Wednesday, March 30, 2005

You guys playing cards?

Two major Animal House-related developments today.

1) Otis Day is appearing on my station's noon newscast. I swear I'm not making this up. It's "Toga Night" at the Pistons game tonight, and he's performing. And I forgot my damn camera when I left for work this morning. This is going to haunt me forever. (And in a loosely related note, the Water Skiing Squirrel is going to be in studio tomorrow at noon. I told our producer that if we're not getting 90 shares this week, there's something fundamentatlly wrong with the meter system.)

2) A fraternity in California is on double-secret probation. All for having a few members appear in a porno. I'm sorry, but what the hell is college all about, if not the very same things that porn stands for? They should be building statues to commemorate the moment, rather than trying to punish them.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Quasi-post of the day.

I have a feeling that everyone who reads this is familiar with the handiwork of one Jason Mulgrew, Internet Quasi-celebrity. If not, you owe it to yourself to spend five minutes absorbing all that he has to offer.

A couple times lately, I've found myself reading his latest post, then suddenly looking up two hours later and realizing I've gone through a few months of archived posts. I just read this beauty from last fall, and felt compelled to share. But really, I'd be surprised if you could go three or four posts without finding a classic of some sort.

Now that Bill Simmons has gone from "entertaining smartass with a sphere of pop culture references similar to my own" to "pretentious Chowd douchebag" and the Buffalo Wings & Vodka dude is down to about one post a month, I would say that Mulgrew is my new personal Jesus.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Sooner the more confusing

Why is the acronym for the University of Oklahoma "OU"? Shouldn't it be UO?

Isn't that like the University of Michigan going by MU?

If it's not the constant rapes and steroids in the football dorms or the quarterback in handcuffs on the cover of Sports Illustrated, it's something like this.

Oh, those wacky Sooners.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Stuff that bothered me today for no real reason...

Why is it that schools go cheap on their websites in stupid ways?

For example, the University of Texas did not bother to buy www.texas.edu and link it to their webpage (www.utexas.edu). The same goes for Michigan (michigan.edu could be linked to umich.edu) and a crapload of other schools.

I only noticed because I'm currently scouring the country looking for interns for this new venture.

While searching for those, I noticed something else unusual-- many schools have done away with standard e-mail addresses. At OSU, it was always lastname.(number)@osu.edu. Unless your name was Tami Fuzzybunny, you weren't going to get fuzzybunny.1@osu.edu

Now, at one Big XII school kids had e-mail addresses with:
1) lastname@(school).edu
2) firstname-lastname@(school).edu
3) nickname@(school).edu

One kid's official school e-mail involved the phrase "mrcub".

This makes it tougher than it should be to find e-mails for kids (if they were all firstname-lastname@(school).edu, you could send messages without looking up every individual kid).

I suppose it really doesn't matter at all to anyone except me.

Oh, by the way, MSU made it two Big Ten teams in the Final Four. So what was the Dick Vitale article on the front of ESPN.com tonight? "UNC's talent comes together." It closes with the line "North Carolina is the toast of the ACC right now." Because isn't that what college basketball is really all about?

Asshat.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Yesterday was one of the reasons that this might be my favorite time of year.

Besides the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, baseball's opening day and the highly-underrated Daylight Savings weekend when it's suddenly sunny out until after 8:00, you have to love the first day you get to pull the patio furniture out of the basement, and pull the grill out of the shed.

Yes, after a winter that lasted about 14 years, we actually fired up the grill and cooked burgers outside, and (get this!) ate them on our deck. You forget how good a burger tastes after it's been cooked over charcoal. Hell, I might go make one for breakfast right now.

Granted, it was about 40 degrees and windy by the time we were done with dinner, but at least it's progress.

...you ain't seen a ray of light since you got here.

It's been a terrible year for Big Ten basketball. Everyone is saying so. They just can't compete with the mighty Big East or... heaven forbid... the invincible ACC. Dick Vitale and Billy "Fudge" Packer spent so much time on their knees in front of Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, and the rest of that league, they ought to be nominated for an AVN award.

But here we are, with half the Final Four set, and what do we see?

One Big Ten team in the Final Four. No Big East or ACC teams in sight.

Two other Big Ten teams with a chance to go to the final four. One ACC team with that chance and no Big East teams left.

The Big Ten has gone 2-0 against the ACC this weekend, including a win over mighty Duke by MSU. And it took a phantom travelling call to get the only ACC team into the Elite 8.

The Big Ten is freaking 10-2 right now. The ACC is 9-4, but as mentioned, they're 0-2 against the Big Ten. The Big East? 7-6 and finished for the tournament.

Of course, the spin has been that the Big Ten has gotten this far by knocking off mostly low seeds. Yes, it's true that Wisconsin beat a #11 (Northern Iowa), a #14 (Bucknell), and a #10 (N.C. State) to get to the Elite 8. But let's not forget that a mighty Big XII team (Kansas) couldn't beat Bucknell. And a Big East power (Connecticut) couldn't beat N.C. State.

MSU has played a #12 (Old Dominion) and a #13 (Vermont) but again, let's not forget that the Big East tourney champs from Syracuse couldn't beat Vermont.

Illinois played a #12 seed (Wisconsin-Milwaukee) in the Sweet 16, but that #12 beat an SEC and Big East team to get there.

Think about how much hype we'd be hearing about the ACC if it had a chance for three Final Four teams. It would be endless-- on every Sportscenter segment on the tourney, on every graphic CBS put up for the "tournament summary." Having three Big Ten teams is just something of a novelty; "That's interesting. Now how 'bout those Heels???"

If Wisconsin beats UNC today (and I'm not saying that's going to happen for sure, but it could) I hope Packer and Vitale can finally admit that the ACC is not nearly the conference they thought it was. But I think we all know they won't.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

A really cool story...

A friend of mine just showed me this article about former Major Leaguer Eddie Grant.

It's a really neat story that I had never heard before. Sort of a cross between Pat Tillman, Moe Berg and Christy Matthewson.

You need Adobe Acrobat to read it, but it's well worth your time.

and I would care because...

Is there anything this country is better at than whipping itself into an absolute frenzy over something that's completely meaningless to our everyday lives?

For example, here are two things that just happened:

1) Some woman in Florida who's been a vegetable for 18 years is going to die because her husband pulled the feeding tube.

2) Medicare is going to be broke in 15 years, and Social Security will be broke in 2041.

Which story did every fucking TV station in the country cover in-depth yesterday? And which one prompted Congress and the President to spring into action like their asses were on fire? Of course, we all know the answer.

Frankly, it's none of our business what they do with Terri Schiavo. If I was pulling the plug (tube) on a loved one, I know for damned sure that I would get pissed if someone with no relationship to the case told me what to do. But that's beside the point.

We're talking about one story that directly affects maybe 100 people, if that many, compared to a story that only affects every old or middle-aged person (who could get screwed if they live another 15 years) and every young person who's going to get the "Moon River" treatment from Social Security, paying in money for decades, then getting fisted in return.

And you just know that whenever the Schiavo story dies (poor choice of words?), it'll be something else equally meaningless that will take center stage and obscure the stuff that actually matters. Maybe they'll have a verdict in the Michael Jackson trial! Maybe Brad and Angelina will get married!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

... and for my second wish...

It looks like Barry Bonds could miss this entire season following knee surgery. That could hinder his run at two of baseball's biggest numbers: 714 and 755.

He complained that the media "wanted to hurt him" and said they "finally got" him.

How? By hurting his knee? Maybe that had something to do with the cornucopia of chemicals you've pumped into your body via creams, clears, and God only knows what else. And it's probably not your fault that you act like an asshole to everyone-- teammates, media, fans.

Maybe every hates you because you're a douchebag? Have you considered that?

I found it interesting that the poll question "what would you like to see Barry Bonds do next" only included two answers: "keep playing" and "retire."

It's probably a good idea that "curl up and die" wasn't one of the options. I think that would have gotten at least 98% of the votes.

Bow and arrow. Very weird.

Two Penn State football players are in trouble for shooting arrows through the walls of their apartment during a party.

This might top the MSU football players making McGuyver bombs a couple months ago as "weird Big Ten moment of the year."

And since it's not Ohio State or Michigan players we can all enjoy a good laugh.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

One... bitchin'... casket.

One of the men who contributed to the best-known time machine this side of H.G. Wells died this weekend.

Anyone want to take bets on how they'll getJohn DeLorean's body into the casket? I'm guessing the whole side and top will swing open.

Think he wished he could talk Doc Brown into lending him the flux capacitor so he can go back to the time before he snorted half the GNP of Colombia up his nose?

And I'm.... done.

Thanks for the 5 bucks.

On the bright side, I absolutely LOVE my fantasy baseball team.

It's a 12-team league, but I have decent guys around the horn, and a really deep pitching staff.

C: Javy Lopez
1B: Lyle Overbay, Phil Nevin
2B: Mark Loretta, Jose Reyes
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Aubrey Huff, Brandon Inge (tremendously valuable, because he's also backing up at C and OF)
OF: Aaron Rowand, Torii Hunter, Carl Crawford, Alex Rios
DH: Travis Hafner

P: Bartolo Colon, Pedro Martinez, Carl Pavano, Zack Greinke, Jeff Weaver, Octavio Dotel, Francisco Cordero, Eric Milton, Odalis Perez, John Thomson

We only start five pitchers, so not all of those guys need to have great years.

Lousy Smarch brackets...

After a so-so first round (24-8, two Sweet 16s gone, one Final Four gone), suddenly my bracket turned into a bloodbath yesterday. As it stands right now, I have three sweet 16 teams correctly in (Illinois, Arizona, Kentucky), six more that could be correct (Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, UNC, Florida, Connecticut, and Duke) and seven that are wrong. So at best I'll be 9-7 into the Sweet 16, with no stunning upsets in there.

However, so far I do have three of my Final Four (Illinois, UConn, Georgia Tech) alive.

That would seemingly keep me in the running for the top prize, assuming Georgia Tech makes the Final Four and UConn wins it all. If either one loses today, I'm pretty well screwed.

But no matter, for at 1 this afternoon, I will draft the 2005 Texas Teabags fantasy baseball team.

After falling just one game short of the title a year ago, the 'Bags are poised to make another run at the crown. And if that doesn't work out, there's a chance I might actually get to play Fantasy Hockey next year. And isn't that what it's all about?

Friday, March 18, 2005

Orange you sorry you didn't listen?

Actual text of an e-mail from my brother (A Syracuse University freshman) dated February 19:

Well, we just lost to BC and I just had to vent my frustration to someone about this team. We have this inability to beat any elite teams. This season we have beaten only 1 top-20 team and that team was Mississippi State who is now out of the top 25 and is only 6-5 in the SEC. You can mark my words right now, Syracuse will not make it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament because as soon as we go up against a good team, we will lose.

Of course, like a fucking jackass, I fell for their run through the Big East tournament, and picked the Orange to go to the Final Four. Now, I'm left praying for a ton of upsets in that bracket, or hanging all of my hopes on the shoulders of Georgia Tech and Connecticut to do exactly what I picked them to do.

There are at least two spectacular games going on right now (Kansas on the ropes, Michigan State in trouble) and I've having trouble getting back into the tournament. That Syracuse loss was just crushing.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

And in that OTHER pool...

Whoever had the time closest to 12:41 pm for "time when Tom drops the first NCAA Tournament-inspired F-bomb a little too loudly for the workplace" pool has won themselves a cherry red convertible.

And for the record, it was some white guy draining a 3 to give Wisconsin-Milwaukee a 22-9 lead over would-be Sweet 16 member Alabama that sent me over the edge.

I love this time of year.

Still a prick, just one with a bracket

I woke up this morning and thought, "do I really want to go through the next four incredible days of basketball with absolutely nothing riding on the outcomes?"

Of course I didn't. These picks suck, and I hate at least half of my final four.

But at least I know I am wasting five bucks on the tournament.

Champion: Connecticut

Final Game: UConn, Illinois

Final Four: UConn, Illinois, Syracuse, Georgia Tech

Elite Eight: UConn, Illinois, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Kentucky

Sweet 16: UConn, Illinois, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, Arizona, Pacific, Gonzaga, Florida, Kansas

Round of 32: Illinois, Nevada, Alabama, Boston College, LSU, Arizona, St. Mary's, Oklahoma State, Washington, Pacific, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Texas Tech, Gonzaga, West Virginia, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Minnesota, New Mexico, Florida, Wisconsin, Kansas, NC State, UConn, Duke, Mississippi State, Michigan State, Syracuse, UTEP, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Kentucky.

If you're scoring at home, as far as upsets go (11 over 6 or bigger) that's only New Mexico over Villanova and UTEP over Utah in the first round.

Pacific over Washington in the second round is kind of ballsy, but not really.

I've got a #1 (Illinois), a #2 (Connecticut), a #4 (Syracuse), and a #5 Georgia Tech in the Final Four, so that's kind of interesting. But like I said, it's not particularly inspired.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Meh.

For the first time since I was in something like fourth grade, I don't think I'm going to fill out a bracket for the NCAAs this year.

I haven't watched very much college basketball this year and was too busy last weekend in Chicago to do anything close to my normal pre-tournament preparation.

I had grand plans of detailed statistical analysis of each game, but anything I did now would end up being about on the level of "which mascot would win in a fight?" or "which team has prettier colors?"

For someone who's won the office pool three out of the last five years, and damn near won the entire ESPN.com pool in 2002 (I think-- whatever year Arizona beat Illinois in the Elite 8) that's not a lot of fun.

Incidentally, I realized while re-reading this that I come off as either the world's biggest prick or a monumental dork, but like the title says, "meh."

Monday, March 14, 2005

Tomato vs. To-mah-toe...

You hear: "West Wing marathon Monday on Bravo."

I hear: "Put the TV that's hooked up to the PS2 next to another TV, and ignore your wife and dog for five hours while progressing through roughly half a season on NCAA Football 2005 and watching some damn fine television.

If they did that every night, I'd never get anything done, and would probably make a sound like velcro tearing every time I tried to get up at the end of a night.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Your mom goes to college.

Somehow I've managed to go two weeks and not once remember to post about the movie "Napoleon Dynamite."

I waited forever to see it, despite hearing glowing reviews from people whose taste in movies closely parallels my own.

It was worth the wait. I laughed my ass off, and have been assured that it gets funnier each time you watch it.

I rented it from a major national chain which shall remain nameless except for the nickname bestowed upon it by one of my college room mates.

Did you know that "Assbuster" charges $4.29 for a new release? I mean... it was $1.99 when I was in college, and that was just a few years ago.

If you think you might enjoy the movie you're about to rent, you're almost better off buying it. For the price of two or three rentals, you've got it forever.

Baffling.

How is it possible that I'm on the 29th floor of a hotel, and yet when I turn the shower on the very first drops of water to come out of the faucet are hot?

When I'm home it can take almost a minute before the water starts heating up, and that only has to flow 50 feet or so from my hot water heater to the shower.

Disclaimer: If the answer involves something complex like structural engineering or "they have a water heater for every room in a hotel" I don't want to know. Just let it remain a mystery.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Steak bar or sports house?

I'm in Chicago and just had dinner at Shula's steakhouse. (The leadup to the previous sentence is long and boring so I'll spare you the details)

Basically, I ate there because:
1) I'm tired and don't want to leave my hotel (it's located in the lobby)
2) I ate at the Shula's in Philly a few years ago and wanted what that was-- a sports bar where I could get a burger and then go back upstairs and fall asleep.

This was not the same kind of place as the one in Philly. This was a restaurant with an identity crisis. Steakhouse or sports bar? You decide.

The waiters all had bowties and vests on, suggesting it was a fancy steakhouse.

The menus are printed onto the side of a regulation size football which is placed on a tee, and then set on your plate. (Sports bar)

The waiter brings you a tray filled with cuts of meat and painstakingly details what every one is like you're at Morton's. (Steakhouse)

The walls are lined with photos of the 1972 Dolphins. (Sports bar)

Those pictures are all inside of gold, gilded frames and lit from above like it's an art gallery. (Steakhouse)

The wine list comes inside a folder that's covered with a football-like texture and bears the NFL logo. (Sports bar)

The bill for one steak, one salad and a glass of iced tea came to $63 with tip. This is the kind of place that's too expensive to go unless you're celebrating an anniversary or something. Yet, I don't know very many women who would want to spend their anniversary dinners reading a menu off the side of a football or looking at photos of Larry Csonka, Bob Griese and Garo Yapremian.

And the place was absolutely packed. I don't get it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Stop me if you've heard this one...

Why do they still call that little box in your car's dashboard a "glove compartment" or "glove box"?

I know that back in the day, people kept their driving gloves in there, but I don't think I've ever met anyone who does today.

Why not a "map compartment", "insurance card compartment", or "when you keep condoms in here like one of my friends in high school, they'll get hot and/or cold and break while you're nailing your girlfriend and make for some very nerve-wracking weeks compartment"?

Just askin'.

...then the Arabs came and they bought Mercedes Benzes...

Can someone explain this to me without using the phrases "raping the public", "because they think we're all stupid", or "they fuck you at the drive-thru"?

Why is it that when gasoline companies (Shell, Mobil, Marathon, etc.) hear about a potential increase in cost a few weeks off, they immediately jack up their prices? It seems odd to me, simply because when we all hear about a potential decrease in cost a few weeks off, those prices never drop immediately because "that cheaper oil still isn't here yet?"

I ask this knowing that my request is impossible. There's no way to answer this question without using one of those three phrases excluded above.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Freebird!

There are few days that make me miss living 200 feet from the "Regal Beagle" more than the last day of a ratings period.

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