thing neglects his instrumental chops.

OK Go, Oh No: fun little album.  Have you seen the treadmill video?  Did you see them do it live on the MTV awards?  Watch VH1 for half an hour and you’ll see it, or go find it on the web.  Coolest thing I’ve seen in a video…ever…

G. Love, Lemonade: This has quickly become my favorite G. Love album.  If you like him, Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Jason Mraz-or really, music-you need to hear this album.  Best summer album by far, and summer’s over tomorrow.  Act now!

Iron & Wine, Woman King: more of an E.P., but still… If you happened to hear their cover of Postal Service’s song “Such Great Heights” in the movie Garden State**** you know what this band is about.  If you didn’t, well you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Robert Randolph, Colorblind (upcoming): I love Robert Randolph and the Family Band.  I hate to keep referring to people’s guitar playing abilities but his pedal steel is like the spirit incarnate.  I’m very much looking forward to this long overdue sophomore album.

Damien Rice, 9 (upcoming): I streamed the first single today and it’s pretty righteous.  You know the opening song from the movie Closer?  The one that is so heartachingly beautiful that it’s the perfect counterpoint to 120 minutes of people being absolutely wretched to each other?  That’s Damien Rice.  If you’ve ever been sad about anything, you’ll love his music.

I could go on, but those are just a few of the more recent / notable albums I’ve bought / been listening to lately.  Now go support some real artists and buy these albums.

* No worries, very extended family member, cancer, blah blah.  Sad, but not tragic or anything.

**How do I always manage this?  I don’t think I’ve had 12 consecutive months of steady work in my life.

***Unless, of course, it blows.

****Yes, yes, or the M&M commercial.

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