" That's just the sort of blinkered, Philistine Pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage!"

John Cleese

Saturday, August 30, 2008

There We Go.

I knew it was only a matter of time until this hit these Internets.

V.P. nom Sarah Palin.

Live Blog: Iowa vs. Maine

Friday, August 29, 2008

They Got Our Letters!!

You're welcome, America!

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 Goes 'Porn Mode'

28 August 2008, 16:56by Lalee Sadighi
Microsoft on Wednesday launched the eighth version of its omnipresent Internet Explorer browser, with a convenient adjustment that allows people to surf the web without leaving traces.
The InPrivate option of Internet Explorer 8–quickly dubbed “porn mode” because it also hides one’s illicit browsing history–prevents computers from tracking your online whereabouts or browsing habits, which is much-needed information for web sites that deliver targeted advertising.
The move could hurt Microsoft online advertising rival Google in its attempt to expand its display advertising business, according to analysts. Google moved into the display ad tracking business with its $3.2 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, which captures cookie data, in March.
Google has come under question for collecting a load of data from people using its search engine or email service, and if privacy concerns keeps growing, more people will hit the InPrivate button of Explorer 8.
“Privacy concerns relating to technology could damage Google's reputation and deter current and potential users from using its products and services,” Canaccord Adams analyst Wayne Chang wrote in a report.
The browser, which went into beta mode Wednesday, will soon be included with Microsoft’s operating system. As of July the software giant held 91 percent of the operating system market.

Here We Go, Folks.

Click here to read the hubbub over at CNN on their iReport community.

Good stuff.  Good stuff!

"I was going to vote for Hillary. Now I'm going to vote for Sarah."

Video should play once it gets out of 'review' status.  Bahahahaha!

Early Krumpf

From AWG:

The Vice President is fucking HOT!!

McCain has just sewn up the lecherous old pervert vote!
I guess it's a decent choice but hardly one that the Bat Shit Wing is gonna do cart wheels over.
She looks like the teacher in all those bad '80s hard rock videos. I'm waiting for her to sling off her glasses, seductively let down her hair and rip off her blouse a la "Hot For Teacher".
This will mark the first time in history someone other than Larry Craig will masturbate while watching the Republican National Convention.
McCain said to choose Alaska gov as running mate.
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer 2 minutes ago
DENVER - John McCain tapped little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate, two senior campaign officials told The Associated Press on Friday.
A formal announcement was expected within a few hours at a campaign rally in swing-state Ohio.
Palin, 44, is a self-styled hockey mom and political reformer who has been governor of her state less than two years.
Palin's selection was a stunning surprise, as McCain passed over many other better known prospects, some of whom had been the subject of intense speculation for weeks or months.
At 44, she is a generation younger that Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, who is Barack Obama's running mate on the Democratic ticket.
She is three years Obama's junior, as well — and McCain has made much in recent weeks of Obama's relative lack of experience in foreign policy and defense matters.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Game! On!

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

When I was 17, I became interested in politics.

I'm 35 now and during those 18 years, I've reached depths of cynicism with respect to American politics that have made me physically ill.  So much of my political world has been defined predominantly by what I loathed.

Obama's speech last night was historic in so many ways.  In so many other ways, it's still a bit unbelievable.  

Even as it's not entirely prudent to omit specifics about how historic this is, in my world, I can say one thing I don't say about most human beings let alone a politician.

I believe him.

And that's historic in my small world.

He's just so genuine and fittingly earnest and appropriately reticent and measured and dignified and composed and so freakin' statesmanlike.

And an actual platform not sullied by pie-in-the-sky economics to boot.  

You know, all that crap.  With that, I willingly pick up a fork and start eating said crap.

Obama makes me want to do things like...(gasp)...volunteer.

I echo the words of Pat Buchanan last night:  "It's the best convention speech I've ever heard."

Open Letter From Roger Ebert To Jay Mariotti

I should be done with Mariotti posts after this.

From Deadspin:

Dear Jay,

What an ugly way to leave the Sun-Times. It does not speak well for you. Your timing was exquisite. You signed a new contract, waited until days after the newspaper had paid for your trip to Beijing at great cost, and then resigned with a two-word e-mail: "I quit." You saved your explanation for a local television station.

As someone who was working here for 24 years before you arrived, I think you owed us more than that. You owed us decency. The fact that you saved your attack for TV only completes our portrait of you as a rat.

Newspapers are not dead, Jay, and this paper will not die because you have left. Times are hard in the newspaper business, and for the economy as a whole. Did you only sign on for the luxury cruise?

There's an old saying that you might have come across once or twice on the sports beat: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

Newspapers are not dead, Jay, because there are still readers who want the whole story, not a sound bite. If you go to work for television, viewers may get a little weary of you shouting at them. You were a great shouter in print, that's for sure, stomping your feet when owners, coaches and players didn't agree with you. It was an entertaining show. Good luck getting one of your 1,000-word rants on the air.

The rest of us are still at work, still putting out the best paper we can. We believe in our profession, and in the future. And we believe in our internet site, which you also whacked as you slithered out the door. I don't know how your column was doing, but we have the most popular sports section in Chicago. The reports and blog entries by our Washington editor Lynn Sweet have become a must-stop for millions of Americans in this election year. After a recent blog entry I wrote about the Beijing Olympics, I woke up at 5 a.m. one morning, when North America was asleep, and found that 40 percent of my 100 most recent visitors had been from China. I don't have any complaints about our web site. So far this month my web page has been visited from almost every country on earth, including one visit from the Vatican City. The Pope, no doubt. Hope you were doing as well.

You have left us, Jay, at a time when the newspaper is once again in the hands of people who love newspapers and love producing them. You managed to stay here through the dark days of the thieves Conrad Black and David Radler. The paper lost millions. Incredibly, we are still paying Black's legal fees.

I started here when Marshall Field and Jim Hoge were running the paper. I stayed through the Rupert Murdoch regime. I was asked, "How can you work for a Murdoch paper?"

My reply was: "It's not his paper. It's my paper. He only owns it."

That's the way I've always felt about the Sun-Times, and I still do. On your way out, don't let the door bang you on the ass.

Your former colleague,

Roger Ebert

Jesus? Maybe William Forsythe

Or Rasputin.


You ever hear a song you haven't heard in like 13 years and go "Wow. Flashback." or something? And then you proceed to here the same damn song 4 times that very same day? That happened to me today and this was the song:

At least 13 damn years without hearing it. 4 times today.

Phil Watch: It's Been Awhile

Last night's 11-3 loss to the Orioles coupled with the Twins' come-from-behind win proves yet again that Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen are too arrogant to understand the complexities and importance of every game in August.

Uhhh...wait. Jay doesn't write for a Chicago newspaper anymore.

But unlike Jay, I don't want Phil to go away. He's my muse, a man truly tapped into the mind of dippy Chicago Baseball Fans (an Icky Eight contender in BRE's TOA-AE). 

He does the work so I don't have to.

When Mate, Rube and I used to play pickle in Mate's side yard, conversations like this used to happen.

We were eight.

Sox are Cubs' worst nightmare

Nightmare scenario for North Siders is finally getting to World Series and seeing team with nothing to lose

Beware the sneak attack.

I think that's a gay joke and it's entirely uncalled for.

In baseball, more than any other sport, it's unwise to draw attention to yourself. First-round draft picks who come with hype often turn out to be Corey Patterson or Kip Wells. The trades that don't make big headlines, like the White Sox's deal for Carlos Quentin, often turn out to be a lot better than the ones that are analyzed in day-by-day detail for weeks, like the Mets' addition of Johan Santana.

Boy, it HAS been awhile.  Christo forgets.  

Um...yeah.  Phil himself gave Johan Santana a reach-around by comparing him to Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson a mere eight months ago and thought giving up Chris Carter was another bad move by Kenny because - drum-roll - giving up prospects is bad.

So...you know...hype and big headlines...Phil means his own oeuvre.

Just ask those New York Yankees. They have won exactly one of their last six playoff series—being "upset" by Florida (2003), Boston ('04), the Angels ('05), Detroit ('06) and Cleveland ('07)—and find themselves awaiting regular-season extinction this time around. Headlines, sadly, are like Alex Rodriguez. They can't hit in the clutch.

I'm already tired.  I have the demented melancholy of a Tennessee Williams heroine.

Alex Rodriguez has a lifetime .303 average with RISP.  He's hit...oh, hell, just go here.

It seems Jay may be going to Boston.  Maybe Phil wants to go to New York?  He'd fit right in with the 'JETER RULES!' crowd.

This brings me to the newest nightmare scenario for the Cubs: A date with the White Sox in the World Series.

[Flashback to 1980]  "Rube, you're a pud.  No way the Brewers'll play the White Sox in the playoffs."

"Yeah they will.  Shut up.  Ben Oglivie and Moose Haas are awesome!"

"The White Sox are going to win the World Series.  Burns and Dotson are more awesome."

"What if the Cubs played the White Sox in the World Series?"

"Shut up, Christo.  The Cubs suck."

"Let's go to Casey's and get Suzy-Qs."

There's little doubt the Lou Crew is not only the best team in Chicago but the best in the majors. No lineup is as deep as the one that goes from Alfonso Soriano through Jim Edmonds and Reed Johnson. No rotation is as talented and as durable as the one that begins with Carlos Zambrano and runs through Jason Marquis. No bullpen has more impact arms than the one with Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol and Jeff Samardzija.

"The Cubs are so awesome, man, they're so awesome, Samardzija rules! Go Cubs, YEAH!  WOOOOOOOO!!!!!

But the Cubs won't want any part of the White Sox in October. If this is going to be the year the North Siders scratch their 100-year itch, it won't include a matchup against the Sox in October.

DINGDINGDINGDING!!!!  And that's the one ga-jillionth time I've heard about the '100-year itch' in the last month.

Under normal circumstances, I am one of those rare people who believe Chicago's baseball fans should all get along—that it's silly to root against the Cubs just because you're a White Sox fan, or vice versa. But these are hardly normal circumstances, right?

Shouldn't this really be the normal circumstances?  Or maybe the circumstances that put mindless platitudes to the test?  All Chicago Baseball Fans (IECITBREsTOA-AE) should probably worry about their own damn team ALL THE TIME!

With five weekends left before baseball's postseason passion play begins, it's looking more and more likely that the Cubs and White Sox will both earn spots in the field. It has only been 102 years since that happened.

Umm.  The Cubs are in but I'd ask White Sox fans whether it seems 'more and more likely' that the Sox will earn a spot in the playoffs.

The Cubs were expected to make it. The White Sox, leading the American League Central by two games and almost even with Boston on the wild-card landscape, would be surprise guests—the worst kind from the perspective of other teams. A team with almost nothing to lose.

But, but, but, but...Phil just said it's 'more and more likely'!  Christo needs a drink.

We're getting ahead of ourselves, sure. But imagine the fear and loathing in Wrigleyville if the Cubs advance to the World Series for the first time since 1945 and have to start the event at U.S. Cellular Field, where Michael Barrett couldn't budge A.J. Pierzynski with a sucker punch, where Jerry Reinsdorf put staffers in tuxedos to deliver World Series rings to Mark Buehrle and the fellows a mere 29 months ago.

"I think Jerry Stenulson is going to hit a thousand home runs in Pony League next year."

Wouldn't it be just like the Cubs to put together arguably their best team ever and have it lose the World Series to a White Sox team that had been picked for third place or worse?

At least he didn't write 'ultimate irony'.  I'm trying to find the bright side of things, here.  

He also didn't write "Dusty Baker should be managing this team.  He deserves it."

See.  Good things have come from this.

More to the point, wouldn't it be just like the White Sox once again to outplay their crosstown neighbors with the bigger fan base, superior resources and historic ballpark?

Anybody else love what Obama said about Cub fans yesterday?  And Derrek Lee agreeing with it?  And the calls to 670 from Cub fans?  

'Member that?  That was awesome. 

While the Cubs have continued to stretch their margin for making the playoffs—a comfortable 10 games when their sweep of Pittsburgh was completed Wednesday—the White Sox have shown strong signs of outlasting Minnesota for their second AL Central title in the last four years.

Wouldn't it be awesome if the Sox could play the Reds and Pirates 18 times a year?  And the entire NL West.  That would be awesome. 

They are pitching well again—compiling a 3.98 staff ERA in August after marks of 4.44 in July and 5.14 in June—in part because lefty Clayton Richard and right-hander Lance Broadway have more than filled Jose Contreras' spot.

Filling in so well that they have a combined 6.81 ERA.  I don't think any Sox fan wants to rely on these two right now.

They go to Boston this weekend with a chance to be measured head-to-head with the defending World Series champion Red Sox, who are in what has become a three teams-for-two playoff spots battle with the White Sox and Minnesota. Most analysts favor Chicago's Sox to last into October.

Well, shit.  Let's end the season.  Analysts favor the Sox.  Let's call it by acclamation.

Any team that makes it to October is a threat to win it all. 

Thank You, Captain Obvious.

Imagine how Cub fans are going to feel if their supposed once-every-century season ends with them being overshadowed by the White Sox, of all surprise guests.

"Girls are bleeeecccchhhh!"

So Long, Asshole

I normally agree with most of what Dan Bernstein says but I have to disagree with him about the Mariotti affair. I think he came off smug yesterday with his opinion of people who hated Mariotti. Yeah, ok, I guess we don't have to read him (and often I didn't) but there's alot of shit we don't have to do. He is a prick and a hypocrite and a liar. So, of course I'm going to read it! It's a weak argument.
I'm lovin' every goddamn minute of it.

I will say this, however, the Sun-Times descent into tabloid rag doesn't stop with Jay's leaving.

Sox on Mariotti's split: 'It's about time'
The self-proclaimed tough-guy columnist never faced his targets, and that's the main reason he was considered a coward in clubhouses
August 28, 2008

BY Chris Deluca
BALTIMORE -- Word of Jay Mariotti's split with the Chicago Sun-Times reached the White Sox' clubhouse minutes after their victory Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles, and the reaction could be heard outside.
Once again, Mariotti should've been there to witness it first-hand.
Ozzie Guillen -- the top target of the venom-spewing columnist who called for the Sox to fire their manager this season despite the team being in first place -- said his e-mail inbox had a record number of new arrivals by Wednesday afternoon.
It was a steady stream of digital high-fives.
''When people wish the worst on people, you have to be careful because the baseball gods are going to get you,'' Guillen said. ''He was not asking just for my job, he was asking for thousands and thousands of people's jobs over the years. I'm not going to say I will get the last laugh because I will get fired from this job. But the day I get fired is the day I lose interest in this game.
''Am I enjoying this? Yes, because he tried to make my life miserable. He did everything in his power to make my life go the wrong way, but he didn't make me miserable because I don't believe him. Maybe if somebody else wrote that stuff about me, then I would put attention on it. And that's what he wanted. He wanted attention. He has to thank me because I gave him a lot of [stuff] to work with. I know I helped him the last four years to make his money, and, obviously, he did not help me at all to make my money.''
Mariotti spent the better part of his first day divorced from the Sun-Times acting like a scorned lover. He wants you to believe there was a greater principle involved -- one that somehow loomed larger than his ego. He wants you to believe that newspapers -- specifically the two biggest ones in Chicago -- are dying.
Once again, Mariotti was playing fast and loose with the facts.
''It's about time,'' said Sox broadcaster Ken ''Hawk'' Harrelson, another favorite target of Mariotti's. ''I know one thing, when he got that [contract] extension three or four months ago, he wouldn't have signed that extension if the things he's saying about the Sun-Times now were true. So he's spinning it again.
''We have some great newspapers in Chicago, and the Sun-Times has some great writers. He tried to give readers the perception that he was in the clubhouse getting all the stuff, that he was in the dugout getting all that stuff, when he was never there.''
The Sun-Times was a vibrant, relevant newspaper long before Mariotti arrived 17 years ago. It remains one today. The Sun-Times has built its reputation as being a bulldog covering the city and being the No. 1 source for sports and entertainment coverage. You want to know about the Cubs, Sox, Bears, Bulls or Blackhawks, you read the Sun-Times -- either off the rack or on the Internet.
Much to Mariotti's surprise, there are bigger names at the paper. Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper enjoy the kind of international following envied by journalists everywhere. Rick Telander has a national appeal Mariotti never could match. There are hardworking reporters, editors and photographers who come to work every day, do their jobs the right way and somehow remember they're just a small part of a very big team.
One page does not make a newspaper.
A flip-flopper to the end
And now Mariotti says the printed page is a dinosaur. He has embraced the Internet as his new forum.
We're talking about a columnist who detested bloggers -- mainly because he was easy fodder for their biting humor. He acted as if he stood on a level above bloggers. Most of the better bloggers have the kind of wit he couldn't touch.
Are bloggers bad? Absolutely not.
But those of us who work at newspapers have one edge over the blogging world. We have access to the players, coaches, managers and front-office executives. We can talk to key figures on and off the record to get insight unavailable to others. It's a privilege most of us don't take lightly. To not use it to our advantage is a waste -- of our energy and the readers' time.
''I think people stopped believing what he was writing because we let the fans know what the real situation was and how he was dealing with the athletes,'' Guillen said. ''Not just the White Sox or Cubs, all athletes. He never showed up. He just said what he wanted to say without ever showing up.''
Not once in the last eight years can I recall seeing Mariotti in the Cubs' or Sox' clubhouse. With a press credential that allowed him access to every major sporting event and every major figure, he hasn't broken a single story in that time. He says Chicago is a weak market, the competitive edge gone. He has only himself to blame.
When Lou Piniella was hired by the Cubs, the Sun-Times reported it first. Mariotti had no role in that major story. He says the market has gone soft. If that's true, he played as big a role in the softening as anyone else.
He called his colleagues soft, forgetting we're the ones who had to face his targets on a daily basis. We were the ones who had to deal with the anger that he was too cowardly to face himself. We got the quotes that made up the bulk of his columns.
In spinning his story to the Chicago Tribune, Mariotti depicted the Sun-Times as the Titanic, and it was clear the self-proclaimed tough guy was knocking over the old women and children to be the first to jump ship.
''I'm a competitor, and I get the sense this marketplace doesn't compete,'' said Mariotti, who will remain a regular contestant on an ESPN game show.
''Probably the days of high-stakes competition in Chicago are over. To see what has happened in this business ... I don't want to go down with it.''
Stand-up guy to the end.
Good riddance
Sun-Times editor Michael Cooke said it best.
''We wish Jay well and will miss him -- not personally, of course -- but in the sense of noticing he is no longer here, at least for a few days,'' Cooke said. ''A paper, like a sports franchise, is something that moves into the future. Stars come and stars go, but the Sun-Times sports section was, is and will continue to be the best in the city.''
Today, it's a little better.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Today Is Bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Today Is Bananas...

Jay's Interview with Mully and Hanley of 670The Score

And it's already getting interesting.

From Deadspin:
Details are beginning to trickle in on Jay Mariotti's sudden resignation from the Land of Newsprint, and it's pretty much what you would expect: Jay quitting in a hissy fit over a perceived slight. According to two reliable sources, Mariotti, just back from Beijing, wanted to write a column on Barack Obama. But it wasn't Jay's turn to write — it was Rick Telander's — and Telander also wanted to write on Obama. And we know how Mariotti feels about Rick. Sun-Times says no, Jay, wait your turn. 
And so Mariotti, showing the maturity he's famous for, calmly assessed the situation and figured he was not going to let it bother him. Just kidding! He threw a fit worthy of a three-year-old. Then this bit of greatness: Mariotti resigned, and then headed to the Sun-Times office to tape his Around the Horn segment, only to find that his security pass had been deactivated while the paper was deciding whether or not to accept the resignation. They finally accepted it. Can't wait to tune in to see if Jay appears on ATH today from a local Starbucks.

This.  Is.  Going.  To.  Be.  Awesome!


I don't usually get into the whole "attendance" bullshit but 13,478?! First place in late August and your drawing 13,478? What the fuck else is there to do in Tampa for Christ sake? I've been there. It's a senior home with dolphins.
Fuck 'em. Don't deserve it. I hope the Rays fall into an abyss.

When your team is in a pennant race the football season gets here awful quick. God, last year I was ready for it in June!
Anyway, here's my picks.

COLLEGE: Top 10--1. USC 2. Oklahoma 3. Florida 4. Missouri 5. Ohio State 6. Georgia 7. Clemson 8. West Virginia 9. Virginia Tech 10. Auburn

Surprise teams: BYU, Ball State, Colorado and what the hell--Iowa
Overrated: Wisconsin, South Florida, Tennessee, Texas

USC will beat Oklahoma in BCS Championship game.

As for the Big Ten and Iowa: Ohio State will win it but will lose a game. Michigan will suck. Iowa will go to a decent bowl.

Aug 30 - Maine W
Sep. 6- FIU W
Sep. 13 ISU W (it BETTER BE. Jesus, what the fuck was that last year?)
Sep. 20 at Pitt L
Sep. 27 NW W
Oct. 4 at MSU L
Oct. 11 at IND W
Oct. 18 WIS W
Nov. 1 at ILL L
Nov. 8 Penn St. L
Nov. 15 PUR W
Nov. 22 at MIN W

So, I'm going with 8-4 and a trip to the Alamo Bowl mainly because the schedule is a joke.

NFL tomorrow.

It's A Good Day To Be Alive!

The Reign Of Terror Has Ended.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

Thanks (or blame) goes to Angry White Guy for introducing me to this abomination. Wow.
I have my issues with Moore but this is just embarrassing.
It'll play big in Kentucky, though.
And I've officially lost a TON of respect for Kelsey Grammar and Dennis Hopper.

Still a bit under the weather today. Gonna do the ol' FB preview tomorrow. (Hint: The KC Chiefs will not win the Super Bowl)

Let The Reign Of Terror Begin!

Your New King & Queen Of Beer Tent.

Personally, I will not stand for this oppressive, tsarist regime.  Power to the People!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday's Three Things

Holy Crap!  There's a football game this Saturday!

I've worked long and hard these last ten years to not allow the success or failure of a bunch of 18-22 year-olds playing with an oblong ball affect my world.

And I think I've made it.

But it's like a recovering alcoholic being doused with vodka by a bunch of naked cheerleaders.  

We'll see.

And isn't Maine just the most perfect of perfectest tests.

Anybody else see the Hawks getting eaten up by guys named Jhamel Fluellen and Adam Farkes.  They sound eerily like they play for the Akron Zips.

Prediction:  Hawks win 38-20, enough of a margin to think things were relatively in hand but not enough to impede any week six 'we could have seen this coming in week one' thoughts.

You Don't Sell This Steak, You Sell This Sizzle

Check out the spokesman's comment.  It's just so 'Yeah, we do it.  So What?  Wanna fight about it'.  

From Reuters:
WARSAW (Reuters) - When Apple Inc rolled out its iPhone in the United States, some fans paid big money to be among the first to get their hands on the device. In Poland, people are getting paid to line up.

"We have these fake queues at front of 20 stores around the country to drum up interest in the iPhone," a spokesman said.

As part of a marketing campaign ahead of the iPhone's Friday launch in Poland, the country's largest mobile operator Orange is paying dozens of actors to stand in queues.

Apple sold about one million of the new iPhone models in the United States around the July launch weekend, but buyers in Poland may be reluctant to pay hefty monthly charges.

There were no queues at T-Mobile's Era stores, which will also due to launch the iPhone on Friday.
It's bad when it's found out that companies do this shit.  It's worse when it's so unabashed.  I need some residual guilt on the part of the company to help the shit go down.  It's not much to ask.

"Lemon.  Everyone Wishes They Could Just Drop Everything And Escape To The Cleve."

Next week, The Ney household will be packing up for a vacation to...Cleveland.

We'll be catching a White Sox-Indians game and eating at Lolita Bistro, a restaurant from that gloriously weird chef, Michael Symon.

Looking forward to eating some meat and meat with a side of meat.

A slightly larger vacation was planned but [insert gas prices joke here].  Ba-Zing!

Sporadic posting next week for Christo.

No Post Today

Feeling a tad under the weather. Coming tomorrow my football preview. (HINT: Iowa will not win the national championship)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

BRE's TOA - August Edition - Video Retrospective

The Tournament Of Awful - August Edition is over.

But let's look back one more time.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Somebody Has To Do The Sports In Waco

Remember this guy...

Well, he graduated this August and immediately got a job in Texas. Seems about right.

His bio from KXXV via Barstool Sports:
Brian came from the great state of Ohio and grew up near Cleveland. Although his family now lives in Cincinnati he remains loyal to the Cleveland Browns regardless of how bad they're doing. He loves going out on the lake to fish, relaxing on the bay and watching endless amounts of football. He also loves to spend time with his dog Rocky who he rescued from an animal shelter.

While he has never been to Texas before Brian is becoming a big fan of the area. He hopes to soon visit the Dr. Pepper Museum, Cameron park, and Lake Waco. He also loves to travel. While he was only visited Mexico, Jamaica, and Canada so far, he hopes to add more countries to that list as soon as possible. Ireland is the next stop on his list.

Brian began working at KXXV in August 2008 after graduating from Ball State University in Indiana with a degree in Telecommunications. While in college he interned at WANE in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and at WTHR in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Brian currently lives in Waco and encourages residents to contact him about any story ideas.
Dr. Pepper Museum?  That's on the list?  

Making Browns fans all across this great country of ours proud as the dickens to have him in the fold.

If You're Going To Play Gotcha!, Do It Right.

Robin Goldstein, a guy who seems to have devoted a good portion of his life to debunking the snooty world of wine, went and did a clever thing recently.

He made up a restaurant to see if he could get a wine award for it.  

Goldstein, author of Wine Trials, a book that chronicles his effort to prove many $15 bottles of wine are indeed better than $50-100 bottles, seemed to have his heart in the right place. 

Stickin' it to Wine Snobs, a TOA II entry that unfortunately ran into the buzzsaw that was Compulsive Huggers, was a right and proper gesture. 

And far be it for me to defend Wine Spectator, I laughed my ass off when I read Goldstein's account.  But the media play over this seems to be leaving out a few things .

As usual, it's in the details.

From his website via Chicago MenuPages Blog:
As part of the research for an academic paper I’m currently working on about standards for wine awards, I submitted an application for a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. I named the restaurant “Osteria L’Intrepido” (a play on the name of a restaurant guide series that I founded, Fearless Critic). I submitted the fee ($250), a cover letter, a copy of the restaurant’s menu (a fun amalgamation of somewhat bumbling nouvelle-Italian recipes), and a wine list.
Osteria L’Intrepido won the Award of Excellence, as published in print in the August 2008 issue of Wine Spectator. (Not surprisingly, the Osteria’s listing has been removed from Wine Spectator’s website since I posted this.) I presented this result at the meeting of the American Association of Wine Economists in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, August 15.

It’s troubling, of course, that a restaurant that doesn’t exist could win an Award of Excellence. But it’s also troubling that the award doesn’t seem to be particularly tied to the quality of the supposed restaurant’s “reserve wine list,” even by Wine Spectator’s own standards. Although the main wine list that I submitted was a perfectly decent selection from around Italy meeting the magazine’s numerical criteria, Osteria L’Intrepido’s “reserve wine list” was largely chosen from among some of the lowest-scoring Italian wines in Wine Spectator over the past few decades.
And Wine Spectator's side of the story:
Wine Spectator learned yesterday that, for the first time in the 27-year history of our Restaurant Awards program, a fictitious restaurant has entered its wine list for judging...

...In the case of Osteria L’Intrepido:
a. We called the restaurant multiple times; each time, we reached an answering machine and a message from a person purporting to be from the restaurant claiming that it was closed at the moment.
b. Googling the restaurant turned up an actual address and located it on a map of Milan
c. The restaurant sent us a link to a Web site that listed its menu
d. On the Web site Chowhound, diners (now apparently fictitious) discussed their experiences at the non-existent restaurant in entries dated January 2008, to August 2008.

3. How could this wine list earn an award?

On his blog, Goldstein posted a small selection of the wines on this list, along with their poor ratings from Wine Spectator. This was his effort to prove that the list – even if real – did not deserve an award.

However, this selection was not representative of the quality of the complete list that he submitted to our program. Goldstein posted reviews for 15 wines. But the submitted list contained a total of 256 wines. Only 15 wines scored below 80 points.

Fifty-three wines earned ratings of 90 points or higher (outstanding on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale) and a total of 102 earned ratings of 80 points (good) or better. (139 wines were not rated.) Overall, the wines came from many of Italy’s top producers, in a clear, accurate presentation.

Here is our description of an Award of Excellence:
Our basic award, for lists that offer a well-chosen selection of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style.

The list from L’Intrepido clearly falls within these parameters.
If you're going to do something like this, gosh darn it, do it right. 

I don't quite get why Goldstein went after Wine Spectator, though.  They're not even in the same ballpark at snooty.

But he got his play, his new book just came out and the media played it how Goldstein fed it to them.

It's too cute by half and misses a perfect opportunity for a great 'fuck you!' to Wine Snobs.

Too bad.  He almost had it.

Friday Isn't For Thinking/Odds and Ends

Christo's Angels felt the wrath of Nick Punto last night. God, the fucking Twins are annoying.

Do I lose my man card if I like the new Coldplay song? Alot.

Yep. I like Mojitos, too. Wanna fight about it?

Mark Schlereth of ESPN Radio (T of A II participant) was previewing the Jets this morning whilst filling in for Mike Goldberg on "Mike and Mike" and proceeded to say "football" 12 times in the span of 3 minutes! He is the new king of "Football Disease".
I'm excited about the new season (even though I'm not expecting much from either of my teams) but I will not (CAN NOT) watch the pre game stuff. It's infuriating.
The forced bonhomie, the mock sincerity, Football Disease, Terry Bradshaw..it's too much. I'll just watch the games thank you.
I'm going to be 35 in less two weeks. Holy crap.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Goons Go Ga-Ga For Grease Burgers

I don't wanna hear it anymore. The next Chicago area native that makes fun of me for being from Iowa can stick it in their double chinned, mustard lovin', Old Style drinkin' maw. You have officially molded into the very same sort of mouth breathers that they have in the Quad Cities, Peoria, Rockford and a plethora of other ketchup on hot dog cities that you stick your collective noses up to.
News coverage of the opening of a fast food joint. You are now at the same level of local news dipshitiness as East Moline. Congrats. Get your Snoopy shirt and meet us at the new Hy-Vee.
Christo also covers it over at the Sister Blog.

Sonic vroom
AURORA First one in area gets big welcome from diners longing for the old-style eatery
August 20, 2008

Julie and Kara Salanicky are true connoisseurs of the Sonic brand, and their dedication proves it.
The Oswego sisters have made several long trips to Peoria -- up until Tuesday the nearest place to score messy Coney dogs and more than 168,000 drink combinations via car hop service -- before the grand opening of Aurora's own Sonic drive-in diner at Kirk and Butterfield roads. It's the first Sonic in the Chicago area.

Now, the Salanicky sisters need make only a quick, 20-minute drive to scarf down Sonic's jumbo popcorn chicken and crispy onion rings.
"It takes you back to the olden days," said Julie, 23, sitting in the back seat of her sister's car after ordering a few more limeades to go. "It's like what you see in movies."
On opening day Tuesday, "Electric Avenue" blared over outside speakers as dozens of cars waited for their chance to pull into a stall and order treats from the speaker-equipped menu boards -- ones that revolutionized the ordering process in 1953 by letting customers place orders without leaving their car.
As many as 10 cars were lined up before the restaurant's 6 a.m. opening Tuesday, and the weeks leading up to the unveiling were just as filled with anticipation, said Aurora Sonic owner Seth Wolken.
"A lot of people have been coming in for weeks asking us, 'Can we come in?' " Wolken said. "The morning went very well, we're just trying to handle the traffic."
Sonic plans to open two more Chicago-area restaurants soon: in Algonquin in late fall or early winter and in Country Club Hills this winter.
The restaurant's 23 stalls were filled at lunch time, and families crowded around the two patio menu boards, eyeing Toaster sandwiches and cream pie shakes to ease the summer heat. A trail of cars stretched well into the surrounding parking lots, following the direction of yellow-vest-wearing staffers barking into walkie talkies.
The Sonic treats got a four-star rating from first-day customer Kayleigh Trent of Batavia. "It's really, really, really good," the 13-year-old said while stealing bites of virtually everything off her friends' plates.
As the building began to take shape months ago, thoughts of corn dogs and tater tots taunted the thousands of motorists passing through the busy intersection each day. "At the end on July the building looked finished," Wolken said.
However, training waitresses to skate around hundreds of people while navigating busy traffic and balancing trays of piping hot goodies -- that takes time.
"Excuse me, EXCUSE ME!" a dark-haired hop shouted, skating toward a crowd of loitering lunchgoers. "Rob. Rob. Order for Rob."
Rob, however, was nowhere to be found, and she skirted off into the sea of brightly colored menu boards and managers directing traffic in order to find him. "Excuse me, Rob!," her voice trailed off.
"It's all about the experience," Wolken said, eyes on the bustling scene before him. "This isn't your typical fast-food joint."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We Have The August Edition Winner!!!!

Overly Competitive Pick-Up Basketball/Softball Guys Justly Rules This Day!

From the transcript of the BRE's Tournament Of Awful Committee meeting:
Christo:  I tend to think that Compulsive Huggers might have a chink in their armor with
their mostly harmless but wildly annoying asshattedness. Annoying, sure. But
not potentially violent.

Although, how the whole becomes greater than the sum of their parts when they
form a pack makes them pretty formidable.

OCPUBSG get points for the sheer violent nature present and brewing inside of
them. There's always that small part of me that thinks someone might get
hurt, possibly bad, when an outburst comes from one of them. The atmosphere
gets charged and everyone begins to think about the extreme possibilities that
could happen. Most of all, a hardcore assessment of who is present that is
capable of stopping the myriad possible outcomes begins. Someone or something
is going to be hit with a baseball bat and who exactly is going to stop it?

It's a barely organized game of sports intended for enjoyment. That's
no way to pass time and, outside of not wanting to embarrass myself with my
atrophied athleticism, it's the main reason I won't be playing rec
league anytime soon.

I've had to deal with both groups on people for most of my life. OCPUBSG
maybe longer given that these types of people turn into parents and they showed
up at our Little League/Pony League/high school games.

In math terms: Annoying, but mostly harmless ≠ and is <>

Mate:  Yeah, I've been going back and forth in my head on it and I think you got it right.  OCSPUBGs are just so vile I don't think its possible for even White Castle to beat it.

Christo:  So you think we have a winner?

Mate:  Your reasons listed here are all that really need to be written.

Christo:  I think we have a winner.  Now let's go get pissed!
It's been a wonderful tournament.  A 'One Shining Moment' retrospective is in the process of being completed and should be posted by Monday.

We now return you to regularly scheduled programming.

But first, a video of the winner to take us out:

I'm Really Beginning to Hate Packer Fans...

via Deadspin:

Go.... Bears?!! Nah, I can't go that far but they really are a sorry lot. Is it the cheese? The casinos? Too much venison? What's the deal with this state? They're just...fucking weird.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oh Who Are We Kidding?

Coconut is awful but Overly Competitive Softball/Pick Up Basketball Guy is just on fire.
Mate's Winner: Overly Competitive Softball/Pick Up Basketball Guy.
They're just dreadful people who need to go away.

Christo's Winner

After very little deliberation short into the morning, I sat down, took a sip of coffee and have it.

First, some context.  

I can get behind a good hug.  Lord knows there are oodles of people on this planet that could use one.  And I can almost get behind this (Well, maybe not the music):

But we're talking about indiscriminate and compulsive huggers who think that by hugging everyone, they're really hugging the world.  I don't think that's what Thoreau meant by 'living deliberately'.  It's a pose and devalues the very essence of casual, social human contact designed to mean something. 

Annoying Christo with their presumptive and ineffectual behavior since 1988.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Final Two

Okay here we go. Mate's final two.


4) Coconut vs. 10) Sports Memorabilia Stores -- Coconut: Vile, smelly, texture of wood shavings and taste pretty much like them. No one ever craves it and if they do they're weird. The words, "God, I would KILL for an Almond Joy right now" have never been uttered in sequence.
Sports memorabilia stores - Overpriced, price gouging sharks that play to the lowest rung of the lowest rung: the sports geek. What really works against them is that I once worked at one. So, it has a connotation. Much like the smell of mulch. Or tomatoes. Or coconut for that matter.
What if a sports memorabilia store smelled of coconut? My head is going to explode.

WINNER: SMBS are no match for the sheer shittiness of coconut. All I go back to is those times of diving into a box of chocolate with anticipation and chomping into coconut. Right up there with finding a band-aid in your burger. Coconut wins with a solid defensive effort, 78-56.

2) Sports Message Boards vs. 4) OCSPUBG - SMB had a weird day. They were all packed up and ready to board the plane back to Phoenix when a call from the League Office told them to turn around and come back. They were a last minute winner due to a really tremendous awful weekend that made the judge's reverse their earlier decision.
That said, it was a wasted trip. OCSPUBG had 3 days of rest and were waiting in the weeds. Their tremendous and copious amounts of fuckstickiness is going to take a magnificent effort to beat. A team on a short trip whirlwind had no chance. WINNER: OCSPUBG in a rout. They are playing tremendous with awfulness and are going to be VERY tough to beat. OCSPUBG 98-73.

MATE'S FINAL 2: Coconut vs. Overly Competitive Softball/Pick Up Basketball Guy.

My God, this is exciting!

Down To Two.

This round brought to by Bridezillas.  

Um...yeah.  I caught three episodes of this show last night.  Yeah, I admit it.  

It just kind of happened.  Crappy Sunday night TV and alcohol makes the remote do strange things.  But I must say, BRAVO!

I was En--Tranced.  Stupid people doing and saying stupid things during the stupidest week in many people's lives?  What's not to like?

Let's get to the match-ups.

Dusty Baker Region

5)  Whorish TBS Ads   vs.   7)  Compulsive Huggers

For Whorish TBS Ads, it was one of the most unlikely of runs.  They took down Humongous Sunglasses, ABC7News and SUV Strollers.  

The ads are brutal in such a crassly commercial and strange way, they deserve all the spitting vitriol that comes their way.  Watching actual comedians (in a technical sense) hock Staples/Quinzo's/Coors/Cars.com products in a pseudo-stand up routine tells you a lot about how their career choice is actually going.  Just go cash your check and go away now.

But the ad campaign will be temporary.  I don't have to watch TBS, especially when there's probably a Bridezilla marathon on We.

To get here, Compulsive Huggers beat People Who Make Gas Prices Jokes, Wine Snobs and David Wygant.

Compulsive Huggers weren't going away.  I was first introduced to these people in high school, where the thespian/band crowd was not-so-affectionately referred to as 'The Get-Along Gang' because they were loud, touchy-feely, huggy and always travelled in packs.  In many ways, they were like a fraternity.  Alone, each was about 1/16th of an interesting person.  But together, they were a tightly-knit and boisterous group to be reckoned with.

With Complusive Huggers, when one of them doesn't have their support group, they look like a sick puppy entirely unable to function in a social environment outside of their usual milieu.  Their interactions become clumsy and awkward, with a palpable sense that a ever-so-small panic attack might occur.  

But if even one of two Compulsive Hugger-types enter the scene, the dynamic immediately shifts.  It starts with screeches, a sort of nature call to announce the new paradigm.  Hugs naturally follow and then an incoherent, rapid-fire and rambling conversation begins.  Everything that occurred in their lives in the 90 minutes since they last saw each other must be told in copious detail without discretion - Every--thing - in a conversation that makes a Robert Altman film look positively slow and boring in comparison.  It's quite the scene.

Many are half a person at best.  In their 20s, it's a product of their environment.  Once they hit their 30s and 40s, it becomes a sad affair to watch.

Not even close.

Winner:  Compulsive Huggers in a thorough drubbing, 100-58. 

Red Sox Nation

5)  ESPN's Raging Hard-On For Brett Favre   vs.   6)  Tribune's Starbucks Coverage

To reach the Icky Eight, Tribune's Starbucks Coverage outlasted People Who LOVE Truffles, Racist Cub Fan T-Shirts and Maggie Nemser.

If last night's Internet cover story on the new Sonic is any indication, Starbucks might be falling out of favor with the people at Tribune Tower.  Oh, and there's a poll attached.  In-and-Out Burger is winning but Burger King is making it a race.

I really hoped I could nail down this fast-food reporting phenomenon to one reporter, but after blogging about nearly every story of this ilk over the last few months, it's been a different one each time.  And that makes it even sadder.  It's that much of a priority at the metro desk.  Everyone's involved.  

I could get into a discussion about the difference between print Trib and Internet Trib.  I know the difference.  But the fact it gets so much play in any format makes it a blatant pandering to morons akin to Sports Radio Callers.  It's an acceptance that the lowest common denominator is the most important demographic.

But given that each fast-food story is usually in the top five of the 'most-viewed' and 'most-emailed', what's the Tribune to do?  It's hard economic times over there right now.  Boosting Internet traffic is probably priority one.  

To get here, ESPN's Raging Hard-On For Brett Favre ran the table by beating Reading Post-Post-Post Modern Literature at 35, People Against Things That Look Almost Muslim and the man himself, Brett Favre.  

The latest news over at the WWL on Favre are as follows:  Favre threw a touchdown pass in a preseason game so now he feels like a Jet, his arm's fatigued but he'll Jet it out and some seafood gave him diarrhea but he plans to Jet that out.  What a Jetty-Jet-Jet Grinder.

Since my upcoming football world will be sullied on a daily basis by ESPN having virtual intercourse with Favre, this is an easy one.

Winner:  ESPN Raging Hard-On For Brett Favre in a tight battle early but a three-point barrage halfway through the second half leads to a lopsided win, 92-72. 

There you have it!  My half of the Filthy Four:

5)  ESPN's Raging Hard-On For Brett Favre   vs.   7)  Compulsive Huggers   

It's a Fucking SCRIMMAGE!!

We have a controversy here at the BRE and T of A. Chicago Baseball Fans have been stripped of their Shitty 16 victory over Sports Message Boards. Why? Because Sports Message Boards played the game under protest and the league agreed. They were robbed.
After having read the completely knee jerk, sky is falling analysis on Iowa football at the forum on Hawkeyereport.com after the open motherfucking practice scrimmage on Saturday, it has been determined that sports message boards are indeed more awful than Chicago Baseball fans.
An unprecedented turn of events. We have to give SMB a chance to come down and get ready for the game so the results for the Icky 8 Mate Bracket will be done later today.
"This is bullshit, you fucking homos!" Chicago Meathead Sox fan Vinnie DiNardo was quoted as saying. "When are we going to Barleycorn?!" followed Michelle Trenton, 2006 Illinois State grauduate/Lincoln Park resident and Cub fan apprarently oblivious to any game going on.
On the other end of the spectrum ClonesSuck667 was quoted as saying, "You fucking CLOWN fans can have your 30,000 fans and we'll take our 70,000 EVERY GAME and go back to Lames with your ugly girfriend."...Still not sure what that means at press time.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

We Have A Shitty Group of Eight!

This update brought to you by underwhelming QB performances against crappy opponents, coming to you in exactly two weeks.  Get into your closet and dust off that icky feeling of an impending long football season after the opener, Hawk fans.  I'm not feelin' it.  Hope I'm wrong.

Speaking of icky, The August edition of Big Red Egg's Tournament of Awful has been a grudge match.

In the span of six months, we've nominated a grand total of 130 awful things in our world.

Last March, White Castle took the gold in the first field of 64 +1.

Of the Icky Eight in this edition, who is worthy enough to join White Castle?

We'll find out.

The updated bracket (click to enlarge):

And the Match-Ups:

Rick Telander Region

4)  Coconut   vs.   10)  Sports Memorabilia Stores

Jay Mariotti Region

3)  Chicago Baseball Fans   vs.   4)  Overly Competitive Softball/Pick-up Basketball Guys

Dusty Baker Region

5)  Whorish TBS Ads   vs.   7)  Compulsive Huggers

Red Sox Nation Region

5)  ESPN's Raging Hard-On For Brett Favre   vs.   6)  Tribune's Starbucks Coverage

Christo's are more disparate.  But can we just give Mate's entries into the Icky Eight the trophy as a group?  

Picture this.  A guy who is a dopey Chicago Cub fan that works at a baseball card/memorabilia store in Elmhurst, loves playing rec league softball so much that dresses up in full regalia for every game and maintains a website that nobody wanted for the league's stats.  He spends hours in the comments section of the site making stupid White Sox jokes, trash-talking this week's softball opponent and trying to sell a game-used Mike Fontenot jersey while snacking on bags of mini Almond Joys.

Runaway Meatball!

And Group Photo (Click to Enlarge):

Friday, August 15, 2008

Remember When?

Every week SNL would have at least 2 or 3 balls out, funny as fuck skits? I know the kids who have been brought up on the Horatio Sanz Horeshit Era find this hard to believe but here's proof of what that show used to be.
Anyone who doesn't find this funny is void of humor. And an idiot.

Rounding It Out

Establishing the Icky 8 today. We'll have a Final 4 for you on Monday and a champion on Tuesday!

1) Taste of Chicago vs. 4) OCSPUBG --
Talk about Clash of the Titans. This one could've been a final!
To be fair I haven't actually gone to the Taste of Chicago since 2002 when I made the proclamation never to be within 50 miles of the fucking thing ever again. So, it may have gotten better. (Yeah, right). I still fail to see the attraction of sticky food coupled with sticky people. Hell, I don't even like going to a BAR that has more than 7 people in it. And eating outside is just sort of weird and annoying to me. Why do we feel the need to congregate with everyone is some pack every Summer and stuff our face with overpriced pizza and donuts in excruciating heat? Don't get it. Never will.
But OCSPUG are just dreadful in every way. There's really nothing more to say about them. We've all dealt with them. They don't even have to be playing a sport really. I've seen these assholes get in fights over cards or Trivial Pursuit! It's the most awful of all awful personalities. Tied with smug. But often smug and this guy go hand in hand.
So, WINNER is OCSPUG and it's not even really that close. T of C is awful but avoidable. OCSPUG I will no doubt run into again very, very soon. OCSPUG in a blow out, 94-66.

2) Sports Message Boards vs. 3) Chicago Baseball Fans -- This is akin to Christo's Brett Favre vs. ESPN's coverage of Brett Favre. It's kind of the same thing but not quite. Sports message boards, I think, tend to be young guys (let's be honest here. It is 99% GUYS) who have been brought up on video games and the Internet. Their ability to interact with anyone on a social basis is so retarded (literally) that their idea of debate has been relegated to stuff like "the SCRUBS are gonna get their ass kicked by the Sox." and "That's like a CLOWN fan getting all excited about.." You get the point.
Chicago Baseball Fans are a slightly different breed of awful. They're just plain and simple stupid ass bastards. I would love to do a survey at either ballpark and ask the fans without looking who the starting pitcher is. I would give it 50% would not know. And all you would have to do is look at the scoreboard. But that would crink their neck and take the focus away from their beer and homophobic slurs.
WINNER: Tough one. Chicago Baseball fans are just good enough to outlast the hustling SMB. They do it with some solid free throw shooting down the stretch and pull it off, 71-69.