Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Express Checkout Lane

Observe the posted item limit please.  I have to call a foul on all people abusing the express lane.  I am sick and tired of people taking advantage of the express checkout lanes in stores.  I have had enough of people sneaking in a few extra when I only have a handful of things to purchase.  They get in line in front of me, and take up MY time because they feel entitled to the express lane.  The sign does not say "8 or so items", it says "8 Fucking Items".  If you are in an 8 item lane, have no more than 8 items.  I don't care if you're a senior citizen, single mom, or if you're in a hurry.  Observe the express lane limit.  Who the fuck do you think you are getting in front of me with too many items?  What makes this situation worse is that the checkout people exercise no authority whatsoever in dealing with these atrocities.  The customer is NOT always right, especially when it comes to express lane abuse.  Something needs to be done to end this outrage.  I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand.  Across this line you DO NOT PASS!

I propose that limits be instituted on checkout lanes.  For example, suppose a particular checkout lane has an 8 item limit.  The cash register should be programmed to only ring up 8 items per receipt.  A customer would no longer be able to play dumb and go through there with an 11 item purchase, while I wait like a shmuck with my pack of razors and deoderant as some nitwit buys all their party supplies.  No.  The cashier would ring up the most important 8 items to the customer.  The customer would take all residual unpaid for items to the back of the line and wait their turn, or come back another day.  Do you see what happens?  Where there is no fear of consequence, there is no law and order.  People know they can get away with bullshit like this. Something must be done to stop it, I feel my solution is simple and practical. 

A Fan of Fair Weather

Surely you've heard some of the talk lately about the Super Bowl being played at the Meadowlands in 2014. It was somewhat of a big deal that the New York/New Jersey area was even allowed to submit a bid to host the game. I get the appeal of the greater New York area hosting the Big Game - after all, it is the media capital of the country, if not the world. And while I'm hardly averse to the Super Bowl spreading the jing around in terms of host cities, it would be in football's best interest that the idea of a Super Bowl in East Rutherford, NJ stays an idea and does not become a reality. A cold weather or foul weather Super Bowl, especially one in North Jersey, would be a cluster(rhymes with truck).

First, let me tackle the issue of playing the Super Bowl at the still-unnamed new Meadowlands Stadium. If any of you have ever been to that area, it is an absolute horror show when it comes to traffic and congestion. One of the most densely populated areas in the country, the New York suburbs on the Jersey side would overflow like a popped zit if the thousands of media members and fans that tend to show up during Super Bowl week were to descend upon the area. Even if a fair number of people avoid the shitstorm that is North Jersey roads by taking public transportation, we're talking about yet another system that is essentially already used to full capacity, plus I can't imagine many ego-driven media talking heads being willing to slum it on NJ Transit. Hotels would be a mess, with many media outlets not wanting to pay the higher rates to put its employees up in the city, thus leaving the relatively fewer amount of hotels within acceptable driving distance on the Jersey side booked to the gills. I can go on, but I think we get it. These are largely the same reasons that New York got denied the 2016 Olympics as well.

Putting the specific city aside, an outdoor Super Bowl in a cold weather city brings game-integrity issues into play. I know there is a faction of people who would love to see a Super Bowl played in snow or howling wind, but it's just not fair. This mainly comes into play with pass-first, speedy teams like the Cardinals and Saints of the past few years who would be expected to struggle in poor weather. You can throw the "but a team should be able to win in all types of conditions if it wants to call itself a champion" argument out there, but I have one problem with that. If you make it through the conference playoffs, you deserve your shot at the Lombardi Trophy in as even-keel a setting as possible, because you've already proven you can win in adverse conditions (if your team won a road playoff game along the way) or, you did well enough in the regular season to secure home field throughout the playoffs and thus the right to play "your type of game" all along. I love the elements in football as much as anyone else, but not for deciding the championship. The weather and field conditions should not tilt a Super Bowl matchup to the degree that it very well could if it were played outdoors in the North in early February.

Peter King made a point in his SI.com column this week (the first item on the linked page) that sealed the deal for me when it comes to this issue. Making an exception so that the Meadowlands can host the Super Bowl sets a precedent for all the other cold-weather NFL cities to lobby for a Super Bowl of their own. Do we really want to hear all these cities and owners clamoring for a Super Bowl? OK, I can see having one in Washington, that wouldn't be terrible, and maybe in Baltimore if for nothing other than the two weeks of references to The Wire it would provide. But how about Green Bay or Chicago? No, too damn cold. Pittsburgh or Philly? No. Denver, Seattle, or Foxboro, MA? No, hell no, and f*** no.

The NFL has to toe a line to to award the Super Bowl to a city each year that will not only present optimal playing conditions for the game, but also provide a nice setting (new, modern stadium, agreeable vacation-type weather, or at least a good party city) for the sport's biggest $howcase. There's a reason New Orleans and Miami seem to get one every 3-4 years, and Los Angeles would too if it still had an NFL team. It's for the same reasons that Jacksonville, Houston, and Minneapolis shouldn't hold their breaths waiting for another one to get thrown their way. Hate to say it, but hosting the Super Bowl is a party that us northern cities are not invited to, and it's for everyone's own good.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Bracket: Final Four

#1 East Region Champion -Carrie Underwood

Natural beauty, all american girl. Self built, talented performer who can actually sing. Has her own money, so she would ask for any from you.
#1 South Champion -Heather Vandeven

Fitness is not an issue for her. She can run a 7 minute mile, served in the army, has a masters in nutrition. Yea she's a nude model mostly but seems to be more than just a body and a face.

The Bracket: Final Four

#3 Marisa Miller Midwest Champion

Marisa is certainly the most mainstream model in this competition. She is American too so bonus points and all. I don't really have anything else to say other than she's hot.

#3 Reese Witherspoon West Champion
Reese is one of the most respected actresses in the biz and is considered a bankable star. If you have never seen Walk the Line beware you can fall in love with her on screen. Avoid Legally Blond though or you might have to choke a bitch.

Sh*t I Don't Understand: Extracurricular Activities

Spring is descending upon us. There are four college basketball teams left standing, and at the start of next week the sweet sound of "Play Ball!" will be heard for the first time since November 4. Springtime also brings about a period of time I like to call Application Season. Ambitious and eager high school seniors are nervously awaiting the big envelopes in the mail from colleges all around the country, while reality-bitten college seniors are attending career fairs and beefing up their resumés in hopes of getting a job that has anything to do with the stuff they've been studying for the past four years. Both groups have had hammered into their brains the importance of extracurricular activities and how they "make you stand out." In the last installment of this series for the time being, I'd like to take a look at just how hollow all this extracurricular activity BS really is.

I'll put out the caveat out there first - I know that there are plenty of people who did tons of extracurricular stuff in high school and college and actually cared about them/put a great deal of effort into them. Those aren't the people I'm talking about. I'm talking about the people who join a club just because it might look good on an application or resumé, as well as the people who actually evaluate said applications and fail to differentiate between the genuine and the bogus. Hell, we've all done it. I was in the French Club in high school, which entailed little more than signing my name on a piece of paper in French class and showing up to a 20-minute meeting 4 times a year, 3 of which I'd usually duck out of early to get to football practice or to the weight room.

That's part of my point. What does having an extracurricular activity on an application really constitute? It's impossible to tell from an evaluation standpoint. All colleges love seeing National Honor Society on applications, but all being in NHS in high school really meant was you got good (not necessarily great) grades, you were at least somewhat involved and didn't just go straight home after school every day, and you never showed up to school wasted and never got caught with weed in your car. For that you got a nice little yellow thingy to wear on your graduation gown and the right to slap a shiny "Member of National Honor Society" on your college applications. Riiiiight. I was in NHS for 3 years in high school and I think I've done more work cleaning my room than I ever did as part of that prestigious outfit. But yet, there it was in bold letters on all my applications back in the day.

What I hope is that college admissions offices and job recruiters understand is that not all activities are created equal. For instance, being on the bowling team in high school is not the same as playing a sport like football or wrestling. I shouldn't have to go further into that. In addition, some people turn themselves into flat-out hypocrites by their membership in certain clubs, like a few kids I knew who were in Students Against Drunk Driving (aka S.A.D.D.) in high school and ended up getting DUI's. I guess you weren't paying attention at those meetings, were you? But hey, maybe your days spent as a member of S.A.D.D. will score you some points with the DMV when you try to get your license back!

The extracurricular activity garbage is a flaw of a system where a large number of candidates must be considered in a small amount of time. It's impossible to personally get to know everyone who is applying to your school or your company, so you have to take as many things into consideration as you can, especially when the top factors (GPA, test scores, prior work experience, etc.) are a wash. But it doesn't sit well to think that a group of decision makers are sitting at a table somewhere saying, "OK, we're down to two candidates for this position. Applicant A and Applicant B have similar grades and numbers, but Applicant B helped start up the Scott Baio Fan Club at his college! That's got to make him a better employee than the other guy. I think we have our winner right there, our work here is done! Who's got the first round at Happy Hour?"

But I guess that's the world we live in. I pledged with a guy who treated our fraternity as just another resumé builder and pretty much disappeared once we got in. Sure, he got himself into medical school, but to me that's not worth everyone disliking you and your name being a punchline for years, even after college is over. It's a blatant insult to all the people who bust their ass in earnest to be a part of something that's going to have value for a long time. In a perfect world, there would be a way to sniff out the mere "just a name on a list" people so they could get a big F-you from prospective employers and colleges. After all, who is bound to be more of an asset to a company or a school - a person who stays on the right track and gives full effort to the things he sets his mind to, or a system-manipulating weasel who uses his peers as stepping stones? Call me idealistic but I'd rather be genuine and give my best effort at a few things than go half-ass at a bunch of activities just so I can litter my application with papier-mâché.

Sh*t I Don't Understand: Shopping

Need any further evidence at all that males and females are different species? Look no further than the shopping mall. We all need to go to the mall at some point, whether it be to buy holiday or birthday presents, or some new work clothes, or (gritting my teeth) shoes. Some people treat this consumer experience as a necessary evil, a pain-in-the-ass of an afternoon that can not end quickly enough. Others, well, they treat this as a sacred pastime. They're not just going out to "buy stuff." No, they're going shopping, which is a totally different animal - an animal that I just do not get.

Go to the profile of any female friend you have on Facebook and there are good odds that her interests will include "Shopping!" They even have shopping uniforms. Uniforms, you say? Think about it. You can imagine thousands of girls with money to burn going through the same checklist on a Saturday afternoon before hitting malls all across the country. Uggs? Check. Sweat pants? Check. North Face fleece? Check. Gigantic sunglasses? Check. Starbucks latté? Check. And there you have it - the shopping uniform.

It's not merely the act of buying things that they really love. We could only wish it were that simple. It's the chance to spend time with these luscious items that are most likely not needed, the chance to waste a salesperson's time trying on those $500 shoes you're never going to buy just so you can amble around a store for 4 minutes pretending to be Blake Lively. It's the chance to earn bragging rights with your friends (and rivals) that you got that same pair of jeans for $5 less than they did. It doesn't matter that you spent 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot, wrestled your way through a crowd of people at the clearance rack because you scouted the location the night before and knew exactly where that pair would be, waited for a half hour in line under one of those 125-degree store lighting systems, and will spend at least another 20 minutes trying to get out of the damn parking lot. No, that doesn't matter at all. "So what if I wasted an entire afternoon? Don't you understand, I got the same pants as Jamie, for $5 less! That bitch is gonna freak out! This is gonna be great!!!!!"

It's a bit of a chicken or the egg scenario, but just look at how products aimed toward females are marketed; they have the tireless shopper eating out of their hands. Go into a womens' shoe store or a Bath and Body Works, and you see about 9,000 variations of the same product. The funny thing is, it's all in an effort to attract people who already own the very things in the store. "Oh, I already have 15 pairs of black heels, but isn't this pair just to die for? And oohhh, look at this new chamomile-mocha-raspberry-apple body lotion! I already have gallons of the chamomile-mocha-raspberry-orange body lotion, but I have to have this too!" Who on earth needs all this garbage? No one, in actuality. But who on earth is under the impression that they need all this garbage? Enough people to keep these places in business, apparently.

In a chain of work emails that have been since lost in the mix, I was able to confer with the blog's close friend Ryan on a topic just like this one. He put it perfectly: shopping, in many ways, is a competition for women. They not only compete with each other, but with themselves. It's the challenge of walking into a mall or shopping center and seeing how much you can buy at a supposedly reduced price. To them, missing out on a sale is like being that guy who loses $200 gambling in AC on the same night all his friends win $200 each - it's a bang-your-head-against-the-wall feeling. Collecting items is the game, and shopping is how it's played.

I'm not saying men don't shop, but when they do it is with a plan and purpose, because there is undoubtedly a game on TV to get home and catch. That's one of the major differences - for women, shopping is the game, it is the entertainment, so to walk and look around aimlessly is just a way to further enjoy it. That's why you see many women go out to buy a new leash for their dog but end up coming home with so many new clothes you'd think she were going on a third world relief mission.

Now, men can be guilty of aimless store-wandering at times, but we do so when we're surrounded by golf clubs, baseball gloves, and bats. I haven't played competitive baseball in 10 years but you better believe I'm checking out the bat rack in a sporting goods store when I walk by it. But there is a major difference: we don't hold it against the opposite sex for not being willing to share this experience with us. We don't care. The fact you don't view the baseball glove wall at Dick's the way we do is A-OK. If anything, it just means you're normal. But women? Oh man, can some of them get pissed off if their husband or boyfriend doesn't enjoy shopping with them. You never, ever see those roles reversed in a relationship. Can you picture a bunch of dudes sitting at a bar and one guy is like, "yeah, man, my girlfriend didn't want to go help me pick out a new sand wedge, I'm so mad at her." I sure can't. And ladies, it's a sad truth but I'm not going out on a big limb by saying if you have yourself a man that actually enjoys shopping with you, then you have yourself a gay man, whether he has come to such a realization or not.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Bracket: Elite 8


#1 Sloan Defeats #4 Sharapova and #2 Kelly Kelly #3 Marisa Miller

#1 Sloan vs. #3 Marisa Miller


#1 Miranda Kerr defeats #12 Hilary Duff and #3 Resse Witherspoon Defeats #10 Stacey Kiebler

# 1 Miranda Kerr vs. #3 Resse Witherspoon


#1 Carrie Underwood defeats #4 Lisa Ann and #6 Gemma Massey defeats #2 Audrey Bitoni

#1 Carrie Underwood vs. #6 Gemma Massey


#1 Heather Vandeven defeats #4 Giada and #2 Cheryl Cole defeats #14 Isla Fisher

#1 Heather Vandeven vs. #2 Cheryl Cole

So there have been some tough decisions and naturally I would like to have some people back in the competition. The toughest decision this round was Kelly Kelly vs. Marissa Miller. No voting this round. That will be back for the final four. Who do you think will advance?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Things Grown Men Should Not Do: Snuggies

Purchase and wear a "Snuggie".

You cannot be serious, man!  These might be the almightiest pussy item of all time.  We have all seen the commercials for these stupid novelty comfort items. Wow, it's like a blanket and I wear it.  A grown man looks ridiculous in one of these things.  Wear a robe like a real man.  I severely doubt Hugh Hefner will be replacing his trademark robe with a Snuggie anytime soon.  It's bad enough people wear these things in their own home, it's infinitely worse when they are worn in public.  Do not let me catch you wearing a Snuggie to a ball game, so help me God.  Be a man.  Put on your long johns and North Face or Carhart gear if it's cold out. Snuggies are clearly chick items.  I believe it was a Cleveland Cavaliers game recently in which the team had a Snuggie giveaway promotion one night.  Every single fan in attendance received a complimentary Snuggie.  It was annoying to look at, all the while it was disturbing as well.  It looked like some sort of bizarre cult gathering.  20,000 people gathered in an arena wearing uniformly colored Snuggies, can you say Jonestown??? 

A man who wears a snuggie has completely sold out his manhood.  When I picture a guy wearing a snuggie, I see a man who walks his girlfriends poodle, has dark rimmed glasses, listens to dave matthews, dislikes golf, wears a backpack around the city, wears turtlenecks, and probably doesn't lift.  Snuggies are baggy, impractical, and make you look like some sort of wizard from Lord of the Rings or some shit like that.  They are for women who sit around drinking wine while eating Ben & Jerry's trying to determine which eat-whatever-food-you-want-without-exercise diet plan they want to go on next week. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Legal Gambling

Previously I discussed the subject of investing for the first time at my old blog, it can be found here. Think of it as your starter kit.
Bill Capece is recent graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia. After receiving a BS with the dual majors of Accounting and Finance. He loves stocks like some of us like sports. He has started a new website called Stocks Simplified. Bill answered a few questions to aid young investors.

What type of stocks do you recommend for first time investors (college and newly employed)? Price Range? Diversification?
It obviously depends on the situation. However, my rule of thumb is that if the investors need the money further down the road and want to invest, stick to blue chip stocks. This will allow for growth and a general understanding of investments. These should have market caps of upwards of $20 billion. Also, choose between 7-10 companies and spread those out over different industries with no more than one company in each industry. If the purpose of your investments is more liberal and the funds can be risked, stick to market caps between 500 million and 10 billion and buy about three to five stocks. Price range really isnt important because a good deal could be a stock worth $1 or $100. This will allow the investor to see fluctuations and really "experience" the market. Also, diversification is not necessarily a must. Keep a close eye on the investments and that should be enough.

What do you typically research when looking at a stock?
In looking for a worthy investment, I use stock screeners. I input parameters worthy of the specific sector and look at the results. Each company has three basic financial statements: Balance Sheet, Cash Flow and Income Statement. I listed these in order of importance. When anaylzing these remember that "cash is still king". Cash got Ford out of trouble when the others automakers declared bankruptcy; Cash held Genworth's (GNW) hand when it was trading below $1; and cash kept the banks/ financial system liquid. Net worth and working capital are very important items on the balance sheet and usually determine my initial interest in a company. To find net worth, take total assets and subtract all liabilities and goodwill. This will normally give a conservative estimate of corporate worth. To calculate working capital, subtract all current liabilities from all current assets. If both numbers are positive, move onto the cash flow and income statements. Combined with the number of shares outstanding, this quick glimpse allows me to determine whether further research is warranted. If so, pull their past 10k's and start reading! If not, disregard and move on.

What Analysts can be trusted?
All analysts can be trusted!- do the exact OPPOSITE of what they say! You'll be right every time. Investors tend to follow the pack. When an analyst issues a recommendation, it's too late to make your move. A "buy" recommendation says that the analyst should have recommended it before and is now making up for his/her mistake. A "sell" recommendation says the same, except the stock will be moving in the opposite diection. Think for yourself. Read what they have to say in order to keep your mind fresh, but generally dont listen to their advice. Buy when the stock is hated and sell when it's loved.

Websites to follow? to Avoid?
The only straight financial websites i recommend following are http://www.wsj.com/; http://www.ft.com/; http://www.stockssimplified.com/ They're the only ones I trust.
Avoid any website that promises to sell you a fool-proof product. One I recently saw promised returns of 1000%. Think about it...if their system was so great, why are they selling the secret? Shouldn't they be sipping martinis on their yatch parked off the cape of their private island?? Get the picture...

Would you recommend taking on a Car Loan for under 4% APR and investment in stocks or buying straight up?
I don't know why, but this made me laugh. Normally, i would say buy that car striaight up. However, I trully believe our generation will never see a market like this again for the rest of our lives. There are so many undervalued investments in the market that I'd be foolish to advise anyone to use their investment funds to buy a depreciating item. For the time being, take the loan and keep investing.

Summary: Stick to the fundamentals- they don't lie. Good Luck and Happy Investing

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Odd Obsessions: Sleep

Sleep is very necessary.  Even I require some amount of sleep.  But how does one enjoy sleep?  You're unconscious.  You don't even know you're sleeping when you're sleeping.  Theoretically, this would mean you could enjoy open heart surgery while under anesthesia.  There is no difference between that unconsciousness and sleeping until 3:30 in the afternoon.  What is there to enjoy?  I don't get it.  Until I can control my dreams like in the movie Total Recall, I don't see the enjoyment in sleep.  Hopefully science can bring us to the point where we can dream about women with 3 breasts and Sharon Stone when she was still hot.  Think of the possibilities.   That would get me excited for some sleep.  Imagine after a long day, you could come home, watch a movie, ballgame, or do whatever the hell it is you do with your time.  Once bedtime rolls around, plug yourself into the old dream machine, and you could be taken upon whatever journey you want.  Am I the only person who is unsatisfied enough with their life to come up with these ideas?  In any event, I will not censor myself. 

Personally, I enjoy the feeling of being well rested in the morning after a good night of sleep.  Anyone who requires beyond 8 hours of sleep per night is a fucking weakling.  Sleepovers were difficult as a child because I would be the first to wake up, usually about 8 AM, then I would proceed to stare at the ceiling for 3 hours.  Excessive sleep does nobody any good.  It leads to becoming a coffee drinker, which is a subject that will be addressed in the future.  Who sleeps excessively?  Girls and fat people (often one in the same) seem to be particularly guilty of this.  Most girls have an exhausting day of bitchiness so they need their 10-12 hours to recover so they can be groggy when they get out of bed and have fresh bitchiness ammunition to start their day.  Fat fucks sleep excessively because they're bad people.   Their heavy breathing and such is quite tiring.  A solid ten hours of sleep is needed for them to have the energy to carry on their daily fat fuck duties of climbing stairs, getting into cars, getting out of cars, getting out of chairs, eating, being out of breath, and sweating for no reason.  I realize out of shape people have become a macguffin of sorts of this blog, but I simply cannot exploit them enough.  To get back on track and wrap up this post, sleep is not as good as you think.  Get your 6-8  and be done with it.  Do not bitch about lack of sleep, and do not tell me how much you love to sleep.  Live your fucking life, sleep when you're dead.

Sh*t I Don't Understand: Hunting

I'm not sure if I even want someone to enlighten me on this or not, but I just don't get the appeal of hunting. Hundreds of years ago? Sure. It was the only way to survive unless you lived in an area conducive to farming and could grow your own food. But in this day and age? Not so much. It baffles me to see these dudes who are gung-ho, can't-live-without-it about hunting. Now, it's not the killing of animals that really bothers me, I don't want to get anyone thinking that's the direction I'm going with this. There are areas where certain animals are overpopulated and hunting does a service to the ecosystem, and at least in this country hunting is regulated pretty well, so rest assured I'm not going to harp on moral grounds here.

No, my thing is, I just don't see how in the hell hunting is considered fun. Let me get this straight. I'm going to drive out to the middle of nowhere. I'm going to throw on some orange just in case Dick Cheney is around. I'm going to sit my ass up in a tree or face down in the middle of the weeds somewhere, oftentimes covered in some semblance of animal urine to give off the right scent. And then I'm going to....wait. And then I'm going to wait some more. I remain there and stare at nothing until, if I'm lucky, an unsuspecting deer prances by or a flock of geese fly within the range of the gun I probably paid an embarrassing sum of money for. And if I'm not freezing my ass off by that point I'll aim, fire, and hopefully be the proud owner of a nice fresh carcass that I can mount on my wall at home and use to creep people out. This is best-case scenario, by the way. You talk to people that hunt a lot and it's not uncommon for them to take these big ass hunting trips, come back empty-handed, and still somehow rave about how great of a time they had.

Oh hell yeah, that sounds like my ideal getaway, let me tell you. 36 holes at Pebble Beach, or three days of that previous paragraph repeated over and over? Wow, talk about your all-time dilemmas. Where is the sport in hunting, anyway? That's why I doubt I could ever get into it; if there's no ball it's tough for me to consider something a sport. If you're hunting with a bow and arrow, that's one thing. But you see these guys go hunting with these new high-tech guns so they can go out and shoot some oblivious primate in the back of the neck from 50 yards away? Way to go there, pal. What an act of competitive skill that is. That must have been so difficult, why don't we just tie the damn thing to a tree for you next time while we're at it? Considering that a real accomplishment is like rooting for Arnold in the first few scenes of The Terminator before Kyle Reese shows up.

And above all else, you gotta get that picture with the dead animal and you giving a big thumbs-up, or you holding the thing up by the antlers or some other dignity-robbing pose - because you know you gotta show that shit off to all your friends at your regular Mensa meetings down at Cabela's. "Aw man, look'er here at that dang stag our here boy Earl done bagged himself! Ain't he some heckuva feller?!" What cracks me up is that nobody else does this in any other hobby. I sure as hell didn't have John I take a picture of me and the loaded bar after the first time I benched over 300. And if I ever make a hole-in-one, I doubt it will cross my mind to have someone take a picture of me kneeling and pointing at the ball in the cup.

Yet hunting is a lifestyle for thousands and thousands of people out there. I guess a lot of it has to do with how and where you were brought up and what was presented to you as "fun" from a young age, but I can't just write it all off to that. Maybe it's just the cynic in me, but I'm guessing a lot of hunters just love it because it's one of the only ways to get away from their wives for more than 20 minutes. OK, it's definitely the cynic in me. But I know you were nodding your head, don't deny it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sh*t I Don't Understand: The Short-Sleeve Dress Shirt

With this entry, we inaugurate a new series and finally write on one of the topics I have been promising to our loyal readers for weeks. For anyone who has known me for longer than this blog has existed, you know that I do not comprehend the short sleeve dress shirt. If you're a woman, it's permissible, but if you are a man who picks out his own clothes, and you still somehow arrive at the decision that the best thing for you to wear to work today is a short sleeve dress shirt, then you are literally wearing your cluelessness on your sleeve (or lack of sleeve).

It's goofy. It's antiquated. It's loose in the spots you'd want it to be tight and tight in the spots you'd want it to be loose. It draws attention to your gut (if you have one) more than a long-sleeve shirt would. It will make your arms look like toothpicks if you're anything short of a Mr. Olympia winner. It accomplishes nothing in the way of keeping you cooler in the summer because you're (hopefully) still wearing long pants to work anyhow. It's the same as wearing a shirt that says "Don't take me seriously!"

The only place you would be taken seriously in a short sleeve dress shirt is an audition for a movie or TV show set in the 1960s. And speaking of movies and television, doesn't it seem to you that whenever a director wants a male character to appear chronically awkward or uncomfortable, he has the costume people put him in a short sleeve dress shirt? If you've ever seen Arrested Development, take a gander at that picture of Michael Cera's character below and you'll know exactly what I mean. George Michael Bluth wears a short sleeve dress shirt in almost every episode, and the fact that the character's niche is his extreme awkwardness is hardly a coincidence.
Now that I've written this, I'm sure the short sleeve dress shirt will make some sort of comeback like long hair, skinny ties, and above-the-knee plaid shorts, if for no other reason than for Abercrombie to try to sell the shit for $80 a pop. But do America a favor and don't give in to trying to look like a Jonas brother, because 99 times out of 100 you'll end up looking like Milton up there at the top hanging onto your Swingline for dear life.

What Would You Do For an A?

Middle School through College you occasionally joked with your friends that you would have sex with an old teacher to get an A in her course. You see the course was so difficult or annoying and you though the hour of suffering and the self torture that followed would be worth it. Now I find myself looking around at work and saying " yea I would if it got me out of work early" or if shes halfway decent "that would be fun on my lunch break." Quid Pro Quo, I'm ready to go.

It's funny the things we think about or actually do at work to get us through the day. We grasp for little things to avoid work and keep our sanity. Whether we are on the net more than we would like researching John Calipari recruiting history, wondering around the office, or writing in this blog. We partake in several things we wouldn't normally do to make the day more tolerable. How to do you liven up your day?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

They Paved Common Sense, and Put Up a Parking Lot - The Drive-Through Edition

Maybe my expectations for this human race are just too high. Or maybe I'm just too observant for my own good. Either way, the epidemic of human beings without presence of mind or concern for others has now spread to the Dunkin' Donuts drive-through. Like many a corporate asshole, I like to stop by Dunkin' on the way to work most days for my commute coffee. On its best days, the drive-through is wonderful, you hardly even have to come to a complete stop. On its worst days, it is an exquisite portrait of human stupidity.

The mopes in the drive-through ordering breakfast for their whole office, or three different types of bagels that all need to be toasted, or 12 different types of donuts for a dozen, they are a very select group of people with the ability to make me laugh and curse at the same time. And on a side note, don't you just love the arrogant dildos that take 5 minutes just to describe how they take their coffee? "Um, yes, I'll have a medium, no wait, make that a large hazelnut with one and a half packets of Splenda and 2 ounces of 1% milk." One time I was behind someone who actually asked for one packet of Sweet & Low and one packet of Equal. What?! Are you serious?? I'd hate to be the poor guy behind the counter when that girl rolls up in her Prius thinking she's at her own personal kitchen. I'll bet he wishes (CAUTION: TOYOTA JOKE AHEAD) her car gets to acting like a lot of its brothers and sisters have lately.

Please, if your order is sizable, somewhat specialized, or requires any heating at all, go inside. You are defeating the purpose of the drive-through, the line is starting to spill back out onto the road, and everyone behind you is bemoaning your existence. And for the sake of everything that is Holy, PAY WITH CASH. If you won't listen to me, at least listen to George Carlin on the same subject (around the 9-minute mark). It is on this token that I'd propose to the Judicial Board of Common Sense a $5 limit on any drive-through order between the hours of 6:30-9 AM, Monday-Friday, as well as a restriction on ordering food items that require any sort of preparation or toasting and a cash-only rule during those same hours. The result? A drive-through line that keeps moving and doesn't stop for 10 minutes because some Big Bertha is up there buying half the store.

It is imperative to understand that not all drive-throughs are to be treated equally. Dunkin' Donuts is not McDonald's or Burger King, especially on a weekday morning. You are there to get in and get out, and the drive-through is just a measure taken to further streamline the process. At a regular fast food place, the drive-through is the norm if you are not intending to eat there, and no order of any size (within reason) is considered outrageous. You know why? Because the food is ready-made at those places; the preparation doesn't require much more than throwing the stuff into a bag. This is rarely the case at a Dunkin' Donuts, unless you're just getting a black coffee, a plain untoasted bagel, or a simple donut or two.

Think of a McDonald's drive-through as the left lane on a 40-mph road with a lot of traffic lights. Yes, you're technically there because you want to go faster, but in the end you know you'll never be going too much faster than everyone else anyway. The Dunkin' Donuts drive-through, on the other hand, should be thought of as the left lane on a freeway. It is plainly understood that you are there to get moving and stay moving, and those who will knowingly be going slow need to stay the hell out.

The Bracket: The Very Sweet 16

And we are down to the Sweet 16. Now its time for you to cast your vote and have your say for who advances. The voting links are suitable for work. Its merly a poll hosted by another site. Clicking on a woman's name however, is not advised at work.

1. Sloan vs. 8.Blake Lively Winner: Sloan Vote 1v4 Sloan vs Sharapova
5. Charissa Thompsonvs.4 Maria Sharapova Winner: Maria Sharapova
6.Lindsey Vonn vs. 3. Marissa Miller Winner: Marissa Miller
7.Scarlett Johansson vs. 2. Kelly Kelly Winner: Kelly Kelly Vote:3v2 Miller vs Kelly

1.Miranda Kerr vs.8.Hannah Hilton Winner: Miranda Kerr Vote:1v12 Kerr vs Duff
12.Hilary Duff vs 4.Rachel Glandorf Winner: Hilary Duff
6.Kat Sadler vs.3.Reese Witherspoon Winner: Reese Witherspoon
10. Stacy Kiebler vs. 2. Adriana Lima Winner: Stacy Keibler Vote:3v10 Kiebler vs Witherspoon

1. Carrie Underwood vs. 9.Penelope Cruz Winner: Carrie Underwood 1v4 vote Underwood vs Lisa Ann
5. Megan Fox vs.4. Lisa Ann Winner: Lisa Ann. Some will call it blasphamy but oh well.
6. Gemma Massey vs. 3. Jennie Finch Winner: Gemma Massey 6v2 Vote Massey vs Bitoni
7. Christiana Cindrich vs. 2. Audrey Bitoni Winner: Audrey Bitoni

1.Heather Vandeven vs. 8. Emily Scott Winner: Heather Vandeven Vote: 1v4 Vandeven vs Giada
5.Erin Andrews vs. 4. Giada De Lauremtiss Winner: Giada
6. Beyoncé Knowles vs. 14.Isla Fisher Winner: Isla Fisher continues her George Mason run
10. Jennifer Aniston vs. 2. Cheryl Cole Winner: Cheryl Cole Vote:14v2 Fisher Vs. Cole

Yes I would rather have Lisa Ann than Megan Fox. To some of you this may seem like taking Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan knowing Jordan would become one of the greatest players of all time. However, no one plays the Milf role and Sarah Palin role better than Lisa Ann. Megan Fox comes off as a bitch to me and her ultimate fall will be stronger than her rise.

The upset of Jennie Finch comes as a suprise I'm sure but her time in the spotlight is fading and she only looks great in a softball uniform and at some point that's gotta come off. Hilary Duff and Rachel Glandorf was very close. Duff emerged because of consistency and an ability to support herself. Stacey Kielber edged Lima on a backdoor cut.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Am Your Conscience: PDA

Previously on I am your conscience : Driving and Airplanes.

Resist the urge to make out in public unless its your first time doing so together. Boyfriends and girlfriends who make out in public and are all over each other are disturbing. People do not want to view this. If your really into each other that's great, I'm happy for you. Its just not something I want a front row seat to.

If you are in a booth please sit on opposite sides. Its just the two of you. It irritates me when I see a couple sitting side by side in a booth straining their necks to try to hold a conversation like close talker Neil from Seinfeld. Man up and sit on the other side despite what she wants you to do. You need some space get some.

Public Displays of Affection are a violation. I have felt this when I have had a girlfriend and when I have not. You have your basic freedoms but you need to remember your surroundings.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Trite Utterances of Subpar Sports "Fans," Volume Three

You're allowed to hate the Yankees. It's a free country. Go ahead. But just have some legit reasons for it. If you want to hate them because of A-Rod or Roger Clemens or the Steinbrenners, that's fine. If you say you hate them because you got real tired of seeing Paul O'Neill throw fits after third strikes back in the day, or because you don't like how Derek Jeter has more hot female celebrities' numbers in his phone than Ari Gold, I won't jump all over you for it. If you even want to say you hate them because of how they treated Joe Torre at the end of his run, I may even agree with you on that. But do the sports-watching world a favor and cease with the "They buy their championships!" shit. I know it's going to hurt for a minute to draw some fact-based conclusions and not just regurgitate everything you hear on ESPN or Comcast Sportsnet or Philadelphia talk radio, but bear with me. Take Advil for any headaches, Midol for any cramps.

My whole thing starts with this. People say the Yankees try to "buy" a championship every year as if they're Montgomery Burns putting together the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant company softball team. Well, doesn't building a contending team entail putting together a roster of good players? And last time I checked, guys that can actually hit the ball squarely on a consistent basis or throw the ball over the plate with regularity don't generally play for the league minimum. Quality players cost money, and you need to spend in order to win. In the 2000s, the only World Series champion with a payroll in the lower half of all major league teams was the 2003 Marlins, an exception that I'll get to in a minute. If you want to blame something, blame Major League Baseball and its lack of a salary cap. Don't blame the teams that spend as much money as they can, because if you ain't buying, you ain't trying.

You can try to catch lightning in a bottle like the Marlins did or the Rays did in 2008, but that will eventually catch up to you. The Marlins won titles in 1997 and 2003 and had to fire-sale after each one because the talent they had stockpiled was due to make a ton of money. Look at the salaries that a few of the 2003 Marlins would eventually make with other teams (scroll down to the bottom of the linked pages for salary figures):

Josh Beckett - $11.167 million with Boston
Brad Penny - $9.25 million with Los Angeles
Derrek Lee - $13.25 million with the Chicago Cubs
Miguel Cabrera - $14.38 million with Detroit
Ivan Rodriguez - $12.38 million with Detroit
Mike Lowell - $12.5 million with Boston
Juan Pierre - $10 million with Los Angeles

And this is leaving out players such as A.J. Burnett (he was injured that whole year), Luis Castillo and Dontrelle Willis (generally accepted as bad contracts), Carl Pavano (because I don't feel like puking), and Ugueth Urbina (because we don't promote guys who attack servants with a machete and threaten to torch them with gasoline). My point is, you can only get away with paying players below their worth for a short period of time. If you are out to be perennial contender, it gets expensive. The 2008 Rays benefited from several years' worth of high draft picks all reaching the majors within a short time of each other (Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, James Shields) as well as players obtained via astute trading (Scott Kazmir, Dioner Navarro, Matt Garza) to produce a low-cost AL champion. But even now they've already traded one of those players away (Kazmir) for eventual contract purposes and may have to do the same with Carl Crawford, arguably the best player in team history.

I know what you're saying - "wait, isn't this guy disproving his own argument right now?" In a way, yes, because I've reaffirmed the economic imbalances that create something of a caste system in baseball. But what I want to point out off of that is there is a lot more to building a winning team than throwing money at free agents - just take a look at some of the recent Mets and Cubs teams, or the Dodgers and Orioles of the late '90s-early 2000s. What separates the Yankees is that they have been able to retain their homegrown talent even as they became worthy of top-dollar contracts - Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte (excluding his 3-year stay in Houston where he played for less money to be closer to home), and eventually Robinson Cano, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes. No one can say that the Yankees never develop players and just wait until everyone else's players become free agents. You want numbers? The Yankees had 11 homegrown players in the 2009 World Series, while the Phillies had 8.

Also, I don't see where making trades qualifies as "buying a roster." I'll use the guy with the biggest bull's eye on his back as my example. Commoners forget that the Yankees did not simply sign Alex Rodriguez back in 2004 - they traded Alfonso Soriano (a 28-year-old, five-tool player at the time) to the Rangers to get him. In fact, Texas even paid about $9.5 million of Rodriguez's $25.2 million salary for his first four years in New York because they were that bogged down by the contract. It's certainly not the Yankees' fault that Texas gave A-Rod a bigger contract than it could ultimately handle, is it?

Listen, I know that no other team can afford to spend the way the Yankees do, and that no other team has as much margin for error to whiff on a bad contract, but let's stop acting like they're the only ones spending money out there. I don't recall such a big stink when Boston won two World Series in four years with baseball's second highest payroll, dished out to players like Manny Ramirez ($20 million+ per year free agent deal), Johnny Damon (free agent signed from an Oakland team with zero chance of retaining him), Pedro Martinez (traded to Boston from Montréal when it became evident they wouldn't be able to afford him), and Curt Schilling (traded from Arizona when they could no longer keep both him and Randy Johnson). I guess since they were darling Boston and they had players with long hair and dreadlocks and chin straps that they just had to be a bunch of lovable lugs, right?

By the logic that most people use, if the Yankees "bought their championships," then didn't Boston too? And didn't Arizona in 2001? Hell, that D-Backs team went into so much debt by deferring salaries that within 3 years they were a 111-loss shell of their former selves. I get how you can gripe if you're a Kansas City or Pittsburgh fan, but still don't most of the complaints belong at the feet of your own front offices that trade away talent, spend nothing, pocket all the revenue-sharing money, and essentially make their city's interest in baseball dissolve by about June 1 every year? Or, if you insist on churning out the "buying championships" line, then you're going to have to apply it not just to the Yankees, but to everyone who wins with anything other than a team of David Ecksteins.

The Bracket 1st Round Results

The Matchups

1. Sloan vs. Patrick Winner: Sloan
16.Danica Patrick vs 16.Ava Devine Winner: Patrick in an high scoring affair.
8.Blake Lively vs. 9. Tanith Belbin Winner: Blake Lively
5. Charissa Thompson vs. 12.Shyla Stylez Winner: Charissa Thompson
4.Maria Sharapova vs. 13. Sarah Chalke Winner: Maria Sharapova

6.Lindsey Vonn vs. 11. Carmella Bing Winner: Lindsey Vonn
3. Marissa Miller vs. 14. Alicia Sacrimone Winner: Marissa Miller
7 Scarlett Johansson vs. 10. Yvonne Strahovski Winner: Scarlett Johansson
2. Kelly Kelly vs. 15.Kelly Ripa Winner: Kelly Kelly

1.Miranda Kerr vs. 16.Capri Anderson Winner: Miranda Kerr
8. Hannah Hilton vs. 9.Jessica Biel Winner: Hannah Hilton
5. Madison Scott vs. 12.Hilary Duff Winner: Hilary Duff
4.Rachel Glandorf vs. 13 Malin Akerman Winner: Rachel Glandorf

6.Kat Sadler vs. 11.Gina Carano Winner: Kat Sadler
3.Reese Witherspoon vs. 14. Cytheria Winner: Reese Witherspoon
7. Hillary Fisher vs. 10. Stacey Kiebler Winner: Stacey Kiebler
2. Adriana Lima vs. 15. Chelsea Handler Winner: Adriana Lima

1. Carrie Underwood vs 16. Meghan McCain Winner: Carrie Underwood
8.Lanny Barbie vs. 9.Penelope Cruz Winner: Penelope Cruz
5. Megan Fox vs. 12. Charlize Theron Winner: Megan Fox
4. Lisa Ann vs. 13.Katy Perry Winner: Lisa Ann

6. Gemma Massey vs. 11. Odette Yustman Winner: Gemma Massey
3. Jennie Finch vs. 14. Holly Hogan (Extreme Holly) Winner: Jennie Finch
7. Christiana Cindrich vs. 10. Mila Kunis Winner: Christiana Cindrich
2. Audrey Bitoni vs. 15.Taylor Swift Winner: Audrey Bitoni

1.Heather Vandeven vs. 16. Brandy Taylor Winner: Heather Vandeven
8. Emily Scott vs. 9.Shay Laren Winner: Emily Scott
5.Erin Andrews vs. 12. Jessica Simpson Winner: Erin Andrews
4. Giada De Lauremtiss vs. 13. Leighton Meester Winner: Giada

6. Beyoncé Knowles vs. 11.Natalie Gulbis Winner: Beyonce
3. Brittney Skye vs. 14.Isla Fisher Winner: Isla Fisher!
7. Gisele Bundchen vs. 10. Jennifer Aniston Winner: Jennifer Aniston
2. Cheryl Cole vs. 15. Sasha Cohen Winner: Cheryl Cole

The First round did not have many upsets but Hilary Duff stunned Madison Scott and Isla Fisher, the best part of Wedding Crashers, shocked Brittney Skye. Look forward to the Sweet 16 coming out over the weekend in which we hope to implement a voting system for the readers.

The End is Here

In 12 hours, we can say goodbye to the Winter Doldrums for another year. Yes, NCAA Tournament time has come again, and it is here to hold our hands right up through the remainder of March into the beginning of April, Opening Day, and The Masters. And if we've been at all good this year we will get a few weeks later a watchable set of playoffs in basketball and hockey to go with the NFL Draft and the onslaught of consistently decent weather. By lunchtime on Thursday, we will be reminded of all that once was good, and could be again.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You're American

Here is my post from the old days, I dug it up to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. 

It's St. Patrick's Day. Let me make this clear, I have nothing against any ethnicity. However, I am very unimpressed by the bogus ethnic pride I see in Americans. St Patrick's Day is the perfect example of this. 99.99% of the people boasting their Irish pride today have never been to Ireland, don't really know a damn thing about Ireland, and they pose in thier green shirts and whatnot. They don't have any living relatives that come from the old country, and they probably never knew any. This is my question to all these ethnic pride sheep (Irish and Italians are the primary perpetrators): If Ireland/Italy/wherever is so damn special, why did your ancestors leave? Here's why, because they were so desperately poor and impoverished, they would rather abandon their homeland to live an impoverished existence in the U.S. You're American, everything you know and understand is American, Ireland has done nothing for you. Ever. Just because you studied for a semester in a country doesn't make you a part of it. Although I wouldn't mind if you stayed so I no longer have to endure your phony misplaced ethnic enthusiasm. Stop with the parades, t-shirts, tattoos, flags, and drinking paraphernalia. Why don't you embrace where you're actually from. I've never seen a Cherry Hill tattoo. Not a bad idea.

Back to my point about our ancestors abandoning the old country. Why do we embrace these nations so much? Our families were suffering so badly that they left. The greatest thing to ever happen to us is that our ancestors got out of these shitty nations and came to the beautiful USA.

St. Patrick's Day Spills Over (Updated)

I'm willing to bet that 80% of people don't even know the significance of this holiday. So read up here if you wish. Many people like to use the holiday as an excuse to drink and fine. It's annoying when most holidays are used an excused for a reason to drink but whatever. People want to wear green, have Irish soda bread and potatoes, fine. I'm not stopping you, I might even play along. But I do have a problem with the holiday as you might have guessed and its with the overlap.
Technically I have more Irish heritage than anything else so people would I say I'm Irish. But fuck that. I was born in this country because my ancestors decided that America was a better place to live than anywhere they were in Europe. So excuse me if I don't wear t-shirts that say kiss me I'm Irish or Italia. During the World Cup I root for U.S.A. My beef with Americans is that they think its so cool to be anything but. I'm from Africa or Italy or Asia so I'm an African-American, Italian-American, or an Asian American. Fuck that. There is a reason you are here and not there. It's better. Either you are an American or you are not.
I'm not saying you can't celebrate your ancestry but every needs to take it back a notch. Wearing a teams hat and integrating your heritage colors makes you an asshole. Going out of you way to buy imported goods also makes you a jackass. I realize that the United States does not have the same history as other nations but lets start taking pride in our country more. And not just in war time.

Update: So I was reconfiquring the website a little today and was going through John's blog and found this. It looks like he had beat me to the punch. I completly forgot about the post and feel like an ass so read his. Its interesting how we share similar thoughts.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Things Grown Men Should Not Do

To each his own...to an extent. People have the right to express themselves, but there is a fine line between self-expression and self-embarassment. I have arrived at a list of things that grown men should simply not do. Typically, people hold on to the past. Let go. For your own good, live in the the now. Without further ado, things grown men should not do:

1. Grow a ponytail. Give me something to be sick in. A ponytail is a feminized mullet. Are these guys for real? Their ponytail agenda varies with their age bracket. The age 18-23 bracket ponytailers are either total slobs, raging liberals, or both. Usually both, actually. Ponytailers age 24-30 rock the ponytail because someone told them it was cool while they were in college, or working at Barnes and Noble. However, they fail to realize they have outgrown the "oh he's young" excuse for having a ponytail.  Guys between age 30-40 who have a ponytail are quite lost.  They are unable to come to grips with the fact that their 20's are no more.  You hair will not serve your mojo, as Samson's hair served his strength.  They could also be some sort of organized crime hitman type that has a greasy ponytail coupled with a $5000 Armani suit, and a home decorated in zebra patterns.  Guys with ponytails past age 50 are either complete slobs, or in complete denial of their age.

2.  Earrings.  Unless you're a pro athlete, musician, or someone who doesn't need to impress anyone with a professional appearance, do not get your ears pierced.  I am not talking about guys with 37 piercings on their ears and throughout their face, they waived bye-bye to respect long ago.  The individuals I am referring to are grown men who get a stud or some sort of rock on their ear.  They think having that earring makes them stand out as rebellious, outgoing, cool big shots.    Roughly 99.99% of grown men who get their ears pierced  are kidding themselves.  They get some ridiculous diamond or CZ bling on each ear under the notion they're millionaire celebrities.  In reality, this is far from the truth.  Often times, the guy is an insecure nitwit trying to put on a big shot cool guy facade.  Younger guys who get their ears pierced don't care what you think, and get their ears pierced to let you know it.  They want you to know they can go to a movie on a school night, **snap**, like that.  Also, it's another case of the white man ripping off the black man's style.  Most white guys don't have the charisma or soul to pull off a diamond stud.   It's the truth.  The fact is, black people are much cooler than white people.  Let's be honest, virtually all grown men who have no business wearing earrings are desperate old white guys.

3. Wearing graphic tees.  I never bought into the graphic tee phenomenon.  I don't get how a grown man could walk around in Ed Hardy or Couture graphic clothing.  Mostly, it's excessively macho types with a hell of a lot to prove.  It's tattooed clothing.  The graphic clothing I find most irritating is the kind covered in glittery sequens and shiny designs.  If this stuff were made for jogging at night it would be perfect because a cars headlights would reflect off me as if I were a tinsel christmas tree with legs.  Would I wear it in public?  No.  Look at this piece of tacky shit on the left.  It screams "I'm an insecure asshole, and I hope you find the intricate designs on my graphic tee intriguing, which will lead to you thinking I am the man because I spent 80 dollars of my hard earned money working as a bouncer because I think I can be an ultimate fighter like Randy Couture.  Without this shirt, I'm just some meathead shmuck on wheels with anger issues.  I hope you hate your parents and are looking for a guy with no future to piss them off.".  This look is often coupled with a nice chin strap and memorial forearm tattoos for friends who died racing their suped up Honda Civics.

4.  Forearm tattoos.  Unless you are truly a badass biker for life or were in the military, dont get forearm tattoos.  Just don't.  Is a lifetime of credibility worth a few years of youthful rebellion?  It's not that getting forearm tattoos is a completely impractical action.  It's the thought process behind getting one that pisses me off.  That drive some people have to constantly prove themselves, and seek approval from their peers baffles me.  What is it that these guys are trying to prove?  Often times, these tattoos aren't even an attempt at significance.  Typically, they are stupid nonsense like dragons, dice, flaming wheels, skulls, and other toolbag nonsense.  It's hypermacho bullshit.  Take it easy, Francis.

5.  Complain excessively about the weather. Granted, it snowed alot this winter.  I know it sucked.  Button your coat, put on your hat, shovel the driveway, grumble it's cold out and be done with it.  Grown men have no business complaining excessively about the weather.  If it's cold out, deal with it.  Do not give in to the media's constant coverage of the weather whenever there is snow, rain, sleet, wind, or anything besides 75 and sunshine.  Just carry on business as usual.

6.  Drive miniature cars.  The only tiny vehicle grown men should be driving are golf carts.  Do these guys driving Mini Coopers, Beetles, Smart cars have any idea how ridiculous they look in those wind up cars?  Keep your damn toys in the yard. You aren't saving any money on gas, don't even start that shit. I know you think you're cool because you drive an environmentally friendly little green car with just enough room for you and your backpack that you take with you on your little adventures to museums, coffee shops, and libraries.  Nothing gets me more pissed off than when I am trying to park, and I see what I think is an open spot in an ideal location, only to discover some tool has parked his motorized Little Tikes car in my would-be spot.  The tiny cars were cool when you were a lad, time to grow up and get something that might give you some modicum of respect. 

I am sure there are a number of other things grown men should not do, but for now the above will serve as the groundwork for a better future. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Trite Utterances of Subpar Sports "Fans," Volume Two

(Before reading this, take a gander down at our Bracket below and provide some input, as much or as little as you want. And remember it's all in good fun and that you can't have a blog in March without having some sort of tournament bracket.)

I would have included this in the "Saturated" post from a few weeks back, but today's issue has grown to warrant its own space. For years we've been hearing the "professional athletes are overpaid, blah blah blah blah blah" refrain, and I don't know about anyone else, but this garbage makes my ears bleed. It's a major go-to phrase for those who make a pastime out of complaining about things they are never going to be able to change. It's a major go-to phrase for those who wish to treat all levels of sports like they are tee-ball and refuse to accept the fact that pro sports are businesses - hence the use of the word "professional."

Of course, that's not to say that there aren't individual athletes who are overpaid. I'd be stupid to try to say that. But you can find people who underperform their compensation at any workplace. I'm talking in general terms, not of individual athletes but of the overall salary scales of pro sports. The vast majority of these guys really do earn their money. Even a dream job is a job. There are levels of pressure and expectations that you or I do not see at our offices. Too often we watch a game for 3 hours out of the day and think that's all there is to it. We forget about the hours spent practicing and training just to get to this point, and how the work only gets harder once you're there. We've all had bad days at our jobs, but I doubt we ever got booed by 50,000 people or had scathing articles written in the paper about us the next day as a result.

Simple business thinking dictates that employees are paid based on the value of the efforts and services they provide. Why did Peyton Manning get paid $14 million this year for his endorsements alone? Because up on a high-floor office somewhere at the headquarters of Mastercard/Sprint/Gatorade/DirecTV, groups of people sat in a room and agreed on the projection that paying Peyton Manning $x to do commercials for their products would ultimately generate $x + $y in additional revenue, with "y" representing a worthwhile profit margin. It's just like how a film studio chooses to throw $20 million at Tom Cruise for a movie on the thought that his name and performance will put at least another $20 million worth of asses in the movie theater seats to go see it. Remember, whether you are a master at throwing a football or bringing a written character to life on screen, it's all entertainment. All in the game, right?

On the same note, a teacher making $45k a year is paid such an amount of money because the numbers dictate that his or her teaching services are worth in the neighborhood of $45k a year to the town and school district. That number is found essentially in terms of the town's basis of tax revenue, as well as the intangible "good name" asset for a school district that a well-performing teaching force creates. You become known as a town with very good schools, and guess what - more families want to live there, thus generating more tax dollars, and allowing the township to charge higher tax rates in the future and being able then to pay its teachers, police, firefighters more. That sound you hear is supply shaking hands with demand.

What I'm really tired of is when people give the old "(insert athlete name here) makes more money in a week than a teacher or patrol officer do in a year!" argument. Listen, no one is saying that teachers, firefighters, police, etc. don't perform a much nobler task than pro athletes do. It's the replaceability factor, technically known as opportunity cost. If I decide to leave my job, it is not going to break the company's back to hire and train a replacement. Same goes for a bus driver, construction worker, or stevedore. It's not that the hard-working everyday Joe is of little worth and easily dispensable, it's just that, when it comes to our own individual lines of work, none of us possess skills to nearly as a high a level as professional athletes do.

Think about it. These athletes are among the several hundred best in the world at their craft. What do you think the world's few hundred best lawyers make in a year? Or the few hundred best investment bankers? It's got to be on par with the few hundred best baseball players or football players. So let's not treat athletes as if they're the only ones out there making tons of money. What it comes down to is, enough people place sufficient value on the display of athletic excellence and top-level competition that they decide to part with considerable money in order to spectate.

You personally may think ticket prices are too high, but no one's holding a gun to your head and making you order season tickets. Because if you don't want to pay those prices, I'm sorry, but there are droves of people standing behind you in line who will, provided the product is good. That's how Major League Baseball last year achieved the fourth-highest regular season attendance level in its history despite poor economic conditions. At least with sports there are low cost viewing alternatives like TV and radio, unlike Broadway, where the only way to see it is live so if you don't want to pony up half your next paycheck for tickets, you're S.O.L.

So before this gets too long (as you can see I'm not into the whole brevity thing lately), I leave you with this: find something to complain about other than professional sports. These salary amounts didn't come from nowhere, but not one dime has to come from your pocket if you don't want it to. But before you get to saying, "why don't we pay our teachers $2 million a year?" just remember that if we ever chose to, then get ready for a tax bill so big it wouldn't be able to fit in your mailbox. Just throwing that overlooked nugget out there.

The Bracket

I don't think this is a great picture but I did the best I could. Click on it to enlarge. The Number One seeds are Carrie Underwood, Miranda Kerr, Heather Vandeven, and Emmannulle Chriqui (Sloan). Again even though there is no nudity in the links do not click on them at work. The majority of links will be from Chikipedia because again this is taking way too long.

The Matchups
1. Sloan
16.Danica Patrick vs 16.Ava Devine
8.Blake Lively vs. 9. Tanith Belbin
5. Charissa Thompson vs. 12.Shyla Stylez
4.Maria Sharapova vs. 13. Sarah Chalke

6.Lindsey Vonn vs. 11. Carmella Bing
3. Marissa Miller vs. 14. Alicia Sacrimone
7 Scarlett Johanson vs. 10. Yvonne Strahovski
2. Kelly Kelly vs. 15.Kelly Ripa

1.Miranda Kerr vs. 16.Capri Anderson
8. Hannah Hilton vs. 9.Jessica Biel
5. Madison Scott vs. 12.Hilary Duff
4.Rachel Glandorf vs. 13 Malin Akerman

6.Kat Sadler vs. 11.Gina Carano

3.Reese Witherspoon vs. 14. Cytheria

7. Hillary Fisher vs. 10. Stacey Kiebler

2. Adriana Lima vs. 15. Chelsea Handler


1. Carrie Underwood vs 16. Meghan McCain

8.Lanny Barbie vs. 9.Penelope Cruz

5. Megan Fox vs. 12. Charlize Theron

4. Lisa Ann vs. 13.Katy Perry

6. Gemma Massey vs. 11. Odette Yustman

3. Jennie Finch vs. 14. Holly Hogan (Extreme Holly)

7. Christiana Cindrich vs. 10. Mila Kunis

2. Audrey Bitoni vs. 15.Taylor Swift


1.Heather Vandeven vs. 16. Brandy Taylor

8. Emily Scott vs. 9.Shay Laren

5.Erin Andrews vs. 12. Jessica Simpson

4. Giada De Lauremtiss vs. 13. Leighton Meester

6. Beyoncé Knowles vs. 11.Natalie Gulbis

3. Brittney Skye vs. 14.Isla Fisher

7. Gisele Bundchen vs. 10. Jennifer Aniston

2. Cheryl Cole vs. 15. Sasha Cohen