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Friday, February 22, 2008

Have I got a pop culture reference for you!

Oh my, I am really enjoying reading this. This blog post is SO FUNNY. Yet, it's not just grade A humor I'm reading here, this dude really knows what he's talking about, and he's presenting it to me in a way that someone in my generation can TOTALLY relate to. it's the whole package - la package totale.

Oh shit, you see what I did right there, without even thinking about it? I dropped a nice little pop culture reference - a reference to that one fast food commercial. Subway, I think. Meatball sub. Guy in the commercial calls it the total package then the girl in the commercial says that he's got total package on his shirt. Fuck. Maybe it was Taco Bell or maybe it wasn't called la package totale or the total package. Perhaps the word "ultimate" or "bliss" was involved. Man. I better google the shit out of that so I can load that ammo into my AK-47 clip of comments.

Hell with it, the important thing is that I am, totally without any effort whatsoever, overflowing with pop culture references. I'm like Old Faithful, but instead of a geyser, a dude. A dude who's totally in tune with the blogs that are written by and for dudes like me. The thing is, I've got all these pop culture references inside me that HAVE to come out - one way or another - otherwise this here reader is going to be less Old Faithful and more Mt St Helens. Like, this whole internet sharing exchange,'s like this: when I read a blog post written by one of my favorite bloggers, I can tell that if that dude who wrote it lived like down the hall in my apartment building, we would be total bros. Dawgz. That's why it's so fucking important for me to leave comments in blogs. I'll do it all day long sometimes. I have to keep reminding the author that there's a dude out there who totally diggs what he's writing. There's a dude out there who totally gets what he's saying, totally gets all the pop culture references.

When I find a blog I like, I just want to establish myself strong from comment #1, then work day and night to reinforce the fact that I'm A LOT like the blogger. So many common interests, it's fucking scary. But at the same time, I don't want to get in there and kiss the dude's ass. That's why pop culture references are so key. When I read a blogger's killer pop culture reference, and I'm like totally knowing exactly where it's from, it makes me feel welcome, at home. I just want to put my feet up on the coffee table, stick my hand down my pants, fart to warm my hand up, then crack open a beer. I'm so grateful to have something so personal, I just NEED to return the favor in the comments section. I know that if I was so moved by a particular pop culture reference by the blogger, the blogger is sure to be just as moved by a specially selected pop culture reference from me - the reader - to him. Like Newton's third law, but for blog culture.

And you know what? I've got SO MANY MORE. The vault's overflowing, man. You know that pop culture reference above? When someone reads that, they're going to be like, "Oh shit, I watch tv too. Right on..." If I leave that as a comment, it will totally connect with some other dude who watches tv and he'll have no choice but to leave a comment, directed at me using an @ followed by my moniker followed by a colon. And that comment will say, "Hey, bro, I watch tv too, so I am going to prove it by offering up this carefully selected tv-related pop culture reference.", but without really saying it.

That's why I get out of bed in the morning and hunch over my laptop all day. Because you never want to miss an opportunity to get a "+1" from a well placed Simpsons quote. What's my idea of heaven? It's the comment section of a killer blog, and nobody gets in without a score of +10.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A long, rambling, piece of sh*t that likely won't be replaced for at least a week!

It's day two back at the office after what was for me a four day weekend. I usually try to take some kind of a trip during those big ones, but having recently honored the reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr by skiing and drinking and gambling at Lake Tahoe and with a big trip coming up to Vegas for the opening week of the great American tournament of amateurs next month, it was best for me to stay put. Deep in the country's stateless nether region, bitch. I don't need to be in a state to have a good time.

Although there were several sporting events of note that took place last week, my focus was on the left-turnathon in Daytona Beach, FL. For weeks I had planned on driving to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Fredericksburg, VA to watch the race as it was meant to be watched outside of a racetrack - with delicious hot wings, tall glasses cold light American beer, and alongside some of the finest rednecks that the mid-Atlantic region has to offer. Last year I ventured down with my buddies Keith Jenkins and the Battleship. Keith Jenkins had called down to make sure they would have the race on and the manager laughed at him over the phone before assuring that it wouldn't be a problem. We understood his reaction when we walked up to the spot in the strip mall parking lot and saw the local country station's van outside and every screen in the place on the pre-race coverage.

Unfortunately, a perfect repeat of last year was not possible for this 50th Daytoner Favre Hunnert. Battleship: In Michigan. Keith Jenkins: Work bullshit. I guess I must be one of about 1% of NASCAR fans without a car, which poses a problem when you're trying to make it to a wing purveyor fifty miles away. After consulting my life coach, I decided to not rent a car or hitch, and keep it local.

It turned out that a sports bar next to the Washington Convention Center would be featuring the race. I was a little bit surprised to find any bar in DC that would be featuring a NASCAR event, but it was the Favre Hunnert. And good for them, because there happened to be a boat show in the convention center last weekend (Oh baby, that's synergy you're feeling!) so the bar was quite busy. While this experience did not come close to approaching the cromulence of the Fredericksburg B-dubz, it was pretty damn fun. I watched the race in its entirety at the bar, mostly by myself, with a personal three liter tower of beer on the bar to my left, which seemed to really impress the other race-ists. About an hour into the tower the bartender asked if everything was alright.
"How's the beer tasting?"
"Oh, great. Thanks."
"I'm just asking because I just really like my beer cold."
"Yeah, it's not quite what it was, but it's still pretty cold. Not a problem at all."
"You know, I can throw some ice in there if you want."
"Nah, I'm good for now. Thanks."
I appreciated this genuine concern, but I guess I have a higher tolerance for warm shitty beer, and probably other shitty things, than the bartender. By the end of the race the beer was room temperature and was just awful tasting, but it was finished.

The main difference in my bar experience from the prior year was in the race fan commentary. I'm by no means an expert in NASCAR strategy, but I understand the importance of drafting and the risks of fuel-only and two tire vs four tire stops late in the race. I even sort of understand the whole loose vs. tight thing. Scratch that - I don't really think I have a good grasp on what it means to be runnin' tight other than it's not as fast as runnin' a little loose = "rear-endy" = back end having a tendancy to slide towards the outside during a turn. I better look that up at some point. Anyway, the boat show fans would pop in for a beer or two, then leave. While they were there, they really seemed to have a need to vocalize the race analysis going on in their outboard brains. About twenty-five laps in one of the boat guys would be freaking out about their favorite driver dropping from first to say fifth place. "What's he doing? He's falling back! Damn it, where are his teammates? Something's up with his engine, I just know it. Look at how he fell off there. Did you see that?", the guy will whine to his wife and brother-in-law. A more seasoned redneck, or any asshole paying the slightest bit of attention could grasp that early in a long race like the Favre Hunnert the strong cars basically take turns holding the lead for a lap in order to pick up the bonus points, and the holding the lead in lap twenty-five or one hundred fifty-five in a restrictor plate race like Daytoner means jack-T-shit. All you have to do is be in the main swarm of cars at lap 195 and you have as good of a chance as anyone else.

The race was entertaining for the most part, and I have no problem with "the Numerator" (credit: the Battleship) winning, although I would have preferred Kyle Busch holding on. At some point last year I declared Kyle Busch my favorite driver due to the following:

1) He's talented and his driving appears to be borderline reckless

and more importantly...

2) The year I came out of the NASCAR closet, Kyle was with Roush Racing - which is based between Ann Arbor and Detroit - and he declared himself a Lions fan. Now that's what I call a bold move, the kind of bold move only a Ford Driver could make. And yes, Roush cars are all Fords as far as I know. You may think Kyle Busch was just being good to his sponsor since William Clay Ford is the Lions owner, but I say that adopting the Lions is a giant step beyond any reasonable sponsor loyalty expectations. I mean, for goodness sakes, this is the Lions we're talking about! I just can't imagine what would draw a person to being a Lions fan. I've heard some hard-luck stories (note: the post in the link is not so good. Just skip to the bottom to read the quote) about how a person ended up a Lions fan, but it never has involved free will. Kyle Busch, a Las Vegas native, grew up without a hometown team so he could have chosen any NFL team to follow. He chose the Lions, and that is so insane - so "outside-the-bun" - that I just had to return the favor when I was picking a driver to support.

Around the same time that I started to follow NASCAR, I also started following professional soccer, especially the English Premier League. I was faced with a similar decision, picking a team to support in my adult life. And for that I chose Arsenal because I enjoy their style of play more than any other team, which I realized can be attributed to having the best manager in the league and possibly the world, in Arsene Wenger. Like a great college coach, Wenger not only institutes a winning system on the field, but is smart enough to know which of the great young players around the world will develop in his system, and he is ballsy enough to start an extremely young side if he feels they are prepared, when lesser managers would cave to criticism from the fans and media and pressure from ownership.

I mention Arsenal because today is the first leg of their round-of-sixteen match with defending Champions League winners AC Milan. What does AC stand for? Associazione Calcio. What does that mean? Association something, probably having to do with sports. Whatever it is, it's totally Italian, like a 40-year old bachelor still living in his parents' basement. Anyway, I went ahead and put in the sick leave papers for this afternoon so that I could catch the action on ESPN2. Is that irresponsible? Of course. Unprofessional? Shit yes. But is it any more unprofessional than writing a long rambling post during working hours?

One of the reasons why this isn't that great of a blog, other than the usually poor writing, is the lack of focus on a particular theme. This post is a great example of that. What the hell am I trying to say here? It started out as a partial long weekend recap and drifted into speculation on the meaning of certain Italian proper nouns. That's just not good writing. To get back to where I thought I was going, I'll just mention that I didn't shave at all during my long weekend, and faced a decision of what to do about that yesterday. Never in my facial hair growing life have I gone more than about five days without shaving, and for good reason. No one is going to come up to me and say "Sweet 'stache, man.", to which I would reply, "Thanks bro." But what the hell. So in a move that would have moved Kyle Orton to tears, I shaved my neck and showered and left for work. This morning I again shaved the neck area and used the beard trimmer thingy on my razor to mow it all down a bit. I look like such a toolbox that it's kind of fun. And best of all, at any moment someone is going to pop into my office doorway with a big camera to take my picture for the office intranet, a picture that will probably represent me for at least the next five years. I've got a perfect Bryant Gumbel Real Sports pose ready too. Too bad I can't get Kyle Busch's #18 shaved into the side of my head to really let 'em know I'm about bold moves.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Paulson unveils "Patriotic Reacharound" for gamblers hardest hit by Super Bowl

At a press conference Wednesday morning, United States Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson introduced a plan to provide relief for gamblers who bet more than they could afford to lose on the New England Patriots and/or the over in the Super Bowl this past Sunday. The Patriots, who entered the game with an 18-0 record which included the sixteen game regular season and the two playoff games, were defeated 17-14 by the New York Giants. New England was favored by twelve points. There was also far less scoring than many anticipated, as the thirty-one total points fell well short of the fifty-four point over/under. One gambler walking from Caesar's Palace to the Super 8 motel in Las Vegas was among the hardest hit. "It's like Hurricane Katrina, but instead of New Orleans, me. And other people who bet on the over too, I guess, although I doubt anyone went as heavy on it as I did."

"The American sports betting public was misled about the ability of the Patriots to score touchdowns at will against any opponent, especially from the inferior NFC. It is the duty of the United States federal government to respond to this tremendous bedshitting which has left millions of gamblers - American gamblers - unable to make their monthly minimum credit card and subprime mortgage payments. And respond we will."

Paulson then moved on to outline the relief package to prevent the sports gambling industry from sliding towards the recession that many analysts predicted following the Super Bowl. "I propose a relief package which will be the product of extensive cooperation between the federal government, off-shore gaming websites, Las Vegas based casinos, and local bookies. My plan would offer gamblers who had bet the over or on the Patriots to cover or win outright a chance to win back some of that sweet cash. Each loser would receive a "free" credit to their account."

Paulson explained the seasonal aspect of sports betting. "It's normal for wagers to be way down in the weeks following the Super Bowl. The betting public generally favors football betting to wagers involving other sports, such as basketball. There is typically a steep drop after the Super Bowl, followed by a gradual increase as March Madness nears. This stimulus package will offer hard-luck losers a chance to make some of that money back while switching their mindset from football to basketball betting as quickly as those old Loyola Marymount teams would get the ball up the floor. We want that alimony payment to be a slam dunk for everyone who lost on the big game."

The credits would not come without a number of key restrictions. "The 'free' credit to the degenerates' accounts will require them to bet solely on college basketball." This will not only be a boost to the gaming industry, but for the television networks that broadcast the games. "Look, we all know those kids are playing their hearts out, and that's great. But for chrissakes, without any money on the line or your school playing, the shit's just plain unwatchable. Period. This plan will make everyone happy who profits from the hard work of the students playing the games."

The funding for the proposal - dubbed "The Patriotic Reacharound" - would be as follows: First, all of the scumbags losing more than 2% of their gross adjusted income would receive a credit to their gaming accounts in the amount of the losing bet on the Patriots or the over. This amount would then have to be wagered 2.5 times on college basketball events with payout of at least 1:2 before being eligible for a withdrawal. The federal government would pay for half the initial credit in each account, with the bookies/casinos absorbing any other costs to be paid out.

Market reactions were generally positive. Self described sports expert "Jimmy D" already had a plan for the Patriotic Reacharound. "I've got an amazing parlay already picked out. It's a lock! This is the greatest day of my life! Excuse me, I have to go email my bet to all my friends." A bookie who identified himself as "Friendly Freddie" was just as excited. "I love it! Hell, I'll join the charity by offering half off juice on all teasers this weekend. The junkies'll love that, because teasers NEVER lose, right? Hahaaahaa! You know what I'm talkin' 'bout, am I right?! Hahaha! Some stimulus package. It's ironical because with all the whores I'll be gettin' with my federal credits from all these suckers, it's really gonna stimulate my package, am I right? Hahahaha, yeah you know what I'm talkin' bout."

Not everyone, however, was as excited. A gambler who did not identify himself lifted up his shirt to show a poorly stitched up wound. "This ain't gonna bring back my kidney."

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