Friday, October 28, 2011

God probably isn't a baseball fan, Thor on the otherhand. . .

Last night the Rangers and Cardinals played one of the most astonishing World Series games ever. People seem to be praising it as one of the best games ever, which I disagree with. Of course this may be because sports writers tend to believe that the game that they are assigned is always The Greatest Game of All Time! The last 5 innings or so of last nights games were amazing with the lead flip flopping and the Cards coming so close to elimination, but the first 6 innings were sloppy and badly played. We need to calm down a little bit and realize that, as a whole, that game can't even come close to game 7 of 1991 for example. I digress, back to last night. Josh Hamilton hit a potential Series winning two run home run in the top of the 10th inning. I was surprised that he was able to do it. He had been on a huge homerless drought, is playing with an injury, and he had been having a pretty lousy Series overall. You know who wasn't surprised? Hamilton. He knew he was going to hit a home run the entire time. How did he know this? It wasn't because he was supremely confident in his skills, it was because God told him he was going to do it.

Few things in this world piss me off as much as when I hear an athlete say that God is the reason they hit a home run, made a sack or won a curling bonspiel. I understand that faith is very important to many people and I'm not trying to attack said faith, what I'm saying is that God doesn't care about sports. There are 7 billion people in this world, that's a heck of a lot of sporting events for God to pay attention to. I'm an only child and my parents had a hard time making it to my little league games. It seems amazingly narcissistic to think that God cared so much about you that he gave the ball a little extra push on it's way out of the stadium, and more so that he did so to spite everyone on the other team. Baseball isn't played in a vacuum, it's played by two teams against each other. If God helps a player achieve something it means that he is also actively making another player fail. So is it that God is a Hamilton fan or does he have some sort of grudge against Jason Motte? And if He wanted Hamilton to hit a home run and succeed why did he still let the Cardinals win? Oh, I know why, because God had nothing to do with it.

The thing that made what Hamilton said slightly different than other athletes is that he said that God told him he would hit a home run. Usually athletes just praise God and thank him, Hamilton said that he had an actual conversation with God guaranteeing his homer. This made me wonder a couple of things. First, what would have happened if Hamilton didn't hit a homer? I'm sure that he would have never mentioned anything to the press, no one ever talks about how God made them hang a curveball after giving up a walk off, but would it shake his faith? Usually if God tells you something you assume that he isn't lying, so if that ball only traveled 399 feet for a very loud out would Hamilton have become an atheist? Secondly, what if God had told Hamilton he would go 0-5 with a couple of errors and cost his team the game. What's Hamilton to do in that situation? Do you go up to the manager and tell him you need the day off? Lastly, if God decides to actually affect the outcome of sporting events why isn't his fandom more evident? I guess you could make the argument that he must be a Yankee fan because they have won the most championships but to me that is just proof that the devil has more pull over sporting events. Sports fans by nature are selfish. Every year our team doesn't win is a failure. Thus I would think if God was a sports fan that he would definitely have a favorite team and they would win (almost) every single year. Unless of course God is one of those sports fans who doesn't have a favorite team and just likes players, which means that God is a horrible sports fan who nobody likes.

I realize that I'm taking a pretty flippant tone while talking about God here but it's not like I'm talking about life and death or morals, I'm talking about sports. Recreation. Every day roughly 35,967 more important things will happen in your life than a sporting event. I would especially think that a person who has gone through all of the horrible things that Josh Hamilton has would have a little perspective and realize how insignificant 1 at bat in a fairly important baseball game is given the grand scheme of things.

The only thing we can really be sure of is that God is most definitely not a Cubs fan.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My man card was declined

I'm a drinker. Every once in a while I've been known to imbibe an adult beverage or 12. I thoroughly enjoy alcohol. I like all the different varieties, I like the feeling of satisfaction I get for being knowledgeable about different wines/beers/whiskeys, and I like the way booze makes me suave and sophisticated in the eyes of the fairer sex.

One of the interesting things about drinking, especially out in public, is that there are connotations about the drinks that you choose. If I was sitting at a sports bar sipping a Cosmo I'm pretty sure everyone in the joint would be making fun of me or at the very least drawing some conclusions about my sexuality. Likewise if you offered to buy a girl a drink at a bar and she asked for a boilermaker you would come to some quick conclusions about her, most notably that she's not a lame girly girl and that she probably has a drinking problem. It is pretty well established that there are "girl drinks" and "man drinks." Examples:

Girl Drinks: Cosmos. Flavored vodka. Champagne with a strawberry. Anything frozen. Smirnoff Ice. Any shot that sounds like a dessert.

Man Drinks: Scotch. Boilermakers. Bourbon. Everclear. Irish Whiskey. Malort. Canadian Whiskey. BEER. Any shot that is lit on fire.

Please note, I did not say light beer and I sure as shit didn't say Bud Light Lime, I said beer. This is why I am particularly enraged at the recent Miller Lite commercials. In these commercials you will see a bunch of fellas hanging out and one of them makes the horrible social faux pas of ordering a generic light beer. Then his friends belittle him for being less of a man since he didn't order a Miller Lite by saying it was the second unmanly thing he did. At this point the commercials show a guy on a scooter, a guy freaking out on a rock wall, or a guy crying while leaving his girlfriend thus proving that he was less of a man. In order to regain his manliness he will order a Miller Lite and then everyone has a good laugh. I'd hate to break it to these fellas but I have some bad news for you, YOU ARE ALL PUSSIES.

Drinking light beer is one of the least manly things you can do because light beer does everything it can to taste like nothing. Water has slightly more flavor than Miller Lite does. Let's look back at the list of girl drinks and man drinks, do you notice the common thread binding them all together? The girl drinks do everything they can to hide the taste of alcohol. Man drinks taste like booze, or in the case of Malort, jet fuel. If you are going to drink a beer drink an Arrogant Bastard from Stone; it has a bitchin' name, amazing flavor and I'm pretty sure it puts hair on your chest. No one is going to question your manliness when you have a 22oz bottle of something called Arrogant Bastard in front of you. (I'm hoping I can land a Stone endorsement deal from this blog.) Yet these so called "men" stand around looking like they just came out of a J Crew catalog sipping their Miller Lites. Those are not men. Men have facial hair. Men drink outdoors in the winter. Do you think that Teddy Roosevelt would cool down after boxing a bear with a refreshing light beer? NO. He drank pure grain alcohol after pouring it on his wounds to disinfect them.

I have found that these ads have influenced me in the polar opposite way than they were intended to. I want to do everything I can to not be like the Miller Lite sipping morons. So if they frown upon riding scooters I'm going out to get a scooter. I'll scream my head off on a roller coaster if it means I don't have to stand around being smug about my (barely) flavored beer substitute afterward. The ad that bothered me more than any of the others was when the guy is mocked for asking his friends to come to the bathroom with him, it hit particularly close to home. I often ask my friends to come to the bathroom with me when we are out at a bar. Not to gossip or fix our hair like women. No, we go to the bathroom as a group to drink single malt scotch out of our flasks and shoot dice because we are MEN, something a bunch of Miller Lite guzzling sycophants will never be.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Old Balls

Somewhere between 1980 and now I decided to become fat. I blame it mostly on my discovery of the cookie in the winter of 1983. Recently my father has given me recipes for bacon infused bourbon and meatballs that include a miraculous ingredient called "bacon paste" so something must be done to fight the massive caloric intake in my future. I would like to, at the very least, wait until my 40's for my first heart attack. This is why I go to the gym.

Going to the gym is a pretty hellish experience, although this is for reasons other than what I had anticipated. I assumed that the fact that I haven't moved quickly since 8th grade would make the act of exercising abhorrent. I have been delighted to learn that this is not the case. As long as I have angry music piercing my ear drums I push through my lack of fitness and I feel pretty tremendous afterwards. There is a certain misery to a workout and I sweat like a stuck pig but it's not intolerable. Unfortunately the gym is not a solitary experience, in fact, it is usually packed with people.

Often in my life I think of the great words of Jean-Paul Sartre, "L'enfer c'est les autres." If you chose to take a useful foreign language instead of French that means "Hell is other people." I feel that if ol Jean-Paul had to go down to the local Bally's to get his exercise in that he would have altered that thought to "L'enfer est testicules d'autres personnes." I'm confident that I don't need to translate that for you.

I understand that the locker room is a place where the rules of polite society are cast aside. Any time that people are changing clothes and taking showers there is an expected and acceptable amount of nudity. I'm not a prude by any means, hell, I like a good bit of nudity as much as the next fella. While I have been described as "an Adonis" and "a physical specimen" I try to save my nudity for a few special occasions; with my lady, at the doctor, and after a six pack of Four Loko. Other than in those few instances I try to take my clothes on and off in a swift process.
Yet for some damn reason people parade about the locker room swinging their wedding tackle from side to side for all to see. Not only are these men putting themselves on display it's that it is impossible to avoid. I have had to stop taking my shoes off at all lest I be forced to sit on the bench to tie them, where inevitably I always come eye to eye with a septuagenarian's sagging balls.

I have come up with a theory pertaining to this. It seems that the older the gentleman the more prolonged the nudity. One would be quick to assume that this is because old people do things more slowly. Not so fast my friend, that is not why they are naked longer. When they actually decide to cover themselves they move at a normal pace to do so, so that's not the explanation. Instead it seems as if they have complete disdain at the idea of having to put their clothes back on. They air dry themselves, have conversations and wander about the locker room aimlessly naked as the day they were born. I imagine that after 70+ years of having to wear clothes every day one might get sick of doing it and that's what I assume is the case here. They have decided to relish this brief nude respite for as long as possible before they return to the monotony of being dressed. I guess it's kind of sweet when you think about it. . .

NO, IT'S NOT SWEET. IT'S GROSS. I don't want to have to stare at your wrinkled, old ass while I'm getting dressed. I'm not forcing you to take a prolonged gander at my ample posterior, you can at least do me the common decency of returning the favor. I'm sure that your old friend can recap the Matlock you missed with his junk covered by a towel instead of wagging in my face. For the love of God just get dressed and get the hell out of the locker room as quickly as possible, please. Although I guess I should thank the naked old men for helping me lose weight in an unexpected way, once I leave the gym I don't have an appetite for hours.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Making 15 pitching changes a games does not make you a genius

2 blog oriented issues before we get into it:
1. 9 people are following this blog, 3 are named Jessica. I am extremely popular among Jessicas.
2. I purposely went this many posts before a sports related blog and I'm very proud of myself, now prepare yourself for some venom.

I'm going to talk about baseball for a second. It's been almost a month since the worst collapse EVER so my wounds have healed enough for me to finally address this year's playoffs. It appears that the Cardinals have managed to put together a little run and end up in the World Series, well isn't that special? You know what I love about that team? Nothing. I hate that team more than every other sports team not named the Yankees. I hate them even more than I hate the Packers which is saying a hell of a lot. I shall now use the magic of bullet points to explain why I despise them so much. Why bullets you ask? Because that's what I would like to put in the head Fredbird.

  • Who is Fredbird you ask? He's the mascot of the Cardinals. See how clever his name is? They took "red bird" which is what a cardinal is and put an F in front of it. It probably took a marketing team 6 months to come up with this.
  • The media constantly refers to Cardinals fans as the best fans in baseball? Why? Because they cheer for a midget second baseman because he's so gritty? Because they wear all red with their tight rolled jean shorts? There is no rationale for this title but every moron in the media repeats it verbatim.
  • The team is from West St Louis. It's like East St Louis but without all the character. Or roaming gangs of dogs.
  • This franchise is directly responsible for unleashing Joe Buck unto the world. If Jack Buck had not been successful with the Cardinals his dipshit son would have never been forced down our throats. Every time Joe Buck gets to call a Cardinals game you can actually hear his erection. Speaking of horrible announcers the Cardinals are responsible for, guess who played the majority of their career as a Cardinal? Tim Fucking McCarver. Thanks a lot St. Louis.
  • Lastly, the only thing more nauseating than hearing stories about how great Cardinals fans are is having to suffer through tales of Tony LaRussa's "genius."
I grew up an Oakland A's fan so I am a bit of a scholar of the LaRussa genius. No manager has ever been as obsessed with the lefty/righty match up as LaRussa. While managing the A's he would often take out Dave Stewart or Mike Moore an inning or two early to get a better match up. It didn't matter if Stewart was cruising along with a shut out in the 6th, in would trot Rick Honeycutt to give up the game like f'n clockwork. What LaRussa has always done is overmanage the games. He feels that if he isn't messing with the lineup or pitchers every damn inning that he isn't proving to the world how smart he is. Great, you have a law degree and you sent your kids to some ballet school that you mention at the drop of a hat in every post game press conference, no one cares. You know what fans care about? The fact that you managed to have one of the most stacked teams in baseball history (1988-1992 Oakland A's) and you only won 1 World Series. LaRussa's A's managed to win 103 games in 1990 only to be swept by the Reds. Quick, can you name a player on that Reds team for any reason other than that they wore goofy goggles or got kicked out of a game and then watched it while drinking from the Budweiser house? (Sabo and Dibble respectively) No, you can't.

It's actually pretty impressive that LaRussa has been able to maintain the myth that he is a genius. Bobby Cox has always had to live down the stigma of being a choker in the playoffs yet for some reason that has never been attached to LaRussa. The 2004 Cardinals won 105 games yet did not lead for a single inning against the Red Sox in the series. (Interesting tidbit, 2 teams have won the World Series while never trailing in any game, 04 Sox against LaRussa and the 89 A's for LaRussa) With the Cardinals LaRussa has won 1 World Series despite making the playoffs 9 out of 16 years and almost always being predicted to win their division. That 1 victory came against a Tigers team that seemed intent on choking, they made 8 errors in only 5 games. Although it is probably that victory more than any other that gives LaRussa his genius tag, they only won 83 games that year. The fact that they were a playoff team is a bit of a joke yet they managed to become the worst team to ever win the World Series. I still think that when you look at the talent he has managed in their primes (Rickey Henderson, McGwire in both his real prime and his chemically aided prime, Dave Stewart, Mike Moore, Canseco, Carpenter, Wainwright, Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Jeff Suppan etc.) it is remarkable that LaRussa's teams have won a measly 2 championships. (And I just included Suppan to piss people off, God did he suck)

Every time I hear Joe Buck gush about the genius of LaRussa bringing in a 4th pitcher in 2/3s of an inning the only thing I can think about is all the years of failure associated with LaRussa, all of the teams that should have done much better, the players he ran out of town for personal reasons (most notably Canseco and Rolen), the 103, 104 and 105 win choking dogs he's managed, his World Series record of 10-15 and the time he fell asleep, drunk, at a stoplight. That doesn't seem like genius to me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The one in which I try to stab a website

I love the interwebs. It is a wonderful invention that has revolutionized the way that we live our lives. For example, it makes it possible for you to hear me rant without having to go through the horrendous experience of interacting with me. Every day I am grateful for the internet's presence if for no other reason than it decreases the amount of people I have to talk to. I can order food without having to repeat my address 15 times to the old Chinese woman taking my order. I can shit talk to anonymous housewives as much as I want as I destroy them in Scrabble. And most importantly, when I want to buy something I only have to click 3 or 4 buttons and it's done. Our lives have become infinitely easier, that is, until you need to book a flight for Thanksgiving.

I was trying to find a way to get to Atlanta so that Nora and I can consume mass quantities of Turducken with my family. The cheapest flights were on Travelocity. Last night I tried to book a flight. Normally this is a 5 minute process. I click through, find a decent deal, proceed to get ready to purchase and then the first warning sign appears. Travelocity automatically signs you up for the "traveler's insurance" bullshit, thus making it $25 more expensive. There is no incident known to man that is actually covered by this scam. If my whole family was murdered by one of the tigers that got lose in Ohio and I had to cancel my flight I wouldn't get my money back, they would pull some made up loophole about how the insurance only covers murders by humans or some nonsense. So, Travelocity hasn't even begun to screw me yet and I'm already seething. After going back and unclicking the insurance nonsense I proceed. Finally I hit the last button and the tickets should be purchased. . .

Nope. Fail. I am told that there is a problem with my credit card number. I check all the numbers, which I have memorized because I love racking up debt, and they are correct. The address is correct. Everything is correct so I try to purchase again. Nope. Won't go through because of a credit card problem. I figure my card is being a jerk, as it is wont to do, and I call the credit card company while Nora attempts to buy her ticket. I finally talk to a woman with a very heavy Indian accent with the name "LaRonda," which is totally rad, and she tells me that there is no problem with my card. The only problem with my card is that Travelocity attempted to charge it 5 TIMES, all of which were approved. 5 times? If it had been twice I would have understood since I attempted to purchase tickets twice, but 5 times? That seems arbitrary. It is around this time that I have decided to find Mr. and Mrs. Travelocity and to pay them a little visit. Of course this isn't possible because: A. There is no Mr. and Mrs. Travelocity. B. If there was they probably live far away and I don't have a car. and C. My beloved internet anonymity has made it so I can't put a face to those who are causing me problems. Curses!

It turns out that while I was contemplating my bloody vengeance that Nora had the exact same crap happen when she tried. DAMNATION. We give up for the night and I return to battle this morning hoping that it was just a glitch. (I know what you are thinking, why not use another site? Because Travelocity was cheaper than anywhere else and I am a notorious tightwad.) Things progressed the same as last night; they tried the insurance scam, I thwarted them, I entered everything in, said a prayer to St Jude, and hit submit. This time my credit card worked but one of the flights was sold out. OK, I can deal with this. It sends me back to chose a flight. All of the outgoing flights are the same so I pick the same one and assume my return flight is the one that was sold out. All of the return flights are the same. So I pick the same one again figuring it was just lying. I'm told one was sold out. Argh. If one of them was sold out why the hell would it still be an option?! Some of this is on me though so I pick different flights each way. Sold out. I pick even more different flights, sold out. EVERYTHING IS SOLD OUT. Why the hell doesn't Travelocity just say that they are sold out instead of listing all these mythical flights that I could be taking?

My original vengeance dream for Mr. and Mrs. Travelocity was similar to the scene in Christmas Vacation, you know, maybe rough them up a little and tell them what assholes they are and then move on. The thoughts going through my head by now are much more similar to Kevin Spacey in Seven, specifically the Lust situation. I was ready to strap on that device and go to town on them. If you've seen the movie you'll get the reference, if you haven't you don't want to know, trust me. Basically I wanted to stab a puppy, I was that furious. I was ready to give up. Travelocity had won. I wasn't going to see my family, I wasn't going to eat my weight in Turducken. I had fought the good fight but fell just short. There was no where else to turn, right?

WRONG! This is the frickin' internet, there are 10,000 sites to buy plane tickets at. So I went to Expedia. I paid $10 more per ticket and it took 4 minutes. It was glorious. No puppies were stabbed.

tl;dr - Travelocity is the worst company in the history of business.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I learn a lot about myself from the ads in a magazine

When I'm doing my business on "The Throne" I do one of two things: 1. Sing Eagles songs because they naturally ease the process. 2. Read the Smithsonian. I'm especially proud of reading the Smithsonian in the bathroom now that I live with my girlfriend because it makes me feel intellectually superior since she reads Entertainment Weekly in the same situation. For those of you who don't read it I recommend it, this month there was an especially intriguing piece about Willem de Kooning. Toward the back of the magazine they have tiny little 2X2 inch ads for the most bizarre stuff ever. It makes me wonder what kind of people they are targeting and more importantly, does anyone buy this crap? Here is a sampling of the ads on one page and my ramblings about each.

Vantage Vue Weather Station - This would be a small little computer that apparently tells you the weather. It retails for a mere $395 and advertises itself as "Rugged, Accurate, Reliable, and a great price." It can tell you "wind, rain, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure and much more." Opening the window seems a lot easier.

Replacements LTD. - China, crystal, silver and collectibles. This ad makes sense to me as it definitely is aimed to the older demographic. Old people have nice china and are clumsy, boom, perfect business model. Of course the size of the print probably prevents any seniors from actually discovering this wonderful company.

World Discovery Box - It's a box filled with "over 30 fossils, insects, marine life and minerals." It does not state whether the insects and marine life are alive or not. If I order this and receive a big box full of maggots and dead carp I'm gonna be furious.

Men's Wide Shoes - Were you even aware that you could mail order shoes in sizes ranging from 5-20 with widths of EEE-EEEEEE? I just want to see the freak of nature who wears a 5-EEEEEE.

Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont - "Made in Vermont. Specialty Bow Ties." I can't think of two more boring statements than that. I believe David Sedaris said it best, “A bow tie announces to the world that you can no longer get an erection.”

And now for the crown jewel of them all. . .
Athena Pheromones - Developed by Dr. Winnifred Cutler. Now, with a name like that I have no idea why Dr. Winnifred had to create a potion to get laid, none at all. Yes boys and girls, you can buy love potion in the back pages of the Smithsonian.

So, in summary, here is what I can assume about me and my fellow Smithsonian readers. We have some sort of profession that demands we know the weather at all times, we're clumsy, we love boxes full of crap, our feet are freakishly wide, and we are unable to maintain an erection that we won't need anyway because we require magic potions to attract the opposite sex. Maybe I should switch up to reading Entertainment Weekly before it's too late.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The comic this blog post was based on was far superior, duh

Full disclosure: I'm a nerd. I'll admit it. As I write this I'm drinking a beer out of an Incredible Hulk pint glass, listening to They Might Be Giants, wearing a Threadless shirt depicting a metal sea monster destroying the Merrimack and the Monitor and I have the Imperial Logo tattooed on my arm. That's about as nerdy as it gets. Hell, I forgot to mention that I have the ESPN fantasy cast open so I can track my 4 fantasy football teams. It doesn't matter what kind of nerdery it is, I do it all, I'm a Renaissance Nerd. Today I'm suffering from an overdose of Nerd Rage.

Normally one would use the term to describe the legions of fans who are hypercritical about the things they love. Example: When Watchmen became a movie everybody I know bitched about the ending being a nuke instead of that weird squid monster. "It's different! The comic is so much better!" Yes, as a whole the comic was better, but come on. Do you know how fucking stupid that thing would have looked on the big screen? Knowing the geniuses in Hollywood I assume it would have been a combination of the Blob and Clifford the Big Red Dog with tentacles. Whenever there is some sort of comic or sci-fi adaptation nerds (and I use this term lovingly, I'm not Ogre) head to the internet to complain about it.

Today's post isn't about how I have Nerd Rage over something, although I feel a general takedown of George Lucas is in our near future. No, instead I am filled with rage toward people who have Nerd Rage, specifically about The Walking Dead. It seems to be en vogue to complain about how the series is differing from the comic and how it will never be as good et cetera. I read a couple of complaints about how most of last night's episode was "filler," and I agree. You can't kill off half the cast every show, sorry, that's not how things work. And have the people who complained about that even read the last couple of Walking Dead trades? Filler seems to be the majority of the comic now. I know that the CDC storyline wasn't involved in the comic and that Shane should be long dead by now (whoops, spoiler alert) but I don't understand the fuss and cynicism. It's a fairly faithful adaptation that the comic's author, Robert Kirkman, is a writer for so if anything he's the one making changes, or at the very least he supports those changes. Not to mention that there is a highly rated weekly show ABOUT ZOMBIES. This is fantastic, it's everything I've ever wanted. Every week I get to watch a pretty good show about a zombie invasion, how can that be a bad thing?

I understand having strong emotions about changes being made to something you love but this endless cynicism drives me bonkers. Kirkman has said that if he knew the comic would go on for as long as it has he wouldn't have killed Shane off so quickly. Now with the TV show he gets a bit of a do over. Plus, let's be honest, Game of Thrones might be the first and only show to have the balls to kill so many main characters in such a short amount of time. I look at The Walking Dead TV show as an adaptation of the comic and I don't want it to be word for word the same as the comics I've already read. I think it's interesting to see the things that get changed or adapted, I loved the vatos taking care of the old people for example. It just seems like the rest of my nerd brethren react negatively to any change for no reason other than it's a change. Rarely do you hear a reason for hating something other than the simple fact that it's different. I just wish that more people would just take a second to analyze what they saw and give reasoning as to why they disliked the changes instead of angrily bleating "It was different!" Take a second to appreciate that there even is a Walking Dead on television, something that never would have happened even five years ago. Maybe if it stays successful we can get a Y the Last Man series, eh? Oh, a nerd can dream. . .

Feel free to argue with me about this in the comment section, I'd love to hear someone who loved the comic but hates the show give me their reasoning behind it.

Almost forgot, if they introduce The Governor and fuck it up I'll be the first one screaming about it, you can bet on that. Then I'll delete this post so you might want to print it out if you are hoping to say "I told you so."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Children should be seen and not heard. And preferably not seen either.

I understand that children are a necessary evil in this world. We need to perpetuate the species, I guess, and it would be awkward if we were born as grown ups. I also know that in two or three years I'll become a hypocrite when this blog becomes a collection of pictures of my precious baby boy Manny Ramirez "Brawndo" Connell. Until then bear with me as I complain about the youngest members of our species. To be more specific, the little fucker next door.

For the last week my next door neighbor has had 4 radiators on their back porch. I assume they are there for some sort of reason that I have yet to determine. For the entirety of this time this kid has been running a stick across the radiators. Don't get confused and think that when I say "entirety" I mean for 20 minutes periodically, while I am prone to exaggeration this is not one of those occasions. Yesterday he was at it for at least 5 straight hours. 5 hours of running a stick along a radiator. Thwick, thwick, thwick, THHHHHWICKKKK! He is relentless. He must be stopped.

Here is what I have learned about my nemesis:
1. He is between the ages of 8-12. I have no idea what age kids are most of the time so this guess may be way off. He's past diapers and hasn't used a razor yet, that's the range. He definitely should be of school age.
2. He doesn't go to school. Or if he does he's still home by noonish.
3. He has a little sister who also loves the stick game but thankfully she has a short attention span.
4. Thanks to the angle of where his porch is I am unable to have a clear shot if I were to throw stuff at him.
5. He obviously has no soul.

I have done everything within my power to get the sound out of my head to no avail. I closed the window. I turned up Mastodon. I tried to focus on other things and ignore the sound. I ran to the other side of the apartment screaming. While I'm sure that he had finally stopped his slavish devotion to scratching the radiator by 2 am last night I still heard the sound as I tried to fall asleep. It's in my head and I'm afraid it will never leave. 2 more days of this and I will gladly rip out my own eardrums with a pair of pliers. (Not sure if that's possible, I shall look into it)

I thought that the entire purpose of school was so that adults could function normally for a few hours a day. You lock the kids up so that us real people can go about their day without hearing some brat be an idiot all damn day. That being said I am beginning to understand that this child might not exactly be "grade school material." HE HAS PLAYED WITH A RADIATOR FOR A WEEK. We all do stupid things as kids, I once spent an entire afternoon throwing mud at the side of my house. After doing that stupid thing I moved on to a new and equally stupid activity. The point is that I moved on to something new. All this kid's feeble imagination has come up with in a week is to drag a stick across the same damn radiator.

As I try to come up with a solution I am quite aware that it would be a social faux pas to jump the fence and challenge him to fisticuffs. Plus I bet he could take me, he's been working out with that stick all week. So, for once, violence is not the answer. The ultimate goal is to get him transfixed by a quiet activity for as long as possible. There is only one solution that I have come up with and it is, at best, morally dubious. Porn.

Now, hear me out on this. I believe I speak for all prepubescent boys when I say that the only thing that could hold my attention, quietly, was porn. Give a 12 year old a crusty old Playboy from 1978 and you will shut him up for a month. The first Playboy I ever obtained had LaToya Jackson in it and I still treasured it more than anything else in the world. I figure if I just toss a good nudie mag over the fence I will have bought myself at least a week of glorious silence. Even if I end up burning in hell it'll be completely worth it. Now I must retire to my vault to decide which magazine is most expendable. . .

Harvest: Ax Men Without Trees

When I went to college I chose a major that was a double threat in that it prevented me from getting a job and from getting laid. I was a history major. Many job interviews have ended when I have tried to explain that knowing all of the Russian Czars in order is "relative job experience" and many potential trysts have ended when I start to talk about the demise of the Whig party. My friends have always treated me as a bit of an outcast for being as into history as I am, and that's cool, I get it, not everyone gives a shit about Woodrow Wilson's 14 point plan. Until recently I knew that there was a group of people out there who shared my interests, the good people at the History Channel. For me channel 65 (I assume they picked this number to coincide with the year the Civil War ended) was a beacon of hope among the sea of vapid offerings on my cable system. Then Pawn Stars became a hit and it all went down the fucking tube.

Tonight I watched an atrocity called Harvest. If Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men boned and spit out a kid it would be Harvest, and frankly I wish they would have used protection. The show follows a bunch of farmers in Kansas harvesting wheat. It tries to build up suspense by pitting multiple companies against each other as they try to obtain the best harvest. Yes, you read that correctly. This is a show about competitive farming. And not even the cool kind of competitive farming where people grow pumpkins that are bigger than an Escalade. Every show has to have an antagonist, that's television 101, if you have multiple antagonists even better. The first villain: weather. Oh no! Will they be able to finish the field before the big, evil rain clouds get here? They better run those combines extra hard if they want to have a chance at finishing. Then comes the twist, the second villain, WEEDS. Apparently combines get clogged up if there are weeds, or something, I wasn't paying the closest attention. That's it. This show is an abomination. If they don't introduce crop circles by episode 3 I'm pretty damn sure no one will watch.

Now I fully accept that there have to be shitty television shows out there. We have roughly 600 channels and at least 400 of those show programs other than pornography, so there's a lot out there. My problem is that this is on the History Channel. What does this have to do with history? Bupkis. Most of the shows on the History Channel these days have only a minimal connection to history. I guess the American Pickers and Pawn Stars come across some pretty cool stuff (although I hate those shows as well) but most of the shows have nothing to do with history. I remember the olden days when the History Channel used to show nothing but historical documentaries and it was AWESOME. I loved it. When the Simpsons made the joke about the Luftwaffe being the Washington Generals of the History Channel I chuckled because it was true, but that didn't mean that I wanted to see anything else. I can't be the only one out there that would much rather see a black and white doc about Operation Barbarossa over a bunch of truckers driving on ice, right? I don't care how good the production values of the show are, there is no possible way I can be made to give a shit about truckers.

If you are named the History Channel don't you have some sort of obligation to show actual history? I guess they got emboldened by Music Television and the Learning Channel having success by completely abandoning their original formats and have decided to go the same route. The thing that I find the most troublesome about this is that I got excited when Ancient Aliens came on because it is remotely connected to history. And when listening to some yahoo talk about how alien tractor beams absolutely HAD to be used to construct the pyramids is the best "history" programming on TV it's time I shut it off and read a book.