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

John Cleese

Friday, February 27, 2009

Let's Finish Out the Week

Ford Explorer Region
2) Charlie Weiss vs. 15) SEC Fawning On ESPN

A sports themed match up with two things that irritate me in only slightly different ways. You see they are both the creation of the media. Charlie Weiss is the most arrogant for no reason fat fuck walking the planet. You can see it through the tv as clear as the nose on your face. Why? Because he was the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots when they won the Super Bowl. Umm, I could've DONE THAT! "A schematic advantage." What a fuck bag. My hatred of Notre Dame has sort of wained over the years. I'm sort of indifferent now but I can still hate their coach with a passion.
SEC fawning is nothing new to the WWL. Before I go any further I need to say that I'm not one of these Meatball fans that think there is some inherent bias against my team or league (the Big 10--hey, 1-6 in bowls? You deserve it, suckers) but the love for the SEC on ESPN borders on embarrassing and erotic. And the SEC is boring. Yes, I said it. Boring. Don't care. It's the South. Alabama? Auburn? Kentucky? You know why ESPN wants to blow these schools? Because the SEC fan base has created a self fulfilling prophecy (or Marriotti Rule)--if you keep saying it over and over it must be true.

But Charlie Weiss is no match for something that is, at best, annoying. Charlie's just awful. And that wins in the T of A. Weiss pulls away in the last 5 minutes for a 74-69 win.

4) Painting vs. 13) Midas

I'm gonna make this one quick: Painting got screwed in the seeding. It should've been a #1. It's a weekend ruining/dirty/fight inducing/crummy/smelly way to spend time. I'd rather stab myself in the neck with a cork screw than do this.
Midas is on there for ripping me off three times. Maybe I should be on this list for being stupid enough to go back. 600 bucks for a muffler? 300 dollars for labor when i can see you assholes standing around smoking? There's a big fucking window right by the waiting room, dumbass!

But painting is gonna cruise in this one, 90-56. Not even close.

Day Four Action In Christo's Bracket

R.I.P. - Johnny "Red" Kerr and Norm "Whoa, Baby" Van Lier.

They're long again.  Sorry 'bout that.

Sham-Wow Region

2) Ryan Seacrest vs. 15) Homemade Pizza Stores

Is there anything Ryan Seacrest doesn't say yes to.  

And this?  This is the kind of guy the new generation wants to represent them in hosty-type things?  Or what crusty old white guys think the new generation will accept?  

I don't really need to say anything about The Seacrest that you don't already know.

You're part of the problem, dude.  

Homemade Pizza Stores doesn't have a chance in the tournament but...

Let me get this straight.  I pay Homemade Pizza a premium price for a pizza and I still have to cook it?  So I have to go pick it up, bring it home and then I still don't get to eat for another 40 minutes?  I've had Homemade Pizza three times.  Meh.  It's fine.  Better than the Pizza Hutty-types but is that really the bar they want to set?  It's still not nearly as good as much of the great pizza in the city that has the added bonus of not having to cook it yourself.

Bravo to them for finding a market because they're spouting up everywhere in town and there's at least a minimal effort towards using quality ingredients.  There's the real hitch, though.  It preys on people that can be fooled by advertising the locality of their ingredients.  Wisconsin mozzarella is really just mozzarella if they can't get more specific than that.  "Imported" kalamata olives?  Well, kalamata olives are only grown in Southern Greece so I would think they would have to be imported.  If a place has to put adjectives like luscious, earthy, complex, fresh, satisfying, etc. in front of their ingredients on the menu, it's probably average at best.  The product should be able to speak for itself.

But Seacrest is Seacrest.

Winner:  Ryan Seacrest with 15 threes to go with solid defense, 73-57.   

2) High Fructose Corn Syrup Ads  vs.  15) Fading Revelence Of Sports Blogs

I was left speechless when I first saw the new HFCS ads.  Just stunned.

I've had my share of HFCS in my life and I'm still standing.  It's not Satan's blood.  I know.

The problem, though, remains that HFCS is in nearly everything the typical American includes in their diet.  That's like putting sugar in nearly everything you eat.  Gee, can't understand why type-2 diabetes exploded in the last 30 years.


So when the ads made by the Corn Refiners Association tells you it's fine in moderation, please tell me how that's possible for the average American not taking the time to read labels?

The rise of sports blogs a few years ago was great - the perfect foil to all the deification of athletes perpetrated by the mainstream sports media.  Loved it.  But it's looking like they have quite the short shelf life recently and it's all their fault.  

Specific examples would be too numerous but the world is so knee-deep in snark that it's become tough to tell if they even know if they're being serious or not.  In short, it's become a tired pony.  I just don't get into multiple posts about Hannah Storm's wardrobe.  It's time to evolve and it seems like they're the ones resisting it.  What's that about newspapers being 'the old way'? 

Danica Patrick's tattoo was airbrushed out?  The HORROR!!!  

And the cheap booby shots to get page hits is beginning to feel a tad creepy.

Even when they get all capitulatory about such titty cheapness, it feels a bit odd when there's flashing booby ads going off around it. 

Basically, the writers that used to be good left for the greener pastures that they built a career bitching about.  Natch.

But there's still some good work going on out there.

Winner:  High Fructose Corn Syrup Ads in a surprisingly tight battle, 51-49.

Snuggie Region

4) Consumer Products With Ingredients I've Never Heard Of  vs.  13) Bullshit, Made-up Commercial Words Like Anytizers

What the fuck is L. Casei Immunitas?!

So it's good for me because the guys pushing a product tells me so?  It does have the word 'immune' in the name.  Must be.

It's almost admirable.  In a world where scientific development has outpaced the ability for the average guy to keep up, it's easy to see why marketing guys would want to exploit the gap.  

Quiz:  What are Hawafena and Boswellic?

They're ingredients used in Herbal Essences and were advertised as the next great thing in shampooing.  

What the hell are they and what do they do?

The practice is widespread because it preys on people's penchant for finding the next great thing before their friends do.  It's the kind of thing that preys on the stupid.

You know why I hate something like calling a frozen snack 'Anytizers'?


Same goes for non-trĂ©es.  On a related note, calling something 'Chef's Creation' carries no weight at all.  Being a chef carries with it absolutely no qualification and anybody who whips up some 'creation' for Kraft probably isn't a chef whose food you want to eat.

But it's what marketers do...since the beginning of time.  I'm sure cavemen tried to repackage spoiled mastodon as locally fed, dry-aged hot dogs.

Winner:  Consumer Products With Ingredients I've Never Heard Of with a balanced attack, 65-55. 

4)  Food Bloggers  vs.  13)  The Religion Of Local Produce

The best thing to happen to the American food scene in the last 30 years (especially the last 10-15) has been the growing importance put on locality and origin of the ingredient.  

The practice has made American food legitimate, something to rival every other cuisine from around the world.  They did it right.  There's nothing more important than basing a foundation in new cuisine (like New American) in letting people know exactly where the food comes from and who is growing it with the added bonus that it's grown close to you (gas prices, local economy, et al.)  

Before, cheese was just cheese.  Beef was just beef.  If you asked where it came from, the answer usually was "the supplier" and that was as detailed as a chef could get.  Read The United States Of Arugula (and suffer through the first 100 pages) to get a great history of how it happened.

But, as Americans tend to do with just about everything, our puritanical nature tends to take great things and find ways to get all pompous and exclusionary about it.  And it's become a reason to unreasonably jack up menu prices by staging food as a "glorious experience in local provenance!  You're not eating food.  You're eating farmer's art!  Look at that tomato!  Look at it!"

If I hear another person talk about their anticipation of asparagus season like the Pope is coming...  

It's good to find things in life to anticipate, but it's asparagus.  Certainly good, but do you 'anticipate' it with this level of glee?  Really, troll a food message board sometime.  It's an odd collection.  Can't get past the feeling that it's a pose, something to demonstrate their bona-fides.

Food Bloggers are entirely related.  There's been an absolute explosion of food bloggers in the last few years.  They have real value and some are quite good as moderators for the stupidity that comes with a food revolution still in its relative infancy.

But...if you need to find the absolute definition of purple prose in new media, look no further than Food Bloggers.  Oh, the silliness! Elevating mediocre chefs to rock stars, the faux-fights with food critics and other bloggers, the "breaking news" of new menus. Mostly, it's a posture put on by many Food Bloggers that their job somehow elevates them above the rabble.  Ahem

Again, I really like some Food Bloggers but it's a field mostly defined by the same problem Sports Blogs have - a somewhat desperate need to be heard and get Internet traffic, therefore LET THE SUPERLATIVES FLY!  Where Sports Blogs lean of copious amounts of booby pictures, Food Bloggers make sure everyone knows whether Grant Achatz took a shit today.

Let's pull back a little here, people.

Tough one.  Both are so interrelated.  

The clearinghouse function Food Bloggers serve is important since the old ways of food criticism has followed the downfall of newspapers so equally.

Winner:  The Religion Of Local Produce in a big upset, 41-39.  

Mate's Final Round One Results

Ok..We'll have a 2nd round after today. Then back at it Monday.

Chicago Olympic Bid Region
2) Pointless Nostalgia vs. 15) Pretzels

I've railed on the biggest perpetrator of this many times. That being the generation I belong to: Generation X. We were nostalgic for shit that JUST HAPPENED. Seriously. There needs to be a 10 year minimum on pining when you are under the age of 50. And what do people get nostalgic over? Mostly bullshit like tv theme songs and baseball jerseys. '80s music is another big one. Know something? It sucked. And it still sucks.

Pretzels are just boring. I have never, ever craved anything pretzel based in my life. They're always just kinda there. In a bowl. Yet every bar and/or get together pretzels make an appearance. They look like salt covered dog turds. Taste like stale bread. Good stuff. I don't count the big breaded pretzels you get at a ball game. Them's good. But bar pretzels?! Come on.

Pointless Nostalgia has got more comin it's way and has a pretty good chance of a Final 4 appearance. They cruise 93-69.

4) Black Coffee vs. 13) NFL Network

I have recently become a fairly regular coffee drinker. In the Winter. I don't drink it in the Summer. Hot drinks in hot weather? What's the point? But I am a mild fan of coffee when it's got cream and sugar. I know this somehow makes me a coffee wuss, if there is such a thing, but I don't care. But black? Barf inducing. And you literally have to pop 20 Altoids to get the mucky tar like breath under control this stuff gives you. And it tastes like dog ass. I think people like it this way because they're too lazy to bother with the sugar and cream.

NFL Network is a fine channel production wise. By that I mean it looks good. But it's a polished turd. First off, good luck finding it if you have cable. A short sighted dippy idea that Bud Selig has somehow bettered with his not at all bad MLB Network. I have watched officially 4 and a half hours of this channel and 4 of that is because the Chiefs played a game on it once. And I had to go to a fucking bar to see it. Between this and the Big Ten Network you wonder if there will be any fans left in 5 years. Nice job, NFL.

NFL Network's run up the Pole of Awful is too much to stave off and they pull the upset with some stingy defense. 54-53 thriller.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

And It Begins...

It was inevitable, folks. Look for more of this. Daily newspapers are a dinosaur and especially those that are in competition with another for a rapidly diminishing base.


Day Four Match-ups In He BRETOA3 Sponsored By The Ford Explorer

No vehicle reeks of 90s excess more than the Ford Explorer.  It was the SUV that made SUVs popular. Poorly built, unnecessarily bulky, terrible gas mileage and it catered to people who bought into the auto industry propaganda that "people should feel safe in their cars...so buy a tank."

It made the Hummer economically possible.

On another note, the CPAC Conference convenes today in D.C.  Last year's speakers included Bush, Cheney and Mitt Romney.  This year?  Joe The Plumber, John Ziegler (of dopey conservative documentarian fame) and Rush Limbaugh.  Hell, why not invite the bearded lady and the five-armed midget and get it over with.  Check out the other events at the bottom of the page.  Priceless.

We're nearly half finished with the 3rd edition of the Tournament Of Awful.

Time flies.

After day four, the first round will be complete.  The foundations have been laid for each entry so each new match-up should be a tad shorter and more precise.  Christo will make attempts to rein in his verbiage (Cripes, some of mine have been long). 

The last first-round match-ups:

Chicago Olympic Bid Region

2)  Pointless Nostalgia  vs.  15)  Pretzels

4)  Black Coffee  vs.  13)  NFL Network

Ford Explorer Region

2)  Charlie Weiss  vs.  15)  SEC Fawning On ESPN

4)  Painting  vs.  13)  Midas

Shaw-Wow Region

2)  Ryan Seacrest  vs.  15)  Homemade Pizza Stores

4)  Consumer Products With Ingredients I've Never Heard Of  vs.  13)  Bullshit, Made-up Commercial Words Like Anytizers

Snuggie Region

2)  High Fructose Corn Syrup Ads  vs.  15)  Fading Relevance Of Sports Blogs

4)  Food Bloggers  vs.  13)  The Religion Of Local Produce 

And the Rest For Thursday...

Tomorrow we round out the first round.

Ford Explorer Region
8) Expressway Constant Lane Changers/Shoulder Drivers vs. 9) Bullshit Holidays

I commute now. Oh, God do I commute. It's one of the top 2 reasons my love affair with Chicago is waning. It takes me approximately 45 minutes to get to work and, for some reason, over an hour to get home at night. It's exhausting. Say what you want about the "L" in the morning, I'll take it five ways to Sunday over my current transportation on the Lemming Expressway. On top of the wait, I have to deal with the Constant Lane Changers who obviously have a frightfully important meeting to get to. Why else would you drive 85MPH and cut across 5 lanes of traffic in about 3 seconds? Oh, wait. You're an asshole. Forgot.

The shoulder drivers are the most universally despised motorists on the planet. If you are on of these assbags please do us a favor and kill yourself right now. You know who you are. Just do it. Get a gun.

Bullshit holidays is more along the lines of holidays that need to decide whether or not they are a holiday. Columbus Day? Presidents Day? Pulaski Day? Are you or aren't ya? Seriously, what the fuck is Pulaski Day?

But this one was over 3 minutes in. Constant lane changers cruise to a 23 point halftime lead as CBS breaks away early in the 2nd from a 98-66 win. Ugly.
3) Treadmills vs. 14) Shopping The Day After Thanksgiving

Treadmills. What the fuck? Just go for a walk. At least you'll get some fresh air and actually get to see something besides the ass of some guy named Bill whose had way too many things ham flavored. You ever been on one of these? It's more mentally exhausting than anything. All complete with a scoreboard to slowly torture you into realizing you still have 19 fucking minutes to go before you burn anything worthwhile. Plus they're loud.

STDAT is quite possibly the most torturous experience I've had in the last 12 years. And that included sitting through "Twister"...I somehow was convinced by the wife to go to the outlet mall on Black Friday (isn't that cute?) and could not have been more uncomfortable or instantly agitated in my life. After ten minutes of standing in the middle of some monstrosity known as the Banana Republic and getting bumped into by the 25th douchebag who didn't say 'excuse me' or 'sorry' ,I was perfectly capable of taking a human life while running amok. God, just thinking about that night is giving me hives.

Avoid.This. At. All.Costs. And, no, it's not good for 'people watching'...If I go next year someone may be murdered.

Another 3 seed goes down! STADT plays an almost perfect defensive game with a 2-2-1 half court press which completely flusters Treadmills. A 75-72 shocker!!

Part 3

And, away we go again.
Chicago Olympic Bid Region
8) Pro Bowl vs. 9) NBA All-Star Game

Another tough matchup. I take the two boringest games of a group that is inherently boring: All Star games. I almost went with the MLB All-Star game's dopey Bud Selig led idea of determining home field advantage in the game but World Baseball Classic is already in and slightly more dopey. So, we could actually give Bud Selig his own region.

Anyway, the Pro Bowl is something i can honestly say I've never watched for more than 3 minutes. But I know it's there. Played in Hawaii AFTER the season by guys who are essentially trying not to get hurt and collect a check. A week after the Super Bowl. Huh? I have never met one person who has ever said anything remotely close to showing interest in this game. Yet there it is. Every year.

The NBA All-Star game is a game played by star athletes whose amazing feats are sometimes awe inspiring. Know what? Yawn. I so don't care about the NBA and anything to do with it that it barely registers above poker. And whatever small portion of what I see on these things I get confused. Is it a basketball game or a fucking Las Vegas Convention For Hipsters? And the game gets approximately 3 seconds of defense played along with 2142 dunks. After the 343rd you've seen 'em all.

NBA All-Star game wins because I actually enjoy the NFL. Just not it's all star game. NBA wins rather handily with a nice 54% 3 point percentage. Of course, there's no defense, 111-101.

3) January vs. 14) Public Swimming Pools

OK, January has an advantage because we're not so far removed from it's awfulness. Cold, dark at 4:30, and absolutely NOTHING going for it with holidays or anything. Yeah, you have the NFL Playoffs and some college bowl games but the rest of it is filled up with basketball. Meh. It's the worst month in the worst part of the year: Winter.

Public swimming pools are the most unpleasant things about childhood. Even as a 11 year old when your tolerance level for things is pretty high, I hated these things. You end up getting one itty bitty corner of the pool where it quickly becomes rote. There's only so many times one can dunk their head under water and see how long they can go. And the serpentine going around the slide or diving board takes a 2 hour commitment. I didn't have the time. And I certainly don't now.

First upset: Public Swimming Pools pulls off a shocker as January goes inexplicably cold in the second half. PSP pull out a 67-65 win on a running hook with 2 seconds left.

BRETOA3 Day Three Action In Christo's Bracket

Box scores are back!  Angels kicked the crap out of the Sox!  Face!

You'd think that Jindal, being the Republican bonus-baby and all, would have delivered at least and coherent and marginally fact-based response.  I say again.  Thank.  You.  Republicans.  Your incompetence knows no bounds.

To day 3 action.

My mind is awhirl in transient nodes of thought!

Best match-ups of my first round.

Sham-Wow Region

8)  Jewel-Osco  vs.  9)  Dominick's

It never fails.  Every time I go to either of these stores, something strange happens.  Two customers get into a fist fight, some geriatric wets her pants all over the frozen food aisle, the computers crash and nobody can check out or some mentally-disturbed guy gets tossed out of the store for groping all the fat women.

All those things happened on one of my trips to one or the other in the last three years.

But that's not the main reason either Jewel-Osco or Dominick's is awful.  Really, it's that they both do such a superlatively terrible job of offering anything resembling reasonable prices.  

Peanut butter shouldn't cost $4.50.  It just shouldn't.  

But Christo, they both offer Value Club cards.  Yes.  That's true.  And it works on about three items in the entire store and even then, the prices equal what you pay at better grocery stores.

Great.  Bread's $2.50.  I could have gone to Target and gotten it for the same price and spent $2 on peanut butter.  

Let's see.  Shitty prices, terrible lighting, dirty floors and the added benefit of mingling with the cast of Cuckoo's Nest.  What's not to like!

But I should separate them.  And it might come down to self-checkout.  The Jewel shoppers at least get the basic premise and aren't so frightened by modern technology that they think the dollar bill machine is some sort of grabby monster trying to steal their money.

And at Jewel, if you use the regular checkout lane, you're not checked out by people that probably shouldn't be handling their own money let alone mine or a major corporation's.

Dominick's is more awful.  There's an air about the place.

Winner:  Dominick's in a tight one wire-to-wire, 48-45.   

3)  Modern Fedoras  vs.  14)  Lingerie Tops As Blouses

Put some fucking clothes on!

I wonder if this is a natural outgrowth of Roscoe Village Mothers and their penchant for wearing designer sweat pants while out running their errands.

Maybe it's a bonus for burgeoning swingers and it makes them feel a little more prepared at all times.

Or is it a sign that women's fashion is truly running out of ideas.  Shawls made a comeback as formal wear.  Why not this?

I tend to think it's more women who lost all sense of the lines of acceptable.  Leave a little to the imagination, ladies.  Feels like they're wearing a desperate cry for attention barely over their boobies. 

But it's no match for the relatively new fad of Modern Fedoras.  It's a 20-something thing for the tragically hip.  Usually reserved for the people who incessantly tell you much artistic they are, it tells the world that "I'm not particularly talented but at least I play the part."

Anytime I see them on someone in a group, it helps me, though.  It tells me that I don't really need to know that person, serving as a sort of social filter.  With Modern Fedora wearers, what's on their head tells me everything I need to know.

Winner:  Modern Fedoras in a surprisingly easy contest, 71-51.  

Snuggie Region

8) Brunch  vs.   9) Waiting Tables The Day Before A Civil Service Holiday

Brunch wasn't a big deal in the mid-90s.  Oh, sure, it existed.  But in my early 20s, I barely made the bell for noon NFL games let alone get up and leave the house (!) to eat breakfast/lunch.  

Sleep was always more important (Heck, still is).

And then I started waiting tables.  And it was about this time that brunch and frou-frou began to copulate, becoming a gourmet event for terdballs.

I never got the allure of brunch in general.  But the character profile of a bruncher tends to be people who usually don't go out to eat for lunch or dinner, saving all their social eating for the weekend mornings where they crawl out of bed and meet their friends after a night of drinking.

And that's a problem.  First, it's too early in the morning for them to put their game-face on, meaning that all their asshole tendencies are laid to bare on any unsuspecting person in the line of fire.  The slightest thing wrong with their crab and asparagus omelet and you've just ruined their month.  

Second, people who only go out to eat for brunch tend not to understand how the apparently complicated social mores required for dining out work.  It's not complicated.  You come in, sit down, choose your meal, tell it to me, I bring it, you eat it, I watch you eat and then you give me money for that.  This isn't NORAD and you're not on missile watch.  But you wouldn't believe the issues.

Third, in the city, there are basically four groups who do all the brunching.  Tired parents with screaming kids, 20 somethings from places like Wicker Park who have no money but want to experience the city like they do, hung-over dicks with new girlfriends they're trying to impress and blue hairs who have been up since 4am and want to haggle over the price of their salmon and lox.  Why would you want to wait on that?  Better yet, why would you want to eat around that?

Two other things.  It's funny what happens to people who just woke up and get a little coffee in them.  They talk a little too loud and tend to ramble on like there's no tomorrow.  Also, you may remember two former entries in the TOA - People Who LOVE Truffles and People Who LOVE Lobster.  Toss People Who LOVE Mimosas on that pile.  Icky.  And shut up about it.    

I've been lucky.  In my 13 years waiting tables, I've probably only had 20 true-blue, fuckstick terdballs that I wouldn't care if they were hit by a bus the second they left the restaurant.  18 have been during brunch.  And I never wanted to take management shifts on normal days because of the pay cut.  Brunch?  Every.  Chance.  I.  Got!  

Waiting Tables The Day Before A Civil Service Holiday was an extremely late entry into the tournament due to the Sunday before President's Day.  Every year, I forget.  And every year, I slap myself for it.

See...the only people who usually have such a day off are civil servants, teachers, etc. so it's a weekend night for them.  Now, I have no beef with such people.  In fact, teachers should always be commended for taking a job with so little degree of appreciation for the real work they do.

It's just that...well...a teacher/civil servant's salary, while tragic, puts them into a category very similar to Wicker Park 20 somethings with no money, except they're relegated to such a monetary situation for their entire life.  

And food is not frightening.  It's actually quite good and should be explored to your absolute limit of taste.  Why not?  It's great stuff.

But I didn't invent pork cheek.  Or rapini.  Or arugula.  Or pancetta.  Or speck.  Or sardines.  Or the thousands of different kinds of cheeses on the planet.  So when someone hears such a thing, it's probably not so disgusting that they have to make sure that everyone within earshot understands that you do not approve of it's existence in this realm (I covered some of this here).

It's usually the civil servant-type that displays such a behavior (and suburbanites making their yearly trip into the scary city).  The night before a civil servant holiday brings them ALL out of the woodwork and they come in packs...together...with all their other worker friends.  There's usually one or two tables like this on any given normal night.  On these particular nights, it's a bloodbath.

Ask any server and they will tell you that they would rather wait on a 12-top of blue hairs than a gaggle of elementary school teachers.  It's no contest.  Invariably, you are in for some ball-crushing pain.

Hmmmm...they may be terrible to wait on but teachers are inherently good people.  They have to be to take such abuse.

Winner:  Brunch as they went to 31-35 from the line and went away, 81-67.

3) Tucked-In Golf Shirt Attire   vs.   14) Drinking Whiskey In Your Mid-30s

It started innocently enough.

"Hey Christo, I had a really good whiskey here a week ago.  Wanna get a shot?"

"Sure.  Why not?"

Eight shots a piece and two hours later, I was doing my best imitation of Edgar Allen Poe - The Later Years.  At least I made it to the toilet.

Barely.  It was a full-on drunken dive to the porcelain throne that resulted in a successful vomit with many to follow.  But the head-first dive also resulted in my chin meeting the lip of the bowl at full speed.  Still feel the bruise.  And the bruise on my ass bone was inexplicable.

Moral:  "Beer before liquor, never sicker" has never rang more true.  Grow up.

That is not the kind of behavior for a mid-30s bald man.  We don't wear it well.  It comes off as a bit sad; the kind of performance that would make me hate me if I saw me acting like that.  Heck, if I had on a Modern Fedora, I might have to punch the dick.

I'll stick to wine.  We're friends.  I just babble a lot when I'm wine-drunk.

Now, nothing says I've given up on any pretense of a youthful joie de vivre like men whose only attire in life are khakis/jeans/shorts and tucked-in golf shirts.  You're done, cashed in your chips and went home early.

Something happens in the course of men's lives where the decision to tuck or not tuck becomes a critical question.  And it's a toughie.  If you're a button-down tucker, you're telling the world that, well, I do it so much for work and have gotten used to it but there's no question now that you're bought your way into the adult world and there's no going back.

At the same time, a sloppy, untucked 30-something screams irresponsible dope with a Peter Pan complex.  So you're stuck.  If you choose to go the untucked route for normal everyday stuff, everything must be pristine.  If you tuck, it begins to feel like a life choice.

I understand.  But Tucked-In Golf Shirt Attire is a whole other realm.  Guys that have an entire wardrobe of golf shirts in dippy strip patterns with the two buttons and collar are odd cats.  I always get a feeling that they welcomed the cashing in of the chips with a certain exuberance way too early in life, like at 26.  It's a feeling that the attainment of an expense account was their biggest goal in life and Tucked-In Golf Shirt Attire is the ne plus ultra uniform for such a dream.     

And if you have a cell phone clipped onto a weave belt...well...it was over in high school and you probably only want to talk about how Tony Robbins gets a bad rap at parties.

Not that tough.

Winner:  Tucked-In Golf Shirt Attire with a strong game in the paint, 90-72.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Big Red Egg Special Announcement

After the last Phil Watch began to take on Proustian proportions, a decision was made in the satellite offices of the Big Red Egg on Chicago's North Side.

It's taking up entirely too much room on the mother board.

So, even though Phil Watch was very close to being shut down a mere few months ago, Phil Rogers has ramped up the idiocy so much in recent weeks that not only is Phil Watch staying open to the public, it now has it's own website!

A website entirely dedicated to Phil and Phil with a side of Phil?

You betcha!

I didn't think ruminating on how Crede-tastic Joe Crede is could be topped.  And then he wrote this a mere two days later.  Ted Lilly is a patriot with a long family history of patriotic patriotism and he's only more patriotic for playing in the patriotic World Baseball Classic.

I'll be getting to it soon.

So the BRE family expands once again.

Come join us at the brand-spankin' new Phil Watch!  Complete archives and open for business.

Day Three Match-Ups For Thursday

Four million snuggies have been sold so far.

And don't forget to get your tickets to the Chicago Snuggie Pub Crawl!

Really...we're just refining things now, aren't we?

We don't really invent things anymore.

And check out Michael Lewis' article from last week's New York Times Magazine.  He makes a pretty convincing case for a guy that averages 6 points and 4 rebounds in the NBA, Shane Battier, he might be one of the league's most valuable players.  The article has caused quite an uproar in NBA circles.


The atmosphere is positively electric in the BRETOA3!

Christo will, most likely, be taking a break today but will be picking it right back up first thing Thursday morning (might do some later this afternoon). 

Thursday's Match-ups: 

Chicago Olympic Bid Region

8)  Pro Bowl  vs.  9)  NBA All-Star Game

3)  January  vs.  14)  Public Swimming Pools

Ford Explorer Region

8)  Expressway Constant Lane Changers/Shoulder Drivers  vs.  9)  Bullshit Holidays

3)  Treadmills  vs.  14)  Shopping The Day After Thanksgiving

Sham-Wow Region

8)  Jewel-Osco  vs.  9)  Dominick's

3)  Modern Fedoras  vs.  14)  Lingerie Tops As Blouses

Snuggie Region

8)  Brunch  vs.  9)  Waiting Tables The Day Before A Civil Service Holiday

3)  Tucked-In Golf Shirt Attire  vs.  14)  Drinking Whiskey In Your Mid-30s

Part 2, Day 2 Cont'd

These sporadic interruptions...

Ford Explorer Region
5) Text Messaging vs. 12) Bisexuality

Even though Dennis Miller has been recently chastised (rightfully) on this blog, he used to be pretty funny. To paraphrase, "I think we can all agree that bisexuals are just greedy motherfuckers. I don't care what hole you pick but PICK ONE!"..I, personally, feel that bisexuality is complete and utter bullshit. You are either Hetero or Homo sexual. Period. If you consider yourself "bisexual" you are either a) gay or b) gay and in denial or c) trying to shock people. Call me whatever you want but I call bullshit on bisexuality. Pick a fucking lane.

Text messaging is just the worst fucking invention since New Coke. I can't possibly put into words how much i hate this shit. Between the cutesy pie acronyms or the idiot trying to do it WHILE DRIVING, i don't know who to hit first. A good barometer: If it's something teens do on a regular basis then it's almost always awful. Remember the good ol' days when we didn't have to be in constant fucking contact with one another?!


Text messaging wins in surprisingly comfortable fashion with a 10-0 run to start the 2nd half en route to a 80-70 win.

*(Go fuck yourself, douche bag)
7) Fudge vs. 10) Those Orange Circus Peanuts

Fudge is the one dessert that is entirely enjoyed by one demographic: old women. It's hard to eat, messy (yep) and leaves a taste in your mouth that lingers for hours. I even want to drink milk after it. It's that bad. And when it has nuts in it?! Oh, the awfulness. More on fudge later as it's going to cruise in this matchup.
Because I can't remember the last time I ate a circus peanut. But as a testament to its awfulness I can remember exactly what it tasted like: Cardboard. Yet I still see them at every 7-11 or gas station I enter. Someone is buying them. I almost didn't include them due to their close relation to previous T of A participant Peeps. Just avoid orange food altogether to be safe.

Fudge is all the rage in this tourney and the hot hand continues after their 14 game win streak to end the regular season seeps into the Tourney. 87-69 winners. Over at half.

West Coast Results

Sorry about the delays. The internet connection here at the BRE North Offices has been infuriatingly slow the last two days.

Before we start, please read this. It's absolutely spot on.

Chicago Olympic Bid Region
5) Yard Work vs. 12) Nutella

Yard work hearkens back to the care free days of youth. That Saturday in April when the leaves turn green and the smell of growing grass has permeated through the five months of Hell that is a Midwestern winter. You decide to open a window and let the fresh air in. Maybe you'll sleep in a bit. Oh, wait. What's that clanging? Oh, God the storage shed door is opening. FUCK! Mom's getting the wheel barrow out and hedge trimmers! Here it comes, "Mate! Get up! We've got work to do!"....Christo can relate. It's the mix of mulch (a T of A original participant), early morning dew and mud. Never...ever..fun..in...any..way.

Nutella is something I've had exactly ONCE in my life. Normally I would've chalked it up to a bad experience and moved on. But the minute I told a few people that I did, indeed, find it repulsive I was met with a level of disdain usually reserved for Nazi Youth. It is HORSE SHIT. Tastes like that chocolate they stuff in a Hostess pie mixed with some sort of cashew or walnut. All with a texture of pine tar. Mmmmmmmmmmm....But it's no contest. Yard Work stays around for all eternity. There's always SOMETHING to do. Nutella can be ignored. Yard Work never trails and cruises to a 69-54 victory.

7) Christian Bale Apologists vs. 10) Little Rock, Arkansas

Well, well, well. A late entry into the T of A. The minute this insane rant of spoiled rotten movie star going off on some poor schmuck on the set of the mildly anticipated "Terminator 4" you could set your watch to the dickfaces that were going to defend this asshole. I was waiting for the words "passionate" (check), "workaholic" (Check) and "Method acting" (Check)...The only profession that could possibly get away with behavior like this and the only industry that would tolerate it. Period. Fuckbags.

Little Rock is in due to one LOOOONG night in 2004 when I stayed there. I lost count at 15 sirens, 4 gunshots and 7 Gang bangers walking past my room. Nice town. Plus it's dirty as the bottom of a shoe. And ultra religous. Good combo. Awful but this is no match.

CBA is just too hot right now to be stopped....Too hot. CBA shoots 62% and locks down on with their 1-3-1 zone to win 89-66

Part 2 later....Internet acting up again. Jesus.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Christo's Day Two Action In The BRETOA3

But first, some updates.

Rick Santelli already went off the deep end, saying the White House threatened him.  That was quick.  And he did it on the G. Gordon Liddy show.  Natch.

The Arrested Development movie is still moving forward with Hurwitz in the writing stage.  Cera is still kind of a holdout.

Encounters At The End Of The World is entirely worth the time, as Werner Herzog always is.

Let's get to the action.

Shaw-Wow Region

5)  Kate Winslet  vs.  12)  Eliza Dushku

First, let's get to Ms. Dushku.  She just bothers me.  Always has.  87% of it is that she can't act.  The other 13% of it is that the entertainment media thinks she can. 

She's my poster child for the new world of young actors that the media inexplicably embraces.  Ever since Hollywod switched to primarily targeting the prepubescent demographic, actresses like Dushku have been thrust upon us as some sort of new wave of acting.  She's awful.  Check out Bottle Shock.  You'll never see someone take a crappy movie and make it so much crappier with so little screen time.  Unless you're Miley Cyrus or something (It's Miley!). 

Now, Mrs. Winslet.  Some qualifications.  She's a really good actress.  Really, really good.  And has been great along with being quite lovely.  She's the kind of actress whose career you would want to follow.

But Kate Winslet's become just 'Kate'.  She's a little too into it:

The entire Golden Globe experience was a little creepy with the fade-outs to commercials showing Kate talking to other celebrities like she was selling Amway.  And the whole draping herself all over DiCaprio and talking about maybe marrying too young was embarrassing to watch.  Next time, break the Prozacs in half. 

Kate's more relevant.  

Winner:  Kate Winslet with her senior-dominated lineup, 70-58. 

7) Broadcasters' College White Boy Love  vs.  10)  Cappuccinos

I don't need to describe what the media and, in particular, Thom Brenneman, thinks of Tim Tebow.  

Toss Tyler Hansbrough on that pile.  Along with Bobby Hurley and Steve Wojohowski.

Extend it out to baseball with David Eckstein, Darin Erstad, Reed Johnson, Ryan Theriot and so on and so on.

But the Tim Tebow love last year brought it to new heights:

It's subtle racism, taking white guys to unrealistic heights to separate them from the rest.  It's about what is said but, more importantly, what is not said and who is not included in the hagiography.  

I've had what are considered good Cappuccinos and I've been making them everyday for going on 12 years now.  I know my coffee drinks and I know good espresso.  And I've had cappuccinos in Italy.  There.  The bona-fides are listed (Oooooh, Gooooddddd Forrrr Yoooouuuu!!!).

Here we have a coffee drink that is half steamed milk, half froth and a shot of espresso.  In basic form, it's coffee-flavored milk, not milk-flavored coffee.  There's a difference.  Maybe it's the dainty little spoon that is so integral to drinking it.  I don't know.  

Mostly, it's that the froth serves as a filter to take away some of the bitterness of the espresso.  THAT'S THE BEST PART OF ESPRESSO!  

It's just kind of a weeny drink, right along the lines of hot tea.  I immediately make quick judgments about men who order drinks of this ilk.

Top it off with customers who describe to me exactly how they want their cappuccino, in the way the Italians do it, with very precise directions and ruminations on the tradition of Italy when in Italy, you're considered a fucking tourist if you order a cappuccino after 10am.   

It's too bad.  I have more for Cappuccinos but Broadcasters' College White Boy Love is a steamroller.

Winner:  BCWBL as they shoot 70% from the field in the second half, going away 74-55. 

Snuggie Region

5)  World Baseball Classic  vs.  12)  New Science Studies Like "Blowing Your Nose Is Bad For You."

The WBC was a late bump down a few seeds due to The Rise Of Populism In America's sudden explosion last week.  But that doesn't take away from the WBC's inherent awfulness.  

They will make a big run in this tournament.  No question.  I'll save the juicy bits for later.  But here's an analogy from Phil Watch after Phil belched out bile that called players cowards for not playing in this kitschy little Bud Selig creation.  Seriously, just give Bud a hummer, Phil.  Screw these half-measures.
Anyone ever have a wildly irresponsible friend?

You know, the kind of guy who gets drunk and tries to jump off the roof of the apartment just to see if he can do it without breaking his leg.

And this friend on occasion - say every three years or so - asks to borrow your car to see if he can drive to Midway and back in an hour to, you know, just see if can do it.

And every three years or so you have say, "Hell no!"

He counters with "What's going to happen? You can't predict accidents. You could get into an accident tomorrow!"

And you have to sit him down like he's a five year-old and tell him, "That's the difference, little one. It's my car...and I'm driving. If something happens, it's going to be on me, not because I gave the keys to some dope who's bored and wants to prove how big his dick is."
New Science Studies Like "Blowing Your Nose Is Bad For You" is just the latest in a long line of university studies that are conducted by professors who primarily dream of getting a write-up in the New York Times and getting themselves firmly embedded into a 24 hour news cycle.  

Essentially, the ultimate dream is getting their ass into the associated content delivered to all the local TV affiliates and (hope, hope) get an interview!  That's what getting tenure at universities has come to.  It's now more about exposure and less about the work.  It used to be getting published was the end-all, be-all (a process that was inherently flawed in itself).  But now, it's about finding something that Joe Ass-bag from Peoria can understand.  

In other words, catering to the stupid has now even infected college campuses.  There is some value to a study such as this but you can just feel the motivation behind it.  For the record, one nostril at a time, people.  

But they're no match for contrived international baseball.

Winner:  WBC with a 22-0 run to start the game and surviving a late push, 81-72.  

7)  The Tribune's New Direction  vs.  10)  The Tribune's Rick Morrissey

See what I did there?  

I don't hate Morrissey.  He's just a bit weird sometimes.  His entry into the tournament essentially came from one column, an abomination that put him into the category of People Who Think Baseball Is Boring.  Mate has taken the podium on that one.  

Morrissey's answer for fixing the problem of a cold weather World Series:
1. Start the season on April 15 and end it on September 15, resulting in a 130 game season.

2. Better yet, start May 1 and end it August 30. The season is way too long.

3. The Steroids Era ruined stats anyway so fuck it.

4. Move the World Series to a neutral, warm-weather site.

5. Like Game 5 this year, one hour and 18 minute games are awesome.
Should BRE start a Rick Watch?  WOW!

The Chicago Tribune's New Direction comes in many forms and incarnations.  It's an evolving beast.  The latest says much.  They officially moved away from the broadsheet format to the tabloid-sized paper at newstands for commuters.  But don't fool yourself.  They're begging for a rather muted response and/or a dulling of criticism over time before they pull the broadsheet from subscribers.  It's called a soft-sell.  And it will work.

Two days ago, there was a journalism town hall in downtown Chicago at the Hotel Allegro in an attempt to discuss ways to save print journalism in America.  Michael Miner at the Reader was on the panel and, like him, I don't know how the hell to do it.  There are no answers.

But the Tribune's answer has been rather odd.  Like most regional leaders, the first answer was to cut foreign coverage and go to wire reports, amp up the more sensationalistic and buy out the old fogies that cost too much.  Brilliant plan, guys.  That will separate yourself from the pack...and the Internet.

It used to be a pretty great paper.  I would buy it in Iowa City just for the foreign coverage, something that rivaled the New York Times on occasion.

No match.  I have more for the Trib.

Winner:  The Tribune's New Direction as they led by at least 15 most of the game, 75-52.


Day 1 Part 2

Wow, got a little crazy yesterday and didn't get a chance to finish...So, here goes. Day 2 matchups will be posted later today.

Ford Explorer Region
1) Messy Food vs. 16) Rolling Stone Magazine--

This one is over 2 minutes in. Magazines in general are dying but Rolling Stone became irrelevant the minute they posted masturbatory covers for pedophiles. And the writing..Have you flipped through one lately? Calling it sanctimonious is kind.
But I've talked about my disdain for messy food before. Ribs, Fondu, anything that you have to clean up after with more than a napkin is just a complete pain in the ass. It's bad enough the food you eat turns into shit do we really need to make it appear that way before? I see a big tourney for messy food so we'll save more on it for later.

Messy food starts the game with a 15-1 run and never looks back. Rolling Stone looks dazed. Messy food 101-56.

6) Al Pacino's last 10 Years vs. 11) Jimmy John's

Tough one here. One of these got screwed in the seeding. Al Pacino has done some of the best acting I've ever seen and in some of the best movies I've ever seen: Glengarry, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, The Godfather? Come on!
But take a gander at this last decade of garbage:

Heat (2009) (VG) (in production .... Lt. Vincent Hanna
Mary Mother of Christ (2010) (rumored) .... Herod
Righteous Kill (2008) .... David 'Rooster' Fisk
Ocean's Thirteen (2007) .... Willy Bank ... aka 13 (USA: promotional abbreviation)
88 Minutes (2007) .... Dr. Jack Gramm... aka 88 Minutes (International: English title) (USA: promotional title) ... aka 88 (USA: closing credits title) ... aka 88: 88 Minutes (USA: complete title)
Two for the Money (2005) .... Walter Abrams
The Merchant of Venice (2004) .... Shylock ... aka Mercante di Venezia, Il (Italy) ... aka William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (USA: complete title)
"Angels in America" .... Roy Cohn (6 episodes, 2003) - Millennium Approaches: Chapter Thre- The Messenger (2003) TV episode .... Roy Cohn
Gigli (2003) .... Starkman
The Recruit (2003) .... Walter Burke
People I Know (2002) .... Eli Wurman ... aka Der Innere Kreis (Germany: video title) ... aka Im inneren Kreis (Germany)
S1m0ne (2002) .... Viktor Taransky
Insomnia (2002/I) .... Detective Will Dormer ... aka Insomnie (Canada: French title)
Chinese Coffee (2000) .... Harry Levine
Any Given Sunday (1999) .... Tony D'Amato
The Insider (1999) .... Lowell Bergman
The Devil's Advocate (1997) .... John Milton

Need I say more?

Jimmy John's is exactly what I said in the comments section of an earlier post:

Music: "Can you play it a TAD louder and at a slightly more obnoxious level please? I can still barely hear my friend talking."

Food: Sub par to fair to middling.

Diagnosis: JJ falls into the "Wolf It For Time" restaurants. You never go there unless it's the ONLY place within a reasonable distance of where you are and you have less than 15 minutes to eat. You never actually go "Hmm..Jimmy John's sounds good. I think I'll make a special trip."

Tough call. Jimmy John's was an underdog favorite coming in but Al Pacino goes over the top with his decade of basically playing a cartoonish version of himself in every movie. And "88 Days"....That alone.

Pacino eeks out a 78-75 win with some big free throws down the stretch..