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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The end of the gambling off-season is near

This past weekend the Battleship and I attended the wedding of a former roommate of ours in Utica, NY. The wedding ceremony was in a church. Growing up, I went to church fairly regularly when I didn't have a Sunday morning hockey game. I'm not quite sure when I stopped being a believer, but on Saturday when I stood in church I felt nothing. I stood up and sat down with everyone else, but there was no participation, just observation on my part. While the priest delivered the prescribed messages, my mind wandered.

"Those Jesus and Mary paintings on the wall up there remind me of something...Wallbangers (Fatheads, but for soccer)!...Wahl-bahyn-gaz: HUGE impact on your wall...when your love for the game is too big for a poster...they should expand to the religious market...since they are removable and self adhesive, you could transform any room to a religious, I want to be the one to make all the cash on this, because it's a fucking lock to make fact, they should let you buy a custom wallbanger of any picture, for a sizable amount of money, of your mid-twenties and think you're drinking too much and hanging out with skanky women? A wallbanger of your mom in your apartment will keep your ass in line...damn, those girls in that pew are fucking hot. I wonder if they are here with anyone...the one is sitting next to some guy, but the other one...damn, i feel fucking handsome in this suit...wahlbahyngaz: HUGE impact on your wall...I'd sure like to make a huge impact on that girl's walls..."

I know that everyone's mind wanders at church, but even during the most sacred prayers, I felt nothing where I used to feel something when I was younger. And I'm OK with that. I figure that if I'm a good guy who does good things for others when I can, I'll be like -700 to be in good shape if there happens to be some existence past physical death. I'm OK with uncertainty. I actively embrace it at work and in my free time.

To deal with this uncertainty, someone wrote up some rules they thought would put them in the best situation for dealing with the uncertainty of death. In that spirit, I shall do my best to follow the rules I have set for myself in dealing with the uncertain world of football betting. The first and maybe the toughest trial of the year is following my seventh commandment between tomorrow, the start of the college football season, and next Thursday, the start of the NFL season.

7. Thou shalt remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.

There isn't much in this world more fun than betting on college football. All those amateurs running around dropping passes, beating the crap out of each other, and fumbling, all while wearing familiar uniforms...that's some good watchin'. But damn it, I'm not going to piss my money away on it this year just because it's good watchin'. Holy crap, it's going to be hard though. I just can't break a commandment though--especially before the NFL even starts. That would be a terrible sin.

Until that happens, I'll hopefully have a little action out there on the English Premier League, following the same rules. For whatever it's worth, here's what I like this week:

Everton to win at Bolton

Everton just signed striker Ayegbeni Yakubu, who is outstanding and should make his debut this Saturday. They have started out well, going 2-1-1, and have been led by Mikel Arteta, maybe the best in the EPL at identifying opportunities for his teammates and delivering the ball to them. Bolton goes into the game after a big win vs. Reading, a solid defensive team, but I don't see Bolton's defense stopping Arteta from feeding Andrew Johnson and Yakubu up top.

Two team Parlay: Liverpool over Derby, Manchester United over Sunderland

Both of these heavy favorites are at home, playing against new teams to the EPL. Man U has been anything but dominant yet, but they have several new players, all of whom are far more talented than those Sunderland will put out there Saturday. I expect that this will be the week they finally win by a comfortable margin.

Liverpool has played the best soccer of any EPL team this season and they play at home against the team that has played the worst soccer of any in the EPL this season. No brainer. Find the deed to your farm and a sucker to take the other side of the bet.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hey, Get Your Hate On

One of the primary reasons why fantasy sports has become so popular is undoubtedly the increase in the number of games you have some reason to pay attention to on any given game day. Prior to the emergence of fantasy sports, you either had to be into gambling or one of those people (what do you mean, those people?) whose love of the game is so great that the success or lack of success of the teams they root for do not seem to impact the degree to which they follow the sport. These are fans of teams like the Lions as well as the fans that wear those leather jackets that display the logo for each NBA team or sport a hat with the logos of the original six NHL teams. I was given this hat as a gift years back, and it's a pretty cool hat, but I have never worn it. Ask someone wearing the hat why they are doing so and I suspect that you will get a good answer, such as "Well, the ___ are my team, but I love the collective tradition and history of these franchises. It just doesn't feel right to me that there is a team from Anaheim that just won the cup." Fair enough. As a Red Wings fan I wouldn't feel right wearing the logo of the Leafs or the Black Hawks on my person, but it is conceivable that someone might.

Watching the nightly scoreboards to track the performance of players you have selected on your fantasy team feels very similar to tracking a group of games you have money on -- it may be less intense, but it's in the same ballpark. It's probably of the same proportion that snorting cocaine is to mainlining it. As pleasant as the high is that you get from fantasy sports or gambling on it, it is artificial. You could be just as intrigued from the complement to each of your bets. If you drop a player on your fantasy team that you cheered wildly for when he hit a three-run home run a month ago, you no longer give a damn about what he does if you have traded or dropped him from your team. While gambling and fantasy sports give you an artificial interest in teams that you normally care little about, playoff qualification races are the natural alternative.

Pennant races are fun because it requires more to keep track of in order to have a clear picture of the current state of things with respect to the team you care about. If the Tigers had defeated the Yankees 16-0, as they did last night, in mid-June, it would have been enjoyable, but the only follow-up work to do would be to check how the other top teams in the Central Division of the American League had done. After last night, however, a Tiger fan not only gets to check on the Indians score and how many games back they are of them, but also the results of the games involving the teams in the wild card hunt, as well as the upcoming schedule of all of these teams. It's the kind of work sports fans love.

While the Tigers gained no ground on the Indians last night, they picked up a game on both the Yankees and the Mariners, both ahead of the Tigers in the wild card standings currently. So that's good. Even better for the Tigers is how the upcoming schedule looks for all of these teams. The Tigers head to Kansas City for three while the Indians, Mariners, and Yankees next three are all against above .500 teams. If the Tigers can win two or three against the lowly Royals, they will likely pick up a game on at least one of these three teams.

The best part about a race like this is how as the end of the season approaches, every game with the teams involved becomes just as important to you as the games involving your team. This is the kind of action I would dream about in the mid-nineties while Tigers like Kimara Bartee and Nate Cornejo would get the throw-shit-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks call-up in September. Earlier this season I went to a game at Comerica Park between the Tigers and the Red Sox. A guy several rows below me was wearing a Yankees jersey and appeared to be as into the game as any Tigers or Sox fan in attendance. It was early July, but this guy was already getting his hate on. While I am not at all a Yankee fan, I liked seeing that. When I see a Buckeye fan at a Michigan/Michigan State game, I have the same kind of respect for the hate job that the fan is doing. That's why it's fun to have rivalries, and pennant races are where rivalries in baseball are born.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

A Pool and a Pond

"But, seriously, no b.s...if you ever want to rap or just get weird with somebody...You know...buddies." - Carl Spackler, Caddyshack

You may have noticed things have been a little weird around here lately. "What kind of blog is this?", you might be asking yourself. This is understandable. Most of the successful blogs out there feature good writing about a narrow range of subjects. It is not my intention for this to be a successful blog. Rather, this site exists to keep me sane enough to not go out and burn down buildings on a regular basis.

Like Mike Tyson, I am many things. We all are, in fact, and I respect writers who restrict the subject matter of their blogs. Every blog that I read regularly is focused on sports, because I like -- no, I fucking like sports. I fully acknowledge that the lack of focus here may be confusing to the readers who stumble upon this site and that confusion may make them decide to not visit again. If you stopped by to read an opinion on some random occurrence in the sports world and instead found something that is not about sports and to top it off makes absolutely no sense, like a rap/poem about gentrifying someone, it may weird you out. You may feel like you have glanced up toward the window of someone you just met, maybe a friend of a friend, while walking by his apartment building -- not expecting to see him , but just because you know that's where he lives -- and see him standing on his balcony naked with a paper bag over his head, waving at you. Maybe covered in feces.

So if you are confused, so am I, but just hang in there -- both of you. We have meaningful college football starting this Thursday. We have meaningful NFL football next Thursday. Both of these will be written about extensively here. I also plan on writing about the English Premier League once per week. There's some structure for this piece of shit what-have-you. The Tigers are in a serious pennant race and commentary will be made regarding it. Don't believe me? Tonight I watched the Tigers micturate upon the pride and the tradition of the New York Yankees, winning 16-0. Verlander and Polanco did serious work for my shitty eliminated fantasy team,'s a fantasy league, so who needs standings? Rick Sutcliffe is the most affable whore in broadcasting. See? I watched. I don't just sit here watching Lifetime movies starring ex-90210 stars and the great Gary Cole.

Also, big thanks to Dolores for her post, helping to put the We in Weblog.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Did you say something?

Except for in extremely special circumstances, I am against youtube posts on blogs. Although youtube videos can be highly entertaining, posts with the following formula are not impressive to me.

1) embed video
2) make humorous comment about video
3) publish

You might as well post comments on a deadspin post and then make an entire post saying "they said that and then i said this! wheee, hooray for me, i'm clever!"

Well, reader, special circumstances have forced the embedded video above. If you are at work, and that place of business is against freedom, here is a transcript.

Scene: Miss Teen USA 2007 pageant

Aimee Teegarden: (I have no idea who this is): "Recent polls have shown that a fifth of Americans cannot locate the United States on a world map. Why do you think this is?

Ms. South Carolina: I personally believe that U. S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that our education like such as South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere, like, such as, and I believe that they should our education over here in the U. S. should help the U. S., er, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so that we will be able to build up our future.

Guy in tux: Thank you very much, South Carolina.

(crowd claps)

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Do you think I’m sexy? How about now?

To the dudes that read this blog, I’m about to make all your wet dreams come true. Introducing crotchless pantaloons brought to you from the Traditional Christian Marriage Store.

When you fuck me, I'm thinking about Jesus.

What traditional Christian marriage can possibly function without a pair? You’d be hard pressed to turn down a romp in the hay with any lassie sporting these wencherific togs.

And while shopping on the website, feel free to check out the erotic reading selection, where you can browse such titles as the Naughty Bloomers Collection which contains over “50,000 words of spanking short stories involving Christian men who strive to teach their families sound Biblical values through the use of the rod.”

Wow, these Christian folk sure know how to be traditional! I mean who doesn’t get dressed up in crotchless 18th century underwear and ask to be spanked with a rod?

And these people think gays are the peverted ones - reality check, people!

Thanks to the ladies at for the lead.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Stop trying to speak for me with your bumper stickers

What could Gary have been thinking? Does he really think that there is anything that one of the billions of them "down there" is going to do anything that will cause me to become angry or happy to the point where I'll want to take some kind of action? Does Gary, who just applied his newly purchased "Don't make me come down there. - God" bumper sticker on his minivan, think he somehow speaks for me? How insulting. I wonder how that stupid Gary would feel if one of the turds he flushed down the toilet five years ago thought it was speaking for him, warning via poop odor to the other turds that if they weren't existing in a certain turdish manner that some other turd defined many craps ago, that Gary was going to "come down there".

What exactly is Gary trying to do with that pathetic bumper sticker? He seems to be trying to reach out to people who are doing things that they don't think they should be doing but do them anyway. He seems to reach out to them to say, "Hey, stranger, that thought in your head that is suggesting for you to stop doing what you're doing -- that's God saying that to you -- and I just think you should do what God says. And to help motivate you to act on the thought in your head that is in fact God, I have gone ahead and used fear, my favorite motivator. Remember, stranger, when you were younger and did something and one of your parents yelled out 'Don't make me come down there!' to get you to stop doing that something or you might get spanked or punished in some other way? Of course you do. That's why I put it on the bumper sticker! Here's what I want you to do, and do it in this order:
1) Read the bumper sticker.
2) Remember a time when your parent or guardian said that to you when you were younger.
3) Associate that message by your parent with an act in which you were engaged in that, which, if not ceased immediately, would likely lead to physical punishment by that parent.
4) Recall an instance of when you stopped engaging in the activity to avoid the perceived threat of physical harm.
5) Process that it says "- God" on the bumper sticker.
6) Imagine the possible kinds of harm that an unknown metaphysical entity, known as "God". could dish out to you.
7) Get really scared about the limitless possibilities of badness that could be put upon you by this theoretical entity, that the message suggests is threatening you.
8) Stop doing something as a result of this fear."

What's with these people, anyway? Can't they take a hint that maybe I just don't care? I mean, when is the last time I really did anything good for them? Yeah, like I'm just going to stop a hurricane from hitting somewhere where people are. That's how I stay entertained. Watching all that destruction and reconstruction is pretty sweet, I have to say.

Gary just doesn't get that I couldn't care less about whether someone wants an abortion or wants to jam it into someone who is capable of jamming it into someone else. I don't really care if they fruitfully multiply or divide, add or subtract. They can jam it into a knot hole in a tree, for all I care. Gary needs to consider that I might have other shit that I'm focused on, like whether that other dimension I spent the weekend in is going to have a big bang or not. That's the last thing I fucking need right now. So Gary, s'il vous plait, do shut up. Try focusing less on what you think I want and more on not being so much of an asshole.


My Ipod

Oh man, I can hardly believe this. Here I am, it's Tuesday morning, I'm hungover, and yet somehow this seems to be writing itself. Somehow I'm having a harder time breathing than typing. Holy fucking shit, was that a hot flash? Whoa, that was intense, and not the my-heart-is-out-of-control-from-all-the-cocaine good kind of intense. I swear, I have been on auto-pilot for the past three paragraphs, and from my mad-real blogger instinct, every word has been perfectly selected. Am I almost done or just getting started? Who the fuck knows. Certainly not me. I'll just keep plugging along, waiting for that instinct to take over. Gotta trust the auto-pilot. Oh, wait, wait. Wait. Motherfucker, what should I fucking do here? I really want this next sentence to be pretty strong. I'm not sure I have made it that kind of pivotal, post-changing, cup-the-balls kind of sentence as it currently stands. Each word in the current sentence fits quite well, so what to do? How could something be missing from this? I really like it, but something is not right or I would be fucking typing away right now and not second guessing myself. I better get some coffee and re think this. Oh shit. Damn, how did I not think of this earlier? How did I not think of adding the word fucking between "my" and "ipod"? So strong, so bold. You'd think I'd have a four car garage filled with Ford vehicles, it's so bold. Ooh, but wait, hold the fucking phone -- the last thing I want to do is sour this sweet, delectable morsel of literary dessert.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm afraid to type the word fuck, or any variation of it. I'm like, totally independent. Man, it's totally liberating to just like, go online and shit, and just get into that zone, man. Jesus Christ. Hey, I'm just doing my job, here -- you got a fucking problem with that? You do your job and I have mine. Backcountry blogging, baby. No key patrol. No nothing. Just you and the keyboard, and and the truth. And the mountain. But sometimes bro, sometimes you just be like feeling the connection, between you and the internet, and you just want to be like, felt by everyone, you hear me bitch? The last thing that needs to happen when you are just owning it is for someone to dismiss you because of a terrible fucking word choice. That would fucking blow dick.

But it's like, you know that movie Scarface? That won line where he's all "All I have in this world are my word and my balls and I don't break them for no one" and shit? Well, let's just say that, as a blogger, that fucking speaks to me. Bigtime. I'd like to hire someone's mom to craft me a framed needlepoint of that shit, cause that's what it all comes down to. If I had mad cash, I'd be on Craigslist erotic services right now, emailing some prostitutes to just come over and needlepoint that shit topless. No, wait -- bottomless. But I'd put them in the old chairs I have, and then spray Fantastic all over the chairs afterwards. That shit's antibacterial.

You may be wondering how the fuck I'm going to resolve this shit-fuck of a situation. This probably looks siriusly unresolvable, dude, but fucking relax, asshole. This is the kind of problem bloggers solve every fucking day of the week. We're out there, turning all that blank virtual space into something more. Something that can't be unfucked. The cat's out of the barn, as the saying goes. It's like, empty space and then BAM! Words. So lets take a huge deep breath and shit. Whether or not I decide to type fucking, I'm going to be who the fuck I am was, is, has been, and fucking were.


Roar Restore Disorder

"You can check your anatomy all you want, and even though there may be normal variation, when it comes right down to it, this far inside the head it all looks the same. No, no, no, don't tug on that. You never know what it might be attached to."
-Buckaroo Bonzai

The human brain is, like, way complex. And human brain-having humans are, like, studying the shit out of human brains right this very minute, all over the world. Even though not everything is known about brain function, we have long known when brains are functioning improperly. It's like with cars. If you operate a Dodge Magnum, you might not have any idea what "HEMI" means, but you probably can tell when some kind of service for it is needed. A key difference though is that with the human brain, you sometimes need someone else to recognize a problem. With medication and cage confinement, a person with a brain disorder can keep it under control. Over the years I have become acquainted with, been friends with, and even dated people with mental illnesses such as Bipolar Disorder. They freely admit that if they are not on their prescribed medication, they will go "crazy". In college, one of my best friends had Bipolar Disorder and would sometimes ignore the prescribed treatment, thinking that the best way to manage his condition was with a variety of alternative medicines. This did not work out well for him. One day he returned to the apartment after a day of manic credit card purchasing, dressed as a king, complete with an elaborate crown, robe, and staff. Highly amusing, yes, but also insane, or as Al Kaline would say, flat-out insane. In March of 2006 I finished a marathon as "the king" as a joke.

His costume was no joke -- he really thought he was a king and purchased accordingly.

Although I have not been diagnosed with a mental illness, I sometimes finding myself thinking or acting in a manner suggestive of an improperly functioning brain. Sometimes I'll be lying in bed thinking about some girl who lives far away that I like, like like, but who like, just like, likes me. I catch myself being crazy in the act and yell "STOP IT!". And I do.

Far more disconcerting is the fact that I have been catching myself thinking insanely delusional thoughts regarding the 2007 Detroit Lions. Here are some examples:

- The scene: PTI set, sometime in October. On the top of the discussion board in the A-segment is one word -- "Lions". The show opens up quickly breaking into a discussion of the Lions dominance in 2007. During this discussion, "Will the Lions lose a single game?" is at the bottom of the screen. The bell sounds, but Wilbon and Kornheiser ignore it. Finally, they decide that if they lose a game, it would have to be on December 16th at San Diego, a matchup that already is being referred to as the "game-of-the-year" and a "Super Bowl preview".

- The scene: NFL pre-game show, sometime in October or November. It's halftime of the English Premier League match I am watching. Hopefully it's an Arsenal match, they're up 3-0, and on top of the league table. I flip over to one of the pre-game shows. It does not matter which one as they all suck equally. Let's say that it's Fox, only because I think they still have Jim Brown, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long. They are out on one of those stupid miniature fields attempting to demonstrate why the Lions offense is so hard to stop and some possible ways to slow it down. Every defensive strategy they come up with has a serious flaw:
"You can cheat and come at them like this, but at the same time you are leaving yourself badly exposed over here, and a great quarterback like John Kitna is surely going to exploit it. The Lions offense gives serious match-up problems that few defenses in the NFL are fit to handle right now. I don't envy their opponents' defensive coordinators, J.B."

- The scene: PTI set, February 4th, 2008. Again, the first discussion item listed is "Super Bowl". Second discussion item: "Will the Lions Repeat?" The guest is John Kitna. He laughs with Michael and Tony as they reflect on his prediction of winning 11+ games.
Tony: "In all seriousness, did you actually think that your prediction would come true?"
Kitna: "Ha, well Tony, I had been drinking when I said that, so I don't even know. But I sure didn't think we would go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl, that's for sure."

And then I catch myself and yell "STOP! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!" And I do. And I go back to telling myself that it is inconceivable for the Lions to win more than six games. There is, as far as I know, no cure for Roar Restore Disorder, although studies seem to show that outbreak become less frequent and severe as you get older. The most important thing to do during an episode is to stay away from your local bookie and to try to keep all of your crazy thoughts confined to your sick brain or you could end up being committed by your friend or relative.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

You're not helping me stay focused.

Last night channel nine televised an exhibition football game between the San Francisco '49ers and the, shit, who was it...DENVER. Denver Broncos. Who won? I do not know and do not want to know. It was boring to watch. The announcing trio of Jaworski, Kornheiser, and Tirico seemed as bored as I was. They spent most of the time talking about a dead man named Bill Walsh who used to work for the San Francisco '49ers in various capacities. When they tired of jerking each other off to the memory of Bill Walsh, they would bring on a guest to reinvigorate themselves. Meanwhile, football was being played on the field, sometimes by players I had heard of. Quarterback Trent Dilfer was one such player.
Jaws: "Trent Dilfer doesn't have any ego. He's only about team."
If something worthy of a Pontiac Game Changing Performance transpired, the talking people would stop talking about Bill Walsh momentarily.
Tirico: "And the pass is INTERCEPTED!".
Then the focus would return to Walsh.
John Lynch: "If it wasn't for Bill Walsh, I'd be just another black man floating in and out of jail, doing whatever it takes to survive. I reckon I'd be sucking someone's cock this very moment."
Kornheiser: "Is it fair to say that Bill Walsh is more than the father of modern American football and that he is in fact the biological father of every American male who, at some point, witnessed the West Coast Offense?"

I really don't have anything against Bill Walsh -- he's clearly the best NFL coach of my lifetime -- I'd just rather read about his accomplishments and impact on the game and its players than listen to the announcers blather about him and occasionally mention something about the game going on. It's mid-August. We are a football-starved people. When we tune in to preseason football, we know it's largely meaningless, but we watch nonetheless because we miss it. If the announcers for the most part are ignoring the game in favor of some other discussion, what makes them think that they are holding the viewers' attention?

When I was in college, there was a liquor store right across the street where I spent at least half of my disposable income at the time. Along with beer, liquor, and snacks, they sold pornography. One night I walked in there drunk, walked by the pornography, stopped, walked back to the pornography, and grabbed a video with shiny packaging that had a neon pink sticker with "8 FULL HOURS OF HARDCORE ACTION" written on it. I liked the sound of that. The price was $11.99. Oh, baby, did I like that price. I walked up and purchased the video cassette with the shiny packaging and some beer, went home and watched some of it and realized why it was so inexpensive. The people fucking each other were only marginally attractive. The men and women looked like they had fucked a lot in their lives, and went about it in a professional manner, but rarely in the eight hours was there a girl that made you think "Bless that beautiful creature for choosing porn." One of those girls was in a scene with Ron Jeremy. I had heard of him before, but that was the first time I had seen him. Man, was he ugly. His erection was large, sure, but he was old, bald, fat, and hairy. And he had a mullet. He just laid on his back on the floor like a beached whale while the beautiful female went to work on him. I couldn't take it. I had to fast forward to the next scene with a new set of fuckers. Although the porn wasn't the best, the people fucking seemed to be trying to do it the best they could and there was some nice cheesy porn music to keep you focused on the job at hand. If for some reason the director decided to have audio commentary during the mediocre-at-best porn by a retired porn star and maybe a strip club dj, with occasional guest appearances by celebrity masturbaters and other known pornographers, where they discussed John Homes or Peter North scenes or hall-of-fame starlets, the whole thing would be too confusing. If commentary is really necessary, the subject mattter should be centered around what the cameras are showing. Instead of talking about Debbie Does Dallas, which is clearly not what the viewer is watching, they should be talking about the aging professional fornicators: "You see what he's doing there? Yeah, right there. He's jamming it in and out of her--that repeated motion is what we in the business call fucking."

I kind of hate myself for complaining about the coverage of a preseason NFL game between two teams I couldn't care less about. I'm pretty pathetic, I know. Just...I, um...I guess it felt too much like listening to baseball announcers drifting further and further away from the game going on, and baseball is really chapping my ass these days with the Tigers season looking more and more like your average Michigan State football season.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

There's Something Happening Here

(photo courtesy of Marvel, Universal Pictures, via Wikipedia)

(Do you) Ever wonder what it would be like to undergo a rapid physical transformation like Dr. Bruce Banner turning into the (incredible) Hulk? Just imagine what it would be like to go from your eight-year-old body into your eighteen-year-old body in a minute or two. As an exercise, meditate on that thought for a bit. Here's an incantation to go along with it.

Dang man, shit, fuckin' A.

The past several posts I am at fault for here have very little to do with the sports world. Cock rings, Marmots Mormons, pretend cocaine hangovers? Yes. Sports? Not so much.

You see, I was stuck in the comfortable Summer rut that we all go through. Work. Go home. Drink. Eat stuff. Drink. Sometimes fuck other people. Watch baseball. Shit, shower, shave, and start the whole fucking thing over. Nothing wrong with that kind of rut. Then I went on the trip for work to Salt Lake City and then the Bay Area, and now that I'm back everything feels different. I'm going through changes.

The Tigers have been either in an extended slump or in the middle of an all-out tailspin. We'll find out what exactly it is in a month. And I'm concerned, sort of. But goodness, folks, take a deep whiff. You smell that? Football season's a-comin'. Dude, tomorrow's already the tenth. Far out, I know, but just think about this: three weeks from today LSU plays Mississippi State at 8PM ET on ESPN. If you think I won't be doing all I can to not break the seventh commandment, you are crazy. After that there are televised games Friday, Saturday, Monday, and then blammo, the NFL starts Thursday.

Dang man, shit, fuckin' A.

Between now and then, we have a fine assortment of distractions. The NFL preseason is in full swing. A few star players will be injured in utterly meaningless games. The PGA tournament is this weekend. The hits to the links to the wild card standings on the standings page is going up every day. Hopefully the Tigers will remain at the top of that list or off the list entirely. Did I mention that the NFL preseason is going on? Seriously, the Lions are playing the Bengals tonight! At Ford Field!

[start digression]
This year a nickname for Ford Field needs to be established. I kind of like "The Pinto" or"The Edsel", but Ford Field is an unbelievably great venue. It's breathtaking when you walk in there for the first time. The nickname needs to reflect that it's actually a great facility, but with extremely filthy goings-on inside it, like a golden outhouse or something. Can you think of a Ford vehicle with a beautiful exterior that was widely known to have mechanical problems on a grand scale? The Merkur, maybe? The Corsair? Any ideas? Leave them in the comments.
[end digression]

Also, in case you didn't know this about me, I am an unabashed soccer freak. In the past year I have played in three leagues with games on the weekends and I generally play pick-up games on the National Mall two to three times per week, even during heat advisories. I pay extra to get Goal TV and Fox Soccer Channel. I kind of sort of want to go to the DC United vs The David Beckhams tonight at RFK. But fuck that, tickets are going for $45+, he might not play, it will be on TV, and hopefully the Lions will be on the NFL Network. This weekend is the start of the English Premier League. I may get up and go to a soccer bar in town (yes, they do exist) to watch the 7:40AM game between Spurs and Sunderland, hopefully in the Arsenal third jersey I pre-ordered.

So, anyway, I have a lot of feelings about the coming season of greatness (Michigan, Tigers, and Arsenal, hopefully), and not so greatness (Lions, surely). Go Blue, and Goooo Ulrich's!

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Monday, August 06, 2007

The Lions Should Really Play in the Canadian Football League

Over the weekend I found myself watching the Calgary Stampeders take on the Edmonton Eskimos in a Canadian Football League (CFL) game. I don't normally watch the CFL but I was in a bad way for a football fix - like a straight guy in prison who needs to ejaculate inside another human being and just reaches the point where he isn't going to let a little thing like gender stop him from accomplishing his goal. After a few minutes of watching I realized that there are a number of things about the way the Canadian game is played that would really be complementary to the Lions style of play, like:

1) You can score points by punting - In the CFL, teams are awarded one point when the result of a punt is a touchback. The Lions punting game is already one of its most potent weapons. Punter Nick Harris ranked fourth in the league in net distance last year, changing field position like a motherfucker. If he could score on touchbacks he'd be the first Lion taken in most fantasy drafts.

2) The goalpost is at the front of the endzone - This is one of the dumbest things about the CFL. My suspicion is that the CFL has preserved this antiquated goalpost positioning because their endzones are enormous and if they wanted the goalpost to be out of play, extra points would become 35 yard chip shots. The goalpost in front of the endzone would benefit the Lions because while aging kicker Jason Hanson is still accurate within 45 yards, his leg strength has declined considerably and he has trouble with the long ones. Moving the goalpost to the front of the endzone would make Hanson even more dangerous than he was 10 years ago.

3) Most offensive sets include four wide receivers - In the CFL, you are allowed to have 12 men on the field (my understanding is that the Montreal Alouettes are home of L'Homme Treizieme), there are only 3 downs, and the field is longer and wider than in real football. All of these changes mean that you have more players on the field, fewer chances to convert first downs, and more room in which to run routes. As a result, teams routinely start four wide receivers, who are allowed to be moving toward the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. The Lions love drafting wide receivers, having taken one in the first round four out of the last five years. If we can't get rid of Matt Millen we might as well join a league that has rules that will be conducive to his drafting philosophy.

4) The CFL only has eight teams and six of them get to go to the playoffs every year- The Lions have never been to a Superbowl, and yet they won three world championships in the 1950s. What gives? It turns out that in 1957, the last year that the Lions won the NFL Championship, there were only 12 teams in the league. Today there are 32 teams. That is an awful lot of competition for a team as shitty as the Lions that most years isn't better than two or three other teams. Some fish are meant for oceans, some for lakes, and some for smaller bodies of water. The Lions just happen to be a pond fish in the wrong place.

5) CFL teams don't get to participate in the NFL Draft - I'm not sure how CFL teams acquire their players but I do know that they don't get to select players in the NFL Draft. The Lions, on the other hand, do and this would prove to be a huge competitive advantage it the Lions joined the CFL but continued their association with the NFL Draft, which I would recommend. In reality, most players that the Lions select in the draft wind up in the CFL anyway. This would just hasten the process and weed out a lot of undesirables that NFL teams are better off rid of. Just think of what a better place the NFL would be today if bums like Aaron Gibson, Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers and Mike Williams had never been in the league? And yet these guys probably would have made above average CFL players (except for Gibson, who holds the distinction of being the only player ever deemed too fat to play offensive line for the Lions).

6) Detroit could get a new NFL team - With the Lions safely out of the picture, the NFL could award the city of Detroit an expansion team and a fresh start. I always thought it was unfair when expansion teams got to draft players off of other teams but the Lions didn't. And we don't want a team from another city. Don't get me wrong, I think it would totally rule if Detroit stole the Browns and then won a Superbowl like Baltimore did. Oh man, Cleveland fans would be so burned again and Detroit would have a Superbowl. The thing is, Detroit fans don't want someone else's garbage so soon after finally getting rid of our own. That's cool that it worked out in Baltimore but I don't have a whole lot of confidence that the transition would go quite as smoothly for Detroit.

From what I could tell the CFL is pretty lame, which means that it compares favorably to televised baseball. During these long summer months when there isn't much going on, I think Detroit fans would embrace a Detroit-based CFL team. And after seven years of constant losing, I know I could really get behind a run at the Grey Cup.

Friday, August 03, 2007

San Francisco is to Salt Lake City as a cock ring is to a Christian love pack

The photo above was taken with my phone in mens room of a bar on or near Union Street. I attempted to purchase one (who would not want a glow in the dark schlong accessory for just seventy-five cents?), but the novelty machine ate my quarters. I had to go ask the bartender for a refund. He gave me a high-five for being dirty, as well as my seventy-five cents back.

The linked photo below, to be fair, has nothing to do with the SLC. Don't let the satin sheet and flower petals fool you, there is no vibrator in there. No handcuffs. Not even a broken condom so that you can pretend like you're having casual sex while knowing that you are actually intending for conception, just as your priest tells you God wants.

Uncover God’s desire for your marriage through the illumination of His design for your relationship and your bedroom. Are you romantically – challenged? Through a short book, relationship experts explain how God generously gives intimate freedom to every married couple. You’ll also learn to see genuine oneness in the light of God’s word.

Reveal your spouse’s romantic language by completing a simple romance inventory which will light the way to deeper communication about intimate matters.

It's far more racy than anything you would ever find in Utah's capital city.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Salt Lake City: Almost as fun as South Bend

When I visit a town for work or pleasure, I generally try to eat and drink at independent establishments rather than your Melting Pots, Macaroni Grills, and the like. While I like to eat at somewhat nice places, especially on per diem, my strategy with bars is to walk around until I find a real dump. The way to find out about the innards of a town is to locate its asshole, stick your nose up it, and take a big whiff.

Since Sunday I have been in Salt Lake City attending a conference. Why would anyone want to go to Salt Lake City in the Summer? I cannot answer that question. It's extremely hot and dry, like a certain other desert town the next state over. Unlike that certain other desert town, Salt Lake City is no desert jewel. From what I have observed, it is dull. Take South Bend, IN, subtract seedy, fun aspects and that one college, stick it in the desert, and spray the whole thing down with a bizarre pesticide of a religion that has something to do with Jesus, Native Americans getting their skin pigment from a punishment by god, and Steve Young, and you get Salt Lake City.

After dinner yesterday I went out into the streets in search of a shit-hole bar. The first one I found looked promising. Only window to outside was very dark and filled with neon signs shaped into beer advertisements. Just like Joe Camel and Marlboro miles worked on me as a lad, neon signs make me want some. I walk in and the bar is filled with hopefully the ugliest people in town. Ashtrays were full. Smoke was thick. Black cigarette, motorcycle, and NASCAR tee-shirts covered their uppers. Mullets and perms covered their tops. Jean shorts covered their mids. I didn't look at the bottoms. It was early, but all the stools were filled, so I sat down briefly at a semi-circle booth until I realized that there was no chance that they had wait staff.

"Sir, do you have a membership with us?"
"Excuse me?"
"Yeah, you need a temporary membership here, it's $4."
I walked out, confused as a 2nd grader in a sex ed class.

Two doors down was another crappy looking place, this one with a NO MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED sign out front. I walked in and sat down on a stool and ordered a PBR.
"Dya wanna small pitcher, a glass?
"I'll have a glass."
Then I realized how foolish that was. If someone asks if you want a pitcher to yourself, order a pitcher for yourself. So I notified the bar tender.
"Did you say '$3.50'?"
I put a $5 bill down and left her the change.
A drunk sat down next to me. He seemed to be pretty hammered, in his late 30's, probably down on his luck. He was on his way back from the juke box.
"Barry Manilow and beer, you can't beat that! Hey buddy, you know this song?"
"No, can't say I do."
Next song was "Dancing Queen". After that I think was a Cindy Lauper song. He then started on about his old job dealing cards at a casino in Primm Valley, on the Nevada/California border.
"Yeah, I dealt there for two years and at a truck stop after that for about a year. You ever been to the Stratosphere? I worked there for two and a half years -- best job I ever had. Made $32,000 a year."
"What happened to that one?"
"I was up for three days on cocaine, went kinda crazy and went in and told 'em 'I quit. Say, man, you gay by any chance, cause there's this club..."
"I'm straight."
"Just checking. Don't tell nobody this, but I'm bisexual and I found this good club in town. Good place to meet women too. I'll be back, gotta go take a piss."
Bartender: "I'm sorry, you can move if you like. I've never seen him in here before."
She poured me a free half pitcher for having to deal with Mr. Special. She explained that the bars serving liquor are required by state law to charge a membership fee to discourage drinking. You can either get an annual membership for $12 most places or pay $4 for a three week temporary membership. The $12 goes to the state of Utah. So barhopping in Salt Lake City isn't very cost-effective.

The drunk, greasy bisexual man came back after playing some more tunes and told me about how credit trouble has reduced him to a night job at Wal-Mart unloading the trucks. I pounded the rest of my beer and got the fuck out of there.

Tonight I went out to dinner with one of my Dad's army buddies. He drives the '79 Lincoln pictured above. The state rejected his request for a personalized plate reading 'PMPMBLE"


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